The first and probably last Argentine rock star, the man who reinvented the hotel-trashing role reserved for the very few, Charly García (below), will be in town for Rock En Miami II at noon at Bayfront Park (401 Biscayne Blvd.). He'll bring his band, which will mean lots of improvising and a load of new songs. Also on the bill: hardcore cumbia-rock ensemble Bersuit, recently voted Best Argentine Artist by MTV Latin America viewers. The Argentine-heavy fest lineup additionally includes Eighties pop-rock icon Miguel Mateos and Nineties heavy-rock band Rata Blanca, plus Peruvian pop-rock songwriter Pedro Suárez Vértiz and Puerto Rican rock band La Secta. Aside from all being of Latin origin, the groups are unified by one simple fact: They're way more interesting live than in the recording studio. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-358-9911. -- By Javier Andrade
Dressed in a sharply tailored blazer, cigarette hanging from his lips, suave Nicola Conte reminds us of a secret agent, jewel thief, or mysterious millionaire. Think producer/DJ and you're right on the money -- or euro. The Italian will imbue the laid-back Marlin Hotel (1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) with a sophisticated, acid jazzy vibe when he mans the turntables tonight at 10:00 during a set presented by the Rhythm Foundation. Founder of the famed Fez music collective, which incorporated influences from 1960s and '70s Italian films, Conte recorded on the Schema label in his country. In the U.S., ESL Music released his seductive Bossa Per Due, fusing Brazilian bossa nova, jazz from the Sixties, and psychedelic sitar sounds. Mainstream America knows it as the soundtrack of last year's Acura car commercials. Ari K opens the show; DHM closes. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-672-5202. -- By Nina Korman
Documentaries inspire awe
The extraordinary tales of brave people serve to inspire others to act on their faith and their principles. This weekend the Documentary Film Festival, a burgeoning forum for film and social awareness, brings tales of heroism to the Miami Beach Cinematheque (518 Española Way). The festival opens with Heart of the Sea, the story of Hawaiian surf legend Rell "Kapolioka'ehukai" Sunn, who dominated her sport before succumbing to cancer in 1998. Director Lisa Denker will be discussing the film. The screening starts at 8:00. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-576-6161. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Teo Castellanos returns, in character
The sweet sigh of relief on the long ride home gives Teo Castellanos the courage to get up and sweat under the limelight night after night. And waking up each day in Miami is what gives him inspiration. His talents have taken him far, but it is the daily nerve-wracking endurance onstage, plus the love he has gathered from his personal forays into different cultures, that keep him turning the pages on his playwriter's pad, experimenting with new ideas and performing his fresh creations. His one-man show NE 2nd Avenue, in which he plays Cuban, Haitian, Jamaican, Jewish, and black characters, has traveled around the country and Europe to much acclaim. Catch him at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center tonight and tomorrow at 8:00. Tickets cost $5 and $10. Call 305-638-6771. -- By Maya Ibars
Clash and Burn
This week's Free Trade Area of the Americas conference has been the subject of intense preparation on the part of both protesters threatening to descend on Miami and law-enforcement officials hoping to avoid the type of spectacular mess made in Seattle at the 1999 WTO summit. South Florida has had such political onslaughts before. The Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive's "Mob Squad" presents vintage police training films and newsreels showcasing local plans designed to mitigate civil disturbances. A high point was the 1972 political party conventions on Miami Beach, which set the standard for peaceful police-protester relations worldwide. Lessons that the "hippies" and "pigs" may have forgotten. Free screenings at the main Miami-Dade Public Library (101 W. Flagler St.) run from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout November. Call 305-375-1505. -- By Margaret Griffis
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Architect Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee (1944-2001) may be gone but his legacy lives on in Auburn University's Rural Studio, a 10-year-old program designed to nurture a social conscience in architects while helping members of the Alabama rural community have homes. Innovative materials for the low-cost buildings include carpet remnants, hay bales, and rubber tires. Nineteen projects have been completed. At the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) a PBS documentary about the Rural Studio will screen at 7:00 p.m. and program members will speak. Admission is $5. Call 305-531-1001. -- By Nina Korman