Miami Light Project Drumming Jam Sessions: The premise behind this multiartist, city-wide percussion exhibition is somewhat misguided: Some of Miami's finest musicians are gathering in clubs and venues in various ethnic communities across the city to perform for a New York-based composer/conductor (Havana-born Tania Leon) commissioned by Miami Light to write a piece that will celebrate the various sounds of the city. In other words, a hotshot outsider is coming down to write a piece inspired by the music heard in Little Havana, Little Haiti, and elsewhere. (Too bad the musicians who perform in those places every weekend aren't given the chance to write their own commissioned pieces.) Whatever the case, it ought to be fun, and anyone too thickheaded to seek this stuff out on his or her own should take the opportunity provided during this eight-day event, which kicks off tonight at Cafe Nostalgia (2212 SW Eighth St.) with a lineup featuring such greats as Oscar Salas and Mannie Lopez-Font sitting in with Grupo Nostalgia, the club's excellent house band. Call 531-3747 for more information. (JF)
Menaka Thakkar & Company: Community Concerts opens its 40th anniversary season with a performance by Indian dancer-choreographer Menaka Thakkar. For more than 25 years, the Bombay-born, Toronto-based Thakkar's critically acclaimed performances have embodied the drama and emotion of traditional Indian dance while seamlessly integrating Eastern and Western dance forms. Accompanied by live musicians, Thakkar and her company of dancers will perform stunning solo works and elaborate dance dramas tonight at 8:00 at the North Miami Beach Performing Arts Theater (17011 NE Nineteenth Ave., North Miami Beach). Tickets cost $15 and $20. Call 538-2121. (GC)
Lost Boyz: Studio 183 (2680 NW 183rd St.) explodes with the positive, hard-hitting hip-hop sounds of the Lost Boyz and A+. Lost Boyz, who hail from the south side of Queens, New York, hit the charts recently with their single "Renee," off their Billboard Top 10 debut album, Legal Drug Money. Thirteen-year-old rapper A+ is creeping up the charts with his latest tune, "All I See." Opening the show are Stylez Unlimited and Plan Be. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $20. Doors open at 9:00. Call 621-7295. (GC)
Bad Religion: No one who was around back in the early Eighties, scarfing up records by any band that looked even mildly threatening, could have pegged Bad Religion as punk-rock careerists. The energetic but utterly generic hard-fast blur of the band's early records, its incredibly misguided '83 foray into art-rock (Into the Unknown), and the unspectacular vocals of Greg Graffin all added up to a certain place in the oblivion of hardcore history. Well, go figure: Fifteen years after their debut, the members of Bad Religion are enjoying their elder punksmen status, receiving press props from a legion of punk prowlers, including Green Day and the Offspring. Ex-Religion guitarist/producer Brett Gurewitz has turned the group's Epitaph label into a wildly influential and profitable concern, while the current version of the band -- recording these days for Atlantic -- has released The Gray Race, a snarling compendium of tight, tuneful, and anthemic two-minute stompers full of heart, fury, and social consciousness. You can catch the group tonight at Rezurrection Hall at Club Nu (245 22nd St., Miami Beach) with opening acts Goldfinger and ancient punks the Meatmen. Tickets are $15; doors open at 9:00. Call 535-9016 for more information. (JF)
Maria Falzone and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez: The Miami Light Project concludes Come Out Laughing, its annual gay and lesbian stand-up comedy series, with performances by Mary Falzone and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez tonight and tomorrow at 9:00 at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Boston native Falzone returns to Come Out Laughing after a performance at last year's series, with more tales of her Sicilian heritage and Beantown upbringing. San Antonio's Bonin-Rodriguez will perform excerpts from his series of one-man shows, The Texas Trinity, in which he explores growing up gay and Latino in Texas by portraying 43 different characters. Tickets cost $15. Call 531-3747.(GC)
Festival Miami: The University of Miami School of Music presents its thirteenth annual international classical music festival, beginning tonight at 7:00 with a centennial celebration of the birth of famed Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaës, and featuring a lecture by author, pianist, and critic David Dubal; at 8:00, Irish pianist Barry Douglas performs Schubert's Four Impromptus, Beethoven's Sonata no. 23 (Apassionata), Debussy's Pour le Piano, and Chopin's Sonata no. 3. Tickets cost $35. On Wednesday at 8:00, pianist Carlo Grante, oboist John Dee, and bassoonist Luciano Magnanini perform works by Poulenc, Saint-Saëns, and Willard Elliot. Tickets cost eight dollars. Upcoming concerts include performances by Corey and Katja Cerovsek, Eugene Fodor, Jose Lopez, the London Baroque, Marvis Martin, and many others. The festival continues through October 26. All concerts take place at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall (1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables), unless otherwise noted. Call 284-4940. (GC)
Mystery on the Sunshine Express: So it isn't the Orient Express zipping through Europe, but it's bound to be fun. Tri-Rail and the Gold Coast Railroad Museum host a two-hour improvisational murder-mystery adventure, winding over 134 miles and traveling back to 1963 for a trip into mind-bending drama, suspense, intrigue, and comedy. Today's adventure begins at 4:44 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale Station (although passengers can board at any of the seven stations south of Fort Lauderdale), making its way to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach for dinner. Additional mystery tours take place on September 14 (a northbound trip departing from Fort Lauderdale with dinner at the West Palm Beach Omni Hotel) and September 28 (a southbound trip departing from Boca Raton with dinner at Fort Lauderdale's Sheraton Hotel. Tickets cost $57 (including dinner). Call 253-0063 for reservations and directions. (GC)
The Man Who Knew Too Much/North by Northwest: Cinema Vortex pays tribute to legendary director Alfred Hitchcock this weekend with two programs. Today at noon at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), Hitchcock's 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much screens. Not to be confused with the James Stewart-Doris Day remake, the original stars Leslie Banks as a man who stumbles onto a conspiracy, then is forced into action when his child is kidnapped (by villain Peter Lorre) to ensure his silence. Tomorrow at the same time and place, the Vortex screens North by Northwest (1959), a classically Hitchcockian tongue-in-cheek spy thriller starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Admission to each film is four dollars. Call 531-8504. (GC)
Maria Falzone and Paul Bonin-Rodriguez: See Friday.
