Pure gold: Best bets of the fall arts season, Machu Picchu to Metallica

·8 min read

Remember life in South Florida? The way we were before everything went sideways?

As the curtain rises on a new, fully loaded cultural season, with most of us vaccinated and each day seemingly less vulnerable to COVID fears, this feels like the right time appreciate again what we took for granted. Those things your new neighbor from New Jersey may be surprised to enjoy for the first time.

The ocean is cultural here, of course. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest, will be back to its former, undistanced glory in October. Ditto Winterfest, Fort Lauderdale’s nationally renowned holiday boat parade, which returns in December for its 50th sailing, canceled last year. Also returning are beachfront Tortuga Music Festival and an updated Riptide, now known as Audacy Music Festival.

Across the region, money has been spent on culture, with recent multimillion-dollar renovations and expansions at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, The Parker and Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton Museum of Art and neighboring Mizner Park Amphitheater.

The changes are not just cosmetic. Part of the $30 million remodel of Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse, across the street from bustling Flagler Village, came with a new name: The Parker.

Kelley Shanley, president and CEO of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which operates The Parker, acknowledges the name is a message.

“We just felt like it gave it a contemporary, kind of hip feel that’s consistent with the kind of programming we’re trying to do in there,” Shanley said. “It signals the new era.”

Here is a look at some of the highlights of the fall 2021-2022 cultural season. For a more in-depth roundup, check out the digital edition of PRIME magazine’s Guide to the Arts at SunSentinel.com/eNewspaper, and look for the print edition of the magazine inside the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Sunday, Oct. 17.


If South Florida is the Gateway to Latin America, Palm Beach County will be the first stop just inside the gate, as two of the most talked-about October shows will be found at the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.

Opening on Oct. 16, “‘Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru” will begin its international tour at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The exhibit features 192 rare objects that include the gold vestments of a Chimú emperor from 1300 AD and a 14-karat gold-alloy Andean headdress. Most artifacts have never left Peru, and many have never been on public display. The exhibit, up through March 6, also will mark the debut of the final phase of a three-year renovation of the Boca Museum of Art. Visit BocaMuseum.org.

The Norton Museum of Art will plug into the enduring aura of artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo on Oct. 23 with the opening of “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.” Most of the works come from the private collection of the Gelmans, who were friends of Kahlo and Rivera. The show is up through Feb. 6. Visit Norton.org.

South Florida continues to be an under-appreciated hub of cutting-edge live music, most ambitiously illustrated at III Points Music Festival in Wynwood Oct. 22-23. This year’s dozens-deep lineup, held over from last year’s postponements, features the Strokes and Wu-Tang Clan, as well as the mystical grooves of Khruangbin, a personal favorite. Visit IIIPoints.com.

Expect the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to flex extra muscle in its return Oct. 27-31. Last year’s event was a success for merely having happened, but its comparatively small size was frustrating to all concerned. FLIBS doesn’t do small. This year there will be a new Superyacht Village to host boats nearly a football-field long. Visit FLIBS.com.


The best month on the cultural calendar, November begins with Day of the Dead and concludes with the end of hurricane season. We’ll all get outdoors more, with Tortuga Music Festival, Miami Book Fair and Nu Deco Ensemble at the beautiful North Beach Bandshell, when we’re not indoors at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Oh, and Metallica.

The unique, community-embracing charm of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Day of the Dead celebration on Nov. 2 — with its interactive crafting, awe-inspiring puppet parade and post-event street party — is not just a local treasure. The most recent celebration in 2019 (last year was mostly virtual) came with news the Travel Channel included Fort Lauderdale’s festivities on its list of America’s Best Day of the Dead Celebrations. It had previously earned Top 10 rankings in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Thrillist.com and the travel magazine Afar. Visit DayOfTheDeadFlorida.com.

Another local treasure, Seraphic Fire is one of the most distinctive and adventurous choral ensembles in the country, earning two Grammy nominations along the way. The group will open its 2021 season Nov. 4-7 with a production, led by crowd-pleasing countertenor Reginald Mobley, of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s haunting deathbed composition “Stabat Mater.” As always, performances will be in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. Visit SeraphicFire.org.

Film festivals do not happen overnight, and with much of the planning taking place as the Delta variant of COVID-19 swept the country, it’s a miracle that we will have a full menu of 2021 events. The 36th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival returns with more than 150 films Nov. 4-21, opening under red-carpet spotlights at a new location at the historic and actively renovating Gateway Theater. Visit FLIFF.com.

The $1.5 billion remodel and expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood — featuring the Guitar Hotel and state-of-the-art, 7,000-seat Hard Rock Live performance venue — opened about five months before COVID closures. It still has that new-car smell. On Nov. 4, stadium-size rockers Metallica will play Hard Rock Live, possibly sharing music from a rumored new album. Of course, tickets can only be found in the secondary market. South Florida is a rock ‘n’ roll town. Visit MyHRL.com.

Rock, rap, jazz, R&B are all ingredients in the compelling music created by orchestral innovators Nu Deco Ensemble, who released a live album with roots-rock duo Larkin Poe in September. Nu Deco Ensemble opens its season Nov. 6 at the North Beach Bandshell on Miami Beach with a performance highlighted by the “Isley Brothers Symphonic Suite,” with guest collaborator T-Pain. The season also will include treatments of music by Ray Charles, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and James Brown (featuring Robert Glasper). Visit Nu-Deco.org.

The 2021 Tortuga Music Festival, returning to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park Nov. 12-14, is the third time they’re tried to put on the 2020 festival, but still includes headliners Miranda Lambert (Nov. 12), Luke Bryan (Nov. 13) and Tim McGraw (Nov. 14). In the meantime, some down-the-bill acts have added to their fame, including Jimmie Allen (his “Bettie James” album was a career-changer) and Gabby Barrett (2021 ACM New Female Artist of the Year). The lineup also added singer-songwriter Rita Wilson, married to an actor named Tom Hanks. Visit TortugaMusicFestival.com.

Miami Dade College’s 38th annual Miami Book Fair will return Nov. 14-21 with in-person and virtual events — but definitely the popular Street Fair Nov. 19-21. While the lineup of authors is still being developed, the readings will kick off on Nov. 14 with Amor Towles, whose most recent book, “The Lincoln Highway,” is earning the expected praise. Visit MiamiBookFair.com.


When Art Basel Miami Beach returns Dec. 2-4 (technically in the Miami Beach Convention Center, but mostly not) you won’t hear as much grousing about art being obscured by Kanye, random Kardashians and the new celebrity vodka release, because we’re just happy to have the circus back in town. Visit ArtBasel.com/Miami-Beach.

Fort Lauderdale’s Riptide Music Festival was just becoming a thing when COVID doused the party last year. It returns to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park Dec. 4-5 with new vigor and a new name, Audacy Beach Festival (Audacy is a streaming-entertainment company and sponsor). The lineup includes Twenty One Pilots, the Lumineers, Swedish House Mafia, Modest Mouse, Weezer, Bastille and Cold War Kids. Visit AudacyBeachFestival.com.

One of the cruelest event cancellations of the COVID era was the 2020 Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, which was planning its 50th sailing in front of what was expected to be more than 1 million spectators along the 12-mile route. A signature event of the holidays in South Florida, Winterfest returns to downtown Fort Lauderdale’s New River and Intracoastal Waterway 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Visit WinterfestParade.com.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at bcrandell@sunsentinel.com .

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