Primate Time

A Chinese-style bash

THU 1/22

You're intellectual, caring, and humorous. You must be a monkey. In the lunar calendar of Chinese astrology, that is. Yes, it's Chinese New Year and you guessed it: The year of the monkey is upon us. We don't recommend eating a bushel of bananas to celebrate. Instead head to the Chinese New Year Celebration at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (500 Brickell Bay Dr.), taking place from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Red and gold lanterns will light your way on the private beach embellished with candles. Roast duck, char sui pork, and an array of dumplings will tempt your tastebuds. A premium open bar will help you relax and not get freaked out by the lion dance, fireworks, and fortune teller. Admission is $80 plus tax and gratuity (includes valet parking). Call 305-913-8358. -- By Nina Korman

Mighty Love

Guevara still fascinatesTHU 1/22

Dictators, with their domineering ways, hold a certain appeal for gals who are turned on by power and don't mind being bossed around. Problem is most dictators aren't very good looking, which might be one reason they turned to tyranny. Fidel Castro? Kim Jong Il? Eeew! Though he didn't live long enough to earn full-fledged dictator status, revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara defied the norm. He was actually hot. That's the obstacle for the protagonist in Ana Menéndez's debut novel, Loving Che. Back in Cuba her mom had an affair with Che, which may have produced a child -- her! Menéndez, a former Miami Herald journalist known for her 2001 short-story collection, In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, reads at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) tonight at 8:00. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. -- By Nina Korman

Warholian Hoo-Ha

SAT 1/24 Did you know that Andy Warhol made a guest appearance on The Love Boat? Marion Ross (Mrs. C. from Happy Days) played his love interest. His favorite food was toast. He'd box up fancy restaurant meals and leave them on the street for homeless people. His take on Edie Sedgwick? "It's not my fault." Though dead, the famed cultural prophet and original superstar lives on forever. Pop Soup, a fundraising party for the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami), starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $125. Call 305-893-6211. -- By Juan Carlos RodriguezTake a Bow

Give a hand to PANSAT 1/24

Oh sure, it's easy to thank the artists at a dance recital, but did you ever stop to thank all the little people behind the scenes who made everything possible? The not-so-little Performing Arts Network (PAN) and its founder Ilisa Rosal will be available for their well-deserved kudos during the organization's ninth anniversary celebration (and first in North Miami) with a reception and sampling of dance performances in styles that range from flamenco to Irish, Haitian, African, and modern. PAN has been a tireless supporter of the performing arts in Miami all these years by sponsoring grants and providing rehearsal and presentation space for groups like Dance Now! Ensemble and Rosal's LaRosa Flamenco Theatre (right), as well as offering classes through its performing arts school. The party starts at 7:00 p.m. at 13126 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami. Admission is free. Call 305-899-7730. -- By John Anderson

Slimming with Alex

FRI 1/23 Remember when our very own Alex Penelas was voted sexiest mayor in the U.S. by People magazine? Who could forget? Certainly not his staff, nor his army of personal trainers. Penelas is putting his scrawny butt in action these days in the Mayor's Health and Fitness Challenge. In the process he's making other city leaders (this time county Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler) appear in sweats at events like Health and Fitness Day at the Caleb Center. Cool enough for us. If you can't make it, here's advice from our mayor: Don't eat in front of the refrigerator; eating in front of a mirror is much better. Perhaps there's a fitness television show in his future. The fair begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Caleb Center, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. Admission is free. Call 305-375-3333. -- By Juan Carlos RodriguezDay Trip

Pinecrest celebrates artSAT 1/24 Ever wonder what happened to the old Parrot Jungle after its birds moved to Watson Island? The City of Pinecrest bought the acreage and turned it into a public park, Pinecrest Gardens. If that doesn't restore your faith in community-based action, the city is sponsoring an art festival among the palmettos featuring the nature photography of Mike Arnspiger. Also featured are the colorful paintings of Jonas Gerard, the festival's poster artist. The festival opens at 10:00 a.m. today and Sunday, January 25, at 11000 SW 57th Ave. Admission is $5. Call 305-669-6942. -- By John Anderson

 
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