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)

Cinema Vortex: His family intended for him to be a farmer; he was even sent to the United States for training at a chicken breeder's. But Carol Reed had other plans; witness his unforgettable 1949 thriller The Third Man. The actors, the shadows, the dialogue, the score: all extraordinary elements of this masterpiece of suspense. Joseph Cotten is pulp novelist Holly Martins, engaged in a seemingly fruitless search for his buddy, the mysterious Harry Lime, through bombed-out post-World War II Vienna. Lime, played by Orson Welles, is unfortunately dead upon Martins's arrival or is he really just absent without leave? Martins's investigation into Lime's disappearance leaves him with just a bit more insight into his friend's character than he may have wanted. Two remarkable moments: the chase scene through the Viennese sewer and Welles's diatribe in the ferris wheel. Novelist/spy Graham Greene penned the screenplay. The striking Alida Valli portrays everyone's love interest, and the distinguished Trevor Howard plays the cop you love to hate. Showtime is noon at Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Admission is four dollars. Call 531-8504. (NK)

Rum and Coke: If imbibed to excess, rum and Coke can be too potent for anyone, but the concoction has an additional effect on Cubans. In Spanish it goes by another name: Cuba libre, or free Cuba. Rum and Coke is also the title of a one-woman show at Area Stage (645 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) starring actress, comedian, and playwright Carmen Pelaez. Portraying six different characters, the Cuban-American Pelaez, who was born in Miami yet considers herself an exile, stirs up moving tributes to relatives left behind in Cuba and cogent observations about life in the United States. If you are not at all intoxicated by the show, the complimentary Cuba libres may do the trick. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 7:15 p.m. through January 11. Tickets range from $17 to $20. Call 673-8002. (NK)

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

monday
december 29
Chita Rivera and All That Jazz: Broadway babe Chita Rivera has spent a lifetime in the theater. An original cast member of shows such as Sweet Charity (1966), West Side Story (1957), and Chicago (1975), the 64-year old Rivera can still sing and dance with the best of them. She whoops it up to hits from those musicals and more in this revue, featuring a cast of eight male dancers. Hmm, eight guys in tap shoes and maybe tights? Now that's entertainment! Showtime is 8:00 tonight through Wednesday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets range from $20 to $48. Call 954-462-0222. (NK)

Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival: See Friday.
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker: See Friday.

tuesday
december 30
And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Neil Folberg has been to temple -- frequently. But he didn't go there to worship. Instead he took his camera and snapped away. In fact, Folberg, a student of Ansel Adams, spent three years traveling around the world photographing Jewish houses of worship. The Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum (301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach), itself housed in a converted Art Deco synagogue, has mounted an exhibition encompassing 65 of Folberg's vibrant color shots that capture the majesty and the splendor of these temples. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum is displaying works by winners of the statewide photography competition it sponsored on Florida synagogues. The exhibition runs through January 25. While you're there, also partake of the ongoing exhibition "Mosaic: Jewish Life in Florida," an examination of more than 230 years of Jewish culture in our state. Admission ranges from four to ten dollars. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 672-5044. (NK)

Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival: See Friday.
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker: See Friday.
Chita Rivera and All That Jazz: See Monday.

wednesday
december 31
Orange Bowl Parade: King Mango notwithstanding, some of Miami loves a parade. In fact, Miami has been loving the Orange Bowl Parade since 1936, making it a senior citizen among spectacles. Still doddering along (but who knows for how long? This is the last year of a guaranteed network broadcast tied to the football game), the parade winds through 2.2 miles of Biscayne Boulevard. This year's theme is "Tell Me a Story." A very long story, apparently. The festivities include a total of 6000 participants: 27 floats, 25 marching bands, 6 folkloric groups, big-name entertainers such as rhythm and blues singer Faith Evans and country music artist Suzy Bogguss, and Miss Universe and Miss USA (is there a difference? Don't they all look alike?). You can choose to stay home and watch the revelry on television or be among the 30,000 spectators who buy seats or the 300,000 who hug the curb to enjoy the merrymaking live. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. at Biscayne Boulevard and SE Second Street. Tickets cost $12, $20, or $25. Call 371-4600. (NK)

Sister Hazel: Say what you will about the Hard Rock Cafe (401 Biscayne Blvd.). Sure, it's big business, perhaps a little cheesy, and a tourist trap, but every so often it pulls off an entertainment coup worth sussing out. Tonight Hard Rocks across the country will celebrate Midnight Meltdown with guitar ice sculptures and national bands rocking out the last moments of 1997. Of course, watching ice melt is generally not considered a very stimulating event, but when the Gainesville-based Sister Hazel is turning up the heat it's a different story. To give you a little more incentive to fight through the crowds at the Big Orange celebration (see page 74), the concert is free. Showtime is 11:00 p.m. Call 377-3110. (LB)

Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival: See Friday.
Chita Rivera and All That Jazz: See Monday.
And I Shall Dwell Among Them: See Tuesday.

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