Thursday, September 24
Vanessa Garcia is a journalist, essayist, and feature writer best known for her theatrical works The Cuban Spring and The Crocodile's Bite, the former a Carbonell Award nominee and the latter a Samuel French Selection. As a first-generation Cuban-American, Garcia is a Miami native who has traveled a lifelong road in search of identity in a post-mass-exodus South Florida that now identifies within itself by the decades-long grip of the Castro regime on the island. It is in the dialogue between these generational gaps that Garcia explores what it means to be a modern Cuban and/or an American of Cuban descent.
Garcia, a visual artist as well, has now turned to long-form fiction with her first novel, White Light. This is the tale of Cuban-American artist Veronica Gonzalez as she struggles with artistic freedom, independence, and recognition, along with the disparate and tumultuous relationship she had with her recently deceased father. The story is simple: An old man longs for the homeland he'll never see again, and his daughter strives to create a new geographical identity. The drama is in their collision, and Garcia brings life to the tale with poetic grace and a meter honed in the theater. As a first work, it is a solid effort. As a topical tale, it is an invaluable tool to better understand the new world of thawed U.S.-Cuban relations.
Garcia will read from White Light at 8 p.m. Thursday at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Admission is free; the hardcover costs $28 and is available to preorder. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.
Though Miami-born photographer Roe Ethridge left for the bright lights of New York City years ago, he will return home this Thursday to talk about his work. Ethridge, an editorial and fine-art photographer, is interested in the detailed description of its subject that photography is capable of producing. His work also draws on the reproducibility of photography and explores the endless possibilities of duplication and recombination. Ethridge's pieces are owned by major museums such as the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art.
He will speak about his process and influence as part of the Institute of Contemporary Art's program ICA Speaks, a lecture series that runs through 2016 and features artists in the Miami museum's permanent collection. Though ICA will host the lecture, it will be held at the Design District's Palm Court (140 NE 39th St., Miami). Admission is free. Visit icamiami.org.
Friday, September 25
Fall brings many pleasures: cooler temps, pumpkin-flavored everything, and Oktoberfest. Who doesn't love an excuse to drink too much beer and speak sloppy German? This year, Miami Beach Botanical Garden (2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach) will host its first incarnation of the famous celebration.
There will be lawn games; unlimited beer samplings from breweries such as Funky Buddha, Islamorada, and other local spots; plenty of food; and even a pie contest, with attendees voting for their faves.
As far as tunes, a six-piece polka band will be onsite, so don your lederhosen and showcase some moves. Funds raised will benefit the garden itself, a gorgeous, nonprofit masterpiece courtesy of Mother Nature (and some dedicated humans). Come raise a glass and say prost (to good health and pretty plants)!
The event kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for Miami Beach Botanical Garden members and $40 for general admission. Visit mbgarden.org or call 305-673-7526.
For 35 years, Tigertail Productions has been bringing cultural performances to South Florida. As the region's oldest midsize presenting company, Tigertail has produced events with more than 500 artists since its founding. And now Tigertail returns for its 36th season with another year of music, dance, and spoken-word events that run September through April. Kicking off the season, guitarist Marc Ribot will perform an evening of works for solo guitar. Over the course of his 20 albums (including last year's acclaimed live release, Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard), Ribot has maneuvered through a range of genres and styles. He got his start working with alternative antihero Tom Waits on "Rain Dogs" in 1985 and also performed with the New York-based jazz-punk group the Lounge Lizards during that time. He has since collaborated with artists ranging from avant-garde composer John Zorn and popular producer T Bone Burnett.
Most recently, Ribot founded the experimental rock trio Ceramic Dog (which released its sophomore effort in 2013) and another project, Los Cubanos Postizos, in which he performs Cuban music with Miami-based drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez.
Tigertail's season opener with Marc Ribot will take place at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium Black Box Stage (2901 W. Flagler St., Miami) Friday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $50; student and senior tickets are available for $20. Call 305-324-4337 or visit tigertail.org.
Nothing gives you the warm fuzzies like watching youngsters embrace the arts. Since 2006, the Miami Youth Ballet has helped young dance enthusiasts through mentorship and providing the skills and training necessary to present their craft to local audiences. With the organization's program, Dance Creative, students chosen by audition can participate in the creative process of new works by invited contemporary choreographers. With the help of artistic directors Yanis Pikieris and Marielena Mencia, dancers learn the attitude and behavior necessary to become a contributing part of a new creation and then get to perform it within a professional setting.
Audiences can see this collaborative effort come to fruition at the Miami Youth Ballet's annual showcase, which will feature three performances. Held in the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center's Lab Theater (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay), the show will run Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Call 786-573-5300 or visit smdcac.org.
