The Ten Best Things to Do in Miami This Week

Thursday, March 10 
Miami is great and all, but there are few things we can call ours that hold international acclaim. One such thing is Del Toro Shoes. Miami native and local Matthew Chevallard (part American, part Italian) had the idea to create a luxury shoe line when he was still in high school. A mere 12 years after its inception, Del Toro Shoes has grown into a global brand adored by celebrities and elites everywhere. Dwyane Wade owns dozens of pairs, and GQ calls Del Toro its favorite slippers.

Now, with the Del Toro Sample Sale, plebeians like us can hope to own a pair. Select styles will be on sale for up to 85 percent off retail price, and regular-priced items in the boutique will be 15 percent off. The sample sale will be open to the public this Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wynwood store (2750 NW Third Ave., Suite 22). A special VIP preview will be held Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. Call 305-571-8253 or visit deltoroshoes.com

The first time I ever saw a Coheed and Cambria music video, my jaw hit the floor. Never before had I experienced such a dichotomy of sight and sound. Here was this bullish man, giant in stature and wielding an electric axe heavy enough to chop the tallest tower in half. Out of his mouth came this high-pitched roar, not unlike the famous stylings of Rush's Getty Lee. It was a rocking experience, and so was the music. As I came to know the New York band better, the layers of sound revealed a classic approach to songwriting and instrumentation mixed with a hardcore sensibility that finds fans in a variety of guitar junkies, whether it's metal they love or prog rock they prefer.

That was almost ten years ago, but Coheed and Cambria's sometimes fanciful and always crunchy brand of rock 'n' roll continues to sell out shows across the nation. It's a sound and an energy that's infectious and hook-ridden, and you can experience it for yourself when the band hits the stage at the Fillmore (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) this Thursday. Showtime is 8 p.m., and tickets cost $29.50 to $56.58. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.

Remember in 2009 when director James Cameron's Avatar in 3D made audiences go ooh and ahh in movie theaters? Prepare to ooh and ahh again as you experience Cirque du Soleil's Avatar-inspired show, Toruk: The First Flight. Much like the world of Pandora that Cameron created, performers in Toruk are painted blue and appear like graceful Na'vi as they glide across the stage. The show "is a living ode to the Na'vi's symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things," according to Cirque du Soleil. The plot features narration by a Na'vi storyteller as the characters enact the tale that takes place thousands of years before Avatar. "When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands."

Toruk: The First Flight will take up residence at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) this Thursday through Sunday. Showtimes vary, with Thursday night's performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $43 to $130. Visit ticketmaster.com

Friday, March 11
The official Frank Sinatra Centennial Celebration began December 12, 2015 — the date that America's beloved crooner would have turned 100 years old. While everyone from network television executives to local theater productions across the nation are participating in their own ways, the Arsht Center hosts another tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes, this time paying homage to his generational legacy. Frank Sinatra Jr. sings his famous father's biggest hits while backed by a big-band orchestra — members of which performed with the Rat Pack leader back in the day. Although a septuagenarian himself, Frank Jr. is poised to entertain by following in the footsteps of his father but also by telling firsthand stories about growing up with a legend.

Additionally, rare videos and other multimedia footage will be presented to honor Sinatra's wide-ranging legacy. Sinatra Sings Sinatra: A Multimedia Centennial Celebration takes place inside the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) this Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $130. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden presents the 14th-annual International Orchid Festival, featuring numerous exhibits, 30 tabletop displays designed by the Orchid Society of Coral Gables, interactive lectures, delicious food, and other fun for the whole family. Plants from local and international merchants will be on display, and you can grab handmade products from artisan vendors. You can also take an Orchid Odyssey Journey through places like the Simons Rainforest and Tropical Fruit Village, or perhaps visit the Wings of the Tropics exhibit, where you can enjoy thousands of exotic butterflies, hummingbirds, and fish. Among the various lectures are expert-led walking tours through the rainforest. Who knew there was so much to do involving orchids?

The Orchid Festival celebrates the Million Orchid Project, whose goal is to reintroduce a million native orchids into South Florida within five years. The festival runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables). Tickets cost $12 to $25. Call 305-667-1651 or visit fairchildgarden.org

Saturday, March 12

With inspirational stories and memorable performances, the New World Symphony (NWS) is celebrating its milestone of 1,000 alumni with a gala that includes cocktails, dinner, and a show. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, along with Ted and Lin Arison, cofounded NWS, America's Orchestral Academy, to prepare graduates in prominent music programs that give comprehensive experience in the world of classical music. NWS's highly competitive and prestigious fellowships allow students' passions — as well as talents — to flourish as they maximize their opportunity in state-of-the-art facilities. With alumni working in operas, orchestras, symphonies, and other projects all over the country, NWS boasts alumni successes in various areas, from violin and percussion to conducting and audio engineering.

