Ordinary college kids. It seems all they think about is drinking, playing video games, and achieving superstardom the easy way by appearing on a TV reality show or in the latest series of Girls Gone Wild (and now Guys Gone Wild) videos. Try to talk politics with them and often you get a blank stare. They barely know who is running the university they're attending let alone the city, state, or country they live in. So, of course, college kids are the perfect captive audience to recruit as new voters. But one can't appeal to the conscience of our cynical young citizens when they don't appear to have one. No, big companies such as Sunkist, Motorola, MTV, and Ben & Jerry's must lure them and buy them off with promises of free soda, cell phones with game-playing and internet-reaching capacity, ice cream, and loud music.
Ironic then that the ostensibly successful Rock the Vote campaign, which claims to have registered more than 800,000 new voters so far, began the second leg of a 50-city bus tour on the very significant date September 11 at the very important Kent State University, the Ohio school where four students protesting the Vietnam War were shot dead (and nine wounded) by National Guard troops in the spring of 1970. Hoping to re-create a magnanimous Sixties vibe, Rock the Vote wants to reach its goal of registering one million kids and cajole them into doing their civic duty.
The group's big corporate-sponsored bus will make a stop at the University of Miami's Whitten University Center (1306 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables) today from noon to 5:30 p.m., bearing frozen novelties, sugary soda pop, electronic gizmos, and wannabe rock stars Ben Jelen, Dan Dyer, Future Leaders of the World, St. Juste, Tyler Hilton, and Wylde Bunch. One would like to think that 34 years ago in Ohio a McDonald's stand handing out free cheeseburgers wasn't the impetus kids needed to exercise their right to free speech and protest what many saw as an unjust war. --Nina Korman
If Martians landed on your street, you'd probably soil your pants, then run for your life, not necessarily in that order. When Martians land on Sesame Street, Elmo, Big Bird, and Grover burst out singing and dancing, and the cosmic journey of fun and learning begins. Unlike get-those-aliens movies such as Independence Day and Men in Black (What is it with Will Smith and slaughtering creatures from outer space?), the whole point of Sesame Street Live Out of This World is to use popular segments like "Elmo's World" and "Journey to Ernie" to teach children how much people of different countries have in common, regardless of the way they look, where they live, or what language they speak. And, of course, there is a letter and number of the day at the end of it all. The close encounter of the furry, friendly kind is at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) tonight at 7:00, tomorrow and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 2:00, and 5:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for kids; $23 for adults. Call 954-462-0222 or visit www.browardcenter.org. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Coarse country rides into South Florida
"Justice will be served and the battle will rage/This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage/And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A/We'll put a boot in your ass/It's the American way." Damn, that Toby Keith sure does have a way with words. He pissed off the Dixie Chicks proper with his song "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)." He's sold more than twenty million albums, chock-a-block with songs like "Double Wide Paradise," "The Taliban Song," and "If I Was Jesus." One thing's for sure, the dude's got stuff to say, and the good folks in Nashville have given him a platform and a microphone to spout his doctrine loud and proud. Love him or hate him, he's coming to put on a show for y'all, along with Terri Clark, and Scotty Emerick. The hootenanny kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets range from $30.75 to $60.75. Call 561-793-0445. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Suddenly the University of Miami's highly touted jazz program has a cross-town rival. Diminutive upstart Florida Memorial College, playing David to UM's Goliath, is making some noise from its northwest Miami-Dade campus -- literally. Not only does its music faculty include such jazz stalwarts as violinist Nicole Yarling and trumpeter Melton Mustafa -- organizer of the annual renowned Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival on the campus -- but the school is now commencing a weekly Sweet Tuesdays concert jam session for all to enjoy. And the event is open, which means any jazz cat with some soul can join the show, with a standing invitation to all college jazz ensembles in South Florida. Hosting the first Tuesday of each month is college senior and jazz pannist Leon "Foster" Thomas with his band, followed by 90 minutes of organized jams. The music runs from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. each Tuesday at the FMC/FIU auditorium, 15800 NW 42nd Ave. Admission is $2. Call 561-391-4906. -- John Anderson