Most people admire Jennifer Lopez for her sizable butt and her stellar acting skills. (Who can forget that performance in Anaconda? Okay, she did do alright in Out of Sight.) But now her adoring public can learn to love Lopez for her voice. (Not that it's anything great; think Michael Jackson if he had the operation.) How do we know? Well, it seems that aside from toning up her prodigious posterior, Little Miss Do-It-All has been working out her vocal chords, too. Lopez just released an album, On the 6, which features the hip-hop/R&B-inspired tune "If You Had My Love," plus a duet with talented Latin crooner Marc Anthony. A bad sign: Lopez worked with multiple producers, including Miami's own Emilio Estefan (you-know-who's husband). When it comes to records, too many producers usually means spoiling the product. Test the album's freshness tonight at 8:00 when Lopez shows up to sign autographs and greet her fans at Spec's Music, 501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-534-3667.
Celebrate Coconut Grove's Bahamian heritage, which dates to the 1800s, during the 23rd annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival taking place today, tomorrow, and Sunday from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Grand Avenue (from McDonald Street to Douglas Road, Coconut Grove). The streets will be lined with hundreds of vendors offering arts and crafts and yummy food such as cracked conch and conch chowder. Three stages will host continuous entertainment from the likes of the ever-popular Royal Bahamas Police Band. And the air will ring with the sound of junkanoo groups dancing around in their colorful attire. Admission is free. Call 305-567-1399.
Because we are sort of living during wartime, it might be helpful to learn about the people who we're barraging with bombs on a daily basis. The Balkan Film Festival, which runs today through Sunday, aims to educate and entertain. Put together by some politically cognizant folks over at FIU's North Campus (NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami), the fest presents some well-regarded flicks from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, and even America. Among those set to unspool: The Albanian documentary Super Balkan and feature Colonel Bunker, showing in the United States for the first time; Michael Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo (1998), a searing depiction of the city's siege; Emir Kusturica's Time of the Gypsies (1990), which explores a poor gypsy boy's attempt to amass a dowry so he can wed his dream girl (and the first feature made in Romany, the gypsy language); plus Kusturica's Underground (1995), a biting comedy that follows the exploits of a couple of black marketeers while it examines Yugoslavian history from the Nazis to the Bosnian civil war. All films will be shown (with English subtitles) in Academic One, room 194 (AC-194). Admission is free. Call 305-919-5628 or see "Calendar Events," page 39, for details.
The flaming scarlet royal poinciana tree is feted during the 62nd annual Royal Poinciana Fiesta, which began June 3 and continues through June 13 and consists of a multitude of outdoor adventures. A special event occurs today from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium (3280 S. Miami Ave.). Plant sales and gardening demonstrations will go on all day. From 10:00 a.m. to noon, tips about growing and cultivating the striking tree will be offered. Lectures about growing organic herbs, tropical fruits, and native plants will also take place every half hour from noon to 4:00 p.m. And Miami's finest chefs dish out the grub made with locally grown fruits from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. during a presentation dubbed "The Taste of the Tropics." Admission is free for all Fiesta events except "The Taste of the Tropics," which costs five dollars. Call 305-789-7608
The Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum (301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) commemorates a tragic anniversary today with the presentation Sixty Years Later -- The S.S. St. Louis. Listen to spoken memories of the period 60 years ago when the St. Louis left Nazi Germany carrying 937 asylum-seeking passengers, most of whom were Jewish. Headed for Havana, Cuba, the ship arrived at the island but was unable to drop anchor because the government denied Jewish passengers entry to that nation. Every country in the Americas refused the St. Louis haven, forcing the ship to return to Europe, where only half the passengers survived the Holocaust. Herbert Karliner (who settled in Miami Beach in 1954) and his brother were aboard the boat and were the only members of their family of six who survived. Karliner and attorney Burnett Roth speak, and twelve-year-old Mikhael Breiterman-Loader reads poems to honor the deceased at 2:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars. Seating is limited, so call 305-672-5044, ext. 11, for reservations.
In the early Nineties, when Miami native NiNi Camps left home for the glittering metropolis of New York City, she didn't realize she'd be pursuing her musical dreams in two bands. At first she played solo in clubs such as the Bitter End. Two years ago she formed the group Love Pie, which released a self-titled album of folky pop tunes. A Love Pie song was featured in a recent episode of the TV show Felicity and more of the band's music will be included in two upcoming independent films. This past year Camps, along with singer-songwriter friends Marilyn D'Amato (of the groups M5 and Pull My Daisy) and Trina Hamlin, put together the Acoustic Girl Circle, which has performed to rave reviews in Britain and recently embarked on an East Coast tour. Camps pays her old hometown a visit tonight at 9:00 p.m. when the Girl Circle plays at the Globe Cafe and Bar, 377 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables. Admission is free, but if you want to sit at a table you must reserve ahead of time for dinner. Call 305-445-3555.
Right in our midst is the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, the largest self-produced standardized archive of Holocaust interviews in the country. Today at 1:00 the center holds its Nineteenth Annual Meeting at the Kovens Center at FIU's North Campus (NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami). Among the many activities: Survivors, liberators, and rescuers who have given testimony for the center's oral-history collection will be honored, as will graduates of the 54-hour interviewer-training course. The event is open to the public. Admission is free. Call 305-919-5690.
What's up with all the museum exhibitions devoted to shiny objects? First the Bass Museum featured "Liza Lou's America," which showcased large-scale environments re-created entirely in beads and sequins. Now the University of Miami's Lowe Art Museum (1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables) is presenting two exhibitions in which beads are highlighted. Pure Vision: American Bead Artists displays 28 artists' work, which ranges from diminutive bracelets and necklaces to huge sculptures and shrines. The Venerable Bead: Beaded Objects from the Permanent Collection features a selection of pieces such as headdresses, bags, clothing, and jewelry from the museum's African, Native American, Japanese, and Pre-Columbian holdings. The shows run through July 25. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-284-3535.