thursday
december 4
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)

friday
december 5
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.

saturday
december 6
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)

The Greater Miami Pop Warner League Super Bowl: Can't wait for the football season to roll to a close so you can plop in front of the TV, guzzle beer, devour pizza, and watch the Super Bowl? Well, the Super Bowl is happening today. Don't worry, the NFL isn't fooling with you. This isn't the game played by hulking 300-pound professionals; the athletes are energetic 80-pounders who may just become one of those pros in the future (see the New Times cover story last week, "Coming of Age on the 50-Yard Line"). After many sweaty Saturdays for the boys and their parents, the Pop Warner league season culminates at 9:00 a.m. when the Gwen Cherry Bulls meet the Goulds Rams at Harris Field (South Dixie Highway and Campbell Drive, Homestead). One warning: Stay clear of the sidelines; those moms and dads can get a little out of control! Tickets cost three dollars for adults, two dollars for kids under six. Call 694-4889. (NK)

Go South: See Thursday.
The Chocolate Nutcracker: See Friday.
Everglades 50th Anniversary Celebrations: See Friday.

sunday
december 7
Santa's Parade of the Elves: Somewhere along the line, Thanksgiving became the start of parade season. You've got your giant balloons, your fancy floats, your incontinent horses ... and your elves. Santa's elves, that is, who take a break from slaving away in his workshop to march through downtown South Miami today. The little people will be accompanied by Shriners (grown men in funny hats and itty-bitty cars), cheerleaders, floats, dancers, horses, et cetera, et cetera. Even Billy the Marlin and Sebastian the Ibis will be there. If your kids want to be honorary elves for a day (they'll have to provide their own pointy shoes), take them to South Miami City Hall (6130 Sunset Dr.) at 1:30 p.m. and they'll get to march at the beginning of the parade with the Head Elf. The fun starts at 2:00 p.m. Call 663-6327. (JO)

Go South: See Thursday.
The Chocolate Nutcracker: See Friday.
Everglades 50th Anniversary Celebrations: See Friday.
Ramble '97: See Saturday.

monday
december 8
The Ciphered Memory: Gustavo Acosta's shadowy paintings stake out some lonely territory, depicting uninhabited buildings, deserted cities, and architectural ruins that symbolize his longing for things past. The Cuban exile painstakingly portrays his isolated structures on large canvases, yet they appear slightly out of focus, like distant memories. Acosta's evocative works are on display in "The Ciphered Memory," at Elite Fine Art (3140 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables) through December 23. Admission is free. Call 448-3800 for hours. (JC)

Yo-Yo Ma: Efforts to make classical music and musicians appealing to younger audiences continue, what with nubile violinists wearing diaphanous blouses and all. Now cellist Yo-Yo Ma has gotten hip and taken up the tango. Don't, however, expect to see him sashaying seductively around the stage at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (175 E. Flagler St.) tonight at 8:00. He's playing tango, not dancing it. Ma and five top-flight musicians will perform the songs of celebrated Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla in a program titled "Tango Apasionado." A tango innovator, Piazzolla stretched its boundaries, introducing dissonance and a sense of breeziness while still maintaining the mood of melancholy and loneliness. Ma is touring to support his recently released album, Soul of the Tango. Pretty cool for a classical guy, huh? Tickets range from $25 to $75. Call 532-3491. (NK)

Go South: See Thursday.

tuesday
december 9
State Fair: Unless you've been vacationing in Branson, Missouri, you probably haven't seen much of entertainer John Davidson lately. The former host of That's Incredible! and the perennial Hollywood Square keeps himself at the edge of the public eye by billing himself as headliner at his own theater (you buy your own theater, you can pretty much do as you please). Davidson left Branson in 1995 for Broadway to do what he does best -- cheesy song and dance. Yet even in the big city he couldn't seem to shake the squeaky-clean image or the hint of the heartland: He ended up playing a farmer in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair, and now he's joined the touring company. The show involves a family's life-changing adventures at the 1946 Iowa State Fair and features songs such as "It Might as Well Be Spring" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" (see the review in "Theater," page 65). Hmmm, provocative. Someone get this man an audition with Quentin Tarantino, quick! The show runs through December 14 at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets range from $20 to $43. Call 673-7300. (NK)

Go South: See Thursday.
The Ciphered Memory: See Monday.

wednesday
december 10
Yanni: He's performed at the Parthenon and the Taj Mahal. Many million-selling albums later, he plays -- the Miami Arena. Yes, Kalamata, Greece's second-biggest export after olives, Yanni goes slumming and deigns to perform at our second-rate concert hall, a venue so vilified that even our own basketball team doesn't want to play there any more. (But we won't get into that.) Plugging the three albums he released this year (Devotion, In the Mirror, and Port of Mystery), the prolific, self-taught, composer-instrumentalist comes to the Arena (721 NW 1st Ave.) at 7:30 tonight. Tickets range from $35 to $75. Call 530-4400. (NK)

Go South: See Thursday.
The Ciphered Memory: See Monday.
State Fair: See Tuesday.

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