Chris Smither: As both a rough-voiced singer of his own evocative songs and an interpreter of others' works, Chris Smither makes the A-list of traveling troubadours currently finding an audience among disenfranchised rockers and country fans looking for something a little more complex than the garden-variety Nashville pabulum. He's released a handful of fine albums in the nearly 30 years since his 1971 debut (I'm a Stranger, Too! on the noted indie label Poppy), but his two most recent -- 1995's Up on the Lowdown and the new Small Revelations, both on HighTone -- are, well, revelations on an unsmall level. On both he revisits the work of ace songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Jesse Winchester, tackles prewar blues standards along the lines of "Dust My Broom," and contributes originals that are more than worthy of the esteemed company. Smither will be doing a solo performance tonight at Musicians Exchange (213 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach). Cover charge is eight dollars. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Call 954-764-1905. (JF)
New World Symphony: Artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas is on hand to conduct the New World Symphony for three performances this weekend at the Lincoln Theatre (555 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The program features Solus by composer Mark Volkert, the assistant concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony who wrote the piece for Tilson Thomas. (The busy Tilson Thomas is also the music director of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as principal guest conductor of the London Symphony). Also on the program is Haydn's Symphony no. 102, Sibelius's Tapiola, and Shostakovich's Symphony no. 9. Tickets range from $17 to $44. Performances run tonight and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Call 673-3331. (GC)
Herb Alpert: There was a time that Herb Alpert outsold the Beatles two to one. And at one point in the Sixties he and the Tijuana Brass had five albums in the Top 20. In fact, Alpert is the biggest-selling instrumentalist of all time, probably best-known for the Latin-light jazz of the Tijuana Brass era (think "The Lonely Bull" and "The Mexican Shuffle"). He also produced Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Angels in America and Arthur Miller's Broken Glass and cofounded A&M Records. Then there are his abstract expressionist paintings and the Herb Alpert Foundation, which funds educational, arts, and environmental programs for young people. Herb has been working pretty darned hard for that Renaissance man label, don't you think? This week he's in South Florida to receive Billboard's Lifetime Achievement Award and to play a series of concerts tonight through Sunday at 9:00 p.m. upstairs at Yuca (501 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), in anticipation of the release next week of his new album, Passion Dance. Tickets cost $35. Call 532-9822. (JO)
B Sharp Jazz Quartet: "I think in many ways jazz has lost its balls," says Herb Graham, Jr., drummer for the Los Angeles-based B Sharp Jazz Quartet, which is playing tonight at 9:00 p.m. at the Jazz and Blues Showcase (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach). He's right, of course, and for its part, B Sharp has brought a diverse set of influences to the trad-jazz aesthetic of John Coltrane, Art Blakely, et al. Although purists most likely scoff at the scorching funk that B Sharp uses to invigorate jazz, it's never a bad thing to piss off a purist. The taut swing, fine flights of improv, and big monster grooves on the group's third album Searching for the One establish B Sharp as one of the finest combos carrying jazz into the next century. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 561-832-1200. (JF)
Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour: Olympic gold medalists Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes, silver medalists Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh, 1997 King of the Beach Jose Loiola, and a bevy of professional beach volleyball players serve up their best games this weekend at the Coppertone Championships of Florida, taking place at the Delano Hotel (1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). A total of 32 teams will compete in a double-elimination tourney for $100,000 in prize money. Matches run today from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the championship match beginning at 5:00 p.m. Tickets range from $6 to $35; three-day passes range from $20 to $60. Call 800-432-7470. (GC)
Ballet Etudes of South Florida: This outstanding local company, led by artistic director Susana Prieto, concludes its 1996-97 season with two performances of Tchaikovsky's dreamy Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Rodolfo Rodriguez, at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Former National Ballet of Cuba principal dancer Dagmar Moradillos stars as the princess Aurora; also featured are American Ballet Theater principal dancer Charles Askegard as Prince Florimund and San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Jose Martin as Bluebird, along with the company's corps and a full orchestra. Tickets range from $18 to $60. Performances begin tonight at 8:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Call 827-1345. (GC)
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: An entire generation of American children learned more about grammar from this animated ABC Saturday-morning show than from all their hard-working English teachers combined. Schoolhouse Rock was dreamed up in the early Seventies by an advertising executive who noticed that his eleven-year-old son didn't know the product of eight times six but did know all the words to "A Horse with No Name." He sold to the network a show that featured catchy little ditties explaining grammar ("Conjunction Junction"), government ("I'm Just a Bill"), and human anatomy ("Do the Circulation"). It worked like a charm -- Schoolhouse Rock went on to run for thirteen years (it was recently revived with new episodes). Actors' Playhouse (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) presents this live version of the show for the first time in South Florida. Tickets cost seven dollars (for both children and nostalgic twenty-somethings), with performances scheduled for 2:00 p.m. every Saturday until May 17. Call 444-9293 for more information. (JO)
