Caribbean Percussion Conference: Frustrated drummers, rejoice. In conjunction with the exhibition "Caribbean Percussion Traditions in Miami," a drumming extravaganza gets under way tonight at 6:00 at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (101 W. Flagler St.) and continues Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This evening learn about Cuban oricha musical traditions and enjoy a bata drumming demonstration. On Saturday attend panel discussions with master percussionists and researchers from Haiti, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad. In between discussions, check out the special musical performances and the Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Showcase that will take place on the cultural center plaza. Admission is free. Call 375-1492. (NK)
Something Special -- Old and New: Had enough of Kenny G? Wean yourself off that bland pablum and move on to something ethnic: klezmer. A frenetic form of folk music that grew out of Eastern European Yiddish culture, klezmer music (almost lost during the Holocaust) is experiencing a revival in the United States. In fact, thanks to avant-garde composer John Zorn, who is about to release a klezmer tribute to Burt Bacharach, it's becoming downright trendy. But don't expect to hear "The Look of Love" tonight. The music the klezmer band Tradition will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida (301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) is authentic Fifties-style stuff. Think Fiddler on the Roof and you'll get the idea. Tickets cost $15. Call 672-5044. (NK)
Miami City Ballet: The region's premier ballet troupe kicks up its heels and stands on it toes at the twelfth-season opener tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Standard fare and surprises are set for the first program, which consists of the George Balanchine-choreographed Square Dance and Divertimento #15 set to the music of Mozart, Corelli, and Vivaldi. Traditional tunes that evoke the Old West, such as "Red River Valley," provide the background for Balanchine's Western Symphony. Meanwhile, the ballet's always original resident choreographer Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros sets his Aria to the music of Richard Wagner. Tickets range from $17 to $47. Call 532-7713. (NK)
Live: Six years ago Live blasted into the musical stratosphere with its first single, "Operation Spirit," from the debut album Mental Jewelry. Thanks to heavy play on MTV, the image of singer Ed Kowalczyk intensely gesticulating on a fire-lit beach is seared into the memory banks of rock fans with even the shortest attention spans. The video helped get the word out, but it's Kowalczyk's soaring voice and thoughtful lyrics that helped the band continue its success with a sextuple-platinum second outing, Throwing Copper. Live rolls into the Coral Sky Amphitheatre (601 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach) tonight supporting its platinum third release, Secret Samadhi. And talk about a Nineties band: If you can't get enough of Live live, Kowalczyk keeps an online daily diary (www.edko.org) featuring videos of the tour, so fans will never be more than a few keystrokes away. Opening acts are those funky girls Luscious Jackson and rockin' newcomers Manbreak. Tickets cost $14.75 and $23.75. Call 561-795-8883. (LB)
World Gymnastic Championships: Pixie alert! Touted as the "Magnificent Seven," the irrepressibly cute team of gymnasts that brought the United States the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics bounces into the Miami Arena (721 NW First Ave.) tonight at 7:30. Yes, Kerri Strug (Mary Lou Retton redux) will be there. So what if she almost maimed herself during the Olympics. She did it for her country! (And then for her bank account.) Count on sixteen gymnasts (including 1996 all-around gold medalist Lilia Podkopaeva) to perch precariously upon the balance beam, pummel themselves on the pommel horse, and writhe suggestively on the mat during floor exercises. Tickets range from $20 to $35. Call 358-5885. (NK)
Pro Am Beach Volleyball Series: Slap on the sunscreen, stake out a spot in the sand, and stare longingly at beautiful bodies as volleyball players both amateur and professional spike it out today and tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. on Miami Beach (Eighth Street volleyball courts). Players in sixteen divisions have already competed in fifteen games around Florida. The series culminates here as the top five teams vie for a national championship title, merchandise, and $10,000. Admission is free. Call 561-241-3801. (NK)
Children's Art Festival: If your kids grow up culturally illiterate, you've got nobody to blame but yourself. There is certainly lots to offer them out there, especially at this festival, which takes place tonight from 6:00 to 9:00 at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the 1000 block of Lincoln Road. Tonight's "Arts à la Carte for Kids" event features entertainment for all ages. Participants include Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Tom Toyama World Music Trio, Momentum Dance and Fantasy Theater Company, and storyteller Randall Pollard, who will also serve as master of ceremonies. Although the actual performances don't start until 7:15 p.m., the actors and performers will be in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. to meet attendees. Tickets cost $15 for a family pass for four, and $5 for individual passes. Admission to the Sunday event is free. Call 856-1163. (JO)
Magical History Bus/Video Tour: Everybody seems to do everything while driving in their cars -- talk on the phone, shave, apply makeup -- so why not watch television too? The ingenious crew at the Louis Wolfson II Media History Center believed it could be done and is now proving it with this unusual tour. Catch the bus at 9:30 a.m. at the Miami-Dade Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.) and take a trip through time. As you are chauffeured around town, gaze outside at the local landmarks, and then look up at strategically placed video monitors that will be broadcasting images of those very same places from archival footage dating as far back as 1920. Wolfson Center director Steven Davidson and professor Paul George will be your guides. Fare is $15. Call 375-1505. (NK)
Caribbean Percussion Conference: See Thursday.