Saturday, September 26
In 1968, California Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a resolution designating the fourth Friday in September as American Indian Day. Though Florida was late to the game, the state officially proclaimed September 26 American Indian Day in 2014. South Floridians can get in on the observance at the Miccosukee Tribe Celebrates American Indian Day Event, where attendees can learn the way of life and appreciate the heritage and customs of the Miccosukee and other Native American tribes that will join the festivities.
The event will feature a Miccosukee fashion show, spirit dancers, alligator wrestling, and genuine Indian arts and crafts, including the detailed craftsmanship of multicolored Miccosukee patchwork, beadwork, and jewelry. Guests can also enjoy amusement rides, airboat rides, and a performance by pop singer Jana Mashonee.
The American Indian Day celebration takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Miccosukee Resort & Gaming (500 SW 177th Ave., Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-222-4600 or visit miccosukee.com.
In our country of couch potatoes, too many healthy, physically capable people spend way too much time watching Netflix and lounging in air-conditioned comfort. Instead of spending Saturday sitting on your ass, walk to end ALS instead. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, paralyzes its victims over time by attacking nerve cells and pathways in the brain or spinal cord. There's no cure, and most who are diagnosed have three to five years to live.
If you choose to devote an hour or two of your weekend to a good cause, you could help change that grim prognosis. Walk to Defeat ALS is the ALS Association's biggest event and raises funds to support the organization and its research for much of the coming year. Seriously, you can sacrifice an Orphan Black binge for two miles of physical activity.
Registration begins Saturday at 8 a.m., and the walk starts at 10 a.m. at Museum Park (1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Registration is free, but fundraising is encouraged. Call 888-257-1717 or visit web.alsa.org/miami.
Sunday, September 27
Sunday funday just got a whole lot more fun. Brunch is cool, and so is strolling aimlessly around a mall or open square, but imagine doing all of that plus seeing Nick Jonas the very same evening. That dream is possible when the youngest Jonas brother comes to town this Sunday.
It's been nearly 15 years since we saw the attempted revival of the boy band via the Jonas Brothers and were introduced to a then-wholesome drummer. Fast-forward a decade, and baby Jonas has gotten hot, dropped his chastity ring, and discovered he can sing! His singles "Chains" — whose video was shot in Wynwood — and "Levels" are burning up the airwaves.
The young singer will be in town to promote his self-titled debut solo album and perform at the Fillmore Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) at 7:30 p.m. Don't expect him to take off his shirt during the show, but expect plenty of brooding. Tickets start at $29.50. Call 305-673-7300 or visit livenation.com.
It's never a good idea to drink and drive, but if someone else is driving and you're allowed to sip sangria, well, what are you waiting for? Such is the package deal when you hop aboard the Weird Miami Bus Tour, led by Haitian-born artist and muralist Serge Toussaint and locally bred sculptor Michael Loveland. Both have traveled the world honing their craft and spreading the magic of culture and color, and both are intimate with Miami's artistic ecosystem. You're definitely in good hands. Hang out and drink to your heart's content while these two strange and artistic minds explore the landscapes and people spots that inspire their work. Points of interest include botanicas, bakeries, auto parts stores, and secret alleyways. You'll hear all about the history of Miami's most vibrant neighborhoods and alluring murals. You'll even get a sneak peek at Loveland's personal workspace.
The tour begins at Bas Fisher Invitational (100 NE 11th St., Miami) Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Call 305-348-2890 or visit basfisherinvitational.com.
Tuesday, September 29
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Problematic and porous though it may be, South Florida's bedrock foundation is fascinating. Inspired by the geology beneath Miami, Los Angeles-based artist Jedediah Caesar presents a collection of new work, "Stone Underground," that brings the city's subterranean realm to dry land.
At the center of "Stone Underground" are Caesar's "sovereign stones" — dyed blocks of the oolite, Florida keystone, and Hemingway limestone that form the bedrock of South Florida. These chunks of fossilized coral reef and seashell sediment were excavated from a vast underground field, and their colors reflect the U.S. Geological Survey's lithclass mapping legend of Florida. Once extracted from the bedrock, color-coded, and arranged in the gallery, they become autonomous objects. The quarried sovereign stones are surrounded by cement sculptures cast in pits that Caesar himself dug into the bedrock.
The work in the exhibition was inspired by Coral Castle, a landmark of outsider architecture in South Miami-Dade that was built entirely of coral rock by a Lithuanian immigrant in the early 20th Century. According to Caesar, Coral Castle is a radical form of architecture that recontextualizes "landscape" as "object" by constructing a space that is equal parts a monument and a quarry. Expanding on this idea, the works in his exhibition represent an attempt to grasp the enormity of the layers beneath us.
"Stone Underground," which opened August 29, will be on display through October 10 at Locust Projects (3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Summer gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. Call 305-576-8570 or visit locustprojects.org.