The last time prolific fiction writer Chuck Palahniuk came to visit, he was on tour supporting his morbid novel Diary and reading a truly ghastly short story, Guts, that made audience members faint in horror, much to the author's delight. Now the book that includes Guts is complete, and Palahniuk is back to see how many fans will pass out this time around. Haunted is a Poe-inspired novel of short stories. In the vein of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the stories are told by a group of writers on a creative retreat that takes a decidedly sinister turn. A Palahniuk book reading is a guaranteed hoot, with diehard fanatics asking loony questions and the author tossing to the crowd quirky parting gifts like wrestling masks or gory plastic body parts. See Chuck Palahniuk at 7:00 tonight at Miami-Dade College's Chapman Conference Center, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami. Free tickets (available at all Books & Books locations) are required. Call 305-442-4408, or visit www.booksandbooks.com. (PEGY)
Pirates arrr cool, and so are the boys of Shufly. Their rock and roll sound rivals Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, and in the true spirit of sexy rockers, Shufly has a slew of hoes -- um, groupies -- who profess their love for the band on their MySpace page (myspace.com/shufly). Sole original member and lead singer Mike Sharpe says the band has gone through many changes in the last two years, but things have all worked out: The group has toured Colombia and Puerto Rico, and now Shufly is leaving Miami for New York and a new record deal. "It looks like things are happening for us finally," says Sharpe. Shufly's farewell concert on the El Loro Pirate Ship sails at midnight (yes, early this morning) and returns at 3:00 a.m. to the Miamarina at Bayside, 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $12. Call 305-756-5927, or visit www.shuflyonline.com. (LO)
Even though Grand Avenue is out of commission, the annual fete that celebrates Coconut Grove's Caribbean settlers will prevail. Despite the venue disruption, this year's Miami Bahamas Goombay Festival is expected to be bigger and better than ever. The blowout culminates with a street parade that will bring color and fun to McFarlane Road all the way up to SW 27th Avenue. Crowd around the main stage in Peacock Park (2820 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove) for stellar musical performances. Groove to retro R&B group The Gap Band, and boogie down when ConFunkShun takes the stage. Ludacris and Pitbull will be sure to get the crowd crunked up. On the second stage, in the Bahamian Village on Bayshore Drive, the sounds of Gino D and the Bahamian Police Marching Band will add the necessary island flavor. The party starts at 1:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars. Call 954-888-1113, or visit www.miamibahamasgoombayfestival.com for a complete list of events and locations. (PEGY)
Experts believe we are in for another active hurricane season. Although the tropical systems don't usually get busy until mid-August, now is the time to restock your supply of canned goods and batteries and make an evacuation plan for yourself and your pets. If you need tips about how to prepare, the City of Miami Beach is hosting its fourth annual Hurricane Information and Preparedness Fair today from 10:00 to 1:00 on Lincoln Road (between Lenox and Michigan avenues). The U.S. Coast Guard, American Red Cross, and Humane Society of Greater Miami are only a few of the agencies that will be on hand to answer your questions. And to encourage you to purchase supplies early, the State of Florida has established a sales tax holiday from June 1 through 12, which will save you some bucks on generators, first-aid kits, flashlights, and other survival items. Call 305-604-2489, or visit www.miamibeachfl.gov. To stay informed of tropical activity, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov. (LO)
The Page at a Time program is a great way to teach your little ones the value of a good book. The best-loved children's books often wind up bedraggled and beaten. Thanks to the innovative educators at the Wolfsonian and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 150 fifth-grade students were able to make their own books through this interdisciplinary arts and education program. You can bet these unique, beautiful creations won't be scrawled on with crayons. Exploring topics from immigration to abuse to the environment, and taking diverse, imaginative shapes, these works are more than reading material; they're thought-provoking art. Today is your last day to check out this very cool display in the lobby of the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission for this exhibit is free. Call 305-531-1001, or visit www.pageatatime.org. (PEGY)
The creators of Stomp, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, began as buskers on the streets of Brighton, England, in 1991. Making music out of movement, the ingenious pair incorporated brooms, trash cans, Zippo lighters, plungers, and hubcaps into a rhythmic, percussive symphony. Today there are four companies performing the Brits' unique style of wordless, choreographed musical performance art around the world, and the act continues to sell out shows. The infectious thumping needs no translation, and the talented, precise troupes leave audiences enthralled. Catch the premiere of the only South Florida performance of this worldwide sensation tonight at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $20 to $47. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org. (PEGY)
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There's another hotel party in town for those who crave a midweek fix of South Beach socializing. Described by Frommer's travel guides as "the Swanktuary," The Sanctuary (1745 James Ave., Miami Beach) is an all-suite boutique hotel/condo tucked into a little oasis off the flip-flop and spiked-heel beaten path of Collins Avenue. Tonight Thomas Barker of MUSE Entertainment will launch X-uberance, a fresh Wednesday-night gathering he describes as "Miami's sexiest new weekly party," featuring DJ Mike "Da Mooch" Mucci spinning the best Eighties music from Erasure, New Order, and Depeche Mode. "I wanted to create a lounge mixer ... a place to go for the music, to relax, have a cocktail, and connect with friends," says Barker. From 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. you can kick back with complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as you take in the tranquil surroundings of the luxurious rooftop pool. There is no cover charge, and the dress code is casual chic. "No tank tops or flip-flops," pleads Barker. Call 305-610-1280, or visit www.sanctuarysobe.com. (LO)
By Lyssa Oberkreser and Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik