The Bass Museum (2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach) reopens its doors after a six-week hiatus for renovations with the exhibition Crosscurrents: Contemporary Painting from Panama, 1968-1998. On display are works by fourteen Panamanian artists, including Brooke Alfaro, Isabel de Obaldia, Alfredo Sinclair, David Solis, and Haydee Victoria Suescum, to name a few. The subject matter encompasses everything from problems faced by Panamanian society (political, economic, religious) to ecological themes such as urban sprawl and deforestation. Styles vary from abstract to a fantastical form of realism. The exhibition runs through November 1. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-673-7530. (NK)
Ebullient conductor James Judd and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra are back in action. Tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (174 E. Flagler St.), the first of six concerts, sort of a mini-Sergei Rachmaninoff festival, will get the season started. Distinguished British pianist Howard Shelley (the first to perform the Russian Romantic composer's complete solo piano works in concert) and acclaimed Russian keyboardist Valentina Lisitsa will be along as guests. This evening expect to hear Caprice Bohemien and Piano Concertos no. 1 and 3, which you may recognize from the Academy Award-winning film Shine. Tomorrow night Piano Concertos no. 2 and 4 and Cinq Etudes Tableaux will amaze your ears. Tickets range from $15 to $75. Call 305-930-1812. (NK)
Dance from Taiwan comes to town when the Taipei Crossover Dance Company makes its only U.S. appearance tonight and tomorrow at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Led by dancer/choreographer Lo Man-fei, who trained at the Alvin Ailey School of American Dance and the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance schools, the company, founded in 1994, intermingles movement with literature, music, theater, elaborate lighting, and art installations in its unusual performances. Among the works on the bill: Requiem, a solo dedicated to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre; The Dark Side of the Moon, a six-scene adaptation of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's classic film Rashomon; and the Miami premiere of Episodes, choreographed by guest artist Zhang Xiao Xiong. Tickets range from $10 to $15. Call 305-672-1026. (NK)
Forget Cuban music. Here's another reason to get all hot and bothered: The latest export from the island is a book, a controversial one at that. Tonight at 6:30 at Pathfinder Bookstore (137 NE 54th St.) the Militant Labor Forum discusses Secretos de Generales (Secrets of Generals). Recently published, the book compiles 41 interviews with officers in the Cuban armed forces who recount their participation in the overthrow of the Batista regime and their experiences fighting at home during the Bay of Pigs invasion, as well as in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Speakers include Martin Koppel, editor of the magazine Perspectiva Mundial, Andres Gomez of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, and from Orlando a representative of the Committee to Free the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. Admission is six dollars and includes a reception. Call 305-756-1020. (NK)
It's Festival Miami time again. For the next five weeks the University of Miami will showcase diverse performances of international music, including three world premieres of compositions by local and internationally renowned artists; a 100th birthday celebration of George Gershwin's music; a guitarist's tribute to Cuban composers; a Miami premiere of a work by Erik Satie, considered the first multimedia piece ever composed; and a festival with nine winning teams from the prestigious Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. The music begins this afternoon at 4:00 with a concert by the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Sleeper and featuring dazzling 25-year-old piano soloist Sergio Daniel Tiempo. They'll perform works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Tickets range from $10 to $35. Concerts take place at the University's Gusman Hall (1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables). See "Concerts," page 90, for other performances. Call 305-284-4940. (NK)
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Sixteen musicians from conservatories across Russia and the United States who make up the American Russian Youth Orchestra Chamber Players arrive in Miami on their inaugural U.S. tour. They'll perform works by Copland, Schuller, Mozart, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and others at the Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) today at 5:00 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are still required and can be obtained at the box office. Call 305-673-3331. (NK)
Have women and alcohol ever worn you down? After you see Habitat at the Alliance Theater (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), any enervating experience with a femme fatale or bottle of booze will seem like a cool breeze on a sweltering summer day. Underground filmmaker Larry Fessenden trains his dark eye on the streets of New York City as a backdrop for the life of Sam, a desolate man immersed in a life of debauchery and kinky sex. Sure, to certain individuals that existence doesn't sound too bad, except Sam is having a hard time. He's falling apart and something other than a licentious lifestyle may be draining him. He's not sure if horrific hangover-induced visions of a parasitic partner are reality (the woman with whom he is having an affair may be a vampire); maybe the evil culprit causing his ill health and mysterious stigmata is his habit of hitting the bottle a bit too much. The movie runs through Thursday. Admission is six dollars. Call 305-531-8504 or see "Showtimes," page 56. (LB)
You're a guy who likes to sing. You have a decent voice and can carry a tune. But so far your greatest performances have taken place in the privacy of your own shower. Well, now it's time to serenade something other than your soap on a rope. The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (there's an organization for everything!) is offering four weeks of Singing Lessons to any man who is interested. After the four weeks, you'll be invited to audition for the Miamians' chorus. Classes start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-270-7464 for location. (NK)
If you are under the mistaken impression that Santeria is a Greek island (that would be Santorini) instead of an Afro-Cuban religion, maybe you should consider attending the Afro-Cuban Lecture Series at Egbe Lukumi (8035 NW 36th St., suite 304), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Afro-Cuban culture. Tonight at 8:00 Paloma Figueroa, author of the book El Poder Yoruba (Yoruba Power), delivers a presentation in English that teaches the primary elements of Afro-Cuban traditions. Learn how slaves were brought to Cuba and explore the influence Africans and the Spanish had and continue to exert on the culture through literature, language, dance, music, food, and cosmology. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-551-4458. (