Paulito Fernandez Gallo is the most versatile of Cuba's young singing stars. A true sonero in the tradition of Benny More, he can render a ballad as suavely as Frank Sinatra. He even sounds great rapping in Spanish. The mix of romantic salsa and aggressive Cuban timba on his stellar album Con la Conciencia Tranquila makes for some of the best Latin dance music produced anywhere this year -- definitely the sound of what's to come. The man has vision, and he's also got chops, stage presence, and sex appeal to spare. Tonight Paulito F.G. and Su Elite are here from Havana. So if you're wondering what the fuss over new Cuban music is all about, get yourself to Amnesia (136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) at 9:00. You'll understand. Tickets cost $25. Call 305-884-5051. (JC)
Combine a stirring punk-rock score by Jean-Yves Theriault of the group Voivod; film and slide elements by designer Steven R. Gilmore, music-video-film wizard William Morrison, writer Christopher Halcrow, and best-selling sci-fi author William Gibson; and choreography by dancers Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras, and the result is Our Brief Eternity, an exploration of contemporary notions of progress through movement by the intriguing and intense Vancouver-based dance company The Holy Body Tattoo. The troupe performs at 8:00 tonight and tomorrow at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. A free meet-the-artist reception will be held at Books & Books (933 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) after Saturday's show. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-576-4350. (NK)
At 7:00 tonight acclaimed art historian and critic Irving Sandler delivers a lecture at North Miami City Hall (776 NE 125th St., North Miami). Don't worry, Sandler, author of several books considered classics in the art realm, hasn't gone loony and started preaching to government officials about the merits of art collecting (though we may have some names for him if he ever goes that route). He'll be talking about sculptor David Smith. After Sandler's lecture, a reception will commence next door at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St.), where the exhibition David Smith: Stop/Action opens. The sculptor was renowned for his expressionistic, abstract, sometimes gravity-defying constructions of welded metal, which suggest swiftness and growth. More than 30 sculptures and 20 works on paper from the Thirties to the Sixties will be on display. Admission is free. Call 305-893-6211. (NK)
A double bill of rock en espanol is in store for you at Power Studios (3701 NE Second Ave.) tonight at 9:00. Volumen Cero starts off the show and then Fulano de Tal takes the stage. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Elsten Torres leads the band, which released Normal, its debut album, on BMG US/Latin records last year. The band has since embarked on a multicity tour in the United States and abroad. Expect them to pound out plenty of energetic, hook-filled, alt-rock-inspired tunes, detailing the good, the bad, and the ugly side of the immigrant experience. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-573-8042.(NK)
The thought of being dragged to see the Nutcracker for the umpteenth time is enough to trigger an anxiety attack in most people. But this year, when your child begs and pleads to go, you can't exactly refuse. You see, your own kid may just be one of the little extras prancing around onstage in Miami City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Every year MCB recruits a slew of local tykes for its elaborate staging, and this year it looks like Junior finally made the cut. Sorry, mom! Performances take place at 2:00 p.m. today and tomorrow and 7:30 tonight through Tuesday at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $21 to $61. Call 305-532-7713. (NK)
Think vaudeville and your mind probably conjures up visions of Al Jolson crooning and George Burns cracking wise. Cross one of those guys with Darth Vader wielding a light saber and you may be capable of imagining Lazer Vaudeville. Alfonzo, a seven-foot tall, fluorescent, fire-breathing dragon, is your host for a show that combines juggling, acrobatics, and comedy with the sophisticated effects of lasers. The brainchild of performer Carter Brown (he's an expert at something known as hoop-rolling), the touring company has been around since 1987 and, aside from Brown, includes jugglers Reid Belstock and Cindy Marvell, the first woman ever to win the International Juggling Association's championship. The fun takes place at 2:30 p.m. at the Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center, 11155 SW 122th Ave. Tickets range from six to eight dollars. Call 305-271-9000, ext 268. (NK)
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Long-time fans of The New Yorker magazine, who grew up looking at only the cartoons until they realized there was some stimulating content between the cool covers and irreverent illustrations, will love the exhibition The Talk of the Town: Rea Irvin of The New Yorker at the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Irvin, the magazine's first art editor, created the drawing of the dandy Eustace Tilley, who appeared on the The New Yorker's first cover and has graced every anniversary cover since. On display: more than 80 original illustrations, including covers, drawings, and cartoons. The exhibition runs through February 14, 1999. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-531-1001. (NK)
Maybe you were once a gangster's moll, or maybe you were just a gangster, but the uncanny affinity you feel toward anything related to the Twenties leads you to think you may have lived a wildly exciting life during that era. You're nuts about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Cole Porter. You love Streamline Moderne architecture. And you vainly hold on to the faint hope that Miami Beach's tribute to that time period, Art Deco Weekend, may one day go from being a yearly to a monthly event. Well, aside from plying you with books and having you hypnotized, we really can't send you back in time, nor do we have the bucks to fund a monthly festival. But grab on to your cigarette holder because we have a suggestion that will help satisfy that Twenties jones. Attend the Miami Design Preservation League Holiday Party from 6:00 to 9:00 tonight at the Essex Hotel (1001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). Not only will you mingle with other Art Decophiles, you'll get a special preview of artist John Mattos's poster for Art Deco Weekend 1999 and have a chance to volunteer for the event. Hors d'oeuvres will be served, and a cash bar just may offer the champagne from which you get no kick. Admission is free. Call 305-672-2014. (NK)
Watch it, Miami. It looks like Gainesville -- of all places -- is becoming the live-music mecca of the state. Yes, the sleepy college town seems to be generating its share of groovin' local bands, and they're all heading south to make their mark on our lame music scene. A few weeks ago Gainesville guys Refried Confusion performed a funky set at the Chili Pepper's Live Music Wednesdays (Streets of Mayfair, 3339 Virginia St., Coconut Grove). Tonight at 9:00 Gainesville rockers Big Sky do their thing. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-442-2228. (