thursday
march 13
Dade County Fair and Exposition: They've got daredevils who'll take your breath away. They've got plants and animals from forests and farms. They've got food, games, magic shows, art exhibitions, vendors, and loads of live music. But let's face it: Those super-loud, ultra-illuminated, fabulous puke-inducing rides are the main draw. The Fair opens today at the Tamiami Park Youth Fairgrounds (SW 107th Avenue and Coral Way). Highlights of this year's fair include concerts by Neil Sedaka, the Mamas and the Papas, the Smothers Brothers, and Phyllis Diller, among others (did we forget to mention they've also got kitsch?). Admission is seven dollars for adults; five dollars for kids ages six to twelve (kids under six get in free). The fair is open Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. (opens at noon March 28) and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., through March 30. Call 223-7060. (GC)

National Swing Dance Festival: Swing into spring as the South Florida Swing Dance Society hosts the National Swing Dance Festival, which takes place today through Sunday at the Ramada Resort Deauville (6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Nationally ranked dance champs Jackie and Charlie Womble and Ramiro Gonzalez conduct dance workshops during the day; later, several top DJs will spin the swingingest music of all time while dancers from across the country jitterbug, shag, fox trot, and swing their butts off. Tickets cost $25, $45 for a weekend pass. Call 264-3040 for times and tickets. (GC)

Italian Renaissance Festival: The traditions and customs of the Renaissance come gloriously to Vizcaya (3251 S. Miami Ave.): Haggle with merchants, take part in games of skill and chance, or simply stroll among the dozens of musicians, mimes, and other assorted festival characters on the grounds. This year the festival features the Gruppo Sbandieratori del Palio D'Asti, flag throwers from Miami-Dade's sister city of Asti, Italy; a living chess game with two acting troupes representing comedy and tragedy as the chessmen; and the living history classroom, with characterizations of more than 30 historical figures from the period. Admission is ten dollars, half-price for kids under twelve. Festival hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through Sunday. Call 250-9133, ext. 3 for more information. (JO)

friday
march 14
Visiting Mr. Green: Film and stage actor Eli Wallach stars in playwright and screenwriter Jeff Baron's first full-length play, which opens tonight at 8:15 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove). Set in an unkempt apartment in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Visiting Mr. Green chronicles the growing friendship between a surly octogenarian widower (Wallach) and an amiable young man (David Alan Basche) who narrowly avoids running over the older man with his car. Tickets cost $30 and $35. Performances continue through March 30; call 442-4000 for a complete schedule. (GC)

Feast with the Beasts: Creatures fierce and gentle invite you to Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St.) tonight from 8:00 p.m. until the wee, wee hours for Feast with the Beasts, the Zoological Society of Florida's annual fundraiser to benefit the children's zoo. International cuisine will be provided by more than 40 restaurants (including Joe's Stone Crab, Norman's, and Chef Allen's), and entertainment by sixteen musical and dance acts. This year's headliners are ubiquitous local favorites Carlos Oliva y los Sobrinos del Juez and Zucchero, Italy's answer to Sting. To reserve your place ($150, but it's a hot ticket), call 255-5551. (JO)

National Symphony Orchestra: After spending decades with the St. Louis Symphony and guiding that orchestra to multitudinous accolades, conductor Leonard Slatkin recently moved on to the National Symphony Orchestra. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. the renowned baton wielder will wave the wand at pianist Jeffrey Siegel and the NSO within the friendly confines of the Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). The menu for this evening's event includes Ives's Central Park in the Dark and The Unanswered Question; MacDowell's Piano Concerto no. 2 in D minor, Op. 23; and Brahms's Symphony no. 4 in E minor, Op. 98. Tickets range from $20 to $70 Call 532-3491. (JF)

