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Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” began its Off-Broadway run a year ago, closing just six weeks before the now 33-year-old playwright won the Tony Award for writing the book of the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Cut to February 2018, and South Florida already has its own exquisite production of “If I Forget,” thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler. Levenson’s fun..

In a career that continues to soar two decades after his first play was produced, Michael McKeever has premiered his dramas, comedies and short plays at theaters all over South Florida. Nearly always, he’s involved in those productions as the author, sometimes as an actor, at times as a set designer. The plays get their start here, then go on to productions (sometimes multiple product..

When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy. “I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsh..

M. John Richard has never hung back from the challenges that shape a life. Not when a knee injury ended his dreams of playing football at Syracuse University. Not when he was persuad..

For many choreographers, a new project is an opportunity to dig into fresh ideas. But for local choreographer Pioneer Winter, his latest work “Reprise” returns to the same terrain he has been..

There are few shortcuts for anyone hoping to make it in ballet, but for black dancers that road has always been particularly arduous. A lack of access to training, scant rewards, and cultura..

For sheer pageantry, there are few dance companies that can rival the Ballet Nacional de España. In its 40th season, with 40 dancers and 11 musicians, Spain’s effusive, no-holds-barred love l..

When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..

He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..

A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..

Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..

Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..

Natalia Lafourcade Taps Latin American Muses for Her Latest Musical Journey

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Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade is as tiny as a house sparrow, with a voice as clean and pure as a bell. These delicate qualities belie a fierce inner strength and a steely artistic will. As an artist, she is flexible, shaping herself anew to fit the spirit and the times, but sturdy against the fickle, shifting winds of easy fashion. Miami audiences who haven’t already discovered her have the chance to do so for themselves when she plays the historic Olympia Theater this Friday.

Perhaps Lafourcade’s internal fortitude is a product of experience. This 33-year-old performer has been in the music business for nearly two decades. As a 14-year-old, Lafourcade sang with an all-girl bubble-gum pop group called Twist. Later, in 2002, a video for her first solo album casts her as a Bjork-like renegade in round, googly-eyed glasses and a pink quinceañera dress that looks like it came straight from wardrobe for the telenovela “Betty La Fea.” Just two years ago, she struck musical gold as a lovelorn indie rocker; her platinum-selling sensation, Hasta la Raíz, which traces the trajectory of a good love gone bad, garnered five Latin Grammys (she later went on to tie with Pitbull for a regular Grammy for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album). As for many a female pop idol, from Madonna to Shakira to Miley Cyrus, Lafourcade’s route to self-discovery has been a long and winding road.

Her latest release, a two-disc opus entitled Musas, seems at once a radical departure and a natural next step for her. If her previous album centered on the root of a love that digs deep into the soul only to be torn out, this new album is more outward bound, offering the hope of a fresh start. To find it, she goes back to the roots of Latin American popular music, mining the Golden Age that was the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. She and her collaborators have placed these treasures in simple settings that allow them to glow with a wild beauty that has been stripped of pretense.

As she set about to explore this music, Lafourcade found she needed experienced guides. She approached Los Macorinos, the guitar duo of Miguel Peña and Juan Carlos Allende, who accompanied the legendary Chavela Vargas throughout the last 10 years of her career. “When I heard them playing, I fell in love,” Lafourcade said simply. As they worked together, the two men, who are both some 40 years her senior, taught her a deeper way of paying attention: “I had to learn about patience, to let the music get its own spirit and voice.”

Over a year-long period the trio bonded over dinners at Lafourcade’s home, with no real plan for an album in mind: “I was just trying to get closer to the music that I love and to make this project. But I wasn’t really thinking about putting it out,” she said. “It was beautiful because we were rehearsing a lot and we were playing a lot and that gave me the chance to connect to the meaning of the lyrics and the music and the harmonies and the rhythms.” They narrowed down a list of some 100 songs to just the handful that Lafourcade felt would resonate most with her voice and her style.

When Lafourcade’s label, Sony, eventually heard the work, they decided it would make a fitting follow-up for the wildly popular Hasta la Raíz album. By today’s standards, the new work would be a minimalist endeavor: “The rules for the project that I set were that we were going to record with acoustic instruments,” said Lafourcade. “I just wanted acoustical guitars, el cuatro venezolano, jaranas, viruela—all traditional instruments.” Fittingly, they recorded these down-to-earth songs the old-fashioned way, playing full takes acoustically together in a room until the sound, with its perfect imperfections, was what they wanted.

One of the cuts on Musas is a duet of the torch song “Tú Me Acostumbraste” with the inimitable Omara Portuondo, the 86-year-old Cuban chanteuse of Buena Vista Social Club fame.In a video released with the album, you can watch as Lafourcade wraps her voice around Portuondo’s deep and smoky singing in a musical gesture as tender as when she lies down on a couch beside the older woman and gently caresses her head.

Indeed, all of the new videos for Musas demonstrate what masters of image and mood are Lafourcade and her team. The storyline of the vignettes that surround the songs are straightforward: A dance party where each of your hipster friends is more interesting-looking and talented than the next; a drown-your-sorrows-in-tequila scene in which you pour your heart out to two of the greatest acoustic guitarists on the planet. The colors are luscious and rich, the production values are stellar, the characters intriguing. But it is the music itself, a steeped-in-nostalgia yet somehow totally new sound that Lafourcade and her group have created that draws you in and keeps bringing you back.

If you go

What: Natalia Lafourcade, Musas Tour

Where: Olympia Theater, 174 East Flagler St., Miami

When: 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 16

Info: Tickets $35 - $55;, (305) 374-2444


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