The Arts at St. Johns, a 15-year-old nonprofit arts organization based at St. John’s on the Lake United Methodist Church on Miami Beach, is kicking off a four-month arts and culture project from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday with the launch of Convivencia Miami. Put together by artist Tiffany “Hanan” Madera, who describes the evening as “a post-modern remix of a medieval phenomenon in a local context,” the performance will feature musicians Jose Elias, Joey Zeytoonian, Myriam Eli, Philbert Armenteros and Nestor Zurita; hip-hop artist Mecca aka Grimo, poet Oscar Fuentes, performance artist Luckner “Lucky” Bruno, the Tribu Na’al Gonah dance ensemble and others.
Convivencia Miami, inspired by the medieval period in Spain and Portugal when Muslims, Christians and Jews coexisted in relative harmony, will consist of 13 scholarly talks and seven performances dedicated to exploring tolerance, diversity and collaboration. Under the leadership of Carol Hoffman-Guzman, the events will take place at four Miami beach locations: St. John’s, 4760 Pine Tree Dr.; the Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Dr.; The Miami Beach Jewish Community Center, 4221 Pine Tree Dr., and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr.
Tickets to Tuesday’s kickoff event at the Botanical Garden are $30 in advance (or 5 for $125), $35 at the door, and the celebration includes food and drink similar to the fare at banquets served during the original La Convivencia period. The talks and performances begin Monday and run through April 19. For a complete schedule of events or to buy tickets, call 786-309-1275 or visit www.artsatstjohns.com.
DANCE ON FILM
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In just its second year, Tigertail Productions’ ScreenDance Miami festival has expanded significantly in size and scope. A celebration of dance on film from a wide range of South Florida and other artists, this year ScreenDance, curated by Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick, also includes filmmaking workshops, installations and discussions. The inaugural event featured a number of compelling and imaginative films, which went far beyond simple steps on screen to create new visions for how we see.
ScreenDance Miami kicks off Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., with Cinedans, a selection of dance films from a leading Netherlands festival. Thursday features three film installations at The Screening Room, 2626 NW Second Ave. in Wynwood, while Friday’s program at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave., has films by guest artists John Kirkscey, Eva Perrota and Marta Renzi. Most films will be shown next weekend at Wynwood’s Inkub8 performance space, 2021 NW First Place, including pieces by Miami choreographers Dale Andree, Niurca Marquez, Afua Hall, Carla Forte, Pioneer Winter, Nick and Hattie Mae Williams.
A complete schedule and more information are at www.tigertail.org.
The Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Groundlings, whose alumni include Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow and Kristin Wiig, will headline the 2015 Miami Improve Festival that beginning Wednesday at the home of Just the Funny in Coral Gables. Running through Jan. 25, the festival will also feature Just the Funny performances and shows by New York’s Honey, Washington D.C.’s DCUP, Orlando’s SAK Comedy Lab, Los Angeles’ Bear Supply and Chicago’s Denver.
Aspiring improv actor-comedians can also take advantage of nine different workshops, including sessions led by The Groundlings, Joe Bill and Susan Messing (as of Monday, fees range from $70 to $170). Six to seven performances and an improv jam take place each night from 6 to 11 p.m. Discounted nightly passes are $35 Wednesday-Thursday and Sunday, $60 Friday-Saturday; festival passes are $145. Tickets to individual shows are $10-$25. Just the Funny is at 3119 Coral Way. For a detailed schedule, call 305-693-8669 or visit www.themiamiimprovfestival.com.
Singer-guitarist Allan Harris, bass player Doug Wimbish, sax man Jesse Jones Jr. and violinist Christian Howes will join together in a free concert dubbed The Bridge at 6 p.m. Sunday in Pompano Beach.
The event honors the 50th anniversary of the real-life voting rights march that Martin Luther King Jr. led across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., a violent encounter depicted in the Oscar-contending movie Selma. The concert takes place at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, 520 NW Third St., Pompano Beach. For information, call 954-284-0141 or visit www.pompanobeacharts.org.
