Laura Pausini: Less than four years ago Laura Pausini, a teenage girl from a small town near Ravenna, Italy, won the new-talent competition at the 1993 San Remo Song Festival, propelled by her tender vocal style and sincere, emotive delivery. Within the year Pausini's career skyrocketed -- her self-titled debut album shot to number one in Italy and sold more than two million copies throughout Europe; her second album, 1994's Laura, sold twice as many. After succeeding in Europe, she recorded a collection of her previously released pop songs in Spanish that became a hit in Latin America and sold more than a million copies in Spain, making her the first non-Spanish singer to do so as of 1994. Her 1993 hit single, "La Solitudine," was translated into English by famed Broadway lyricist Tim Rice. Pausini makes a stop on her world tour tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the James L. Knight Center (400 SE Second Ave.). Tickets range from $28 to $45. Call 372-0929. (GC)
Maximum Dance: The Miami dance scene gets an injection of new blood as artistic directors David Palmer and Yanis Pikieris unveil their new contemporary ballet company tonight through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove). In the spirit of the new, Maximum Dance will present world premiere works by Palmer and Pikieris -- Moments, and an untitled work (set to music by David Goldstein, Jolly Kunjappu, and Mark Schubert) -- as well as the Miami premiere performance of City Ballet of Sao Paulo artistic director Ivonice Satie's Shogun, which was underwritten by Miami-Dade Community College's Wolfson Campus Center for Cultural Collaborations International, an organization that supports collaborations between Hispanic and non-Hispanic artists. The program also features the Miami premiere performances of Julia Adam's The Medium Is the Message, and Kevin O'Day's Viola Alone (With One Exception) (accompanied by music by composers Brian Carson and Paul Hindemith). Maximum Dance has assembled an impressive cast of dancers, including some currently or formerly with Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ballet Florida, Twyla Tharp and Dancers, and the San Francisco Ballet. Tickets cost $15, $25, and $35. Call 259-9775. (GC)
Coral Gables Congregational Church Summer Concert Series: Jazzy sounds reach the rafters of the Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables) tonight at 8:00 p.m. as its summer concert series continues with jazz vocalist Mark Murphy and his trio. Six-time Grammy Award-nominee Murphy, who was voted best male vocalist in Down Beat magazine's 1997 readers' poll, has released about 40 albums in 40 years. He is considered one of the few remaining true jazz hipsters, thanks to his phrasing and impeccable sense of timing. His work with jazz luminaries Bill Evans, Clark Terry, and Wynton Kelly has earned him a spot in the jazz pantheon. Tickets cost $25. Call 448-7421. (GC)
Adrian Castro: Local poet Adrian Castro has rhythm in his blood, in his soul. His works, which can be found in Paper Dance: 55 Latino Poets; Little Havana Blues; and A Century of Cuban Writers in Florida, are imbued with an intrinsic African beat reminiscent of the Afro-Cuban tradition pioneered by poets Nicholas Guillen and Luis Pales Matos. The songlike quality of Castro's poetry is just as compelling as his subject matter, as he explores issues of cultural identity and continuity, religion and mythology. Castro reads from and discusses his poetry based on the art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Miami Art Museum (101 W. Flagler St.) as part of "Words & Images," an installation of works by Castro and fellow writers Fred D'Aguiar, Tananarive Due, and Alexander Stuart, and visual artists Gonzalez-Torres, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Leonardo Drew, and Doris Salcedo. Admission is free. Call 375-3000. (GC)
RATT: They're baaaaack. First Vince Neil reunites with Mstley CrYe; now this. The return of the Eighties metal bands is a frightening reality, but one of the least offensive bands of the genre, RATT, is out of the cellar and back for more, ready to go round and round again with its new album Collage. Back in the heyday of spandex, headbands, and giant hair, RATT (a name derived from the pornographic cartoon character Mickey Ratt) became one of the few bands to have five consecutive platinum albums, including 1984's Out of the Cellar, 1986's Dancin' Undercover, and 1990's Detonator. Now the band's three core members -- vocalist-guitarist Stephen Pearcy, lead guitarist Warren DeMartini, and drummer Bobby Blotzer -- have reunited and taken the show on the road. Tonight at 9:00 p.m. RATT infests the Button South (100 Ansin Blvd., Hallandale) with openers Hair of the Dog and Dirt Cheap. Tickets cost $17. Call 954-454-3301. (GC)
Maximum Dance: See Thursday.
Weinerville Live: Nickelodeon's Weinerville is weird. Weinerville is wild. Weinerville is, well, difficult to describe. This live-action children's television program is the brainchild of the undoubtedly demented Marc Weiner, who creates elaborate puppet-show sets through which he pokes his often wigged and made-up head, in effect making himself one of the puppets. Experience the weirdness of Weinerville yourself today at 1:00, 4:00, and 7:00 p.m. at the Coral Springs City Centre (2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs). Tickets cost $12.50. Call 954-344-5990. (GC)