The woman behind the icon revealed
The Marilyn Monroe the world adored was an invention, a shield, a radiant sex goddess who blew kisses at the cameras. Few ever met Norma Jean, the sweet tomboy Jim Dougherty married, the shrinking violet who stood trembling inside her uncomfortable goddess costume. That's the Marilyn uncovered in Schani Krug's documentary Marilyn's Man. Monroe's first marriage is explored through heretofore unseen Sam Shaw photos, the wartime letters she wrote to Jim, and rare film clips, together with poignant interviews and songs. "It was never about exploitation with Jim Dougherty," Krug explains. "He made me promise that I'd never do anything scandalous, or that wasn't totally the truth, and I stuck by that." Krug manages to show not only more about the person Monroe was, but who she might have become. "She was a very private person. She always needed love, and she was always attracted to older men, Jim being the first one. I think she would have gotten tired of Hollywood. She'd be a nice 78-year-old woman living her life somewhere." See Marilyn's Man tonight at 8:30 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, 512 Española Way. Tickets cost eight to ten dollars. Call 305-673-4567 or visit www.mbcinema.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Ringing in with the Peas
Mansion (1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) celebrates its first New Year's Eve with Miami's own Wilmer Valderrama as host, and the question is, Who cares? Lindsay Lohan doesn't. She'll be down the street at Privé, far from her estranged older lover. And the rest of the Magic City will be way too preoccupied with the procurement of heavier party favors than those alluded to in the basement of That ö70s Show to give a damn. Still, there is hope for Mansion. The Black Eyed Peas will bring their funkalicious West Coast grooves to the stage, and for those craving the boom, DJs AM and Mr. Mauricio will have the speakers dispensing the love all night long. Tickets for the rockin' New Year's event cost $200, which includes a premium open bar beginning at 9:00 p.m. and flowing into next year. VIP tables for six start at $2100 and include bottles of Mot & Chandon and Grey Goose. Call 305-695-8709 or visit www.mansionmiami.com. -- Kris Conesa
A floral masterpiece garden
"Art In Bloom" at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden (200 Convention Center Dr.) won't provide pointers for pruning, but you will get an eyeful of the lush photographic and video works of Maria Caridad Perez. The artist's large prints give the impression of looking at the world through a magnifying glass and incorporate imagery of growth, decay, and banality with powerful effect. Perez often introduces drawings and words into her photography for sociopolitical content and categorizes her video work as stemming from a more "subconscious, less intellectual" field. Now in its third installment, "Art In Bloom" was created as a sister event to Art Miami and runs through Monday. Call 305-490-6906 or visit www.cjazzart.com. -- Carlos Suarez de Jesus
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High Rolling Eve
If you are as money as you think you are, you'll be rolling in the New Year tonight at the Shelborne Beach Resort's (1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) Vegas Baby, Vegas party hosted by Mark Wahlberg and Paris Hilton. Slot machines, celebrity poker, and Vegas dancers will fulfill your Sin City longing. Tickets cost $175 and include an open bar from 9:00 to 1:00 and a champagne toast at midnight. Call 305-531-1271 or visit www.shelborne.com. -- Lyssa Oberkreser