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The Ten Best Things to Do in Miami This Week

Thursday, July 7
Miami is well known for a number of things, including, but not limited to, finicky weather, thumping nightlife, and unbearable traffic. Less celebrated is the fact that, as the gateway to Latin America, Miami also serves as an artistic epicenter that both draws in and exports diverse and influential works of art. Few events celebrate the impact Hispanic actors, directors, playwrights, and visual artists have had on the city and beyond better than Miami's International Hispanic Theatre Festival, now in its 31st year. Running from Thursday through July 24, the festival will be held at several different locations including the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) and MDCA's On.Stage Black Box Theatre (222 NE 25th St. #102, Miami). These plays — performed in Spanish (some with subtitles) alongside a bilingual puppet show for kids – explore universal themes such family, love, intolerance, religion, sex, and death. As part of the festival's mission to share the power of art and the brilliance of Hispanic artists with every generation, the festival will celebrate International Children's Day, July 17, with hours of arts and crafts, face painting, and workshops meant to bring Spanish-speaking youth into the theatrical community. The festival's reach extends across cultures as well with the debut of El Puerto de los Cristales Rotos (Harbor of Broken Dreams). The play, cowritten and directed by festival founder Mario Ernesto Sánchez, is based on the doomed 1939 voyage of the MS St. Louis, in which 937 Jewish refugees sought to escape Hitler's grasp but were ultimately turned away by Cuba, the U.S., and Canada. Visit teatroavante.org, or call 305-445-1301.

Life as a young entrepreneur is hard. Building a future for yourself and your family that takes into account the needs of your community is tiring AF. Entrepreneurs deserve a day off or four – and make that five days in paradise. Since 2007, Miami Takeover has given urban entrepreneurs the chance to network and blow off steam in the 305's tropical wonderland. From Thursday to Monday, Takeover-ists can attend tons of events including Eddie Bryant's #MTO2016 Comedy Fest at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), Friday morning's beachside Fitness Takeover (1741 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), Saturday's Sexy on the Beach Pool Party (National Hotel, 1677 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), and more. Dedicated entrepreneurs who want to have fun and make a difference have the chance to give back by participating in a cleanup on the beach and a dental screening for kids at the Overtown Youth Foundation. Tickets to all events can be purchased a la carte or in bulk and cost $20 to $160 plus fees. Check online for more info on partner hotels and travel packages. Call 954-609-0566, or visit themiamitakeover.com.

Friday, July 8

Classically trained string specialists are hard to find these days, especially in South Florida. But the innovative duo Black Violin has managed to flourish in its role as a classical group, even in a region not known for its commitment to orchestral endeavors. Fort Lauderdale-raised Kev Marcus and Wil B — violinist and violist, respectively — got their start doing hip-hop covers, but after winning Amateur Night at the Apollo in Harlem in front of a notoriously demanding crowd, they knew they were developing a winning formula. Their mix of hip-hop and classical caught the ear of Alicia Keys, who invited them to play alongside her at the Billboard Awards. Marcus and B have also collaborated with Wu-Tang and Linkin Park, all while touring about 200 cities a year. Black Violin even had the honor of playing for the first family at President Obama's second inauguration in 2013. Recently, the duo released Stereotypes, which both explored the limits of their musical tools and promoted social consciousness, 'cause music is so much better when it has a soul. Culture Shock Miami is bringing Black Violin's talents to the stage at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Miami), where they will be joined by cohorts on the turntables and skins. The best part is earlier that day, they'll have played for Miami-Dade County Public School students, emphasizing the importance of musical education. Style and substance — always a winning combination. Black Violin, presented by Culture Shock Miami, starts at 8 p.m. this Friday. Tickets cost $5 for ages 13-22, $10 for youths, and $20-$45 for adults. Call 786-573-5300, or visit cultureshockmiami.com and smdcac.org.

Saturday, July 9

How do you know when summer is in full swing in Miami? Sunset-hued orbs start falling from the sky by the barrels-full. There's mango for breakfast, mango for dinner, mango for midnight snacks. Mango trades, mango cocktails — mangoes baking on the sidewalk and being devoured by ants from Pinecrest to Miami Shores. It's mango season, all right, and as usual, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami) is about to give this famous fruit the tribute it deserves. The 24th annual International Mango Festival runs all weekend, and this year's politically timely theme is "Mangos of Cuba." There's mango-themed fun for all ages. Attendees can see all the colors of the mango rainbow at the Mangos of the World Display; taste fresh mangoes for $2; buy special specimens of mango trees; check out gardening and cooking demos; bid on the rarest of fruits at the mango auction; and eat their way through Mangoville. Like Christmas, mango-mania comes but once a year. Don't miss it. The festival runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission costs $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 6 to 17, and is free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. Visit fairchildgarden.org/mango or 305-667-1651.

