Kit Kat Lounge: "J.Lo," "Katy Perry," and More Hit Miami with Martinis and Moves (Photos)

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Photos by Shelly Davidov
Sara Andrews, aka "J.Lo"
Hallelujah -- Miami Beach is about to get more fabulous.

The Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club gave lucky local invitees a taste of their Chicago offerings, which include a cast of storied female impersonators owning the stage and dozens of martinis to sip while they werk.

The funny, fierce performances last night only touch on what's to come over the next six months, when Kit Kat will outfit the Jackie Gleason Theater at the Fillmore with a different design and line-up every show, including a Christmas spectacular in December sure to put the gay in your holiday.

See also: Kit Kat Divas: Chicago's Favorite Female Impersonators Bring Their Sass to South Beach

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Kit Kat Divas: Chicago's Favorite Female Impersonators Bring Their Sass to South Beach

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Courtesy of Kit Kat Lounge
Dolce Aaliyah Andrews
Once upon a time, on a very different South Beach, boys could be girls and girls could be boys and the only time anybody blinked an eye was when it had gone wide from all the fabulousness. Better yet, everybody got in on all that fabulousness, no matter what their preference or how they preferred to dress.

And boy was it fabulous. Not just because on any given night hip hop thugs rubbed shoulders with top shelf supermodels, Hollywood starlets parried with bona fide rockstars, or snap happy paparazzi stalked slap happy mafiosi (though there was that); but because a local contingent of some of the most colorful creatures on the planet reigned absolutely supreme. That the most kaleidoscopic of those creatures happened to be glamor-prone men whose gifts included channeling the voices of some of the most glamorous women in song only made it more so.

This Wednesday night, those heady days are about to be reborn. The place: that storied back of stage of the Fillmore reverently christened the Gleason Room. The culprits: a wowsome pride of Windy City diviners known as Kit Kat Divas. Sure, the glam gals hail from Chicago, but they and their same-named Lounge and Supper Club continue to carry the same kinda torch that enflamed South Beach at its very hottest.

See also: The Ten Best Drag Queens at Miami Beach Gay Pride 2014

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Hedda Gabler at Miami Theater Center: A Bold, Bloodless Reimagining

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Photo by Mitchell Zachs
Paul Tei, Jessica Farr, and Gregg Weiner of Hedda Gabler
Miami Theater Center's Hedda Gabler opens in a way no other versions of Henrik Ibsen's 19th-century classic ever have. In a wordless prologue, with semitranslucent curtains shrouding the audience's view, the title character (Jessica Farr) slinks down the elegant staircase of her new home, a strikingly modern, antiseptically white villa that looks both alien and Design District-chic. Bored -- because Hedda Gabler is nothing if not bored -- she briefly rests her head on an electric keyboard (standing in for the piano in Ibsen's 1890 rendering).

Next, she wheels around the room on a Lucite chair, her arms and head flung backward in a gesture of undomesticated restlessness that the play's male landowners would see as an affront to decorum. Then, with a visitor about to enter the room, Hedda's respite is over; she spirits herself upstairs, and Ibsen's words begin.

See also: Everybody Drinks the Same Water: Miami Theater Center's Beautiful, Listless Parable

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The Spotlight: New Spoken Word Venue Seeks Poets and Performers

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Courtesy of Tony Barreau of AVD Photography
Richard Milhomme, Jerris "QuickthePoet" Evans, Edwin Sheppard, and Calvin "MadeS.O.N" Early
Everyone has a story, but some of us are blessed with the ability to convey it beautifully. Edwin Sheppard, founder of Blooming Rose Promotions and Entertainment, and business partner Jerris "Quickthepoet" Evans, invite you to lend an ear to some of the world's most articulate poets, including three-time Poetry Slam champion Steve Shell.

"Expect to be inspired," says Sheppard about Miami's newest spoken word venue, The Spotlight. With no genre or formula, the creators have established a fluid space where people can discuss real issues and express themselves freely.

See also: Watch Miami Pedestrians Recite Poetry During O, Miami 2014

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RAW: Natural Born Artists Showcase "Scope" at LMNT

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Photo by Fabian Suarez
The independent arts organization, RAW: Natural Born Artists, prides itself on being for artists by artists. With the art season ready to start, they've stepped up their international presence with numerous shows occurring in tandem this week across the globe.

All the major art hubs in their domain -- the U.S., Canada, Australia and the UK -- will showcase handpicked talent from the fields of film, fashion, music, visual art, hair and makeup, photography and more. With a mission statement of providing independent artists in the first decade of their careers with the "tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity," RAW has their hands full.

