In 1947 twenty-year-old Antonio Carlos Jobim left behind his dreams of becoming an architect and opted for a career in music. Vocalist, composer, arranger, pianist, guitarist, and one of the founding fathers (along with Joo Gilberto and Vinicius de Mores) of the bossa nova movement, Jobim became much more than just another Brazilian musician. By the Sixties his songs ("The Girl from Ipanema," "Wave," "Corcovado," "Triste," to name a few) were being performed the world over, and he had achieved the status of legend. Although Jobim died in 1994, his music remains as vital as ever. Hear his tranquil, toe-tapping tunes tonight and Sunday as Argentine musician Ramiro Sosa and the Don Wilner Trio with Billy Ross present a Tribute to the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim at the Van Dyke Cafe, 846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Showtimes are 9:00, 10:30, and midnight. Cover charge is three dollars. Call 305-534-3600. (NK)
As a cast member of various telenovelas (Spanish-language soap operas), a regular on the Univisión network's zany variety show Sabado Gigante, and a star of weekly comic theatrical productions at Miami's Trail Theater, Cuban actor Armando Roblan has enjoyed a long and fruitful career. But Roblan has a hidden side: In his spare time he is a visual artist, and a rather accomplished one at that. No wonder. He spent years studying painting and sculpting at Havana's prestigious Escuela Nacional San Alejandro. Beginning today at the Trail (3173 SW Eighth St.), Roblan debuts The Contrasts of My Cuba, his collection of paintings depicting quaint scenes from the Cuba he remembers. The exhibition can be viewed daily from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. and runs through July 23. Admission is free. Call 305-448-0592. (NK)
Al's Not Well, and neither is their van. After finally getting signed to a major-label record contract, touring with Duran Duran and Fishbone, and contributing their version of Blondie's "One Way or Another" to a TV movie, local alterna-band-made-good Al's Not Well now has a very common problem: lack of transportation. On their way home from a video shoot for ESPN's X-Games, they had an accident. No one was seriously injured, but their van was totaled. Tonight at 9:00 at Power Studios (3701 NE Second Ave.), listen to Al perform and help them raise cash to buy a new set of wheels. (Those mega record companies will cough up only so much moola.) Admission is five dollars. Call 305-460-3200. (NK)
Last we heard from Fairchild Tropical Garden, the world's largest and smelliest flower was basking in its moment of bloomin' glory, though it failed to live up to its reputation as an evil stinker. Now that Titan arum has keeled over, the folks at Fairchild are serving up a sweeter-smelling encore: the International Mango Festival. If you love mangoes (and who doesn't?), head to the garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd.) at 9:30 a.m. for Mango Morning, a display of more than 150 international varieties of the tropical fruit. Sample from a menu featuring mango pizza, mango salsa, and mango mousse. Then from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. attend a series of mango workshops, including "Handling and Care of Mango Fruit" and "Cuisine: The Versatile Mango." For serious mangophiles, Fairchild offers a mango auction from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, at which unique or hard-to-find mangoes can be yours. Admission to the park, which includes Saturday's events, is eight dollars. Children twelve and under get in free. Admission to Sunday's auction is free. Call 305-667-1651. (AD)
Tonight at 8:30 Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse completes its season of concerts with powerful folk vocalist Mindy Simmons and earthy duo Big Blue Sky. Influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and Billie Holiday, Simmons's original tunes display her sense of whimsy. Big Blue Sky, consisting of Sue Crago singing lead and playing electric guitar and Jill Apolinario lending her pipes on back-up vocals and playing bass, performs original, spunky, folk-rock songs. As usual, a one-hour open-mic session at 7:30 p.m. precedes the show. Audience members are encouraged to bring musical instruments and take part in an after-concert song swap. Hear the music at the synagogue disguised as a house, Temple Beth Or, 11715 SW Galloway Rd. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-663-1039. (NK)
Ordinary people may take chairs for granted, but architects, designers, and artists have always viewed them with fascination. The challenge: creating a beautiful yet comfortable seat. The exhibition 100 Giants of Chair Design: Miniatures from the Vitra Design Museum Exhibit lets you see how chair makers often exceeded or fell short of their goal. On display is a collection of miniature chairs from Germany, as well as some revolutionary life-size models that reveal the evolution of industrial-furniture design from 1850 through the present day. The exhibition runs through July 29 at the Design Center of the Americas (1855 Griffin Rd., Dania). Admission is free. Call 954-920-7997. (NK)
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Curious George books are no longer languishing on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. The mischievous monkey is still up to mischief, and he still has a great sense of adventure. Today through Friday kids can watch the star of their parents' bedtime stories cavort on-stage at Fairchild Tropical Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd.). This production by the Fantasy Theater Factory follows the ever-probing primate from his home in Africa to a big-city stateside zoo. George's sidekick the Man in the Yellow Hat costars. Showtime is 10:00 a.m. Admission is four dollars and includes entrance to the garden, where tram tours and a picnic area are available. Call 305-284-8800. (AD)
Jazz nuts can meet a kindred spirit in Paul Posnak. For the past sixteen years the pianist has spent countless hours listening to studio recordings and old radio broadcasts by the amazing keyboardist Thomas "Fats" Waller and painstakingly reconstructing his improvisations note for note. The songbook Thomas "Fats" Waller: The Great Solos, 1929-1941 features Posnak's transcriptions, but nothing matches hearing the stuff live. Tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) you can do just that when Posnak discusses Waller and his era and demonstrates the rousing stride piano technique. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (NK)
For the next few months the Miami-Dade Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.) will display some books from its permanent collection that are meant to be checked out only with your eyes. The exhibition Artists' Books comprises a slew of art objects in the form of books. Some are tiny and simple, such as Andrew Binder's 3.5-by-2.5-inch Four Chambers of the Heart, which consists of fanciful pop-up constructions and photographic reproductions. Others are larger and more complex: David Rohn's 8.5-by-7.25-inch English Is My Favorite Language includes mixed-media drawings and collages featuring words and phrases hand-bound with string. All reveal their own idiosyncratic story. The exhibition runs through September 4. Admission is free. 305-375-2665. (