Live la dolce vita
Tuscany is so hot these days. It seems this quaint Italian region hired itself a Hollywood publicist. Blame the influx of all things Tuscan on Frances Mayes. Her bestselling memoir Under the Tuscan Sun was made into a chick flick in 2003. Since then, this poet/writer has been culling even more inspiration from the locale. Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy reveals European home décor, recipes, and more. Mayes will read at 4:00 p.m. at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Enjoy Japanese-style moments
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Okay, so maybe their economy is tanking, they get the occasional earthquake and typhoon, and can claim some pretty weird cults. The Japanese still make better cars and electronic toys than we do, not to mention slice up some mean raw fish. If downing copious amounts of sushi hasn't brought you close enough to the culture you admire, maybe attending the Aki Matsuri -- Autumn Festival of Japanese Culture -- will. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables) will help pay tribute to the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Peace and Amity Treaty between the US and Japan by hosting various events, including a tea ceremony, Taiko drum concert, bonsai exhibition, and -- bring your appetite -- a sushi-making demonstration. Admission is free with $10 garden entry. Call 305-667-1651-- Nina Korman
Whether producing, screenwriting, or appearing in the spotlight George Carlin is a funny man, but is he still relevant as a comedian and social critic? Apparently so. Last year when U2's Bono uttered one of the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" Carlin had riffed on in the famous monologue, he almost got away with it. Briefly, it appeared governmental busybodies finally got Carlin's message that profanities are merely words ... until Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," that is. Show a little tit and the Federales turn back into the vocabulary police. So is there a better time to revisit Carlin than when the First Amendment is in danger? Tonight at the Jackie Gleason Theater (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach), the highly confrontational Carlin will appear as himself. Curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $35.50 to $45.50. Call 305-673-7300. -- Margaret Griffis