Quartetto Gelato: The Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables) continues its summer concert series with some sophisticated eclecticism. Toronto-based classical-crossover group Quartetto Gelato -- made up of tenor-violinist-mandolin player Peter De Sotto, oboe and English horn player Cynthia Steljes, violist and accordion player Claudio Vena, and cellist-guitarist-mandolin player George Meanwell -- tackles Ravel and Bach, tangos and operatic arias, and international folk classics with subtlety, wit, and flair. The group's self-titled 1994 debut album earned it National Public Radio's Performance Today Award for debut artist of the year, and its latest release, last year's Rustic Chivalry, has garnered praise for its international (Italian, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Norwegian, and Mexican) musical explorations. Tickets cost $25. The performance begins at 8:00 p.m. Call 448-7421. (GC)
King Chango: Get ready for a musical gazpacho of Caribbean influences with ska-titude to spare. The New York City-based octet King Chango emerged from that city's ska underground last year to cause the kind of buzz that comes from drinking five cafe cubano shots in a row. Drawing its name from the Santeria god of music and festivities, King Chango blends dancehall chants, dub, Latin rhythms, and straight-ahead ska to good effect on its 1996 debut album. Live, the band kicks it up -- literally: The members punt soccer balls into the audience, while frontman Andrew Blanco skanks and mambos across the stage. In May the band rocked la casa at Rose's; tonight King Chango returns to present a free concert at 11:30 p.m. at the Clevelander (1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach). Party down and try to catch a soccer ball! Call 531-3485. (GC)
Tropical Summer Street Fest: It's obvious we're all mourning the near death of our beloved macarena and achingly missing the way we could shake our hips to that catchy Latin beat. But have no fear, a savior is here in the form of the TropiChop. This contender for new dance sensation debuts at the Tropical Summer Street Fest tonight from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on South Beach, at the corner of Alton Road and Fifteenth Street. The event, sponsored by Pollo Tropical and the Box, will feature performances by reggae band Johnny Dread and the Scarecrows, University of Miami's Sunsations Danceline, and the fully feathered TropiChop dancers, as well as appearances by various team mascots. Along with getting the first scoop on a new craze, you can feel good too: Pollo Tropical will generously donate money to the United Way for every TropiChopper they count. Admission is free for as much music and TropiChopping as you can handle. For more information call 756-6090. (MI)
Tinsley Ellis: Growing up in South Florida, Tinsley Ellis spent hours practicing the blues licks of his guitar heroes, B.B. and Freddy King. When B.B. gave the youngster a broken string from his legendary guitar Lucille during a live performance, Ellis's fate was sealed. He's been playing the blues ever since, to growing acclaim. His 1994 release, Storm Warning, garnered raves from Rolling Stone, whose reviewer wrote that "nonstop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor's edge.... Ellis achieves pyrotechnics that rival Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton." Tonight Ellis brings his searing brand of fretwork to the Backroom (16 E. Atlantic Blvd., Delray Beach). He'll be showcasing tunes from his just-released fifth album, Fire It Up, produced by legendary boardman Tom Dowd (Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, and many others). It's quite a drive, but if red-hot blues warms your blood, don't miss this infusion. Tickets cost $15. Call 561-243-9110. (SA)
1997 NPC Southern States Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships: The buffest men and women on the East Coast hit Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium (800 NE Eighth St.) for this nationally televised competition. In addition to men's and women's bodybuilding and aerobics competitions, you can watch the bodybuilding competition for seniors age 65 and older. Watch grandpa flex those quads! Watch grandpa's rheumatism kick in! Watch grandpa get carried off on a stretcher! Master of ceremonies is Mike Katz (a.k.a. Mr. Universe -- what a title to live up to!). Tickets cost eight dollars for the fitness competition at 7:00 p.m. tonight and sixteen dollars for the bodybuilding championships at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. Call 954-761-5381. (JO)
Rage Against the Machine: Rage against the machine? Sorry, guys, but you are the machine! Any band whose album goes double platinum (that would be last year's Evil Empire), any band that opens up a string of stadium shows for such massive rock and roll whores as U2, and any band that headlines its own arena tour with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan (huge in and of itself) and Atari Teenage Riot (which has a burgeoning cult following) is, in Rage's own view, a big fat sellout to the man. But hate music is getting old, so we can presume that someday soon Rage will be content to recede into obscurity once more. Right! The questionable empire that calls itself Rage Against the Machine comes to the Coral Sky Amphitheatre (601 Sansbury Way, West Palm Beach) tonight at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Call 561-795-8883. (GC)
Moonstomp II: Skank to your heart's content tonight at Squeeze (2 S. New River Dr., Fort Lauderdale) as Moon Ska Records presents its second annual Moonstomp tour, featuring a bevy of bands from its roster. On the bill are Skavoovie and the Epitones, Spring Heel Jack (whose 1996 album Static World View has become one of the most well-received discs in the genre in recent years), Isaac Green and the Skalars, the Skoidats, and Inspecter 7 (whose new disc, The Infamous, hits stores next month). This equals about 40 guys in matching suits hopping around with guitars, horns, and big smiles. Tickets to this all-ages skafest cost eight dollars. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 954-522-2151. (GC)
