With an army of top DJs from around the world, a bevy of cool places in which to party, and a zillion buff men in tight-fitting party wear, the Winter Party is set to rock gay Miami once again. The kickoff bash features DJs Marc Scott, Twisted Dee, Dave Hansen, and Chris Wren turning out sounds at the National DJ Showcase. Of course it's just one of more than fifteen events going on through Monday, March 15, that raise money for the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Foundation. Shopping sprees, pool soirees, a fabulous beach party, and a leather fete are all part of the fun. The DJ Showcase starts at 10:00 p.m. at Opium Garden, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $25 and $30. Visit www.winterparty.com for a full schedule of events. Call 800-494-8497. (JCR)
One revolutionized booty-shaking with her hefty, round, supremely lovely derrière. Another is a winsome, soulful diva-in-the-making with sexy-cool braids and a gorgeous personality. The third is mind-trippy, fun-loving, and we think the cultural genius of our time. Together they are Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Missy Elliott, multiplatinum, Grammy-lauded mega-talents in their own right. The three will be bringing their Ladies First tour to the Office Depot Center (2555 NW 137th Way, Sunrise) tonight in what is one of the most anticipated shows of the year. Who knows if bouncy-butted Beyoncé will prance around with her five Grammy Awards? Regardless, she's a sight to behold. Check out the soul diva power trio at 7:00. Tickets range from $49.50 to $76.50. Call 954-835-7825. (JCR)
Get out your hankies: It will be an evening of many sentimental moments when Miami City Ballet presents its final program of the season. Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero, married couple and principal dancers, will be hanging up their toe shoes after seventeen years with the company. As the finale in each show, the duo will perform in the piece Diamonds, or they'll be among the 48 dancers featured in the monumental work Symphony in C, both created by legendary choreographer and MCB favorite George Balanchine. In a nod to more contemporary dance, the hypnotic music of Ol' Blue Eyes will waft through the theater with Nine Sinatra Songs. It's the first time that the troupe incorporates a work by Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp into its repertoire. Performances take place tonight at 8:00 and tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $20 to $60. Call 877-929-7010. (NK)
Don't talk to comedian Ralphie May about being fat. It's not a joke to him (or a source of material), especially since he once got rejected as being too tubby to play the role of a fat guy. Arkansas native May -- who began his career at age seventeen by opening for manic funnyman Sam Kinison, was featured on NBC's 2003 summer hit Last Comic Standing, and is a fixture on late-night talk shows -- has had the last laugh. Back in November, the former 300-pounder underwent gastric bypass surgery and he's been shrinking steadily ever since. But don't count on hearing tales from the operating room. May is more likely to talk about his recent adventures in Iraq when he swam in Saddam Hussein's pool, his headlining gig in Vegas, or his guest stint on Whoopi Goldberg's sitcom. Tonight at 8:30 May wraps up a four-day gig at the Improv, 3390 Mary St., Coconut Grove. Tickets range from $19 to $24. Call 305-441-8200 for reservations. (NK)
Jonathan Ryan, Nicole Marane, and Sunny Son will be throwing down sounds like you wouldn't believe. The three musicians have traveled from Australia, North Carolina, and Kansas to compete in the final round of the first Miami International Organ Competition. The organists will get their chance to convince judges that theirs is the best 25-minute set on the Church of the Epiphany's killer Fratelli Ruffatti organ. The instrument is stacked with more than 3000 pipes and specially designed for the sanctuary. Ryan, Marane, and Son will be firing up the musical wonder to full steam. The event should provide a rousing evening of sound in one of the area's most acoustically perfect engineering and architectural marvels. The competition begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Epiphany, 8235 SW 57th Ave., South Miami. Admission is free. Call 305-667-4911. (JCR)
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Having your books banned, doing time for a crime you didn't commit: Just another day in the good ol' U.S.A. Whoops! Make that Cuba. Such a fate befell Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) prior to his arrival in the United States during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Sounds like the makings of a great memoir or a movie? It has been both. Painter/director Julian Schnabel's critically acclaimed 2000 film Before Night Falls, based on Arenas's book, stars Spanish actor Javier Bardem as the openly gay writer. See it at 2:30 p.m. daily through Wednesday, March 31, at the University of Miami's Casa Bacardi in the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, 1531 Brescia Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-284-2822. (NK)
At Jade Lounge's new Confabulation Nights, local hipsters and their rich friends will be scrounging for something fabulous to talk about. After all, the name means chitchat and banter. Jade's status as a funky low-down joint for metrosexuals and extremely sexy people is enhanced by tonight's presentation of poetry, dance, and arts. The tone is subdued and intelligent with a yen for the avant-garde. Whatever. Bottom line: This is still South Beach. The thing to do is to do something to get people talking. Wear something beyond fabulous. Challenge the status quo with a wild hairdo or some strange accessory. All, we are told, are welcome as long as you get someone to buy you a drink. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. at Jade Lounge, 1766 Bay Rd., Miami Beach. Cover charge is five bucks. Call 305-695-0000. (JCR)