This week looks bright and sunny, with plenty of things to keep you busy. From theater to music, outdoor yoga, and the return of the Dude, Miami is your oyster. Get out there and enjoy your city.
While most of the country tucks into a good book trapped indoors on rainy days, Miamians get to take their stories to the beach and pool. Traveling pop-up bookstore Exile Books is making summer reading even more enticing with its monthlong installation, Exile Summers, at the Standard (40 Island Ave., Miami Beach), where the company highlights different local publishing projects and independent presses. This Thursday, Exile will welcome Jai Alai Books, the indie literary publishing outfit established by O, Miami founder P. Scott Cunningham. Though originally envisioned as a poetry publisher, Jai Alai has expanded to include a range of literary material that captures the essence of Miami. Browsers at the Standard will get the chance to chat with Cunningham and creative director Seth Labenz.
Summer is all about swimming, and what better place to take to the water than Miami, where it's hotter than Hades and surrounded by H2O? Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is out to take bikini season to a whole new level. Along with lots of cities across the world, the county is on a mission to help set a Guinness record for World's Largest Swimming Lesson. As part of the effort, 500 children ages 6 to 14, all of whom are enrolled in summer Learn-to-Swim classes at Miami-Dade Parks pools, will gather this Thursday at 10 a.m.
The idea (in addition to gaining a piece of Guinness glory) is to raise awareness for drowning prevention. Florida has the second-highest number of drowning incidents in the United States, and Miami-Dade leads the state in deaths. Clearly, kids need some swimming skills in their lives. So check out the record-breaking action, and maybe enroll your kid in swim classes while you're at it.
The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at various pools around Miami-Dade County, including A.D. "Doug" Barnes Pool, Arcola Pool, Goulds Pool, Gwen Cherry Park, Helen Sands Pool, Little River Pool, Naranja Pool, Palm Springs North Pool, Rockway Pool, Sgt. Joseph Delancy Pool, Tamiami Pool, and Tropical Estates Pool. Visit miamidade.gov/parks and worldslargestswimminglesson.org or call 305-755-7800.
These days, intense videogaming is a norm for youngsters. Children fiercely manage controllers that lead them into fantasy worlds. In Deborah Zoe Laufer's Leveling Up, videogames are the life of three 20-something characters who master the gaming world by playing nonstop from their Las Vegas home. Playing for pure entertainment, however, turns into an offer for one of the friends to work for the National Security Agency, and humor ensues. As he uses his gaming skills to develop real battle tools with actual consequences, the friends realize the bold difference between their virtual and real worlds. The engaging characters and a funny plot combine in a moving performance for audiences of all ages.
Leveling Up will be performed Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 5:30 p.m. at the Lab Theater inside the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay). Tickets cost $26 in advance or $31 at the box office. Visit smdcac.org or call 786-573-5300.
Summer can feel pretty slow in Miami. With temperatures rising and calendars coming up empty, what's a dater to do? South Beach is boring, and Art Walk is so 2012. Instead of the usual suspects, try taking your latest bae to the Deering Estate at Cutler's Cabaret Concert Series.
The summer-long lineup of intimate shows takes place in the estate's charming, historic Stone House Ballroom — a perfectly romantic setting for a sultry night. The series kicks off with the dulcet tones of Chloe Dolandis, a jazz, pop, and soul singer-songwriter. Arrive early (not Miami time, folks) and bring drinks, snacks, and maybe a romantic surprise or two. Summer lovin' is the seasonal theme, after all.
The gate opens Saturday at 7 p.m., and the concert kicks off at 8 at the Deering Estate's Stone House Ballroom (16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay). Tickets cost $20 per concert or $55 for the three-concert series. Visit deeringestate.org or call 305-235-1668, ext. 233.
What makes a man king of his domain? Kings rise above the common man and set a shining example for others. They cannot be bested. They set the standards. They are supreme.
There isn't much room for kings in politics anymore, but there are certainly men and women staking their claim as royalty in the arts and entertainment worlds, and when it comes to the lovely, heartsick kingdom of bachata, Romeo Santos is el rey. The New York-born singer, songwriter, record producer, composer, and actor got his start early as lead singer of the beloved group Aventura. Santos and Aventura helped take the Dominican style of music around the globe. The hit song "Obsesión" held the number one spot on the Italian charts for 16 weeks. In 2009, Santos was invited to sing at the White House for President Obama. In 2011, he left Aventura to begin what would become an even more successful solo career. On his own, he has earned 15 number one singles and recently broke the record for most Latin Billboard Award nominations with a head-turning 21 nods.
While he makes his silver-screen debut across the nation in Furious 7, you can also catch the man live at one of two headlining performances Saturday and Sunday at American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Showtimes are 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $49 to $139. Call 786-777-1000 or visit aaarena.com.
