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Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..

Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..

Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..

Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..

Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..

The Porch – A Get Away from the Books at the Miami Book Fair

Photo: Inez Barlatier
Written by: Sean Erwin
Article Rating

Everyone remembers a lost weekend, binge reading a novel whose ending had to wait because the body just gave out. No matter how compelling the story somewhere around the 30th hour the brain shuts down and nothing more goes in.

The organizers of the Miami Book Fair (MBF) know this, and so they’ve organized The Porch as an urban hang-out space of mostly free events located at the corner of NE 3rd Street and NE 2nd Avenue. Think of it as a break from the MBF mash of book stalls, author readings, signings and workshops.

From Monday through Sunday, Nov. 19, The Porch offers live music, craft beer, karaoke, burlesque, comedy, games and food trucks where MBF attendees can plug in their brain’s USB and just re-charge.

The mastermind behind the week is Melissa Messulam, program manager for The Porch. Messulam has engineered a break for both the binging bibliophiles and their children by programming adistinctly Miami, multi-disciplinary experience; and then crossing over many of The Porchacts with The Children’s Alleyprogram -- another set of MBF concurrent events Messulam aims at the young.

“We programmed The Porch to have a space during the MBF that was all about community building, and this year we have a very cohesive program,” says Messulam. “Because it occurs under the umbrella of the Miami Book Fair, we want it to be multi-disciplinary.”

The program is also inter-generational. “We’ve set things up so that young, emerging Miami artists can have a dialogue with older, more established artists,” she explains. “Every evening an emerging artist shares space with an established artist.” And then many of these artists also spend time teaching music and dance workshops with children as part of The Children’s Alley.

One of Messulam’s favorite acts, Inez Barlatier, is a good example of this.Barlatier is a young, Haitian-American performer whose music exudes Afro-Haitian influences from her choice of African instrumentation to the percussion-based rhythms that make her music so infectious with audiences. Barlatier plays at The Porchon Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., and then at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday she gives a percussion workshop for the kids as part of The Children’s Alley.

Another example Messulam offers of a cross-over act is PATH – an acronym for Preserving, Archiving & Teaching Hip Hop – a Miami-based hip-hop group that challenges the negative stereotypes and behaviors often associated with hip hop culture.

This will be the first time PATH performs and teaches at the festival. For Messulam, “They have been the quintessential Miami b-boy crew since the mid-90s. They use the hip-hop genre to teach our youth about the positive effects these artistic forms can have on a person.”

Fresh off their successful collaboration with London-based hip-hop theater artist Jonzi D at the Breakin’ Conventionfestival at the Arsht Center in October, Rudy Goblin and The Flipside Kings return to wow audiences with their DJ-ing, MC-ing, and b-boying/girling at The Porchon Friday, Nov. 17 at 10:00 a.m.Then they workshop the dance forms with children as part of The Children’s Alley Friday through Sunday (Nov. 17 to 19).

One artist Messulam singles out as a must-see is classical violinist and Miami music teacher Daniela Padron, whose latest album, Bach to Venezuela, melds the German composer with Venezuelan folk sounds.

In her recording of Bach’s “Minuet Medley,” Padron makes the classical line lilt at the end of phrases, magically catching the merengue rhythm kept up by bass, maracas, and the cuatro (think four-stringed Venezuelan ukulele).“Padron somehow makes it work,” adds Messulam. “You get that traditional Venezuelan Jorobo sound while at the same time you are definitely listening to Johann Sebastian Bach.”

If the MBF crowds and your literary binge leave you feeling manic, retreat to The Porchfor music and dance and maybe a little crayon therapy -- the latest edition of The Wynwood Coloring Book is also available at The Porch.

For a complete Porch schedule, visit https://www.miamibookfair.com/the-swamp-the-porch/

For a complete Children’s Alleyline-up, visit https://www.miamibookfair.com/program/childrens-alley/

 


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About The writer

Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.

Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.

He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.

Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.

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About the Writer

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