Tito Puente/Celia Cruz: While we must often face the weekend contemplating the surprising dearth of live Latin music in this very Latin town, tonight we can rejoice. Two legends are performing on the same night, at the same time (both at 8:00 p.m.) -- unfortunately, in two different theaters. Decisiones, decisiones. Celebrating 50 years of a career that's spanned mainstream Latin musical styles from mambo to salsa, Tito Puente performs with his fifteen-piece band at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). RMM records has just released a boxed set of highlights of Puente's recordings since the Forties, and tonight New York's flashy king of Latin swing can be expected to present a similar retrospective live, playing rumba, salsa, and Latin jazz. His son, Tito Puente, Jr., will perform a house version of "Oye Como Va," and other special guests are expected to appear. Local Latin jazz trombonist Juan Pablo Torres and his quintet open the show. Tickets range from $50 to $100. Call 954-917-0222. (If this show is too exclusive for you, Puente will also be performing at the free HispanicFest this Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at Young Circle, between Dixie Highway and Hollywood Boulevard, in Hollywood. Call 954-964-8884.) Meanwhile, the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) hosts a fusion of high culture and hip-shaking azucar when that psychic salsa queen Celia Cruz sings with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. As part of the philharmonic's Latin pop series, Cruz will join the musicians in a medley of Latin rhythms, including mambo, tango, son, and salsa. Tickets range from $20 to $40. Call 673-7300. (JC)
Now Taste This: In honor of National Poetry Month, Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) is hosting a poetry reading tonight at 8:00 p.m. to kick off Now Taste This, a fundraising campaign that pairs local chefs with local poets. In the coming weeks chefs will prepare two or three favorite dishes, and their poetic partners will create accompanying poems. Upon ordering any of the dishes at a participating restaurant (Astor Place, Big Fish, Chef Allen's, Lure, Mark's Place, Neal's, Nemo, Norma's on the Beach, Norman's, Pacific Time, Savannah, and Two Chefs), diners will receive copies of the poem and the recipe for the dish. Proceeds benefit local literary societies. The participating poets are John Balaban, Adrian Castro, Michael Hettich, Carolina Hospital, Jeffrey Knapp, Steve Kronen, Campbell McGrath, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Geoffrey Philp, and Peter Schmitt. Admission to tonight's reading is free. Call 442-4408. (JO)
Springs River Regatta: Celebrate life on the river in Miami Springs as the Springs River Regatta returns to the Miami Springs Circle (at Curtiss Parkway) this weekend. The fest begins with a torchlight boat parade down the river at sunset, followed by a catch-and-release fishing tournament, canoe races, a chili cook-off, and a 5K run/walk. Get down with the sounds of several local bands, with headliners Diane Ward (tonight at 7:30 p.m.); Silverado (tomorrow at 9:00 p.m.); and the Rhodes Brothers (Sunday at 6:00 p.m.); plus country bands Hunter, Chopper and the Lone Star Band, and Sundown; Elvis impersonator Chris McDonald; and saxman Billy Bones. Rounding out the fest are carnival rides and games, Miccosukee and Seminole arts and crafts, and international foods. Admission is free. The festival runs today from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call 443-4618. (GC)
Battle of the Bands: Picture drumsticks flying, guitars being smashed over the heads of competitors, microphones swinging through the air like Argentine bolas. Nah, it won't happen. But you will get to hear eleven South Florida bands -- Endo, Fulano de Tal, Honeysticks, the Jongleurs, Jumpin' Jive, Life of Riley, MoodBoots, Piddie Korn, Smite, Supper en Orange, and Swivel Stick -- fight it out musically at MarsBar (Kendall Drive and 117th Avenue). Proceeds from the event, in its third year, benefit the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. The bands start playing at 8:00 p.m. and don't stop until 5:00 a.m. Tickets cost ten bucks. Call 669-4320. (JO)
New RiverFest: Formerly known as the Fort Lauderdale Festival of the Arts, the New RiverFest fills fifteen blocks of downtown Fort Lauderdale, stretching from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave.) along the New River to Bubier Park (Andrews Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard) and across the river from SW First Avenue to Smoker Park (SE Third Avenue)), with music, dance, theater, and art this weekend. Tonight at 7:00 p.m. those harmonious, Grammy Award-winning guys from the Big Easy, the Neville Brothers, perform classic tunes and selections from their latest disc, Mitakuye Oyasin Oyasin/All My Relations. The multifaceted Taj Mahal opens the show with a solo performance. Tickets cost ten dollars; gates open at 6:00 p.m. A new jazz favorite, keyboardist Brian Culbertson, performs a free concert at Esplanade Park tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Also tomorrow, from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Broward Center, art lovers can catch a sneak peek at the center's upcoming season. Throughout the fest local music acts, including the Randy Bersen Band, Sha-Shaty, the Tucker Brothers, Doogies Jazz Greats, and Motel Mel and the Innkeepers, will perform on eight stages. Besides the music, revelers can enjoy a sidewalk chalk art contest (today at 9:15 a.m.), a youth talent showcase, larger-than-life marionette shows, dance performances, and international foods. All events are free unless otherwise indicated. Festival hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today and noon to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. Call 954-761-5388. (GC)
