Before you spend all your waking hours sweating up a storm in nightclubs during the electronic-music and DJ-culture orgy known as the Winter Music Conference, cool off and take in a few movies. The kids at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) are hip to your interests and have programmed a selection of flicks that may appeal to you. Today through March 18 at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. Modulations, a fast-paced, loosely constructed history of electronic music, returns to the theater. And each night at 8:00 TRANSCINEMA Shorts screens. Straight from blasthaus, a San Francisco gallery concentrating on the electronic and digital arts, the compilation features an array of international films and video projects. Included are Valerian Bennett's Synergy, a nonlinear documentary on the Southern California rave scene, and Wavetwisters, animated visuals set to the latest EP from turntablists extraordinaire the Invisbl Skratch Piklz. Tickets cost six dollars. Call 305-531-8504.
Talk about an awful way to get a book deal. In early 1997 journalist Maureen Orth was covering a series of murders allegedly committed by a wacko named Andrew Cunanan. Later that summer Cunanan paid a visit to South Florida, where he boldly murdered world-famous fashion designer Gianni Versace at his own doorstep in broad daylight. Versace never knew what hit him. His killer, on the other hand, had a good idea of what was in store. After a massive manhunt, Cunanan, desperate and on the verge of being apprehended, killed himself before authorities could nab him. What started as just another story for Orth naturally evolved into a book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Manhunt in FBI History. She autographs her volume this evening at 7:00 at Books & Books, 933 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-532-3222.
More than a million people, 23 city blocks filled with nonstop music, vendors offering every kind of cuisine imaginable, kiddie activities, and folkloric presentations. No, you haven't entered the ninth circle of Hell. You're just at Calle Ocho, the world's largest street party thrown by the Kiwanis of Little Havana that starts at noon and goes until who-knows-when. It all takes place on SW Eighth Street, between 4th and 27th avenues. Admission is free. Call 305-642-8555.
As a kid you thought you had to be eligible for social security to set foot in the Forge. Your grandparents used to haul you there on special occasions. When friends came south to visit, your parents would drag them there, too. The imposing dark wood paneling, the spooky stained glass, the immense wine cellar, and the humongous slabs of meat. Like something out of a Vincent Price movie, it all screamed "fogy" to you. Well, the Forge is 30 years old now and, er, so are you. And lately you've found yourself drawn to the place. Granted they still host their fair share of blue hairs, but the clientele has gotten considerably fresher thanks to Shareef Malnik, the young scion who took the place over from his dad. He added wild Wednesday night parties, an exclusive cigar club, and an elite nightspot right next door. Tonight The Forge's 30th Anniversary promises to be a bash of major proportions. Expect the usual excess from special-events wizard Barton G: dancers, aerialists, elephants, fire-eaters, a DJ, a swing band, and more. A block party featuring live music from Grupo Nostalgia, free champagne, caviar, and presentations from civic bigwigs starts at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. If you want to join the revelry inside, space is limited, so make reservations. Call 305-538-8533.
The University of Miami's Lowe Art Museum (1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables) underwent an expansion a few years ago, and now counts itself as the biggest museum in South Florida. More room for partying, we say. Tonight at 7:00 the Friends of the Lowe and the University of Miami's Department of Art and Art History throw Spring into Art, a little shindig to raise some coin for the museum's Francien and Lee Ruwitch Educational Endowment Fund. On tap other than fabulous food, art, and entertainment: a silent auction of more than 50 works by UM faculty, art students, and full-time artists such as Romero Britto, Pam Andre, and Kristen Holeman. Tickets cost $100 per person. Call 305-284-6756.
The Eighties. Ugggh! What were they good for other than cold, mechanical music, huge hairdos that made heads resemble ferris wheels, and shiny, trashy, flashy clothes? Every guy wanted to be Don Johnson and every gal Madonna. Now it's the Nineties, and fortunately little of that has endured. But a few of the bright spots made it through. Back in 1985 when Lincoln Road was pleasantly bohemian and blighted, a group of artists set up studios in a few buildings that went by the collective name "South Florida Art Center." Fourteen years later many of them have come and gone, but the institution they built lives on, albeit under a different moniker, ArtCenter/South Florida (924 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Tonight at 7:00 put on your pastel jacket and skinny tie and help celebrate ArtCenter/South Florida's Fourteenth Birthday with a big Eighties-theme bash. DJs Shannon and Jody McDonald will spin you right round, baby, right round. Chow, Joe Allen, Paninoteca, Balans, and other eateries will furnish the eats. And celebrities from the time (Simon LeBon, anyone?) will attend in the form of life-size works of art by Lazaro Amaral, Attila, and Aaron Powell. Admission is $14 for members, $50 for single non-members, and $85 per non-member couple, which includes a one-year membership. Call 305-674-8278.