For the third year in a row, Gems is giving local cinephiles a long weekend of premiere screenings. Taking place at the Tower Theater in Little Havana, Gems is like a mini film festival, featuring guests, awards, and parties. This year, it opens with The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé: A Trip Across Latin America, a movie about the British band's tour through Latin America, which was capped off with a historic free show in Cuba. Afterward, audiences can attend a Rolling Stones-themed party with music, food, and drinks. The Gems program also includes prestige films, such as UK director Ken Loach's Cannes Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake and the latest from that indie darling from North Miami, Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women. The festival also includes U.S. premieres like Spain's 2016 box office hit Kiki, Love to Love and Argentina's Inseparables, a reimagining of the 2011 Oscar-nominated French film The Intouchables. The film's director, Marcos Carnevale, will be present to receive this year's Precious Gem Award. Miami Film Festival Gems 2016 will take place Thursday through Sunday at MDC's Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St., Miami). Tickets to film screenings cost $13 plus fees. Call 844-565-6433 (MIFF) or visit miamifilmfestival.com/gems.
It's October, and that means horror movies are invading Miami like so many menacing clowns lurking in its darkest alleys. And nothing says Halloween like, well, Halloween. You've seen John Carpenter's masterpiece a million times, but when was the last time you watched the first sequel? Rick Rosenthal's first installment in the series, Halloween II, will hit the big screen at O Cinema Wynwood (90 NW 29th St., Miami) to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Popcorn Frights Film Festival and O Cinema will present the fright-fest this Friday at 11:30 p.m, with tickets on sale for $12 and an opportunity to win swag in a giveaway from Scream Factory and Funko. The film — which picks up in the hospital where Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie is recovering from the trauma of facing off with Michael Myers — veers from Carpenter's haunting atmosphere to Rosenthal's entertaining slasher fest. It's a fun continuation of the series and an encapsulation of exactly what '80s audiences wanted. Call 305-571-9970 or visit o-cinema.org.
With race relations in the United States at a boil, choreographer Nora Chipaumire's visceral take on the black experience packs a punch. Her upcoming performance, Portrait of Myself as My
Father, imagines the life of an African man under colonial rule. The Brooklyn-based Chipaumire, born in Zimbabwe, personally experienced the fallout of culture clashes that happened on African soil. Here, she takes on the persona of her deceased father, whom she never really knew. She sets him in a boxing ring to fight for himself — against cultural oppression, his own demons, the weight of history, and the burdens of family ties. She describes the piece as a manifesto on the sacrifice of the black African male. Like most of her work, Portrait of Myself as My Father is unflinching in its critiques, but not without humor. Chipaumire will take the stage with Senegalese dancer Pape Ibrahiima Ndiaye (AKA Kaolack) and Jamaican-born Shamar Watt for the show, running this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Miami Light Project (404 NW 26th St., Miami). Tickets cost $30. Call MDC Live Arts at 305-237-3010 or visit mdclivearts.org.
There's a chill in the air, and it has nothing to do with the weather. Halloween is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with costumes, music, pub grub, and more? Time to rewatch Michael Jackson's seasonal classic, because the Thriller Halloween Music Festival rises from the grave Friday for its tenth-annual spook spectacular. Everyone ages 18 and older is invited to Churchill's Pub (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami) to peruse the shops and wares of local vendors between bouts of the Monster Mash. Local bands of every style and genre will tear the roof off from 8 p.m. till 3 in the morning. Get down on some arts and crafts, partake of some free zombie face painting, and participate in the "Thriller" flash mob. And do come dressed in your very best, because the winner of the costume contest will walk away with $100. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
Given our sometimes-harsh realities, we welcome a filtered overlay of something beautiful, magical, or even hilarious. Just think of how much Snapchat's puppy filter was employed during the last presidential debate. For contemporary artist Sarah Stieber, amplified, popping color palettes (à la Lisa Frank) and saturated hues raise her characters off the canvas. Stieber's latest painting series, Glow With the Flow, features bold and playful characters in glimmering waterscapes populated by mylar balloons, glitter, and gemstones. Not only do these elements give texture to her pieces, but Steiber's hope is that they also reflect the negativity, letting in room for the good in life. It's what she calls "wishful seeing," where unexpected beauty can often be hiding right in front of us. See Stieber's works in the exhibit "Glow With the Flow" at Parisian lounge Le Rendez-Vous (221 Datura St., West Palm Beach) Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. Complimentary drinks, macarons, and French pastries will round out the free affair. Call 561-273-5441 or visit sarahstieber.com. Free tickets are available at sarahstiebersoloshow.eventbrite.com.
