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)
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)
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)
Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band: Never much of a singer or a songwriter but always an amazing drummer, ex-Beatle Ringo Starr has for the past seven years sidestepped his artistic shortcomings by assembling fellow wayward musicians into what he calls an All-Starr Band. Other lineups have included everyone from Levon Helm and Nils Lofgren to Todd Rundgren and Dr. John. This year's caravan -- making a stop tonight at the Sunrise Musical Theatre (5555 NW 95th Ave.) -- includes Peter Frampton, ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce, Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, and former Procol Harum pianist Gary Brooker, among others. Expect their set to carry you all the way down memory lane. Tickets for this time-traveling affair are $28 and $36. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Call 954-741-7300 for more information. (JF)
Subtropics 9: See Friday.
When Cuba Opens Up: See Friday.
Buckwheat Zydeco: See Friday.
Coconut Grove Bed Race: Leave your favorite jammies on, but don't bother getting out of bed this morning -- just wheel it over to South Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove as the Muscular Dystrophy Association hosts the nineteenth annual Coconut Grove Bed Race (bunny slippers optional). Festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Parade of Beds (designed by local businesses, clubs, and other organizations to benefit MDA's fight against neuromuscular diseases), then the race kicks off at noon. Peacock Park (2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove) rocks with the sounds of Cracker and Mighty Joe Plum at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. Call 624-3714. (GC)
Roots and Culture Festival: Celebrate Haitian Flag Day at this huge street festival, covering North Miami Avenue from 54th to 62nd streets. More than 40 acts, including Boukman Eksperyans, Tabou Combo, Screwdriver, 2 Live Crew, Papa Jube, Topaz, Leslie Dalencour, Top Feeling, Loray Mistik, and Jah Roots, will perform on three stages, and DJs will be spinning the hottest soca, dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, and rasin music. More than 200 vendors will offer Caribbean arts and crafts and traditional foods. Admission is free. The party runs from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Call 751-2302. (GC)
Maya Angelou: Renowned poet, actress, and playwright Maya Angelou presents a reading today at Sunrise Musical Theater (5555 NW 95th Ave.) to benefit the Church of the Open Door. Angelou, an imposing figure with one of the strongest voices (both literally and figuratively) on the literary scene, was the first poet to recite at a presidential inauguration -- Clinton's 1993 festivities -- since Robert Frost at JFK's swearing-in. Angelou speaks of respect for strong black women like herself, her grandmother, aunts, and friends (including buddy Oprah Winfrey); of humanity, decency, and beauty in people of all races; and of the strength that comes from our similarities, not the weakness of our differences. Today's performance, with additional guests the Omega Singers, starts at 4:00 p.m. Tickets cost $22 and $24. Call 954-741-7300. (JO)
Florida AIDS Ride 2: Today at 4:00 p.m. more than 1200 riders taking part in the nation's largest AIDS/HIV fundraiser will roll into Flamingo Park (Meridian Avenue and Eleventh Street, Miami Beach). Covering a route of 275 miles from Orlando to Miami Beach, cyclists raise a minimum of $1500 each. After training for a total of more than 300,000 hours, the riders, 250 volunteers, 400 crew, 12 doctors and nurses, 6 chiropractors (along with 3900 bandages and 2000 aspirin) take three days to make the trip, and they are sure to be in the mood to party when it's over. Unlike most AIDS fundraisers, which use the money raised for research, money raised from the AIDS Rides -- five are held across the country every year -- goes to agencies that provide care and support to improve the lives of those with AIDS/HIV. Florida's beneficiaries are Center One, the AIDS Resource Alliance, Action for AIDS, Community Research Initiative, Comprehensive AIDS Program, and the Tampa AIDS Network. Call 800-825-1000. (JO)
Subtropics 9: See Friday.
When Cuba Opens Up: See Friday.
Ko Papatuanuku: Seven artists evoke the spiritual connection to the land in the Maori culture of New Zealand in a show at Miami-Dade Community College's Gallery North (11380 NW 27th Ave., LeRoy Collins Campus Center). Whalebone sculpture, musical instruments, tattooed animal skins, paintings, and ceramic pots used for the burial of human umbilical cords are among the works included in "Ko Papatuanuku: A Celebration of Mother Earth." Today at 10:30 a.m. in the M.J. Taylor Lounge, exhibition curator Robyn Kahukiwa and filmmaker Toby Mills, who live in New Zealand, present a lecture on Maori identity in art and culture. MDCC's exhibition is part of a citywide festival of Maori art that also includes shows at FIU's Graham Center Student Art Gallery and the Espanola Way Art Center. For more information about these shows and related lectures and film screenings call 237-1532. (JC)
For the Record: Courtroom artists work in the underbelly of Miami's artworld. They are largely unknown to museumgoers, but their contributions to our local culture are great, considering that they bring to life much of what defines our city: murder! drugs! corruption! An exhibition at the Miami-Dade Main Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.), on view through June 20, pays homage to three of the best local courtroom artists with their sketches of many who have passed through South Florida's courts. Drawings in the show by veteran Shirley Henderson date back eighteen years and include scenes from Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez's bribery and conspiracy trial. Work by Jeanne Boggs, a portrait painter for CNN, features drawings of Manuel Noriega. And Noland Anderson, who works for WPLG-TV (Channel 10), captures Burt Reynolds during bankruptcy proceedings. Admission is free. Call 375-5047. (JC)
Ko Papatuanuku: See Monday.
700 North Adams Street: Gov. Lawton Chiles and Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles celebrate the publication of the first comprehensive history of the Florida governor's mansion and the families who have lived in it tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Wolfsonian (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). 700 North Adams Street contains historical photos and drawings, contemporary shots of the mansion's lavish interiors, a look at its collections of artwork and silver, and a survey of the gardens. The state's First Couple will autograph copies of the book and answer audience questions. Admission is free. Call 535-2617. (GC)
When Cuba Opens Up: See Friday.
For the Record: See Tuesday.