This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Selected events for the week of December 8, 2005

 THU 8

Female empowerment groups aren't just about breastfeeding in public and Heidi Klum Birkenstocks. Feisty femmes who use their time to create something awesome are cool. Case in point: the incredibly talented ladies known as The Beader Bunch. These four women make funky, distinctive jewelry together, and unlike the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, their skills aren't a divine secret. This evening at 6:30 you can meet these decorating dames, learn the intricacies of their designs and processes, and hear their inspiring stories. Who knows, you might just be jazzed to start a creative klatch of your own. Get strung along at the Gilded Hand, 165 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-1445, or visit www.thegildedhand.com. (PEGY)

FRI 9

Saturday: Make a joyful noise for these cuties
Saturday: Make a joyful noise for these cuties

If you yearn for classic holiday music, find a copy of Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song. For the kind of synthesized carols piped into elevators, check out Mannheim Steamroller. But for a uniquely Floridian take on the songs of the season, look no further than A Seraphic Fire Christmas. "We tried to choose pieces that reflect the population in Miami. So beyond the traditional, we're performing material that will resonate with local audiences," says artistic administrator Gabrielle Tinto. Oh come, all ye faithful, for the premiere of local composer Miguel Nieves's "Ave Maria"; Creole compositions by Haitian-born, Miami-based songwriter Sidney Guillaume; Spanish baroque carols from Oaxaca, Mexico; as well as traditional favorites like "The First Noel." Be uplifted by song this evening at 7:30 at the First United Methodist Church, 536 Coral Way, Coral Gables. Tickets cost $28. Call 305-476-0260, or visit www.seraphicfire.org. (PEGY)

SAT 10

When they stop off in Miami, the internationally acclaimed African Children's Choir will perform at seven different venues. Their last local date will be December 23. But don't worry about these perennially bright and beautiful Ugandan children. Santa will definitely be paying them a visit. "They will celebrate Christmas, get gifts, and have time off to just play, rest, and relax," assures choir manager Michelle Korosy. For twenty years, choir founder Ray Barnett has selected musically inclined children from the most desperate villages. These youngsters range from ages seven to eleven, and, sadly, each little singer has lost one or both parents to poverty or disease. Through their heartwarming carols, these joyful performers act as positive ambassadors for their countries and ensure that the spirit of the season trickles back to their impoverished homeland. Besides building schools at home, the choir also sponsors its graduating members, putting them through school when their time for singing is over. Hear the sweet music of African progress tonight at 7:00 at the First United Methodist Church, 536 Coral Way, Coral Gables. Admission is free, but a free-will offering will be taken, to provide education, care, and relief to those left behind in Africa. Call 305-445-2578, or visit www.africanchildrenschoir.com. (PEGY)

SUN 11

It's not always easy to shop for the Ren Faire folks on your holiday list. Sure, you can visit the Museum Replicas Limited Website (www.museumreplicas.com), but we really prefer to hold a Pappenheimer rapier before forking over more than 200 bucks for the darn thing. This weekend you can shop for Celtic knives and swords, fairy and medieval items, clothing, handmade crafts, and jewelry at the Mystical Yule Fair. Unlike other mystical fairs, this one is "smaller, with less entertainment," says fair creator Atena Komar. "This one is geared toward holiday shoppers." But there will be tarot, psychic, and rune readers on hand to give you a clue as to what the new year will bring — perhaps love, money, or maybe a new dog is in the cards. The fair takes place Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the grounds of Coral Castle, 28655 S. Dixie Hwy., Homestead. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-297-5516, or visit www.mysticalfair.com. (LO)

MON 12

Your weekend whizzed by like a full bus on Biscayne Boulevard, and to paraphrase a quote from the cult favorite Office Space, you've got a case of the Mondays. There's no better way to unwind at the beginning of a stressful week than with some free yoga in the park. Bring a yoga mat, water, and a towel to the Tina Hills Pavilion (at the south end of Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Certified professional instructors will help you get your downward-facing dog on, and under the twinkling lights of the park's 50-foot Christmas tree, a feeling of Zen will wash over your weary soul. Get stretchy tonight from 6:00 to 7:15. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 305-358-7550, or visit www.bayfrontparkmiami.com. (PEGY)

TUE 13

Since it doesn't look like we'll be having a white Christmas this year, our only chance for bundling up and huddling around an ice rink is if we go to see the Florida Panthers take on the Nashville Predators tonight. The Cats could really use the support and holiday cheer to help them forget about their last-place conference standing. Who knows, maybe team captain Olli Jokinen can pull off the second hat trick of his career. The game begins at 7:00 at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Tickets range from $20 to $250. Call 954-835-PUCK, or visit www.flpanthers.com (LO)

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