Palette Magazine

Miami's FUNDarte presents Out in the Tropics

By Shayne Benowitz

Juan Carlos Lerida
Juan Carlos Lerida © Juan Carlos Lérida and Gilles Viandier

With a mission of intercultural exchange through cutting edge performing arts, Miami’s FUNDarte is producing its seventh annual Out in the Tropics at The Fillmore Miami Beach’s Gleason Room from June 15–18. The artistic program is designed to challenge hetero-normative sexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation through a range of groundbreaking performances, from contemporary queer flamenco by Juan Carlos Lerida and Belén Maya to the Spanish homo-erotic play La Otra Voz by La Saraghina de Stalker Theater Company. The play is based on the 1930 French monologue by Jean Cocteau.

FUNDarte has created exposure for both emerging and established artists in Miami since 2003, with an emphasis on connections across the city’s diverse landscape. “Miami’s a really interesting city with pockets of culture spread out,” says Niurca Marquez, co-founder of FUNDarte. “If you live in South Miami, [for example], you don’t drive elsewhere for your culture. We’re nomads. We’re open and we want to cross borders. We’re after fluidity.”

Out in The tropics achieves this cultural exchange by uniting Miami’s LGBT community with the Latino and Caribbean cultures. “It’s a beautiful moment when people who’d never be seated next to each other for a performance are,” says Marquez. The flamenco double bill on June 18 of Bailografía and Romnia, for instance, should draw patrons for both the exquisite flamenco and the boundary-pushing LGBT narratives.

Other Out in the Tropics highlights include a performance by Brooklyn-based, lesbian folk and blues singer Toshi Reagon and her BIGLovely band on June 16. A 2015 Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow, the New York Times describes her sound as “a love of mixing things up… [her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.”

The Saturday afternoon program on June 18 is free and open to the public at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. It will dive deeper into the artistic process and storytelling impetus with a panel discussion and an al fresco queer flamenco performance by Fernando LR Parra entitled Bailar en Hombre. It’s the culmination of his research on the construction of masculinity in flamenco dance, the male-female relationship and the deep connection between gender and sexuality.

Beyond performances, the event also provides participants an opportunity to engage and interact.

A week prior to Out in the Tropics, on June 9 and 10, a series of 15-minute plays dubbed Out of the Container will be staged at the Centro Culutral Español’s MicroTheater in downtown Miami. The program consists of LGBT-focused plays of 15 minutes in length performed for an audience of 15 inside a 20-foot container. Each work is presented six times in continuous sessions for a truly creative and experimental approach to storytelling. On June 15, Maya will present a free flamenco workshop at the Gleason Room, and other educational programming is also on the agenda.

General Admission tickets can be purchased through or, by phone at 800.745.3000 or in person at The Fillmore Miami Beach box office.