The Can't-Miss Events of Miami's 2015-16 Cultural Season

At the Wolfsonian's "Philodendron": Portrait of Michele Oka Doner by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue, 1999.
At the Wolfsonian's "Philodendron": Portrait of Michele Oka Doner by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue, 1999.
Photo courtesy of The Wolfsonian–FIU, Miami Beach, FL

October

"Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to Modern American"
October 16 Through February 28 At The Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; Wolfsonian.org. Admission is free for members, children under 6, and members of the state university system, $5 for seniors and students, and $7 for adults.

The Wolfsonian's newest exhibition, "Philodendron," charts the migration of tropical plants from their native South American habitats to North American and European gardens and interiors. Looking at nearly three centuries of objects from the Amazon, Caribbean, and other areas, the survey explores the "social lives" of the plants, including their influence on a wide range of visual culture. By following the philodendron from its native jungle to its place as home decoration, the Wolfsonian traces the way the plant shaped Western ideas of the "exotic" tropics.

Gems
October 22 Through 25 At Miami Dade College's Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., Miami; Miamifilmfestival.com. Prices Vary.

Every year, the Miami International Film Festival offers a minifestival in preparation for the main event in March. This year's four-day fest, Gems, features "las joyas de la corona" (the crown jewels) of fall's film releases. The Gems lineup includes a large number of foreign-language films, such as The Assassin and It's Now or Never. The schedule also includes the highly anticipated Brooklyn, an adaptation of a Colm Tóibín novel, a film that follows a young Irish immigrant. In addition to the films, the minifestival also includes a tribute to composer James Horner.

November

Miami International Auto Show
November 6 Through 15 At The Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; Sfliautoshow.com. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $6 for children 6 to 12; children 5 and under get in free.

Miami is the city of yellow Bugattis and dime-a-dozen Lambos, so when in Rome, hit up the auto show. Here, you'll get to ogle the hottest models of cars, trucks, and vehicles of all kinds. There's Havana Classics section, featuring old-school rides; Million Dollar Alley, complete with Ferraris, Porsches, and other fancy-pants toys; Ride & Drive events, where you can take cars for test runs; and much more.

The Great Grove Bed Race
November 7 on South Bayshore Drive And McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove; TheGreatGroveBedRace.com. tickets cost $5 for adults; Kids 13 and younger get in free.

Exactly what it sounds like, this eclectic annual event is a bedroom-furniture battle royal. Teams of five build homemade beds, wheels included, and then push them through the streets of the Grove, hoping to be the first past the finish line. Themes and costumes are encouraged for racers, and there are drinks, music, kids' activities, and more for attendees. The festivities kick off at 11 a.m.

Miami Book Fair International
November 15 Through 22 at Various Locations on The Miami Dade College Campus; MiamiBookFair.com. Tickets to the street fair cost $8 each for Saturday and Sunday (free Friday), $5 for those 13 to 18 and over 62, and free for 12 and younger. Ticket prices for author events vary.

Book nerds will rejoice at this literary free-for-all. Hundreds of authors come to read and speak, with names like Anne Rice, Dave Barry, and Richard Dawkins taking the stage. Attendees can pop in to celebrity author readings, buy used books at the street fair, watch cooking demos, listen to live music, and choose from a surprisingly long list of book-related activities. This year's lineup includes rocker-turned-author Patti Smith, Lauren Groff, Stacy Schiff, Amber Tamblyn, and a plethora of local talent. (See story on page 12.)

"Nari Ward: Sun Splashed"
November 19 Through February 21 At Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; Pamm.org. Admission costs $16 for adults; $12 for students and seniors; and free for children, active military, and museum members.

If Miami's international art cred was ever challenged, the city's commitment to PAMM silenced critics once and for all. Now, the stunning waterfront institution will showcase a midcareer retrospective of Nari Ward, the renowned mixed-media artist. The overview will highlight his use of diverse materials, particularly found objects, and feature collages, photography, assemblage, sculpture, interactive works, video, and architectural installations. The exhibition opens in time for Art Basel.

December

"Alex Bag"
December 1 Through January 31, 2016, At The Institute for Contemporary Art, 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami; ICAMiami.org; 305-901-5272. Admission is free.

