Is the United States' wet foot/dry foot policy of immigration prudent? Is it fair? Legions of immigrants from Cuba and Haiti (and points beyond) risk their lives crossing the Florida Straits in rickety vessels each year, and each year the results remain the same: If you're Cuban and set foot on American soil, you get to stay. If you're Haitian, you go back no matter what. The seeming double standard is one of the issues that simmers beneath our multicultural urban pressure cooker, and sometimes threatens to explode. Leaders of the Haitian community will be joined by Congressman Kendrick Meek, attorney Cheryl Little, and activist Marleine Bastien to discuss the disparities in the law, as well as other issues involved in Haitian immigration. The U.S. Policy Response to Haitian Immigration Symposium begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson Campus Auditorium, 300 NE Second Ave., building one. Admission is free. Call 305-573-4871. (JCR) Friday 5/30
Among the best things to occur in Miami as summer nears is the big sweating joyful bowl of goodness that is the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival. It's time to dance in the streets in fringed T-shirts and Daisy Dukes to the sounds of calypso and soca. Although the big-time Goombay street festival is not until next week, the carnival officially begins its junkanoo tonight with a presentation at Virrick Park (3255 Plaza St., Coconut Grove). Throughout the week Goombay fever builds with talent shows, a historical pioneers tea, happy hours at the Sonesta Hotel in the Grove, and a VIP gala at the brand-new Parrot Jungle. But rest assured, nothing beats the street fest that will take over Coconut Grove next Saturday. The opening ceremonies take place at 6:00 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-372-9966. (JCR)
The first day of summer will be upon us in a mere three weeks. Oh, who are we kidding? The heat and humidity are already suffocating us like a boa constrictor on amphetamines. On a sweltering day, what could be more refreshing than a frosty drink made with rum? Or maybe fifteen different frosty drinks made with fifteen different rums? While we can't guarantee the frosty part, we do know at least fifteen different brands of rum will be flowing at the first New Times Rum Shaker, taking over Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.) tonight. Among the many brands you can sample: Gosling Black Seal, Appleton Estate, Old Havana, Don Q, Zaya, and, of course, Bacardi. Some of the food that will go along with all that drink includes conch fritters, beef kabobs, and jerk chicken breast. Caribbean-flavored entertainment will come courtesy of Pluto & Company, Johnny Dread, Leon Coldero, Earth Citizen, and Inner Circle. Gates open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $15, which includes one rum drink. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Coconut Grove Children's Environmental Group. Call 305-374-1198. (NK)
"Honey, I'm giving a dinner party for 40,000 tonight after one of your games. I know you'll be exhausted and not too eager to make small talk with strangers, but I hope you don't mind." We can just imagine a Florida Marlins wife saying that to her ballplayer husband.
As freaky as it seems, that conversation had to have taken place at some point, though, or Dinner on the Diamond would never have become a reality. More of a lunch than a dinner, the event consists of a post-game picnic held right on the field among Marlins players, coaches, and their families. We imagine the cuisine will be the usual stadium stuff: hot dogs, hamburgers, and French fries, so don't expect champagne and caviar. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Daily Bread Food Bank and Camillus House. Representatives for the latter will be on hand to collect blankets for the homeless, meaning bring one to sit on and one to give away. Chow down immediately following the 1:35 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Reds at Pro Player Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St. Tickets cost $100; kids under age 21 pay $50. Call 305-623-6100. (NK)
After almost twenty years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to rock with a hyper naked rawness and sense of humor. After numerous switches of drugged-out and pretty-boy drummers and bassists, the Peppers, led by originals Anthony Kiedis and Flea, remain as infectious and fun as animated action figures. Today they hit South Florida with übercool rapper Snoop Dogg in what is sure to be the official kicking off of a rock-and-roller summer. Strange combination? Not really. Both acts rely heavily on sex appeal and bad-boy posturing. Perhaps Snoop might even appear à la the Peppers, dressed only in a sock -- er, stocking. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets range from $34 to $44. Call 561-793-0445. (JCR)
Favorite local jazz pianist Mike Gerber gets the ivories going tonight at 9:00, 10:30 p.m., and midnight at the Van Dyke Café (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Blind since birth, St. Louis native Gerber was schooled in classical music ever since he touched the keys at age two. Discovering jazz by his teens, he's never turned back. His intricate improvisations have entertained the ears of South Floridians since 1969. Music charge is five dollars. Call 305-534-3600. (NK)