It's hard to believe Miami Beach was once a no-man's land of cheap rent, sun-drenched weirdness framed by Hasidism, coked-out kids chasing someone else's dreams, and the hovering shadow of the Angel of Death's wings over a forgotten grandparent. Today's South Beach is the zonked-out swill of a developer's vomitorium — a soulless shell of overpriced nothing. That old Miami Beach was a scary place — an island visited on a whim with the security of the mainland nearby. Naturally, the inhabitants then were colorful characters, and as modern South Florida's original fringe arts scene, South Beach was home to many artists who've achieved varying degrees of success since the tempestuous days of the early '80s. Don Shearer, known for his HIV-positive blood paintings, was the first resident of the Española Way Art Center, and in the couple of years he worked on the Beach, he left an indelible mark on the nascent scene. As a companion to his retrospective at the Box Gallery, the "Unofficial Mayor of Miami Beach" Louis Canales, Pulitzer Prize-winning journo and author Liz Balmaseda, tastemaker Manny Hernandez, and curator Sandra Schulman will present "Art and Culture of the South Beach Renaissance: The American Riviera," bearing witness and providing context to a time in South Florida that was the polar opposite of today's reality. Tales and facts are sure to entertain and astonish. Outlandish? Maybe. Factual? More than likely. The exhibition will open at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Box Gallery (811-B Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach). Tickets cost $10. Call 786-521-1199 or visit theboxgallery.info.
Life is stressful here in Miami. Between battling for space on I-95 and stocking up on supplies for the next hurricane, you've gotta remember to apply sunscreen, pay your absurdly high housing costs, and continue building that single-family ark for when climate change turns South Florida into Waterworld. But every once in a while, it's important to step back, relax, and focus on the present. That's the message of the Modern Life Mindfulness Festival, bringing wellness pros from all walks of life to converge on the Sacred Space Miami (105 NE 24th St., Miami) to help you forget all about the alligator that showed up in your pool last night. Experts in mindful living, such as shaman Alyson Charles, yogi Andrea Brook, and pro meditator Biet Simkin, will speak about topics including music, art, food, and technology, all in service of bringing down your blood pressure and raising your spirits. The fest runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and admission costs $49 to $99. Visit modernlifefest.com.
New World Symphony returns this Saturday, and you can hear the performance for free. The first WallCast concert of the season will light up the 7,000-square-foot projection wall with music and video from inside the hall. Led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and featuring Grammy-winning guest pianist Emanuel Ax — who has recorded with cellist Yo Yo Ma and contributed to the International Emmy Award-winning BBC documentary Holocaust: A Musical Memorial Film From Auschwitz — the concert will celebrate the beginning of New World Symphony's 29th anniversary. For this season opener, watch and listen as Ax and NWS fellows perform the works of Johannes Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Hayden; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14; Arnold Schoenberg's Piano Concerto; and Richard Struass' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks. And, of course, because the concert will take place in SoundScape Park (400 17th St., Miami Beach), bring your picnic basket and blanket for a night of award-winning classical tuneage under the stars. The free WallCast Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and a preconcert chat starts one hour before the show. Space is limited, so get there early. Visit nws.edu.
October is a month when everything seems to turn pink for a not-so-rosy reason: the one in eight women who will be affected by breast cancer in her lifetime. But there's more to breast cancer awareness than simply pinning a pink ribbon to your lapel. Real change will come only in the form of medical advancements to prevent and treat the disease — and research costs money. That's what makes the Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure such an effective tool: Since 1999, South Florida efforts by Komen have raised more than $14 million for local breast cancer programs, fueled by the runners and walkers who take to the streets to remind this city that the fight's not over yet. This year, more than 20,000 participants will converge on Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) to kick off the 5K. Whether you're joining their ranks on the road or cheering them on from the sidelines, it's guaranteed to be an emotional experience. The race begins with a survivor procession at 7:30 a.m. Registration costs $35 to $40 for adults and $20 for children. Visit komenmiaftl.org.
When in your suds-soaked life have you ever been given the chance to sip 70 kinds of beer in one night? Absolutely never, especially for $30. That would be insane, right? Turns out the foamy folks of Taurus Beer & Whiskey (3540 Main Hwy., #C103, Coconut Grove) are totally crazy. That's the deal they're offering at Saturday's Grove Garden Brewfest. At this pedestrian-friendly community festival, drinkers can stroll and bite off the buzz with mouthfuls of food from Ariete's chef Michael Beltran. Malta pork belly tacos, smoked fish tacos, mini chug burgers, and grilled chicken wings are on the menu, among other mouthwatering treats and accoutrements. Aside from the beer, Chef Beltran has cooked up a specialty cocktail menu. That means beer lovers can feel free to invite their more spirited friends. All residents of the 33133 enjoy 33 percent off all Taurus house whiskeys, of which there are more than 100. The party starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 10. Call 305-529-6523 or visit taurusbeerandwhiskey.com.
