Halloween lands on a Wednesday next week, but Miami has figured out a clever solution to the dreaded midweek-holiday conundrum: Start the festivities days before Halloween and celebrate every night until the following weekend. Costume parties are beginning this week, with offerings from Double Stubble and Gender Blender (because of course the city's top drag queens are ready to serve looks). If you're still shopping around for your costume, there's another shindig you can catch early this week: an election-themed block party at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Come for the food, music, and comedy; stay for the short walk to the Lemon City Library to cast your early vote.
Here are the best free events happening in Miami this week.
The queens of Double Stubble define "extra" with their over-the-top looks on any given Thursday, but you can expect them to bring the wildest makeup and outfits at this week's Halloween edition of the drag showcase. Double Stubble regulars also tend to slay their own looks off the stage, so it's likely everyone will bring the lewks this Thursday. This week's performers include Andro Gin, Opulence, Persephone Von Lips, and Vex the Thing. Bring the wigs and Halloween makeup: Don't disappoint the queens. 9 p.m. Thursday, October 25 at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; gramps.com. Admission is free.
Santa Barbara, California-based artist John Millei believes "it is not by what one chooses to paint, but how one paints it that brings about its meaning in a work." It's hard not to gawk at Millei's work, which often walks a captivating thin line between abstract and representative. His work is on display throughout the United States, Mexico, and even Thailand. And now his latest exhibition, "Interrogations," is at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, showing some of his brightest paintings from the past five years. Opening reception 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, October 25 at Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 1540 NE Miami Ct., Miami; snitzer.com. Admission is free.
Miami doesn't offer much in the way of stargazing. Between Downtown skyscrapers and the neon signs that light up South Beach, it's hard to catch a glimpse of most celestial bodies. But head down south to Homestead, where farmland and wineries have yet to be replaced by concrete, and a look up at the night sky can be breathtaking. Bring a blanket and a friend (or a date) to Fruit and Spice Park this Friday for their Fall Stargazing Event. Enjoy a bonfire, storytelling, refreshments, and a bright, full moon. 7 p.m. Friday, October 26 at Fruit and Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead; redlandfruitandspice.com. Admission is free.
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Your Halloween doesn't have to be a drag, but it can involve drag. The latest Looks: Miami evening, hosted by Regina Black, Jupiter Velvet, Aura Velvet, and Vex Garcia, boasts a Monster High theme. So get ready for a ghoulish and gal-filled time. Expect an open bar from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m., and performers such as Naomi Smalls, Miss Toto, Persephone, and Fka Twink will wow the costume-clad crowd. 10 p.m. Saturday at 1306, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 1306miami.com. Admission is free with RSVP.
Voting can be intimidating for first-timers, but once you're in the booth, it's quick and painless. You even get a free sticker at the end. Still, some folks need a little extra motivation to get them moving to the polls. Make voting a party this year with Engage Miami's Elections 2018 Block Party. Join local organizations Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, The Love Vote, The CLEO Institute, and Pridelines along with the Villain Theater for an afternoon of awareness, advocacy, music, and comedy. Start the party early with community canvassing beginning at 1 p.m. and stay until the end, when the group heads to the Lemon City Library to vote early. 3:30 p.m. Saturday, October 27 at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami; Admission is free.
If you're not hip to the queer party dominating the scene in Miami, let us introduce you to Gender Blender. The party promotes LGBTQ+ artists and promises to serve up a deliciously delightful time. This Sunday, the party will present its Halloween edition, including a costume contest with cash prizes, themed "Dystopian Future." Expect rocking live acts Devalued, Zygrot-24, Sandratz, Khuri, and the legendary Shelley Novak. Drag performances by Moda, Opulence Queen, and CC Glitzer are also planned. Whatever your gender, look, or sexual preference, you're welcome at New Times' 2018 pick for Miami's best queer party. To add to the fun, drinks will be 25 percent off all night, and the party is sponsored by Absolut Vodka. 10 p.m. Sunday at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; facebook.com/genderblendermiami. Admission is free.