Basel Breakfast

Discovering sculpture in the fall

SUN 12/5

One of the advantages of living in Miami is that while the rest of the country suffers a season of cold, bleak misery, Miami is having the best weather of the year. The skies remain blue and the sun is still warm, but rather than the steaming stagnancy of summer, December in Miami means that cool breezes waft through the trees and it is a pleasure, not a punishment, to spend time outdoors. The only frost in these parts is in name only, at the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum (Florida International University campus at SW 107th Avenue and SW Eighth Street) where you can celebrate Art Basel at the second annual breakfast in the park this morning.

After a delightful, complimentary, outdoor feast, enjoy a guided tour of the distinguished Martin Z. Margulies sculpture collection. Roam the subtropical landscape and gaze at artwork from the likes of Willem de Kooning, Jean Dubuffet, Isamu Noguchi, Donald Judd, and Louise Nevelson, among others. After drinking in fine art with your eyes, listen to some of the literary variety when Oprah Book Club pick and Haitian author Edwidge Danticat reads excerpts from her latest novel, The Dew Breaker, to commemorate the closing of the "Lespri Endependan: Discovering Haitian Sculpture" exhibit. County buses will provide free transportation for Art Basel patrons and the general public, picking up riders at the Miami Beach Convention Center Hall D, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, at 9:30 a.m. and returning them around noon. Breakfast starts this morning at 9:00. RSVP is highly recommended. Call 305-348-1899 or visit -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

Toys for Tarots

THU 12/2

Tiki torches, palm trees, and white sand, what else do you need for a festive holiday party? Throw in an ocean breeze, some appetizers, and an open bar, and you've got yourself a good time. The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual year-end celebration at Nikki Beach Restaurant & Bar (One Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) to benefit Toys for Tots and other children's charities. A tarot reader will also be on hand to give a glimpse into what 2005 has in store for you. The soiree begins at 6:00 p.m. and a ten dollar donation or a new unwrapped toy will get you in the door. Call 305-674-1300, ext. 300 or visit --Lyssa Oberkreser

Deconstructing Criticism

The truth about art

SUN 12/5

If the dented minifridge with the Oakland Raiders sticker exhibited by an edgier gallery during last year's Art Basel left you wondering how a tattered thrift store appliance can be considered art, Arthur Danto might help you grasp why. A major influence of recent aesthetic theory, Danto is in town to speak on the pluralistic, anything-goes nature of contemporary art where even tofu is up for grabs as a legitimate medium, elaborating on the concept that one can no longer tell whether something is art by just looking at it. Danto, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Columbia University and art critic for The Nation, lectures on "Art Criticism After The End Of Art" as a guest of the University of Miami's Philosophy Department. The lecture starts at 1:00 p.m. at the Lowe Art Museum Beaux Arts Gallery, 1301 Stanford Dr. on the UM Campus. Call 305-284-4757. -- Carlos Suarez de Jesus

Highland Swing

These pipers get down

SAT 12/4

A few weeks ago at a photo shoot involving Queen Elizabeth, British Col. Simon West's sporran failed to adequately cover his great secret. Rapidly selling newspapers in the UK and abroad revealed not only it but the public's longstanding obsession with what goes on under a kilt. While that secret may remain hidden at tonight's annual Christmas Dance, there will be more than a few exposed knees celebrating the Saint Andrew's Pipe Band's 40th year of bringing the Highlands to South Florida. In addition to the bagpipe recital, the White Heather Highland Dancers will perform and Stan & the Hollywood Express will provide a selection of tunes for those unaccustomed to boogying to that old melancholic drone. In cahoots with the oompah-loving Teutons, the skirls start at 8:30 at the German American Social Club, 11919 Miller Rd. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-891-3795. -- Maragret Griffis

Making Spirits Right

SAT 12/4

The season is here and it is time to get into full eating and drinking mode. If you are out of shape and need to practice hoarding hors d'oeuvres and swilling spirits, the Wine and Spirits Expo of the Americas is just the personal trainer you need. More than 150 wine and spirits producers will be handing you drinks as you traipse around the sampling booths, and mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim will give lessons on creating cocktails, so be sure to bring a designated driver. Today and Sunday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach. Tickets are $64 to $91 and no one under 21 is permitted. Call 800-468-1895 or visit -- Lyssa Oberkreser


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