Join in this Haitian religious celebration
Vodou, Santería, Camdoble, Obeah. To the uninitiated, those words conjure images of black candles burning in a dark room, bloody chicken feathers, and frightening dolls purposefully pierced with pins. But in their countries of origin, these traditional beliefs all harken back to a bitter history, when African slaves were denied their own religion and language, and instead were handed Bibles and told to conform to the rules of a new society. The slaves found courage and identity in the hybrid rhythms, dances, art, and spiritual rites that seemed dangerous to the plantocracy. To people from the nations of Brazil, Trinidad, Cuba, and Haiti, these African-influenced customs remain as strong as ever.
Vodou Fest aims to clarify some of the mystery surrounding the so-called "dark arts" and to celebrate the spiritual and philosophical aspects of these misunderstood religions. Visitors can explore an art exhibition, watch traditional rituals performed in a public forum for the first time, and enjoy vodou-inspired roots music today, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Tina Hill Pavilion in Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 954-438-7772, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Beyond ponchos and llamas
The colors caught your eye as you strolled through the streets of Miraflores. The artist was still working at his easel, but his finished paintings lined the park sidewalk. You wished you could bring a canvas home with you -- if only it weren't so complicated to stuff into your suitcase. Well, here's your second chance. Peru Expo 2005 will gather more than 100 exhibitors at the Sheraton Miami Mart Hotel (711 NW 72nd Ave., Miami). There will be paintings, native crafts, handwoven clothing, even pisco and platería (silver craft). Longing for turrón de Doña Pepa, or in need of some canned rocoto? You'll likely find it at this expo. Musical groups will perform, and you might win a prize in one of the raffles. The expo runs from 10:00 to 8:00 today; 10:00 to 7:00 Sunday. Admission is free. Call 305-728-6272, or visit www.peruexpo.org. --Karen R. Figuereido
Oui Oui, Y'all
Bastille Day, sil vous plait
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C'est vrai, folks from France eat snails, frogs' legs, and cheeses that reek like a pair of swampy sneakers. The French also have gained a reputation for being, how do you say, snobby. But their fashion, wine, and pastries are nonpareil; the people are full of joie de vivre; and the term freedom fries lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Whether you speak French fluently or know only "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?" everyone is welcome to celebrate Bastille Day with the Alliance Française de Miami. Enjoy music, food, and fun beginning at 7:00 tonight at the Polish-American Club, 1250 NW 22nd Ave., Miami. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-859-8760, or visit www.afmiami.org. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty
To thank you for dropping loads of cash in its store, GBS, The Beauty Store Pinecrest (11297 S. Dixie Hwy.) is hosting a complimentary beauty day today from 9:00 to 6:00. Sparkling beverages, sushi, and fresh fruit will be served as you're spoiled with free minifacials and hair treatments. Enjoy twenty percent off all products and enter to win a fabulous gift basket. Call 305-254-4074, or visit www.gbsbeauty.com. -- Lyssa Oberkreser