Not everything at Everything Wine, despite the all-inclusive name, is wine. On a somewhat regular basis, art graces the walls of the year-old boutique-wine store opened by South African native Molly Lonstein. For the next couple of months, enophiles can sip and learn not just about the art of vino but about the architectural history of this city. In addition to the bottles loaded with precious liquid that surround folks at the shop, equally spirited images of interesting buildings are on display, telling tales about this town and how it's grown up, literally and figuratively.
The exhibition "Architectural Miami: First Half of the Last Century" features the work of photographer/artist Irene Sperber. Being a 13-year resident of a city as young as Miami, Sperber views this place with a fresher perspective than those whose lengthy tenure here makes them oblivious to its visual delights. Various treks downtown by car over the years eventually led to Sperber abandoning her vehicle temporarily and taking to the streets by foot. Fascinated by what she saw, she began walking around like the proverbial tourist, staring upwards in awe and wearing a camera dangling from her neck. The result of those trips: hundreds of photos of Miami's buildings, landmarks or not, just whatever caught Sperber's well-attuned eye. In some cases, entire structures (or as much as could fill the lens) -- the splendid Mediterranean Revival-style Freedom Tower so incongruously placed amid billboards and sports arenas -- are captured in all their glory. In other instances, just a decorative fragment -- a sliver of the roof of the Neoclassical Revival-style Security Building with its arches, Palladian windows, and carved stone columns and medallions -- is snapped. As if to belie the age of the city they're in, some structures appear to have been standing for hundreds of years. Sperber's delicate hand coloring of the photos helps enhance the handsome lines, giving the buildings, which have aged like fine bottles of wine, what seems like a new life.
"Architectural Miami: First Half of the Last Century" opens at 6:30 tonight and runs through Saturday, November 20, at Everything Wine, 3544 N. Miami Ave. Admission is free. Call 305-576-3355. -- Nina Korman
The waiter pops the cork and pours a smidgen of that cheap pino grigio you ordered. Trying to look cool in front of your date, you grab the stem of the glass, sniff the golden contents, take a swig, and proceed to gargle, to the horror of every patron in the restaurant. "Delicious," you tell the waiter, not realizing it tastes as good as the white-wine vinaigrette dressing your baby greens. Sure, you think you know wine but nobody else agrees.
Maybe you should start hanging out at Everything Wine (see left) or better yet, maybe consider attending wine school? There is such a thing. Today the United States Sommelier (that's French for "restaurant wine steward") Association will begin the seventh installment of its Wine School at Johnson & Wales University (1701 NE 127th St., North Miami), ground zero for would-be foodies. The seven-week night course covers tasting, theory, practical service, and how wines of the world are made. Pass an exam at the end and you'll be a certified foundation-level sommelier. Tuition is $275 and includes a one-year association membership. Call 305-466-3440. -- Nina Korman
Celebração en Française
Brazilian independence, ooh la la
Whimsical dancing dresses captured mid-twist, hammered out of aluminum. Undefined geometric patterns rendered in vivid, texturized color. And deli meat. Lots of delicious deli meat. Enjoy all this and more when you come on down and Celebração de Liberdade (that's celebrate Brazilian independence, for you non-Portuguese speaking types) at the Alliance Française of Miami (1414 Coral Way). Ah, oui, they're kicking off Brazilian Cultural Week in fine style, with an art show opening featuring bold prints and aluminum installations by Adriana Carvalho, and eye-arresting abstract art by Luciana Filizola. To further sweeten the deal, there's a delicious reception thanks to the Carnaval Deli Market and free admission. Sacre bleu! They've cooked up a whole week's worth of cultural events, including documentary films, food, live music, and a soccer game. You can get the full list at www.afmiami.org, or call the Brazil-USA Cultural Center of Florida at 305-376-8864. The shindig begins at 7:00 p.m.-Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
If you build it, they will come and cover it in cars, trucks, motorcycles, litter, and the occasional lost dog or roaming alligator. New roads, redesigns, the bulldozing of neighborhoods, and even scattered attempts at public transportation like the underutilized Metrorail seem like easy answers to South Florida's traffic congestion. Unfortunately the pouring of concrete has acted more like an engraved invitation for new residents to move in than any prescription for relief. Grid Lock, the latest presentation created by the Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive, chronicles the relentless battle between Miami-Dade's urban planners and the explosion of vehicles in the area. Vintage newsfilms and special public affairs programs offer definitive evidence that the transportation woes which have plagued drivers since at least the 1950s have only deteriorated with every intervention. (Hasn't the 836 been continuously jammed since it was built?) The program screens at 1:00 p.m. in the Miami-Dade Public Library's (101 W. Flagler St.) auditorium. Admission is free. Call 305-375-1505. -- Margaret Griffis