A video artist known for her biting, satirical commentary on modern media, Alex Bag takes on three personas, all fictional artists discussing their works, in The Van. The ICA is holding the first major exhibition of her work since 2009, and the show will include the actual van where the videos were shot. Museumgoers can sit inside the van and watch Bag transform herself via video. The exhibition is bound to be an interesting addition to Miami Art Week.

Art Miami, Context, and Aqua Art Miami
Art Miami and CONTEXT take place December 2 through 6 at 3101 NE First Ave., Miami. Aqua Art Miami takes place December 2 through 6 at the Aqua Hotel, 1530 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. A one-day pass to Art Miami and CONTEXT costs $40, a one-day pass to Aqua Art Miami is $15, and a multiday pass (which includes all three) runs $85. Visit ArtMiamiFair.com, AquaArtMiami.com, or call 305-517-7977.

Part of Miami Art Week, Art Miami and Context are the major sister fairs that happen alongside Art Basel, showcasing modern and contemporary works from global galleries. From paintings to sculptures to photographs to mixed media, there's a bit of everything in these arts district tents. Aqua Art Miami is another member of the family, showcasing emerging and midcareer artists from a boutique hotel in South Beach. These so-called side fairs have, in the past, offered more avant-garde flavor, featuring the works of young, emerging artists and galleries rather than the established stuff of Art Basel proper.

Design Miami
December 2 Through 6 Between Meridian Avenue and 19th Street, Miami Beach; Miami2015.DesignMiami.com. General-admission tickets cost $25; students and senior citizens, $20; combined tickets for Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach cost $55.

Art Basel's partner in crime, this fair focuses more on furniture, lighting and other household accoutrements. Mostly exhibiting items that hail from Modernism (1900) through the present day, there are a handful of older selections. The lineup includes talks, exhibitions, various collections, commissioned works and plenty of entertainment for anyone who's into aesthetics.

Carlos Salas: Latin America and the Global Imagination
December 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami; mocanomi.org
According to MoCa, the exhibition by the Colombian artist "poses questions that reveal the limits of some theoretical frameworks and calls for a critical engagement across traditions and cultures." 

Art Basel Miami Beach
December 3 Through 6 At The Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, And Various Other Locations; ArtBasel.com. One-day tickets cost $47; permanent tickets cost $100.

A favorite haunt among the rich and famous, all eager to fly south for the winter, Art Basel attracts every celebrity, art dealer, and billionaire from here to Dubai. More than 200 galleries, including two Miami galleries, will showcase work in a vast array of media, including large-scale installations and performances at Collins and SoundScape parks. The prices are high, but so is the prestige. (See story on page 10.)

Kinky Boots
December 8 Through 13 at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; ArshtCenter.org. Tickets Cost $29 to $125.

The heartwarming, toe-tapping musical extravaganza features songs by Grammy- and Tony-winning musician Cyndi Lauper. The award-winning musical is the story of a son trying to save his father's shoe business and his unlikely encounter with the fabulous Lola, in need of some new kicks.

King Mango Strut
December 27 in Downtown Coconut Grove; KingMangoStrut.org. Admission is Free.

Coconut Grove's annual ode to the weird and wacky, this New Year's street parade chronicles the craziest stuff from the previous annum. Expect homemade costumes, wild floats, Caitlyn Jenner look-alikes, cheesy puns, political commentary, and plenty of happily buzzed locals. It's really the most Miami way to welcome in the New Year.

Upcoming Events

January 2016

Art Deco Weekend
January 15 Through 17 At Various Locations on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; ArtDecoWeekend.com, 305- 672-2014. Admission Is Free for Most Events.

Spend three days immersed in Miami's iconic architectural past with 150,000 of your closest friends. This always lively weekend includes a classic car show, a film series, walking tours, swing dancing, art exhibitions, and much more. The weekend runs from January 15 through 17 on Ocean Drive, with a full schedule of events at different locations.

Miami Marathon
January 24 At The American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; TheMiamiMarathon.com; 305-278-8668. Registration costs $130 through December 3 and $140 after; for the half-marathon, registration costs $105 through December 3 and $115 after.

