The story of the Samimy family of Miami is also the story of the Zargar family, Jews who originally resided in Persia (known as Iran since 1935) as jewelers to the shah in the 1880s, then fled owing to anti-Semitism to Turkmenistan in the early 1900s, then returned to Persia. One family member made it to Paris, had a daughter who married and moved to Miami in 1973. All the gaps in that convoluted tale are explained and some precious family mementos -- paintings, textiles, silver, photographs, and jewelry -- are featured in the exhibition "From Persia to Miami" currently on view at the Jewish Museum of Florida (301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) through Sunday, April 11. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-672-5044. (NK)
New Year's is more than just a day, it's a full-on celebration of life. So why not stretch your festivities one more day? The Strauss Symphony of America will be throwing a truly festive soiree as they present Salute to Vienna, a large-scale party featuring soprano Elizabeth Freundlinger, baritone Benno Schollum, the Vienna Opera Ballet, and conductor Gert Meditz leading a program of Strauss waltzes. The concert recreates the Viennese tradition of Neujahrskonzert. You won't have to imagine too hard to picture yourself waltzing up a storm in a grand ballroom. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $35 to $60. Call 800-545-7807. (JCR)
Whether they were written during a drugged blur or a born-again Christian delusion, Bob Dylan songs are killer. No matter what he may be going through, the scraggly voiced singer-songwriter has remained constant. And his fans rightfully should be singing their hearts out, voicing Dylan's words. Tonight local song scribe Rod MacDonald leads the all-Dylan cover band Big Brass Bed in an honorary concert to master Bob. They'll be warbling out hits like "Lay Lady Lay," "Like a Rolling Stone," and "She Belongs to Me." MacDonald and crew like doing it so much that they recorded a CD's worth of Dylan songs, aptly titled A Few Dylan Tunes. They take the stage at 8:00 at the Main Street Cafe, 128 N. Krome Ave., Homestead. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-245-7575. (JCR)
Minor-league hockey rules. Well, sort of. Why bother with the major-league Florida Panthers, who at press time were counting eleven wins and fifteen losses, when we have the much cooler minor-league Miami Manatees around? To see the Panthers chase each other across the ice, you have to schlep all the way up to the Office Depot Center in Sunrise. Yes, that's Broward, kids. To see the Manatees, you merely need to hop, skip, jump, or skate over to the Miami Arena (721 NW First Ave.). Yes, once again, the puck drops here. With eight wins and five losses, Miami is third in its division, which consists of a big six teams. Ahead of them: the Orlando Seals (seals?) and the Jacksonville Barracudas, the latter of whose winning streak the Manatees ended back in the middle of December and whom they'll meet again on the ice tonight. Face-off is at 7:05 p.m. Local rock trio DC-3 is slated to sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Tickets range from $10 to $25. Call 305-536-7825. (NK)
Jilliane P. Hoffman infuses her murder mystery books with the experiences she had while serving as an assistant state attorney in Miami. You could say she's been on the front lines dealing with families and victims of the most horrendous and notorious crimes. She brings it all together, from gang bangers to cocaine cowboys, in her book Retribution, a psychological courtroom suspense thriller. Her protagonist is a strong yet vulnerable female prosecutor who is constantly called on to make tough decisions. The author appears at 8:00 p.m. at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (JCR)
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The oft-told tale of the conservative Midwesterner who comes to New York City to find him- or herself is the crux of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, winner of six Tony awards including Best Musical in 2002. Based on the 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews, the show is set in the early 1920s, the age of the flapper. And main character Millie quickly jumps on the flapper bandwagon, becoming one of those wild women who bobbed their hair, wore shorter dresses, smoked, drank, and, oh my, worked! Her aim is to become a secretary and direct her boss, with whom she's smitten, to the altar. Fate, which works its merry way through all the skillful dancing and fifteen catchy songs, might have other plans. Curtain time for opening night is 8:00 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. The show will run through Sunday, January 18. Tickets range from $20 to $73. Call 954-462-0222. (NK)
Art Galleries from around the world will again be descending on our little strip of sand for yet another large-scale art extravaganza. If you didn't get enough at Art Basel, Art Miami opens its doors through Sunday, January 11, with a lineup of galleries from far-reaching places such as Paris, Seville, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, and, of course, Coral Gables. Remember no matter how much art you may currently own, you will never have enough. The opening party starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Hall D. Admission is free. Call 888-663-5001 for an invitation. (JCR)