Thursday's Best Art Basel Events: Metric, James Franco, Kurt Cobain, and OMG PUPPIES

The time has come. The big show is here. Before you know it, it'll be Sunday, and you'll find yourself wondering where Art Basel 2012 went. (Hint: You spent a good chunk of it in a boozy blackout.)

With so many shows, parties, and other events competing for your attention this weekend, you're going to need to spend some time planning in order to maximize your cultural footprint over this long weekend. And our list of the best events around town is a great place to start.

See also:

- Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 Fair and Gallery Guide

Art Basel: The grandaddy of them all opens its doors to the general public from noon - 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 - $90. Visit miamibeach.artbasel.com.

NADA Art Fair: It takes a really special event to get us out of Wynwood or South Beach at this time of year. Luckily, NADA is that event. Open to the general public at Deauville Beach Resort from 2pm - 8pm. Admission is free. Visit newartdealers.org.

It Ain't Fair: Look, if James Franco's going to show, it's going to be on opening night. Be at the opening reception from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free. Visit oh-wow.com.

Art4Space: If you're a Miami International Film Festival member and acted fast, you have tickets to one of the most exciting film events of the year: a live appearance by anonymous street artist Invader. The show starts at 9 p.m. Visit

Metric: Doesn't it seem like Emily Haines & company were just here? Get a second helping of hits like "Black Sheep" at Scope tonight at the fair's official party -- if you can get your name on the list. The event runs from 7-11pm. Visit scope-art.com.

Theaster Gates: Locust Projects hosts an artist reception for Gates' work. And we mean "work" literally -- the event will feature a factory of live "skilled makers." The event runs from 7-10pm and is free. Visit locustprojects.org.

FREE STORE: At most Art Basel events, you get free drinks. Sometimes you get free food. But free swag like flat-screen TVs? This event at the SLS is the only one of those in town this year -- making it the most worthy of a sneak-in attempt. The party runs from 9-11 p.m., and it's free if you're on the list.

Architecture for Dogs: OMG puppies! This offshoot of Design Miami/ takes our city's oft-maligned dog couture culture to a new level. Open from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., with a VIP reception from 7-9 p.m. Admission is free. Visit architecturefordogs.com (but beware the annoying music on the landing page).

YogArt: Stretch now, guiltlessly imbibe later. YogArt runs all weekend long, with a free class on Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. Visit yogartevent.com.

Kurt: Thurston Moore headlines the Gusman Center's music/dance/film event honoring the late Nirvana frontman, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25-$50. Visit gusmancenter.org.

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