Another week, and more to do. This week, Miami offers some great new museum exhibitions, live music, and interleague baseball. Even legendary author Judy Blume can't resist the 305 — she'll visit to read excerpts from her latest book. Here are some of the best bets this week:
Thursday, June 11
Understanding modern Cuba is not easy. Understanding how boxing has fallen out of favor in America since the days of Mike Tyson is not easy either. A life in journalism where shooting first and asking questions later is no picnic in the park as well. Yet these three elements come together in a piece of immersive journalism from Brin-Jonathan Butler. Butler is a storied and respected journalist, but it’s his unique relationship with the Communist island that has set him apart in the world of sports journalism and boxing in particular.
Hot off the heels of last year’s A Cuban Boxer’s Journey: Guillermo Rigondeaux, From Castro’s Traitor to American Champion, Butler returns to book length with his ten-year exploration of boxing culture in Castro’s Cuba with The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing With Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in the Last Days of Castro’s Cuba, gleaned from his decade of exploring Cuba and falling prey to the romantic ideals set by Hemingway. Boxing might not have the hold on American culture it once did, but in Cuba, it’s an easily misunderstood cult for outsiders.
Butler will read from The Domino Diaries ($26, hardcover) at 8 p.m. Thursday at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables). You won’t have to understand the poetry of pugilism to see the romance in Butler’s Cuba.
From "Journeys: A Dialogue With Time"
Violence and destruction are prominent themes in countless artworks, but not all artists capture the beauty and intensity within such moments. A master of molding creation and chaos, Florencio Gelabert has been crafting deconstructed duality for more than two decades as one of Cuba’s principal contemporary sculptors.
Since the 1980s, Gelabert has concentrated on installations incorporating natural elements, utilitarian objects, and architectural fragments made from plywood, bricks, cement, expanding foam, drywall, furniture, water pumps, and countless found objects. The artist’s sculpting and material manipulation results in a re-creation of nature that explores the concept of earthly origins. His exhibitions have highlighted pollution and humanity’s effect on the environment via his use of manmade elements to construct visually charming depictions of distressing ecological concerns. Gelabert’s latest exhibition, “Journeys: A Dialogue With Time,” presents a new series of large-scale sculptures, installations, drawings, and sketches on topics such as beauty and destruction, and violence and serenity, through the artist’s re-creation of imaginary spaces.
“Journeys: A Dialogue With Time” will be on display this Thursday through August 16 at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design in the Freedom Tower (600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-237-7700 or visit mdcmoad.org.
Friday, June 12
Chefs compete. You win.
Courtesy Taste of the Carribbean
To get a true taste of the Caribbean, you’d have to spend thousands of dollars island hopping and months of time off from your 9-to-5. But what if you could enjoy the cuisine of some of the region’s most talented chefs without having to deal with customs? For four consecutive years, that’s exactly what Taste of Caribbean has aimed to do, and it’ll return to Miami this Friday through June 14 for your eating pleasure.
Taking place at the Hyatt Regency (400 SE Second Ave., Miami) and presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the annual bacchanalia of Caribbean cooking brings together top toques and barkeeps for a bevy of culinary competitions. Friday from noon to 2 p.m. is the Caribbean National Teams culinary competition lunch, which will include a three-course meal paired with wines and prepared by teams from the Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, and the Virgin Islands. There will also be a dinner that evening from 7:30 to 9:30 with Anguilla, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and the defending champion, Puerto Rico. Tickets to each costs $50, or you can get a combination package for $85.
If you want to skip the battle and go for some good old fun, the Taste of the Islands festival this Saturday will proffer a plethora of authentic Caribbean appetizers, desserts, cocktails, and music.
The event goes from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets cost $40. If you want to go big and get all three, you can do so for $115. Visit caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.
