The year 2016 is over, and good riddance. The past 12 months catalogued the deaths of David Bowie, John Glenn, Elie Wiesel, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Prince, George Michael, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Anton Yelchin, and many other figures who shaped global culture. And though many blame the number 2016 for all the bad luck, 2017 will likely be no different. The real question is this: Will you support the emerging artists, writers, musicians, actors, and activists who are rising up to shape the next century of American culture? Here are just a few of the events and locations where you will find the next Bowie or Fisher in our gloriously queer city. Get your iCal ready.
Chiflón, the Silence of Coal. 8:30 p.m. January 27 and 28 at On.Stage Black.Box Theater at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets cost $30, or $5 for students aged 13 to 22 (in limited supply) and $25 for seniors with ID. Visit fundarte.us. Set to "a universe of random sounds," Chiflón, the Silence of Coal uses puppets to tell an incredibly human story about despair and triumph. Using white marionettes made of newspaper, the team at Silencio Blanco created a stark yet beautiful drama based on a real Chilean mining community, adapted from the tale El Chiflón del Diablo by Chilean author Baldomero Lillo. In exquisite detail, the story unfolds as a mining shaft collapses. But what makes Chiflón such a powerful show is that its plot is revealed without a single word of text or dialogue, allowing it to connect with audiences regardless of race, cultural identity, social status, or age.
Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, With Scott Turner Schofield. 7 p.m. February 9, 8 p.m. February 10, and 8 p.m. February 11 at MDC Live Arts Lab at MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 1, Miami. Tickets cost $30 for general admission or $10 for MDC students. Visit mdclivearts.org. Have you ever wondered how to live in the skin of the so-called opposite gender? What are the steps one must take to assume this new identity? In Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, artist Scott Turner Schofield takes audiences on an acrobatic journey in which he reveals "a few of the 127 stories that compose the life of a guy who just happens to have been born a girl." Using the art of storytelling, silk fabric acrobatics, and audience participation, Schofield suspends himself above the audience and blurs the lines between artist and participant, male and female. With humor and honesty, he lays bare the vulnerable and unstable self, that fluid and transliminal space where we decide who we are and, most important, who we will become.
Miami Film Festival. March 3 through 12 at various locations in Miami-Dade County. Admission costs $13 for general, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. Visit miamifilmfestival.com. Miami is no longer a backwater of the film industry. For proof, visit the 34th-annual Miami Film Festival, which brings hundreds of films to the city for a ten-day lineup of premieres and screenings. In partnership with Google, the 2017 Miami Film Festival will unveil feature-length films made by women directors that bridge the gender and racial gaps in film and tech. The goal: to break that glass ceiling in the film industry. Get your tickets for world premieres Embargo, by American director Jeri Rice, and A Concrete Cinema, by Argentine director Luz Ruciello. These are just two of the countless films that will be screened across the city.
Global Cuba Fest, Featuring Nu Deco Ensemble. March 9 through 11, at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami. Tickets cost $35 to $90. Visit miamilightproject.com. From the lifted embargo to the death of Castro, Cuba featured prominently in American news last year. But the island's impact on American culture, especially in Miami, runs deep. This March, the Miami Light Project will celebrate the tenth anniversary of Global Cuba Fest, a monthlong celebration of the best musicians from the Cuban diaspora. The highlight? Nu Deco Ensemble performing pieces by contemporary Cuban composers, including iconic masters such as Israel "Cachao" Valdes and Ernesto Lucuona, and a unique collaboration with rising Cuban superstar Dayramir Gonzalez. The Light Box is gonna be lit.
Fire. Various dates throughout April at various locations around Miami-Dade County. Cost is $20 to $50. Visit tigertail.org. Fire is a monthlong festival of site-specific events and performances featuring renowned pianist Frederic Rzewski (April 1), Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group (April 21 through 22), and guitarist James Blood Ulmer (April 29). On April 12, Fire will also feature Gods in the Garden, a free dance event created by Miami-based choreographers Marissa Alma Nick, Carla Forte, Hattie Mae Williams, and Pioneer Winter. These four five-to-seven-minute sequential solos take place at the picturesque gardens of Vizcaya, the perfect venue for a Wednesday date night. With so much talent on display, you'll want to catch your favorite Fire event before the flame goes out.
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Supercon Retro. April 14 through 16 at the Miami Airport Convention Center, 711 NW 72nd Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $18.75 with promo code RETRO25. Visit floridasupercon.com/retro. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away (Miami Beach), there was Florida Supercon, an annual gathering of all things related to comics. This year, there's something new: Supercon Retro, a throwback to the early years, before geek culture went mainstream. Held in Supercon's former venue, the Miami Airport Convention Center, this fest aims to bring back the good old days of South Florida nerddom, with more limited crowds and specially chosen guest speakers.
Miami Book Fair. November 12 through 19 at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami. Visit miamibookfair.com. The Miami Book Fair defines literary culture in South Florida. Established in 1984, the fair has grown into one of the largest, most respected, and most diverse book fairs in the nation. Each year the fair draws thousands of locals and visitors to its weekend street fair and the Festival of Authors, where hundreds of writers from the United States and around the world share their work with the community in a dizzying array of public readings, panels, and themed discussions. There's also a wickedly fun Children's Alley, where kids can frolic with their favorite story-time characters. Can't wait for November? Check the website; the Miami Book Fair also features year-round author events and creative writing workshops.
Miami Art Week. December 4 through 10 at venues across Miami-Dade. Times and ticket prices vary. Locals love to bitch about Art Basel and its accompanying tourists and traffic, and they're not entirely wrong. But Basel week is still the biggest cultural event in the nation, and it all takes place in our own backyard. This year will mark the opening of the Institute of Contemporary Art's permanent space in the Design District, scheduled for December 1, just a few days prior to the full-blown madness of Miami Art Week. From the main fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center to satellite events across the city, every place in town — restaurants, hotels, bars, boutiques, and random street corners — will have work on display. If you can't find something you like looking at the first weekend in December, maybe the problem is you.