Thursday, January 7
Despite what thespian haters would have you believe, the world of theater is a constantly evolving art form. While some companies pay homage to musicals, dramas, and comedies of the past, organizations like the Basement Project present both classical and contemporary projects perfect for regular theatergoers and newbies alike.
The Basement Project's latest production, Boom, combines comedy, romance, tragedy, and one of Miami's most beloved bands. Written by San Francisco-based playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Boom follows what happens when a grad student's personal ad lures a mysterious girl to his underground research lab under the pretense of a night of no-strings-attached sex. When a global catastrophe strikes, however, their date takes on an evolutionary significance, playing out in an epic and intimate comedy spanning billions of years.
Directed by Miami theater veteran Oleg Kheyfets, Boom features set design by Alexander Solodukho and live music by avant-dance duo Afrobeta.
Boom will run this Thursday through Saturday, January 31, with performances held Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami). Tickets cost $35. Call 305-677-9200 or visit thebasementproject.org.
What better environment to create art than a museum? Surrounded by the diverse works by unique artists found in Pérez Art Museum Miami's halls, even the most inexperienced creatives can be inspired. PAMM's monthly program, Made at PAMM, invites locals to explore their artistic side while checking out the exhibitions on view at the museum.
Led by PAMM Teaching Artists, participants dive into art-making sessions in the galleries with materials provided by the museum. Exhibitions on display include "Sun Splashed," the largest survey of Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward's work; Firelei Báez's new series of works, "Bloodlines," which traces the history of social movements in the United States and the Caribbean; and Bik Van der Pol's "Speechless," a custom-built aviary housing five parrots taught to mimic phrases from T.S. Eliot's seminal 1922 poem, "The Waste Land."
Made at PAMM is free and runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Thursday at PAMM (1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Call 305-375-3000 or visit pamm.org.
With books like 50 Shades of Grey topping the bestseller list, it's easy to lose faith in literature. But not all authors cut their teeth as Twihards, modeling the stale prose of Stephenie Meyer. (E.L. James, we're talking to you.)
Award-winning author Tim Johnston, for instance, knows his way around a well-crafted sentence and a thrilling plot twist. His newest tome, Descent, is earning credit from critics and fellow writers alike, and it has already made the bestseller lists of USA Today, Indie National, and the Boston Globe.
The book revolves around Miami's topographical opposite: the Rocky Mountains. The Courtland family heads to Colorado for a vacation before their daughter leaves for college, and she ends up disappearing during a morning run. From there, it's all adrenaline-spiking suspense and heart-wrenching drama. Reviewers say it's nothing if not compelling. In the words of one reader: "I contemplated quitting my job this morning just to finish it."
If your life is less than exciting, why not live vicariously through Johnston's words while staying safe and sound? It's a new year, and reading more must be on your resolution list. See the author at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) this Thursday at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.
Friday, January 8
No one knows the art of teasing better than a burlesque performer. With its tantalizing costumes and coquettish movements, burlesque is a scintillating experience when done right. Fortunately, the latest burlesque experience to take over Miami is brought to you by Erika Moon Productions, a veteran in high-class European entertainment since 1998.
During Moon's upcoming Burlesque Magnifique, audiences will step into a world of glamour and tease through an authentic burlesque revue, cabaret, and variety show. The production combines dazzling costumes, elaborate choreography, and the finest artists and Las Vegas-style showgirls for an evening of classic burlesque performances, comedy acts, and live music from Miami Sound Combo.
Burlesque Magnifique runs Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay). Admission costs $37.50 for table seating and $47.50 for VIP tickets. Call 786-573-5300 or visit smdcac.org.
You can go to the circus, or you can go to Circus Xtreme. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey present the latter for ten days of amped-up circus shenanigans. The show includes all of your animal friends, such as big cats, camels, poodles, and Asian elephants. For the activists out there, the elephants have their own center for elephant conservation onsite that tends to their well-being and longevity while also researching the critters' relationship with humans and health.
Plus, Circus Xtreme includes an acrobat riding a Tron-looking bike around, inside, and through the Wheel of Steel. And BMX riders will perform tricks and stunts fit for the X Games. Additionally, comedy troupes and clowns will cavort in a new concrete jungle set designed just for the occasion. Aerialists will perform feats of human contortion on the ground, on one another, on crazy props, and through the air. And don't forget the human cannonball.
Don't miss "The Greatest Show on Earth" at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) this Friday through Monday at varying times. Tickets cost $16 to $75. Call 800-745-3000 or visit aaarena.com.
