An evening of sizzling song and dazzling dance awaits those who attend tonight's Spanish Spectacular, presented by the Miami City Ballet. Topping the bill is Spain's leading stage and recording star Paloma San Basilio, who, since launching her career in 1975, has starred in several television shows, recorded a handful of million-selling albums, and toured throughout South America with the musical Evita. As for the ballet, the company performs three of resident choreographer Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros's most popular works: Nous Sommes, Transtangos, and Divertimento Espanol. The show takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $35 to $100. Call 532-7713. (NK)
Feeling despondent? If so, consider skipping tonight's and tomorrow night's Portishead concerts. The group's dark, brooding lyrics and languid beats can arouse melancholy emotions in just about anyone. Three years after the release of their critically lauded debut CD Dummy, Portishead -- vocalist Beth Gibbons and producer-sampler Geoff Barrow -- is back with a self-titled second outing that once again reaches into the shadowy realm of trip-hop. If partaking of such music seems unlikely to trigger any latent depression (boredom is also a distinct possibility), check out the group's vampiric soundscapes at the Cameo Theatre, 1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Showtimes are 7:00 p.m. Friday and 9:00 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $22.50. Call 532-0922. (LB)
Over the next seven days more than 25 films -- including shorts and documentaries -- from Cuba, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Jamaica, Curacao, El Salvador, Chile, and Mexico unspool in conjunction with the second annual Latin American and Caribbean Festival of Independent Film. The fest begins tonight at 7:00 with Refutation of Time and El Censor, and two world premieres by Cuban director Antonio Izquierdo, Desde Tan Lejos and La Patria Es de Todos. Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 4:00 p.m.: Panel discussions feature Cuban filmmaker (and festival director) Sergio Giral, director Horace Ove, and actor Alfredo Enrique Rivas. Screenings continue nightly through Thursday, including Wednesday evening's works by women directors. Postfilm parties will be held at various locations around the Beach. All films will be shown at the Alliance Cinema, 927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. General admission is seven dollars; ten dollars allows you to see one movie and attend the party afterward. A pass to all films and parties costs $100. Call 531-8504. (NK)
You've seen that giant red M at the Riverwalk Metromover station. Ever wonder how it got there? It was created by artists Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt for Miami-Dade's Art in Public Places, an agency whose mission is to expose us to art whether we like it or not. Whenever a public building is planned, 1.5 percent of its cost is set aside for Art in Public Places to commission works that will appear inside and/or outside the structure. Works are also located in transit stations and public parks. The project boasts more than 500 pieces, of which 120 can be found outdoors. The Friends of Public Art has organized the Spring in Miami Public Art Tour, which offers an up-close look at several of the collection's highlights. Walk, ride a bus, and hop on public transportation to view installations all over the county by Isamu Noguchi, Carlos Alfonzo, Claes Oldenburg, Michele Oka Doner, and others. The tour commences at 9:30 a.m. and lasts until 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $40. Call 579-9860. (NK)
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Deep inside your average junior pack rat beats the heart of a true artist. The Wolfsonian-FIU's Sunday Fundays program aims to tap his or her creative potential. This afternoon artists Carlos Alves and Linda Faneuf teach children ages six through twelve to make art from found objects, wood, and colored tissue paper. Their theme: "Florida-Forget-Me-Nots." So expect your pride and joy to bring home oodles of lovely handmade souvenirs, which you can proudly display or quickly send to relatives in South Dakota. Once the memorabilia-making session concludes, storyteller Judy Gail will entertain the young artisans with tales of Florida characters -- pirates, alligator callers, and the ubiquitous barefoot mailman. The fun takes place from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 531-1001. (NK)
That brilliant script about a homicidal midget drag queen has yet to sell, you can't afford the essential designer outfit, and the only motion picture you ever starred in was made with an 8mm home-movie camera. Looks like the closest you'll get to the Oscars this year is through the magic of television -- watching television. Share the experience with other film buffs at tonight's Cinematographer's Party, a benefit for the Film Society of Miami and the Alliance Film and Video Co-op. Hang out with celebrity look-alikes, sip champagne, dine on a light supper, and then tune in to the ceremony and participate in a "Guess the Winners" contest. You won't go home with a golden statuette but you just may score an Academy Award-winning movie on video, passes to Universal Studios, or gift certificates to local restaurants. The festivities get under way at 8:00 p.m. at the Grand Bay Hotel, 2669 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove. Tickets cost $50. Call 757-6908. (NK)
Turandot, a Chinese princess who likes to play games and the title character in Giacomo Puccini's opera of the same name, is slightly picky. Suitors from all over the world are vying to marry her, but she will choose only the one who can answer her three riddles. All who fail are decapitated. When an unfamiliar prince named Calaf successfully meets her challenge, she becomes enraged. Then Calaf plays a game of his own, daring Turandot to learn his identity by the next day. If she prevails, she may have him killed. Soon she's ordering mass executions in an effort to pry his name out of her people. (Do the words "fear of commitment" ring a bell here?) Kathleen Broderick and Antonio Barasorda headline a cast of more than 150 in the Florida Grand Opera's final production of its season. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St. All performances are in Italian with projected English translations. Tickets range from $18 to $125. Call 854-7890. (NK)
The Spanish vibe continues to resonate on Miami Beach (see above) when the National Ballet of Spain brings its energy, vitality, and rhythms to town for a spirited five nights. The acclaimed dance company presents two U.S. premieres: Grito, choreographed by renowned flamenco dancer Antonio Canales, and La Vida Breve, set to the sensuous music of Manuel de Falla and choreographed by Jose Antonio. Also on the program: Medea, the classic Greek tragedy presented with a flamenco twist. The stomping starts tonight at 8:00 and continues through Sunday at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $29 to $52. Call 673-7300. (