Thomas Lynch often walks among the dead. He's not a zombie. He's an undertaker and a writer. Lynch, who works as a funeral director in Michigan, has had poems and essays published in The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, the Paris Review, and Harper's. He's also the author of two books, Skating with Heather Grace and Grimalkin and Other Poems. Quite appropriately, he gives the final presentation in this season's FIU Writers on the Bay reading series. Lynch reads from his nonfiction book The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, which was nominated for the National Book Award last year, tonight at 8:00 at FIU's North Miami Campus, HM-135, NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Admission is free. Call 919-5857. (NK)
If you think you missed the entire Subtropics 10 New Music Festival, guess again. A few more performances are still left in the seventeen-day celebration of sound and many of its possibilities. Tonight you get a double feature. At 8:00 p.m. composer/ musician Gino Robair plays the prepared drums -- without drumsticks. Robair takes ordinary drums and divides them into sections with mutes and heavy objects such as a car muffler. Then he uses ordinary items like battery-powered hand mixers, marbles, knitting needles, and metal files to create music. If that's not odd enough for you, stick around for Mathius ShadowSky at 9:00 p.m., when he performs his Anatomy of Shocking Waves. He produces what he claims are blasts of sonic energy and 3-D sound with his invention, the TEUB SYSTEM, a series of computers and sound modules. The music or whatever you may call it gets made at the Ambrosino Gallery, 3095 SW 95th Ave. Tickets cost $15 for one show and $20 for both. Call 445-2211. (NK)
Even if your suburban back yard bears no resemblance to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Metropolitan Miami Flower Show still welcomes you for the next two days. The organizers have dubbed this year's show "Carnival of the Floral Arts," and they encourage amateurs to enter their plants, cut flowers, and floral designs to compete for honors. Vendors will offer baskets and a plethora of plants and blooms -- cacti, ferns, orchids, lilies, marigolds, roses -- to those who want to take something home. Lecturers will discuss topics such as seed propagation, butterfly gardens, and wildflowers and native plants. The show takes place today and tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the USDA, 13601 Old Cutler Rd. Tickets cost six dollars. Call 271-0735. (NK)
An enormous boat docks in South Florida for the next eight weeks after the touring company of the musical Show Boat cruises into town. Dean Jones, famous for his many starring roles in Disney films (The Love Bug, That Darn Cat), and Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis) head up a cast of 65. Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, the musical recounts 40 years in the life of the Hawks family, owners of the Cotton Blossom, a floating theater that works the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The music was written by Jerome Kern. Oscar Hammerstein II penned the book and lyrics. (Songs include the stirring "Ol' Man River," forever associated with actor Paul Robeson.) This version is directed by celebrated Broadway wizard Harold Prince. Performances run through May 17 and take place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $41.50 to $66.50. Call 954-462-0222 for times. (NK)
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Eros Ramazotti isn't exactly a household name in the States. But in Miami, not exactly everyone is from the States. If you or your friends are versed in popular music from South America or parts of Europe, there's a good chance the Italian crooner is very familiar to you, and his show at the James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave., will be a major event. Throughout Ramazzotti's fifteen-year career, he's sold more than 20 million records around the world. His latest release, Eros, sold more than a million copies in Europe in just two days. You can check him out in his first American performance in six years as he supports Eros, which is primarily an anniversary collection of reworked material from his years of recording. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $26 to $56. Call 372-4634. (LB)
For some fans, baseball will never be the same. Legendary Wrigley Field announcer Harry "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Caray is dead. And so is the ball club that won the 1997 World Series, the Florida Marlins. Only a few of the championship team's players remain; the others were casualties of numerous trades. Today's opening game, the Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs, will be an interesting test. The decimated Marlins try their luck against the Cubs, who tied for the worst record in the National League last year. They began that awful season with a game against the Marlins -- and went on to a fourteen-game losing streak. The action starts at 4:35 p.m. at Pro Player Stadium, 2267 NW 199th St. Tickets range from $7 to $28. Call 626-7328. (NK)
Sure, at times Aretha Frankilin has had a rocky personal life, but any woman who can claim the most million-selling singles in history, who was the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who possesses fifteen Grammys, who appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1968, and who celebrated her 56th birthday less than a week ago deserves a little respect. You can pay homage to the Queen of Soul tonight at Sunrise Musical Theatre, 5555 95th Ave., Sunrise, as she rolls into town to support her new album, A Rose Is Still a Rose. Always willing to experiment with new styles, Franklin injected a bit of a hip-hop flavor into the mix by recruiting Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri, and the Fugees' Lauryn Hill to produce some of the tracks on A Rose. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $45. Call 954-741-7300. (LB)
Don't be fooled by the name. There's nothing nationalistic about the Russian National Orchestra. Founded by pianist/conductor Mikhail Pletnev in 1990 -- postglasnost -- the hot, young ensemble is Russia's first orchestra since 1917 to be independent of the government. Master marketer Pletnev attracted Russia's finest musicians through a very democratic method: auditions. In 1991 the orchestra hit the road and toured the West, including a gig at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. Tonight they are joined by violinist Gil Shaham -- already a veteran at age 26. Born in Illinois but raised in Israel, Shaham returned to the United States as a teenager to study at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. He has since appeared as a soloist with major orchestras all over the world. On the bill: Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A minor, Liadov's Three Fairy Tales for Orchestra, and Prokofiev's Symphony no. 5 in B flat major. The music starts at 8:00 p.m. at Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St. Tickets range from $20 to $70. Call 532-3491. (