This Friday, the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) will debut an exhibition that explores the world of Newcomb Pottery. “Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise,” is a comprehensive look at the women artists of the New Orleans-based group Newcomb Pottery. They were students at a women’s college (now part of Tulane University) and, in the days before suffrage, took to creating stunning works of art. The group, which worked between 1895 and 1940, is best known for its pottery, but the ladies also produced metalwork, jewelry, and textiles.
Newcomb Pottery is highly regarded in the contemporary arts community. The works’ graceful forms and unique glazes laid the groundwork for notable midcentury American artists, and it’s time that the influential group of women received their own retrospective. The exhibition will include the wide-ranging works of Newcomb Pottery, contextualizing the work in relationship to gender and the Southern landscape of Louisiana.
“Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise” opens this Friday and will remain on view through August 30. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and children ages 6 to 12. Admission is free for Wolfsonian members, State University System of Florida staff and students, and children under 6. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Visit wolfsonian.org.
Saturday, June 13
Fruit is the unofficial food of summer, because when it’s 95 degrees out with a gazillion percent humidity, pan con lechón doesn’t sound all that appetizing. At the Redland Summer Fruit Festival, you can kick off fruit season with a host of tropical delights.
The annual event showcases the best stuff that grows on South Florida’s trees. From local wines to agriculture to the sampling of rare fruits to smoothies and more, it’s a smorgasbord of seasonal sweetness.
In addition to the array of rainbow-hued plants, there’ll also be a kids’ area, where little ones can pet farm critters, ride ponies, and participate in a watermelon-eating contest.If you’re going to spend the summer in Miami, you might as well take advantage of the upsides.
The fest will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Fruit & Spice Park (24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead). Admission costs $8, and children 11 and younger get in free. Visit fruitandspicepark.org or call 305-247-5727.
Under the sea
Courtesy Frost Museum of Science
In a few years, Miami might be underwater thanks to sea level rise. Given this eventuality, maybe now is the time to get used to the aquatic world. We’ll all be Ariels in training eventually.
At the Frost Museum of Science’s fourth-annual Underwater Festival, you can learn everything and anything about the science of the sea. The shindig is in honor of the global World Oceans Day, and the 2015 theme is Coasts, Reefs, and Open Oceans.
Attendees will get to do everything short of diving into the deep. There’ll be build-your-own aquarium tutorials, encounters with sea creatures, underwater films and photography on display, conservation instructionals, and lots more.
Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami). Admission costs $14.95 for adults and $12.70 for Miami-Dade County residents. Children under 12 get in free with paid adult admission. Visit frostscience.org or call 305-646-4200.
Courtesy Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU
Though Miami is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world, its diverse community is what makes it rich. Most locals have a long journey in their pasts, finding our shores from Cuba and Haiti and beyond. Threading those shared trials and discoveries, the Frost Art Museum presents two artists’ odysseys, which span both geographic and personal explorations.
Contemporary Cuban artist Carlos Luna presents “Green Machine,” a multidisciplinary exhibition featuring more than 120 works, most shown for the first time and some created in new mediums with which the artist has experimented. Thrumming with the spirit of Afro-Cuban tradition, Luna’s works range from jacquard tapestries, works on metal sheets, and Talavera ceramic plates to mixed media on wood and large-scale oil paintings, including a massive six-panel painting chronicling the artist’s own story. Organized by guest curator Barbaro Martinez Ruiz, “Green Machine” showcases Luna’s blend of influences from living and working in Cuba until 1991, then in Mexico for 13 years, and now in Miami since 2002. “Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna” will be on display this Saturday through September 13.
Frost’s other featured artist, Richard Sexton, also presents his vivid portrait of cultural meshing with “Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere.” The traveling photography exhibit maps Sexton’s years exploring Latin America and the Caribbean since 1974, a visual quest that captured the architectural and urban similarities of Latin Caribbean cities throughout the Creole world. Sexton’s colorful presentation of 50 photos, first shown at the Historic New Orleans Collection in 2014, gives compelling glimpses into regions such as Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, and Panama.
