Once an arena for lively debate (and the occasional amusing verbal slugfest), America's oldest liberal political periodical, the Nation, has been suffering from a clipped left wing the past few years. At fault: catering to the mainstream in a push for profits. And what to do if your mag is suffering from a chronic dull edge? Write books, of course! That's what former editor and now publisher Victor Navasky is doing. Tonight at 8:00 he kicks off the Writers on the Bay reading series in hospitality management room 135 at FIU's North Campus (NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami). An author of several books and a contributor to numerous publications, Navasky is slogging away on a tome about the history of the small magazine in America. Naturally his topic this evening will explore the writer and the little magazine in our country. Admission is free. Call 305-919-5857.
Fredrick Kaufman, composer and director of FIU's School of Music, and Orlando Garcia, composer and director of composition programs at the school, are joined by acclaimed composer Donald Erb and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands for the New Music Miami Festival, which runs through Saturday at FIU's University Park Campus. Aside from teaching master classes to sixteen lucky participants selected from institutions and conservatories around the world, the four musicians will conduct forums open to the public. If that's not enough, the Miami String Quartet and the NODUS Ensemble (both in residence at FIU) and the Musica 2000 Ensemble from Italy will perform music by the quartet of composers and the participants. The fun starts at 2:00 today when Rands discusses his work and continues tonight at 8:00 as the Miami String Quartet plays. Performances take place at FIU's Werthheim Performing Arts Center, SW 112th Avenue and Eighth Street. Admission to all events is free. See "Concert Listings," page 100 for more details or call 305-348-1998.
Because the Miami Design Preservation League insists on being stubborn and keeping an iron grip on the name Art Deco Weekend for the series of events devoted to the style of art popular in the Twenties and Thirties, let us enlighten you. The weekend is really a week (it began last Monday) tied into a theme (this year it's Art Deco at Play, the Golden Age of Sport) that features a series of lectures by prominent speakers and some great old films too. Of course there was also a party, the Moon Over Miami Ball, which took place last Wednesday. But the big deal (at least the MDPL thinks so) is the giant three-day street festival, which begins today and continues through Monday on Miami Beach's Ocean Drive, from Fifth to Fifteenth Street. What to expect other than huge crowds: vintage jewelry, furniture, clothing, sports-related collectibles, tasty fare, guided tours of the Art Deco District, and music, music, music, including the Ink Spots, who'll perform tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Fest hours are noon to 11:00 p.m. today, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday. Admission is free. See "Calendar Events," page 43 for details or call 305-672-2014.
Straight from northern Mississippi, blues guitarist R.L. Burnside comes to the Chili Pepper in the Streets of Mayfair, 3339 Virginia St., Coconut Grove. See Ross Johnson's article "Black Blues, White Label" on page 91 for details. Call 305-442-2228.
There'll be so much wine flowing today at the Florida Extravaganza on FIU's North Campus (NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami) you'll think you've been transported to California's Napa Valley. Although more than 100 wineries and spirits manufacturers (including Robert Mondavi, Beringer Wine Estates, and Seagram Americas) will be dispensing their drinks from 4:00 to 8:00, something other than vino and the hard stuff will be available. Tons of food (really good food) will be offered, too. Renowned chefs Mark Militello, Norman Van Aken, and Allen Susser will be in charge of supervising the grub, which will be cooked up by nearly 50 local restaurants such as Tuscan Steak, the Forge, Armadillo Cafe, Jada, and Tantra. Tickets cost $60 in advance and $70 at the door. Call 305-919-4538.
Even if you're stuck putting in a full day of work today, don't despair: You can still commemorate the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., tonight at 8:00 when Melton Mustafa and His Big Band perform at the Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables. Trumpet player Mustafa, a long-time Miamian and celebrated jazzmeister who has toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, leads this ensemble, which is sure to get you swinging in the aisles. Admission is free but seating is limited. Call 305-448-7421.
For someone who works in images and not words, Jill Freedman has a highly refined sense of storytelling. In the mid-Seventies the audacious photojournalist (and part-time Miami resident) known for her moving depictions of everyday life recorded the travails of firefighters by bunking with them in a South Bronx firehouse and riding with them to blazes. She later spent two years documenting the work of policemen on New York City's Lower East Side and in then-unsavory Times Square, an adventure that led to the photo book Street Cops. But it was in 1968 that Freedman found her niche. During the months following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, she joined the protesters of the Northeast Caravan of the Poor People's Campaign, riding in a bus and marching from New York to Washington, D.C., where they erected Resurrection City, an encampment along the district's Mall. Freedman stayed for six weeks, snapping unforgettably expressive photographs, many of which appeared in Life magazine and formed the 1970 book Old News: Resurrection City. Commemorating the encampment's 30th anniversary, the Miami-Dade Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.) has mounted the exhibition Resurrection City: A Look Back, Photographs by Jill Freedman. As a complement to the show the library will also display a collection of memorabilia illustrating life in pre-civil rights segregated Florida. Both exhibitions run through April 1. Admission is free. Call 305-375-2665.