Their season runs from February through October and culminates with an awards ceremony in January in Hollywood where the balloting and judging is comprised of a panel, members of the artistic community, and the public. As an artists for artists operation, this ultimately comes down to a healthy level of competition between themselves in their chosen fields.

See also: Best Arts Collective Miami 2012 - RAW: Natural Born Artists

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Mothers and Sons at GableStage: Theater as Gestalt Therapy

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Photo by George Schiavone
Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, which opened last weekend at GableStage, is a profound inquiry into the human condition, delivered in a sweepingly emotional experience that fully justifies the art form. It's been far too long since I left an auditorium as teary, speechless, and physically affected. This production is why theater exists.

The play is set in an enviable Central Park apartment -- a living room designed by Lyle Baskin that teems with the trappings of a bourgeois nuclear family. Travel trinkets share bookshelf space with difficult tomes, and children's toys are piled into a tidy silo. Significant memories are framed on hallway walls and tucked away in shoeboxes. This is where Cal (Michael McKeever), an affluent money manager, lives with his writer husband Will (Jeremiah Musgrove) and their son Bud (either Gabe Sklar or Max Leifman).

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Exile Books Pop-Up Premieres Saturday at Locust Projects

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Photo by Augusto Mendoza
Amanda Keeley has always found inspiration in artist's books. Now, the 2014 Knights Art Challenge finalist is readying her longtime project, Exile Books, for its Miami debut this weekend at Locust Projects. Exile Books is a traveling pop-up store installation dedicated to selling, supporting, and promoting publications produced by artists.

For the premiere pop-up, Keeley collaborated with New York painter Sarah Crowner, who has created a large installation that references the history of stage and set design, with Keeley sourcing materials about set design, theater, and dance performance for the location. The opening reception on Saturday also will feature the limited-edition monoprint of a theatrical playbill, created by Keeley and Crowner, that will be available for purchase. Books that inspired Crowner, like periodicals from the Art Brut movement, will be part of Exile's selection, in addition to three titles by the artist.

See also: Knights Arts Challenge Finalist Amanda Keeley Plans to Stage Pop-up Bookstores

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Dying City: Still-Relevant Wartime Drama

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Christian Vandepas as identical twins Peter and Craig, and Valentina Izarra as Kelly.
Ground Up and Rising, the minimalist Miami theater company, is still at war. Two months after its production of Bill Cain's 9 Circles dramatized the hellish fallout of an American soldier's unspeakable war crimes in Iraq, the company remains ensconced in the psychological shrapnel of combat.

This weekend, Ground Up opens Dying City, Christopher Shinn's time-jumping domestic drama from 2006. It begins with war widow Kelly (Valentina Izarra) receiving a surprise visit from Peter, the identical twin brother of her late husband, Craig, who committed suicide under mysterious circumstances (both brothers are played by Christian Vandepas). Their uncomfortable discussions trigger flashbacks to Kelly's final night with Craig. As past and present commingle, defenses fall, secrets are unearthed, and the horrific, transformative nature of war is scrutinized. (As usual, audiences can attend free outdoor preview performances of Dying City this weekend at Miami Beach Botanical Garden before the show transfers to its indoor home at Artistic Vibes.)

See also: In 9 Circles, a Criminal Soldier Heads for Hell

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Florida Burlesque Festival To Bring International Striptease Artists to South Florida (NSFW)

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Burlesque is not quite like your typical stripping. It's more performance art done scantily clad and heavy on the sex appeal. So, like, classy strippers who keep some clothes on.

Though modern audiences often associate burlesque with hot ladies like Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese, and sadly, the movie Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, the art form has origins in Vaudeville variety shows dating back hundreds of years. Local burlesque performer Bambi La Fleur will bring both sexy and humor back with the Florida Burlesque Festival next month.

See also: Circ X Seeks A "Kickstart" To Make Regular Burlesque Show At Fillmore A Reality

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Centralia, Mad Cat's Latest Tragicomedy, Struggles to Find Its Balance

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Karelle Levy
The real-life mining community of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been devastated by an underground coal fire since the early '60s. The monoxide-laden disaster has polluted the town's air and prompted a massive government-funded relocation of its citizenry. But a few defiant souls remain living in their hometown--fewer than 10, currently--and their stories inspired Centralia, an offbeat play-cum-variety show developed by Europe's Superbolt Theatre and enjoying its U.S. premiere courtesy of Mad Cat Theatre Company.

Centralia is structured as an amateur theater piece staged by Centralia's three remaining inhabitants, who have decided to tell their stories--and their town's story--through the performing arts, integrating dance, music, humor, and puppet theatre. There isn't much plot to speak of; Centralia is an episodic meander divided into more than a dozen chapters, some of them illuminating different facets of Centralian life while others struggle to find their purpose.

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