Picture yourself strolling alongside a burbling stream that meanders through thickets of lush tropical foliage. Birds twitter and children laugh as they chase one another over a rustic-looking wooden bridge. Butterflies flutter past the waterfall as they feed on the nectar from brightly colored exotic flowers. In the distance looms Macy's, P.F Chang's, The White Barn Candle Company, and Williams-Sonoma. No, this isn't a shopaholic's crazy mixed-up dream. This is The Falls (8888 SW 136th St., Miami), where luxury shopping meets pastoral splendor. To enhance the idyllic experience at this outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, be there for Thursday at The Falls, a musical concert series that takes over the center court in the cool of the evening. Tonight from 6:30 to 9:30, shop to the sultry, blues-infused, jazz-tinged standards of Sheba, the Mississippi Queen. Call 305-255-4570, or visit www.shopthefalls.com. (PEGY)
Stargazers and space lovers unite! The Southern Cross Astronomical Society is offering "Journey to Saturn and Titan" with NASA engineer George Haddad from the Kennedy Space Center. Haddad (who worked as a member of the Cassini Mission launch team) will discuss information about the mission and reveal recent images of the ringed planet and its largest moon. The Cassini-Huygens Mission is a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. Launched from Cape Canaveral on October 15, 1997, the Cassini spacecraft had a long journey before reaching Saturn on June 30, 2004. Tonight's program is free and includes a food buffet, lively discussions, prizes, and time for sky watching on the terrace if the weather cooperates. Get spaced out starting at 8:00 at the FIU Astronomy Center, Physics Bldg., CP-145, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami. Call 305-661-1375, or visit www.scas.org. (LO)
Like black beans and white rice, Spanish and English go deliciously well together here in Miami. One complements the other, adding savory spice to our city's unique flavor. But if you no habla español, you're missing out on half of the fun that this city has to offer. For example, take today's Carnaval de Barranquilla, a rumba to end all rumbas. This celebration has made its way from the bustling northern coast of Colombia all the way to the southern tip of Florida. The annual celebration in Barranquilla, Colombia, is an expression of joy, freedom, and national identity. The celebration here is smaller, but no less vibrant and festive. Dance to the sizzling live sounds of Los Hermanos Zuleta, El Cicln Bananero, La Plaza, and straight from Barranquilla, Los Hijos de Joselito. Tickets cost $20. Baila baila at La Covacha, 10730 NW 25th St., Miami. Call 305-468-9460, visit www.carnavaldebarranquilla-miami.com or www.lacovacha.com. (PEGY)
You might not find any killer waves on South Beach today, but you will find some bitchin' surfer girls at Books and Books (933 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Izzy and Coco Tihanyi are twin surfer girls from La Jolla, California who own a surf shop, run a surfing school (the official training ground for the movie Blue Crush), and now have published a book. Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves is a sweet paperback that will have you getting up at dawn to check the latest surf reports. A great primer for beginners, this book covers everything from finding the right board and gear to using proper terminology and surfing etiquette that won't leave you looking like a poseur. Hang ten and score some awesome reading material from 4:00 to 6:00. The book signing event is free, but it will cost you $14 to get your own copy. Call 305-532-3222, or visit www.booksandbooks.com or www.surfdiva.com. (LO)
Drink it hot, drink it cold, for health or for pleasure, with cream and sugar or unsweetened and black, tea is definitely where it's at. Nobody knows it better than Kyra White, the proud proprietress of Théine (119 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables). Nestled in a cozy nook on a quiet Gables side street, this adorably bright and inviting tea shop boasts exotic brews with names that read like poetry: Lychee Black, Lapsang Souchong, and Rooibos, which White describes as "the drink of the future." There are all of the delectable afternoon tea treats you could want: chai biscotti, scones with clotted cream and farmhouse jam, and date cups to die for. Cuppa lovers are invited to take their tea consumption to the next level. At Cooking with Tea, students will create delicious infusions, marinades, and other culinary delights. Today's lesson costs $55. Call 305-774-0228, or visit www.theineteasalon.com. (PEGY)
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Since 1979, GableStage has been putting on the kind of skillfully performed, thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater productions that have reaped it many Carbonell awards. Now in its 25th year, the company shows no sign of slowing down. This season, under the guidance of producing artistic director Joseph Adler, GableStage continues to bring edgy, meaningful stories to theatrical life. This latest staged reading fits in well with their fine tradition. Playwright David Fleisher's Spring Training is a coming-of-age story set in the segregated South. In the racially charged Fifties, a twelve-year-old Jewish boy prepares for his bar mitzvah amidst family turbulence and societal prejudice. Marjorie O'Neill-Butler, the president of the Theatre League of South Florida, will direct tonight's reading. Admission is free. Enjoy the show at 7:30 p.m. at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-445-1119, or visit www.gablestage.org. (PEGY)
If you have endless closet space (and are still the same size you were in high school), you might still be holding on to your hip-hugging bell bottoms from the '70s and pastel clam diggers from the '80s. But for those who haul off bags of clothes each month to make room for new fashions, stop for a moment and look at the latest InStyle magazine. Those designs look familiar, don't they? Whether you are looking for retro, vintage, or old-school duds to put back into your wardrobe, the Back-In-Style.com charity shopping event will give you a lot of choices for less cash. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Miami, a nonprofit organization that provides education, research, and advocacy to promote child safety. Shop today from 4:00 to 8:00 at the Back-In-Style.com showroom, 1801 S. Bayshore Dr., Miami. Call 305-519-4955, or visit www.back-in-style.com. (LO)