Corvette cult congregates in the Keys
A timeline of major religious events around the globe would include the crucifixion of Christ around A.D. 30, Mohammed's return to Mecca in 628, the Protestant Reformation beginning in 1517, and for many, June 30, 1953: the day the first Corvette rolled off an assembly line at Chevrolet Plant Number 35, just outside Flint, Michigan. Besides being the first serious sports car for General Motors (and America) in the vein of such European racers as Jaguar and Ferrari, it was also the dawning of a cult of enthusiasts more fervent in their dedication than any car club before or since. Every religion worth its salt needs a symbol. The cult of Corvette is represented by a checkered flag and the Chevy bow tie, inspired by a wallpaper pattern GM founder William Durant saw in a Paris hotel years earlier. Their bible? The Corvette owners' manuals from 1953 to the present. Corvette clubs exist all over the U.S. and the muscle car's wonders have been spread around the world with a missionary zeal to places like Poland and Perth, Australia. It's only natural that a state like Florida, with so many open roads, would have its fair share of 'Vettes, along with the clubs and events that go with them. In celebration of the sleek sportster with the bulging front end, the Florida Keys Corvette Club is hosting the eleventh annual Corvettes in Paradise celebration in Islamorada, featuring a lineup of cars old and new, including a special appearance by the 2005 model. Cars and enthusiasts will travel from all over the nation to bask in the glory of the Corvette, and meet former 'Vette engineer Dave McLellan, who will be on hand to sign his book Corvette from the Inside. An auto beauty contest in twenty different classes of Corvette will top off the event. The day begins at 8:00 a.m. at Holiday Isle Beach Resorts and Marina, mile marker 84. Admission is free. Call 305-872-9641 or visit www.flkeyscorvetteclub.com. --John Anderson
Water of Life
Drinkin' at the Ritz
Sick of those sissy bartenders who love to serve froufrou cocktails that taste like mouthwash? Then the luxury whiskey weekend is just the hair of the dog for you. The Ritz-Carlton is hosting the Scottish king of spirits in hedonistic style with lavish merriment and tongue-tying toasts. Concocted by the Ritz-Carlton's Scottish food and beverage director, David McIntyre, the hotel's first annual Whiskey Bowl includes master classes with top experts, a VIP reception aboard a private yacht, and a grand tasting soiree guaranteed to have you hearing bagpipes the next morning. Whiskey weekend kicks off tonight with a poolside reception featuring traditional Scottish fare and enough alcohol to flood Kentucky. For those still standing, tomorrow's classes include "The Hidden Treasures of Islay," "Silent Stills," and a "Glenrothes Vertical Tasting." A grand tasting caps the celebration with the best of the best whiskies, the latest Ferrari, Maserati, and Aston Martin models for revelers to gaze at longingly, and commemorative lampshades for those who can pronounce usquebaugh, the Scottish Gaelic word from which whiskey was distilled. Say bottoms up all weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, 445 Grand Bay Dr., Key Biscayne. Each event is individually priced. For reservations call 305-365-4500 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com. -- Carlos Suarez de Jesus
Get 'em Dirty
Hands on Miami is here to clean up
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Roll up your sleeves, take off your wrist jewelry, and get ready to sacrifice that precious manicure. It's time to get Hands on, Miami! Goodniks and well-wishers will be taken from downtown's Bayfront Park to places where they can paint, plant, and beautify the shorelines and neighborhoods of Miami that need scrubbing action and tender loving care. The volunteer blitz and fundraiser will help raise money for Hands on Miami to keep our city sparkling throughout the rest of the year. One good deed deserves another, so after the day's work is done, return to the park for a relaxing massage by Educating Hands School of Massage, lunch by Outback Steakhouse, and music by Iko-Iko and Albert Castiglia. While this volunteer scavenger hunt is only one day out of the year, Hands on Miami is always looking for new, eager volunteers. Meet at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd. this morning by 7:30 to get your breakfast and project assignments. And then you're off! Register at www.handsonmiami.org or call 305-646-7200. --Terra Sullivan
Get ready to light up those Arturo Fuente Opus X cigars and don't forget to iron the guayabera. Spend a day rekindling your fuego latino at Miami Dade College's day of Latin jazz. Groove to Arturo Sandoval, then marvel at Arturo Fuerte's Flamenco dancers. Negroni's Trio will be backed by the 23-member Fuego Caliente Big Band. Afro-Cuban funksters Palo shall serve up their usual brand of ass-shaking azúcar, and Miami-based saxofonista Ed Calle will be making Kenny G look like even more of a pansy than we had thought. The event is sponsored by the South Florida Musicians Association as part of the North Lakeside Concert Series, in which the college plans to present a variety of musical genres. Today's concert takes place from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Patrons should bring a lawn chair or blanket. Admission is free, but reserved VIP seating is available for a $20 scholarship donation. Call 305-237-1141, or visit www.mdc.edu.--Kris Conesa