In celebration of women
The Nineties was a phenomenal decade for women in popular culture. Radio gave major airplay to females who sang their own songs and often played their own instruments. The plaintive sounds of Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Jewel, Fiona Apple, and Natalie Merchant were all rewarded with heavy MTV rotation. Sarah McLachlan's annual femme fest Lilith Fair died without fanfare in 1999. Then there was a mysterious, more sexualized change in guard. Today's third annual Women and Culture Festival seeks to ignite a Lilithian flame and turns back to the days when female pop icons didn't all bare their midriffs and gyrate suggestively. This year's theme is "Stop Violence Against Women," and Amnesty International is cosponsoring the event. The festivities start at 4:00 p.m. and include a photography exhibit by Sabrina Azadi, workshops on poetry writing led by Amy Baez, drumming with Corina Fitch of the Takada Women's Ensemble, and Indian dance with the incredible sister act Madhavi and Meenakshi Menon. At 8:00 the stage will clear for performances, which will include folk singer Hope Littwin, DJ Mireya Alfonso, and blues pianist Sandy Bermudez. To round out the diverse lineup, performance artist Shirley Julian will take the stage, and the "art to wear" styles of Griselle Gaudnik will be highlighted with a fashion show. Watch, listen, dance, and learn at St. John's Church, 4760 Pinetree Dr., Miami Beach. Admission to the workshops is $15, and tickets for the performances cost $15. But you can save yourself ten bucks by getting an all-day pass for $20. Call 305-613-2325, or visit www.stjohnsmiamibeach.com/arts. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Paris on a Budget
If you've been dying to visit France, here's your opportunity to travel without buying a plane ticket. Alliance Français (1414 Coral Way, Miami) offers Paris Through the Senses, a slide show and discussion with photographer Alice Goldhagen, whose love of the city comes through in her artwork. "It's not going to be a boring presentation of this church and that church," Goldhagen promises. Audience members tell her they can see her passion in her work. Goldhagen says, "If I'm drinking Bordeaux, I can visualize the vineyard." If you want to taste the real thing, a cash bar and some free French delicacies will be served at tonight's show, which starts at 7:00. Admission is free. Call 305-859-8760, or visit www.afmiami.org. -- Karen Dale Wolman
Tigertail's annual book party
Expect cutting-edge poetry at Tigertail Productions' reading to celebrate the publication of Tigertail: A South Florida Poetry Annual, Volume III at 7:30 tonight at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). The publisher spent major bucks on design and printing to celebrate the work of local poets ($20 for each book that retails at $14.95). Choosing Emma Trelles as the first female editor ensured the inclusion of many female voices among the sixteen poets included. She claims it wasn't intentional, but Tigertail board member David Beaty says, "If the editor wants to include more zebras than donkeys, that's fine with us." Trelles and most of the poets will be on hand to read their work, sign books, and chat at the wine reception. The reading is free and the first glass of wine is on the house. Call 305-442-4408, or visit www.booksandbooks.com. -- Karen Dale Wolman
Keeping kitties off the street
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What's not to love about fluffy, frisky kittens? Regardless of how adorable, fewer is better. Fewer fluffballs roaming the streets, scrounging for food, and reproducing. Among those working to reduce cat overpopulation in Miami-Dade County is the Cat Network, a ten-year-old volunteer organization that offers low-cost spaying and neutering options for stray and abandoned cats. So far the program has stopped about 25,000 cats from reproducing and found new homes for almost 4300. To help raise money for programs, the group is throwing its sixth annual Toast to Cat Network Cocktail Party and Silent Auction tonight from 6:30 to 9:00 at the Omni Colonnade Hotel, 180 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Even if you're not a cat lover, feel free to participate and bid on items such as travel packages and restaurant vouchers. Admission is $60, which includes food and cocktails. Call 305-233-2395, or visit www.thecatnetwork.org. --Patti Roth
Turn down a free massage? Are you kidding? The Acupuncture and Massage College (10506 N. Kendall Dr., Kendall) is celebrating Earth Day by opening its doors and inviting the public to tour the campus and learn more about alternative medicine. After loosening up with a yoga class, you can attend lectures on food, nutrition, and Chinese medicine and Chinese herbs for women's health, and maybe you can ask them why something that's supposed to be good for you can smell so darn bad. Enjoy a free (and healthy) lunch, and don't forget that massage. Stretch, relax, and have a snack today from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-595-9500, or visit www.amcollege.edu. -- Lyssa Oberkreser