Beware of cantors from the Great Smoky Mountains: They come bearing guitars and singing funky Jewish folk tunes. Cantor David Shneyer is one such dude. Founder of the Jewish Folk Arts Society and the Fabrangen Fiddlers klezmer band, Shneyer is a singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. Trekking to South Florida with his son Aaron for a special Hanukkah celebration (on Christmas!) sponsored by Havurah of South Florida and Temple Israel, he'll serenade listeners, who are encouraged to bring menorahs and candles for a group lighting at the University of Miami's Hillel Student Center, 1100 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables. Showtime is 7:00 p.m. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-666-7349 to reserve a spot. (NK)
With every other South Beachite looking like a pneumatic doll, it seems South Florida is cartoon character central. But this area has held that distinction before. Back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Miami was home to the state-of-the-art Fleischer Studios, which employed about 500 people and pumped out the Betty Boop, Popeye, and Superman cartoons. Tonight at 7:30 the Miami Beach Cinematheque (512 Española Way) offers a rest from all those Christmas cartoon specials on TV and a tribute to Fleischer when it screens the company's animated 1939 version of Gulliver's Travels. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-673-4567. (NK)
If you think you've had more than enough of the famed Tchaikovsky/ Balanchine Christmas ballet, you might want to check out the Moscow Stars on Ice version brought to us by the International Artists Series. Titled Broadway Nutcracker on Ice, the production breathes new life into the frigid fairy tale of dancing princes and sugarplum fairies. Instead of doing the show in classic tutus and adhering to the composer's score, the Russians jazz it up with triple axels, flying camels, and blurring spins. Best of all with a stage full of ice, you'll get a better feeling of a snowy Russian kingdom where a young girl gets a thought-provoking present that sparks the entire fantasy. The show starts at 8:00 tonight and 3:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $33 to $65. Call
With all that holiday time off, you may be at a loss for something to do over the next four days, so go over to the American Airlines Arena and camp out for the chain of concerts by jazzy-fusion-hippie-freak band Phish. Tonight the musicians will begin a series of four Miami shows, ending with a blowout New Year's bash where you're bound to see funky freaky Phish heads boogying down in their wacky fashion. The concert starts at 8:00 at the American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd. Tickets cost $38 tonight through Tuesday, and $48 Wednesday. Call 305-777-1000. (JCR)
If your child has a problem staying clean and making appropriate small talk at Christmas parties, you may want to buy him a seat in Suzanne Willis's Holiday Etiquette Class at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne. Your rude little monster who usually leaves dinner with peas stuck up his nose and a face smeared with chocolate mousse will get whipped into shape at a specially designed four-course gourmet lunch designed to train children ages 6 to 12 to properly behave during Christmas dinner. The menu was created by Chef Jeffrey Vigilla and it includes vegetable consommé, chicken and mushroom terrine, petit filet mignon, and, of course, English peas. Also thrown in are instructions about introductions, hand shakes, and the art of writing thank-you notes. The dinner starts at 5:00 p.m. at the Wine Room inside the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, 455 Grand Bay Drive. Admission is $48. Reservations are required. Call 305-365-4286. (JCR)
Legendary jazz musician and native Chicagoan Eddie Higgins is back in South Florida for the freezin' season. Although he lives slightly north of Miami-Dade, he occasionally graces us with his piano-pounding presence at the Van Dyke Cafe (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). He'll join drummer Tony Marillo and bassist Don Wilner for three sets tonight at 9:00, 10:30, and midnight. Request some Brazilian tunes, one of the many genres at which Higgins excels. If there's a nip in the air, nothing will keep you warmer. Okay, a hot toddy might help too. Music charge is five dollars. Call 305-534-3600. (NK)
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Tonight's the night to paaaa-aarrr-ty! After all the crap you've endured all year, it's time to stick your hands in the air and act like you don't care. Drink lots of champagne, overindulge your demonic nature, and celebrate surviving. Among the myriad affairs going on around town is a tasty little art event in the heart of the burgeoning Design District/Wynwood gallery scene. Miami Art Unites offers Come Together, a cutting-edge event with rooftop dancing and lots of art -- from live performance to videos and conceptual sculpture. Your $25 door charge gets you free drinks all night. The party starts at 9:00 at DOT 51 Gallery, 51 NW 36th St. Call 305-573-9994. (JCR)
Well, yee haw! Country-singing Cubano and former Miamian Raul Malo has come to his senses, putting the kibosh on his solo career and getting his fabulous band The Mavericks back together. (Thank goodness for small favors: If we had to listen to one more accolade about current country golden boy Toby Keith, we were going to drink ourselves to death!) Playing their hometown after a four-year hiatus, The Mavs return with original members Paul Deakin and Robert Reynolds, plus new guy Eddie Perez. They'll headline the Bayfront Park New Year's Eve celebration, being held naturally at Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd.). Also on the bill: Afro-Cuban funk outfit Yerba Buena, Betty Padgett & Elements of Funk, the ascension of the Big Orange, and fireworks over Biscayne Bay. Happy New Year! Admission is free. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. Call 305-358-7550. (NK)
By Nina Korman & Juan Carlos Rodriguez