Pop culture has bred a legion of wannabe fashion moguls. Maybe you grew up determined to be Sue Ellen Crandell, designing it up while Mom was out of town and throwing a totally outrageous '80s fashion show. Or perhaps your modern idol is Kanye West and you've got the same tunnel-vision approach to the best looks of all time. All Miami fashion lovers will get the chance to hone their creativity during FP: Sketch at Fashion Project, an experimental space in Bal Harbour Shops that approaches fashion and the culture surrounding it.
Designing women and men ages 12 and up are invited to an afternoon of sketching inspired by the items on view in Fashion Project's current exhibition, "FP02: Morphing." Visual artist Carlos Prado will be on hand to guide attendees with all levels of experience in subject matters ranging from the exhibition's unique design to experimental works from the past century on view, including pieces by Léon Bakst, Elsa Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen, and others.
FP: Sketch will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at Fashion Project (9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour). All drawing materials will be provided, and admission is free. Call 786-245-2200 or visit fashionprojectbhs.com.
As a TV presenter, Brad Meltzer has covered political and historical mysteries. As an author, he has pioneered writer/reader relations with one of the earliest forays into author websites in the '90s. As a comic-book writer, he broke the 50/50 split of acclaim and derision with 2005's Identity Crisis miniseries for DC, and as a father, he has written inspirational nonfiction about historical figures. Meltzer, a Brooklyn native, was raised in South Florida and graduated from North Miami Beach Senior High.
For his tenth full-length novel, The President's Shadow, Meltzer turns his eyes toward Florida and marries his obsessive love for history and the psychology of presidential assassination in a yarn involving his young hero, Beecher White, in Lincoln's assassination, which has its cornerstone at Fort Jefferson, a massive fortress in Dry Tortugas National Park. With a history beginning after Florida's sale to the United States, Fort Jefferson guarded against piracy and maintained inmates; it gained renown when it housed Samuel Arnold, Edmund Spangler, Dr. Samuel Mudd, and Michael O'Laughlen, four of the conspirators in the assassination.
Meltzer, who could easily give in to the paranoid excesses of his machinations, has always managed a good grip on his stories. A healthy dose of suspension of disbelief might be required, but his research for his novels can usually be trusted, not entirely for accuracy but for accurately fictionalizing events.
Hear him discuss the novel at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408 or visit booksandbooks.com.
Miami Dade College Museum of Art + Design gears up for another GOGO MOAD!, a monthly event focused on engaging families in art and art-making. This month's workshop is Islands for My Family. The museum invites families to explore the work of Florencio Gelabert, particularly the sculpture Islands for a Friend, which he exhibited at the 2012 Havana Biennial. Made of urban waste and other found objects such as tree branches, Gelabert's floating "islands" were anchored along the coast of Cuba. The work was a witty commentary that played with the ideas of garbage and the Cuban diaspora.
GOGO MOAD! asks parents and children alike to think about how Gelabert's piece works within their own senses of family and home. Participants are invited to choose from a variety of materials provided by the museum and create their own "floating islands" to take home. They're also encouraged to bring family photographs they're willing to alter and incorporate into their own artwork.
GOGO MOAD! takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Freedom Tower (600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Admission is free. Visit mdcmoad.org or call 305-237-7700.
Few cult classics are as instantly recognizable as The Big Lebowski. If the film were a Taboo party-game word, its card might read "Bowling." White Russians. Marmot. Steve Buscemi. The Dude. Even with those clues out, you'd most likely have no problem describing the 1998 movie that has spawned countless memes, quote T-shirts, and legions of douchey fans of the Coen Brothers.
Despite its overexposure, the flick remains a must-see for budding cinephiles everywhere, and Miami film lovers will get their chance at a free screening, graciously sponsored by Actors' Playhouse. Patrons can enjoy White Russians (the Dude's signature libation) while watching the sprawling noir-Western, a surreal journey featuring killer performances by John Goodman, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, and, of course, Jeff Bridges.
On the longest day of the year, put some soul in your yoga practice at the second-annual Summer Soulstice. "Summer solstice" is universe talk for the day the sun is at its peak, shining brighter and longer than it does the other 364 days. To celebrate Miami's endless summer, yogi veteran and stretch master Cat Van Haayen has created a free event that replicates and is synchronized with the one in Times Square that draws about 11,000 yogis getting their downward dog on.
So whether you're doing one-legged chaturanga dandasanas or still trying to figure out what that means, head to the whimsical Miami Beach Botanical Gardens (200 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach) Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for one hour of release for the mind, body, and soul, followed by a guitar performance by local musician Nacho Londono. In need of a new mat? The first 200 attendees will score a free one, along with the chance to walk away with a $200 Athleta gift card that will be raffled off. We believe the correct term is "namaste."