Up for a Roman holiday? You're more apt to get heartburn than Audrey Hepburn at this event, but who cares? You'll have fun taking gondola rides, playing bocce, tasting wines, observing pasta- and cheese-making demonstrations, and watching local musical and comedy acts at the Italian Heritage Festival. It all happens over the next four days at Challenger Park (NE Sixteenth Avenue and 165th Street, North Miami Beach) from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. today and tomorrow, noon to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 305-919-3749. (NK)
As the Associated Press's chief photographer for Southeast Asia, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Horst Faas was based in Saigon from 1962 to 1974. Lensman Tim Page spent several years in Vietnam too, covering the war for Paris Match, United Press International, as well as AP. Faas and Page survived their time in Asia, but 135 photojournalists didn't make it home. Tonight at 7:00 Faas and Page come to the Bill Cosford Cinema at University of Miami (off Campo Sano Avenue, Coral Gables) to show images from and conduct a discussion about the book they edited, Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina. The book includes 200 images, sometimes the final ones, snapped by their fallen comrades. Admission is free. Call 305-284-2726. (NK)
The days of payola, when record companies gave bags full of cash to radio-station employees in exchange for airtime for their artists, are supposedly long gone. But the days of "let's have a party, you'll perform, and we'll play and plug you into oblivion" are alive and well. Enter ZETA's (WZTA-FM 94.9) Halloweenie Roast. If you listen to rock and roll radio, you can't avoid ZETA's relentless promos for their third annual Halloween party, which takes place at Bayfront Park Amphitheater (301 Biscayne Blvd.) at 5:00 p.m. So what if the announcers pound this party into their listeners' heads? They know a good thing when they hear it. It's definitely worth the $9.94 ticket price (or $12 the day of the show) to check out Lenny Kravitz, Candlebox, Fuel, the Flys, Vast, Janus Stark, and Second Coming. Call 305-358-7550. (LB)
La Lega dei Viscayani, the organization charged with gathering funds for Vizcaya's ongoing restoration, is getting ready to trash the place with not one but two parties. The popular Halloween Sundowner, which attracts thousands of revelers each year, has been extended to two nights. Put on your costume and dance to live music by ESQ, guzzle cocktails at the open bar, and down enough candy to make you nauseated for weeks. The fun lasts from 8:00 to midnight tonight and tomorrow at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Ave. Admission is $45 for members and $60 for nonmembers. Call 305-856-4866. (NK)
If the thought of taking the rug rats trick-or-treating around the neighborhood yet again seems about as appealing as getting a Milk Dud stuck in the molar that already needs an emergency filling, maybe you should consider something different this year. Haul the kids to Metroboo! from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. today and tomorrow at Metrozoo (12400 SW 152nd St.). Let your harmless little creatures hang out with the big ferocious ones, collect candy, compete against other kiddies for prizes during the costume contest, frolic with costumed characters, and have their faces painted once more. Kids in Halloween garb get in free with adults, who must pay eight dollars. Call 305-251-0400. For more Halloween frolics see "Calendar Events," page 45. (NK)
After a few months off, Cinema Vortex is back, and who better to jump-start the classic-movie series than Mr. Big Stuff Director himself, Orson Welles? Ever since the release of his newly restored film Touch of Evil, Welles is hot again. (Too bad he isn't around to hear everyone lauding his genius.) Well, nobody had to inform the kids at the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) that Welles was great. They've always known that, and now they're going to show the public the wonder of Welles by screening his 1963 adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial today at noon. Starring Anthony Perkins, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, and Welles, the film tells the story of Joseph K., an innocent man living in an unnamed bureaucratic country. Mr. K. is accused, tried, and convicted of a crime. The problem: He never finds out exactly what he supposedly did. Admission is four dollars. Call 305-531-8504. (NK)
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Entering its sixth year at Miami's oldest bar, Tobacco Road, Butterfly Lightning may soon be known as Miami's oldest reading series. More than 100 writers from FIU, the University of Miami, Miami-Dade Community College, Broward Community College, and the Miami Herald have participated, and the pool hasn't been nearly drained. The series began last week with Vicki Hendricks and Justin Petropoulos, and a dozen more poets and fiction scribes will read their works every Monday through early December. Tonight Ran Henry and T.M. Shine -- both of whom have written memorable pieces for the soon-to-die Tropic magazine -- read at 8:00 p.m. The beer flows all night, at 626 S. Miami Ave. Admission is free. Call 305-237-1317. (NK)
What exactly is going on in Israel? We're not referring to Benjamin Netanyahu's and Yasser Arafat's inability to get along. We're talking about gender benders. The country, where men are men and women are women and where all the above -- guys and gals -- do a hitch in the military when they hit eighteen, is suddenly becoming a big exporter of the sexually ambiguous. Five months ago Israeli singer Dana International was the first transsexual to take the top prize at the Eurovision song contest. And now also from Israel comes 28-year-old transvestite artist Nir Hod, who has won glowing reviews from the New York Times. He is a he, but he looks like a she (think Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson morphed into one person). Influenced by self-promoting fluffballs such as the late Andy Warhol, Nir Hod is his own best subject, often posing for his work à la photographer Cindy Sherman. His recent body of work will be presented in Nir Hod: Forever Young, which features fifteen paintings and photographs exploring the physical and emotional suffering caused by gender conflict, drug addiction, impossible love, loneliness, and more. The exhibition runs through December 4 at the MDCC Centre Gallery, 300 NE Second Ave., third floor. Admission is free. Call 305-237-3696. (NK)
An opera singer named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People? It's certainly not chubby Luciano Pavarotti. It's hunky Siberian-born baritone Dmitri Hvorostovksy, who has been compared to everyone from Caruso to Elvis. Ever since winning the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 1989, he has been performing nonstop on international stages. Hear Hvorostovksy tonight when he performs selections from operas, including Beethoven's Fidelio, Verdi's Don Carlos, and Borodin's Prince Igor with the 85-piece Naples Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Julius Rudel. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St. Tickets range from $20 to $45. Call 877-433-3200. (