You don't have to be a 1-percenter to attend an award show and gala this week. Wednesday, head to Gramps for the 26th-annual Shelley Novak Awards, honoring the best drag performers in Miami's queer scene. Later in the week, watch John Williams conduct the New World Symphony in SoundScape Park when the organization screens its annual gala on the walls of the New World Center as part of its Wallcast concert series. And if you're looking to get active outside, celebrate 90 years of Miami-Dade Parks with events at Crandon and Greynolds Parks, among others.
Here are the best free events happening in Miami this week:
The best and brightest in Miami's drag scene will soon be honored for the 26th year. It's time for the annual Shelley Novak Awards. Named for the hilariously vulgar South Beach queen, this award show has included categories such as "Most Ratchet," "Lifetime Achievement," and "Heroine of the Year." Anyone who is anyone in the drag community will be there, and, duh, expect some awesome performances. Midnight Wednesday, February 27, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; facebook.com. Admission is free.
New festival alert! The inaugural MiamiPhotoFest is loaded with talented artists and opportunities for photography lovers out there. The schedule includes a talk and book signing with Ralph Gibson, Antoine d'Agata's first solo U.S. exhibit, and Roger Ballen's exhibition "Theater of the Absurd." More than $40,000 in prizes will be given to budding photographers who submitted for the fest's Emerging Photography Awards. Talk about some nice exposure (pun intended). Wednesday, February 27, through March 3 at various locations; miamiphotofest.org. Admission is free.
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It can be really hard to find your match in Miami. Why not talk about it and make sense of it together? The New Tropic and the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM) have teamed up for the conversational event What's Love Got to Do With It? A panel of experts, including transformational love coach Virginia Jimenez and dating coach Dan Silverman, will talk through the various aspects of relationships and dating in the 305. All guests with tickets get free admission to WEAM's galleries before and after the event. 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, February 28, at World Erotic Art Museum, 1205 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; weam.com. Tickets are free via thenewtropic.com.
If a plethora of shopping and dining options isn't enough to lure you to Coral Gables' Giralda Avenue, maybe some tunes and a street-festival vibe will do the trick. Giralda Under the Stars will return this Friday with live music, entertainment, and local eats. Participating restaurants include Pasión del Cielo, PokéBao, the Local, Threefold Café, and Divino Ceviche. The event is held every first Friday of the month and is now anchored by the recently transformed and expansive Giralda Plaza. 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, March 1, on Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables; shopcoralgables.com. Admission is free.
Miami electronic music vet Phaxas will release her debut album, Patterns in Flux, at Gramps this Friday. To celebrate the milestone, she'll bring along Gina Martins and Vivian Valdes as openers, as well as Haute Tension and the State Of drummer Nabedi Osorio. Wear your dancing shoes, house-music fans. 8 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; gramps.com. Admission is free.
Happy 90th birthday, Miami-Dade Parks! As part of the celebration, Day in the Park will be held Saturday at a number of parks throughout the county. Participating parks include Crandon, Greynolds, Haulover Beach, Homestead Bayfront, and others. Depending upon the park, you can enjoy a free canoe tour, bounce house, nature walk, and/or a scavenger hunt. Congrats, parents — this will definitely help wear out the kids. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County; miamidade.gov. Admission is free.
One of the world's most beloved living composers is headed to the New World Center to conduct symphony fellows. John Williams will make an appearance at the New World Symphony's annual gala, and for the first time ever, the community at large will get to watch as the organization screens its gala in SoundScape Park. After listening to selections from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones soundtracks, stay to watch Jurassic Park under the stars. 7:45 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; nws.edu. Admission is free.
Save on that flight to Rio with a Brazilian barbecue at the Broken Shaker's weekly Shaker Sunday. Out back in the Broken Shaker's charming courtyard, catch chef Jimmy Lebron grilling various meats while bartenders pour rum cocktails. The best part: Admission is free, and food is pay-as-you-go, which means you can soak up the Shaker's good vibes without breaking the bank. 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Broken Shaker, 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; freehandhotels.com. Admission is free.