Maluala: Oh, what a paradise the Cuba of yore seemed. Except for one thing (no, not Castro): slavery. Yes, Cuba was not always so libre; plenty of Africans were oppressed there too. Regarded by some as the father of black Cuban cinema, Sergio Giral, now a resident of Miami, has made a trio of films about the slave experience in his native country. Maluala, the last of the trilogy, showing at 7:00 tonight at FIU's Roz and Cal Kovens Conference Center (151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami), tells the tale of African Maroons, slaves who escaped their captors, hid in the mountains and forests, and eventually formed thriving communities. Giral will be present to introduce his film, the first in a series titled "Films from the African Diaspora," presented by FIU's African-New World Studies program and Diaspora World Cinema, an organization devoted to the promotion of films from the Caribbean basin and throughout the African diaspora. Admission is free. Call 919-5521. (NK)
Edmund White: Much has been made of the fact that the protagonist of Edmund White's The Farewell Symphony, the third book in an informal trilogy, recounts having had more than 3000 lovers during the bacchanalian days of gay sexual liberation. But it isn't tales of free-for-all sex that have made White one of the most respected novelists (gay or straight) writing today. He first came to prominence fifteen years ago with the semi-autobiographical A Boy's Own Life. The Farewell Symphony has been rapturously received in critical circles for its candor and humor. It recounts the life of a gay man who has survived most of his friends and lovers through the rebellion of the Stonewall riot of the Sixties, the hedonism of the Seventies, and the horror of AIDS in the Eighties. White reads from The Farewell Symphony at 8:00 tonight at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Call 442-4408 for more information. (JO)
Baroque Festival: Attention all classical music aficionados: The New World Symphony gives you all the Handel you can handle with a three-day festival of baroque music at the Lincoln Theatre (555 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Put on your slicker and prepare to get soaked tonight at 8:00 when Henry Bicket conducts the orchestra and leads Kenneth Cooper on harpsichord in a program titled "Water Musics." Compositions by Bach, Telemann, and, yes, Handel will be performed. Tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Bicket conducts "Music of the Baroque Theatre," featuring works such as Locke's music for The Tempest and the suite from King Arthur by Purcell. A bonus: Choreographer/dancer Catherine Turocy will don period costume and prance on-stage. On Sunday at 5:00 p.m. the symphony gives you "A Baroque Treat." Kenneth Cooper chimes in again on harpsichord, performing concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, and Telemann. Tickets range from $15 to $20. Call 673-3331. (NK)
Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation: Ever wonder why two hours of Looney Tunes put you to sleep as a kid but you find them so amusing now? They were directed by adults for adults, silly. While Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, and Elmer Fudd are fun, they won't be anywhere in sight at the weeklong festival beginning tonight at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). For the past twenty years, Spike and Mike have compiled the best independent animation, introducing the world to weirdoes like Mike Judge, Will Vinton, and Tim Burton. You can see films from all over the world in a variety of media, such as pencil and ink, stop-motion, clay, and computer animation. Some highlights: Steven Fonti's Political Correction, a spoof of the beloved Schoolhouse Rock TV series; and Nick Park's A Close Shave, a mystery featuring those lovable clay characters Wallace and Gromit. Tickets range from four to six dollars. Call 531-8504 for show times. (NK)
Luis Vega: Recent Works: Those eager to see Cuba, but deterred by hot-headed relatives who threaten to disown them if they go can instead visit Elite Fine Art Gallery (3140 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables) to see the romantic yet surreal vision of Luis Vega, an exiled Cuban artist whose painstakingly detailed land- and seascapes represent more than just trees and water. The loss of a homeland, the instability of exile, and the adjustment to a new life are just some of the themes interwoven in the radiant skies and lush vegetation that inspire his paintings. A reception with the artist starts at 7:00 p.m. The exhibition runs through October 24. The gallery is open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. Call 448-3800. (NK)
Whodunit?: Though it may not seem like it from the nightly news, it's pretty hard to get away with a crime. Technology is now so advanced that a tiny paint chip can determine the make, model, and year of a car; a single hair can yield enough DNA to identify one person out of millions; and skeletal remains can be used to determine not only sex, race, and other physical characteristics, but even a person's occupation. Demonstrations of these and other crime-fighting techniques can be found at the Miami Museum of Science's (3280 S. Miami Ave.) new exhibit, "Whodunit? The Science of Solving Crime." You can even watch a videotape of a real autopsy -- if you can stomach it. The exhibit runs until January 4, daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and $5.50 for kids under twelve. Call 854-4247 for more information. (JO)
Andrea Marcovicci: Tonight at 8:00 at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), come hear the enchanting Andrea Marcovicci belt out show tunes by Gershwin, Weill, and Porter in a program titled "Love Songs from the Theatre." This concert benefits the Florida AIDS Action Council, a statewide nonprofit organization devoted to prevention, education, treatment, and advocacy issues for people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. They also really know how to throw a party. Tickets range from $25 to $100. Call 893-3666. (NK)
Baroque Festival: See Friday.
