On August 25, 1916, the U.S. Congress passed the National Park Service Organic Act, marking the birth of the National Park Service. A century later, NPS has worked to preserve and provide public access to more than 400 national parks, battlefields, historic sites, and monuments. This week, on the exact date of its inception 100 years ago, Coral Gables Museum (285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) will celebrate NPS's centennial at the National Park Service 100th Birthday Bash. Along with enjoying free museum admission, a cash bar, and, of course, cake, you'll get to mingle with park rangers from South Florida's national parks — Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Biscayne, and Big Cypress — and listen to speakers from the NPS, National Park Conservation Association, South Florida National Parks Trust, and Artists in Residence in Everglades Inc. talk about the future of national parks. Birthday shenanigans aside, you'll also get to check out the museum's "This Land Is Your Land: A Second Century for America's National Parks" exhibit, showcasing artifacts from local national parks. The NPS rager goes down Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. Visit coralgablesmuseum.org or call 305-603-8067.
Clayton English's story is not a rags-to-riches tale. Far from it. Before he earned his laughs, he was a laughingstock. An Atlanta native and Florida A&M grad, English found himself the topic of a Creative Loafing (an Atlanta alt-weekly) cover story in 2006 detailing the struggles of recent grads paying off their college tuition. English, then portrayed as a telemarketer trying to make ends meet, was quoted at large in the article and even appeared in an accompanying graphic bearing an oversize dollar sign while dressed in his cap and gown. Little did he know then that the big old cosmic joke would eventually turn in his favor. Last fall, he won NBC's Last Comic Standing and took home $250,000 — an amount that surely covered any outstanding student loans. English has worked his way through the harsh world of standup comedy. He's come a long way from the nine bucks an hour he used to pull and is doing well in the club, college, and festival circuits with his brand of topical and observational humor. He's even had a recurring guest role of "Peanut" in Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Not bad for a guy on the rise. Catch English at the Fort Lauderdale Improv (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood) at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. General-admission tickets cost $20. Call 954-981-5653 or visit ftl.improv.com.
The world lost a bright light when Joe Strummer passed away. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known for his work as frontman for the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite dedicated his life to powerful music and efforts that helped make the world a better place. When he died in 2002, his family created the nonprofit organization Strummerville as a means to keep his name, legacy, spirit, and outlook alive. Today, Strummerville organizes a variety of ways to raise money for charities and foundations, and you know music is always a part of that. Case in point is the Strummerjam show, going down Friday at Churchill's Pub (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami). It's Miami's edition of a monthlong international event that seeks to promote local acts to a greater stage while raising funds for local nonprofits to continue touching lives. The celebration at Churchill's will feature eight bands across two stages, including Armageddon Man, Askultura, and Red Light Motel. Part of the proceeds from sales that night will go to Radio Lollipop, an organization that provides games, art, and activities to put smiles on the faces of children in hospitals. The event begins at 8 p.m., and everyone 18 or older is invited. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
They leap, they spin, they balance and stretch — and make all of it look effortless. Beginning Saturday, more than 100 artists from 20-plus countries will converge on the Magic City for the International Ballet Festival of Miami, presented by Miami Hispanic Ballet. From Europe and Asia to Latin America and North America, participants in the two-week festival, considered the largest ballet project in Florida, will fill seven venues across Miami, blending dance, film, art, workshops, and presentations into the city's already vibrant cultural landscape. This is one of the biggest gatherings of ballet pros in the world, and it all goes down in your backyard — so, no, there's no excuse to miss it. You can snag tickets to a multitude of events; each can be purchased separately. The 21st International Ballet Festival of Miami runs through September 11. Tickets cost $30 to $62. Visit internationalballetfestival.org.
