Calendar for the week

thursday
january 8
Florida Philharmonic with Cachao and Nestor Torres: The Florida Philharmonic goes Latin tonight with a program titled Serie Latina de Mœsica Pop Miami. That mouthful means Latin Pop Music Series Miami. And while we don't exactly know what songs will be performed, we do know who will be doing the performing: flute-playing phenomenon Nestor Torres and vigorous bassist Israel "Cachao" López. Oh, and the Florida Philharmonic under the baton of conductor Duilio Dobrin will be there to help out. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $20. Call 673-7000. (NK)

Key West Literary Seminar: Key West has long been a haven for more than just pirates and Jimmy Buffett. Writers and artists have congregated there since the Nineteenth Century, seduced by the slow pace, balmy weather, and relaxed ambiance. This four-day-long symposium affords professionals and serious amateurs an opportunity to participate in ten-person workshops (many of which are already sold out) about illustrating, writing, or editing; listen to panel discussions with famous authors; and, of course, attend parties. (After all, this is Key West.) "Once Upon a Time: Children's Literature in the Late Twentieth Century" is this year's theme, and luminaries include Babar the Elephant creator Laurent de Brunhoff, chronicler of adolescent angst Judy Blume, two-time Newberry Award-winner E.L. Konigsburg, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Wilbur. It will cost you $350 for the seminars only. If you're lucky enough to get into some workshops, you'll have to pay $450. And if you want to do both, be prepared to fork over $725. Call 888-293-9291. (NK)

friday
january 9
Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair: Thirty-five contemporary art dealers are having a three-day affair at the Raleigh Hotel (1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) this weekend. The second annual Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair presents an intimate (and quality-controlled) alternative to the gargantuan Art Miami '98 being held simultaneously at the Miami Beach Convention Center (see below). Starting today dealers will redecorate their rooms -- works by up-and-coming artists will be displayed on hotel room walls, laid out on the beds, and hung in the showers. The works -- small paintings, photographs, and other media -- are priced to sell at $100 and up. (Last year the art flew out the doors, so go early.) For both collectors and browsers, the fair will likely bring the broadest selection of new contemporary art to be seen all year in Miami. Participating dealers include New York's Pat Hearn and Morris Healy, Elba Benitez from Madrid, S‹o Paulo's Luisa Strina, and Miami's own Fredric Snitzer, Ambrosino, and Emilio Navarro galleries. The Gramercy International is open today through Sunday from noon to 8:00 p.m. Admission is ten dollars. Call 534-6300. (JC)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Did too many trips to the circus as a child engender in you an inordinate fear of clowns? Well, get over it and take the tykes to see what is still billed as the Greatest Show on Earth. (Those words, now a registered trademark, were P.T. Barnum's. We won't get into what he said about suckers.) This year's extravaganza stars Zusha, Queen of the Nile, the world's only performing hippopotamus; the daredevil Guerrero family, who will form a seven-person human pyramid on the high wire; and, inevitably, clowns -- lots of them, most likely emerging from scads of tiny cars and doing hilarious and original things like bonking each other on the head with clubs. If your kids are fledgling circus performers, make sure you take them to the show an hour early so they can play on the arena floor and test their skills at flying on a trapeze, walking a low wire, bouncing on a bungee, and (oy!) clowning around. The circus runs through January 19 at the Miami Arena (721 NW First Ave.). Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. today through Sunday, plus Tuesday and Wednesday; performances take place at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $9 to $18. Call 530-4400. (NK)

Art Miami '98: Psst! Hey, you wanna buy some art? They've got all the art you could ever want and more at this five-day event. We're not referring to paint-by-numbers stuff or those lovely renderings of dogs playing poker or even portraits of Elvis on black velvet. No, at Art Miami '98 you'll find works by internationally known artists such as David Hockney, Donald Judd, Fernando Botero, Wifredo Lam, Louise Nevelson, Frida Khalo, Pablo Picasso, and others. A sort of flea market (but don't expect bargain prices) for the artsy set, this massive exhibition includes approximately 100 dealers, both established and emerging, from more than 25 countries. Consider yourself more an observer than a collector? Then just stroll around, take a look, and don't miss the fair's latest addition (as if it needs to be any bigger): the projects/installation section, which highlights the site-specific work of sixteen young artists who use video, light, sound, sculpture, and computers to get their message across. The exposition runs from noon to 8:00 p.m. today and tomorrow and continues Sunday and Monday from noon to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr.). Admission is ten dollars. Call 673-7311. (NK)

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