Santa's Enchanted Forest: Okay, so the seasons don't really change so much in Miami. Locals spend winter holidays baking themselves on the beach; it did snow once, but don't count on a white Christmas. How to capture the holiday spirit? You have two options: Go shopping tomorrow along with hordes of ravening bargain hunters, or get thee to Santa's Enchanted Forest. Located in Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd.), this extravagantly decorated wonderland (albeit not a winter one) would make even Martha Stewart say, "It's a good thing." Adults can marvel at the corridor of tall trees wrapped with more than a million twinkly lights. (We wonder who has to change all those burned-out bulbs.) Kiddies can enjoy rides and a petting zoo, and everyone can sit on Santa's lap and place orders for that new modem or cell phone. Hours are 5:00 p.m. to midnight daily. Admission is seven dollars for kids, twelve for adults. Call 559-9689. (NK)
Tulemon's Ghosts: Tulemon could have been a nice guy, but once he got into politics he became a villainous oppressor. Sounds like Newt Gingrich, huh? Watch Tulemon, who is the main character in this work penned by Venezuelan playwright Gilberto Pinto, confront his ghosts in this must-see drama at Teatro Avante (235 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables). Teatro Avante is a company devoted to preserving Hispanic cultural heritage by presenting the best of its plays. Each year they put on the two-weeklong International Hispanic Theatre Festival, a gathering of some of the world's most important Hispanic theater luminaries; Tulemon's Ghosts opened the most recent one this past spring. Starring Mario Ernesto Sanchez, who also adapted and directed, the play is presented in Spanish with English subtitles and runs Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 and Sunday at 5:00 p.m. through November 30. Tickets cost $15. Call 445-8877. (NK)
Lumpy Sue '97: Everyone is feeling a little lumpy after Thanksgiving. That's probably a non sequitur, as nobody knows the origin of this peculiar nickname, but we're assured she's a real woman, one who actually helped Arlo Guthrie clean up the garbage at Officer Obie's command. Today the acoustic music festival she founded more than fifteen years ago gets under way. It's rumored that she may even sneak away from her health food store and soup kitchen in Fort Myers to make an appearance. Magda Hiller, Brian Franklin, Diane Ward, ANada?, and a passel of other musicians will perform. So get a blanket, slap together some turkey sandwiches, head over to Greynolds Park (17530 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach), and get a little lumpier. The festival is free and runs from 11:00 a.m. to sunset. Call 933-1974. (LB)
Barry Manilow: He's been a laughingstock close to forever. Everyone else reviles him, but you secretly love him. You haven't told anyone, but he's been your guilty pleasure for years. (Admit it, you also read People and eat pork rinds.) Well, at last you can indulge in the open. Tonight through Sunday Barry Manilow will be at your beck and call, fulfilling your every request. Yes indeed, to make amends for canceling his scheduled gig (he can say "gig"; he's that kinda guy) in April, Mr. "I Write the Songs" finally comes to the Sunrise Musical Theater (5555 95th Ave., Fort Lauderdale) to sing anything you ask. See how many times you can make him croon "Copacabana" or "Can't Smile Without You." Tickets range from $28 to $58. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Call 954-741-7300. (NK)
Latin Jazz Crew: Eddie "Gua Gua" Rivera has performed with Willie Colon, Mongo Santamaria, Charlie Palmieri, and a host of other Latin music greats, and he is revered for his innovative playing on the upright electric bass. Recently recovered from a near-fatal illness, Gua Gua brings his baby bass and his crew of young Miami-based virtuosos to Victor's Cafe (2340 SW 38th Ave.) tonight at 9:00. Expect a hot time at the cafe's Cabaret Babalu when the band (Jorge Sosa on keyboards, percussionist Edwin Bonilla, drummer Archie Pena, and Fernando Diez on sax) performs its pop-flavored Latin jazz originals and indelible classics. Cover is $15 with no drink minimum. Call 445-1313 for reservations. (JC)
Santa's Enchanted Forest: See Thursday.
Tulemon's Ghosts: See Thursday.
New World Symphony: Comrades, have you noticed the post-Cold War chic on South Beach? Vodka and caviar bars and Soviet-theme nightclubs are all the rage. Now well-traveled conductor Michael Tilson Thomas returns from a triumphant season in San Francisco to lead the orchestra in a program titled "A Russian Music Feast." Pianist Dimitri Alexeev joins in on Glinka's Divertissement from A Life for the Tsar, the suite from Prokofiev's Cinderella, and Shostakovich's Piano Concerto no. 2. Seize the day -- MTT won't be back in Miami again until the middle of January. Performances take place tonight at 8:00 and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre (555 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Tickets range from $19 to $46. Call 673-3331. (NK)
Patti LaBelle: At 53 years old, the high priestess of good vibrations can still let loose her three-and-a-half-octave voice and rock your soul. She is also still one hot mama. LaBelle recently released her first new album in three years, Fire. She sets the stage ablaze at the James L. Knight Center (400 SE Second Ave.) tonight at 8:00 in conjunction with White Party Week, six days of events all geared to benefit Health Crisis Network, a group dedicated to helping people affected by HIV. Single tickets cost $25 and $35; $2500 per couple gets you a VIP package that includes a preconcert cocktail reception, orchestra seats, and a postconcert dinner party with Madonna at the Delano Hotel's Blue Door restaurant. Call 372-4634, or 759-6181 for all you moneybags VIPs. (LB)