The New World Symphony's tribute to Finland's most famous composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), ends tonight as conductor Michael Tilson Thomas leads a rehearsal of Sibelius's Symphonies no. 4 and 5. The conductor will also deliver "live" program notes from the stage. A key figure in promoting Finnish culture, Sibelius used his music to remind the world that his country was a separate entity from Russia and Sweden (in the Nineteenth Century, Finland was a grand duchy of Russia governed by a Swedish-speaking minority). Known for his originality, Sibelius wrote seven symphonies that evolved from traditional to modern. (It's tough to discern where the four movements begin and end in his Symphony no. 7.) His spare and somber Symphony no. 4 features themes and harmonic relationships based on the tritone, a musical interval often used to connote evil or menace. His optimistic and triumphant Symphony no. 5 is an example of the composer's innovative approach. A horn call is sounded at the beginning of each movement, setting the key on which the material that ensues will be based. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 541 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $25 to $40. Call 305-673-3331. (NK)
The paintings, drawings, and installations of internationally celebrated Cuban artist Jose Bedia have been featured in numerous local exhibitions since he moved to Miami in 1992, and loyal followers of his work will be especially interested in the show opening today at the Art Museum at FIU (SW 107th Avenue and Eighth Street). Rather than new works for sale or those already belonging to collectors or museums, the FIU show features paintings and drawings from Bedia's personal collection -- the ones the artist covets. Executed in Bedia's trademark visceral yet elegant graphic style, they include pictorial meditations on exile, as well as early sketchbooks the artist created in Cuba and only recently recovered. Tonight at 8:00 the Critics' Lecture Series hosts Yale University professor and Caribbean and African art authority Robert Farris Thompson, who speaks about Bedia's work. A reception follows. The exhibition runs through April 3. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890. (JC)
Why is watching professional golf so damn boring? No bad boys, no loudmouths, no one mooning fans on the green. Guys like Jack Nicklaus, Chi Chi Rodriguez, and Greg Norman have always been too gentlemanly. Norman may be known as the "shark" but it's not for his nasty demeanor. The one hope for golf to move into the territory of exciting, glamorous sport? Tiger Woods. Recently, while Woods played in a major tournament, he heard the sound of a camera clicking away in the crowd. The young whippersnapper stopped the action and threw a raging hissy fit. Way to go, kid! A couple more of those incidents and golf will have its very own version of John McEnroe. Today through March 7, Tiger and a bunch of geezer golfers take on the Blue Monster course and compete for more than half a million smackers at the Doral-Ryder Open held at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa (4400 NW 87th Ave.). Don't forget to pack that camera; however, don't be surprised if the nine irons start flying your way after you've begun snapping! Tickets cost $40. Also check out tonight's free concert on the green at 6:00 featuring the New World Symphony led by Academy Award-winning conductor Bill Conti. Call 305-477-4653. (NK)
Once upon a time Aventura honchos sat around and brainstormed about how they could make their once manageable city just a wee bit more congested. So they built a mall, and more condos, and then they threw an addition on that already massive shopping center. Their latest brilliant idea: the Aventura Festival of the Arts. Well, it's not really that new. This is the eighth annual fest. Expect the usual artsy schlock: paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and stained-glass mosaics hawked by more than 200 artists from around the nation; activities to keep the kiddies out of your hair; international grub; and music. It all takes place on West Country Club Drive from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today and tomorrow. Admission is free. Call 305-932-5334. (NK)
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In its first incarnation as a playground for the rich and famous, Miami Beach was also frequented by several shady characters. Members of organized-crime families such as Dutch Schulz, Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano loved the weather. They hung out at the dog and horse tracks and dropped big bucks at the Beach's illegal hotel casinos. Meyer Lansky, who had the distinction of being a Jewish mafioso, wintered here and did a little business as well, controlling a slew of hotels, motels, laundry services, and jukeboxes. Learn more about mob-ridden Miami Beach today at 2:00 when some folks (a few who knew him personally) discuss Lanksy: Miami Beach's Favorite Mobster at the Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-672-5044. (NK)
Growing up in a strict Jewish home can make a person into one of two things: a rabbi or a comedian. Jackie Mason is both, believe it or not. The bawdy funnyman, who was raised on New York's Lower East Side during the Depression, is actually an ordained rabbi and did a few Saturday-morning stints in synagogues before moving full time into show biz. You can only imagine his sermons. Expect the gags to hit below the borscht belt when Mason takes the stage at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) tonight at 8:00. Tickets range from $30 to $45. Call 305-673-7311 (NK)
Chili Palmer, the protagonist of Elmore Leonard's satirical Get Shorty, began his career as a Miami loan shark who went out to Los Angeles and fell into show business. Chili reappears in Leonard's new novel, Be Cool. After working on two movies, Chili is in search of more excitement. Where else to turn but the unsavory music business? He comes upon a fetching young singer, a group of crooked industry insiders, and an array of villains. Of course Chili's new adventures entail a fight for his life -- literally. Let's just say a lot of people want to off him. Leonard reads tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books, 296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (NK)
It is 1951 in Bob Gelberg's black-and-white photo, which captures Gen. Douglas MacArthur standing in a convertible under a hail of glory and ticker tape. It looks like the 1950s in Deborah Gray Mitchell's shot of a well-dressed black woman sitting primly on a stool at a lunch counter in Nashville, Tennessee, but it's really 1983. And it is unmistakably the 1990s in Cindy Seip-Diaz's photo of the Scull Sisters wearing goggles. The engaging aforementioned images are works from the Print Exchange, a group of photographers who have been meeting for the past three years and swapping their works. Their assortment has grown into a collection of 180 prints, 50 of which are on display in this exhibition at Photogroup/Florida Center for Photography (4031 Laguna St., Coral Gables). The show runs through March 20. The gallery is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Call 305-444-7618. (