Fans of offbeat independent cinema take note. John Waters, the man who brought you the wonderfully heartwarming flicks Ping Flamingos, Polyester, Lust in the Dust, Hairspray, Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, and most recently, Pecker, is the subject of a documentary to be broadcast on cable's Independent Film Channel. But before that happens, In Bad Taste: The John Waters Story is previewed right here in our lovely town. The film features behind-the-scenes footage of the king of bad taste's movies and interviews with several actors -- Kathleen Turner, Deborah Harry, Steve Buscemi, and Patty Hearst, to name a few -- who have had the pleasure of working with the genuinely nice guy. Following the screening director Steve Yeager will lead a discussion. And for all those 300-pound cross-dressers in the audience, a Divine look-alike contest will be held as well. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-674-1026. (NK)
On his Grammy-nominated album Obsesion, 29-year-old saxophonist David Sanchez soulfully performs pan-Latin standards, combining classical lyricism and passionate jazz improvisation with varied Latin rhythms. One of the hottest up-and-comers on the jazz scene, the Puerto Rican Sanchez and his quintet, which features celebrated young Cuban drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, headline tonight's Miami Latin Jazz Festival at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (174 E. Flagler St.). Cuban percussionist Daniel Ponce, Venezuelan pianist Edward Simon, and Miami's own Latin Jazz Crew, headed by bassist Eddie "Gua Gua" Rivera, are also on the bill. Tickets range from $27.50 to $37.50, with proceeds benefiting the Gusman Center. The show starts at 7:00 p.m., and the beat goes on until midnight. Call 305-372-0925. (JC)
The bawdiest of Cuba's popular young dance groups, La Charanga Habanera was known for the comical locker-room lyrics of catchy if sometimes offensive songs about prostitution, safe sex, or just getting a girl. The group set itself apart from other bands in Havana with their acrobatic choreography, which proved a little too nimble when censors suspended the group after the lead singer's pulsating pelvis was captured in closeup on Cuban TV. La Charanga Habanera broke up shortly after they began playing again, splintering into two groups. Bandleader David Calzado and the lead singer kept the name and are performing new material. Other musicians from the band decided on the rather unfortunate moniker La Charanga Forever, and have stuck with a repertoire of the original Charanga Habanera's hits. In town from Havana, La Charanga Forever plays tonight for the inaugural concert at Timba, a new venue at 2898 Biscayne Blvd. Doors open at 9:00 and the show starts around 10:30. The band gives a repeat performance tomorrow night. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-438-0500. (JC)
Best known these days as everyone's psychic friend, Dionne Warwick has always been an exceptional vocalist, especially when it comes to singing the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. "Walk on By," "I Say a Little Prayer," and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," are just a few of the 55 hit singles she had on the charts during her 36-year show-biz career. The savvy Warwick hasn't stopped yet. Her latest album, Dionne Sings Dionne, features remakes of some of her most famous songs. Tonight Warwick joins the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for the orchestra's annual fundraising gala at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $25 to $65 for the 8:30 p.m. concert. The full gala experience starts at 5:30 with a cocktail hour, followed by a gourmet dinner, fashion show, and dessert with Dionne, as well as the performance, and will cost you $175. Call 954-566-5377. (NK)
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Yeah, there's some big football game going on today, but if you ask us, we'd rather be at the movies, namely at the Alliance Cinema's (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) Cinema Vortex film series. The Sunday-only Vortex usually features the classic films of legendary directors such as Jean Paul Godard, Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel, and Nagisa Oshima. Today organizers do something completely different and highlight seven short flicks by local filmmakers (many of them alumni of the Alliance's Film/Video Cooperative) in a program they've dubbed Miami Mafia. They're not gangster movies, just an eclectic array of shorts curated by former Miamian Mark Boswell. On the bill: Basura by Lorenzo Regalado, I Was a Teenage Born Again by Rick Gann, Fleisch by Suzanne Boswell, Rhumba Abstracta by Ray Parla, Party Trick by Barron Sherer and Jose Izasa, The True History of Crime by Sid Garon, and I Hate the Poor by Trisha Golubev and Sascha Lerner. The five clams you pay to get in benefit the Alliance's Co-Op. Call 305-531-8504. (NK)
Hey, hey, hey, it's Tom Brokaw! So what if when he speaks he sounds like a white version of Mush Mouth, the mumbling garbled-voiced character from Bill Cosby's Fat Albert cartoon show? NBC Nightly News anchorman Brokaw makes millions of dollars by reading the news every night -- and you don't. Now he's written a book, The Greatest Generation, because that's the fashionable thing to do if you're a big-bucks-collecting broadcast journalist. Brokaw reads from his tome about men and women who came of age during the Depression and World War II at a Books & Books-sponsored event tonight at 8:00 at Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables. Space is limited to those who obtained admission tickets by forking over $24.95 for a copy of the book. Call 305-442-4408 to complain. (NK)
Chairman of the creative-writing department at the University of Miami, poet, and novelist Fred D'Aguiar reads from his third novel, Feeding the Ghosts tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Inspired by a true story, the book starts out on a slave ship whose passengers are in danger of being infected by disease while returning from Africa in 1781. (D'Aguiar's Dear Future was voted Best Book by a Local Author in this very newspaper's 1997 "Best of Miami" issue.) Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (NK)
The scene: a lonely desert isle. No Gilligan, Skipper, Ginger, or Mary Ann, just a castaway who lies unconscious. He wakes up, walks over to a palm tree, and begins to shake it, attempting to release a coconut. He succeeds. The fruit falls from the tree and bonks the castaway on the head, rendering him unconscious once again. The scene repeats over and over and over again. No, you're not watching an outtake from Gilligan's Island, but artist Rodney Graham's Vexation Island. The maddeningly humorous film, featured at 1997's Venice Biennale, is being shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) through February 14. Screenings are held at 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and at 12:30, 1:30, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-893-6211. (