Need to burn some of those holiday calories? The Miami Marathon is your chance. Run with some of the city's finest athletes, administrators, and celebs in this 25,000-strong scenic trek. Opt for a marathon or half-marathon, either of which will take you from downtown to the beach to the arts district and along the blue waters of the bay.

February 2016

Miami International Boat Show
February 11 Through 15 At Miami Marine Stadium Park, 3501 Rickenbacker Cswy., Miami; MiamiBoatShow.com. Tickets cost $85 for a five-day pass, $35 for a two-day pass, $35 for premiere day, and $20 for single-day adult general admission; kids 15 and younger get in free.

Floridians love boats, and there's no greater tribute to our marine-obsessed ways quite like the Miami International Boat Show. Whether you have big bucks or just big dreams, the boat show is the place to check out future purchases. You'll see powerboats, sailboats, yachts, classic models, and antiques, all on display from the biggest brands. Expect the latest and greatest technology and toys for those who live the boating life.

Coconut Grove Arts Festival
February 14 Through 16 On McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive, and Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove; CGAF.com. General admission costs $15 per day and $5 for residents of the zip code 33133.

Set in Miami's artist enclave of old, the Grove, this weekend fest features treasures from artists and craftsmen who hail from Florida to Washington. You can check out original art, eat fair food, listen to live tunes, and maybe head home with a masterpiece or two. It's classic Miami at its best. The festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. February 14 through 16.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival
February 24 Through 28 At Various Venues Throughout Miami-Dade; Sobefest.com. Prices Vary.

Foodies and wine snobs gather at the yearly event to partake of the culinary delights the South Beach Wine & Food Festival offers. Now in its 15th year, the Food Network-sponsored festival offers even more flavors and celebrity chefs than ever before. This year's signature events feature names like Giada de Laurentiis, Robert Irvine, Nigella Lawson, and Andrew Zimmern. Goya, the familiar Latin food company, will also host a series of demonstrations and tastings, giving the national event a particular Miami flair. On top of all the food, Wine Spectator will host a number of tastings, and there will be opportunities to sip haute mixed drinks and lounge in the newly expanded Grand Tasting Village.

The Phantom of the Opera
February 24 Through March 6 At The Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; ArshtCenter.org. Prices vary. Tickets Cost $94 To $529.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic tale of unrequited love set in the Parisian opera is back. The staging and special effects of the Broadway hit are better than ever, while the beloved over-the-top score remains the same. See the Phantom and Christine belt out Webber's most familiar music as the chandeliers comes crashing down. Nothing says family fun quite like a deformed psychopath stalking a beautiful orphan.

Carnaval Miami
February 26 Through March 13, 2016, at Various Locations Throughout Little Havana; CarnavalMiami.com; 305-644-8888. Ticket prices vary for each event.

An ode to Cuban culture, this lineup of lively events over the course of several weeks includes the famous Calle Ocho festival in Little Havana; Carnaval on the Mile, a Latin jazz showcase; a golf tournament; a run; a cooking contest; the Miss Carnaval Miami competition; the Carnaval Miami Domino Tournament; and much more. So celebrate the city's Cuban connection with food, music, and fun.

March 2016

Miami International Film Festival
March 4 Through 13 At Various Locations throughout Miami; MiamiFilmFestival.com; 305-237-FILM. Tickets for screenings and parties range in price and availability.

South Florida's annual tribute to thought-provoking film, MIFF marks its 33rd year. From documentaries to shorts and student films, the diverse lineup attracts film buffs, celebrities, and indie filmmakers alike. The slate for 2016's festival has yet to be announced, but if it's anything like previous years, there's bound to be a wealth of documentaries, foreign flicks, and local filmmakers.

Miami City Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream
March 18 Through 20 At The Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; MiamiCityBallet.org or 305-929-7010. Tickets start at $25.

Watch Miami's most graceful put a new spin on the combined genius of George Balanchine and William Shakespeare. Miami City Ballet will present a Miami-inspired version of the classic, featuring the stylings of artists Michele Oka Doner, who will design original costumes and sets, and the dramatic direction of Tarell Alvin McCraney. From the previews, it looks like another can't-miss production from the ever-growing MCB.

April 2016

O, Miami
O, Miami
© Gesi Schilling / Courtesy of O, Miami

O, Miami
April 1 Through April 30 At Various Locations Throughout Miami-Dade County; OMiami.org; Prices Vary.