Miami City Ballet: See Friday.
Falstaff: Cinema Vortex continues its screenings of great and overlooked films with one considered not so great by some critics, but written and directed by, and starring, Orson Welles nevertheless. In this 1966 ego-driven vehicle (also known as Chimes at Midnight), Welles dissected scenes from five Shakespeare plays -- The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, Richard II, and Henry IV (parts I and II) -- adapted them as a screenplay, and cast himself in the starring role as Sir John Falstaff. This typically Wellesian feat (considered either an incomprehensible mess or just another expression of the auteur's genius) shows at noon at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Admission is four dollars. Call 531-8504. (NK)
Jamie Blake: Blake claims her secret ambition is to join the FBI if things don't work out for her in the music business. From the sound of the aggressive yet hook-laden tunes on her self-titled CD, the newcomer might have to shelve her desire to be a G-woman for a while. She kicks off a U.S. tour of Hard Rock Cafes at 8:00 p.m. at the one in Bayside (401 Biscayne Blvd.). Don't laugh; it's not such a bad gig for aspiring rockers. Soul Coughing, Sheryl Crow, Better Than Ezra, and the Wallflowers are just a few of the artists who started out this way. Admission is free. Call 377-3110. (NK)
Miami City Ballet: See Friday.
Pro Am Beach Volleyball Series: See Saturday.
Children's Art Festival: See Saturday.
City Theatre Festival Series: This tireless troupe, which recently staged an exhaustive festival of various one-act plays titled Summer Shorts at University of Miami's Ring Theatre, is back from summer vacation and on a mission to expand its programming. Tonight the actors test their endurance (and yours) with readings of a slew of short plays by local and national playwrights (some of whom will be present to discuss their works), as they select the plays they will produce in the coming year. The audience is invited to participate in the decision-making. It all gets read or acted out at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. Call 442-4408. (NK)
Peter Nero and Pops at the Philharmonic: In some people's opinion, conductor Peter Nero should be led straight to the old folks' home and be called "Pops" instead of being allowed to direct the Florida Philharmonic's Pops Series. But the energetic conductor and pianist just keeps going strong. For a concert titled "Big Band Sounds with Diva" tonight at 8:00 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale), Nero is joined by more women than he can shake a baton at: a fifteen-piece all-female, hard-swinging jazz ensemble known as Diva. Fifteen women? Hope he took his vitamins! Tickets range from $20 to $60. Call 930-1812. (NK)
The Colored Museum: Breathe a sigh of relief. This is not another show at another museum. It's a musical -- almost. Billed as a "near-musical revue," this play features eleven spirited and satirical vignettes on the subject of "colored" history in America. Black American playwright George C. Wolfe also won a Tony Award for directing the Broadway production of Angels in America and wrote the books for Jelly's Last Jam and Spunk. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 at UM's Ring Theatre (1380 Miller Dr., Coral Gables). Tickets cost $12. Call 284-3355. (NK)
DependanceIndependance: French artist Annette Messager doesn't like to wear her heart on her sleeve. She prefers to hang it from the ceiling. In her first major project since 1995 (when the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of her work) Messager, influenced by deconstructive and feminist theories, has created a giant heart-shape installation made of more than 500 hanging elements: stuffed animals, net bags filled with objects, words made of colored fabric, photographs, yarn, mirrors -- you name it. You have until November 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) to look into this artist's heart. The museum is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is four dollars. Call 893-6211. (NK)
The Colored Museum: See Wednesday.