Julia Alvarez: It's no secret that when writers write what they know, they usually end up writing about people they know. And sometimes those people may not be thrilled by what's been written about them. In her latest book AYo! (no, the title has nothing to do with Stallone; it means I in Spanish), something of a sequel to her first novel, 1991's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez explores what happens when best-selling writer Yolanda engenders bitterness and resentment in her family and friends after she uses their lives as fodder for her fiction. Alvarez deftly and humorously turns the tables on her own kind as Yolanda's family scoops out the real dirt on her. Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Books & Books hosts an evening with Alvarez at the Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd., Coral Gables). Admission is free, so get there early. Call 442-4408. (GC)
Doral-Ryder Open: Tiger Woods or no Tiger Woods, South Florida's premier professional golf tournament gets under way at the Doral Golf Resort (4400 NW 87th Ave.) with today's first round. A pass goes for $30; not bad when you consider that it gets you in all weekend -- and all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. Play begins today and tomorrow at 7:30 a.m., and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 477-GOLF.
Reckless: The University of Miami's Jerry Herman Ring Theater (1380 Miller Dr., Coral Gables) concludes its Second Stage Series with Craig Lucas's dark comedy Reckless. Like many other Lucas works, the play combines fantastic fairy-tale elements with contemporary themes. It explores what happens to a happy woman who is driven out of her home by her homicidal husband and is subjected to a series of disasters that test her faith. Tickets cost six dollars. Performances run today through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Call 284-3355. (GC)
Sacred Music, Sacred Dance: The Rhythm Foundation presents an evening of mystical music and dance by Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater (555 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach); they're on an international Sacred Music and Sacred Dance for World Healing tour. The monks, currently artists in residence at the Miami-Dade Community College North Campus's Gallery North, will perform their unique and renowned multiphonic chants, in which they simultaneously intone three notes of chord. They also present traditional temple music on genuine Tibetan instruments (ten-foot-long dunchen trumpets, gyaling horns) and masked dances in elaborate brocade costumes. Tickets cost $22. Call 672-5202. (GC)
SOFA: Czech glass sculpture, avant-garde ceramics, and a sculpture garden are some of the highlights of the third annual Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art (SOFA) fair, starting today at the Coconut Grove Convention Center (2700 S. Bayshore Dr.). Fifty galleries from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Israel will be represented. A consistently high-quality design exhibition featuring one-of-a-kind furniture, jewelry, housewares, and decorative sculpture, SOFA also offers an outstanding lecture series this year. Today at 1:00 p.m., Miami collector extraordinaire Micky Wolfson talks about "Aesthetics and Collecting" with glass artists Richard Marquis and Laura Santillana and art historian Tina Oldknow. Estonian ceramic artist Sergei Isupov takes the podium at 3:00 p.m., and at 4:00 p.m., potter Wayne Higby talks about porcelain. Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. West Coast abstract expressionists (colleagues of New Yorker Willem de Kooning, et al.) will discuss their ceramic work with art critic Rose Slivka. Lectures are free with the ten-dollar admission. Fair hours are 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. today and tomorrow, and noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Call 800-561-7632. (JC)
Baltimore Symphony: In its 81st season, the Baltimore Symphony comes to South Florida for a performance tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale), with musical director David Zinman and violinist Pamela Frank. Tonight's program includes Dvoyrak's Concerto for Violin in A minor, Barber's Essay no. 2, and Sibelius's Symphony no. 2. Preceding the concert, at 7:15 p.m., Sun-Sentinel music critic Tim Smith discusses the evening's program. Tickets range from $20 to $70. Call 532-3491 for information. (JO)
Mary Street Dance Theater: After eleven years of stretching the boundaries of contemporary dance, the Mary Street Dance Theater is re-emerging as an exclusively improvisational dance company, as will be seen in performances tonight and tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. at the New World School of the Arts's Louise O. Gerrits Theater (25 NE Second St.). A year and a half ago, artistic director Dale Andree decided to take the company in a different direction, from using improvisation as a choreographic tool in the studio to performing only improvisational pieces on-stage. The four-person company has been working with percussionist Joe Zeytoonian, reedman Richard Brookens, and other composers and musicians to develop the new style. The program for this weekend's performances features Food for Thought, which explores experiences with food and eating, and Coincidences, a reflection on distorted memories of love. Admission is ten dollars. Call 573-7376. (GC)