Wolfson Center Cuban Dreams Series: Look out, Paul George; self-described "history hound" Cesar Becerra is hot on your trail. While George's walking tours of interesting South Florida places are an institution, Becerra is becoming known for just about everything else related to our region's history. He spent 1997 informing the public of the Everglades' 50th anniversary in his newsletter Echoes of South Florida; this year he's publishing Cuban Dreams, a newsletter dedicated to commemorating the centennial of the Spanish-American War. Next year he plans to embark on a cross-country trip in his Chevy Malibu station wagon, returning to Miami on the eve of the millennium. Recently the very busy Becerra just got busier. He and the Louis Wolfson II Media History Center (101 W. Flagler St.) have teamed up for a yearlong series of films and videos to coincide with the Cuban Dreams project. Every month the Wolfson Center will dig up video and film footage from its archives and present screenings on topics such as the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs, and, of course, Fidel Castro. On the bill today: home movies of Cuba from 1940 to 1960. Admission is free. The screening takes place at 1:00 p.m. Call 375-1505. (NK)
Nadine Gordimer: Books & Books presents an evening with celebrated South African novelist Nadine Gordimer tonight at 8:00 at Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables). Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991 and the Booker Prize in 1994, Gordimer reads from her latest novel, The House Gun, a work about the upended lives of a privileged white Johannesburg couple after their son kills his best friend. Admission is free but tickets are required. Call 442-4408. (NK)
Robert Hughes: Jocular but not jaundiced, astringent but not acerbic, canny but not catty: a few words about a man of many words, Robert Hughes. In 1970 the iconoclastic leather-clad Australian rolled into New York City on his motorcycle and became Time magazine's art critic, a job he still holds. He also produced numerous books (including The Fatal Shore, a best-selling history of Australia, and The Culture of Complaint, a trenchant treatise on political correctness in America), written several documentaries for BBC and Australian television, and originated and hosted two highly acclaimed American public television series, The Shock of the New and American Visions; he wrote companion books for both. Hughes's prodigious accomplishments might seem daunting, but he is human: While writing his last book, he sank into a deep depression that was relieved only by frequent visits to a shrink and copious amounts of antidepressants. He's now healthier than ever and still loaded with opinions to spare, which he will most certainly share tonight at 7:00 when he comes to the Art Museum at FIU (University Park Campus, SW Eighth Street and 107th Avenue, AT-100) and delivers the third lecture in the Steven and Dorothea Green Critics' Lecture Series. Admission is free. Call 348-2890. (NK)
El Alma del Pueblo: This extensive exhibition of Spanish folk art at the Art Museum at FIU (University Park Campus, SW Eighth Street and 107th Avenue) features engraved bulls' horns, decorative ceramic tiles, handmade wine jugs, and votive paintings. While "El Alma del Pueblo" traces the history of popular art in Spain, it also shows how the conquistadors imposed their aesthetic taste on the Americas. Artworks and objects included in the show from Bolivia, Peru, and other Latin American countries attest to how Spanish folk art traditions were incorporated in the colonies, or syncretized, as in the case of paintings that combine gilded pictures of Catholic saints with indigenous spiritual imagery. The exhibition runs through March 21. Admission is free. Call 348-2890. (JC)
Miami Modernism: See Thursday.
John Hammond & Beast and Baker Rock the Road: It's not often that a blues legend blows through town, especially on the same night and in the same venue that some of the best local bands are playing. Tonight at Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.) from 8:00 to 11:15 (on the dot?), you can see why John Hammond has been a preeminent blues messenger for more than 30 years. Son of the famed talent scout, Hammond made his mark with his blues ensembles that have included Jimi Hendrix, Dr. John, and Robbie Robertson. His favorite niche was carved out with the tools you will see him wield tonight: a guitar, a harmonica, and classic tunes. After Hammond sets down his instruments, the local talent takes over as Beast and Baker Rock the Road with Raw B. Jae, Manchild, Khadir, the Goods, Amanda Green, the Butter Club, Endo, and Omar Stang. Admission is eight to twelve dollars. Call 374-1198. (LB)