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Luminosa Festival of Lights brings stunning displays to Jungle Island beginning in October.EXPAND
Luminosa Festival of Lights brings stunning displays to Jungle Island beginning in October.
Zigong Lantern Group

The Best Cultural Events in Miami for the 2019-20 Season

October


If you can’t snap a mesmerizing Instagram photo from 34 beautifully crafted lantern exhibits, well, that’s on you.

Luminosa Festival of Lights

will make the Jungle Island grounds glow this fall in a partnership with the Chinese lantern festival heavyweights Zigong Lantern Group and China Lantern International. This is the real deal, with more than a million LED lights and stunningly colorful silk lanterns handmade by Chinese artisans. Spanning 34 acres, the festival includes displays that pay homage to the 305, such as Biscayne Bay-themed and Wynwood-street-art-inspired displays.

October 5 through January 8 at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami; 305-400-7000; jungleisland.com.
Miami City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.EXPAND
Miami City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.
Photo by Alexander Iziliaev

Highlights of Miami City Ballet's 34th season include company premieres of George Balanchine’s Firebird and Tony-winning choreographer Justin Peck's Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes. The season opener, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, was originally featured at the end of Rodgers and Hart's Broadway musical On Your Toes. The theatrical work will set the bar high for a season jam-packed with a diverse repertoire of contemporary and classic works. October 18 through April 26 at various locations across South Florida; 305-929-7010; miamicityballet.org.

Here's Johnny! See Ring of Fire beginning in October at Actors' Playhouse.EXPAND
Here's Johnny! See Ring of Fire beginning in October at Actors' Playhouse.
Photo by Os Galindo

There’s never a bad time for a little Johnny Cash. For more than a month this fall, Ring of Fire will own the stage at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, loaded with some of the icon’s biggest hits. From “A Boy Named Sue” to “I Walk the Line,” a cast of five actor/singer/musician-extraordinaires keep Cash’s music alive for a new generation. There’s also a great story, spanning themes of family, struggle, love, and redemption. October 30 through December 8 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293; actorsplayhouse.org.

Nu Deco Ensemble is moving to a new home this season.
Nu Deco Ensemble is moving to a new home this season.
Photo by Alex Markow

With its innovative take on classical music, Nu Deco Ensemble will hit new musical heights in its fifth season, beginning October 11. The season debut is set to happen in the ensemble's new state-of-the-art home base, the Citadel in Little Haiti. This genre-bending playlist includes music from artists such as Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, and Earth, Wind & Fire. The inaugural performance will include a special collaboration with the multiplatinum Grammy-winning superstar Wyclef Jean. October 11 through May 16 at the Citadel, 8300 NE Second Ave., Miami; Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; and the North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-702-0116; nu-deco.org.

The Miami Book Fair's popular street fair returns this November.
The Miami Book Fair's popular street fair returns this November.
Miami Book Fair

November


It’s time for another

Miami Book Fair

. The 36th edition of the beloved community event kicks off the week before Thanksgiving, and there's much to be thankful for this year. Billed as “the nation’s oldest and largest literary gathering,” the fair will welcome more than 500 authors, including U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, journalist Alex Kotlowitz, and novelist Sarah Blake. In addition to purchasing your new favorite reads, count on author Q&As, autograph sessions, and pop-up activations too.

November 17 through 24 at various locations throughout Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Borscht Film Festival's 2011 edition at the Adrienne Arsht Center.EXPAND
Borscht Film Festival's 2011 edition at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
Photo by Ciara Osorio

After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the cult-favorite Borscht Film Festival returns this November to show innovative films by emerging artists telling Miami's stories, often through an avant-garde lens. The non-profit, Miami-centric organization funds six to 12 short films that are then screened at the festival. In previous years, works shown at Borscht have gone on to be screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the Tribeca Film Festival. November 15 through 24 at multiple venues throughout South Florida; 786-588-4594; borsc.ht.

A survey of Sterling Ruby's work is set to debut at the ICA Miami in November.
A survey of Sterling Ruby's work is set to debut at the ICA Miami in November.
Photo by Iwan Baan

An expansive exhibition of American artist Sterling Ruby is set to open at the Intitute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA Miami) November 7 with more than two decades' worth of the artist's work. The exhibit will shine a spotlight on the evolution of his oeuvre and its parallel to the evolution of American culture, institutions, and labor. The exhibition marks the first complete survey of more than 50 of Sterling’s pieces, created through various media, from his famed ceramics to lesser-known drawings and installations. Curated by ICA Miami’s artistic director, Alex Gartenfeld, the survey runs through February 2. November 7 through February 2 at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, 61 NE 41st St., Miami; 305-901- 5272; icamiami.org.

