Christmas Through the Ages: The Miami Christmas Pageant, put on by the incredibly industrious and resourceful folks at University Baptist Church in Coral Gables and now in its 21st year, sure is a lot of work; planning for the new-every-year show begins three years in advance and requires 600 volunteers. The first act of this year's pageant offers a 150-voice choir, a full orchestra, and more than 300 Santas. The second act is a fully costumed retelling of the biblical story of Christmas, and folks, those camels, sheep, and donkeys are not cardboard -- you can smell them in the back of the Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). Odoriferous animals aside, it really is a fun event, and the kids love it. Performances are tonight at 8:00 and tomorrow and Sunday at 1:00, 4:30, and 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $12, $16, and $20. Call 444-SING to reserve them. (JO)
Shawn McConneloug and Her Orchestra and David Hernandez: Don't like dance? Bored with ballet? Attend this event highlighting the work of innovative choreographers, sponsored by the Miami Light Project, and you'll think about dance in an entirely new way. Minneapolis-based McConneloug and Her Orchestra, a loose-knit group of dancers and entertainers, present her darkly humorous Tina Concertina, in which colossal silent characters on a video screen move awkwardly in accord with graceful performers on stage. Hernandez, a Miamian who has worked with a variety of dance companies, does a solo turn in Edward. In this take on artificially enhanced bodies, he adroitly disassembles a body made of prosthetic parts to uncover its fragile essence. Performances take place at 8:00 tonight and tomorrow at the Biltmore Hotel's Florida Shakespeare Festival Theater (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables). Tickets cost $20. Call 531-3747. (NK)
City Link Music Fest: If you're having problems finding local bands in Miami that tickle you pink, then head to downtown Fort Lauderdale tonight and check out the City Link Music Fest. For five dollars you can be chauffeured around in an open-air trolley (or just walk, it's easier) to hear more than 100 bands in thirteen venues. A few of the performers and locations: Nil Lara and Amanda Green at the Chili Pepper (200 W. Broward Blvd.); Wurster and Magda Hiller at the Independence Brewery (111 SW Second Ave.); and Nation of Fear, Livid Kittens, and Raw B. Jae at Squeeze (2 S. New River Dr.). See "Clubs" on page 89 for a comprehensive list. (LB)
Kwanzaa Dance Celebration: Although Kwanzaa doesn't officially begin until December 26, the Black Door Dance Ensemble and Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Douglas Miller start the celebration tonight. Kwanzaa, created in 1966 by a California black studies professor, has slowly grown into a celebration important enough to be exploited by marketers. Based on seven principles, Kwanzaa emphasizes unity among black families; gifts are preferably homemade. The holiday is not meant to be a substitute for Christmas or any other religious celebration. In the spirit of Kwanzaa, tonight's performance at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium (5400 NW 22nd Ave.) features dance (the Black Door is Miami's first black dance company) and gospel standards such as "Joy Cometh in the Morning" and "My Soul Is Anchored in the Lord." The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and children under twelve. Call 385-8960. (JO)
It's Only Rock and Roll: See Thursday.
Miami Jewish Film Festival: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movie house for a heart-stopping action flick, another film festival comes along in multiethnic Miami. The Central Agency for Jewish Education, which sponsors this one, will show seventeen films from Australia, England, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, and the United States throughout the next six days at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Directors, actors, producers, and scholars will be on hand for discussions after each screening. The fest kicks off tonight at 6:30 with a candle-lighting service and continues at 8:00 with the Florida premiere of Genghis Cohn, the story of a police commissioner (a former Nazi) in a small Bavarian town who is being haunted by the ghost of a Jewish comedian he killed during the war. Annette Insdorf, a professor of film at Columbia University, is the guest speaker. At 9:30 p.m. the Cuban Hebrew Congregation (1700 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach) hosts a gala dubbed "A Very Jewish Party," which promises traditional Jewish fare. Tickets for the premiere range from $60-$175. Other movies range from $5.50 to $7.50. Call 576-4030 or see "Calendar Listings" for the rest of the lineup. (NK)