When famous writer Wilkie Walker is stricken with depression, devoted wife Jenny takes him to Key West for a change of pace. What follows is pure chaos as the couple mixes in with local loonies. So begins Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alison Lurie's latest offering; her other works include The War Between the Tates, Foreign Affairs, and the bible for fashion mavens, image consultants, and sociologists, The Language of Clothes. Lurie reads from The Last Resort, her first novel in ten years, tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables). Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (AD)
Too bad artist Hieronymous Bosch isn't alive today. He'd definitely enjoy the conniption fits his provocative grant proposals would provoke at the National Endowment for the Arts. Bosch, who lived in Hertogenbosch, a small town in the Netherlands, from about 1450 to 1516, was acclaimed for his complex paintings that depicted religious themes with spooky, demonic imagery. His subjects reflected the preoccupations of the Middle Ages: the Antichrist, the lives of saints, witchcraft, alchemy, sin, and Hell. But his renderings of demons (as grotesque insects, slimy reptiles, and disembodied pieces of anatomy such as a lone ear) truly distinguish him. (Take a second look at the animation accompanying the old Monty Python's Flying Circus shows and you'll get the idea.) Perhaps his best-known work is The Garden of Earthly Delights, a bizarre triptych representing the stages of decadence, after the fall, and Hell. Bosch's world is fodder for discussion tonight at 7:30 when Jose Grave de Peralta presents "The Garden of Earthly Delights: An Art History Talk on the Alchemical and Sexual Side of Paradise" at the Art Institute of Miami, 3379 SW Third Ave. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-856-1952. (NK)
Are there more than 200 bands in Miami worth seeing? During the month of August you'll get a chance to find out as Churchill's Hideaway (5501 NE Second Ave.) opens its annual Miami Rock Festival. If the name sounds familiar, it's because you've heard it before: Radio personalities/rock promoters Beast and Baker, who helped originate the festival at Churchill's, also use the moniker for some of their events. All names aside, tonight kicks off 31 consecutive days of top musicians, amateurs, and some choice out-of-town guests. The acts will generally be grouped according to genre or scheduled on one of the theme nights, which will revolve around acoustic performers, drum circles, hip-hop, and the always popular Hialeah night (featuring bands from Hialeah). The entire schedule isn't yet complete, but some of the confirmed bands include Al's Not Well, Maria, Raw B. Jae, Holy Rollin' Hellfires, Belmont Playboys, and the Hate Bombs. For more information, or if you want to get involved, call 305-757-1807. Showtimes and cover charges vary. (LB)
Every weekend the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium casts off its educational garb and mellows out with laser lights and classic rock. But this month Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix will make room for some real classics, as the Planetarium (3280 S. Miami Ave.) hosts the Florida Grand Opera Film Festival. Projected on the big dome tonight: a Metropolitan Opera production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, starring superdiva Kathleen Battle. Franco Zeffirelli's 1982 take on Puccini's La Boheme, starring Jose Carreras, screens August 9. And Ponchielli's La Gioconda, starring Placido Domingo, unspools August 16. The shows, which average two and a half hours, include a prescreening lecture and free homemade desserts served during intermission. The shows start at 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $15 per film or $35 for the series. Students with ID pay $4 per film or $10 for all three. Call 305-866-7867. (AD)
Jah and the rock and roll gods have apparently entered into a joint venture to ensure that August opens with sizzle in Miami. If yesterday's kickoff of the Miami Rock Festival (see previous page) isn't proof enough, there is also today's Miami Reggae Festival, the largest reggae celebration in the nation, which rolls into Bayfront Park Amphitheater (301 Biscayne Blvd.) at 2:00 p.m. for a nine-hour extravaganza honoring Jamaican independence and culture. Reggae powerhouses Burning Spear plus Toots and the Maytals will each play a set to close out the show, but not before scads of other artists have a crack at the sound system. Other roots-reggae specialists performing include the Abyssinians, Tennors, Tinga Stewart, the Benaiah Band featuring Calton Coffie (former lead singer of Inner Circle); dancehall representatives include Mr. Vegas, the Monster Shack Crew featuring Ghost, Roundhead, General B., the "Ladies Defender" Tanya Stevens, and a whole lot more. Tickets cost ten dollars; children twelve and under are admitted free. Call 305-358-7550. (LB)
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You're a struggling musician who's finally gotten that big break: interest from a label. But hold on. Before you put your signature on that confusing contract, check out the Music Law Survival Kit, which is sponsored by arts support organization ArtServe and a group that dubs itself Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Entertainment attorneys David Bercuson, John Bradley, and David Rogero will teach you how to understand recording and management contracts in a seminar called "Read the Lines Before You Sign." What you'll learn: the difference between a major and independent label agreement, standard provisions that should and should not be included in all contracts, and other tricks of the trade. The seminar will cost you $30 and runs from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-9191, ext. 306. (NK)
Seemingly abstract from afar, Carlos Cardenas's drawings teem with life, gradually revealed in his intricate amalgamations of human figures, city buildings, and recurring symbols (boats, fruit, musical instruments, military tanks). Known in Cuba for his politically tinged, starkly graphic paintings, Cardenas came to Miami in 1993 and later moved to Manhattan, where he currently lives. The works on paper displayed at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery (3078 SW 38th Ct.) reflect the 35-year-old artist's microscopic observation of his new home and of humanity, viewed with fond humor and heartfelt romanticism. Cardenas's excellent exhibition, as well as a refreshing show of furniturelike sculptures by Marisa Telleria-Diez, will be up until August 16. Gallery hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. Call 305-448-8976. (JC)
Bad Religion, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Rancid, the Specials, and Civ are just a few of the musical acts you'll see on the Warped Tour today at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. See "Music," page 91, for more details. (