Calendar for the week

thursday
may 15
Happy Birthday, ArtCenter-South Florida: The ArtCenter-South Florida celebrates a dozen years of providing a haven for local and national artists on Lincoln Road with a new name (it used to be called the South Florida Art Center), a new look (the galleries have been revamped), and a fabulous shindig tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Art800 (800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) and Art1035 (1035 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Festivities include tours of artists' studios, live art demonstrations, entertainment by surprise guests, an open bar, a giant birthday cake, and treats from numerous local restaurants (see "Art," page 42). Tickets cost $45 and include admission to an after-party at Liquid (1437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Call 674-8272. (GC)

friday
may 16
Subtropics 9: That an avant-garde music festival can have existed in these parts for nine years is perhaps the greatest tribute to the quality and sense of adventure defined by Subtropics, which runs today through May 31 at various sites throughout Miami and Miami Beach. The major event this year is Balseros (opening tonight at 8:00 p.m. and running through Sunday at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), a collaborative opera by Robert Ashley and Maria Irene Fornes based on the plight of Cuban rafters -- those who completed the journey and those who didn't. Tickets cost $20. Beyond that there's an eclectic mess of daring, innovative, and flat-out strange music to be sampled. (For details on who's doing what and where they're doing it, see this week's "Reverb" on page 61.) For information regarding the myriad Subtropics events call 758-6676. (JF)

Miss Universe Pageant: Remember that old maxim, "Even bad publicity is good publicity?" It seems to be the motto of this year's Miss Universe pageant. Just when the concept of 83 women strutting their stuff in swimsuits and beaded evening gowns while answering silly and cliched questions was getting exceptionally tired, Miss Universe started getting more press than a mass suicide. The reigning titleholder, Alicia Machado of Venezuela, unforgivably gained a reputed 60 pounds (although she denies it was even half that), and the press ate it up. Donald Trump purchased the pageant; then just a couple of weeks before the event, he announced he was divorcing Marla Maples, this year's co-hostess (along with perpetually baked George Hamilton). More headlines. Say anything you want about the Donald, but we'll bet the ratings will be up this year. If you want to see it in person, the pageant starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach). The musical guest is superstar progeny Enrique Iglesias. Tickets range from $35 to $150. Call 672-7300 for more information. (JO)

When Cuba Opens Up: The Florida Shakespeare Theatre (Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables) presents the world-premiere production of Miami native Benjie Aerenson's comedy When Cuba Opens Up, opening tonight at 8:00 p.m. Actor Burt Young stars as one of two over-the-hill con men who live on Miami Beach's hotel row, scamming dough from unsuspecting tourists. When the criminal duo gets involved with a charismatic youth with big plans for an easy heist, they start dreaming of an early retirement. But mayhem ensues when they discover there's really no such thing as an easy heist. Tickets range from $19 to $26. Performances run Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 and Sunday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. through June 21. Call 445-1119. (GC)

Buckwheat Zydeco: On record there may be no more problematic zydeco artist than Stanley Dural, Jr., better known as Buckwheat Zydeco. The Louisiana squeezebox whiz started out as keyboardist for the late zydeco king Clifton Chenier, and in the early Eighties he led a hot little combo while making some fairly decent records for various indie blues labels -- nothing to make you toss your copy of Chenier's Boogalusa Boogie, but certainly not bad. Following his 1985 alliance with the major label Island, Buckwheat saw dollar signs and beat a path to hopeful crossover success, littering his albums with mainstream rock covers that ranged from Bob Dylan's "On a Night Like This" to Derek and the Dominos' "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad." Although energetic and spirited, the effect of these covers was disturbing -- like someone pandering too shamelessly to what they thought an audience wanted to hear. What they most likely wanted, however, was what he delivered on-stage, a scorching and tough zydeco sound with the emphasis on hard blues rhythms. If he's never captured that sound on wax, he can still bring it on home live. He'll be doing just that tonight and Saturday at Musicians Exchange in Delray Beach (213 E. Atlantic Ave.). Showtime is 8:30 and 11:00 p.m. both nights. Cover charge is $15. Call 954-764-1905. (JF)

saturday
may 17
Bowling for Rhinos: Sounds like a scene from Fantasia, doesn't it? But it's actually a yearly fundraiser by the American Association of Zookeepers to benefit the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. The conservancy -- a 110,000-acre reserve that supports an entire ecosystem, from orchids to elephants and, of course, rhinos -- uses the money raised each year for everything from uniforms for its anti-poaching patrol to educational school supplies for visiting children. It's a good cause, and a bargain to boot at $15 for three games, a T-shirt, and chances for door prizes. Registration starts at noon and the pins start falling at 1:00 p.m at Don Carter's Kendall Lanes (13600 N. Kendall Dr.). Call 253-6151 for more information. (JO)

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