More than 250 of the world’s leading art galleries will head to the Miami Beach Convention Center for Art Basel 2019.EXPAND
More than 250 of the world’s leading art galleries will head to the Miami Beach Convention Center for Art Basel 2019.
Photo by Karli Evans

December


Art Basel Miami Beach

has evolved into a cultural spectacle. There are A-list parties, swanky affairs, and much more. But let’s not forget the massive, world-class art show at its core. For four glorious days, more than 250 of the world’s leading art galleries will converge on the Miami Beach Convention Center and attract 70,000-plus visitors. This year’s confirmed galleries spanning the modern and contemporary realms include Paris’ High Art, Clearing (out of Brussels and Brooklyn), and Miami's own Central Fine.

December 5 through 8 at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; artbasel.com.
Mystery Science Theater host Joel Hodgson.EXPAND
Mystery Science Theater host Joel Hodgson.
Photo by Gary Glover

Since debuting in 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has resulted in more than 200 hilariously quirky episodes riffing on terrible movies. After an almost decade hiatus, the show was revived in 2017 for Netflix, and its cast took the show on the road. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour is set to hit Parker Playhouse December 4 with movie-riffing robots Gypsy, Crow, and Tom Servo. Original host Joel Hodgson will be there, and this will mark his last live tour. VIP packages to meet him and wish him well are available. 7 p.m. December 4 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; parkerplayhouse.com.

No Place Like Home headliner, Plus Pierre.
No Place Like Home headliner, Plus Pierre.
Photo by Scott Chitoff

Miami has long been a springboard for talent that goes national. The city nurtures young stars, only for them to jump ship for the bright lights of bigger cities such as New York. Yo Miami has had enough, and after providing stellar local shows for comics to hone their skills for the past five years, it's recalling some of the city's homegrown talent for the comedy show No Place Like Home. Headlining at the Miami Improv December 18 will be Plus Pierre, who, since leaving the 305 has toured internationally as a solo performer and with the ensemble Coming Through America. Also in the lineup are Paul Julmeus and Irene Morales, and locals Julie Baez and Reginald Desjardins will open the show. DannyMiami Reyes will host. 8 p.m. December 18 at Miami Improv Comedy Theater, 3450 NW 83rd Ave., Doral; 305-441-8200; miamiimprov.com.

Witness Miami's emerging young talent during National YoungArts Week in January.EXPAND
Witness Miami's emerging young talent during National YoungArts Week in January.
Photo by Jason Koerner

January


Looking for an inspirational way to kick off the new year? If witnessing the talents of accomplished young artists spanning various artistic mediums doesn't do it for you, who knows what will. As part of the latest

National YoungArts Week

, count on dozens of performances at the New World Center and National YoungArts Foundation building. In addition to what you’ll see onstage or on display, there will also be workshops for the artists to fine-tune their skills.

January 6 through 12 at New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach, and National YoungArts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-377-1140; youngarts.org.
New Order returns to Miami Beach for a five-night residency at the Fillmore in January.EXPAND
New Order returns to Miami Beach for a five-night residency at the Fillmore in January.
Photo by Karli Evans

Iconic postpunk band New Order will perform a five-date run January 14 through 18, setting a precedent with its first U.S. residency. The group formed out of the demise of Joy Division after the tragic death of lead singer Ian Curtis. New Order's innovative sound has kept its releases at the top of the charts since the groundbreaking, synth-laden single "Power, Corruption & Lies," which captivated the club scene in 1983. Since its 2011 worldwide reunion tour, the band has released its critically acclaimed tenth studio album, Music Complete, and maintained an impressive touring schedule including sold-out tours across Europe, the States, and Australia. January 14 through 18 at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com.

