What to Do This Week in LA, Miami, and NYC

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Summer doldrums? Get a wake-up call in Miami with the closing of its queasy annual fright fest. In New York, blow over to a high-style design show featuring the arts of the Jazz Age. And in Los Angeles, call in Hawaii Five-0, while taking a tiki bar crawl across the city that invented those coconut-carried concoctions that help us hang on.

NEW YORK CITY

This Wednesday, pull up a Frank Lloyd Wright chair at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s terrific exhibition, The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s. The show’s directive is to visually instruct how American jazz (oh so avant-garde for its time) influenced that glamorous-modernist moment in architecture, art, and décor–much of it in the Art Deco style. Featuring vignette rooms that pit paintings and furnishings together, this exhibit, closing August 20, is the epitome of organized chaos. Not unlike a reeling, bass-thumping composition by Charles Mingus. We give it four finger snaps. Oh, don’t actually sit on the Wright chair.

MIAMI

This Thursday, have a bloody good time at O Cinema Wynwood’s Popcorn Frights Film Festival, featuring some of the most delightfully gory movies we’ve never heard of. Showtime is at 5 p.m. for $12 general admission. The Florida-shot Buzzcut is the creature feature Thursday and it gives Texas Chainsaw Massacre quite the punk-style makeover–an apt closing to this a film festival that always provides some excuses for panicked hand-holding in a time when reality has gotten all too weird.

LOS ANGELES 

This Thursday, go on a city-spanning, zombie-seeking rum-run through Los Angeles County’s fabulously retro tiki bars. Why not? It’s summer, it’s scorching, and it’s also an invention of the city itself, dating back to when Don the Beachcomber inaugurated the tiki bar concept in 1934. Our favorite Polynesian getaway remains North Hollywood’s Tonga Hut (since 1958). The oldest is the best, and features a fantastic Don Ho-inspired jukebox. There’s 78 classic exotic drinks on the menu–they call it the “Grog Log.” Another favorite is Los Feliz’s twee Tiki Ti, where you almost expect Magnum P.I. to walk in wearing a Hawaiian-print M.Nii shirt. Clifton’s Cafeteria has recently revamped its Pacific Seas tiki bar downtown.

Photo by Stanley Dai

Steve Garbarino

Steve Garbarino

Steve Garbarino is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a culture reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of "A Fitzgerald Companion."

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