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Pollo Party

A chop is a chop is a chop: chicken chunks and rice and beans and sauce, or some other variation. In the age of healthy fast food, anything devoid of a hamburger bun and lacking mayonnaise makes lunchgoers think they are eating healthily. At Miami-based Pollo Tropical, the Tropichop Summer Celebration will herald the newest flavors of that culinary phenomenon, the Tropichop. The company is throwing a plucky clucky street party in the middle of downtown. What's the big deal, you may ask? We don't really know, but a Tropichop can be seen as a purely Miami cultural and gustatory artifact. Sure, there are chicken and rice dishes all around the world, but it's nice to know that the kooky name was born in our subtropical climes.

Who would have thought when the concept of fast food and Cuban cuisine hit the market, it would be so successful? Now gringos and tourists don't think twice about pronouncing the name of the restaurant correctly. (It's po-yo -- in case you're still pronouncing the hard "l's.") As for the fried plantains or yuca (you-ka), it's no big deal.

Today the restaurant chain's musical bash will not only promote its fast-food creations, but also help feed the homeless. In fact for every person who tries a Tropichop at today's event, the franchise will donate a meal to the Miami Rescue Mission.

And to attract the downtown working stiffs, 2 bands will perform on the outdoor stage. First is Azul Azul, the wacky Latin-flavored combo that will get the salseros in the crowd wiggling. Then the venerable jammers of Miami's Iko-Iko take over with deep and driving blues riffs.

The Tropichop Summer Celebration runs from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on SE 1st Street between 3rd Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. Admission is free. Call 305-751-7001.

Slammers get literary

Angst and passion laced with a dry cynicism and wrapped in a sexy package with a hint of ego. Slam poet Deborah Magdalena (below), whose feisty performances have drawn accolades and a legion of fans, stokes a fiery soul. Together with poets Asia and Chunky, Magdalena offers a strong presence and jagged point of view that is not for the timid. She will wail up a tizzy once she goes off into her zone. She'll reach depths with her powerful voice and continue the flow even after she leaves the stage. The poets will perform some of their best material along with musical guest Don Nestor. Keeping the poetic vibe flowing will be DJs Felix Sama and Hugo. The words go wild at 8:00 p.m. at the Marlin, 1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-604-3595 for details.

Old Jazz Hand

Master of many musical styles from classical to klezmer, South Florida guitarist Simon Salz puts on his jazz hat tonight when his Simon Salz Jazz Band performs for the monthly installment of Jazz at MoCA from 8:00 to 9:30 right outside the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami). Salz, who has shared the stage with greats such as pianist Dick Hyman, drummer Louis Bellson, and saxophonist Stan Getz, is a classically trained musician who really knows his jazz stuff. He's currently the director of the locally renowned Gold Coast Jazz Society Band. Expect to hear swingy standards and some original tunes. If the music fails to move you, maybe the works displayed in neighboring art galleries will. Doors will be open late for the monthly NoMi Gallery Walk. From 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. the museum will be open by donation and features Jean-Michel Othoniel's fragile and fascinating glass installation "Othoniel -- Crystal Palace." Admission is free. Call 305-893-6211. -- Nina Korman

Continuous Movement

As it should be, the Florida Dance Festival just keeps on moving, literally. The 2-week-long fest, which kicked off on Sunday, June 20, in Miami Beach's newly renovated Byron Carlyle Theater, continues its shows in 2 different venues. At 8:00 this evening PS 742 (1165 SW 8th St.) hosts Out of Order (below), featuring solo, duet, and small-group performances by the likes of Octavio Campos, Carrie Houser, Justin Hughes, and Cynthia Gonzalez. Local movers and shakers including Bill Doolin, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, and Elana Lanczi, plus New York's Heather Maloney and Gainesville's Isa Garcia-Rose and Dance Theatre of Santa Fe, will take the stage of the New World Dance Theater (25 NE 2nd St., 8th floor) for the Florida Dances program at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 27. Also at the New World on Wednesday, June 30: California's acclaimed AXIS Dance Company will perform its latest commissioned work, Dust (created by L.A.-based choreographer Victoria Marks), as the guest artist for the 5-year-old mixed-ability program known as danceAble. Tickets for Out of Order and Florida Dances cost $10; $20 for the danceAble show. Call 305-867-7111.


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