It ain't called the land of the free for nothing. For a society so insistent on free-market capitalism, we sure do like our complimentary goods. Maybe that explains why there's — count 'em — four free Fourth of July parties, along with a deluge of film screenings, musical performances, and art, all at no charge. If you feel uncomfortable taking a handout, just think of all the budding CEOs and conquistadors who took things with little regard for the price just to benefit their own bottom line. It's the American way.
Grand Opening of Miramar Amphitheater
3 p.m. Tuesday, July 4
The Miramar Amphitheater at Regional Park will celebrate its grand opening this Independence Day with fireworks provided by Memorial Hospital Miramar and a concert featuring a heavy lineup. You can catch R&B singer Kelly Price, Cape Verdean soul siblings Tavares, John Elephante of the band Kansas, Canadian disco queen France Joli, reggae artist Wayne Wonder, and salsa singer Eddie Santiago. The Kids' Zone will keep your little ones occupied while you explore the newest outdoor venue in South Florida. The city spent $7.4 million to build this amphitheater, which will be its crown jewel and likely draw many visitors to festivals and concerts of all kinds.
Hialeah Independence Day Celebration at Ted Hendricks Stadium
5 p.m. Tuesday, July 4
Not many cities inspire quite like Hialeah. The quirkiness of this West Miami-Dade town has fostered a generation of musicians and artists proud of their city and dedicated to figuring out ways to bring people there. The budding Leah Arts District is a good example of the power of the town's identity. The "City of Progress" will celebrate the birth of the nation with fireworks presented by Leon Medical Centers, a kids' area, food trucks, and live music. So if you want to go home to the city that made you so great, or if you want to see where your favorite new artist was raised, hit the Hialeah Independence Day Celebration and expect to be impressed.
America's Birthday Bash at Bayfront Park
3 p.m. Tuesday, July 4
While the executive branch continues to disregard the beauty of democracy, we Americans can tell the president and his cohorts to shove it by celebrating the real Constitution this Fourth of July. And the way real Americans like to show their patriotism is by blowing up fireworks and slapping hog and cow on a hot grill. After the burgers are gone, head to Bayfront Park during America's Birthday Bash to be hypnotized by a dazzling array of color in the sky. The Kids' Zone will be open from 3 to 7 p.m., and fireworks will begin at 9. Just remember: Leave bottles, cans, coolers, and fireworks at home; the City of Miami has your back this time.
Miccosukee Freedom Festival at Miccosukee Resort & Gaming
10 a.m. Tuesday, July 4
Tell the colonists to stick it by celebrating the Fourth of July with some of the actual first Americans' descendants, and support Miccosukee culture in the process. Miccosukee Resort & Gaming brings families together to enjoy Florida at its finest and most interesting through the Freedom Festival. Where else can you enjoy "independence" with airboat rides and alligator wrestling shows? Nowhere in the world. There will be water slides and carnival rides for thrill seekers.
Subtropics XXIV at Project 924
7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5
It's pretty cool that right in Miami Beach, there's an organization and annual festival dedicated to enabling the creation and enjoyment of experimental music and sound art. It's pretty progressive as far as the arts go, providing residencies, platforms, and recording services to artists, as well as its biennial Subtropics XXIV Summer Festival. The nearly monthlong marathon concert will take place this week through July 22 at a variety of locations. There will be installations, performances, and even workshops. Get a taste of the subtropical sounds this Wednesday at the openings of the exhibitions "Listen" and "Microcosmos," and then don't forget to return for the full experimental meal.
Free Community Night at Pérez Art Museum Miami
5 p.m. Thursday, July 6
For this month's edition of PAMM's Free Community Night, the Miami Music Club is bringing Rhode Island performance artist and musician RRLEW and Oakland electronica project Cube. The two will perform alongside Romulo Del Castillo of Schematic Music Company on the terrace while a screening of John Akomfrah's Handsworth Songs, presented by the Black Audio Film Collective, plays in the auditorium. Whether you're into lesbian utopian operas or the African diaspora experience, this eclectic night will range from the futuristic to the nostalgic and is sure to be anything but boring.
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Miami Independent Film Festival at Miami Beach Cinematheque
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 7; 1 p.m. Saturday, July 8; and 1 p.m. Sunday, July 9
We can't tell you why the word "indie" seems to immediately summon opinionated men in skinny jeans touting the virtues of “raw” and “real” production, but we can say the Miami Independent Film Festival will be awesome. First, it's free — a lineup of 18 films showed over three days will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Second, the fest spends all year receiving and selecting films submitted from all over the world, with monthly winners and jury feedback to filmmakers. All you have to do now is show up and enjoy.
MUCE Summer Series at Cantey Realty & Associates
5 p.m. Saturday, July 8
Now in its second installment, the Miami Urban Contemporary Experience (MUCE) Summer Series looks to attract South Floridians to heritage neighborhoods to gain exposure for their artists and promote community engagement. Much like its first iteration at the People Matter Fest, Saturday's event in El Portal will offer live painting, pop-up galleries, film screenings, and conversation. Bring a lawn chair, a blanket, or just a hunger for creativity to this evening of art and music.
Miss Toto's 13th Birthday Party at Gramps
12 p.m. Sunday, July 9
Miami's drag diva with a talent for brash bingo is six-foot-five in heels, and because her day job is personal training, she has bulging biceps the size of that tiny canine whose name she shares. Miss Toto's 13th Birthday Party at Gramps will celebrate our favorite gender-bending goddess with an all-day affair. The theme is Y2K, so dust off that old millennium bug outfit you’ve been waiting to rehash since 1999. The birthday queen will host memorable performances by gender-fluid artist Poomie Persephone and space clown Jupiter Velvet.