Miami-Dade Community College's Cultura del Lobo Performing Arts Series presents Brazilian-born jazz pianist, composer, and vocalist Eliane Elias tonight at 8:30 at Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables). A native of Sčo Paulo who has lived in the United States since 1981, Elias is equally proficient at pounding out straight-ahead jazz, fusion, and Brazilian jazz tunes. On the many albums she has recorded for the Blue Note label, she has been accompanied by a slew of prominent musicians, including drummers Jack DeJohnette and Peter Erskine, percussionist Nana Vasconselos, pianist Herbie Hancock, and her husband, trumpet player Randy Brecker. Bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Satoshi Takeishi join her tonight. Tickets cost $20. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Jazz Outreach Project, a three-year jazz education initiative that brings Miami-Dade youngsters and jazz artists together. Call 305-237-7644.
Antique-map dealers, collectors, and experts galore will convene on the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (101 W. Flagler St.) this weekend for the Miami International Map Fair, the only event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Maps of every size, type, and price will be available for purchase. Curious chart owners may also bring their own treasures to the fair for experts to examine. Highlights of the event include Saturday's keynote address by Philip Burden, a well-known dealer and author of The Mapping of North America, and a panel discussion titled "Mapping the Caribbean"; and Sunday's workshop on caring for antique maps conducted by Patricia Molen Van Ee of the Library of Congress. The fair runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and noon to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. Admission to the dealers' marketplace is five dollars. Admission for the full weekend of lectures, programs, discussions, lunch, and a reception is $45. Call 305-375-1492.
What better advice can you give a local musician in this tough town than "If at first you don't succeed, try try again?" Singer-songwriter Diane Ward has taken those words to heart. It's been nearly four years since the former frontwoman of Bootleg, the Wait, and Voidville released her first solo album, Mirror. The multi-instrumentalist (she's a mean drummer and percussionist as well as a guitarist) hasn't put her pen or her instruments down yet. Tonight at 9:00 at Power Studios (3701 NE Second Ave.) Ward celebrates the release of her second album, Move. Brimming with jangly guitar-driven tunes and her potent vocals, Move features an array of local guest musicians: Jack Shawde, Joel Schantz, Matt Sabatella, Brian Franklin, and others. Admission is free. Call 305-573-8042.
Black History Month gets off to a lively start today during an afternoon of Civil Rights Commemorative Programs at the Miami-Dade Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.). At 1:30 p.m. a panel that includes Dorothy Jenkins Fields, executive director of the Black Archives and Research Foundation of South Florida; Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP; and civil rights activist Dr. John Brown share their memories of the civil rights movement in South Florida. At 2:30 p.m. the fifteen-member African-American Unity Choir delivers a dynamic performance. And at 3:00 p.m. Marvin Dunn, associate professor of psychology at FIU and coauthor of The Miami Riot of 1980, discusses his latest book, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century. Admission to all events is free. Call 305-375-2665.
Help the Lowe Art Museum (University of Miami, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables) close out the exhibition "The Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art" by taking part in a Soulful Family Day from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. today. On tap for the festivities: tours of the exhibition at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.; West African storytelling by Jermiah Nabawi; dancing by the Repertory Dance Theatre; and music from the Juba Gospel Ensemble. African mask-making and collage-making based on the works of artist Romare Bearden will also be offered all day. Soul food will be sold courtesy of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Admission is six dollars. Call 305-284-3621.
You know only one thing about plants: Whenever you get your hands on them, they die. Your back yard looks more like the Mojave Desert than the gardens at Versailles. But not to worry. Not all plants resemble Audrey II, the bloodthirsty Venus flytrap that starred in the film Little Shop of Horrors. Some of them are nice, good natured, easy to care for. You can even talk to them if you get lonely. You'll find plenty of new friends at the South Florida Fern Society's Annual Plant Auction, which takes place from 7:30 to 10:00 tonight at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. Although the society is dedicated to educating people about ferns (collectors and growers will be on hand to chat), the group promises that other green things -- palms, bromeliads, orchids, and more -- will be available to bid on, too. Admission and refreshments are free. Call 305-235-3559.
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos (The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love) reads from his latest book, Empress of the Splendid Season, tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Empress is the story of Lydia Espana, the spoiled daughter of a small-town Cuban mayor, who is banished from her home in 1947 for staying out until dawn after a dance. The naughty gal moves to New York and then finds herself living the life of the working poor. Welcome to America! Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408.
Candy is fattening. Flowers die. Music lives on and on. The Rhythm Foundation knows that and as a kind gesture gives Miami an early valentine in the form of jazz pianist Fred Hersch. He'll be performing a tribute to composers Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, and Thelonious Monk at the Van Dyke Cafe (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) tonight and tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. A two-time Grammy Award-nominee, Hersch, who began playing piano at age four, is known for his work as a soloist and accompanist to artists such as Stan Getz, Toots Thielemans, and Joe Henderson. Tickets cost five dollars for bar seats and ten dollars for table seats. Call 305-672-5202.