Things To Do

The Best Arts Events of Miami's 2018-19 Season

Paola Pivi: "Art With a View": See October.
Paola Pivi: "Art With a View": See October. Paola Pivi


Christo & Jeanne-Claude: "Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83: A Documentary Exhibition." Thirty-five years ago, an art installation titled Surrounded Islands premiered in Biscayne Bay. In May 1983, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped 11 uninhabited islands in Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of fabric. The pink material floated, melding with its surroundings for two weeks. The installation was significant to Miami's art community, marking its entry into contemporary art. It also (both figuratively and literally through fabric) brought Miami together. The 35th anniversary will be recognized with a documentary that over the years has traveled to museums across the globe, including Germany, Spain, and Japan. The Surrounded Islands documentary will detail the history behind the project and include drawings, collages, photographs, and other media that tell the installation's story from planning through execution. October 5 through February 17 at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-375-3000;

"Creatures of Light." Giving a whole new meaning to "glow up," the Frost Science Museum's "Creatures of Light" exhibit lets visitors learn firsthand about bioluminescence — a fancy way of describing the glowing quality that various creepy-crawlies such as fireflies and deep-sea fish possess. The traveling exhibit was organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and the Field Museum in Chicago. On display for six months, it will include immersive replicas of New Zealand caves and the Bloody Bay Wall in the Cayman Islands. October 6 through April 21 at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-434-9600;

Paola Pivi: "Art With a View." Like a lime-green polar bear made of feathers or a donkey riding a boat, artist Paola Pivi's work is known for teetering between real and surreal. The Italian artist's pieces will be on display at the Bass this October through March. On view will be new works as well as older favorites such as her feathered polar bears, a video of fish in flight on a passenger jet, and a 65-foot-tall inflatable ladder. It's not the first time Pivi's art — or polar bears — have visited Miami. Her work was featured at Art Basel in 2015. October 13 through March 10 at the Bass, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530;

New World Symphony Season Opener. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and pianist Gabriela Montero will kick off New World Symphony's 31st academic year October 21. Tilson, the founder of the New World Symphony, will be joined by Montero, a Venezuelan piano player and Latin Grammy winner, as she performs classical orchestral pieces. Montero has been hailed for her improv skills and will undoubtedly put a brilliant spin on pieces composed by big names such as Britten, Bruckner, and Mozart. October 21 at New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; 305-673-3330;

La Medea. You might know Medea as a tale of a vengeful woman who murders her own children. Artist Yara Travieso, along with MDC Live Arts, wants to introduce you to the other side of the story. Her performance — part live show, part feature film, part reality TV — adds a decidedly modern and feminist twist to the Greek legend. October 25 through 27 at Sandrell Rivers Theater, 6103 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 305-237-3010;

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Miami Book Fair. See November.
Courtesy of Miami Book Fair


Larry Bell: "Time Machine." Artist Larry Bell's work will be highlighted for the first time in 40 years — and it's all happening right in Miami. For four months, the Institute of Contemporary Art will show a range of his work. The exhibition will bring back some of Bell's work that hasn't been seen in decades, including sculptures and photos. The Chicago-based Bell is regarded as a pioneering American artist. On display will be three of his light installations that haven't been available to view since they were created. They include The Black Room, which was first exhibited at MoMA in 1970; the Leaning Room; and Hydrolux, which will be fully restored for the first time in almost 30 years. The exhibit will include plenty of interactive opportunities for visitors. November 1 through March 10, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 61 NE 41st St., Miami; 305-901-5272;

Miami Book Fair. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Miami Dade College for an eight-day festival of everything literary. The 34-year-old Miami Book Fair is a mix of author's lectures, meet-and-greets, book signings, and a massive street fair. According to the book fair, more than 450 authors will read and discuss their work. In addition, over 250 publishers and booksellers will attend the street fair, where they'll offer a mix of old and new books, from graphic novels to signed first editions. Confirmed speakers include Barack Obama's presidential photographer, Pete Souza; and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. November 11 through 18 at Miami Dade College, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-237-3258;

