From minarets to rumpus rooms
Ah, the Fifties. It was a time of prosperity, when women vacuumed while wearing high-heeled pumps and pearls, and Populuxe home décor was modern, not retro. Forget HGTV and TLC; tonight you can pick up plenty of decorating tips at the premiere of Public Domain Playhouse: Scenes from the House Beautiful presented by Cinema Vortex. The Public Domain Playhouse is what happens when bad films have outlived copyrights and fallen into the right hands. And when we say "bad films," we're talking old advertising, promotional, and classroom instructional films (minus the harried teacher fighting with the projector after seeing the film bubble and melt before the glazed eyes of her students). The hour-long screening includes clips from the film The American Look. "If you long to see a laundry area inspired by the Taj Mahal, this is the show for you," says Kevin Wynn, curator of this fabulous video montage. Pick up decorating tips starting at 7:00 at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-614-5700, or visit www.cinemavortex.org. --Lyssa Oberkreser
Films from the motherland
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Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene is called the father of African cinema. At the second annual Miami African Film Festival, tribute will be paid to this acclaimed filmmaker. Sembene's most recent movie is the festival's centerpiece: Moolaade sounds like a creamy coffee beverage, but this searing film that takes genital mutilation to task is not a frothy confection. Bring the little ones along for African cinema family day, which features diverse, culturally rich films. Expand your cinematic horizons today through Saturday, April 30. See Moolaade tonight at 7:00 at the Sunrise Cinemas in Intracoastal 8, 3701 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach. Admission is $11. Call 305-893-0997, or visit www.miamiafricanfilmfestival.com. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Tropically Erotic Tableaux
Replete with magical realism, the works of Cecilia Lueza are an arresting mix of unbridled sensuality and lush tropical foliage, ripe with promises that one might find the forbidden fruits of erotica in nature. The painter's solo show "Exploring the Myths," at Chelsea Galleria (32 NE 39th St., Miami), features vibrantly colored canvases bursting with luxurious vegetation engulfing ecstatic and swooning male and female figures. "A lot of her work deals with the romantic tension between men and women and a heightened sense of spirituality," says gallery director Dorothy Long. "Her paintings are incredibly atmospheric and loaded with emotion." The exhibit runs through May 7. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 to 6:00; Saturday, noon to 5:00. Call 305-576-2950, or visit www.chelseagalleria.com. -- Carlos Suarez de Jesus