Building Character

Thursday July 17

When artist David Rohn is made-up, costumed, and in character, he's not himself. So pulling him aside and trying to chat about buying a painting or sculpture is fruitless. Just stand back and enjoy the show -- whether he's playing clueless real estate agent Gretchen Bender leading walk-throughs in a crack house, or kooky art patron Herbert Katzenjammer (right), showing off his kontemporary konceptual art kollection with pneumatic wife Kitty by his side, or mugging from beneath a white mop of hair as an Andy Warhol look-alike in ads for urban lofts. Tonight at 7:00 Rohn performs in conjunction with the Miami-Dade Public Library (100 W. Flagler St.) art exhibition "Bubble, Bubble, Boil ... A Miami Visual Stew" in which local artists pair their favorite works with a recipe. Who knows what Rohn is bound to whip up if he dons a chef's hat and apron, and wields a cast-iron frying pan? Admission is free. Call 305-375-2665. -- By Nina Korman

Friday July 18

Abbreviated Illuminations

That queer flickering light in the darkness is a beacon calling all film buffs to its source. The 17 short movies featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art's (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) Optic Nerve V are all between 1 and 7 minutes long. But the trail of sweat put into them by emerging South Florida artist/filmmakers would stretch from here to Cannes. Expect the unusual in these studies of sight and sound, both narrative and non-narrative, such as Eric Freedman's (desiring) engine number nine, a less-than-serious look into sex and pop-talk in the suburban housing boom following WWII. Or Harriette Yahr's 5-minute comedy Baker's Men, where 2 young girls do some gender theorizing through nursery rhyme deconstruction. Transferred to VHS, the works were originally created in Super 8, 16mm film, and digital video and screen at 8:00 p.m. Admission ranges from $3 to $5. Call 305-893-6211 to reserve. -- By John Anderson

Tuesday July 22

On Screen - Life or Death

Being exonerated for a capital crime you didn't commit but did time on death row for is all the rage these days. It's so trendy that Hollywood even made a dramatic big-budget movie about the subject, starring big-name actor Kevin Spacey. Tonight the Greater Miami chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will screen that flick, The Life of David Gale, at the AMC Sunset Place 24 (5701 Sunset Dr., South Miami). Afterward they'll hold a discussion about the death penalty in Florida. Admission is $5 and reservations are required. Call 305-576-2337, ext. 16. -- By Nina Korman

Friday July 18

Humorous Homecoming

Comic trouper returns

The weekly improv night fueled by the artists in the comedy troupe Just The Funny will boast a familiar addition this evening. One of its founding members, George Herring, now relocated to Virginia, will return to his old stomping grounds to debut his one-man show aptly named Big Fish Improv, immediately after his friends in Just The Funny finish their 45-minute set. "It depends on your personality; people are scared to improvise," says Herring about the difference between his kind of work and regular plays, where actors are tied to a script. "I love getting people to react, and I've always gotten good reactions in Miami." Accompanied by a blow-up doll and a boombox with lots of transitional audio elements that allow him to change costumes in front of the audience, Herring will debut a new sketch, where he's dressed as a white upper-class witch doctor. He describes it simply as "bizarre." -- By Javier Andrade

Big Fish Improv and Just The Funny perform at 9:00 p.m. at the Miami Museum of Science, 3280 S Miami Ave. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-MY-FUNNY.

Thursday July 17

Belly Up

Raise self-esteem through dance

To the average Westerner, the Middle East has long been shrouded in a veil of mystery. Smoky, clichéd images of belly-dancing slave girls tell only part of the story. Until recent times, the infamous harems were one of the rare places where women had political power and knew how to flaunt it. Using a holistic approach to help modern women become more self-confident in their sensuality, bodies, and themselves, local mover and hip-shaker Hanan (Tiffany Madera) will present the Dance Empowerment Project, a series of Middle Eastern dance and performance classes, at St. John's on the Lake Church (4760 Pine Tree Dr., Miami Beach). The 10-week session begins at 7:30 p.m. and costs $50. Call 305-613-2325. -- By Margaret Griffis

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