More than 120,000 guests are expected at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in February.EXPAND
More than 120,000 guests are expected at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in February.
Courtesy of Coconut Grove Arts Festival

February

Let’s start with the “arts” in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. On a picturesque mile along Biscayne Bay, catch more than 360 artists spanning every medium of art at this dynamic three-day fest. And there’s more to it than visual art: Also expect live tunes, buzz-worthy culinary events, and a family zone. More than 120,000 attendees are expected to flock to the Grove throughout the weekend. February 15 through 17 in Regatta Park, 2700 S. Bayshore Dr., Miami; 305-447-0401; cgaf.com.

The iconic South Beach Wine & Food Festival will hit Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach in February.EXPAND
The iconic South Beach Wine & Food Festival will hit Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach in February.
World Red Eye

The who's who of gourmet gatherings is back for another year. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival will take over a stretch of the beach this February and also offer select events throughout Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Culinary superstars headlining the fest's events this year include Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Andrew Zimmern, and a slew of other household names. Plus, the fest is for a good cause: It's raised more than $30 million for FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. February 19 through 23 at various locations in South Florida; 866-271-8540; sobewff.org.

The national tour of Hamilton will begin its four-week run at the Adrienne Arsht Center February 18, 2020.EXPAND
The national tour of Hamilton will begin its four-week run at the Adrienne Arsht Center February 18, 2020.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical masterpiece, Hamilton, lands at the Adrienne Arsht Center February 18 for a monthlong run. The story of America's "Founding Father without a father," Alexander Hamilton, has taken the world by storm and is finally making its Miami debut. Directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, the Tony-winning musical blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway musical styles to widen the definition of what it means to be an American. February 18 through March 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-468-2000; arshtcenter.org.

The Miami Film Festival returns for its annual ten-day showcase in March.EXPAND
The Miami Film Festival returns for its annual ten-day showcase in March.
Courtesy of Miami Dade College

March


The

Miami Film Festival

is back in 2020 for its annual ten-day showcase of independent and international films screened at locations across the Magic City. Opening March 6, the competitive fest will present the latest features, documentaries, short films, and retrospectives of both established and emerging filmmakers. To date, the festival has awarded participating artists more than $1 million in cash.

March 6 through 15 at various locations in Miami; 305-237-3456; miamifilmfestival.com.
Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at the Japanese Spring Festival, happening at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.EXPAND
Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at the Japanese Spring Festival, happening at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden

The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a spectacular place on any given day. But March 29, it will be that much more dazzling when the annual Japanese Spring Festival returns to the scenic venue. Guests can immerse themselves in hallmarks of Japanese culture, including taiko drumming, tea ceremonies, and origami lessons. For the youngsters, there will be a children’s corner loaded with arts and crafts. March 29 at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 305-673-7256; mbgarden.org.

Miami's International Map Fair is a lot more fun than you might think.EXPAND
Miami's International Map Fair is a lot more fun than you might think.
HistoryMiami

HistoryMiami Museum will host the annual Miami International Map Fair, the longest-running and largest antique map fair in the nation, March 13 through 15. World-renowned experts and dealers will exhibit antique maps, antiquarian books, globes, and ephemera. Special panels include Todd T. Turrell's discussion, Historical and Modern Mapmaking in the Bahamas, and Dr. Ronald E. Grim on the mapping of the nation in the 19th Century. March 13 through 15 at HistoryMiami Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org.

O, Miami founder P. Scott Cunningham.EXPAND
O, Miami founder P. Scott Cunningham.
O, Miami Poetry Festival

April

Poetry is worth celebrating for a whole month. And that’s just what the O, Miami Poetry Festival does. Each April since 2011, the fest has curated events, projects, and activities throughout the county with one goal: to make sure that every person in Miami-Dade encounters poetry that month. The fest has attracted some big names within and beyond the poetry world, including Anne Carson, Kay Ryan, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Richard Blanco. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out who'll pay a visit this year. April 1 through 30 at various locations in Miami-Dade; omiami.org.

Fernando Loureiro (left), Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Andrew Hevia at Slamdance 2019.EXPAND
Fernando Loureiro (left), Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Andrew Hevia at Slamdance 2019.
Lauren Desberg

May

Utah's Slamdance Film Festival, billed as an alternative to Sundance, will make its Miami debut May 28 through 31 with a special focus on the multicultural and diverse communities of Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and beyond. The artist-led festival will continue to showcase and support emerging independent filmmakers working in media such as film, digital and interactive works, gaming, and hybrid forms of filmmaking. May 28 through 31 at various locations in Miami; 323-466-1786; slamdance.com.

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