Double Dip Sunday: Get a taste of the upcoming arts season today from noon to 6:00 at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) with a full day of music, ballet, children's entertainment, and frozen treats. Miami City Ballet, the Florida Philharmonic chamber chorus, Ballet Etudes, and the Miami Beach Broadway Series will offer preview performances from their 1996-97 season programs on the TOPA stage; outside, the Miami Philharmonic Steel & Percussion Orchestra, Pepe Alva and Alma Raymi, Diane Ward, the Goods, the Hip Hop Kidz, and David Fernando perform. Kids can enjoy storytelling, face painting, puppet shows, and magic, and everyone can stuff their faces with loads of Ben & Jerry's, Dove Bar, McArthur, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. A five-dollar donation gets you in for the entertainment and all the ice cream you can eat; all proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Call 673-7300. (GC)
The Man Who Knew Too Much/North by Northwest: See Saturday.
Women of Hope: Robert Rosenberg's new film tells the stories of a dozen women whose groundbreaking experiences compose a portrait of the Latin experience in the United States. Rosenberg, who won an Emmy Award for his documentary Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community, has created a compelling narrative using personal photographs, interviews with his subjects, archival footage that reflects historical events pertinent to the women's lives, and a soundtrack of Latin music from the Forties to the present. Novelist Sandra Cisneros, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater founder Miriam Colon, and composer Tania Leon (see Thursday) are among those featured in Women of Hope: Abriendo Caminos. The Louis Wolfson II Media Center and Miami Light Project present a free showing of the film tonight at 7:00 at Miami-Dade Community College's Wolfson Campus (300 NE Second Ave.). Rosenberg and Leon will be among members of a panel who will discuss Women of Hope after the screening. For details, call 631-3747. (JC)
Tama Janowitz: Slaves of New York made Tama Janowitz one of the trendiest authors of the Eighties; her followup, The Male Cross-Dresser Support Group, cemented her reputation as a sharp-penned cynic whose clear thinking remained unclouded by all that gross urban pollution. Tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (933 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), Janowitz reads from and discusses her latest work, By the Shores of Gitchee Gumee, which simultaneously parodies Longfellow's Hiawatha while exploring the trials of a single mother bringing up her five children in a small-town trailer park. Admission is free. Call 532-3222. (GC)
Richard Capen: Former U.S. ambassador to Spain and Miami Herald publisher Richard Capen explores the keys to personal success in his latest book, Finish Strong: Living the Values That Take You the Distance. In the book, Capen discusses eighteen life-changing qualities -- including authenticity, self-esteem, excellence, optimism, self-renewal, compassion, and faith -- and offers not only his own views, but the advice of other notable people such as Colin Powell, Ann Landers, Dave Barry, and Don Shula. Tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables), Capen shares his insights about fulfillment. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call 442-4408. (GC)
Apparition Tour: Things that go bump in the night rejoice! The Velvet Webb presents another evening of nightmarish beauty and madness with four diverse Goth, darkwave, and industrial bands. Sway and sweep to the passionate, cathartic sounds of headliners Faith and the Muse (whose latest release, Annwyn, Beneath the Waves, should be in record stores any night now), the dance-driven throb of Sunshine Blind, the macabre classical-meets-industrial-Goth machinations of Malign (touring to promote its debut disc Shatter and Impale), and the serious industrial-Goth grind of German band Ichor. The show takes place at the fashionably historic Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) at 9:00, well after sunset. Tickets cost $15. Call 667-6395. (GC)
Festival Miami: See Saturday.