Kick up your heels for joy. Or maybe you should leave that to the professionals? A good reason to be thrilled is you'll finally get to see the hallowed Radio City Christmas Spectacular without having to trek to New York City in what could be snowy weather. Yes, Virginia, the high-stepping Radio City Music Hall Rockettes have hit the road with their 90-minute display of Christmas cheer and brought along all the holiday accoutrements -- reindeer, snowmen, Santa Claus, and, best of all, elves who rap (as in singing, not gift wrapping). Opening tonight at 8:00, the Rockettes, who commemorate their 77th anniversary as a troupe, will put on 51 shows through Sunday, December 7, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $29 to $60. Call 954-462-0222. (NK)
Boldly opinionated, constantly controversial, and virtually indestructible art critic Robert Hughes returns to FIU at 8:00 p.m. for another moment on the podium as part of the Dorothea and Steven Green Lecture Series. Hughes, Time magazine's art critic for the past 33 years and author of a slew of books including The Shock of the New (1980), The Fatal Shore (1987), and The Culture of Complaint (1993), recently released his monumental tome on the Spanish old master Goya, his first book since the 1999 car accident in Australia that left him in a coma for five weeks. His appearance in room 100 of the Green Library (11200 SW Eighth St.) will kick off festivities celebrating the groundbreaking of the 40,000-square-foot Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, set to open in 2005 at FIU. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890. (NK)
Love, honor, shame, sacrifice, ruined reputations, regret, death: Just another night at the opera! Especially if that opera is Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata. The tale of the illin' Violetta and the man she gives up for the sake of family harmony will be sung in Italian with projected English translations by members of the Florida Grand Opera when the show opens tonight at 7:00 at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St.). Leah Hunt plays the withering Violetta. Jorge Antonio Pita sings the role of her scorned lover Alfredo. The production runs through Sunday, November 23. Tickets range from $19 to $135. Call 800-741-1010. (NK)
Belgian jazz harmonica wonder (and stellar whistler) Toots Thielemans brings his virtuosic musical chops back to the Van Dyke Café (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) tonight and tomorrow at 9:00 and 10:30. (His appearances here last year garnered standing-room-only crowds.) Jazz fans know him as the man who took the harmonica off the lips of the folkies and made it a cool instrument. Ordinary folks might know him for his playing on the soundtrack to the racy movie Midnight Cowboy or for the theme to the kiddie show Sesame Street, which he wrote and performed. The eightysomething artist has shared the stage with figures as diverse as Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Billy Joel, and Stevie Wonder. Admission is $20. Call 305-534-3600. (NK)
Okay, so you've been bracing yourself for crowd control, making banners that scream "Screw US Corporate Greed," and practicing civil disobedience drills with your cool radical pals. Today is the day for action. The Free Trade Area of the Americas' Ministerial Meeting and Americas Business Forum opens at the Hyatt Regency (400 SE Second Ave.) and Hotel Inter-Continental, 100 Chopin Plaza. And while most of us in the rat race will be forbidden entry, there will be plenty of demonstrations and events around town during the next five days for you to express your feelings about creating a hemispheric-wide common market comprising 34 countries between the Yukon and Patagonia. One local group that will be organizing events is South Floridians for Fair Trade and Global Justice. To join the party, call 305-510-1748. (JCR)
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The nineteen musicians who make up the Commodores won't be wearing funked-out, sequined outfits and jamming behind Lionel Richie. These Commodores are the United States Navy's jazz ensemble, and instead of "Brick House" they'll be jamming to a repertoire that ranges from bebop and swing to contemporary jazz compositions. Though they may be in uniform, don't expect staid renditions of John Philip Sousa patriotic hymns. They're likely to put some Duke Ellington touches to "Stars and Stripes Forever." The show starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free, but you must get tickets at the box office. Call 305-673-7300. (JCR)
Janine Antoni's sculptures have a visceral quality to them. She's gnawed on huge cubes of lard and chocolate to create pieces. Paul Ramirez Jonas's works cross the borders of time and memory. He's climbed to the highest spot in Texas (Guadalupe Point) with airman flags to spell out the word "Amnesia." Both Antoni and Ramirez Jonas create in a space that merges sculpture with performance art. They collaborated on two pieces. In Mirror, the artists built a stairway and heavy curtain that bisect the room and force viewers to navigate the space in unusual ways. In Always New, Always Familiar they made a video installation that shows the movement of a boat on the water. Though stark, the works are whimsical and nostalgic. They are on exhibit through Sunday, January 18, at Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-375-3000. (JCR)