Molissa Fenley/Peter Boal: The Miami Light Project concludes its 1996-97 Contemporary Performance Series with a dance collaboration between Las Vegas-born, Nigeria-raised choreographer Molissa Fenley and and New York City Ballet principal dancer Peter Boal, who perform tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The program, which premiered in January at New York City's Joyce Theater, features Fenley's multimedia pieces Sita, which is set to music by Philip Glass and incorporates photographic images by Sandi Fellman; Trace, which includes a spoken-word segment with text by John Jesurun and an African-influenced score by pianist-composer John Hart Makwaia; and Pola'a, set to symphonic music by composer Lou Harrison. Tickets cost $18. Call 531-3747. (GC)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Italian Renaissance Festival: See Thursday.

saturday
march 15
El Bolerista: Choreographer Alice Billman joins forces with the Latin American AIDS Koalition to present the bilingual musical theater production El Bolerista (The Bolero Singer) tonight at 8:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the James L. Knight Center's Ashe Auditorium (400 SE Second Ave.) to benefit the LAAK. The show combines modern dance, theatrical dialogue, and music performed by the singer-actors and by the local band Pharr on-stage. Tickets to tonight's show cost $50 (includes dinner and open bar), $20 for tomorrow. Call 892-2202. (GC)

Close Encounters with Music: Soprano Jennifer Aylmer, violist Kyung Sun Lee, and pianist Brian Suits join artistic director and cellist-conductor Yehuda Hanani for "From C to Shining C," a celebration of American classical music and popular song. The program features music by George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Charles Ives, Samuel Barber, and Lukas Foss. Performances take place tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood) and tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables). Tickets cost $20. Call 800-843-0778. (GC)

New World Symphony: Conductor Leif Bjaland leads the New World Symphony in a romantic, all-Tchaikovsky concert by the sea tonight at 6:00 p.m. at South Pointe Park (1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach). NWS violinist Tara Noval will perform the Russian composer's Violin Concerto in D major; also on the program are Polonaise from Suite no. 3, Barcarolle (June) from the Seasons, and Symphony no. 4, as well as selections from Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. The evening concludes with a smashing fireworks display. Admission is free. Call 538-0313. (GC)

RAM: Visitors to Port-au-Prince can often see RAM perform at the Grand Hotel Oloffson, which is managed by the band's American leader, Richard Morse. Stateside, the group's Vodou-pop music is probably most familiar from Jonathan Demme's movie Philadelphia -- RAM's "Ibo Lele" was featured on the soundtrack. The Princeton-educated Morse, his Haitian wife Lunise, and about a dozen musicians and dancers are in town to celebrate the release of their new album, Puritan Vodou, on Margaritaville Records. Tonight at 9:00 p.m., RAM plays at Spirit (7250 NW Eleventh St.) Admission is $14. For more information call 262-9500. (JC)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Italian Renaissance Festival: See Thursday.
Visiting Mr. Green: See Friday.
Molissa Fenley/Peter Boal: See Friday.

sunday
march 16
Art Against AIDS: The lengthy list of formidable artists from Miami and beyond whose works will be up for sale at Community Research Initiative's sixth annual auction to benefit AIDS research promises a much-improved event over past years, when the art was uneven and the turnout unremarkable. Hosted by Spanish TV's Oprah Winfrey, Cristina Saralegui, the festivities start at the historic Douglas Entrance (800 Douglas Rd.) at 4:30 p.m., with a preview of the art and a chance to hobnob with the artists. Subtly put in your bid for works during the silent auction from 5:30 to 7:00 or show your face at 7:30 at the live auction, with Cristina as auctioneer. Admission to all the events costs $30, which includes dinner, an open bar, and parking. (You'll never find a deal like that on South Beach.) In addition to much merriment, there'll be works for every budget here, so don't forget your checkbook. For more information call 667-9296, ext. 17. (JC)

Lost Horizon: A group of Western refugees escapes an outbreak of war in China only to find themselves kidnapped and transported to a remote Tibetan civilization: Shangri-La. The years since Frank Capra made this fascinating film in 1937 took their toll, and various scenes fell by the wayside. Not long before Capra's death in 1991, a restoration was undertaken. The results are rewarding despite several visual gaps that are filled in with dialogue and stills. Not your stereotypical Capra fare (It Happened One Night, It's a Wonderful Life), but there's plenty going on, and the marvelous blur between fantasy and reality will tell you a little something about where a certain Senor Spielberg got a creative jolt. Ronald Colman is dashingly heroic in the lead, Jane Wyatt is a vision of loveliness in the days before Father knew best, and Edward Everett Horton is as richly comic as ever -- even if he does keep making you think of those "Fractured Fairy Tales" he narrated on The Bullwinkle Show in his dotage. Lost Horizon screens today at noon as part of the Cinema Vortex series at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Admission is four dollars. Call 531-8504. (TF)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Italian Renaissance Festival:: See Thursday.
El Bolerista: See Saturday.
Close Encounters with Music: See Saturday.

