Calendar for the week

West Side See Thursday.
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: See Friday
Gulfstream Park: See Saturday.

monday
january 5
Les Brown: Les Brown is probably more renowned for his brief marriage to singer Gladys Knight and his short-lived talk show than for his career as a motivational speaker. A Miami native who was abandoned as a baby, Brown was misdiagnosed as mentally retarded; he was later adopted and raised in poverty. Nevertheless, he harnessed his pit bull-like persistence and made himself famous; now he's working on filthy rich. Tonight Brown comes home to preach the gospel of greatness. In his first book, Live Your Dreams!, he exhorted his readers that sheer perseverance and a good attitude will produce whatever one wants out of life. Now touting his second book, It's Not Over Until You Win, the talker is still espousing -- guess what? Tenacity. He prefers to call it "living dynamically." If you don't find Brown's sermons grating and if you could use a little goosing, motivate on over to Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) at 8:00 p.m. for a miniworkshop with the author. In no time you'll be tackling every barrier (and maybe people, too) in pursuit of your dreams. Call 442-4408.

Gulfstream Park: See Saturday.
Children at Play: See Sunday.

tuesday
january 6
Songwriters in the Round: Take a bunch of tunesmiths, give them instruments, seat them in a circle, and what do you end up with? Some really horrendous renditions of "Kum Ba Ya"? No, you get Songwriters in the Round. This monthly event, presented by a slew of music supporters, including folks at Warner Chappell music publishers and veteran songwriter Desmond Child ("Living on a Prayer," "Dude [Looks Like a Lady]"), puts local and national musicians together in a relaxed setting. From 7:30 p.m. aspiring songwriters can sign up to perform one tune at the evening's open-mike session. Then at 9:00 p.m. the pros go on (each night is usually organized around a theme or a style) and give the neophytes a short lesson in how it's done. Past participants have included Joan Osborne collaborator Eric Bazilian ("One of Us"), rock en espanol star Fulano de Tal, and vocalist Betty Wright. Tonight's theme is the blues. Featured musicians are Graham Drout of Iko-Iko, Verve recording artist Ronnie Earl, funky bluesman John Mooney, and music-makin' mama and Alligator Records artist Ann Rabson. A whole lotta melodies for a mere five bucks. The songs go round at the Park Central Hotel (640 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach). Call 899-7346.

Big: Where have all the good ideas gone? Don't look to Broadway. After years of pilfering plots from operas, cartoons, and dramas (see Rent, Annie, and West Side Story), the enterprising people who write musicals, as if in lockstep, have now begun plundering silver screen blockbusters for concepts. Recently the animated version of Beauty and the Beast was transformed into a live stage show; ditto The Lion King. This year the mawkish 1988 movie Big, which starred Tom Hanks and made him a really big actor (read: overrated, but that famous baby-corn-on-the-cob-eating scene is a keeper), has been retooled after an unsuccessful Broadway run a few years ago. The tale of a twelve-year-old boy who becomes an emotionally underdeveloped man when his desire to be "big" is fulfilled may still be good for a few hours of harmless family fun. But really, what's next: Seinfeld, the Musical? The show runs through January 18 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Performances are at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with 2:00 matinees Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets range from $35 to $47. Call 954-462-0222.

Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: See Friday
Gulfstream Park: See Saturday.
Children at Play: See Sunday.

wednesday
january 7
Die Fledermaus: Treachery, mistaken identity, and copious amounts of alcohol. Sounds like a typical soap opera. Add a bit of music and you've got a real operetta: Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus. An imaginative, complex, comic work, Fledermaus, which premiered in 1874, provides a look at what goes on in the ballrooms of Viennese nobility (it's a bit more than waltzing). In its second lavish production of the season, the Florida Grand Opera transports you to Prince Orlofsky's masked ball with all its pageantry and pandemonium. Helen Donath stars as Rosalinde and Robert Orth portrays Eisenstein. Matthias Bambert makes his conducting debut with the company. Performances (in German with projected English subtitles) are tonight and January 10, 13, 16 at 8:00, with a 2:00 matinee on January 18 at Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). Tickets range from $18 to $125. Call 854-7890.

ARTS Week '98: See tomorrow's stars today. More than 8000 talented high school students from across the United States applied for the chance to be one of 124 finalists who will compete for up to $3000 each, a share in $3 million in scholarships, and the chance to be named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Beginning today and running through Saturday, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts hosts performances of dance, music, theater, and voice by the finalists; all are free and open to the public. Classical and jazz music exhibitions and a vocal presentation take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall and Clarke Recital Hall (1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. And the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) hosts a dance performance at 2:30 p.m. Consult "Calendar Listings" in next week's paper for more details. Call 377-1147.

Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: See Friday
Gulfstream Park: See Saturday.
Children at Play: See Sunday.
Big: See Tuesday.

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