With the ultimate goal of delivering a poem to every person in Miami-Dade County, this monthlong festival brings poetry to the mainstream in all kinds of creative ways. From street signs written in haiku to poems sewn into clothing to a dead poets parade, you never know where a poem might pop up. If the festival's past years are any indication, this year will be another sweet celebration of poets and poetry, local and international alike.

Miami Beach Gay Pride
April 8 Through 10 At Ocean Drive; MiamiBeachGayPride.Com; The Parade is Free and Open To The Public.

Once a year, locals and tourists converge on South Beach to celebrate equality for all. This year's parade is bound to be particularly poignant considering that marriage equality is now actually a thing. So get to celebrating with music, costumes, dancing, drag queens, floats, and a dazzling array of rainbows overtaking Ocean Drive. The parade (with a celebrity grand marshal) is the main event, but don't miss the accompanying beach party and festival featuring vendors, food, drinks, events, and more.

The Miami Symphony's Towards Light and Meditation
April 9 At The Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami. April 10 At Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 24th St., Miami; themiso.org.

The Miami Symphony is one of the most unappreciated cultural organizations in our fair city. This season looks bright for the orchestra, and in April they welcome 2012 Latin Grammy winner Cuarteto Latinoamericano, an accomplished classical ensemble, for a performance featuring Piazzolla's Four Seasons, Mendelssohn's Double Concerto for Violin and Piano, as well as the world premiere of the title piece by FIU music director Oscar Garcia. The performances will be conducted by special guest director Daniel Andai, the dean of music at the New World School of the Arts.

Cabaret
April 12 Through 17 At The Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; ArshtCenter.org; 786-468-2000. Tickets Cost $29 To $97.

Cabaret — the ultimate musical theater masterpiece and Tony-winning story of pre-World War II Germany's Kit Kat Klub — has endured for 50 years since it first hit Broadway. Featuring classic tunes like "Cabaret," "Willkommen," and "Maybe This Time," the song-and-dance bonanza invites an audience sing-along. A revival of this classic is always in order.

Miami Fashion Week
April (Dates to be announced) At The Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; MiamiFashionWeek.com.

Unlike the anything-goes attitude of New York City's famed Fashion Week, Miami's version has one focus: resort wear. Because Miami's temps rarely allow for boots, scarves, or jackets, it makes sense that this week would revolve around bikinis, poolside dresses, and beach attire. The week includes seminars, afterparties, shows, and other events, but the main action is all about the runway. The exact dates aren't yet confirmed, but the fashionable week always takes place in April.

May 2016

Florida Grand Opera's Don Pasquale
May 7 Through 14 at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 800-741-1010; FGO.org. Tickets cost $12 to $225.

For some people, opera can feel a bit too serious. Don Pasquale, however, is a more lighthearted approach to the art. The classic Italian comic opera tells the story of a wealthy old man who doesn't want his money falling into the hands of his scheming nephew. So he sets out to find a wife, and high jinks ensue. The lovely little comic opera, composed by Gaetano Donizetti in 1842, is epically funny and always enjoyable.

The Royale
May 28 Through June 26 at Gablestage, 1200 Anastasia AVE., Coral Gables; Gablestage.org. Ticket prices TBA.

The Royale is inspired by boxer Jack Johnson, who became the most famous, feared, and respected black man in America — a feat for a man who came to a sport dominated by white boxers during the height of the Jim Crow era. Marco Ramirez's dialogue-heavy play examines the interplay between race and success while using the violence of both history and sport as a backdrop. GableStage's production is particularly poignant — Ramirez is a native Miamian who, after making his name as a TV writer, is back home for the production.

July 2016

Florida Supercon
July 1 Through 4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 954-399-1330; FloridaSupercon.com. Advance four-day passes cost $40 for general admission and $250 for VIP (prices increase as the event date draws closer).

From cosplay to Doctor Who cast members, this four-day fest is any good fangirl or fanboy's wildest dream. More than 51,000 sci-fi and fantasy aficionados attended last year to take part in costume contests, trivia games, LARPing, videogame tournaments, celebrity meet-and-greets, and much more. This nerd convention is definitely the best in town and one of the better in the nation.


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