A television set rises out of a huge flower bud in the middle of a room. On its screen, an opera singer warbles and emotes as 16mm film projections of women and water are cast over its surface. In a nearby corner a lady is singing to a radio as she dyes her hair and obsesses about a telenovela she is watching. The miniature and detailed world of a diorama arouses curiosity a few steps away as additional video projections linger in the periphery. As if on cue, an observer is offered the chance to make sense of it all while stepping into this sensual environment. But there is no scripted action; no predetermined story is provided.
In "SET," a collaborative art installation by four local artists, a dark, empty performance space is filled with myriad ideas and objects. A stage is "set," but the performance is left to the audience to determine. No narrative exists for easy consumption here, no borders separate reality from heightened theatricality. The way it goes, as they say, is the way it was meant to be.
At least that's how Michelle Weinberg describes the freeform art jam she and fellow artists Dinora de Jesus, Tatiana Sainz, and Denise Delgado teamed up to produce at PS 742. The foursome came together for the first time to explore themes of femininity, sensuality, and infinite possibilities. PS 742, a no-frills, black box performance space in Little Havana, became the perfect neutral ground in which to build their vision.
"We kept the project open, so it naturally came about that our themes were overlapping," Weinberg says. "SET is not about a finished product, it's more about a process, so this became an experimental project for everyone."
The installation is open from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through May 3. Artists David Rohn and Deb Karpel collaborate with SET on Saturday, May 3. For information call 305-324-0585. --By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Imagine being the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and composer Franz Liszt and then spending your twilight years performing in a circus run by a vicious ringmaster. And you thought reality TV was sordid! French director Max Ophuls's (La Ronde, Reckless Moment) final film, Lola Montes (1955), tells that sad tale dramatically in flashback. Largely passed over upon release, the widescreen color work was later hailed as a masterpiece by cineastes around the world. See the flick and pick it apart ad nauseam when the Classic/Foreign Film Discussion Group meets from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at FIU Biscayne Bay Campus (NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Academic One, rm 155). Admission is $4.50. Call 954-458-5825 to reserve. -- By Nina Korman
Dancers take the stage to fill stomachs
Social service and the creative arts meet when DanceArts Foundation, Inc.'s Project Refuel: Dance for Food collects edibles and raises money for the hungry citizens of Miami (poorest big city in the U.S.) and of Malawi, Africa, which declared a national disaster last year because of widespread famine. Performers including the Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, Anna Preston and Dancers, and Ballet Rosario Suarez plan to raise 500 pounds of food (about 330 meals) to donate to the local Daily Bread Food Bank. Monetary proceeds will go directly to the Blantyre Archdiocese in Africa. The idea comes from altruistic FIU dance student Julie Colombino, who notes: "The response has been overwhelming." The presentation begins at 2:00 p.m. at Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave. Admission is $15 plus two cans of food; $10 plus two cans of food for students. Call 305-335-1482. --By Mia Leonin
ArtSouth throws itself a party
Ellie Schneiderman has been creating safe havens for South Florida artists for two decades. In 1985 she founded the South Florida Art Center on rundown Lincoln Road, before the Pottery Barn was a twinkle in a developer's eye. In the Nineties she installed artists on an empty floor of the Paseos shopping mall. Two years ago the ceramicist and arts activist established a bona fide artists' colony, ArtSouth (240 N. Krome Ave.), in historic downtown Homestead. The three-and-a-half-acre campus is home to 28 artists, eight nonprofit community cultural organizations, and an art school offering classes to the public. The complex features studios, classrooms, a foundry and kiln, and a 350-seat performance/visual arts exhibition space. Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m., ArtSouth celebrates its second anniversary. See work by Eugene Massin and the group show "The Landscape Revisited," tour studios and galleries, watch art-making demonstrations, hear live music, and just appreciate what artists can bring to a community when they're given a space in it. Call 305-247-9406. -- By Judy Cantor