One of the most exciting things about life in the 21st Century is the wealth of possibilities offered by the internet. Apart from the steady — and sometimes overwhelming — flow of information, the web encourages creativity from a DIY platform without having to get permission or editorial input from a gatekeeper higher up the chain of command. Filmmakers have been taking advantage of these benefits for years, streaming their work without having to heed the traditional theatrical screening route. That's the idea behind the Miami Web Fest, the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Bryan G. Thompson. It originated after Thompson's return from active duty in Iraq in 2014 and his bout with the recurring pneumonia he contracted overseas, a malady that led to a life-threatening tumor. Unable to return to military service, he turned his attention to writing, directing, and producing short films. The trend toward creating online web series caught his attention, inspiring him to create a competition that allows budding filmmakers to spotlight their skills and have their work judged by a team of professionals. Several winners have already gone on to greater glories, so who knows? The next Spielberg might be waiting in the wings — or rather, on the web. Screenings for the Miami Web Fest take place Thursday through Saturday at the Flamingo Theater Bar (905 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami). An awards ceremony will be held Sunday. A VIP pass to see all the films costs $199. Visit miamiwebfest.com.
A postapocalyptic world after an alien invasion featuring Nazis and Santa Claus. A "minimalist, neorealist fairy tale" that takes place amid the ruins of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. A documentary exploring the effects of the U.S. invasion of Grenada. These disparate stories are among the eight features and nine short films screening this weekend at the inaugural Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival. Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, cofounder and artistic director of Third Horizon, says Miami is the perfect base for an annual Caribbean film festival. "I think that much like how the Caribbean is this incredible place through which cultures all over the world have merged to create something wholly new, so is Miami. So I think that a Caribbean film festival is very representative of the character of the city." The fest will also feature workshops and concerts, including an art exhibit and discussion with Barbadian artist Sheena Rose and a performance by British dancehall/industrial hybrid solo artist Gaika at Bardot. The Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday at O Cinema Wynwood (90 NW 29th St., Miami). Tickets to film screenings cost $12 plus fees. Call 305-571-9970 or visit thirdhorizonfilmfestival.com.
From bumper-to-bumper traffic to three-digit humidity, life in Miami can be pretty frightening. But during the Halloween season, the Magic City really brings its A-game when it comes to scaring the crap out of you and yours. Case in point: Miami's largest haunting experience, the annual House of Horror Haunted Carnival. The fright factory, set up yearly at Miami International Mall (1455 NW 107th Ave., Miami), features multiple attractions, including a haunted insane asylum, a 3D haunted phobia experience, a rock 'n' roll circus stunt and side show (dubbed Hellzapoppin), and a freak emporium. It's four terrors for the price of one. After your spine stops tingling, you can shake off the scares at the onsite carnival — complete with all of your favorite fair foods. Pro tip: Fried Oreos make everything better. House of Horror is open from 6 to 11 p.m. through October 31. Tickets cost $15 to $29. Visit houseofhorrorpark.com or call 305-639-6000.
No matter what you might think of him — and many people tend to think the worst — Richard Nixon was a slimy yet singular personality. Scheming, paranoid, and obsessed with tending to his own tattered legacy, he became the first president to resign from office, following the debacle of the Watergate scandal. So it's surprising to see another side of the man — a nuttier Nixon, if you will — portrayed in Mad Cat Theatre's production of a strangely surreal new play, Why Not? With Richard Nixon. Written by local playwrights Jessica Farr, Theo Reyna, and Paul Tei and starring Farr, Cliff Burgess, and Noah Levine, this bold addition to Miami Theater Center's new season imagines Tricky Dicky as the host of a late-night public-access show broadcast from his infamous retreat on Key Biscayne. Nixon's homeboy pal Bebe Reboso and daughter Tricia Nixon play the prez's second bananas as they lambaste the news of the day via a variety show where everything goes. This ain't just about history either. Nixon's guests feature the current crop of presidential contenders, ensuring the real-life wackiness supersedes any superficial satire. Why Not? With Richard Nixon debuts this Thursday and runs Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m. through October 9 at the Sandbox, Miami Theater Center (9816 NE Second Ave., Miami). Tickets cost $30. Call 305-751-9550.
