Most often, the Design District's second Thursday gallery open house night is all about gazing longingly at art you can't possibly afford and downing libations at artistic haunts. Amnesty International and Arte del Barrio plan to bring a bit of gravity to this traditional evening of whimsy by "Giving Torture a Face," presenting works that call attention to torture and rape -- the kinds of human rights abuses that seem to occur on a daily basis in these days of war. These violations shouldn't only bring images of Abu Ghraib to mind. Right here in America, a woman is raped every six minutes and one is battered every fifteen seconds. Yearly, thousands of women worldwide are subjected to slavery, genital mutilation, "honor killings," molestation, and public humiliation. This art exhibition and lecture gives voice to their desperate plight. Admission is free. The event starts at 7:00 at 139 NE 39th St. Call 305-503-1343. (PEGY)
Dinner and a movie? Check. Drinks and dancing? Eh, done it. The Harvest Moon Dinner and Silent Auction? Interesting ... keep talking. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens opens for an evening of charity and festivities with a little help from the Sierra Club. Guests can take twilight tram tours of the garden, enjoy live entertainment and a buffet dinner. Afterwards, South Florida historian Paul George will give a talk. Throughout the evening's silent auction you can bid on a variety of items like massage therapy gift certificates, veterinary services, plants, pottery, trips, and a weekend at the historic Miami River Inn. Proceeds raised will help the Sierra Club protect our environment, so have a night out where you can respect yourself in the morning. The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception. Tickets cost $65 dollars, $600 will snag you a table for ten. Call (305) 519-0877. (TS)
You're one of those people whom everyone loathes because you just happen to know more than they about everything. If you were a Jeopardy! contestant, you'd be the indomitable Ken Jennings. If you were a former Saturday Night Live cast member, you'd be smug, sardonic Dennis Miller. If you were a Smurf, you'd be Brainy, and the other Smurfs would always hurl you out of the village, causing you to crumple your white hat and smash your Coke-bottle glasses. Put up or shut up on Mensa's National Testing Day. Just imagine, you could silence anyone who dares call you a know-it-all by informing them that you do indeed have an IQ in the top two percent of the population! Tell those idiots to swallow that down with a frosty glass of hater-ade. The test costs $30, and you can take it at 9841 SW 100th Ave. Call 305-271-0012; visit www.mensa.org, and click on Mensa Workout, to practice. (PEGY)
Sewing circles aside, the love affair with the needle stretches across many social sectors. Lately, stitch craft of all kinds has broken out of the confines of the stuffy pages of home economics textbooks and worked its way into current pop culture. Books like Stitch N' Bitch Nation by feminist writer Debbie Stoller have helped, along with the fact that you can pick up a knitting kit just about anywhere -- even at friggin' Urban Outfitters. Keeping up, the Biscayne Chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America, Inc. holds a Needle Artistry Exhibition at the Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72nd Ave. Since 1975, the Biscayne chapter has grown to 110 crafters, and the biennial show will display in a home setting items embroidered by many of their members. The exhibition opens Saturday, October 16th, and runs through October 24th. (TS)
There are a few hairstyles that have earned places in history. There's the mohawk (which has lost some of its rough 'n' tough nature since donned by P. Diddy), there's also the pompadour, your principal's comb-over, and Jennifer Aniston's Friends 'do. No hairdo has been of greater importance to the fairytale genre than the long, flaxen locks of Rapunzel. This fair maiden's hair was made famous in the Brothers Grimm tale in which a couple's firstborn child is captured by an evil witch and forced to live in an isolated tower. Her fate is changed when the studly Prince Llewellyn devises a daring rescue mission involving her record-breaking yards of hair. Reaching a new generation of children, the tale comes to life at the Russell Theater at the Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112th Ave. Tickets are $10 for children and $12 for adults. Call 305-233-2206. (TS)
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The peculiar ailments known as "backwards reading," "restlessness," or "ants-in-the-pants" when you were young have been given new names and Tinseltown makeovers. Now they're known as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. In this marvelous age of big bucks drug companies, there are loads of pretty, colorful pills doctors can give you to slide down your children's throats if they seem fidgety when they're doing homework. The folks at Lindamood-Bell want to steer our society away from the path of the quick medical fix and toward one-on-one sessions and helpful evaluations with their staff of clinicians. This center provides scientific reading programs that help frustrated children settle down, smile, and learn to love reading and writing. Venture over to Lindamood-Bell's Open House for a presentation about the issues that surround language and literacy development for youngsters this evening at 6:30, at 116 Alhambra Circle #130, Coral Gables. Call 786-552-6470. (PEGY)
We in the Western world always like to assume that we're the civilized ones, with our apartments like shoeboxes stacked on top of each other and our motorized vehicles putt-putting us towards the future. Well, Francisco Estrada-Belli has got news for those of us who assume our civilization is numero uno -- the Mayans beat us by over a thousand years. Four years ago, excavations at the 2500 year old Mayan city of Cival in Guatemala's Peten jungle uncovered the ruins of a royal metropolis of more than 10,000 people at a time when most Western scientists assumed the Maya were simple farmers. Estrada-Belli discovered amazing artifacts including pyramids, plazas, stone masks, and jade and ceramic offerings that possibly marked the dawn of Mayan dynasties. Learn about the "New Discoveries at Cival, Guatemala: Dawn of the Maya," at 7:30 p.m., at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables. Call 305-284-3603. (PEGY)