Ballet Flamenco La Rosa: The fire of rebellion expressed through dance takes center stage at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) as this local company, led by choreographer and artistic director Ilisa Rosal, presents two performances of traditional flamenco dance tonight at 7:00 and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. The company's dancers, accompanied by singer-guitarist Paco Fonta, will perform several pieces, including Celia Clara's Taranto, which depicts the often-tragic lives of miners; Solea, a solo work by Clara based on what is considered the mother of all flamenco songs; and Rosal's Alegrias, a piece based on the song of the fishermen of the port of Cadiz. Tickets cost $20. Call 674-1026. (GC)
Travel SLAM: Word on the Journey: When you can't get away, let words take you there. The artsfusion arts organization continues its series of monthly spoken-word competitions tonight at 9:00 p.m. at Tap-Tap (819 Fifth St., Miami Beach) with the theme of travel. Poets and spoken-word artists are invited to present three pieces (no longer than three minutes each) about where they've been, where they are now, and where they're going. Tonight's winners return in June to compete in the third annual Grand SLAM. Admission is five dollars. Call 531-7267. (GC)
Two-Dollar Project: Space Cadette Studios (7339 SW 45th St., suite A) continues its monthly series of art openings/concerts tonight at 8:00 p.m. Painter-sculptor Jose Reyes presents his latest works in an exhibition titled "Nidification," which will remain on view through May 8; Reyes incorporates found objects and earth tones in his minimalist works. Space Cadette recording artists and avant-garde jazzsters Id, acoustic trance group A Kite Is a Victim, and experimental mood pop players the Rubberband will all perform. Admission is two dollars. Call 261-7585. (GC)
Springs River Regatta: See Friday.
Reggae Musical Extravaganza: Bayfront Park Amphitheater (301 Biscayne Blvd.) rocks with one rhythm today as the eighth annual Reggae Musical Extravaganza gets under way. This year's lineup includes Luciano, Gregory Isaacs, Tony Rebel, Cocoa Tea, Everton Blender, Anthony B, Charlie Chaplin (not that one), Screwdriver, Sizzla, Kulcha Knox, and many others. Revelers can also enjoy authentic Jamaican and international foods. Tickets cost $20. Gates open at noon. Call 654-1168. (GC)
Springs River Regatta: See Friday.
New RiverFest: See Saturday.
Ballet Flamenco La Rosa: See Saturday.
Steve Karafyllakis: Landscape photographer Steve Karafyllakis is just as selective with his cameras as he is with his subjects. For many of his works, he uses a handmade view camera that he assembled from vintage, World War II-era press-camera parts, then he approaches his subjects by looking for striking lines and strong textures. The results are silvery and detailed vistas with a spare, almost melancholy feel. Karafyllakis's works will be on view at Pallas Photographic (50 NE 40th St., suite 103) through June 7. Admission is free. Gallery hours are noon to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Call 573-7020. (GC)
Listener's Choice: The votes are in, and tonight at Bailey Concert Hall (3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie), the Florida Philharmonic will perform the classical selections that WTMI-FM (93.1) listeners chose as their favorites. Conductor James Judd will lead the orchestra to perform Handel's Water Music, Ibert's Divertissement, Bizet's Carmen Suite, Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, and Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel. The station's program director and host of the afternoon drive-time program, Lyn Farmer, will discuss the evening's music. Tickets range from $20 to $48. Additional performances will take place on April 17 at the FAU Auditorium (off Glades Road, Boca Raton), and April 18 at the Coral Springs City Centre (2855 Coral Springs Dr.). All concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. Call 930-1812. (GC)
Steve Karafyllakis: See Monday.
Pagliacci/Suor Angelica: The Florida Grand Opera concludes it 1996-97 season with a program featuring two short operas starring one Diana Soviero, opening tonight at 8:00 p.m. at Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). Kicking things off is Ruggiero Leoncavallo's tragic Pagliacci, the first work produced by the FGO when the company made its debut in 1942. Soprano Soviero stars as Nedda, a commedia dell'arte player whose infidelity enrages her husband, an actor (played by tenor Antonio Barasorda) who portrays a clown. Pagliacci boasts one of the most famous opera arias, sung by a crying clown while he applies his makeup. The evening continues with the company's premiere of Giacomo Puccini's Suor Angelica, in which Soviero portrays a fallen woman who becomes a nun to save her family from scandal in the Seventeenth Century. Tickets range from $18 to $100. Performances continue April 19, 23, and 25 at 8:00 p.m. and April 27 at 2:00 p.m. Call 854-7890. (GC)
Into the Woods: James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim spoof the magical world of fairy tales in the darkly comic musical Into the Woods, opening tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the University of Miami's Jerry Herman Ring Theatre (1380 Miller Dr., Coral Gables). The musical weaves the plots of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Baker's Wife, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel to explore what might really happen when the fairy tale ends; Lapine and Sondheim decide that "happily ever after" isn't so happy after all. Tickets cost $16 and $20. Performances continue tomorrow through April 19 and April 22 through 26 at 8:00 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on April 19, 26, and 27. Call 284-3355. (GC)
Steve Karafyllakis: See Monday.