Springtime Harvest: Celebrate South Florida's past and present at the Historical Association of Southern Florida's fourth annual Springtime Harvest festival this weekend at the Dade County Fair and Expo Center (SW 107th Avenue and Coral Way). Just like the autumnal Harvest Festival, Springtime Harvest features more than 250 arts and crafts displays, children's activities, and live entertainment for the whole family, with the seasonal addition of a flower and potted-plant show and sale. Admission is four dollars. The festival runs today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 375-1492. (GC)
Move to the Rhythm of the Beat: The music of two of South Florida's largest ethnic communities comes together as salsa meets klezmer tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center (11155 SW 112th Ave.). First up are the salsa sounds of Grupo Canaveral, with vocalists Nelson Zuleta and Hilda Luisa. Next the energy goes through the roof as local jazz legend Simon Salz and his Heavy Shtetl band crank up the klezmer. For the big finale, both groups perform together in a giant Jew-ban jam under the stars (think "Guantanamera" with clarinets). Tickets cost ten dollars (and bring a blanket -- but odds are you won't be sitting!). Call 271-9000. (GC)
Coast for Kids Show: Kids come first when Coast (WFLC-FM 97.3) hosts its semiannual Coast for Kids Show this weekend at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach). This kiddie convention features interactive games with the Florida Marlins and Panthers, a Grand Prix video game arcade, a petting zoo, a baby-diaper derby, a Kindervision video and mini DJ booth (for those fledgling club kids), live entertainment by Bananas in Pajamas, a safety obstacle course, and a Power Wheels Safe Streets minicar track (for tots who want to get behind the wheel). Admission is five dollars for adults, one dollar for kids. The show runs today from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 795-8408. (GC)
New World Symphony: See Thursday.
Herb Alpert: See Friday.
Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour: See Friday.
Miami Beach Mile: Strap on your sneakers and take off, as the Miami Beach Mile flows along Washington Avenue (between Espanola Way and Ninth Street, Miami Beach). Host to Olympic hopefuls, this world-class race features sixteen events for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Choose from a 5K run and racewalk, a Silver Streak Mile for runners over age 60, kids' runs, a models' mile (it's South Beach, after all), an in-line skate mile, and men's and women's K-9 runs. Races begin at 8:00 a.m. Registration is $20. Call 756-8600. (GC)
New World Symphony: See Thursday.
Herb Alpert: See Friday.
Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour: See Friday.
Ballet Etudes of South Florida: See Saturday.
Springtime Harvest: See Saturday.
Coast for Kids Show: See Saturday.
The Chef Series: Wield a spatula alongside some of South Florida's most celebrated chefs as Two Chefs restaurant (8287 S. Dixie Hwy.) hosts a series of cooking demonstrations every Monday through June 2. Participants will reproduce signature recipes from some of the area's top restaurants in Two Chef's state-of-the-art kitchen. Tonight's program features Margrette Guidicessi from Nemo on Miami Beach. Upcoming classes feature David Sloane of Revolution 2029 in Hollywood (May 5), the Red Fish Grill's Michelle Bernstein (May 12), and chefs from Stella Blue, Grove Isle Restaurant, and Mayfair Grill. Admission to each class is $45. Call 663-2100. (GC)
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Smokey Joe's Cafe: Swing back to the Fifties and Sixties for some diner jukebox and radio rock tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). The Grammy Award-winning musical revue Smokey Joe's Cafe celebrates the golden era of rock and roll with the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the team that wrote "Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "Stand by Me," "Charlie Brown," "Love Potion #9," and "Jailhouse Rock"; their tunes became hits for the likes of Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, the Coasters, the Drifters, and Peggy Lee. With an unprecedented string of chart toppers, Leiber and Stoller established a sound that virtually defined their time. (See "Theater," page 69, for a full review.) Tickets range from $31 to $46. Performances continue through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, through May 4. Call 673-7300. (GC)
Vincent Scully: World-renowned architectural historian Vincent Scully probably knows more about the manmade environment than just about anyone else. Not only is he a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Miami, he's also the Sterling Professor Emeritus of art history at Yale. Scully is an engaging speaker, too, expounding the philosophy that the dignity of art mirrors the wonders of the human soul. That must be why his adjunct lectures and classes at UM fill up the instant registration opens. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Books & Books hosts an evening with Scully, who discusses his book Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, at the Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables). Admission is free. Call 284-5002. (GC)
Brasil World Tour/Santana: Two of the world's favorite stadium activities rock the Orange Bowl (1501 NW Third St.) tonight beginning at 7:00 p.m. The evening kicks off, so to speak, with a soccer match between the national teams from Brazil and Mexico. After the goals are counted up, the festivities continue with a rock concert by multifaceted, Latin-laced rockers Santana. Attendees can also participate in interactive games throughout the evening. All the fun is available with one hot ticket; admission ranges from $20 to $70. Call 669-0101. (GC)
Smokey Joe's Cafe: See Tuesday.