Heard at spas and wellness centers around the world, the jazzy new-age music of guitarist Nicholas is said by some to have healing qualities. Find out for yourself how soothing the sounds can be as he performs two shows at South Beach's new wine and champagne bar Les Passion de la Vie (613 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Joined by contrabassist Don Coffman and percussionist Lou Abbot, Nicholas will preview songs from his upcoming release Brujo, which features his first foray into Latin-influenced rhythms. Performances are at 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. Cover charge is ten dollars. Call 538-6766 to reserve a seat. (NK)
What is a ballet dancer to do when his grand jetes just aren't very grand any more? Stay a little closer to the ground. That's what legendary star Mikhail Baryshnikov has done. No longer able to leap through those demanding Balanchine-choreographed routines with his former ease, the fiftysomething dancer still moves with a certain grace -- and continues to look darn good in tights. In 1990 Baryshnikov and innovative choreographer Mark Morris created the White Oak Dance Project, a modern-dance troupe featuring Baryshnikov himself and eight alumni from prominent companies such as the American Ballet Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Their repertoire ranges from commissioned pieces by Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, and others to revivals of dances by Paul Taylor and Meredith Monk and works by first-time choreographers. The movement is set to music by classical and contemporary composers as well as sound artists. White Oak performs at 8:00 tonight at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) and 8:00 p.m. Saturday and 3:00 p.m. Sunday at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets range from $30 to $65. Call 954-462-0222 or 673-7300. (NK)
Thirty years ago Dr. Walter J. Turnbull established the Boys Choir of Harlem. His goal: to give children of that New York neighborhood an alternative to their everyday lives. What began as a group for twenty boys at the city's Epheseus Church has grown into an inspiring institution comprising 550 boys -- and girls. (A separate chorus for girls now exists.) The traveling choir members (40 boys) have toured Europe and Asia, performed with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Luciano Pavarotti, and sung with major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. They recently released an album of contemporary music titled Up in Harlem. Expect to be uplifted. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. at the James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave. Tickets cost $24.50. Call 372-4634. (NK)
While Miami may be suffering from a dearth of live-music venues, one thing it's not lacking is festivals. Here comes yet another. The Miami Rock Festival gets under way tonight at 8:00, this time at Power Studios (3701 NE Second Ave.). An eclectic array of 26 local musicians will perform indoors on five separate stages. The acoustic lineup includes Mary Karlzen, Amanda Green, Brian Franklin, Alex Diaz, Rose Guillot, and Rat Bastard. The plugged-in acts: the Butterclub, Endo, Sixo, Raw B. Jae, Maria, Atomic Tangerine, Humbert, Rudy, Trophy Wife, and more. Local visual artists will present their work too. Admission is eight dollars. Call 576-1336. (NK)
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After World War II, dramatic films in the Italian neorealist style, particularly those by director Roberto Rossellini, were all the rage for cineastes. His Open City, the first in a World War II-theme trilogy including Paisan and Germany Year Zero, established the genre with its unwavering portrait of a devastated Europe. Shot almost entirely on location in Rome, the dismal film, based partially on true events, tells the tale of a leader in the Italian underground and his fellow members who resist the Nazi grip on their city, a stance that ultimately leads to their demise. Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi starred, but in the naturalistic neorealist tradition, a host of amateur actors delivered stunning performances as well. Open City unspools today at noon at the Alliance Cinema, 927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Admission is four dollars. Call 531-8504. (NK)
If you've lived in Miami for the past 30 years or so (or just slept through history class in school), you may be surprised to learn that Cuba and the United States didn't always have an adversarial relationship. Actually Cuba and the United States were once allies in war -- the Spanish-American War. In 1895 Cubans began their third quest to gain independence from Spain. Three years later, when the U.S.S. Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor, the United States joined the conflict. By mid-1898 Cuba was finally on its own. The 100th anniversary of the struggle is being commemorated in The Summer of 1898: War in Florida and Cuba at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (101 W. Flagler St.). The exhibition encompasses a vast collection of photos, maps, drawings, and documents, plus infantry rifles, uniforms, a full-color scale replica of the Maine, and pieces of an actual Spanish flag that, when lowered over the fort in Havana, indicated Spain's defeat. The exhibition runs through August 30. Admission is five dollars. Call 375-1492 for hours. (NK)
Back in 1981, postmodern pop artist Kenny Scharf explored the streets of New York City, retrieving old appliances, broken toys, and assorted flotsam and jetsam from Dumpsters and garbage cans. He took his treasures back to the loft he shared with artist Keith Haring, painted them Day-Glo colors, and installed them in his closet. Over the years he produced a series of site-specific closet installations that have been shown in art galleries and museums all over the world. Some of the objects from the very first closet are in Kenny Scharf's Closet #16, a portable, armoire-shape structure made of painted wood and plastic, currently on display in the entrance lobby of the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami). The artist sees his closet as "an escape from the real world, a place where you can lose yourself completely," adding that it includes junk found in Miami and some "good Mexico City garbage too." "Closet #16" remains on view through August 16. Admission is four dollars. Call 893-6211 for hours. (JC)
The Voices Tour, featuring the odd mix of Michael Bolton and Wynonna, is one freak of nature we can't blame on El Nino. El Diablo, maybe; he's good with cruel jokes like that. Apparently to bolster his faltering career, Bolton went down to the crossroads to see what kind of deal he could cut. The only thing he came back with was a country singer. Guess he needs the help. Relying on cheesy Eighties hits that helped catapult him to fame just isn't enough any more. (Ask George Michael.) Although Bolton has sold close to 40 million albums worldwide, he hasn't exactly been burning up the charts lately. Listen to his most recent album, My Secret Passion: The Arias, and you'll know why. So be wary tonight at Coral Sky Amphitheatre (601 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach). If Wynonna saunters on-stage in a blue dress and you glimpse horns protruding from Bolton's head, run for cover; Satan is in the house. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $16.25 to $43.25. Call 800-759-4624. (