monday
march 17
Guido Llinas: In the Fifties a group of Cuban artists found freedom of expression in abstract painting. Influenced by the style of the vanguard New York School, Guido Llinas and other members of Los Once (The Eleven) painted geometric figures on vibrant fields of color and called it "international" art. Most of the artists associated with the group, which had been politically active in pre-Castro Cuba, left the island in the Sixties. Llinas, one of the artists' leaders, went to Paris, where he began employing Afro-Cuban religious symbols in his work. Paintings by Llinas and other members of this historic Cuban art movement are featured in "Guido Llinas and Los Once After Cuba," on exhibit at the Art Museum at Florida International University (SW 8th Street and 107th Avenue) through April 2. Admission is free. The museum is open every day except Sunday; for hours call 348-2890 (see "Art," page 69). (JC)

Butterfly Lightning Series: Spend St. Paddy's Day listening to poetry in a bar, as poets and fiction writers from the University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami-Dade Community College, and all over Dade and Broward counties read their works aloud at Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.); tonight's 8:00 program features Maidel Barrett and Lydia Webster. Admission is free. Call 826-8596. (GC)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.

tuesday
march 18
Preservation Hall Jazz Band: First let's dispel a myth: There isn't just one Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Several bands regularly perform traditional New Orleans jazz at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. And the place is well worth a visit. Of course, you're not in N'Awlins tonight; you're in Miami. But what better way to spend a not-so-fat Tuesday than to head to Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables), where one of the three PHJBs currently touring the United states performs at 8:00? Tickets cost $25 ($30 for "preferred" seating). A far cry from the few bucks it'd cost you in the Big Easy, but like we just got done saying, you're in Miami. For more info call 448-7421 -- but don't call it Dixieland. (TF)

Napa Valley Wine Tasting: Scores of Napa Valley wineries have sent forth the fruit of their vines for this tasting and silent auction, to be held this evening at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave.) in Coral Gables. What the Napa folks -- including Cain Vineyards, Franciscan Oakville Estate, Grgich Hills, Joseph Phelps, Swanson Vineyards, and Robert Mondavi Winery -- get out of it is the undivided attention of your palate. What Abilities of Florida gets out of it is the proceeds, which will help the 38-year-old nonprofit continue to help disabled Floridians find gainful employment. What you get out of it is wine, wine, and more wine, paired with foods from local gourmet emporia. The swirlin', sniffin', and sippin' runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Call 669-6981. (TF)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Visiting Mr. Green: See Friday.
Guido Llinas: See Monday.

wednesday
march 19
Beck: Jive-ass hip-hop hipster or postmodern innovator? No matter what you think of the dry, droll work of Beck, the guy is simply everywhere. Since the late-'96 release of Odelay, he's been lauded by both the rock press (Artist of the Year in Spin and Rolling Stone, among other rags) and the music industry (Beck picked up a Grammy for his undeniably catchy single "Where It's At") and become the cool boy of the no-smilin' alt-rock generation. And to think all he's really done is apply acoustic guitars and stoner vocals to the punk-rap fusions of the Beastie Boys. Whatever. Check Mister Beck yourself tonight at the new Chili Pepper -- formerly the Edge (200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) -- with opening acts the Cardigans and Atari Teenage Riot (see "Music," page 83). Doors open for the all-ages show at 7:00 p.m.; tickets cost $15. Call 954-525-0094. (JF)

Dade County Fair and Exposition: See Thursday.
National Swing Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Visiting Mr. Green: See Friday.
Guido Llinas: See Monday.

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