The long-awaited party season is finally here, and tonight you can toast to a fabulous fall at the eighth annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza presented by Miccosukee Resort & Gaming. Too many cooks won't spoil this party as Chispa's Adam Votaw will lead team of popular local chefs including Allen Susser, Clay Conley, Dewey LoSasso, Barbara Scott, Hiroyuki Terada, Innocent Utomi, and many more. In addition to an evening of delicious food and wine, you'll have a chance to bid on exotic travel packages, fine art, and other special items during the live and silent auctions. The swanky soiree begins at 7:00 at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Tickets cost $125 in advance, $150 at the door. If you wish to upgrade to the $225 VIP tickets, you'll be treated to an exclusive champagne reception one hour prior to the event. Call 305-477-1192, or visit www.signaturechefsandwine.com. (LO)
Thanks to glossy tabloid magazines, the veil has been lifted and everyone knows that celebrities are just like us, bad skin and all. But when it's time for photo opportunities, average gals transform into glamazons. How do they do it? MAC Cosmetics' pro team senior artist Victor Cembellin knows, and he's here to teach you "Red Carpet Celebrity Secrets." For a decade Cembellin has jetted to Milan, London, and Paris to primp runway models. After sessions with him, Paris Hilton can admire herself and mutter, "That's hot," at her stunning visage, and Missy Elliott can "Work It" at star-studded events. Learn the tricks of the trade today at Bloomingdale's Miami at The Falls, 8778 SW 136th St., Miami. For seminar times and reservations, call MAC at 305-252-6268. (PEGY)
What are you going to be for Halloween? Perhaps a princess or dominatrix? Or maybe you're considering a cowgirl or space cowboy. Still not inspired? We must get thee to a nunnery, or at least to the Actors' Playhouse Costume Sale. From Return to the Forbidden Planet to Das Barbecü, you'll find plenty of treasures from past performances to pull together a unique getup for partying or trick-or-treating. If you're not looking for a full costume, you can still pick up a few hats, accessories, and stray pieces to add panache to your wardrobe. Play dressup today from 10:00 to 5:00 at the Miracle Theatre Black Box Space, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. Costumes range from $5 to $250, cash only. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Actors' Playhouse. Call 305-444-9293, ext. 120, or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org. (LO)
Gabrielle Union's star is on the rise. The spunky thespian is about to take intelligent thrills to the small screen in the new-old series Night Stalker, and she's currently working on the screen adaptation of Running with Scissors. But that doesn't mean she's too busy to give her time to help the victims of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Tonight at 7:00, Union will host the R&B Legends Katrina Relief Concert at the Miami Arena (721 NW First Ave., Miami). Enjoy soulful performances by 112, Jagged Edge, Charlie Wilson, Mint Condition, and the amazing Angie Stone. Tickets cost $75. Call 954-839-0437, or visit www.954hiphop.com. (PEGY)
While scientists, politicians, and pundits continue to debate whether global warming is to blame for the spate of recent megahurricanes or if climatic change is just a fallacy, explorers Eric Larsen and Lonnie Dupree have returned from an attempted summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean to document the effects of rising temperatures on that region for the outspoken environmental group Greenpeace. Unusual snowstorms and ice conditions (not to mention a few polar bear encounters) cut short their trip, but the group continues to raise awareness of melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and habitat destruction with Project Thin Ice. This weekend the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, along with Arctic traveler Larsen and members of the Greenpeace Clean Energy Now Campaign, will be docked in Miami to share the organization's documentation of global warming and to promote clean energy initiatives. You can take a free tour of the ship Saturday from 12:30 to 5:00 and today from 11:00 to 5:00 at Miamarina at Bayside, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Greenpeace reminds us that ship travel is unpredictable, so call 1-800-219-9260 to confirm its arrival. For more information, visit www.projectthinice.org. (LO)
We're still a few weeks away from regular-season play, but tonight you'll have something special to write in your basketball diary after watching Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, and the rest of your hometown ballers shoot it out in a game of exhibition hoops as the Miami Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs for a Hurricane Katrina Relief Benefit Game. All proceeds from the event -- including revenue from tickets, concessions, parking, and retail sales -- will be donated to provide aid and assistance to the hurricane victims, so show your support and pack the house. The action begins at 7:30 at the American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets range from $10 to $300. Call 786-777-HOOP, or visit www.miamiheat.com. (LO)
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The orchids at your local garden store are pretty, but the varieties at tonight's Gold Coast Orchid Society auction will take your breath away. Exotic and rare plants donated by some of the finest local nurseries will be on proud display. Place your bid and go home with a beautiful new plant this evening at 7:00 at the North Miami Beach Civic Center, 17051 NE Nineteenth Ave. Call 305-944-0914, or visit www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/7969. (PEGY)
Tyler Perry has much to thank Julia Brown for. Brown, CEO and founder of the JEBA Entertainment Group, helped a young Perry find his feet in local theaters. "Malik Yoba and I produced his first show in 1998, I Know I've Been Changed. It played at the Gusman, and that was his first time out. He's a very cool guy," Brown remembers. Nowadays Perry is running his own show, and thanks in part to his surprise blockbuster film Diary of a Mad Black Woman, he has become a millionaire. Tonight's performance of Madea Goes to Jail will be sure to leave the audience in laughing fits. The play will run from October 11 through 16 at the James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. Catch the opening at 8:00 tonight. Tickets range from $40.50 to $53.50. Call 305-835-0321, or visit www.jebapresents.com. (PEGY)