Dancing in the Streets
Viernes Culturales, which presents more than 100 entertainers and visual artists in an open-air format on Calle Ocho between SW Fourteenth and Seventeenth Avenues on the last Friday of each month, has acquired a reputation as the must-schedule ongoing Cuban cultural event. Organizers want to mix it up with this month's theme, "Independence of Panama." Viernes Culturales's primary purpose (apart from hosting a wild party for the roughly 3000 who turn out every month) is to showcase and develop the Little Havana neighborhood, which, despite its name, has evolved into an ethnically diverse hot spot with a salsa of people from numerous nations south of the border. The featured artists taking the stage of the Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St.) are often of a Latin heritage other than Cuban. This month's emcee, Claudia Montero, hails from Uruguay; smooth pop singer Cris de Boss is in from Spain; and tango duo Oscar Caballero and Roxana Garbar are Argentine. The art on display in the theater's lobby is Puerto Rican, but don't worry, Cuba gets represented this time, too, with sabor rhythms courtesy of seasoned Miami percussionist Carlos Oliva and his group, the Judge's Nephews. Musical performances and displays by painters and sculptors will pay a timely tribute to Panama, which broke away from Spanish rule on November 28, 1821. With a strong base and broadening reach, Viernes Culturales organizers can expect to keep this polyethnic party bumping every month. The street comes alive around 6:00 p.m. and continues shaking until 11:00. Call 305-644-9555 or visit www.viernesculturales.com. -- Greg Baker
Game in Lights
The Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) continues to mesmerize Miami with a multimedia exhibition by sculptor John Espinosa. A former Jehovah's Witness from Central Florida, Espinosa creates vibrant, diorama-like structures which seem to hover in midair. Using odd combinations of geometric shapes, UV lights, phosphorescent pigments, mechanical devices, and a recurring presence of animals, Espinosa reveals the teetering balance between revelation and delusion. You can catch a preview of his compelling sculptures tonight from 7:00 to 9:30. Also there will be Jazz at MOCA musical guests DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars. The exhibit continues through January 30. Admission is by donation. Call 305-893-6211 for reservations. -- Chris DeAngelis
New York can keep its frigid Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Forgo the frostbite and head to North Miami's 30th Annual WinterNational Thanksgiving Day Parade which runs along NE 125th Street, from NE Fourth Court to NE Twelfth Avenue, starting this morning at 10:00. This 60-unit parade with a "Movie Magic" theme is packed with floats, motorcycles, and a calliope. A steel drum band joins other school and community bands to fill the air with holiday songs. Not rushed to return to those pies? Then stay for the WinterNational Festival from 12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. today. The merrymaking continues through Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Call 305-893-6511, ext. 2260, or visit www.northmiamifl.gov. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
Most people move to Florida to escape the cold white stuff, but for many Christmas just isn't the same with decorated palm trees and a suntanned Santa Claus. Classic carols like "Winter Wonderland," "Let It Snow," and "Frosty the Snowman" just don't sound right when it's 75 degrees outside. Fret not, flake-lovers -- Dolphin Mall has got your back. Enjoy a magical snowfall every night at 7:00. Up north, the sky releases this frozen bounty unbidden, but here in Miami children visiting at the enchanted hour will be given magic wands to wave, beckoning twinkling clouds of drifting flurries down on Dolphin Mall's Ramblas Outdoor Plaza, 11401 NW Twelfth St. Visit www.shopdolphinmall.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
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