In the 1930s art dealer Ambroise Vollard and Pablo Picasso struck a bargain. Picasso would create 100 engravings for Vollard; in exchange the dealer would return to Picasso a clutch of the artist's paintings. Vollard got a good deal, as evidenced by Picasso: The Vollard Suite, now at the Bass Museum of Art (2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach). The prints that resulted from those engravings, created by Picasso between 1930 and 1937, are considered complex masterworks. Three are portraits of Vollard; the other 97 muse on four themes: the sculptor's workshop, the Minotaur, Rembrandt, and the battle of love. Don't expect any bizarre Cubist stuff: The subject matter and the stark etched lines in the works -- all 100 will be on display -- reflect the neoclassicism Picasso favored in the Twenties. The exhibition runs through June 28. Admission is five dollars. Call 673-7530.(NK)
When developer Glenn Curtiss and architect Bernhardt Muller were planning Opa-locka, they initially considered using a medieval English motif. But they changed their minds and settled instead on an Arabian theme, producing several buildings with domes, minarets, and towers. Beginning today and running through Sunday, Opa-locka celebrates its distinctive identity and some of Miami's most unusual architecture with the Arabian Nights Festival. It commences at 6:00 tonight with a reception and a reggae concert. Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. a fantasy parade starts at NW 27th Avenue and 151st Street, then wends its way to Opa-locka City Hall (777 Sharazad Blvd.). After the parade kids can have fun on carnival rides, also at city hall. Music will be offered all day and into the night, including appearances by the smooth-singing Manhattans and gritty soulster Bobby Womack. Sunday a gospel and jazz concert starts the day at 10:00 a.m. A youth talent show, a trolley tour of the city's historic district, and a recipe cook-off fill the afternoon. Another gospel concert, this one at 5:00 p.m., closes the festival. Admission to all events is free. Call 688-4611. (NK)
Faith, struggle, celebration, family, and spiritual rebirth: a few of the ideas expressed in gospel music and in the dances of choreographer Karen Peterson. At 8:00 tonight and 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Peterson and seven dancers will be joined by three percussionists and the fourteen singers who make up the Jubilate spiritual choral ensemble for Lift Your Spirits, Clap Your Hands. Their aim: to interpret ten spirituals, contemporary and traditional, through movement and song. Performances take place at the New World School of the Arts, 25 NE Second St. Tickets cost eight and ten dollars. Call 378-6626. (NK)
The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami opens the Mainly Mozart festival in Coral Gables by presenting its own final concert of the season. The program consists of sacred works by the composer: the Te Deum (a hymn of praise) and the stirring, Bach- and Handel-influenced Requiem. Supposedly commissioned by an anonymous patron determined to destroy Mozart (actually a Viennese count who wanted to pretend that he wrote it), the Requiem was the composer's final work. The rigors of composing took their toll on Mozart's health, and he died before completing it. His student SYssmayr finished the job. The chorale, backed by a full orchestra, performs at 8:00 p.m. at the University of Miami's Gusman Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $10 and $15. Call 282-4162. (NK)
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A serial killer, a bunch of dead prostitutes, a frantic police force, and a frightened population. Sounds like the Tamiami Trail case from a few years ago. But the action referred to here is set in Victorian London. A maniac is on the loose, and what better way to tell his story than through music? Jack the Ripper: The Whitechapel Musical, to be exact. A staged play-reading of former Miamian Steven Bergman's work will take place tonight at 7:30 at Actors' Playhouse (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). Expect a cast of twenty giving voice to a combination psychological thriller, love story, and music-hall extravaganza. Bergman, a composer who graduated from Palmetto High School and served as musical director for Actors' Playhouse from 1988 to 1990, and David Arisco, the company's artistic director, will be on hand to discuss the play after the reading. Admission is free. Call 444-9293. (NK)
Try to compile a list of hip-hop artists who have managed to stay on the charts for more than ten years and you'll wind up with very few names. One of them, however, would be L.L. Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James). Def Jam Records also loves him. In 1984, when L.L. was only sixteen years old, he recorded the label's first twelve-inch release, "I Need a Beat." It sold 100,000 copies. He dropped out of school, and a year later the imprint issued his first full-length effort, Radio, which included the hit single "I Can't Live Without My Radio." The album went platinum and is now considered a hip-hop manifesto. Since then his popularity has roller-coastered. He's riding high these days on the strength on his eighth Def Jam album, Phenomenon, and its smash single "Father." He performs tonight at 8:00 at Sunrise Musical Theatre (5555 95th Ave.). Tickets cost $26.50 and $36.50. Call 954-741-7300. (LB)
Any woman who has ever been incensed by the howling and catcalls of construction workers can now indulge in a little good-natured revenge by hurling whoops and wolf whistles at the shorts-and-work-boots-wearing Australian beefcakes who dance up a storm in the theatrical production Tap Dogs. Created in 1995 by Dein Perry, the show was inspired by his experiences as an industrial mechanic -- whatever that means -- and his desire to bring thundering rock and roll to the stage. After playing sold-out engagements in more than 100 cities, Tap Dogs finally comes to Miami, with performances through May 10 at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $20 to $43. Call 673-7300. (NK)
Philip Jones Griffiths has traveled to more than 140 countries on five continents to capture powerful images of war, famine, and civil unrest. In 1966 he became one of a distinguished few, including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, to join the international photojournalist cooperative Magnum Photos. He subsequently spent time in Vietnam covering the war for Life magazine. Later he hid out with Karen rebels in Burma for three months, documented the United States's invasion of Grenada, and chronicled the aftermath of the Gulf War in Kuwait. Dark Odyssey: Philip Jones Griffiths features a small portion of his body of work -- 70 remarkable photographs made over the past 40 years. The exhibition runs through June 4 at the Miami-Dade Public Library, 101 W. Flagler St. Admission is free. Call 375-2665. (