The glitz and glitter for which South Beach is becoming too well known can be seen today at the Bass Museum (2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach), when the exhibition Liza Lou's America opens. The California-based sculptor and installation artist Liza Lou has a fondness for sparkly things, most notably sequins and glass beads. She likes the little doodads so much she uses them exclusively in her art. That's just fine when dealing with small-scale work, but Liza Lou creates life-size environments that skewer ideas of home and hearth and take a poke at popular culture as well. A few of the sights to behold: the 168-square-foot "Kitchen," which took five years to complete and includes a stove, refrigerator, cupboards, a sink (with running water), and more; "Back Yard," a 529-square-foot work, complete with picnic table, barbecue grill, clothesline, and a shimmery lawn made up of 250,000 blades of beaded grass; and "Portrait Gallery," a series of 42 presidential portraits made from black, white, and gray beads. The shiny show runs through February 21, 1999. Admission is seven dollars. Call 305-673-7530.
A theatrical production in English and Spanish? Not surprising in bilingual Miami. That's what the Splendor of the Arts theater company has done with The Valiant (El Valiente), written by Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass. The play, which the troupe likens to Thirties film noir, is rendered entirely in black and white (don't even ask us how), and deals with a death-row convict who may not be who he says he is. The mistaken-identity drama receives two separate performances each night: one in English and one in Spanish. Shows run through Sunday at The Little Stage (2100 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). English presentations take place at 8:00 tonight and tomorrow, and 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Spanish shows go on at 9:15 tonight and tomorrow, and 3:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $12 to $15. Call 305-673-7817.
The hooker with the heart of gold. If you've ever seen the movies Pretty Woman and Leaving Las Vegas, you probably know her. But before those 'hos hit the silver screen, brilliant actress Giulietta Massina excelled as the gullible harlot in her husband Federico Fellini's film Nights of Cabiria. (Honey, guess what I want you to play in my next movie? A whore!) The 1957 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film is a poignant portrait of a woman who thinks she has found true love with a man and thus, a way out of her miserable existence. (Right, keep dreaming, girl.) Nino Rota's score adds immeasurably to the drama, the ending of which we won't divulge. A newly restored version of Nights has its Miami premiere tonight at 7:45 at the Absinthe House Cinematheque, 235 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables. The film runs through Thursday. Admission is six dollars. Call 305-446-7144.
Listen to tunes of Manchild, Rudy, Johnny Dread, Spoonbeach, Out Dance, Angela Patua, Doorway 27, and others while you support the legalization of marijuana for medical use at the Medical Marijuana Benefit Concert, which takes place from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on three separate stages at Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.). Toni Leeman, president of the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana, will discuss the voter initiative that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for patients. Other speakers include AIDS activist Gregg Scott, Libertarian Party Secretary Tom Regnier, and medical marijuana patients Elvy Musikka and Irvin Rosenfeld. Tickets cost eight dollars. Call 305-604-0393.
After a lengthy hiatus, the Bakehouse Art Complex (561 NW 32nd St.), the former bakery transformed into artist studios, has once again begun holding a monthly open house for the general public. At the Second Sunday Salon Series, which takes place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. today, more than 50 professional artists and craftspeople invite you to traipse around their studios to look at and maybe even purchase some art. (Geez, would it kill you? Christmas is just around the corner.) If art is not your bag, maybe you'll enjoy some music. At 2:00 and 3:30 p.m. saxophonist, filmmaker, and self-described philosopher Leo Casino will be joined by the Florida Players for a few sets of holiday jazz. Admission is free. Call 305-576-2828.
What It Feels Like to Live with HIV/AIDS isn't exactly a subject anyone wants to deal with personally, but considering how many people are affected by the disease, it is nonetheless a vital concern for all. On December 1, in honor of World AIDS Day, the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium (3280 S. Miami Ave.) unveiled a 90-foot mural, a project of the ten-year-old Center for Folk and Community Art. Last year at the U.S. Conference on AIDS, the mural debuted at a mere 36-feet long. It has since traveled to San Diego and Dallas and tripled in size. The expanding montage of pictures and stories was created by more than 350 people (children to senior citizens) from the Miami-Dade area and around the country who were either born with HIV/AIDS or know someone suffering from the illness. The mural will be on view through December 20. Admission is nine dollars and includes access to all museum galleries and the planetarium. Call 305-854-4247.