We've all heard that drivel about not judging a book by its cover. Face it, an attractive cover makes a difference. As good-looking books go, Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence is one of the prettiest. Author/illustrator Nick Bantock's colorful and lushly illustrated 1991 volume told the story of Griffin Moss and his muse Sabine through postcards and letters that had to be removed from their envelopes and read. The book was a huge hit and spawned two sequels, Sabine's Notebook and The Golden Mean. In conjunction with the exhibition "Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists' Books," Bantock will talk about the book as an artistic medium tonight at 8:00 at the University of Miami's Lowe Art Museum (1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables). Admission is five dollars. Space is limited, so call 305-284-5587 for reservations.
It's mourning time for dance fans. The Miami City Ballet performs the fourth and final program of the season this weekend. On the bill: two pieces by resident choreographer Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros, including D Symphonies, set to the music of C.P.E. Bach and J.C. Bach; and Transtangos, set to the music of Piazzolla. The troupe also dances a piece by old standby George Balanchine, Bugaku, set to music by Mayuzumi. Showtime is 8:00 tonight and tomorrow and 2:00 p.m. Sunday at the Jackie Gleason Theater for the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $18 to $58. Call 305-532-4880.
More fun than eating animals is eating alongside them. At Metrozoo's Feast with the Beasts fundraiser, more than 100 people will don black tie and do just that. For $150 they'll indulge on edibles from more than 40 restaurants, including Christy's, South Beach Brasserie, Bice at the Grand Bay Hotel, and Restaurant St. Michel. They'll quaff cocktails from five open bars and move to the human sounds of Loray Mistik, Drums of Polynesia, Jubilate, and others performing on three stages. For a hefty 500 bucks, a select few will hover above the masses as "beastkeepers," which means they can chow on food from Chef Allen's, Joe's Stone Crab, Pacific Time, and other elite eateries. Feast time is from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at Metrozoo, 12400 SW 152nd St. Call 305-255-5551.
Talking poet-heads Adrian Castro and Richard Blanco will provide the words tonight at Words and Music, Miami's newest event to which you can wear your black turtleneck and snap your fingers at the groovy verse imparted in English and Spanish by published and unpublished writers. Castro will read from his book, Cantos to Blood and Honey and Blanco will share selections from his tome, City of a Hundred Fires. Performing the tunes: the Afro-Cuban experimental band I.O., featuring musicians David Font, Gino Coco-Mir, and special guest Eddie "Gua Gua" Rivera. The action gets underway at 9:30 p.m. at Cafe Teatro, 2101 SW Eighth Street. Admission is seven dollars. Call 305-470-1987.
New music and innovative sound art are the hallmarks of the Subtropics '99 New Music Festival getting underway tonight at Miami Beach Community Church (1620 Drexel Ave., Miami Beach). A project of the South Florida Composers Alliance, the eleven-year-old fest, which continues for the next nine weeks in a variety of venues, will showcase a formidable group of international experimental artists, including free improvisation pioneer Derek Bailey, new music heroes Christian Wolff, James Tenney, Yasunao Tone, composer-inventor Trimpin, and the fragile Glass Orchestra. Known for his noise music, Tone, a cofounder of the Neo-Dadaist Fluxus art group, performs at 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-758-6676.
Will journalists ever remember it is the news that's interesting, not themselves? Hmmm. Maybe not. But we must admit, as far as journalists' lives go, Max Frankel's is worth a look. While Frankel was still in college at Columbia University, he began writing for the New York Times. He spent 45 years there, traipsing off to far-flung places such as Berlin during Hitler's reign and Moscow under the rule of Khrushchev. During his tenure in Washington, he reported on the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. Frankel comes to Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) at 8:00 p.m. to plug his autobiography, The Times of My Life: And My Life with the Times. This time he'll answer the questions instead of ask them. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408.
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At age 73 James Moody can still blow his tenor saxophone with vigor. Great news for us. Dubbed the "titan of the tenor" by jazz cats in the know, Moody began his career more than 50 years ago in Dizzy Gillespie's big band and later worked with major musicians like Miles Davis, Max Roach, and Lionel Hampton. He's recorded on labels such as Blue Note, Argo, Vanguard, Mercury, Prestige, Vogue, and Xanadu. Tonight and tomorrow Moody brings his innovative playing to the Van Dyke Cafe (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Expect to hear plenty of classics plus tunes from his latest album, a tribute to composer Henry Mancini. Bassist Don Wilner, pianist Eddie Higgins, and drummer Lenny Steinberg join him. Shows take place at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Music charge is ten dollars. Call 305-534-3600.
At 7:00 tonight the Wolfsonian-FIU hosts hot Italian architect Mario Botta, who gives the kick-off lecture in "Fast Forward Futurism: Miami-Milan," a series of public programs devoted to the museum's upcoming exhibition, "Depero Futurista Rome, Paris, New York, 1915-1932." It is the first-ever U.S. show to concentrate on the works of Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero. Botta will deliver a slide lecture featuring his ultramodern designs that encompass everything from private homes in the Swiss Alps to public spaces such as San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-535-2602.
In 1988 Joseph Murphy wrote the book Santeria: An American Religion in America. Researched over several years and written from the perspective of an observer and participant, the tome is an introduction to the intriguing synthesis of Catholicism and the Yoruba religion. African slaves in Cuba created the amalgam to maintain their ancestral ties while appearing to embrace the faith of their captors. Murphy details the life of a Bronx, New York, Santeria community and includes his fascinating initiation into the religion. An associate professor in the department of theology at Georgetown University, Murphy has also conducted fieldwork on African religions in Brazil and Jamaica. Tonight he discusses "A Yoruba Goddess in the Americas" at 7:30 p.m. at FIU's University Park Campus, SW Eighth Street and 107th Avenue, rm AT-100B. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2186.
The dots and bold lines that characterize Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's dynamic paintings, often based on comic book characters, may look easy for the Average Joe to pull off. Check out the exhibition Roy Lichtenstein: Man Hit by the 21st Century at the Bass Museum of Art (2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach) and you'll see otherwise. On view are 72 rarely seen works, including preparatory studies, collages, drawings, and paintings that examine Lichtenstein's working process from 1985 to 1996. The show runs through May 9. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is seven dollars. Call 305-673-7530.