The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center has a lot going on this week — theater, music, dance and comedy, to be specific.
On Thursday at 8 p.m. Chicago’s Second City brings its show Second City Hits Home!, a mix of classic bits and Miami-themed new material, for a one-night run, with tickets priced at $35. Miami’s M Ensemble opens its production of Lydia R. Diamond’s The Gift Horse the same night, for a run through Feb. 8. Performances will be 8:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 ($35 opening night), $20 for students and seniors.
At 8 p.m. Friday, The StepCrew (which blends two types of stepdance and tap) performs, with regular tickets $15 to $35 and tickets for those ages 13-22 just $5 via Culture Shock Miami (www.cultureshockmiami.org) if purchased by Thursday. On Saturday at 8 p.m., the world music band Zap Mama and Antibalas (from the Broadway show Fela!) join in a concert to explore the evolution of contemporary Afro music. Tickets are $25-$45. The center is located at 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay. For information, call 786-573-5300 or visit www.smdcac.org.
MUSIC AND MORE
▪ Eduardo Marturet will conduct the Miami Symphony Orchestra in a concert titled Ocean Drive in Vienna at 6 p.m. Sunday in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayn Blvd., Miami. Julia Bueno, a 10-year-old pianist, will perform Concertino for Toy Piano by Sam Hyken. Also part of the evening are salsa star Oscar D’León, Ismael Cala of CNN Español and works by Paul Desenne and Justino Rosas. Tickets are $31.50-$119. Call 305-275-5666 or visit www.themiso.org.
▪ The Cleveland Orchestra, which performs in South Florida at Miami’s Arsht Center, will offer a free community concert at 8 p.m. March 4 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay. Available at the center’s box office, tickets are limited to four per person. Assistant conductor Brett Mitchell will lead the orchestra, with associate concert master Jung-Min Amy Lee as soloist on Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie. Call 786-573-5300 or visit www.smdcac.org.
▪ Robert Cuccioli, who got a Tony Award nomination for his work in the starring role(s) in Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde, will be onstage at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Boca Raton’se Wick Theatre to perform in a staged concert version of the new musical Song of Solomon. Written by Andrew Beall and Neil Van Leeuwen, the love story set in ancient Israel has Broadway aspirations. Tickets are $40, and the Wick is located at 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Call 561-995-2333 or visit www.thewick.org.
▪ The VoiceBox, a new spoken word open mic program for South Florida teens, will launch on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Sponsored by the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network and ArtServe, the program is aimed at giving participants experience at performing for an audience, honing their work and more. As of Feb. 27, the event shifts to the fourth Saturday of each month, through June. For information, call 954-462-8190 or visit www.artserve.org.
▪ In case you missed it: Simon Vega’s Sub-Tropical Social Sculptures is on view in the Project Room at Locust Projects through January. The Salvadorian artist’s Miami debut revolves around six simply constructed, human-scaled wooden structures designed to foster social interaction. See them at 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-576-8570 or visit www.locustprojects.org.
▪ The Coral Springs Museum of Art presents Chautauqua: Puppet Network with Jim Hammond and his team at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the educational demonstration and discussion about the art of puppet design are included with the $6 admission price. The museum is at 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Call 954-340-5000 or visit www.coralspringsmusuem.org.
▪ The Wolfsonian-FIU is set to unveil A Fatal Pass: Entrenchments on the Alpine Front (Un Passo Fatale: Trincee Sul Fronte Alpino), a contemporary photography exhibition by artist Luca Artioli of the visual remains of battle trenches in Northern Italy’s Stelvio Pass. The opening reception, with free admission and a cash bar, is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. An RSVP is required, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum is at 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-531-1001 or visit www.wolfsonian.org.
Christine Dolen, Jordan Levin and Galena Mosovich contributed to this report. Send news to cdolen@MiamiHerald.com (theater), jlevin@MiamiHerald.com (dance, pop and Latin music), jwooldridge@MiamiHerald.com (visual arts) or khamersly@MiamiHerald.com (jazz, classical music).