Malcolm McDowell, star of Mozart in the Jungle, will MC this black-tie event. The New World Symphony 28th Anniversary Gala begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the New World Center (500 17th St., Miami Beach). Single tickets start at $2,500. Call 305-428-6777 or visit news.edu

After a successful inaugural fair, Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan C. Zapata and Florida Sen. Anitere Flores present the second-annual West End Art Fair, featuring exhibits by artists and schools in the area, which boasts 200,000-plus residents. For example, Miami Arts Studio at Zelda Glaser seventh-grader Ana Mendoza created the artwork for the poster advertisement. You can learn about not only the cultural characteristics of Miami-Dade County but also the educational and community programs that help bring out the talents in the area.

The West End Art Fair runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on SW 158th Avenue between Kendall Drive and SW 96th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade. Free parking is available in the grass lot, or you can take advantage of the complimentary bicycle valet. Admission is free. Call 305-375-5511 or visit facebook.com/commissionerjuanczapata

Sunday, March 13

Elephants are amazing. The largest land animals in the world, they cry, hug (with their trunks), play, and pay homage to their dead. They're like humans — but without the cruelty, vindictiveness, and greed.

Tragically, if poaching continues, this remarkable species could be wiped out in ten years (so says the African Wildlife Foundation). And though it's probably unrealistic for you to quit your day job and move to Africa to join the conservation efforts, there's an easier way to assist these amazing animals: by showing off your classic car, for instance, or gawking at other people's sweet rides during Zoo Miami's Cars 4 Conservation. It's a full day of showcasing the coolest of cars, tunes, animals, and more. Bring your own ride, or just come and check out the wheels you wish you had. All proceeds will benefit elephant conservation, so your good time will help save these gentle giants.

The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday at Zoo Miami (1 Zoo Blvd., Miami). Tickets cost $30 for general registration and $50 for exclusive registration. Call 305-251-0400 or visit zoomiami.org/cars4conservation. 

Although a lot of drunken revelers like to pretend otherwise, Miami sidewalks are not designated party zones. There's one time of year when culture lovers and the wildest of locals can truly cut loose, however. At the annual Calle Ocho Festival, all are welcome to celebrate Hispanic cultures from around the world with live music, street performers, and seemingly endless food vendors.

An internationally renowned block party and part of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana's ten-day Carnaval Miami fiesta, Calle Ocho draws thousands to the neighborhood of Little Havana, where you can visit fruit stands, art galleries, Cuban restaurants, cigar shops, and other places. In addition to enjoying the sights and authentic Latin flavors, patrons are invited to dance in the streets with performers, form their own conga lines, and catch performances at different stages, where everything from merengue and reggaeton to bachata and hip-hop will play throughout the day. Raising both the famous and handsome factors of the festivities, Cuban-born film star Andy Garcia will reign as this year's King of Carnaval Miami. A longtime music lover, Garcia will perform with his Cuban band, the CineSon All Stars. Garcia and his group have performed at venues around the world, including Radio City Music Hall, Nokia Theatre, Spoleto Music Festival, and Conga Room.

The 39th-annual Calle Ocho Festival takes place Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on SW Eighth Street from Eighth and to 27th avenues in Little Havana. Admission is free. Call 305-644-8888 or visit carnavalmiami.com

Wednesday, March 16

The arts inspire. They unite. They engage. And Miami's Knight Foundation knows the importance of fostering them in the community. The nonprofit presents the Knight Arts Community Conversation (KACC), a series that raises awareness about the annual Knight Arts Challenge. Leading up to Monday, April 4, when the Knight Foundation begins to accept applications for its annual contest, KACC talks will act as a precursor to get the community pumped.

Every year, the South Florida-based initiative offers winners a piece of the $8 million prize to those who submit the best ideas for the arts in Miami, Detroit, St. Paul, and Akron. At each of the conversations, a former Knight Arts Challenge winner, along with a representative of the Knight Foundation, will speak. Those interested in applying for a grant will benefit most from KACC, because attendees can ask questions and bounce ideas off former winners and Knight Foundation staff.

The first KACC takes place this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Freedom Tower (600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Speakers participating in the inaugural talk are Hattie Mae Williams of the Tattooed Ballerinas, Susan Caraballo of Feast Miami, and Hannah Nicholas of the Alt Default. Events continue through March. For a complete schedule, visit knightfoundation.org

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