VW Beetle owners will travel around the country to hang out at Bug Jams with other Beetle drivers. A biker who loves his Harley-Davidson would rather see his sister in a brothel than his brother on a Japanese crotch rocket. And don't even mention a PC around Apple lovers. Are consumers a little too devoted to certain brands? Douglas Atkin, an ad agency strategy director, spent years researching cults and customer loyalty and found creepy similarities. The Culting of Brands: When Customers Become True Believers is an interesting read that will make you realize you're not the only one who is emotionally bonded to your grocery store chain -- which better be Publix. Atkin will discuss how company "cults" attract new members tonight at 7:00 at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The event is free for Wolfsonian and Miami Ad School members and ten dollars for everyone else. Call 305-531-1001 or visit www.wolfsonian.org. (LO)
Ladies beware. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the United States. Despite readily available alternative treatments, more than twenty million American women have undergone this severe, irrevocable procedure for relatively benign conditions like uterine fibroids. About 80 percent of women are simultaneously castrated, meaning otherwise healthy uteruses and ovaries are removed for no reason, often without the patient's knowledge. Why? Because doctors know modern women crave a quick fix, and hysterectomies are a multibillion-dollar industry. Rick Schweikert's play Un Becoming reveals the procedure's negative side effects, such as personality change, genital damage, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Our fair area is the 42nd stop on a 51-city tour that will culminate in a major demonstration in Washington, D.C. this March. Tickets are free tonight at 8:00 at Arts at St. Johns, 4760 Pinetree Dr., Miami Beach. Call 305-613-2325 or visit www.unbecomingplay.com. (PEGY)
It's a new year with new resolutions and it's time to formulate a workout plan. You know the ladies want a man who's lean and cut, so put down the chips, pat that beer belly one last time, and start doing some crunches. Do you need a little inspiration? Or maybe you need a big, hulking man to convince you to leave the bar and pick up some barbells. The World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Triple H, a.k.a. Paul Levesque, will be in town to sign copies of his fitness manual Making The Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body. Don't worry, this wrestler isn't going to crush you with unrealistic bodybuilding techniques: Triple H encourages form over volume, warns against overtraining, and even includes a dietary plan. Get pumped to meet the man behind the muscle today at noon at the Virgin Megastore, 5701 Sunset Dr., South Miami. Call 305-665-4445. (LO)
You don't need your best Sunday dress this morning, unless you were already sporting it on Saturday night. Church, the early morning gay-friendly gathering that originated at the Salvation Nightclub, is back to rock House (2041 Biscayne Blvd.). In lieu of a priest, revelers can praise DJ Robert Rodriguez and promoter Gloria Mathews for resurrecting this wickedly wonderful party. House provides a great venue for weekly worship, having once been the legendary Cactus Bar, one of Miami's longest-running gay bars and home to the sizzling "Ay Papi" Saturdays. The benefits of going to this after-hours bash? After cueing up at the pool tables, flaunting it at the swimming pool, and shaking your moneymaker on the dance floor, you can thrill your parents by telling them you went to church on Sunday morning. Rejoice now, repent later: Church commences at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m. Call 305-438-0662 or visit www.housemiami.us. (PEGY)
Aluminum furniture may not sound like the sturdiest pieces to have around the house, but at least they'll be easy to recycle once you tire of them. "Young Furniture Designers: Aluminum in the Garden" is an outdoor installation on display on the Great Lawn at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden (2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach) through today. More than a dozen creative Furniture Design Program students at Miami International University of Art and Design will showcase original works, including a canopy bed complete with an aluminum mesh drapery covering and your standard chairs, loungers, tables, and shelving units. MIU's furniture program director John Marquette says aluminum "is the perfect material to shape and form" and this project encourages students to explore "not what furniture design is, but what it can be." The exhibit is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is free. Call 305-673-7256 or visit www.mbgarden.org. (LO)
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In one section of his best-known poem, The Seasons, James Thomson asks: "But who can paint/Like Nature?/Can imagination boast,/Amid its gay creation, hues like hers?" Wannabe painters just might find an answer for the late Scottish poet today at Sande Keil's painting foliage from photographs workshop. Bring a picture of a luxuriant garden landscape to stir your artistic sensibilities. Better still, frustrated students can always step outside and regenerate their creative juices in the lush verdancy of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables), Artists will work with acrylics, using nontoxic, environmentally safe, permanent paints to illustrate appropriately the delicate beauty of nature. Through careful instruction even the most ham-handed painter-by-numbers can produce a soothing landscape in just six sessions. Beginning and intermediate students are welcome starting this afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00. Registration fee is $240. Call 305-667-1651 ext. 3322, or visit www.fairchildgarden.org. (PEGY)
You only need a few minutes with someone to decide if they're dateable. Sure, they may be cute, but if they've never read an entire book in their life or happen to be an unemployed puppeteer, it's time to move on to the next one. That is the concept that has made HurryDate so popular. Armed with a scorecard and ID number, you take a seat at a table for two and spend a few minutes chatting with your date until a whistle signals to switch. After each date, you mark your sheet to indicate "yes!" or "no thanks." At the end of the evening, you log onto a Website to enter the IDs of the keepers. HurryDate will match you up with interested daters and let the e-mail flirting begin. Tonight's event starts at 7:00 at Strike Miami, 11401 NW Twelfth St. and costs $35. Visit www.hurrydate.com to RSVP. (LO)