Even though Masterpiece Theater is on hiatus for the summer, you can still satisfy your craving for a cinematic period piece at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) during Views of Merchant-Ivory: Three Continents, Fourteen Films. This festival, which began last week, highlights some of producer Ismail Merchant and James Ivory's early, lesser-known films along with a few of the hit adaptations of novels such as Howards End and The Remains of the Day. Also on the bill: the duo's first collaboration, The Householder (1963), an exploration of the conflict between tradition and modernity in contemporary India. Also Shakespeare Wallah (1965), the story of an English actress on tour in India with a company of mediocre Shakespearean actors. Listen for the score composed by legendary Indian film director Satyajit Ray and keep an eye out for then-actress and now Indian cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey as Manjula the movie star. The fest continues through next Thursday. Tickets range from four to six dollars. Call 531-8504 or see "Showtimes" for details. (NK)
Astounding a cappella group from Cuba Vocal Sampling starts its U.S. tour right here in Miami. These six men use their voices to reproduce the sounds of various instruments -- claves, bongos, congas, horns, and more -- for their repertoire, which includes boleros, salsa, guarachas, and rumba. (See "Music," page 78, for more details.) (NK)
Recently, when the Galaxy IV satellite tumbled out of orbit and caused 80 percent of all beepers to malfunction, one man should have been summoned to set it straight: Capt. Winston E. Scott. Astronaut Scott, a Coconut Grove native, would have showed that baby who was boss. Twice he has ventured to outer space and put errant satellites in their place. Most recently, during a mission on the space shuttle Columbia, he grabbed the out-of-control Spartan with his gloved hands. Tonight at 8:00, courtesy of the Southern Cross Astronomical Society, Scott pays a visit to his hometown and talks about the tough business of space walking and satellite retrieval. Scott speaks at FIU, University Park Campus, SW Eighth Street and 107th Avenue, physics bldg., room 145. Admission is free. Call 661-1375. (NK)
Latin-music lovers will be swooning up a storm at what is being billed as the Concert of the Century tonight at 8:00 at the Miami Arena (721 NW First Ave.). Seventeen Latin superstars are slated to perform, including guitar-playing pop wizard Jose Feliciano, piano man Ral Di Blasio, romantic balladeers Braulio, Ricardo Montaner, and Jose Luis Perales (known as the "Poet of Love"), Latin divas Lissette, Miriam Hernandez, Victoria, and Maggie Carles, and heartthrob vocalists Cristian, Augustin Pantoja, Jordi, Carlos Ponce, and more. Tickets range from $25 to $65. Call 530-4400 (NK).
Now that the Chairman has gone to the Big Boardroom up in the sky, all you can do is rue the fact that you never got to see him perform live. Well, there is one solution: Get over to the Van Dyke Cafe (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) and listen to Walt Andrus's A Tribute to the Music of Frank Sinatra. A singer with the Tommy Dorsey Band, Andrus has a voice somewhat reminiscent of Ol' Blue Eyes. Two months ago he did a two-day Sinatra tribute at Van Dyke and such a swingin' affair was had by all that the crooner has been invited back to perform for five days the second time around. Saxophonist Eric Allison and the Don Wilner Trio join Andrus. Showtimes are 9:00, 10:30, and midnight. Cover charge is six dollars. Call 534-3600. (NK)
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Junior Reid, former lead singer for the reggae group Black Uhuru and a superstar individual performer, throws himself a birthday bash at 2:00 this afternoon at the Jamaica Domino Club and Park (200 NW 22nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Named for the title of his 1988 album, the party known as One Blood features a mega-reggae concert starring Reid's fellow Jamaicans and long-time pals Shabba Ranks and Josey Wales. The lineup also includes the soulful Everton Blender, charismatic Big Youth, locals Screwdriver and the Young Lions, dancehall faves Merciless, and others. Tickets cost $18 in advance and $22 at the gate. Call 388-9293. (LB)
Always wanted to be a part of a live studio audience? Now you can be, without taking a tedious trip to L.A. Those hip, energetic kids over at Miami-USA Broadcasting (WAMI-TV, Channel 69) are producing a hip, energetic half-hour show called Sportstown, and they need plenty of hip, energetic audience members just like you to fill seats and wax enthusiastic. Every evening at 9:00 free tickets will be distributed at the door of WAMI studios (605 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) for a taping of the show, which airs from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They promise to hold a seat for you if you call ahead. Just leave your name, phone number, the night you want to attend, and how many tickets you need (the limit is six). Remember, you may be seen on TV, so no tank tops or bathing suits, please. Proper (preferably hip) attire is required. Call 674-9669. (NK)
James Joyce wrote some of the most complex novels of the Twentieth Century, but that doesn't mean fans of the Irishman's prose can't party. His groundbreaking work Ulysses follows one day in the life of a group of Dubliners as a metaphor for all human experience. The date in the book -- June 16, 1904 -- has come to be celebrated as Bloomsday. In Dublin this means admirers can retrace the steps of main characters Stephen Dedalus and Molly and Leopold Bloom as they go about their business and draw toward a climactic meeting. In South Florida, Joyceans can meander through Coral Gables for dramatic readings of Ulysses and for traditional Irish music, food, and drink. At Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables), thespians from Actors' Playhouse, attempting their best Irish brogues, will read excerpts from Ulysses at noon, 3:30, and 8:00 p.m. One block away, JohnMartin's (253 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) offers a yummy Bloomsday menu that includes sheep kidneys, gorgonzola sandwiches, and coddle (an onion, apple, and potato concoction). Sounds of Avalon and violinist extraordinaire James Kelly provide the tunes. Admission to both venues is free. Call 442-4408. (AD)
Check out some would-be Edward Albees or Wendy Wassersteins during The KidShorts Project at 7:00 tonight at the Ring Theatre on the University of Miami campus (1380 Miller Dr., Coral Gables). Sponsored by City Theatre, currently presenting its monthlong Summer Shorts festival at the Ring, KidShorts is part of City's Festival Wednesdays Series, which features weekly readings of new works by writers and discussions with audience members, actors, and directors. This evening listen to excerpts of plays written by five Dade County high school students who have been participating in workshops, rewrites, and rehearsals under the supervision of professionals. Then proceed to shatter the kids' fragile young egos by telling them what you really think of their work. Admission is free. Call 284-3355. (