Calendar for the week

thursday
april 24
Chris Smither: As both a rough-voiced singer of his own evocative songs and an interpreter of others' works, Chris Smither makes the A-list of traveling troubadours currently finding an audience among disenfranchised rockers and country fans looking for something a little more complex than the garden-variety Nashville pabulum. He's released a handful of fine albums in the nearly 30 years since his 1971 debut (I'm a Stranger, Too! on the noted indie label Poppy), but his two most recent -- 1995's Up on the Lowdown and the new Small Revelations, both on HighTone -- are, well, revelations on an unsmall level. On both he revisits the work of ace songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Jesse Winchester, tackles prewar blues standards along the lines of "Dust My Broom," and contributes originals that are more than worthy of the esteemed company. Smither will be doing a solo performance tonight at Musicians Exchange (213 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach). Cover charge is eight dollars. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Call 954-764-1905. (JF)

New World Symphony: Artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas is on hand to conduct the New World Symphony for three performances this weekend at the Lincoln Theatre (555 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The program features Solus by composer Mark Volkert, the assistant concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony who wrote the piece for Tilson Thomas. (The busy Tilson Thomas is also the music director of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as principal guest conductor of the London Symphony). Also on the program is Haydn's Symphony no. 102, Sibelius's Tapiola, and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 9. Tickets range from $17 to $44. Performances run tonight and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Call 673-3331. (GC)

friday
april 25
Herb Alpert: There was a time that Herb Alpert outsold the Beatles two to one. And at one point in the Sixties he and the Tijuana Brass had five albums in the Top 20. In fact, Alpert is the biggest-selling instrumentalist of all time, probably best-known for the Latin-light jazz of the Tijuana Brass era (think "The Lonely Bull" and "The Mexican Shuffle"). He also produced Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Angels in America and Arthur Miller's Broken Glass and cofounded A&M Records. Then there are his abstract expressionist paintings and the Herb Alpert Foundation, which funds educational, arts, and environmental programs for young people. Herb has been working pretty darned hard for that Renaissance man label, don't you think? This week he's in South Florida to receive Billboard's Lifetime Achievement Award and to play a series of concerts tonight through Sunday at 9:00 p.m. upstairs at Yuca (501 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), in anticipation of the release next week of his new album, Passion Dance. Tickets cost $35. Call 532-9822. (JO)

B Sharp Jazz Quartet: "I think in many ways jazz has lost its balls," says Herb Graham, Jr., drummer for the Los Angeles-based B Sharp Jazz Quartet, which is playing tonight at 9:00 p.m. at the Jazz and Blues Showcase (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach). He's right, of course, and for its part, B Sharp has brought a diverse set of influences to the trad-jazz aesthetic of John Coltrane, Art Blakely, et al. Although purists most likely scoff at the scorching funk that B Sharp uses to invigorate jazz, it's never a bad thing to piss off a purist. The taut swing, fine flights of improv, and big monster grooves on the group's third album Searching for the One establish B Sharp as one of the finest combos carrying jazz into the next century. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 561-832-1200. (JF)

Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour: Olympic gold medalists Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes, silver medalists Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh, 1997 King of the Beach Jose Loiola, and a bevy of professional beach volleyball players serve up their best games this weekend at the Coppertone Championships of Florida, taking place at the Delano Hotel (1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). A total of 32 teams will compete in a double-elimination tourney for $100,000 in prize money. Matches run today from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the championship match beginning at 5:00 p.m. Tickets range from $6 to $35; three-day passes range from $20 to $60. Call 800-432-7470. (GC)

saturday
april 26
Ballet Etudes of South Florida: This outstanding local company, led by artistic director Susana Prieto, concludes its 1996-97 season with two performances of Tchaikovsky's dreamy Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Rodolfo Rodriguez, at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Former National Ballet of Cuba principal dancer Dagmar Moradillos stars as the princess Aurora; also featured are American Ballet Theater principal dancer Charles Askegard as Prince Florimund and San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Jose Martin as Bluebird, along with the company's corps and a full orchestra. Tickets range from $18 to $60. Performances begin tonight at 8:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Call 827-1345. (GC)

Schoolhouse Rock Live!: An entire generation of American children learned more about grammar from this animated ABC Saturday-morning show than from all their hard-working English teachers combined. Schoolhouse Rock was dreamed up in the early Seventies by an advertising executive who noticed that his eleven-year-old son didn't know the product of eight times six but did know all the words to "A Horse with No Name." He sold to the network a show that featured catchy little ditties explaining grammar ("Conjunction Junction"), government ("I'm Just a Bill"), and human anatomy ("Do the Circulation"). It worked like a charm -- Schoolhouse Rock went on to run for thirteen years (it was recently revived with new episodes). Actors' Playhouse (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) presents this live version of the show for the first time in South Florida. Tickets cost seven dollars (for both children and nostalgic twenty-somethings), with performances scheduled for 2:00 p.m. every Saturday until May 17. Call 444-9293 for more information. (JO)

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