Nothing says "holiday season" in South Florida like the jingle-jangle of the song for Santa's Enchanted Forest. You're still shoving leftover Halloween Snickers into your gaping maw, but it's time to suit up and hit the bright lights of Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd., Miami). The world's largest holiday-themed attraction opens to the public Thursday, and the earlier you get there, the earlier you can snag your spot on the Ferris wheel. While you're at it, hit the bumper cars, the roller coasters, the fun houses, and the giant slide. See the sideshow attractions and performing animals. Eat your weight in churros and funnel cake. Drink a stockinged leg full of sickeningly sweet liquor, take a selfie with the train with the droopy eyelid, try not to puke on the chair swing while the ride handlers blare Rae Sremmurd, and wonder how anyone else in this country gets through the holidays without a place like Santa's Enchanted Forest. Tickets cost $22.43 for children and $31.78 for adults; kids aged 2 or younger get in free. You've got the song memorized, so you know it's "one ticket, all rides free." The park will remain open through January 8, 2017. Call 305-559-9689 or visit santasenchantedforest.com.
Women (or the lack thereof) in film has been a hot topic lately, but few venues commit to showcasing movies made by and/or starring the ladies. Miami, however, has a little secret of a film fest on its hands: the Women's International Film & Arts Festival (WIFF). The 11th-annual festival will showcase more than 20 films from around the world, alongside a two-day conference, an awards brunch, and other happenings. Taking place Thursday through Sunday, with events in downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, and South Beach, WIFF will also host panels and master classes taught by industry experts and executives. Attendees can explore the intersection of music and film/TV with a three-hour master class taught by Grammy-winning musician James Mtume. Other guests include Tom Skerritt, Kim Bass, Irma P. Hall, Amy Jo Johnson, and Tracey Moore. Opening night kicks off with The Bounce Back, and the festival continues with features and shorts including Day of Days, 22 Years, Now en Español, Under the Same Sun, Jerico, and The Preacher's Son. Prices start at $15 for single tickets, and group discounts are available. Visit womensfilmfest.com.
How many ways can you make a burger? Get ready to find out. Attendees can sample more than 20 sizzling patties as they eat their way through the sixth-annual Burgerliscious, which returns to Coral Gables Thursday. The mouthwatering festival will include juicy bite-sized sliders from a medley of local restaurants, such as Rock:Brgr, Bulla Gastrobar, Swine Southern Table & Bar, and Copper 29, along with cold brews by Samuel Adams. Each ticket guarantees six sliders covered in everything from caramelized onions to crisp lettuce, tomato, and secret sauces. If that sounds like an appetizer, opt for VIP, which snags a taste of every meaty creation featured this year. Copresented by the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, the extravaganza will benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation to help support small businesses. Burgerliscious begins at 6 p.m. at Ponce Circle/Harnett Park (2810 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables). General admission costs $60, and VIP is $125. Visit burgerliscious.com.
Women of all shades and shapes deserve to be celebrated. The "Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging," Patrice Grell Yursik, a former New Times editor and famed beauty blogger, will share her professional journey at a special edition of the USpeak Flash Fiction and Poetry Series Friday. Yursik created Afrobella, a beauty blog that covers natural hair, multicultural skin care, and celebrity culture. Her hot takes on looking great have earned her a spot on the Women's Wear Daily list "50 Most Influential People in the Multicultural Market." Yursik's Afrobella event will take place at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). USpeak begins at 6:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the University of Miami's College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department's Creative Writing Program, and the Mangrove literary journal. Yursik earned a BA and MFA in creative writing from the University of Miami and will talk about how her education has guided her career path. Visit miami.edu/uspeak or call 305-284-2182.