Forget your mama's craft fairs. Enough with trying in vain to spot undiscovered gems at thrift shops or antiques outlets. Church bazaars? Girl, please. The Raddest Craft Fair is back to remind you that sometimes the best indie creations are the ones you make yourself. Returning to the Wynwood Yard (56 NW 29th St., Miami) this Saturday after a Zika-related postponement earlier this month, the Raddest Craft Fair will host a lineup of workshops designed to remind attendees that DIY isn't just a twee combination of letters that hipsters like; it's a philosophy of self-reliance based on learning to do it yourself. Classes by local craftspeople will teach the basics of making goods from jewelry and leather business-card holders to dreamcatchers and flower crowns (because, yeah, DIY does also happen to be a three-letter combination that hipsters like). As you teach your hands to do something other than swipe PokéBalls, your ears will be entertained by performers such as Shira Abergel. Craft cocktails from Mortar & Pistil will soothe the frustrations of learning to tie those tricky friendship bracelet knots. And when it's all over, you'll have a new skill to show off at dinner parties (if your friends don't mind your setting up a Japanese tie-dye station in their dining room). The fair runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Attendance is free, as are some workshops; others range in cost from $10 to $40. Tickets can be purchased here. Visit thewynwoodyard.com.
Tosca, written by the great Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, may seem like highbrow stuff, but although its plot takes place in 19th-century Rome, its narrative has never been more relevant or pertinent than today. The parallels are uncannily similar. An aggressor invades its neighbor, leading to torture, murder, and mayhem. Sound familiar? Add a beautiful heroine, a cruel police official, and a dashing artist to the mix, and all of the necessary elements combine to make this an ideal analogy for modern times. One need only substitute ISIS fanatics or the issues driving the Black Lives Matter movement, and Puccini's play comes full circle. Of course in opera, the music's the thing — the soaring sopranos, the robust tenors, the sense of grandeur and spectacle that comes from ascending crescendos and awe-inspiring arias. Tosca boasts all those traits and more, and in the capable hands of Miami Lyric Opera, it becomes an especially momentous event that even a neophyte can appreciate and enjoy. And if the parallels between the classic and the contemporary seem a bit too harrowing, take heart in the fact that today's lowlifes don't come close to hitting any of these high notes. Miami Lyric Opera presents Tosca at 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay). Tickets cost $37 or $47. Call 786-573-5316 or visit miamilyricopera.org/tickets.
When animal-rights advocate and publisher M Butterflies Katz went vegan 38 years ago, it was a solo event. No thriving local community of like-minded plant eaters to meet up with; no Publix frozen section stocked with Gardein, Boca burgers, and any other mock-meats imaginable; and no plethora of online resources — just the odd looks and awkward shrugs when asking the local diner for its vegan options. Fast-forward to 2016, and Katz is putting the final touches on the inaugural South Florida VeganFest. She's says it's a much different scenario today — they almost don't want to advertise anymore because they may be reaching capacity for the venue. South Florida VeganFest 2016 — an "all-day educational community service event and celebration of veganism" — will feature a day's worth of inspirational speakers, animal advocacy, food demos, samples, exhibitors, and community. Speakers include Dr. Michael Klaper, the Advocacy of Veganism Society's Sarah Woodcock (who will speak about a social justice approach to veganism), and Eriyah Flynn of Vegan Shift. Plus, there will be a special talk with Katz. In addition to the talks, expect fresh-pressed juices, free delicious plant-based eats, and vegan bodybuilding demos with Torre Washington and Korin Sutton. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Tamarac Community Center (8601 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac). Admission is free. Visit southfloridaveganfest.com. Terra Sullivan
Miami may be an oceanside city, but it's no laid-back beach town. Here, "casual" isn't a thing. Bathing suits aren't really for swimming — they're an accessory, paired with stilettos, a blowout, and a face full of contouring. Miami is as glam as it gets. Honestly, the Magic City beats Tinseltown any day. So to celebrate Miami's love for all things luxe, Kiko Milano's Lincoln Road store will host a Hollywood Glam Party. The fashionable Italian makeup brand will have a red carpet, Hollywood-style activities, and a gift card contest for attendees (just share photos with the #kikoglam hashtag). You can try different looks and head home with some surprisingly affordable face paint. The event might be L.A.-inspired, but we all know the truth: Nothing says glitz and glitter like Miami Beach. The Sunday event runs from 7 to 11 p.m. at Kiko Milano (939 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Admission is free. Visit kikomilano.com or call 305-534-0020.