Celia: The Musical. Embracing all things Celia Cruz, Celia: The Musical is a tribute to the queen of salsa. This theater production is presented completely in Spanish and takes the audience through Cruz's musical history via personal anecdotes presented in her own words. The musical — which premiered in Spain — spans Cruz's life, down to her final performance in 2003 before the singer's death. The production features a slew of costumes, wigs, and all things Celia. November 16 and 17 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722;

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Celia: The Musical: See November.
Photo courtesy of Celia: The Musical


Art Basel. This December, Art Basel is back! The annual presentation is a culmination of modern and contemporary art from leading galleries throughout the world. A mix of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, video, and other mediums will be on display. Art Basel Miami Beach typically draws tens of thousands of visitors. With an eminent list of DJ sets, galleries, and parties revolving around the grande dame of art fairs, the worst thing you can do during Art Basel is stay home. December 6 through 9 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; 786-276-2600;

SsingSsing. Miami's Rhythm Foundation is known for staging captivating concerts in unique cultural environments. The SsingSsing show, presented in partnership with Emerson Dorsch Gallery, is no exception. The band channels traditional Korean folk music with a decidedly stylish, modern sensibility — think of David Bowie or the Talking Heads. The band will take over the gallery for a performance unlike anything you've seen in Miami. December 7 at Emerson Dorsch Gallery, 5900 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-672-5202;

Cirque du Soleil: Crystal. It's everything you already love about Cirque du Soleil, but on ice. Cirque du Soleil Crystal is the brand's 42nd production. Welcoming guests to an icy world of spectacle and wonder, it premiered in December and has been touring since then. The show features acrobats and ice skaters in Cirque's first-ever ice show. December 13 through 16 at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000;

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Miami City Ballet: Dances at a Gathering: See January.
Alexander Iziliaev

January 2019

Miami City Ballet: Dances at a Gathering. Like Doublemint gum, Miami City Ballet is set to bring double the fun. The program boasts two 20th-century masterpieces from two mastermind choreographers, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp. The first piece of the show — Dances at a Gathering — zooms in on the athleticism, grace, and beauty of dance in its purest form, showcasing ten dancers and live Frédéric Chopin tunes. The second piece — Brahms/Handel — is a high-energy exposé that bends ballet boundaries in a high-energy and clever manner. January 11 through 13 at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722;, and January 26 through 27 at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222;

ScreenDance Festival. ScreenDance Festival is set to dance into its sixth year in Miami. The spectacle takes place at various venues throughout the 305, showing the latest and greatest in terms of the art of dance on film. A number of skill-developing workshops, panel discussions, exclusive screenings will be available for attendees to enjoy. It's all cultivated by festival director and Miami-based choreographer/director Pioneer Winter, whose own film works have been screened across the globe. January 17, 18, 19, and 25 and February 22 at various venues throughout Miami; 305-576-4350;

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The South Beach Wine & Food Festival: See February.
Courtesy of SOBEWFF


Coconut Grove Arts Festival. "Arts" may be in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival's name, but there's a lot more to this event. The Grove is transformed into a multisensory experience boasting a culinary pavilion, an entertainment stage with live performances, and a family zone. And, of course, there is lots and lots of art. The 2019 edition is expected to draw nearly 400 artists spanning 14 categories of art, including mixed media, painting, photography, digital art, glass, fiber, jewelry, and metalwork. February 16 through 18 on McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive, and Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove; 305-447-0401;

South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Annually for the past 17 years, beautiful white tents have lined Miami Beach — and there has been even more beautiful food housed under them. Well, it's all about to happen for an 18th year as the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival returns to the shores. The five-day fest is loaded with stars spanning the culinary realm, such as Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, and Bobby Flay. More than 100 events will take place — including fun stuff in Broward and West Palm Beach too — so bring an appetite. February 20 through 24 at various venues throughout Miami Beach; 877-762-3933;

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Frida: See March.
Courtesy of Florida Grand Opera


