Teenagers get a bad rap. Angst-ridden and confused youngsters pull away from their parents, and they can often find themselves adrift in a malevolent world where alcohol, sex, and drugs are de rigueur. The next thing you know, your innocent little one has been labeled an "at-risk" student who demonstrates unpredictable, unacceptable behavior in the classroom. A group of such teens are baring their young souls in "Pupil's Perceptions," an exhibition of artwork from Miami Douglas MacArthur Senior High School South, an alternative high school that gives troubled teens a second chance at a good education. The students worked with a variety of materials to express themselves, including pastels, acrylics, batik, woodwork, and mosaics. See their cool art at the opening reception this evening at 6:00 at the MDC Homestead Campus Art Gallery in the Building D Library, 500 College Terr., Homestead. Admission is free. Call 305-237-5104. (PEGY)
If you've ever dreamed of packing up your cubicle and trading in corporate life for the excitement of following your rock and roll dream, let Rachel Garlin inspire you. As a teacher, she brought her guitar and aspirations into the classroom with her. Then she grabbed her books and hit the road. Last year, she won a coveted spot in the Newport Folk Festival talent search and earned the Best Song award. Garlin also won at the South Florida Folk Festival for "Tom's Song," "a childhood memory weaved into a song that touches on topics of life and death." Garlin explains, "My songs are mostly stories of people I've met, or experiences I've had." Tonight at 8:00 she opens for The Kennedys at the Main Street Cafe, 128 N. Krome Ave., Homestead. Tickets cost $12. Call 305-245-7575 or visit www.mainstreetcafe.net, and read more about the teacher-turned-singer at www.rachelgarlin.com. (PEGY)
Author and Miami Dade College professor Dr. Paul George stands among the consummate experts on South Florida. At the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (101 W. Flagler St., Miami), part of his job includes leading remarkable tours of the kinds of places you drive past every day and don't think twice about, such as Coral Gables, the Miami River, and Key Biscayne. He remembers all the delicious scandals that make our local legacy so rich and spicy. Today, Dr. George will make learning fun with some friendly competition. The South Florida History Challenge gives wannabe know-it-alls the chance to take on last year's winners and win door prizes that include history tours with Dr. George, ecology tours with Frank Schena, and Miami Spice cookbooks. See if you're up to the trivia challenge, or just have fun watching and learning this afternoon starting at 2:00. Museum admission is five dollars. Call 305-375-1621 or visit www.historical-museum.org. (PEGY)
Intrigued by the thought of a tiny village of Ugandans practicing Judaism, filmmaker Debra Gonsher Vinik and her husband David Vinik traveled to Africa with American and Israeli rabbis to officially convert the tribe while documenting the events on film. Moving Heaven and Earth shows the conversion ceremonies of the Abayudaya people living in a predominantly Christian and Muslim country. The Miami Jewish Film Festival and the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education present Movies and Music with a screening of the film today at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (6161 NW 22nd Ave., Miami) followed by an afternoon of multicultural music. The soulful and moving spirituals of the Florida Memorial Gospel Choir will bring you to your feet, and the Klezmiamians' traditional Jewish folk music will keep you clapping and stomping along. Tickets cost eight dollars for adults, and children under twelve are free. Call 305-573-7304, or visit www.caje-miami.org/filmfestival. (LO)
Love, fear, desires, and dreams: Poetry blossoms when read aloud. For teenagers, spoken-word poetry can be a therapeutic release of the anxiety and stress brought on by school, dating, and first jobs. "It is clearly an outlet," says Joyce Pernicone, assistant library director of the North Miami Public Library (835 NE 132nd St., North Miami) and facilitator of the library's monthly Teen Poetry Night. Teens can read their original poetry, have some snacks, and receive coaching from professional writers. Pernicone is hoping to receive a grant to fund more workshops for her teens. "I'm really impressed with how seriously the kids take their poetry," she says. To celebrate their first anniversary and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tonight's theme is "I Have a Dream." Share your rhythmic beats and snapping lyrics tonight (and the fourth Monday of every month) at 6:30. Call 305-891-5535. (LO)
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Plants seem like alien life forms. In the early morning their colorful appendages unfurl, and they feast on sunlight and water. Some open spiked lips and lie in wait to consume insects and small reptiles. They move only enough to follow the sun and, of course, they multiply in mysterious ways. The members of the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society are savvy about the secret lives of plants, and they know the best ways of making our indigenously strange and beautiful vegetation do exactly what they want. At tonight's presentation, "Propagation: Not Just Seeds," Rob Campbell, grower for Plant Creations Nursery, will discuss and demonstrate alternative, unusual, asexual ways of producing plants. Learn how adaptations of home-grown plants can encourage greater vigor in your floral friends at 7:30 at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Call 305-255-6404, or visit www.fnps.org/chapters/dade. (PEGY)
For those of you who skated through high school listening to "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and "Where the Hell is Bill?" you'll be happy to know that they're back. Camper Van Beethoven, that is. After a fourteen-year hiatus, original CVB members have returned with a rock opera response to current events and politics. The band's new album, New Roman Times, tells the tale of a troubled Texas teen who leaves the military to join an anti-government militia. But CVB front man David Lowery claims the album's commentary "isn't really supposed to be about Iraq, Afghanistan or even war.... It's actually about the deep gulf between the 'red' and the 'blue' parts of the country." Revisit the classic indie-rock group, with opening bluegrass band The Hackensaw Boys, tonight at 8:00 at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net. (LO)