Ringing in your year
2004 was the year of the bug. Hans Blix and Kofi Annan had their phones tapped. Commuters on San Francisco's Muni trains learned their intimate chats were picked up on high-tech audio equipment. There were critters in our touch-screen voting machines. That mysterious lump on W's back during the debates. Face-scanning cameras on Tampa's public streets. Spam in our in-boxes equipped with invisible devices to send informational "beacons" back to the spammers. Casino employees went to jail for videotaping close-ups of customers' cleavage. And even as they were surveilling the hell out of us in public places, our lawmakers passed the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act to keep the pervs from surreptitiously looking up our skirts. If you or your underwear weren't caught on candid camera this year, you must have spent the past twelve months in a bunker. So we can't think of a better way to say "out with the old!" than a New Year's Eve performance of Bug at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables). The play by Tracy Letts, presented by GableStage, stars Todd Allen Durkin as a Gulf War vet convinced the government has planted mind-controlling insects under his skin. Set in Oklahoma City, home of the paranoid, Bug's themes concerning ravaged returning vets, whose perceived delusions may be all too real, strike a nerve in today's Big Brother climate. Afterward, theatergoers get to dig into a catered champagne supper in the Biltmore's Alhambra Ballroom. Tickets for the show and dinner cost $125. Call 305-445-1119 or visit www.gablestage.org. -- Gail Shepherd
Liza with a Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Liza Minnelli was set for a fabulous New Year's Eve concert at Fifteen-O-One Barton G (1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), with VIP tickets going for $925. But despite David Gest's babbling about her formidable uppercut, it was Liza who was knocked out when she fell from her bed. The New York Post reports she was intoxicated when a bodyguard found her on the floor. Though her successful guest appearances on Arrested Development seemed to augur a sober new phase for Liza, this latest episode reinforces her reputation as our favorite substance-abusing songstress. What will happen for the holiday now at the smart Beach bistro? Call 305-672-8881 or visit www.bartong.com to see how much of a Cabaret is made of Liza's mishap. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
A Special Reunion
Monkey Village may be gone, but its spirit thrives. Although the physical headquarters of the now-defunct commune have been abandoned by the group's members, the heart still beats. The former villagers know that the family that plays together stays together, so The Specialists, one of the many bands that emerged from the collective, is gathering for what guitarist/vocalist Cleaveland Jones describes as "one more instrumental funk freak-fest." Many former Specialists are now members of Suenalo Sound System, so a freeform, multi-culti, ass-shaking, alt-rocking tone is set for the night. Catch The Specialists' one-time reunion jam tonight at 10:00 at the Marlin, 1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 786-512-3950. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Pencil This In
Miami's champions of soul, the seven-piece gang of University of Miami music majors known as Pencilgrass, are back after a year on the road and are ready to put you in the right mood with their high energy, electro-funky dance music. Their eclectic sound combines the sassiness of Less Than Jake with the soulful licks of Smash Mouth and a splash of Fishbone. Girls who have extra funk in their trunk will proudly bump it to "Beautiful Thing," and if the bouncing beat of "Bubble Gum" doesn't get you dancing, nothing will. Doors open at 9:00 tonight at Jazid, 1342 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-673-9372 or visit www.pencilgrass.com. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
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