Miami Film Festival. Movie lovers, unite! Returning for a 36th year this March, the Miami Film Festival is sure to pack the memorable cinematic punch it has delivered for decades. A full list of venues, films, events, and ticket information will be available in early 2019. As for what we know now, the Opening Night Film & Party will take place Friday, March 1, at the Olympia Theater, where stars will walk the red carpet. At past editions of MIFF, Kevin Kline, Sofia Loren, Ashton Kutcher, and a slew of others have graced the event. The closing-night Awards Night Film & Party will happen Saturday, March 9, when Grand Jury Awards will be handed out to the festival's big winners. Oh, plus plenty of movies can be enjoyed between the partying too. March 1 through 10 at various locations in Miami; 305-237-3456;

Cocaine Cowboys. Billy Corben's Cocaine Cowboys documentaries are Miami cinematic and global faves. If you haven't seen them, they chronicle the rise of the illegal drug trade in Miami throughout the '70s and '80s through the lens of a hired assassin working with infamous drug dealer Griselda Blanco. And now the films are taking theatrical form, shedding light on the drug trade and its influence on the Miami we know today. The Colony Miami/Miami New Drama piece is the collective brainchild of Corben, Miami New Drama's Michel Hausmann, and award-winning playwright Aurin Squire. March 7 through April 7 at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 800-211-1414;

Frida. Frida means "beautiful" or "beloved." It's also the latest to-be-beloved work from Florida Grand Opera, including the return of revival director and choreographer Marco Pelle of the New York Theatre Ballet. Also, FGO's Roberto Kalb will make his conducting debut after seasons as assistant conductor. As for the performance itself, it's sung in English and Spanish and is generally regarded as high drama and captivating, capturing the life of the passionate artist and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. March 16 and 17 at Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Pl., Miramar; March 21, 23, and 24 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; and March 28 through 30 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 800-741-1010;

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O, Miami Poetry Festival: See April.
Courtesy of O, Miami


O, Miami Poetry Festival. The O, Miami Poetry Festival has one key goal: for every single person in greater Miami to encounter a poem in April. So the folks behind the fest have delivered poetry to the people in a number of creative ways since its founding in 2011, including poems on county busses, poetry sandwiches at select businesses, and cafecitos in poetry-clad cups. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Since its inception, the fest has produced more than 400 events. Be on the lookout for some big-time poetry happenings, and if nothing else, be inspired to sit and read some poetry yourself. April 1 through 30 at various locations throughout Miami;

Nu Deco @ Arsht. The Nu Deco Ensemble's 2018-19 season, running October through mid-May, will hit a number of beloved Miami venues along the way. Among the unique shows the ensemble will deliver is an all-Americana performance at the Arsht. The April 18 show will feature a rendition of Aaron Copland's Billy the Kid Suite, William Britelle's Spiritual America, a symphonic suite exploring the tunes of Bill Withers, and a performance by American indie-folk duo Milk Carton and Kids. Rumor has it that piano rocker Ben Folds will make a guest appearance. April 18 at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-702-0116;

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Cirque du Soleil's Crystal: See December.
Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil


Here & Now 2019. Here & Now will happen at the Light Box May 2 through 4, and you'll totally have to be, well, there and then. In 1999, Miami Light Project launched its signature commission program, boasting work from some of Miami's most promising emerging talent. The work spans and often defies the performance and multimedia spaces. And the talents on display — more than 75 South Florida artists over the years — have gone on to do some pretty cool things. More than 30 of the artists commissioned have performed in 14 states and 15 countries for thousands of spectators. May 2 through 4 at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; 305-576-4350;

Kings. Money, politics, and the state of the American public are the subject of Kings, the hilarious and intelligently presented new play by Sarah Burgess. It follows Kate, who sounds like the quintessential lobbyist: She hates wasting her time on nonwinners and likes schmoozing with the right peeps. Kate faces quite a unique conundrum that gets to her core: Does she go with "The Man" or everything she believes in? May 18 through June 16 at GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., #230, Coral Gables; 305-445-1119;

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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.