If you've never had breakfast for dinner, this Friday is a good time to try it. The "Pancakes & Booze Art Show" returns to Miami with its trademark winning combination: paintings, photography, sculpture, graffiti, and, oh yeah, delicious pancakes with a side of alcohol. More than 65 artists will take over the Bar at 1306 (1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami) for the flapjack-themed fete, which will also feature body painting and live musical performances. It's all part of the pancakes-and-booze movement, organizers say, which has swept through cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and 20 others since the first art show launched in 2009. For a $5 cover, you get access to the whole scene, and with an RSVP on Facebook, you get your pancakes free. Visit pancakesandbooze.com.
It's been ten months since the world lost "The Thin White Duke," and still we find ourselves mourning his absence. David Bowie was more than just a man who made music. He was the freedom to be yourself when everyone was looking. He was the voice telling you to dance in the face of twisted tragedy. He was the feminine and the masculine, the strong and the frail, the hot mess and the hot suit. He was truly irreplaceable. Still, we can enjoy his music in myriad forms. Remember Wes Anderson's movie The Life Aquatic? Brazilian musician Seu Jorge pervaded the film with Portuguese covers of Bowie's most famous work. It was beautiful and inspiring, and Friday, Jorge will perform those songs for 150 sets of ears at the Faena Theater (3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). It's part of his tour Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic. He's traveled the world performing these covers in honor of Bowie's indelible legacy, and now you can be a part of it too. There will be two performances, at 8 and 11 p.m., with doors opening at 7 and 10 p.m., respectively. Tickets cost $105 to $210. Call 305-534-8800 or visit faena.com.
The Reel Recovery Film Festival is not your average film fest. Often called the "Sundance of Recovery," it showcases those who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, treatment, and recovery. The festival is held in multiple cities throughout the United States, including Fort Lauderdale. Now in its eighth year (fifth in Fort Lauderdale), the fest features a lineup that includes many genres: contemporary, classics, documentaries, and shorts from American, international, and first-time filmmakers as well as industry veterans. The South Florida festival is presented by the In the Rooms Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting recovery options, and Writers in Treatment, a nonprofit helping authors with alcohol and other drug addictions. Past editions have featured picks such as Real Sobriety, a film directed by Jill Heinerth depicting a "brutally" honest cadre of Floridians sharing their intimate journey from the darkest depths of drug and alcohol addiction. One of the films featured this year is Delray, a short by Brittany Ackerman that portrays the city's drug-recovery industry. This year's festival will take place Friday through Sunday at the Classic Gateway Theatre, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets to each screening cost $10 at the door. Call 954-655-1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the Rhythm Foundation announced earlier this year that it had run out of funds to produce Big Night in Little Haiti, the then-monthly fete that celebrated Little Haiti's unique culture, fans across Miami mourned the end of an era. But the Big Night is back! Thanks to a donation by Beck's Beer, Big Night in Little Haiti has returned as an annual festival, and its debut will go down this Saturday. "Vodou rock 'n' roots" band RAM will headline, alongside Symbi Roots, DJ Gardy Girault, and others. Theater, dance, percussion, and live mural painting events are also on the schedule. It all takes place from 4 to 11 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center (212-260 NE 59th Ter., Miami). Admission is free. Visit bignightlittlehaiti.com.
After starting the season red-hot and beating some quality opponents, the University of Miami Hurricanes have crashed and burned in an open field called reality. Their one-point loss to rival Florida State seemed to put them in a death spiral that had them then lose games to beatable teams such as University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Declarations of "The U is back" have fallen woefully silent, and we're back to wondering if this program will ever regain its former glory. Still, the good news is that this Saturday is homecoming at Hard Rock Stadium (347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens). The homecoming game is traditionally a time to get back to winning and making everyone feel good about themselves. Sure, the ACC title is officially a pipe dream, and no, we still don't know if Mark Richt is the answer. But the University of Pittsburgh will be in town, the team is beatable, and if nothing else, tailgating is always a good time no matter the state of the U. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased via hurricanesports.com.