Festival Miami: Nestor Torres: Miamians love Nestor Torres. And the indefatigable flautist must be grateful because he's blowing his lips to a pulp with two -- count 'em, two -- concerts today, part of the University of Miami's nonstop, monthlong musical frenzy known as Festival Miami. At 3:30 Torres teams up with UM professors J.B. Floyd on piano, Don Coffman on bass, and Jonathan Joseph on percussion for an eclectic program dubbed "Sonatas and Standards: From Miles to Prokofiev," mixing jazz tunes by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Billy Strayhorn with classical works by Gabriel Faure and Sergei Prokofiev. Then, before he can say "Chap Stick," he's back on-stage at 8:00, this time with a Brazilian threesome: pianist Luiz Fernando Benedini, bassoonist Luciano Magnanini, and saxophonist/clarinetist Teco Cardoso. Their program is titled "Bach to Bachianas to Brazil," and features works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Chico Buarque, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Where does Torres get the energy? Hmmm, maybe it's a Zen thing. All performances take place at Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables. Tickets range from $10 to $18. Call 284-4940. (NK)
Baroque Festival: See Friday.
Butterfly Lightning: Five years. Two thousand attendees. More than 100 writers. And beer! It's Butterfly Lightning time again. Butterfly what? Inaugurated five years ago by Miami-Dade professors/writers Sandra Castillo and Ariel Gonzalez and inherited by colleague Preston Allen, this celebrated local reading series (chosen Best Reading Series by New Times earlier this year) commences at 8:00 p.m. upstairs at Tobacco Road (626 S. Miami Ave.) and continues every Monday for the next eight weeks. Listen to writers you might have heard of: Lolita Files, Ran Henry, Tananarive Due. Or check out writers you haven't heard of but who might be famous one day. If things get really dull, you can always retire downstairs, quaff some brewskis, and enjoy the music. Tonight Lourdes Simone and Neil Plakcy read. Call 237-1317 for more info. (NK)
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Jamiroquai: What the hell is a Jamiroquai? Would you believe a group of Englishmen who have a funky Sixties groove, a Nineties attitude, and a singer with a set of soulful pipes, and who are inevitably and justifiably compared to Stevie Wonder? The comparison has dogged the band through three albums and shows no sign of letting up. Even the most tone-deaf funk fan has to question if they didn't just lift the bass line from Wonder's "I Wish" and plant it in their hit "Virtual Insanity," which is on their latest release, Traveling Without Moving. Whether they did or not, who cares? It's cool stuff. Stevie may have originated the sound, but these boys are riding it into the next millennium. Before they get there -- en route to finishing their eight-record megadeal with Sony -- hear them tonight at 7:30 at Sunrise Musical Theatre (5555 95th Ave., Sunrise). And what about that name? Another play on an American classic: They feel the Iroquois Indian spirit permeates their jam. Tickets cost $20.75. Call 954-741-7300. (LB)
Cuba Out of Cuba/Folk Art from the Andes: For several years Cuban-American photographer Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte has been working on a portrait of el exilio. His photos of outstanding emigre actors, writers, artists, musicians, and the rest of the farandula will be published in a book next spring. Meanwhile, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Miami-Dade Public Library's main branch (101 W. Flagler St.) hosts a preview exhibition of the work in progress, "Cuba Out of Cuba," featuring Rodriguez-Duarte's dramatic black-and-white shots of many of Miami's most familiar faces (the show could be called "The Usual Suspects"): the Estefans, Jon Secada, Cristina Saralegui, the Scull Sisters, Albita, et al. New York-based photographer and fashion stylist Tico Torres has sought out Cubans whose mugs have not been quite so overexposed: singer Rolando Laserie, filmmaker Leon Ichaso, and Cuban bluesman Chico O'Farrill, to name just a few. The library's Hispanic heritage celebration goes farther afield with "Four Generations of Folk Art from the Andes," an exhibition of Peruvian retablos -- portable altars in colorful wooden boxes that hold small figurines. Featured are works by Nicario Jimenez Quispe, heir to three generations of popular artisans. Jimenez, who lives part of the year in Miami, makes retablos with religious and political themes; he also re-creates scenes inspired by his travels. "Cuba Out of Cuba" continues until December 14; "Folk Art from the Andes" closes a day later. Both shows are free. For more information call 375-2665. (JC)
Primus: Album titles like Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda, and Tails from the Punch Bowl, as well as the equally kooky songs "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" and "My Name Is Mud," ensure Primus's status as the quirkiest band in rock. (Les Claypool's bass has been described by Trouser Press as "a homicidal cross between Bootsy Collins and Jaco Pastorius.") Its strange music is imbued with a spirit of change, innovative instrumentation, and Mr. Rogers-on-crack storytelling. The result is metally chunks of funky jazz-rock that would make Frank Zappa scratch his head in wonder. On tour to plug its fourth major-label release, The Brown Album, Primus stomps into Sunrise Musical Theatre (5555 95th Ave., Sunrise) at 7:30 p.m. with opening acts Buck-O-Nine and Powerman 5000. Tickets cost $17.75. Call 954-741-7300. (