If you're skeptical about alternative medicine, yoga, and all things new-age, then chi kung might seem too good to be true. Disciples claim that the ancient Chinese art, also known as qigong, can cure otherwise incurable diseases and prolong the lives of its practitioners. Adherence to this mysterious and ancient discipline is said to result in a rejuvenated libido, weight loss, and improved intellectual performance.
"It's incredible. Once the emotional and mental changes set in, the physical changes come. People who used to slouch and look sad all the time, you'll see them standing up straight and smiling," assures Eugene Siterman, a devotee who believes that five years of daily practice has changed him externally and internally. "You perceive the world in a different way. Things that used to stress me out don't affect me the same way anymore," he says.
Siterman learned the path to health and happiness from grand master Wong Kiew Kit. The shaolin master, best-selling author, and martial arts expert will explain the tenets of chi kung to questioning newcomers at today's free seminars. This morning at 11:30, Wong will speak during "The Marvelous Shaolin Arts" session at the Tina Hills Pavilion (301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tonight at 6:00 he will lead the "Wonders of the Shaolin Arts" lecture at the Sonesta Hotel (350 Ocean Dr., Key Biscayne). During his four-day visit, Wong will be appearing at six different venues, teaching valuable energy-harnessing techniques with chi kung courses, signing books for devoted followers, and hosting a tea ceremony. Call 305-322-3670, or visit www.sifuwongmiami.com for more event information. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Mmmm ... Das Beer!
People look forward to October for two reasons: (1) girls in sexy Halloween costumes and (2) beer. Oktoberfest, the annual Bavarian beer festival, is now celebrated all over the world, including Miami, a city not renowned for its German roots. Although the German American Social Club (11919 Miller Rd., Miami) cannot expect the seven million visitors anticipated in Munich this year, and probably will not serve one and a half million gallons of beer, it will feature two German bands, three dance troupes, mountains of bratwurst and sauerkraut, carnival rides, and, of course, Oktoberfest beer. The party begins tonight at 6:00, continues through the weekend, and then picks up again next Friday. Admission is ten dollars for adults. Call 305-552-5123, or visit www.germanamericanclub-miami.org for details. Ilona Solomon
Verdancy and Vino
Toast to an excellent cause
To nature lovers the lush resplendence of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables) is intoxicating. But tonight visitors can get buzzed on more than spectacular flora when the garden opens up for Fine Wines at Fairchild, a fundraising event to benefit the Fairchild Challenge youth environmental educational program. You can imbibe 100 wines from around the world, including varieties from celebrated vintners such as Sterling, Mondavi, Veuve Clicquot, and Mot & Chandon. After the vino, sample fabulous vittles from some of South Florida's finest establishments, including Mosaico, Joanna's Marketplace, Christy's steak house, the Country Club of Coral Gables, and Restaurant St. Michel. Enter the silent auction and you could win trips to exotic tropical resorts. Admission is $80, $150 for VIP. The main event begins at 8:00. Tickets are limited. Call 305-667-1651, ext. 3377, or visit www.fairchildgarden.org. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Give 'Em the Boot
Get cash for that junk in your trunk
Popular in jolly old England, the car boot sale is a groovy way to sell your stuff when you don't have a garage, or even a yard, to set up your tag sale. Today from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the Miami Shores Community Church (9823 NE Fourth Ave., Miami) is hosting a car boot sale and a little fair with country English flair. For $25 you can reserve a spot to park your buggy on the church swale and open your trunk to reveal a treasure trove. Now is the time to unload that annoying Hello Kitty alarm clock, the pointy-toe boots that pinch your feet, and the sad clown painting on velvet you purchased for its creepy kitschiness before realizing the weepy stare with a single sparkling tear was going to freak you out in the middle of the night. Call 305-759-3445. Lyssa Oberkreser
Now That's Tasty!
Everyone's invited to A Taste of Biscayne along the bay in historic Morningside. Bring your family, and even your dog, because the Morningside Civic Association has a fun afternoon planned for the whole neighborhood. Enjoy the beautiful water view as you sample offerings from many of the area's best restaurants. Taste Tuscan treats from Casa Toscana, pizzas from Andiamo, or maybe some German favorites from the Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus. From steamed mussels to rack of lamb, a cornucopia of fine foods awaits. Tickets for tastings begin at only two dollars. The festival runs from 1:00 to 4:00 and is located at NE 59th Street by Biscayne Bay. Call 305-754-6826, or visit www.atasteofbiscayne.com. Karen R. Figueiredo