Not all art hangs on a wall. Sometimes, it moves. And in especially exciting instances, art happens live and in person. Moving Art ATL decided to explore this concept further back in the spring of 2015, fusing yoga and art. And now, the Georgia collective is bringing it to Miami with a few more—shall we say—moving parts. In addition to yoga, Moving Art ATL: Miami Edition, the organization's fifth regional edition, also includes live body painting and performance art. Yogis, athletes, body painters, dancers, artistic vendors, and more share the commonalities of their individualized expression while DJ Empress Rah provides the soundtrack. Come to stretch your body and mind. Moving Art ATL's Miami Edition takes place at the Wynwood Warehouse Project (450 NW 27th Ave., Miami) this Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-576-1105 or visit movingartatl.com.

Miami is too flat. You need a big mountain of dirt to conquer. Not sand. Real, grainy, earthy clods of mom's least favorite hanger-on. If this sounds like your inner biking monologue, you're in luck. Saturday kicks off the two-day mound massacre that is the Dirt Devils Mountain Bike Festival, presented by Velosport Events and Specialized Bikes and Bike Tech, AKA your chance to kick it nasty style and race the dirtiest among us at the beautiful Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trails (Arthur Lamb Junior Rd., Miami). All levels are welcome from first-timers to experts, including children who like to get down and dirty on the tracks. The event kicks off Saturday with a kids' meet-up and open Dirt Crit at 2 p.m. All levels race the same relatively flat loop for a different number of laps. Sunday kicks off early at 9 a.m. with a full day of racing at all levels. Tickets range from $10 to $80, though kids 13 and under race for free. Visit ridedirtdevils.com.

For most Miamians, Stiltsville is nothing more than local legend. We've all read about it, viewed it from afar, and heard stories of the mythical parties those propped-up houses used to host. But actually seeing the stilted homes up close? That experience is harder to come by. For locals without boat friends, though, that time is now. Join Miami's historian extraordinaire, Dr. Paul George, on a boat ride to the infamous locale. Throughout the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, Stiltsville was the scene — a water-bound playground for Miami's rich and famous, once home to Crawfish Eddie's and the Bikini Club. Cruise past the Cape Florida Lighthouse and hear Dr. George tell the story of how the once-thriving community of Stiltsville dwindled to seven homes. Pretend you've traveled back in time to the sexy, iconic days of Miami's golden decades. High-waisted bikinis are back in style, so hey, you can dream. The Stiltsville tour kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Bayside Marketplace (401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets run from $25 to $60. Call 305-375-1492.

Sunday, July 10

Craving chef-driven barbecue paired with spirited beverages galore? Then get ready to chow down at Edukos BBQ & Brew bash. Held at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden (2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach), the restaurant pop-up will feature Venezuelan-inspired eats by chef Jose Marmol, showcasing the best of Edukos' culinary concept. The Latin American tavern will pair dinner plates with sparkling cocktails and four craft beer samples. Along with the grub, guests will be given a tour of the garden as well as an afternoon filled with live music and summertime vibes. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Your attendance also supports Edukos, which plans to offer more pop-ups throughout the summer while it works through its startup phase. (It's in the process of securing funding for a permanent location in Miami.) Edukos BBQ & Brew takes place this Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $55. Visit mbgarden.org.

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Tuesday, July 12

When was the last time you listened to someone tell you a story? Sure, you read stories in books and on digital devices. You listen to podcasts or watch segments on the news. But the art of watching people tell stories live onstage has become more rare with each new technological advance. The Moth, a New York-based storytelling collective, hopes to change that. Since its founding in 1997, the Moth has presented live storytelling shows in over two dozen cities. This Tuesday, the Moth presents Miami StorySLAM — an open-mike storytelling competition — with the theme of neighborhoods. Founder, director, and producer of the Front Yard Theatre Collective Gabriela Fernandez hosts this month's event as participants each tell a five-minute story about a Miami neighborhood. Guests can hop onstage to deliver their stories or just grab a cocktail from the lobby and enjoy the show. The Moth's Miami StorySLAM takes place at the Olympia Theater (174 E. Flagler St., Miami) Tuesday at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-374-2444, or visit olympiatheater.org.

Wednesday, July 13

In 1991, Mike Myers created a recurring skit on Saturday Night Live called "Coffee Talk" and dressed up as the show's perpetual guest host, Linda Richman. She was a middle-aged, stereotypical New York Jew who was obsessed with Barbra Streisand. In fact, Richman dedicated each episode to, in her opinion, the greatest actress of all time: Barbra Streisand. Like that classic sketch, Buyer & Cellar, an award-winning Broadway play by Jonathan Tolins, is inspired by reality but is wholly a work of fiction. And like "Coffee Talk," it pokes fun at Streisand while simultaneously revering the legendary singer and film star. Set in the basement of Streisand's Malibu home, the story follows an unemployed actor, Alex More, as he spends his day working at the personal plaza created by the Grammy winner to house all her various possessions, including dolls and antique clothes. The mall actually exists; it's chronicled by Streisand's 2010 coffee-table book, My Passion for Design. What's unreal is the degree of difficulty required of any performer assuming the role of Alex. The one-man show is notable for both its clever comedy and because whoever assumes the role of Alex must morph into his boyfriend Barry, James Brolin, Oprah Winfrey, Bea Arthur, and, of course, the Funny Girl herself, Streisand. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) hosts Buyer & Cellar Wednesday through August 7. Call 305-444-9293, or visit actorsplayhouse.org.

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