Saturday, January 9
When legendary Russian composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky debuted his Violin Concerto in D Major in 1878, it was deemed unplayable. That review didn't hold for long — many talented instrumentalists have tackled this technically masterful work since then. Gil Shaham, one of the nation's leading violinists, will bring the famed composer's works to life in his performance at America's Orchestral Academy, sponsored by the New World Symphony.
After the performance of the virtuosic Tchaikovsky piece, the Fellows of the New World Symphony will settle in for Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. Aptly nicknamed the "Pastoral Symphony," the piece creates an aural depiction of the countryside outside of Vienna around the turn of the 19th Century. Beethoven enjoyed escaping the confines of the city to compose, and as a result, the calming sounds of shepherds, bird songs, and hymnals made their way into this symphonic work.
Cristian Macelaru, who graduated from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and now serves as the conductor-in-residence of the Philadelphia Orchestra, returns to Miami to conduct the evening's performance. New World Symphony: Gil Shaham Plays Tchaikovsky takes place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) this Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.
Pérez Art Museum Miami is so much more than just paintings on walls. One example of PAMM's multidisciplinary reach is the Scholl Lecture Series, which includes talks by artists, scholars, or curators that aim to engage audiences in meaningful conversations about work in the museum's permanent collection and exhibitions. The first offering of 2016 is a conversation between authors Roxane Gay and Jeff Chang celebrating the exhibition "Bloodlines," which showcases a series of new works by Dominican artist Firelei Báez.
Gay and Chang will read essays and discuss issues and ideas of race, gender, and history that influenced Báez's work, followed by a book signing. Gay is the author of the books Ayiti (2011), An Untamed State (2014), the essay collection Bad Feminist (2014), and Hunger, forthcoming this year. The author also contributed a fictional story to the catalogue for "Bloodlines." Chang is the author of Can't Stop, Wont Stop (2005) and Who We Be (2014) and is the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
The conversation will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at PAMM (1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). The event is free, but space is limited. Call 305-375-3000 or visit pamm.org.
Celebrating 35 years, the National YoungArts Foundation will kick off 2016 with its annual — and notoriously pricey — Backyard Ball. The organization's largest fundraiser is presented by MaxMara and MCed by Billy Porter, a Tony- and Grammy-winning actor, singer, director, and YoungArts alumnus. The evening will honor a handful of actors, directors, performers, and teachers for their contributions and impact on the arts community. Attendees can expect performances, live music, food, and dancing throughout the night.
The National YoungArts Backyard Ball begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the YoungArts Campus (2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets start at $1,000, and tables are available starting at $10,000. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 305-377-1140, Ext. 1808, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Big Lebowski, the beloved and eternally quotable Joel and Ethan Coen film from the late '90s, follows the Dude (Jeff Bridges) in an offbeat crime-comedy after he's assaulted as a result of mistaken identity. You're not watching a movie about Mr. Lebowski here. He's the Dude. Or His Dudeness or uh, Duder, or El Duderino — if you're not into the whole brevity thing. The cult classic is hitting a star-lit screen near you, because at the Blue Starlite Drive-In, it's always a showing under the sky, or at least under your car top.
Catch Jeff Bridges in all of his Dude glory this Saturday at the Virginia Key location (4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Key Biscayne). Gates open at 8:30 p.m., and the screening begins at 9. For folks with vehicles, a car space can range from $30 to $55 depending upon passengers and the kind of experience you're looking for. You can also walk — or bike — in for $7 to watch the movie. Visit bluestarlitemiami.com.
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Tuesday, January 12
Miami's craft beer business is booming, but there are still a lot of drinkers in these streets who don't know enough about their options. Communities are stronger when customers and companies work together, so one Wynwood original invites all beer lovers to come forth and get to know suds better.
Concrete Beach Brewery (325 NW 24th St., Miami) announces Meet Our Brewers, a monthly celebration that brings the men and women who actually make your favorite seasonal and year-round flavors out from behind the bar. Beer nerd inquiries are welcomed and strongly encouraged, so get ready to ask all of your burning questions as they pour you a fresh, cold glass of a Stiltsville pilsner or a Concrete Common amber lager. All of Concrete's offerings are on tap at its Wynwood brew and bar location, and this is your best shot to get up close and personal, learn a little something, and maybe spark the inspiration to start your own beer empire.
The event begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and lasts two hours. Admission is free, but the beer is not, so bring a few bucks and be sure to tip your bartending brewers. Call 305-796-2727 or visit concretebeachbrewery.com.