Everyone is familiar with the World Trade Center collapse and the vast number of people who died as a result. But how many know that after the year or so of cleanup, all that remained in the 70-foot hole in the ground was the buildings' foundation? Architect Daniel Libeskind made sure to mention that fact in his proposal for new structures to be built at the site, also invoking his immigrant past (he's a Polish Jew who came to America via New York City) and using words like "optimism," "vitality," and "democracy" to back up his plan for the 16 acres. Chosen from among 6 other teams led by such vaunted names as Norman Foster and Richard Meier, Libeskind's plan (right), which he calls Freedom Tower, incorporates a museum, hanging gardens, a park, a memorial promenade, and a tower and spire reaching a symbolic 1776 feet in the air. He estimates it will take 10 years and $320 million to build. While Libeskind's scheme might not be the prettiest or the most affecting visually, his description definitely surpassed the arcane explanations offered by the other eggheaded architects. Perhaps Libeskind's early training as a musician had something to do with it. A first-rate accordion player and pianist, he gave up music in his late teens for something less ephemeral: architecture, a profession he has changed the face of with his multidisciplinary approach, emphasizing city planning and function. Winning important commissions like the controversial Jewish Museum in Berlin and the extension to London's Victoria and Albert Museum, he has become a force to be reckoned with on the international architectural scene and a fashion icon for the near- and farsighted for the funky black-framed glasses he sports.
Tonight at 7:30 at the Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), Libeskind chats about his WTC plans, his work on Berlin's Jewish Museum, and his work on an extension for the Denver Art Museum. Admission is $15; $40 will get you into the lecture and a post-talk reception on top of the Sony Building. Call 305-375-1704. -- By Nina Korman
December can be the cruelest month. While some might say that a holiday season lacking a significant other is a depressing situation, decidedly single South Floridians know this is the key ingredient for beginning a commitment-free party season. Fortunately the cure for either "problem" is one of the festive get-togethers happening around town through New Year's Day. World Wide Singles and Who's Who International are throwing a bash tonight at the Best Western Thunderbird Resort (18401 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach). While the organizations are known for networking singles and professionals through their respective memberships, this party is a no-strings-attached invitation for the public to meet "attractive" and "friendly" singles, age 35 and up, without fear of recruitment or the brashness of the club and beach scenes. The party at the kitschy architectural gem begins at 7:30 in Chez Danielle (and ends where you take it). For $15, revelers will get a Chinese buffet and choice of beverage. DJ German Lara provides a Latin and American soundtrack for dancing the night away. Call 305-653-8338. -- By Margaret Griffis
A Natty X-Mas
Johnny Dread sells a different weed
Followers of Emperor Haile Selassie don't normally partake in the commercial tyranny of Christmas. To them every day is a copacetic celebration of human unity enhanced by the smoky glow of ganja. But there is no avoiding the holi-daze, and even a dread-locked ragamuffin visionary such as Miami's own Johnny Dread can get ensnared in the yuletide flow. Dread is contributing his unique flavor to the season by selling Christmas trees under a red and white tent on Biscayne Boulevard. An Ethiopian flag decorates the table where Dread hawks his green. "These trees are Mercedes Benzes and Jaguars," Dread says, unlike those lame firs sold up the road at Publix. Be cool and you'll get a good price, not only on a tree but on Dread's latest CD, Magnificent People. Visit Dread during afternoons at the tent that stands next to Dogma Grill, 7030 Biscayne Blvd. The tent is open 24 hours through the holidays. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Put a couple drinks in you and there's no telling what kind of animal you're bound to bring home. If you attend the fundraising event dubbed Barkardi at Señor Frog's South Beach (616 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) from 9:00 to 11:00 tonight, you may be able to meet an animal you'd actually like to have around for more than just one sloppy, inebriated evening. Vying for your attention will be cute pooches from Pet Rescue and exotic beasts like Lucy the Monkey from Outpost Rescue. A friendly puma (great to have roaming around an apartment) is scheduled to make an appearance too. Both of the aforementioned organizations as well as Miami Pets Alive will benefit from the 15 bucks you hand over to walk through the door. How will you benefit? You'll enjoy live music and be able to partake from a 2-hour open bar. You also might acquire a furry friend who won't leave you hating yourself in the morning. Call 786-234-6051. -- By Nina Korman