Elba Ramalho: A superstar in her native Brazil, Ramalho has been called the Queen of the Lambada and likened to Tina Turner. She certainly has a mop of hair, manic energy, shapely legs, and a powerful voice. But don't be fooled: Just because she's Brazilian doesn't mean she purrs silky-sounding bossa nova tunes a la Astrud Gilberto. Ramalho is something altogether different -- loud, dynamic, exuberant. From northeastern Brazil, a region known for its frenetic accordion-driven forro and frevo music, Ramalho has fused those styles with pop, folk, funk, and soul on her nineteenth album, Baioque. Get ready to do the forbidden dance tonight at 9:00 when she brings her rousing stage show to the Cameo Theatre (1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $25, or $35 for VIP admission. Call 859-9467. (NK)
Go South: Laura Paresky's color-soaked photographs make South Beach look like one big David Hockney painting -- nothing but blue sky, candy-color buildings, and pleasure. (Well, we can dream, can't we?) A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Paresky now lives in Miami, to her obvious delight. Her vivid, intimate pictures focus on details of lifeguard stands and Art Deco hotels. Tonight at 7:00 at Jamson Whyte (832 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), meet the photographer and check out "Go South," an exhibition of her work that will remain on view through January 17. Admission is free. Call 535-2224. (JC)
The Chocolate Nutcracker: Every Christmas as a child you were dragged to see the Nutcracker. Now, as an adult, you have not only developed an aversion to ballet but are even starting to think twice about the holidays. Before you become a complete Scrooge, go see the Nutcracker one last time. More than 150 singers, dancers, and musicians make up the cast of this unique production. Actor Gene Anthony Ray, who portrayed Leroy on TV's Fame, narrates the tale, which is set in 1950s Harlem. The dancing won't be of the dainty sugarplum-fairy variety; vigorous numbers are set to samba, soca, jazz, hip-hop, and gospel. A jitterbug or two and stilt dancing are promised as well. Showtimes are 8:00 tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday, with matinee performances at 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (175 E. Flagler St.). Tickets range from $15 to $30. Call 622-9676. (NK)
The Rolling Stones: Would you feel a little exploited forking over 81 bucks to see a concert? Even if we're talking about the Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon tour at the Orange Bowl (1501 NW 3rd St.)? Hey, don't feel so bad. The Stones have made a career out of exploitation. They don't have much time left, and at this point they're set in their ways and are too old to change. Their history of abuses started in the Sixties, when they felt no qualms about ripping off the blues; ever since, they've left a trail littered with women, drugs, alcohol, and corporate sponsorships. Tonight they want to add one more casualty to that list -- you. Well, if you must succumb, there are probably worse things than being the Rolling Stones' dog. To make digging into your pockets a little more reciprocal, the Smashing Pumpkins, Dave Matthews Band, and Third Eye Blind are opening. Why, that's just 20 bones a band. That should leave enough for one of them swell overpriced T-shirts. Showtime is 4:00 p.m. Call 643-7100. (LB)
Everglades 50th Anniversary Celebrations: Let's face it: The Everglades is a big old mosquito-ridden, alligator-infested swamp, but South Florida wouldn't be the same without it. The park was dedicated on December 6, 1947, and all year long celebrations have been marking the occasion. This weekend the parties finally come to an end. At 3:00 today the Florida Keys Factory Shops (250 E. Palm Dr., Florida City) hosts a major bash. The festivities include live music, an array of animals, nature exhibitions, a display of works by photographer Clyde Butcher, a rededication ceremony, and fireworks. Observances also take place tomorrow and Sunday in Everglades City. Starting at 10:00 a.m. both days, storytellers, educational exhibits, historical re-enactments, and swamp buggy races will crowd McCleod Park (102 Copeland Ave., Everglades City). And at 2:00 p.m. there's another rededication ceremony, this time at the Everglades Airpark (650 E.C. Airpark Rd., Everglades City). Admission to all events is free. Call the shops at 248-4727 or Everglades National Park at 941-695-3311. (NK)
Go South: See Thursday.
Melton Mustafa Jazz Concert: When it comes to jazz, Miami doesn't have much of a scene, but it does have several fine musicians. These stalwarts keep plugging away, never losing hope that establishments where they can exercise their talents will open up -- and endure. Trumpetist Melton Mustafa is one of those people. A respected musician, teacher, and all-around good guy, Mustafa is creating his own venue tonight when he presents a jazz concert at 7:00 at Florida Memorial College's Robinson Athletic Center (15800 NW 42nd Ave.). On the bill: flutist-saxman James Moody, saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., jazz bands from the college and various high schools, and of course Mustafa. Tickets range from five to fifteen dollars. Call 626-3608. (NK)
Ramble '97: Ramble is such a great word, isn't it? You can't ramble if you're stressed or in a hurry. You have to be relaxed, content, open to new things. Donald Trump doesn't ramble. Mike Tyson doesn't ramble. President Clinton wants to ramble, but leaders of the free world aren't allowed to. You, however, can ramble to your heart's content today at Fairchild Tropical Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd.). Held for 57 years, making it an institution in South Florida, Fairchild's Ramble is a combination plant sale, antique show, and giant picnic. You can stroll (another good word) among vendors and exhibitors showing everything to make your home and garden more beautiful, munch on a variety of cuisines, and entertain your kids with clowns and face painters, all while listening to music (classical, Caribbean, and an antique Dutch street organ). The Ramble starts at 9:00 a.m. and runs until 4:30 p.m. today and tomorrow. Admission is eight dollars. Call 667-1651. (JO)