Setting the table can be easy unless you're one of the 40 local architects, fashion designers, florists, or interior decorators participating in this year's Dining by Design. Then the pressure is on. The creative types will be dreaming up outrageous and elegant tablescapes at this exclusive event devoted to raising funds for organizations doing their part to stop the spread of AIDS -- Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA), Mothers' Voices, the Episcopal AIDS Ministry, and the Dade Community Foundation's South Florida Community AIDS Partnership. At 6:00 p.m. you can sip champagne, stroll around, look at the tables, and bid on silent-auction items. At 8:00 you get to sit at the tables and enjoy dinner. It all happens at the Moore Building (4040 NE Second Ave.). Tickets cost $350. If you're about $325 short for a ticket, you can fork over $25 at 11:00 p.m. and attend a postparty called the Bubble Blast, featuring music and an open champagne bar, at nearby Grass, 28 NE 40th St. Call 954-522-1883. (NK)
What's it take to be an everyday hero? Overcoming impossible odds and adversity, surviving cancer, seeing beyond prejudice, maintaining your sanity in the face of brutality, incarceration, and rape. The Florida Room (2628 NW Second Ave.), Miami's upstart independent film forum, ponders modern heroics in its lineup for the forthcoming Documentary Film Festival. Tonight the organization invites the public to a sneak peek of its program with Real Time, a benefit event that will screen portions of the short and feature-length documentaries. The event starts at 8:00. Suggested donation is $20. Call 305-576-6161. (JCR)
It's not quite time for the eighteen-day FIU Music Festival. That starts in five days and in case you forgot, FIU has a little Preview Concert in store for you. Trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval will be leading the FIU Big Band, and the FIU Faculty Jazz Quartet, featuring Gary Campbell on sax, Nick Orta on bass, Mike Orta on piano, Dennis Marks on string bass, and Jonathan Joseph on drums, will burn up the stage at Wertheim Performing Arts Center at FIU University Park Campus, 10910 SW Seventeenth St. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-348-1998. (NK)
Women dancing, women singing, women making music. Karen Peterson's DancersImprov Group, among Miami's foremost practitioners of contact improvisation and dance performance, are teaming up with a group of female musicians, including violinist Nicole Yarling, in an open-ended collaboration, Moving Jazz. Under the direction of tap dancer/choreographer Katherine Kramer, the ensemble incorporates a wide spectrum of styles, from scat singing and tap to violin solos. The event begins at 8:00 tonight and 7:00 p.m. tomorrow at Excello Dance Space, 8702 SW 129th Terr. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-298-5879. (JCR)
For $500 and free time in a recording studio, unknown local bands will do almost anything. Churchill's Pub (5501 NE Second Ave.) has been pitting local musicians against each other for weeks in its Battle of the Bands competition. Tonight more than five groups face off for a crack at reaching the finals sometime in January. Look for over-the-top performances by throaty frontmen and headbangers. If the competition isn't bloody enough, stick around for real smackdowns at the Rugby World Cup Championships being aired into the morning. Tonight's showdown between Argentina and Ireland is one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament. The bands brawl at 8:00, the rugby at 2:30 a.m. Tickets cost $6 for the bands, $20 for the rugby. Call 305-757-1087. (JCR)
Rhoda, Jerry Seinfeld, Grace Adler -- just a few famous TV Jews. David Zurawik knows television and Jews. As the author of The Jews of Prime Time, he writes about them all from the early days of TV through today. How have they been depicted? What have been the offscreen consequences of those roles? As part of the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center's Jewish Book Festival, Zurawik will chat about the many ways the chosen people are portrayed on the tube at 7:30 tonight at Bet Shira Congregation, 7500 SW 120th St. Admission is five dollars; ten dollars buys you a reserved seat. Call 305-271-9000, ext. 268. (NK)
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Great minds are pondering the future at Miami-Dade Community College. Fresh, energetic thinkers are tackling issues that have historical resonance and could affect how the world works in coming generations. Will Britney Spears make it to pop legend status or will Beyoncé snatch her place? Do J.Lo hip-huggers really cause brain damage? Should the United States remain in the United Nations? A panel of professors and students will debate the latter question in great detail during MDCC's Contemporary Issues Forum, a progressive-thinking collegewide discussion. Live video streaming will hook up all six campuses for this frank and pressing tte-à-tte. MDCC students Miguel Arroyo and Andrew Carbon, members of the college's Model UN delegation, will be stumping on the student side. If we're lucky, the bulk of discussion will center on what really matters -- the World Series. The panel meets in person at 10:50 a.m. at MDCC's Kendall Campus, 11011 SW 104th St., room K413. It will be aired throughout all campuses at that time. Admission is free. Call 305-237-3037. (JCR)
You really want to make a movie but you don't have much to say. How about creating a five-minute masterpiece? The Entertainment Industry Incubator invites you and a team of five others to do just that by taking part in their Collaboration ... A Short Film Contest. Learn all about the 30-day competition that encourages you to hone your skills by writing, shooting, and editing a movie. The top twenty works will be screened for an audience of professionals. Winners will share myriad prizes, among them $50,000 worth of production services courtesy of the Universal Studios Florida Production Group. Curious? Check out a contest orientation from 7:00 to 9:00 tonight at the Mayfair House, 3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove. Admission is free. Call 305-672-9297. (NK)