Headlines – News & Views

LGBT Groups Awarded Knight Foundation Grants

Three South Florida LGBT arts groups will participate in a new, two-year initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, Island City Stage and the Stonewall National Museum & Archives were selected to launch “Converging Crossroads” and were charged with creating performances, workshops, pop-up concerts and other events to build visibility for LGBT arts “at the intersection of arts, society and identity” beginning in the 2016-17 season.

Chorus Executive Director Mark Kent said, “We know LGBT artists contribute substantially to the overall cultural fabric of South Florida. Thanks to the generosity of the Knight Foundation, we can bring those contributions to the forefront of the region’s cultural identity and celebrate them.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, created by the former owners of “The Miami Herald,” supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.

For more information, go to KnightFoundation.org.

Local Team Produces Mathew Shepard Opera

Opera Fusion, an innovative local company based in West Palm Beach, has set the date for the world premiere performance of “Not in My Town,” a new musical drama written by Fort Lauderdale composer Michael W. Ross.

Based on the shocking 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was brutally beaten and left tied to a fence, the 90-minute, one-act opera will be performed on June 17 at 8 p.m. at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.

Composer Ross said, “As a child, I wanted to change the world. My operas are small attempts at making it just a little bit better by shining a light on important issues.”

The development of the ambitious project by the second year company is being funded by an IndieGogo.com campaign emphasizing the group’s mission that “the operatic genre or ‘musical drama’ must take on current issues.”

Tickets for the performance, set to coincide with regional Pride celebrations, are available at the group’s website, OperaFusion.org.

2016 Carbonell Awards Ceremony Set

The 40th annual Carbonell Awards, recognizing excellence in regional theater, will be presented at a gala ceremony on Monday, April 4 at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater in Fort Lauderdale.

The awards, named for the Cuban-born artist Nestor Carbonell, who designed the egg-shaped bronze trophies, are presented in best productions, actors and technical categories from hundreds of eligible productions presented by more than 25 professional theaters in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

For the hundreds of actors and theater professionals who attend the glitzy event, the ceremony is lovingly called “theater prom,” as they discard their costumes for creative black tie and formal apparel.

For more information, go to CarbonellAwards.com.

Art Basel Breaks Records

Despite torrential rainstorms throughout the weekend, Art Basel, the annual contemporary art show at the Miami Beach Convention Center, still broke attendance records, drawing more than 77,000 people, Dec. 3 – 7.

Last year, the show, which attracts wealthy art collectors from around the globe attracted about 73,000 and in 2013, nearly 75,000. Admission to the premium fare was $47.

Along with the wacky weather and the sale of a $15 million Francis Bacon oil painting, there was a non-fatal stabbing in the convention center when a woman pulled an X-Acto knife from her purse and stabbed another patron in the neck. Onlookers mistook the violence and the area later cordoned off by police tape for a piece of performance art.

The dozens of Art Week satellite fairs in Miami Beach, Wynnwood and Midtown, most of which were housed in temporary outdoor tents, did not fare as well, thanks to the weather, but attendance figures were not available. Miami-Dade officials still put that number in the tens of thousands.