There's no disco party like a silent disco party. To the uninitiated, the concept might be difficult to understand: So everyone wears headphones? And dances to different music? Do you need to know sign language? But those who've crashed silent disco ragers know it's an epic time. Skeptical? See for yourself at the Redbury South Beach (1776 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) when Red Bull TV Season of Festivals and the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival team up for the weekend-long Silent Disco Party. Taking over the rooftop at the Redbury, the bash will go down Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.. Here's how it works: The first hour of each day will begin with a free cocktail hour, where you can enjoy tasty drinks. You'll then be given a pair of waterproof, wireless headphones with multiple channels where you can tune in to the ACL live set of your choice — from Radiohead to Kendrick Lamar to Major Lazer — and, well, dance. To keep the silent-disco-party juices flowing between ACL breaks, MillionYoung will be in the house performing a live DJ set. And when the munchies kick in, Cleo South Beach will host a festival-themed Mediterranean barbecue with small bites and drinks starting at $8. Admission is free. For table and bed reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-534-2536. Visit theredbury.com/southbeach or call 305-604-1776.
Sarah Oppenheimer is an artist who works at the intersection of fine art, architecture, and engineering. Her mind-boggling installations are meant to disrupt the way we think of interior spaces through the use of mathematically based optical illusions — pieces that are equal parts M.C. Escher sketches and Alice in Wonderland. Commissioned by Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) to build a piece for the Herzog & de Meuron-designed museum, Oppenheimer created S-281913 — two architectural switches made of rotating glass elements that alternate in brightness and transparency. The piece uses the building's electrical grid and natural light cascading over Biscayne Bay to alter the viewers' frame of reference, seeming to bring distant objects into close proximity and vice versa. The result is a masterwork blending the fields of sculpture, architecture, and engineering — a perfect blend to kick off arts season at one of the city's most esteemed institutions. Oppenheimer's S-281913, presented by JP Morgan Chase, will be on view this Friday through April 30, 2017. PAMM is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. PAMM is closed Wednesday. Admission is $16 for adults; $12 for students, seniors, and youth ages 7 to 18; and free for museum members, children 6 and younger, and active U.S. military. Visit pamm.org.
Laramie, Wyoming, may be renowned for its three colleges, its breathtaking scenery, and its low tax rate, but for activists in the LGBTQA equality movement — and anyone who cares about human rights in general — the city is forever linked with the hate crime that galvanized a populace. The targeted torture and murder of the gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998 brought international attention to the sleepy city, and it led to the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The narrative doesn't end there: Copious books, movies, and songs have examined the personal, communal, and legislatorial fallout from Shepard's death, from the play The Laramie Project to the documentary Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine. The latest entry in the Shepard-inspired cultural canon is the homegrown opera Not in My Town, with music and lyrics by Fort Lauderdale composer and librettist Michael W. Ross. Performed by the up-and-coming professional company Opera Fusion, the one-act opera dramatizes the dark night of Shepard's death, but Ross doesn't dwell on it: The show also explores the positive change his martyrdom spawned, centering on the heroic efforts of his friend Romaine Patterson to effect change. Tonally capturing the spirit of both grand opera and intimate musical theater, the show will enjoy its Broward County premiere at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Broward Center (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $30 to $35. Call 954-462-0222 or visit browardcenter.org.
Miami isn't the world's greatest scene for dives. Looking for a dark, dingy, unpretentious place to drink away your woes and float your feel-good spirits? Pickings are slim. That's all the more reason to celebrate a place with staying power, and even more so when it throws an all-day birthday bash at no cost to the public. Who would do such a thing? Lost Weekend (218 Española Way, Miami Beach), the hole-in-the-wall hangout, invites you, your friends, your mom, and the whole world to its 20-Year Anniversary Block Party. Kicking off at 2 p.m. Saturday, the award-winning dive's bash will host burlesque dancers, drag queens, comedians, magicians, and sideshow acts. Miami's favorite local musical acts are onboard to show support, including Spam Allstars, Afrobeta, Otto Von Schirach, and Music Is a Weapon. MCs Shelley Novak and Notorious Nastie will be sure to embarrass everyone equally in the most uproarious manner imaginable. Oh, and there'll be live "midget wrestling" courtesy of the Micro Championship Wrestling organization, which apparently is a real thing. The party will take over the whole 200 block of Española Way between Washington and Collins Avenues. Call 305-672-1707 or visit facebook.com/LostWeekendSB. For more, see "In 20 Years, Lost Weekend Built a Home in Miami Beach and Got Matt Damon Married."