Three years ago, 18-year-old artist Israel Hernandez, also known as Reefa, was fatally tasered by police officers who found him creating a piece of illegal street art. The news split Miami in two. Some accused the cops of unwarranted brutality; others condemned Hernandez as a criminal. But filmmaker and producer Stan Jackubowicz wanted to dig deeper. In 2014, his documentary about Hernandez aired on Fusion TV. And now he's back with the young-adult graphic novel Isra & Lito, based on the artist's life. This Sunday, Books & Books + Bikes + Lebo (2602 NW Fifth Ave., Miami) will celebrate the Isra & Lito book launch via a series of events that continue to honor the artist's life and grapple with the issues raised by his death. Jackubowicz will read from the book, participate in a discussion, and sign copies of the graphic novel. Illustrator Jefferson Quintana and Hernandez's family members will also be in attendance. The event begins at 5 p.m., and admission is free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Immigration reform is an incendiary subject, particularly in a toxic campaign cycle that tends to blur the lines between compassion and clarity. Caught between the warring factions, families of those who illegally migrated to the United States are forced to live in the shadows, facing an uncertain future in a place they and their children have come to call home. Director Aldo Bello's multiple-award-winning, critically acclaimed film Dream: An American Story captures the angst, anguish, and apprehension faced by those who find themselves strangers in a strange — and often hostile — land. While Donald Trump threatens to oust people from their homes and send them back to their native lands, and Democrats wring their hands in futility and accuse their opponents of making matters worse, Dream focuses on the harsh realities that "Dreamers" deal with every day. That reality is especially well known in South Florida, so Miami Dade College, Americans for Immigrant Justice, and the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations will present a showing of the film Monday at Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St., Miami). Bello, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, and immigrant-rights advocate Gaby Pacheco will take part in a panel moderated by Americans for Immigrant Justice's executive director, Cheryl Little. The wall stops here. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the film screening at 6:30 and then the panel discussion. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased through aijustice.org/dream_film_screening. Call 786-454-8553 or email email@example.com.
Step back with your left foot; then step in place with the right. Triple-step to the left as you turn clockwise. Cross your right foot behind your left, make a sidestep to the left, and triple-step to your right. That's how you do the Lindy hop. Confused? Don't be. Instead, learn straight from the pros at the South Florida Lindy Collective's class Learn to Swing Dance. Though the dance may sound complicated in writing, the experts at the Lindy Collective will teach you step-by-step moves on how to do the Lindy hop, along with other vintage swing dance moves such as the Charleston, Balboa, and East Coast swing. Originating in the '20s and '30s, swing dance was born in the heat of the swing-jazz era. Though its style has evolved over the years, its influence is seen everywhere from disco to line dancing to hip-hop. On a mission to "strengthen communities through vintage swing dance preservation," the South Florida Lindy Collective offers dance classes every Tuesday. This week's class is set for 7 p.m. at the Center for Social Change (2103 Coral Way, Second Floor, Miami). You won't need a partner to join this party, but be sure to wear comfy shoes. Tickets cost $11 for members and $15 for nonmembers via eventbrite.com.Visit lindycollective.com or call 786-664-7352.
Halloween is still a couple of months away, but that doesn't mean we can't make with the creepy a little early. At the Café at Books & Books' newest event series, Dearly Departed Happy Hour, attendees can enjoy readings, drink discounts, trivia, and other fun, all themed around some of our most beloved — and long-dead — authors. This week's shindig is a tribute to Mary Shelley, goth genius extraordinaire. Originator of the infamous corpse collage of a beast known as Frankenstein's monster, her creative tale lives on in popular culture. At this event, you'll get to delve into all things Shelley with drink in hand. Let's face it — this is a serious upgrade from your usual happy-hour shenanigans. You'll meet some well-read Miamians, have a few laughs, and head home with a better understanding of what made the mother of Frankenstein's monster tick. The event runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Café at Books & Books inside the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Admission is free. Visit booksandbooks.com.