Race through the 305 with the Lifetime Miami Marathon and Half Marathon: See Sunday.
Race through the 305 with the Lifetime Miami Marathon and Half Marathon: See Sunday.
Miami Marathon/Life Time Fitness

The Ten Best Things to Do in Miami This Week

Friday, January 22

Usually, orchestra members dress in black formalwear. Though the fellows of the New World Symphony, America's orchestral academy, will likely follow that centuries-old tradition during Pulse: White Out the New World Symphony, they're encouraging audience members to do the reverse and wear white.

The New World Symphony is throwing a special whiteout edition of its twice-seasonal Pulse. The event blends classical and electronic music with alternating sets of each. The orchestra performs works by traditional composers such as Brahms, Beethoven, and Bach to the scene of original video art. In between, the Spam Allstars' DJ Le Spam spins more contemporary music that culminates in an end-of-the-night dance party. The two musical acts will actually perform one work together: the world premiere of an original work for DJ and orchestra, composed by chamber ensemble Nu Deco's Sam Hyken (who is also an NWS alumnus).

Additionally, members of the Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre will bring the flair of contemporary movement to the event. Pulse: White Out the New World Symphony takes place at the New World Center (500 17th St., Miami Beach) this Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $45. Call 305-673-3331 or visit nws.edu.

Once a month, the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center is home to the Comedy Zone. This time around, the program brings John Carfi to the stage.

A 30-year standup veteran, Carfi is the cleaner version of a dirty comic. He's still dark and sarcastic, but without all the four-letter bombs. Highlights of his long career include opening for Diana Ross for seven years, writing for Joan Rivers, and making several TV appearances. He has a rock-radio-DJ voice and jokes about ugly people and audiences in general. He's bound to deliver some good-natured ribbing that borders on mean before giving a wink.

The Comedy Zone, featuring John Carfi, will try to make the audience at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay) laugh all Friday night. The show begins with opener Rahn Hortman at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Call 786-573-5316 or visit smdcac.org.

See all the pretty things at the Gallery of Amazing Things: See Saturday.
See all the pretty things at the Gallery of Amazing Things: See Saturday.
Photo by Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock.com

With the holidays freshly over, some people might not want to look at a dessert ever again. But a little overindulgence is no match for an enduring sweet tooth, which makes the tenth-annual International Chocolate Festival pretty much Mecca to chocoholics everywhere.

Held at the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables), the chocolate festival brings a whole weekend of cocoa-covered decadence to Miami. Visitors can enjoy fine chocolate samples from artisan chocolatiers; catch lectures on chocolate-making and demonstrations from Miami's master chefs and chocolatiers; take the Chocowalk to learn about the life cycle of a cacao plant, with stops in Fairchild's rainforest; and experience much more. In addition to attending expert-led workshops and demonstrations, guests can visit the Tropical Fruit Pavilion to learn about the cacao harvest and create their own chocolate label at Kidway. At the "Wings of the Tropics" exhibit, thousands of exotic butterflies will flutter among hummingbirds and some of the world's most beautiful rare plants.

The International Chocolate Festival takes place this Friday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General-admission tickets cost $25. Call 305-667-1651 or visit fairchildgarden.org

Rolf Gates, a former social worker and U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, discovered yoga and meditation through a 12-step program he joined to combat addiction. Now, more than 20 years later, Gates is an author of yogic philosophy and one of the leading voices in yoga and meditation practice.

Gates will be at The Yoga Joint South this Friday through Sunday to lead three days of vinyasa workshops based on his latest book, Meditations on Intentions & Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga. He welcomes all who are interested — from the modern yogi to those with a new year's resolution to become one.

"Everyone is successful in these things," he says. "Whether you've had a few days of practice or more than 20 years [of experience], it's valuable for anyone. Being able to find the common ground between the two is the essence of education that I love."

The three-day workshop will add to what seasoned yogis and meditators already know and build a foundation for those without training. He will touch on themes such as stability, freedom, intention, being, faith, and flow.

A Vinyasa Weekend With Rolf Gates begins Saturday at The Yoga Joint South (1850 SE 17th St., #303, Fort Lauderdale). The full weekend costs $160, and individual sessions are $65 each. Call 954-764-7744.

Chocolate dreams come true in Coral Gables: See Friday.
Chocolate dreams come true in Coral Gables: See Friday.
Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Saturday, January 23

If there's one party Miami is very late to, it's day drinking. Los Angeles does it, Boston does it, and New York does it so much they even created a beer festival (Brooklyn Pour) honoring the habit. Finally, the Big Orange is catching up, with SaturDaze Drinking.

The folks at the Prism Music Group, along with the new Wynwood Yard, are ushering in a way to enjoy your Saturday afternoon — with plenty of booze and a special performance by the Magic City Hippies, followed by a DJ set by Arremer Jack of Electric Pickle. There's no better plug: "The weather's calming down, the new year is winding up, and things are getting chill." Head to the Wynwood Yard (56 NW 29th St., Miami) this Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. for a solid afternoon of day drinking in Miami. Admission is free with RSVP. Visit theprismmusicgroup.eventbrite.com

The Biltmore in Coral Gables is known for many things: opulence, extravagance, golf, and tourists, to name a few. Too often, though, the Biltmore is not remembered as the home of the longest-running theater company in South Florida. Founded in 1979, GableStage began as a Shakespeare company. This season, however, GableStage is presenting a range of works by both classical and contemporary playwrights.