Providing year-round sports training and competition for Olympic-style activities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities is something so invaluable that you might assume there are always funds to support these endeavors. The courage, strength, skills, and friendships gained can't be quantified, but the overhead to keep this operation running can be, and that's where volunteers for the Special Olympics of Broward County swoop in to assist with ever-important fundraising skills. Want to know how to get involved but don't know where to start? Look to someone like Paul Sallarulo. Working with people with special needs has been a passion since he was 16 years old. Now in his 50s, he has made the event a family affair. Sallarulo's Race for the Champions & Carnival of Champions continues to grow in participation each year, and all monies benefit the Special Olympics of Broward County. This year's 5K run/walk at Nova Southeastern University's Davie Campus (3301 College Ave., Davie) will feature local Special Olympics participants, an awards ceremony, and a postactivity carnival with food and festivities. Form a team or sign up solo with a pledge to raise a minimum of $100 per participant. Race packet pickups are available beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and the 5K begins at 7. Registration is available at sallarulosraceforchampions.org.
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Believe it or not, your Miami Dolphins are on a bona fide, for-real, no-kidding, yes-that-really-happened winning streak. Two games, in fact! After stumbling out of the gate to kick off the season, as usual, the Fins were able to inexplicably right the ship and took down two very good teams in the Steelers and Bills. Now, after their bye week, the Dolphins are ready to get back to their ass-wrecking ways and couldn't have asked for a better opponent to keep the streak alive than their most hated rival, the New York Jets. The Jets come into Hard Rock Stadium (347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens) Sunday afternoon with an iffy quarterback situation and a defense that has been less than stellar. Miami, meanwhile, seems to finally have gotten its offensive line back to optimum health and features a running game that has seen back-to-back 200-yard games. This all spells bad news for the hated Jets — unless, of course, the Dolphins Dolphin all over themselves. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $90 and can be purchased via miamidolphins.com.
There's plenty of money, and economic artistry, to be had in truncation. Hence condensing a thousand-page book into a two-hour film, or a three-hour baseball game into a SportsCenter highlight package. Ever since plumbing the Bard's entire corpus in the fast-paced stage comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), the Reduced Shakespeare Company has specialized in this fine art of reduction, tackling everything from the histories of sports, Christmas, and Hollywood into breathless 90-minute displays of prop-laden slapstick, pop-cultural savvy, and verbal dexterity. The group's latest national tour, The Complete History of America (Abridged), revisits the travels of Amerigo Vespucci to our military adventures in Iraq, promising "600 years of history in 6,000 seconds." The indefatigable cast will explore topics such as the Lewis and Clark expeditions — with L&C as a wacky comedy duo — the assassination of President Lincoln, presented in Matrix-style follow-the-bullet slo-mo, and the untamed fauna of the Wild West, in a segment heavy on sound effects. There's even a hilarious rewriting of the National Anthem for an era of political correctness. Tweedy history professors might wince at the tomfoolery, but the rest of us will find the show a winning reprieve from a divisive election season. The show begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at Bailey Hall at Broward College, 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie. Tickets cost $7 to $39. Call 954-201-6884 or visit baileyhall.org/events.
There are many ways to relieve stress. Beer and yoga are two of the best, so why not combine them for the ultimate Zen experience? That's the idea behind Namaste and Have a Pint, a free yoga night at Wynwood's Concrete Beach Brewery (325 NW 24th St., Miami). The Miami brewmasters — makers of craft creations such as the Stiltsville Pilsner, the Mango Gose, and the Kungaloosh Spice Ale — have teamed up with Love Life Wellness Center for the monthly occasion. Here's how it works: Show up to the beginner's yoga class at 7 p.m. Wednesday, participate, and score $4 pints of refreshing, flavorful, locally brewed beer for the rest of the night. You'll give your bod a workout, your mind a break, and your liver something to do. It's a winning way to spend an autumn evening. Class begins at 7 p.m. Visit lovelifewellnesscenter.com or call 305-796-2727.