FRI 8/26For some the MTV Video Music Awards are a drag: celebrities misreading cue cards, music that's overplayed on the radio already, writhing choreography. If certain has-beens or wannabes low on the publicity quotient cause a mundane scandal, it will be replayed well beyond its allowable half-life. Fortunately the comedy improv troupe Laughing Gas offers a proud alternative: "The Second Annual eMTeeVee Video Music A-Weirds." Beginning at 11:00 tonight and Saturday at the Main Street Playhouse (6766 Main St., Miami Lakes), Laughing Gas will gleefully satirize celebrities and Miami's elite -- and make you laugh. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-461-1161, or visit www.laughinggasimprov.com. -- Emily Witt
SAT 8/27Spanish painter Julio Romero de Torres loved to paint women, particularly in folkloric costume. For Clarita Filgueiras, a Miami-based dancer, his portraits presented an unfinished drama, one that could be brought to life through a different medium: flamenco. In "Flamenco Puro," Filgueiras, who studied flamenco in Madrid and Seville and toured with the Gipsy Kings, has taken a mixed-media approach -- projecting the paintings as a backdrop to their physical interpretation in dance. Along with New York-based guest artists Cristian Puig (guitarist and singer) and Monica Herrera (dancer and percussionist), Filgueiras will dance a story of love, jealousy, and passion on the Florida International University Mainstage (11200 SW Eighth St., Miami) beginning at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 and will be available in the theater's lobby an hour before the show. Call 786-282-8810. -- Emily Witt
Do you need more Latin jazz?
WED 8/31Most people's midweek mantra is: "God, this week is never going to end!" The weekend may seem far away, but now you can chill to a fresh Mantra on Wednesday at the Noir Bar in the Conrad Hotel (1395 Brickell Ave., Miami). The Conrad and Mantra Sounds have created "Con Gusto Latin Jazz Wednesdays." Each week brings artists from Latin America to play with Mantra, a world-music ensemble. The past few weeks have featured Marianna, an Argentine bolero singer and salsa dancer; and Carlos Planes, a Cuban percussionist. Fans of the soothingly smooth Latin jazz can also enjoy the amazing views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami while sipping seven-dollar sangrias and vanilla-infused vodka drinks. Latin Jazz Wednesdays are free and weekly from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Call 305-576-6882, or visit www.mantrasounds.com. --Ilona Solomon