It's Only a Play, written by Terrence McNally, represents the modern end of that range. Although It's Only a Play opened off-Broadway in 1982, it was revived in 2014 on Broadway. The play, which breaks the invisible fourth wall, tells the story of playwright Peter Austin. With his producer, director, and actors, Austin waits around for the first media reviews of their opening-night Broadway production, which will either make or break the struggling writer's career. The theater-themed comedy received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations last year. It's Only a Play runs at GableStage (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables) this Saturday through February 21 at various times. Tickets cost $45 to $60. Call 305-445-1119 or visit gablestage.org

Many Miamians' experience with art is limited to cruising Wynwood Walls and boozing at Basel. But murals and über-bizarre performance pieces are just the tip of the art-berg. There's a world of aesthetic options to explore.

Take ceramic and glass, for instance. Miami's second-annual International Ceramics and Glass Fair is dedicated to these marvelous mediums. The four-day fest will feature an impressive array of pottery and porcelain art, from the 19th Century through the glorious aughts.

Whether you're ceramics-curious or an expert collector, the lineup offers plenty of choices. Check out artist demos, master classes, expert lectures, discussion panels, and selling exhibitions. Oh, and there's nothing more fitting for Miami than an exhibition dedicated to art inspired by the sea: It's called "Splash."

If you're a high-roller, several swanky events in addition to the main fair, such as the Royal Tea and glass-fusing fun, are available at an extra cost.

The fair runs Saturday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gallery of Amazing Things (481 S. Federal Hwy., Dania Beach). General admission costs $10 and is good for all four days. Call 954-654-7739 or visit icgfair.com

Start your weekend with plenty of namaste vibes: See Friday.
Start your weekend with plenty of namaste vibes: See Friday.
Courtesy of Rolf Gates

Sunday, January 24

Extensive renovations often shutter local organizations, but the Bass Museum of Art isn't your average institution. Despite its main space being closed until this fall — massive design expansions take time, after all — it's business as usual at the Bass. Thanks to the efforts of a busy curatorial team, all of the beloved events held at the museum are still available, including Family Day, one of its most successful and longstanding IDEA programs.

Held as part of BassX at the Miami Beach Regional Library (227 22nd St., Miami Beach), Family Day was conceived to engage families in activities that encourage conversation, exploration, and experimentation through art. Among the activities are design challenges, activity guides for gallery exploration, and special guest artists and performers. During this Sunday's session, families will take inspiration from the outdoor art in Collins Park.

Family Day runs from 4 to 5 p.m. and is free to attend. Call 305-673-7530 or visit bassmuseum.org

Maybe your new year's resolution was losing ten pounds, eating more vegetables, or saving more money. If you're one of the thousands who pledged to take on the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon this Sunday, however, you win.

Formerly the ING Marathon and Half Marathon, the Lifetime Miami Marathon and Half Marathon is Miami's premier race, hosting more than 25,000 participants. Beginning at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), the 26.2-mile course takes athletes across the MacArthur Causeway — past landmarks such as Watson Island, PortMiami, Palm Island, Star Island, and Fisher Island — on their way to Miami Beach before looping back and finishing at Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). There, the Miami Marathon Finish Festival will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and athletes can refuel and rehydrate with water, bagels, pastries, and other treats. The festival will be filled with Miami Marathon sponsors and vendors offering samples of their products.

Gear check for the Miami Marathon and Half Marathon begins Sunday at 4:15 a.m., and the race starts at 6 a.m. Fees cost $170 per runner for the marathon and $130 for the half marathon. Medals and official finish times will be given to all participants who complete the race within seven hours. There's a minimum age of 14 for the half marathon and 16 for the full marathon. Visit themiamimarathon.com

See all the pretty things at the Gallery of Amazing Things: See Saturday.
See all the pretty things at the Gallery of Amazing Things: See Saturday.
Photo by Joseph Sohm via Shutterstock.com

Monday, January 25

It's often said how important it is to remember where you come from. The cities and people who help you grow are always a part of who you are and what you do, even if you leave them for far-away lands and loftier goals. That said, Miami isn't a place you can easily scrub off your mental, and why would you want to? It's a thriving metropolis of culture in a wild state of change, exactly the kind of place in which a literary mind can flourish.

And Miami is just the place for University of Miami alumnus Neil de la Flor. He stuck around after nabbing his degree and has since published two books — the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize-winning Almost Dorothy and the critically acclaimed and deeply personal An Elephant's Memory of Blizzards. He is also the head organizer of the Knight Foundation-supported series "Reading Queer," which aims to give the local LGBTQ community a source of inspiration and a voice heard 'round the world.

An active community member and brilliant wordsmith, he is taking his talents back to base as the guest performer at the University of Miami's Open Mic U Speak this Monday. The event is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). The author's books will be available for purchase, and his mind will be open for questions and advice. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.

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