You hear that a craft fair is being held at Due South Brewing, and you automatically think beer. But that's not quite accurate. Other than being the purveyor of delicious local craft suds, the brewery is holding an arts and crafts fair featuring more than a dozen local artists and crafters who will display their wares, including pottery, jewelry, photography, and wood crafts. And there will be food. Piggy's BBQ & Seafood will be onsite all day. You'll still be able to sip beer, of course. Due South Brewing will keep its regular tour schedule at 1 p.m. for a free tour and then at 2 p.m. for a $10 VIP tour and tasting. Reservations for tours are suggested. The craft fair will be held Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Due South Brewing Company (2900 High Ridge Rd., Boynton Beach). It's a free indoor event that will be held rain or shine. Call 561-463-2337 or visit duesouthbrewing.com/event/craft-fair-at-due-south-brewing.
Amid Miami's many culinary styles and trends, it can be easy to forget that the Magic City is a seafood paradise. Here to remind us just how lucky we are to live in a place where fresh ocean fare is always just a drive away is the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival. Relocating from the Grove to Miami Marine Stadium (3601 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne) this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the fest is "all about celebrating seafood, waterfront living, and giving people their fill of the freshest, tastiest delicacies of the sea." Attendees can watch the Battle by the Bay, where the 305's favorite chefs go head-to-head for the title of Best Ceviche, Best Fish Tacos, and Best Paella. You can also learn how to make your own killer seafood dish at the Kitchen Lab and check out the Grove Wharf by Casablanca Seafood for a farmers'-market-meets-seafood experience, where experts will help you select the right catch to take home. Relax at the Shipwreck Bar & Lounge while you watch the Dolphins take on the Steelers on a giant LED screen. Just for the kids is the Eco-Discovery Zone, where little ones can scuba-dive for free in the Derma Pool, test their surfing skills in the Robosurfer, and participate in other fun activities. Bootleg will provide the live rock soundtrack. General-admission tickets cost $15 plus fees, or for $59 plus fees, you can upgrade to the VIP Experience, which includes a private entrance; access to the VIP Lounge; free beer, wine, and select spirits; and cigar pairings and hand-rolled cigars. Children 12 and younger get in free. Visit coconutgroveseafoodfestival.com.
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Comic Cure's second-annual Brickell Comedy Festival will arrive early this year, in time for a Breast Cancer Awareness Month tribute as well as some presidential humor. The two-part night opens with "Comedy for a Cure," showcasing comedians with personal ties to breast cancer and giving local cancer organizations a chance to raise some money. Next is "Make America Laugh Again," a roast of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton featuring local politicians and civic leaders alongside the comedians. Comic Cure managing director Benjamin Leis says he wanted "a number of different voices from our diverse community" — and he'll make sure the political folks' jokes are up to snuff too. "Everyone is just exhausted and really emotionally charged from this campaign season," he says, and this is the chance to convert some of that political angst into laughs. The headliner for both shows is Kira Soltanovich, of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, who Leis says "left people crying" at Florida's Funniest Female this past May. The Brickell Comedy Festival kicks off Tuesday at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6) at Flamingo Theater at Four Ambassadors (801 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami). Ages 18 and up are welcome. Admission for each show costs $25 in advance, $15 for students, and $35 at the door plus a two-item minimum. Visit comiccure.com.
Broadway's fascination with rock 'n' roll has endured unabated over the past few decades, beginning with Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar and continuing more recently with musicals built around the sounds of the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys), Carole King (Beautiful), and Billy Joel (Movin' Out). Not surprisingly, then, the Great White Way found some ideal fodder in the unexpected encounter that led to what many music historians consider the greatest, albeit shortest-lived, supergroup of all time. Gathered under the auspices of the legendary producer and record label owner Sam Phillips, the so-called Million Dollar Quartet — Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash — converged at the legendary Sun Studios nearly 60 years ago and engaged in an impromptu jam that covered individual hits, country songs, gospel numbers, and popular standards of the day. Many decades later, Broadway did what it's inclined to do: take a magical moment and re-create it for the stage. Here again the formula succeeds, bringing Million Dollar Quartet both a Tony Award and a familiarity factor associated with a soundtrack of songs that became cornerstones of rock 'n' roll: "Blue Suede Shoes," "Great Balls of Fire," "I Walk the Line," "Fever," and "Hound Dog." It suffices to say this musical really does rock. Million Dollar Quartet runs at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) this Wednesday through January 1, 2017, with performances Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 to $64. Call 305-444-9293 or visit actorsplayhouse.org.