Calendar for the week

thursday
december 25
Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships: Athletes never rest. That's why they rake in millions of dollars for playing (yes, playing) a sport every day, while you just scrape by on your meager wages. That's why they are in superb shape as they bounce around parks and arenas galore, while you are just a big lump of inert flesh plopped on your living room couch watching them on TV. Even Christmas is not an excuse for athletes to sit on their muscular duffs. Take the teenagers competing in today's round of the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships at Flamingo Park (Michigan Avenue and Eleventh Street, Miami Beach). They range in age from sixteen to eighteen and would surely rather be home with their families today than soiling their Nikes on the clay court. Perhaps the thought of becoming as renowned as former tournament champs Bjsrn Borg, John McEnroe, or Chris Evert keeps them going. Whatever it is, beginning at 8:00 a.m. the tennis-playing teens will be out there smacking away all day. Maybe you should be out there too, lending your support by watching them -- in person. Admission is free. The tournament continues through Sunday. Call 371-4600. (NK)

friday
december 26
Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival: If fear of rabid, Volkswagen-size mosquitoes kept you away from the Everglades during the summer, now's your chance to get out there and enjoy the beauty of our very own national park, along with a day of fascinating Native American culture. For the past 23 years the Miccosukee Tribe has been hosting the Indian Arts Festival every year at the Miccosukee Indian Village (25 miles west of Miami on the Tamiami Trail) to showcase tribes from across the continent. Included in this year's entertainment are Mescalero Apache folk performers Paul Ortega with Bows and Arrows, Lakota flutist and hoop dancer Kevin Locke, Tezcatlipoca Aztec dancers from Mexico, Bird Chopper Dancers and Drum from North Carolina, and the Ezra Fields Intertribal Cedar Tree Singers and Dancers. Also slated are a Miccosukee fashion show, alligator wrestling, Indian food, airboat rides, and authentic crafts. The festival runs every day between today and January 1, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tickets cost eight dollars for adults, six dollars for children ages six through fourteen, free for those under six. Call 223-8380. (JO)

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker: It's bigger, it's better, it's more spectacular. So says the Miami City Ballet about its current production of that holiday stalwart The Nutcracker. Based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann about an imaginative little girl and her animated Christmas gifts, this year's version promises more thrills, stunning special effects, a supersize tree, and an abundance of snow. Wow! Okay, so we're laying the enthusiasm on a bit thick. But if you're not working today, you really have two choices: Run to the mall and get started on those pesky returns or hop over to the ballet and enjoy this lavish presentation. Enough said? Performances take place at 7:30 tonight through Tuesday, with a 2:00 p.m. matinee today through Sunday at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets range from $17 to $60. Call 532-7713. (NK)

Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships: See Friday.

saturday
december 27
Load: It's time to re-Load. After a couple of months off (their guitarist Jeff Tucci was touring with Jack Off Jill), Load has regrouped and is ready to help empty some kegs and rattle the house. Not too many local bands have survived as long as this one; tonight at Churchill's Hideaway (5501 NE Second Ave.) you can check out the hometown boys who have mixed vast quantities of energy, emotion, and beer to become the epitome of freewheeling rebellion. Opening the show are the Ex-Cretins and the Baby Robots. Showtime is 10:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars. Call 757-1807. (LB)

Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships: See Friday.
Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival: See Friday.
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker: See Friday.

sunday
december 28
King Mango Strut: A lot of people don't like parades, and for good reason: They're boring. Same old marching bands, same old prancing horses, same old Shriners in teensy cars. Not King Mango. Founded in the early Eighties as a wicked parody of the Orange Bowl Parade and its corporate culture, King Mango still retains some of that old Coconut Grove defiance and eccentricity that chichi malls haven't been able to grind into the asphalt. In addition to the annual Little Miss Mango competition (where all the contestants win), this year's Strut includes the League of Dead Voters passing out absentee ballots to everybody (and we do mean everybody), Sly Stallone dragging his gate out of Miami, the 1998 Florida Marlins carrying "Will Play for Food" signs, and a yet to be chosen grand marshal (candidates include Mayor Xavier Suarez, if he promises not to fire anybody or appoint himself governor during the parade, and Billy the Marlin, soon-to-be-sushi the way things are going at Pro Player). This year's parade also features a real live wedding. Selection of Little Miss Mango is at 1:30 p.m. today, and the Strut departs from Main Highway and Commodore Plaza at 2:00 p.m. Call 445-1865. (JO)

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