Sick of the same old party vibes? Looking to liven up your nightlife routine? Wish you could travel in time to the era of glitter-blasted klub kids who didn't give no fux and dressed not only to impress but to totally freak out? O.M.F.G. Miami is the cure for the common club, and it's your ticket to a head trip and one helluva hangover. With an emphasis on fashion, music, and gender-bending brilliance, O.M.F.G. wants to be the wildest night out of your life. The queer community is banding together to welcome all into the wildest corners of its countercultural folds. Hipsters, artists, dancers, gays, and straights of every shape, size, and color will be welcomed to the Hangar (60 NE 11th St., Miami), where the only rule is "Have fun." Organizers warn, "This party is not for the faint of heart," and by "faint of heart," they mean stuffy butt-garbage people who don't know how to have fun anyway. The party starts Saturday at 10 p.m., and tickets cost $9. Call 786-480-4203 or visit facebook.com/thehangar305.
When you think of the standard monetary exchange for goods at a megabox store, it's not necessarily a warm communal event. Far removed from the folks who actually made those goods, you can't vouch for their working conditions or know they were paid in full before the goods made it to the store. You also do little in the way of upcycling/recycling or repurposing previously loved goods into newly crafted items to keep those goods out of landfills. This is why something like Stitch Rock: Indie Craft Fair & Bazaar is so unique in the grand consumerist scheme. In the ten years the event has been around, building community around the exchange of handmade goods has been a welcomed side bonus to the business of South Florida's largest indie craft fair. "Ten years of Stitch Rock means ten years of bringing creative people together by giving them a unique outlet to buy and sell handmade goods," creator Amanda Linton explains. "Helping create a crafting community along the way is just icing on the cake." This Saturday, the Stitch will turn 10 years old with a full day of local vendors dealing their wares at Old School Square (51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach). As always, the first 100 people through the doors will get a free swag bag of goodies before perusing the wares of vendors such as Danny Brito (patches and pins), Carla Merino Studio (handcrafted jewelry), Brott's Beard Care, Blue Pelican (children's clothes made of vintage Lilly Pulitzer fabric), and many others. Stitch Rock takes place Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Visit rockthestitch.com for a complete list of activities and vendors and $4 presale tickets.
Congratulations, South Florida runners: You've made it through another sweltering summer. Miami's hottest months can be hell on distance runners, who can spend hours in the humidity trying to train for their next race, only to return home dehydrated and sunburned. But the change of seasons means better conditions for Miami's most popular athletic pastime, and the first big race of the fall will launch this Sunday. The Key Biscayne Half Marathon begins at Miami Marine Stadium (3601 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne) and guides runners across the beautiful but punishing Rickenbacker Causeway. Even if you've taken the summer off — and who could blame you? — you can still run with pride, knowing your participation will help benefit Camillus House. Race start time is 6:30 a.m., and registration costs $89. Visit multirace.com/events/95.
Remember Roy Bellamy? Yeah, that Roy Bellamy, the man who invented the term "booty call," used to crack us up on HBO's Def Comedy Jam, and was Mr. Everything on MTV. He was basically on every single channel of your TV set in the '90s. Bellamy was the hot thing back then, just like Sisqo and beepers. Well, Bellamy is back, and he's coming to the Fort Lauderdale Improv (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood) Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets to the special event start at $22. You can bring your "Thong Song" cassette tapes and beepers to get signed, but we wouldn't recommend it. As of late, Bellamy has headlined multiple comedy tours, including Shaq's All Star Comedy Jam, the Standing Ovation Tour, Marc Curry & Tony Rock, and the Ladies Night Out Tour. Bellamy also recently wrapped filming on Kindergarden Cop 2 and made a guest appearance on TNT's crime series Murder in the First. Visit ftl.improv.com or call 954-981-5653.
Forget pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boots — it's not really fall in the Magic City until the SoundScape Cinema Series takes off at SoundScape Park (400 17th St., Miami Beach). Kicking off the 2016-17 season is one of the 100 greatest films of the 21st Century: John Crowley's Brooklyn. Nominated for three Academy Awards in 2016 — Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress — and ranked number 48 on the BBC's list of best movies of this century, the film tells the story of a young Irish immigrant, Eilis Lacey, who migrates to Brooklyn in the early '50s. While in the States, Lacey finds a job at a department store and meets an Italian plumber, Tony Fiorello, with whom she eventually falls in love. After receiving tragic news from her family back home, Lacey is forced to return to Ireland for a visit. However, her family and friends pressure her into staying. Lacey succumbs and begins a new life back home. Her Brooklyn past eventually catches up with her, and she must choose between two countries and the life that awaits her in both. Brooklyn will screen on the wall at SoundScape Park this Wednesday at 8 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is free. Visit mbculture.com or call 305-673-7000.