New World School of the Arts Benefit Concert: Because of severe budget cuts, South Florida's top public arts high school and college is in crisis. In order to alleviate the problem, a passel of local bands performs tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Power Studios (3701 NE Second Ave.) in the second of two benefit shows. Some of the bands have ties to the school -- A Kite Is a Victim singer-guitarist Al Galvez is an alumnus; Sixo singer-guitarist Rene Alvarez was a substitute teacher there -- while the others (Nil Lara, Diane Ward, Maria, Precisely Edison, and Lounge Act) are just doing the show out of the kindness of their erudite hearts. Admission is five dollars. All donations and art sales will go to the school's operating funds. Call 573-8042. (GC)
The Sticky Bun Bandits: Let's say it's time to introduce your kids to musical theater, and Rent isn't going to cut it. You just don't think the phrases "hypodermic needle" and "AZT break" should be in any five-year-old's vocabulary. Instead you can take them to the Improv Comedy Club & Cafe (Streets of Mayfair, 3399 Virginia St., third floor, Coconut Grove) at 1:00 p.m. today for the debut of this first installment in the "Wickelsnacker's Awesome Adventure" series, original musical theater written by Coral Gables resident Deborah Weed (she calls it "enterbrainment"). The Sticky Bun Bandits follows the adventures of Grandpa Wickelsnacker, his two grandchildren, and a reggae-singing miniature zebra as they encounter obstacles and problems and use logic to solve them. Tickets cost five dollars for kids, eight dollars for adults. Call 441-8200. (JO)
Shootfighting: Along with all the other "ultimate" sports appearing in our midst, a new one has emerged -- shootfighting. A young and untamed hybrid of kickboxing and wrestling, shootfighting allows for punching, kicking, and wrestling one's opponent into submission. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. witness this contact-sport phenomenon when the Hialeah Sports Arena (4056 W. Twelfth Ave.), in conjunction with several local fighting schools, presents an intense experience as amateurs Pat Assolone, Alfred Armenteros, Willy Mora, Junior DeMorales, and others compete for a straight fifteen minutes in twelve matches. Ringside tickets cost $17; all others cost $12. For more information call 388-5153. (MI)
Our Way: The Karaoke Experience: For those of you who have never walked into a bar to find some drunken individual slurring into a microphone while a pre-recorded song wafts through the PA, the phenomenon that is karaoke might require an explanation. It started in the bars of Kobe, Japan, in the late Sixties, when people thought it might be cool to sing along to their favorite Western tunes in their native tongue. Karaoke (which comes from kara -- "empty" -- and oke -- "orchestra") has spread throughout the world; besides being popular with Americans, it's also a good way for Asian immigrants and Asian Americans to socialize and Americanize without losing their roots. Artist Charong Chow has created a karaoke space at Art800 (800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) in which she draws a parallel between the anxiety and acceptance that comes from singing in front of an audience and that which accompanies a minority's assimilation into a larger cultural group. "Our Way: The Karaoke Experience" opens tonight with a reception at 7:00 p.m. and runs Thursday through Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. through September 6. Admission is free. Call 674-8278. (GC)
1997 NPC Southern States Bodybuilding & Fitness Championships: See Friday.
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Solar Viewing: "I'm not the only one staring at the sun, doo-doo-doo...." Your friendly neighborhood "Calendar" folks can't get that damn U2 song out of our heads. Which made us think about the concept: If you go outside and stare at the sun, you usually end up with stinging eyes, a headache, and splotchy vision. Unless you do it right. Every Sunday (weather permitting) from 10:00 a.m. to noon, the Southern Cross Astronomical Society conducts a safe sun viewing at Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St.). The viewing is free, and you can always check out the wildlife afterward. Call 661-1375. (GC)
Punch 59: Ah, Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day. But Mondays don't have to suck -- at least that's what the Monday Marketing Council wants you to think. Which is why it's hosting Punch 59's first-ever, self-explanatory "Mondays Don't Have to Suck" show at the Improv Comedy Club & Cafe (Streets of Mayfair, 3399 Virginia St., third floor, Coconut Grove). Punch 59 is a group of local writers, actors, poets, and other assorted freaks who put together a Saturday Night Live/SCTV-type conglomeration of comedy and drama skits, musical numbers, and preposterous poetry for your entertainment (no, actually, it's for theirs). Tickets cost eight dollars. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Call 892-8345. (JO)
Got (Jakrapun Abkornburi): Thailand is known more for its tasty food and head-dressed dancers than for musical exports. But one of its most popular artists performs at midnight tonight at the Parker Playhouse (707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale). Twenty-seven-year-old singer Jakrapun Abkornburi, better-known to his legions of Southeast Asian fans as "Got," was born to an American-soldier father and a Thai mother and raised by his grandparents in the rural area of Korat, about 150 miles northeast of Bangkok. Got became interested in music when, as a kid, he listened to both traditional Thai folk music and Western pop. Today he blends the two influences in his original tunes. This South Florida concert, one of only five appearances on his first U.S. tour (other cities include Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), benefits the construction of a Buddhist temple for the Thai community in South Dade. Tickets cost $38 and $50. Call 954-431-7484. (GC)
Changing Faces and Places: This year the Miami Rescue Mission celebrates 75 years of serving the poor and homeless in Greater Miami. To commemorate this occasion, a photographic exhibition titled "Changing Faces and Places: A Photo Journey of the Miami Rescue Mission" will be on view in the lobby of the the Miami Herald building (1 Herald Plaza) through August 26. The exhibition documents historic moments in the Rescue Mission's history and depicts Miami's poor and homeless citizens with the same realism, compassion, and humanity with which the Rescue Mission does its job. Admission is free. Lobby hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Call 376-2906. (