“Creole World” will be on display this Saturday through August 23. Carlos Luna and Richard Sexton will attend the opening reception for both exhibitions Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU (10975 SW 17th St., Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890 or visit thefrost.fiu.edu.
The band Why Not Y started in a dorm room at Florida State University, but singer Kelley Kessell, violinist Pio Molina, and drummer/keyboardist Ryan Raines all call South Florida home. Kessell and Molina both grew up in Cutler Bay, and Raines is originally from Key Largo. Together as Why Not Y, the trio creates pop music infused with jazz modes, classical precision, and R&B beats. Last summer, the band released its debut, the EP The Why Not Y, led by the radio-friendly single “High and Mighty.”
As part of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center’s Neighborhood Nights Series, Why Not Y will take the stage at the Black Box Theater for a cabaret-inspired performance. The trio is traveling home from Tallahassee with two additional friends and musicians in tow — keyboardist Daniel Tenbusch and bassist Alex Mayweather. And according to the band’s Facebook page, “lights, sounds, and flashy extravagant gold sparkles await you” at the concert.
Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay). Tickets cost $25 to $30. Call 305-285-9060 or visit smdcac.org.
Just as Miami’s people are a mix of cultures, the sound of the city’s streets blend decades of influence with roots that stretch across borders, oceans, and places in time. The modern Miami is futuristically urban, the music of a neon metropolis as hard and mean as it is flashy and warm, yet there’s a distinctly colorful flair to its character, and much of that character is owed to the work of Willy Chirino and his fellow ’70s-era purveyors of the so-called Miami sound.
A refugee of the Cuban Revolution, Chirino took the salsa of his homeland and fused it with the attitude of the United States. Jazz and rock ’n’ roll met Caribbean horns and percussion. It was an explosive time for the population and airwaves alike. As cultures learned to merge, music brought people together. The Miami sound grew bigger than the region, infecting the rest of the country with its hooks and hip-swinging grooves. To this day, it continues to inspire feet to dance and artists to embrace their diverse influences, and Chirino continues to spread the gospel of good times.
Join him, along with Carlos Oliva, at the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) this Saturday, when he’ll bring the nostalgic Miami sound to life as part of the Cuba Beat series. Showtime is 8 p.m., an tickets cost $55 to $150. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.
Monday, June 15
Marlins gear up to take on the Yankees
Courtesy of the Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins may not be playing their hottest season in team history, and owner Jeffrey Loria might not be making popular decisions about his choice of manager, but die-hard fans will continue to flock to Marlins Park to cheer on their favorite MLB team and enjoy every minute of every game like they’re back in the Fish’s golden era. The legacy lives on, and hopes are high for the team to make it back to the top. This Monday, the Marlins will play the first in a four-game homestand against the fashionably pinstriped New York Yankees.
The interleague matchup begins at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park (501 Marlins Way, Miami). Tickets cost $35 to $71. Call 877-MARLINS or visit marlins.com.
Blume is back
Courtesy of Judy Blume
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From Freckle Juice to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume books hold a special place in the hearts of women across the nation. Blume’s stories of childhood wonder and discovery transformed reading for many young adults, and her longtime fans know that transformative power extends to her books for grownups. Now, Blume returns to the adult-fiction world with a new novel this month, 16 years after her last adult success, Summer Sisters. The author’s latest, In the Unlikely Event, is set around the grievous series of plane crashes in her hometown in the 1950s. The story follows three generations of friends, family, and strangers affected by the tragedies, inspired by Blume’s real experiences as a teenager in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Miami audiences will get a peek inside the author’s process and influences for this tale when Judy Blume talks with WLRN’s Alicia Zuckerman this Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Judea (5500 Granada Blvd., Coral Gables). A voucher is required to attend the discussion, which is given in exchange for the purchase of In the Likely Event ($27.95) at any Books & Books store. The book purchase grants admission for two to the conversation and subsequent book signing. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.