Laugh your ass off at the Improv
Comedian D.L. Hughley's life reads like the classic American rags-to-riches tale. He grew up on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles, where he found himself sporting red bandanas as a member of the notorious Bloods gang. He had a turbulent upbringing, and was expelled from high school before graduation. He paid his dues as a stand-up comic, appearing on Russell Simmons's Def Comedy Jam back when Martin Lawrence was the host and the show was still must-watch television, and that incendiary appearance helped to raise the young comedian's profile. Hughley has now managed to do it all. He's had HBO and Comedy Central stand-up specials, created, produced, and starred in his own sitcom, The Hughleys, and he was recognized as one of The Original Kings of Comedy in Spike Lee's 2000 film. Unlike other comics of his ilk, D.L. Hughley isn't interested in softening his edge in order to bring stereotypical urban flavor to animated films or watered-down sitcoms. Sure, he's collected checks by slogging through cinematic dreck such as Soul Plane and Scary Movie 3, but these days you'll be much more likely to catch him setting himself apart from the pack and broadening his horizons, as in his first dramatic role in the tentatively titled, in-production film Rikers, in which he plays a teacher hired to instruct reluctant prison inmates. D.L. has proven to have a mind sharpened by life experience, and he has earned a spot as a regular guest on Bill Maher's controversial weekly HBO talk show Real Time, where this former gangsta drops street knowledge on panels of unsuspecting political figures. Hughley's name is even being bandied around Hollywood to possibly fill the black late-night talk show host void left by Arsenio Hall, as a candidate to replace Craig Kilborn on CBS's The Late, Late Show. Watch D.L. Hughley skewer current issues on stage tonight, at 8:30. He'll be doing his thing all weekend at the Miami Improv, 3390 Mary St. #182, Coconut Grove. Tickets cost $28.89. Call 305-441-8200 or visit www.improv.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
It's getting hot in here
The tango has an electrifying past. Before it became the art form it is today, it was practiced in some of Argentina's diciest quarters. Throughout the port city of Buenos Aires it became a dance movement, and then a dance movement, for European and African immigrants. The seductive and dramatic twists and turns expressed, and sometimes just barely contained, a deeper erotic passion. But just like rock and roll or any other fringe movement, this underground dance was quickly embraced by the mainstream culture. The tango rose through the ranks of popular dance, gaining fans in the Parisian nightlife circuit. In Tango Undressed, the Miami Contemporary Dance Company gets back to the roots of the movement by paying tribute to its originators. As part of the company's fifth season, the program showcases this dance form that has emerged into high society from the depths of turn-of-the-century Argentina. Artistic director and choreographer Ray Sullivan has subtracted the flashy sequins, tux-and-tails, and over-the-top glamour to bare the soul and rich roots of the tango. Tonight at 8:00 at the Jackie Gleason Theatre, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $20 to $30 dollars. Call 305-358-5885. -- Terra Sullivan
Japanese music gives thanks for peace
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For 150 years the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Japan and the United States has kept both nations in relative harmony. Okay, so maybe there were a few years here and there that weren't so friendly, but for the most part the Japanese and Americans have maintained excellent trading relations and mutual affection for each other. When the Treaty of Kanagawa (as it is also known) was signed in 1854, it opened the doors that had sealed Japan off from the rest of the world and invited everyone to enjoy the country's cultural gifts. In commemoration, the Consulate General of Japan in Miami and The Japan Foundation present a Japanese music concert tonight in the Wertheim Performing Arts Center Concert Hall at Florida International University, 1700 SW 107th Ave. Performers Ajo and Hajime Nishi will play modern arrangements on traditional musical instruments, taiko drums and shamisen. The show begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-530-9090. -- Margaret Griffis
"There's a story told of a little Japanese/Sitting demurely 'neath the cherry blossom trees/Miss Butterfly's her name/A sweet little innocent child was she/Till a fine young American from the sea/To her garden came." So begins the story of Madama Butterfly, as sung by jazz legend Sarah Vaughn. Anyone who's known love and lost it can guess how this story ends. Even back in 1904 when Giacomo Puccini's stage production made its thrilling debut, Navy boys were sailing merrily along, breaking hearts in every port while simultaneously stringing along a spouse back home. The unrequited, long-lasting love of Butterfly remains amazingly poignant and fresh, despite Madama's advanced age. It would seem that her particular pain translates easily despite linguistic differences. Tonight, Andrew Richards and Eva Jenis bring this tragic tale (you expected a happy opera?) to life at 7:00, at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 West Flagler St. Tickets range from $21 to $150. Call 1-800-741-1010 or visit www.fgo.org. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik