Considered by some to be the world's greatest rapper, LL Cool J has topped the pop charts for almost twenty years. Hits like "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "U Can't F**K With Me" have fueled his tough-guy image. But you are bound to experience a softer, more gentle LL (he recently recorded a song for an educational children's rap album) at 7:30 tonight when the movie star/hip-hop icon brings his road show, Winter Jam in Paradise 2003, to the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd.). LL will shower his adoring fans with love and faux gangsta attitude, as will his guests Fat Joe and Miami's own Trick Daddy. Tickets range from $25 to $50. Call 305-358-5885.
The lush sensuality of life, the poetry of being, the pain of injustice and political turmoil, and the ability to find humor in the bleakest of situations -- those are just some of the aspects of the Colombian psyche that fuel the twelve comedies and dramas screening at the debut Colombian Film Festival at the Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St.). Presented by Miami-Dade Community College, the nine-day event features two films by director/author Jorge Ali Triana (Bolívar Soy Yo and Tiempo de Morir) and a pair by poet Victor Gaviria (La Vendedora de Rosas and Rodrigo D: No Futuro). This year's Academy Awards representative Los Niños Invisibles, about street kids in Bogota, is shown alongside historical dramas, tragicomedies, and urban farces. Each is touched with the sense of magical realism that seems to be inscribed in the cultural DNA of all Colombian thinkers and artists. The festival runs through Sunday, March 30. Admission is $8 per film, with festival passes available for $65. Call 305-237-6069 or see "Calendar Events," for details.
Bloody shins and muddy butts: signs of life for every true-grit mountain biker. Okay, so there are no mountains in Miami, but off-road aficionados will get a chance to show their stuff at the fourth annual Fat Tire Festival at Oleta River State Recreation Area (3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach). The two-day bike fete offers competitions for children and adults as well as bicycle clinics, a flea market, and a children's safety rodeo. Sunday's schedule includes regional championships where expert mountain bikers get jiggy. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. at the park. Admission to the races is free, with four-dollar-per-vehicle entrance to the park. It costs five dollars to enter each race. Call 305-919-1846.
So as hip-hop croonstress Missy Elliott says, "You look like a Halle Berry posta," but you're 3000 miles away from Hollywood on Oscar night? Don't let that stop you from showing off your Academy Awards-worthy glamour. South Florida drama divas and celluloid worshippers will enjoy the next best thing to attending the festivities at the hallowed Kodak Theatre during the fourth annual Oscar Night America Miami Beach Celebration. The movie-mad event will take over China Grill (404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) with dinner and cocktails during the live broadcast of the Oscars on seven high-definition television screens. Guests will be greeted by WPLG-TV (Channel 10) anchor Kristi Krueger and munch on a Szechuan beef and wok veggies feast. Proceeds from the event benefit the Miami Beach Film Society. Because the event is sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, guests will get official Oscar programs (the same as the ones handed out in Hollywood!), plus a special greeting from Bruce Davis, executive director of the academy. Oscar night begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $150. Call 305-532-7733.
Kathleen Battle's lyric soprano voice has been called "one of the very few most beautiful in the world" by the Washington Post and has made her one of the most acclaimed singers of our time. Her fiery attitude and diva-esque tantrums have also added to her legendary status. The five-time Grammy Award winner has unleashed her lung power on the world's leading stages such as the Metropolitan Opera; the opera houses of Vienna, Paris, San Francisco, and Chicago; and London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The Concert Association of Florida brings the divine Ms. B. to the stage of the Broward Center of Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) at 8:00 p.m. for a recital of arias and songs by Handel, Liszt, and Richard Strauss. Battle rounds out her repertoire with Portuguese and Spanish tunes and spirituals. Tickets range from $35 to $85. Call 305-808-7446 ext. 301.
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Curators, collectors, and artists are concerned -- very concerned -- about the plans for a new museum complex in downtown's Bicentennial Park. Although the project seems to be under way, several questions about financing and artistic direction remain unanswered by county bureaucrats. Art collector Martin Margulies will open his warehouse tonight for a public meeting called MAM the New Museum Master Plan. Newsweek writer Peter Plagens and WPLG-TV (Channel 10) reporter Michael Putney will be part of a four-person panel exploring who will fund the museum project and where the art collection will come from. The public is invited, but seating is limited. The town meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Margulies Collection Warehouse, 591 NW 27th St. Admission is free. Call 305-576-1051.
Ever since the Eurythmics exploded onto the 1980s pop charts with their post-New Wave classic "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", androgynous lead singer Annie Lennox has busted stereotypes and built a cultlike following. Lennox doesn't rely on her image for fan worship or critical acclaim, though -- her soulful voice and fierce attitude do it for her. Tonight the diva kicks off her new American tour supporting her soon-to-be-released CD, Bare, at the Gusman Center of Performing Arts (174 E. Flagler St.). Doors open at 7:30 P.M. Tickets range from $50 to $100. Call 305-374-2444.