About time, too
When the heart of the artist is enhanced by the mind of the sociologist, art is informed by an intellectual meaning not necessarily tied to visual qualities. In her new book Celebrating Women, Paola Gianturco trains her lenses on the feminine half of humanity. In her vision, women take on iconic proportions even while just at play. Over the last five years Gianturco has traveled to fifteen countries to experience the ways in which different cultures celebrate womanhood. With text and photographs, Gianturco describes her journeys and sometimes gets involved in the activities of her participants. The events range from the solemn to the comedic, the traditional to the modern, but they always represent women expressing pride in being themselves. Seventeen festivals, competitions, parades, dances and other activities are represented in the book. In Thailand, dancers are willing to prostrate themselves on flooded streets to honor the memory of Ya Mo, the sword-wielding matriarch who saved the town. Finns enjoy a competition where couples vie for the wife's weight in beer ... but first the husbands must carry their wives upside down on their backs. The occasionally charming clash of modernity with tradition is no better represented than in Swaziland. After the Reed Dance, the practically naked dancers (tens of thousands of virgins) quickly pull out cell phones from behind the tiny amount of clothing they do wear to resume contact with the world. Even the controversial Miss America pageant gets its positive due. Paola Gianturco deserves celebration herself. Her work has been displayed in the United States Senate, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the United Nations. She's also worked with the Association for Women's Rights in Development, taught at Stanford University, and is the president of her own company. Tonight at 7:00, she will give a slide presentation from Celebrating Women at Books And Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. -- Margaret Griffin
Pooches and smooches
He's polite, well dressed -- and oh, those dimples. But is he the right guy? Some singles run a background investigation. Others simply scope out the tail-wagging critter on his leash. Wendy Diamond, editorial director of Animal Fair magazine, is among those who garner info about potential mates according to the sort of pooch they selected. She provides tips on how to do that -- at least for 32 breeds -- in her book "What a Lucky Dog: How to Understand Men Through Their Dogs." Based in part on her own dates with dog lovers, Diamond determined, for example, that Rottweiler men are into security, and tend to keep plenty of family members around. Mutt men are renaissance guys, down to earth, great dads, who tidy up after dinner and coach little league. Her doggie wisdom and her books are featured at a Yappy Hour October 14 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Miami Biscayne Bay, 495 Brickell Ave. Partiers are invited to bring their pooches, and some proceeds from book sales go to the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Tickets range from $25 to $35. Call 786-924-5216. -- Patti Roth
Until You Drop
Mall trolls get pampered
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For some women, few things are more depressing than the dawning realization that they own too much stuff. Too many itty-bitty shirts, too many swishy skirts, too many strappy shoes, too many overpriced designer purses. That kind of insight doesn't toll the final bell for shopaholics, though. These women merely progress to phase two, the purchase of "experiential" gifts: facials, hairdressing, pedicures, and the like. Ladies, Dadeland Mall executives are calculating your every move. They plan to snag you by offering the Simon Mall For You Girls Night Out. Expect an evening of samples, store offers, facials, and skincare advice from Self magazine experts, colorist consultations from Cotton Incorporated, and pampering at Diet Coke's relaxation pavilion, featuring massage therapists and all the sugar-free soda you can slurp. And the icing on the commercial cake? A free gift bag. Get your shop on this evening at 6:00, at Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Dr. Call 305-665-6226 or visit www.simon.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Vino, Vittles, and Thou
You're on your first date. You take her to a romantic Spanish restaurant. You order the Bodegas Alta Pavina Tinto Fino, from the 1999 vintage, of course, to go with Basque lamb and lentils. After she invites you to her place, but before she asks for your hand in marriage, she whispers, "How do you know so much about Spanish wines?" For the eleventh year, The Great Match: Wine and Tapas tour offers an education from the experts, along with the biggest tasting of Spanish wines to be found on this side of the Atlantic. Ten major Miami chefs will be on hand to offer their spin on Spanish tapas, and importers can teach you first-hand which cuisine goes best with which wine. Private seminars available with advance notice. All proceeds go to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Drink and be merry at 6:00 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Call 866-849-8703 or visit www.greatmatch.org. --Alex Torres