Are you looking for another excuse to drink beer and listen to live music? As if anyone needs to ask! The eighth annual Coral Gables Bluesfest starts tonight and promises a full weekend of great music, food, and beer. Chris Rehm and the Rabble Rousers kick off the festival, which includes Iko Iko, Piano Bob's Jumpstreet 88s, the Hoo Doo Partners, Lynne Noble and Rob Friedman, and winds down with Albert Castiglia Blues Band on Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Enjoy making tough decisions while trying to choose from a huge selection of German brews and a tempting array of traditional Bavarian and Creole cuisine. Start singing the blues at 6:00 on the plaza in front of Fritz and Franz Bierhaus, 60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables. The free (yes, free!) festival runs through Sunday, February 27. For a complete lineup of bands and festival hours call 305-774-1883, or visit www.bierhaus.cc. (LO)
Anyone named Oscar out there? Today is your day to be proud that you share a name with the furry green garbage can dweller and a prestigious little gold statuette. Bring your ID to show off your moniker (which is sure to be on next year's list of trendy baby names) and you'll get in free to the Laughing Gas Improv's presentation of "The Academy Aweirds: Rockin' Hollywood." Celebrities provide a plethora of fodder for lampooning, and cast member Todd Rice is ready to pounce. "We would all want to be the ones being honored in Hollywood, but we're not, so we're going to poke fun at the ones who are." Make a mockery of Hollywood hunks and starlets tonight and Saturday night at 11:00 at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes. Admission is ten dollars -- except for you, Oscar. Call 305-461-1161, or visit www.laughinggasimprov.com. (LO)
Americana at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach (1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) is already renowned for scrumptious comfort food, high-end versions of down-home favorites, like Kobe beef meat loaf. Tonight, the tony restaurant steps up its game even more. Enjoy a five-star, five-diamond dinner, cooked by visiting Chef Bruno Ménard, who usually keeps the fires burning at The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Working alongside new Chef de Cuisine John Suley, who most recently stirred the pots at the Alize restaurant in The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, these two gourmet chefs will create a five-course dinner fit for the most discriminating epicure. Expect classic French cuisine infused with the exotic nuances of Japan. Meet the chefs and enjoy a private cocktail reception, then savor a delicious dinner with special wine pairings. Tonight's meal costs $175, excluding tax and gratuity. Call 786-276-4033, or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/south_beach. (PEGY)
Step right up, elephant lovers, and feast your eyes on an astounding collection of elephant trinkets, tchotchkes, statues, and paraphernalia in all colors and sizes during today's Elephant Auction. Most of the jumbo mammal-themed items are from the collection of the late Soror Valencia J. Williams, who began collecting the likenesses of her sorority's mascot while in college. Her daughter Erica Williams laughs, "I collect lions, so I didn't know what to do with all these elephants!" Proceeds will benefit scholarships and youth programs provided by the Zeta Tau chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at Florida Memorial College and the Omega Activity Center Foundation. Yes, you really will see pink elephants and people will be talking about that white elephant in the room today starting at 4:00 at the Omega Activity Center, 15600 NW 42nd Ave., Opa-locka. The auction is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Call 305-696-9684. (LO)
Take one part Kim Novak, one part Shelley Winters, shake and serve in a glamorous cocktail dress. The result is the drag queen/film buff Shelley Novak, whose erudite, quirky monthly screening series adds glitz to the Miami Beach Cinematheque (512 Española Way, Miami Beach). Tonight, Ms. Novak presents the post-Oscar tribute to past Academy Award winners. Shelley Novak's Hollywood will take some of the wind out of Oscar's sails with a comedic retrospective of ceremonies past. After the ribald fun, feast your eyes on Dale Stein's photography exhibit "The Starlet Series." Tonight's celebration is simultaneously the closing reception of this exhibit and the photographer's birthday, so be sure to wish him a happy one. Tickets range from six to ten dollars. Save your stub, it gains you free admission and two complimentary cocktails at the infamous Back Door Bamby one block away at crobar (1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Call 305-673-4567, or visit www.mbcinema.com. (PEGY)
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Poor Sebastian Cortez is suddenly single (after his breakup with a crazy girlfriend), broke, and in L.A. when he falls into a fabulous job producing a documentary about the love lives of gay thirtysomethings, a topic that he knows very little about. His friend Daria hooks him up with her gaggle of gay pals for inspiration, and Sebastian soon realizes he may not be as straight as he thought he was. As a kickoff to the Winter Party festivities, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival presents a special outdoor screening of a bigger, longer, and uncut version of Sex, Politics & Cocktails, a film written and directed by Julien Hernandez, who also stars as Sebastian. Bring a beach blanket and be prepared to sip cocktails and talk about sex tonight at Nikki Beach Club, 1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-534-9924, or visit www.winterparty.com. (LO)
Boiler Room nut brown ale, White Star India pale ale, Brittania's Best Bitter, and Shipbuilders oatmeal stout. Titanic Restaurant & Brewery (5813 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables) not only serves up refreshing beers, but the brewing is part of the restaurant's inimitable décor. Besides the nine Titanic-brewed beers on tap, the nautical-themed establishment also boasts a fully stocked liquor bar and a menu that goes beyond basic bar food, serving everything from empanadas and shrimp and dolphin ceviche to chilled Asian noodle salad and "baseball cut" filet mignon with gorgonzola crème sauce. Titanic isn't all great beer and yummy food, however. Just about every night of the week, the bar features live music, karaoke, or a themed event with coordinated drink specials. Tonight at 9:00, enjoy some hip with your hops when DJ Boe63 takes over the turntables, spinning the latest urban sounds. Call 305-667-2537, or visit www.titanicbrewery.com. (PEGY)