Before talking heads were pretty
There was a time when the phrase "television journalism" was not an oxymoron. Sure, it's hard to believe, but people used to think cigarettes were good for you, too. Back in the days before the drive for a larger market share turned local television news into the equivalent of junk food TV, viewers actually received sober, objective reporting from their local stations. Here's the real shocker: some of the most insightful investigative journalism was to be found on Channel 7. Yep, that's right, Channel 7. Not the Channel 7 News we all know -- that's Fox affiliate WSVN, the flagship of sensationalism and glitzy computer graphics masquerading as local news coverage, not to mention the ever-so-bitchy gossip mongering Deco Drive. Before WSVN occupied the Channel 7 spot on your TV dial there was WCKT, which was a totally different animal. WCKT broadcast as part of the NBC network from 1956 through 1968. This was a heady time to be in the TV news business in Miami. The Cuban Revolution, the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban Missile Crisis made South Florida a real hot spot for international news. WCKT reporters like Ben Silver and long-time anchor Wayne Fariss brought a style of hard-hitting journalism to the genre, interviewing Fidel Castro shortly after the fall of Havana, traveling to the Middle East to cover the Yom Kippur war, and chronicling America's entrance into the space age. Thanks to the Louis Wolfson II Moving Image Archive, you can experience these historic broadcasts in "7 Heaven," a video retrospective highlighting the best of WCKT's investigative news programs, in their original kinescope format, every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. until December 23 at the main Miami-Dade Public Library, 101 W. Flagler Street. This week's screening will feature programs devoted to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, specials on the years 1963 to 1965, and a retrospective of the station's first decade, 1956 to 1966. Admission is free. Call 305-375-1505. -- Chris Deangelis
Shorts On Film
These finalists are so money
Think of Florida and film, and what often comes to mind are high-octane thrill rides like Bad Boys II, Scarface, and True Lies. And while Hollywood has a special place in its heart, and hormones, for the sexy danger of Miami, the Sunshine State is equally adept at producing quality art films. To prove this point, GenArt, the national arts organization and patron of artistic talent, is sponsoring its second annual "Shorts in the Park" with a screening of three short films, all finalists for a $5000 grant. Each film was made by a native Floridian or one based here for the previous ten years. The finalists include Lechon, about a boy's unplanned day on a farm and his discovery that pigs are not always pets. Conversations is a dark comedy that takes place in a morgue, while Hot Java follows the exploits of a coffee shop server who concocts his own special love brew to win the affections of a pretty patron. Following is the feature-length film Swingers. Party starts at 6:30 p.m., Margaret Pace Park, 1745 N. Bayshore Dr. Admission costs $10. Call 305-695-8200. -- John Anderson
Love, Impressionist Style
Soulmate searching in oil
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Sexual adventure, interludes with strangers, and looking for love are the inspirations behind Jonathan Riesco's latest series of oil paintings, "Nice to Meet You, Thru Nice to Know You Vol. 1." Although the theme might sound salacious, the solo show tonight is a showcase of the Miami-based artist's abstract impressionism and subtle intimation, rather than an ode to chance encounters. But underlying the lighter perspective of what Riesco endearingly refers to as "soul tickling experiences" is a contemptuous exploration of our basic instincts portrayed by his benign sense of irony. Since his show in April, "Transitions," Riesco's trademark use of warm, absorbent colors, heavy layers and textures, and weeping forms have set him apart as a neoromantic lost in today's numbing sea of pseudopop art. This time, the conceptual element presides over his work with the intuition that leads us to meet. Be there at 7:00 p.m., at Riesco Art Studio, 4552 SW 71st Ave. Call 305-610-4910. -- Humberto Guida
As a longtime confidante of Celia Cruz, Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte was able to photograph the extraordinary Cuban singer with a penetration no other lens could capture. More than fifteen years of Celia on stage, behind the scenes, and posing in the tropical splendor of her native island are documented in Rodriguez-Duarte's new book, Presenting Celia Cruz, and on exhibit in the Main Library Auditorium. Sharing his celluloid collection, Rodriguez-Duarte, a native Cuban photographer whose fashion shots and celebrity portraits have appeared in Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Harper's Bazaar, presents photos not previously published. He was the only photographer granted full access to the life of Celia Cruz. His book includes recollections from recording artists Annie Lennox, David Byrne, and Jennifer Lopez, in addition to commissioned essays by authors Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Lydia Martin, and Liz Balmaseda. "Presenting Celia Cruz" will be on exhibit through December at the Miami-Dade Public Library, 101 W. Flagler St. Admission is free. Call 305-375-2665. -- Lyssa Oberkreser