Is it time for Art Basel yet? Well, not quite. But as any self-respecting Miamian will tell you, every great party requires some pregaming. So you'll find plenty of pre-Basel events happening around town over the next few days. "The Art of Banksy," on display at Magic City Studios beginning this Saturday, is sure to be a popular option for tourists and locals alike. But if Basel traffic isn't your thing (and who would blame you?), you might want to skip town to spend the weekend on Fort Lauderdale Beach for this year's three-day Riptide Music Festival, featuring performances by the Jacksons, Cold War Kids, Panic! at the Disco, and many other acts.
Here are the best events happening in Miami this weekend.
My, how the Riptide Music Festival has grown. Born a couple of years ago as a comparatively small music shindig, this Fort Lauderdale Beach fest has blossomed into quite the experience. This year's Riptide spans three days, including a nostalgic Friday with the Jacksons, Sugarhill Gang, Sheila E., and others; modern rock Saturday with Panic! At the Disco, Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, and many others; and a '90s-rock-loaded Sunday with 311, Live, Collective Soul, Third Eye Blind, and others. Don't forget your sunscreen. Friday, November 30, through Sunday, December 2, at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; riptidefest.com. Tickets cost $90 to $4,900.
Miami Motel Stories made its debut last year in Little Havana. Now the immersive theater experience crafted by Juggerknot Theatre Company is hitting the MiMo District. The Gold Dust Motel will be transformed into a nostalgic hot spot, with rooms morphed into time-stamped stories played out by the theater company. Among the experiences you can absorb at the motel are a 1957 tiki party, an intro with the neighborhood's bookie, and a cup of joe in the diner. 8:45, 9:30, and 10:15 p.m. Friday, November 30, and select dates through Sunday, December 23, at the Gold Dust by Selina, 7700 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; miamimotelstories.com. Admission costs $45 to $75.
Virtual reality, augmented reality, and related tech are here to stay. Some of the leaders in the art forms, as well as journalism, filmmaking, technology and immersive theatre, are hitting town for the weeklong FilmGate Interactive Media Festival. There will be talks by staff from Magic Leap, Vice, the Washington Post, Vox Media, and the New York Times, as well as VR and interactive experiences. 7 p.m. Friday, November 30, at Silverspot Cinema, 300 SE Third St., #100, Miami; eventbrite.com. Tickets cost $10 to $200.
Paper. The compass. Alcohol. What do all of these things have in common? They all originated in China. There may be no better place in South Florida to celebrate Chinese culture than at the Miami Lantern Light Festival. There will be Chinese food, acrobatic performances, handmade souvenirs from artisans, and a ton of fun activities for kids. And, yes, there will be lanterns to light, symbolizing the future and the reunion of family. 5 p.m. Friday, November 30, and Thursdays through Sundays until January 20 at the Fair Expo Center, 10901 Coral Way, Miami; lanternlightfestival.com. Tickets cost $18 to $49.
Cheers to the beards! Concrete Beach Brewery has partnered with Care Resource to raise support and awareness for men's health and suicide prevention. Come out to Brews for Beards for an evening of chilled beer, music, and games. Grab a fake mustache and take some shots in a photo booth; then watch SunGhosts perform live. Brew Grooming will be in the Social Hall with beer-ingredient-infused products to make sure you're looking right. Through the night, $1 from every pint of Havana Lager and Sola IPA sold will be donated to Care Resource. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, November 30, at Concrete Beach Brewery, 325 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-796-2727; concretebeachbrewery.com.
Baseball season is still months away, but you can get up close and personal with your favorite Miami Marlins players at their 2018 Holiday Block Party at Giralda Plaza this Friday. Players Lewis Brinson, Pablo López, and Nick Wittgren will be joined by alumnus Gaby Sanchez as fans check out a baseball-themed art installation and photo opps on the plaza. Bring the music fans in your life along for performances by hometown favorites Yoli Mayor and Palo! 6 p.m. Friday, November 30, at Giralda Plaza, 100 Block Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; marlins.com. Admission is free.
Dance NOW! Miami's 19th season is kicking off on a strong note. At the core of its Program I performance is a one-of-a-kind work from the Jamaican-bred, Miami-raised choreographer Christopher Rudd. His latest work will make its world premiere as part of the contemporary dance program. Also, slated for Saturday evening are renditions of Salterini & Baumgarten's Random Patterns of Falling Leaves and Salterini's Melody in Four Parts: Just Travelling. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, December 1, at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; colonymb.org. Tickets cost $35.
Looking for a new food-and-drink festival? Enter Two World's Beer & Wine Experience, debuting at Little River Studios with food from local shops and a diverse selection of Old- and New-World beer and wine. Expect beer and wine samplings, unlimited bites, and entertainment activations such as music and photo opportunities. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 1, at Little River Studios, 300 NE 71st St., Miami; twoworldsbeerandwine.com. Tickets start at $10 via eventbrite.com.
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The famously anticapitalist graffiti artist Banksy doesn't often offer his art for sale, but that hasn't stopped some enterprising (and, critics say, ethically bankrupt) collectors from profiting from his work. "The Art of Banksy," an exhibit curated by Steve Lazarides, will make its U.S. premiere Saturday. On display will be the England-bred artist's paintings, sculptures, prints, and pranks. Among the iconic pieces you can check out at the exhibit are Girl With Balloon, Flag Wall Room, and Flower Thrower. Saturday, December 1, through February 28, 2019, at Magic City Studios, 6301 NE Fourth Ave., Miami; banksyexhibit.com. Adult tickets cost $35.99 to $39.99, and various discounts are available.
South Florida may not have snowflakes and falling leaves, but it does have a life-size gingerbread house — and you can dine inside it throughout December. Burlock Coast at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale revived its annual gingerbread house, which is made from scratch with cinnamon and spice, 1,000 pounds of dough, and more than 1,400 bricks and 1,000 shingles. Request the Holly Jolly Gingerbread Dining Experience to enjoy a curated menu of dinner and drinks inside the festive structure. You might even get a visit from Santa — if you're nice, of course. Sunday, December 2, through Sunday, December 23, at Burlock Coast at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-465-2300; burlockcoast.com. Prices vary.
Between its questionable, made-for-Instagram pop-up activations and culture of shameless self-promotion, Art Basel can get pretty self-indulgent. So you'll be glad to know you can still attend art shows that serve a greater good and foster the next generation of artists. More than 50 artists painted unique, custom holiday ornaments for this Sunday's Happy Holidays Wynwood art show. Its silent auction will benefit Artcares for Kids, a nonprofit that provides art therapy for children undergoing cancer treatment at local hospitals. Proceeds from Sunday's show will go toward purchasing art supplies for the children. 4 p.m. Sunday, December 2, at Wynwd Shop, 181 NW 25th St., Miami. Admission is free.