Yet another Cuban-themed movie has washed up on our shores. This time it's a documentary about female Cuban dissidents and their hermanas in exile. Written and directed by New York City-based journalist and former television producer Mari Rodriguez Ichaso, Branded by Paradise offers interviews with former political prisoners (poet-activist Maria Elena Cruz Varela); literary and art world figures (painter Clara Morera and Paris-based writer Zoe Valdes); and musical stars (Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot). Nationally known yet still local notables -- talk show hostess Christina Saralegui and Miami Herald columnist Liz Balmaseda -- whose families were forced into exile, will also be heard. Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and County Commissioner Natacha Millan will host the premiere at 8:00 p.m. at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 305-547-5414.
Like a tornado they tore through Oklahoma City. (Actually they played one of the few clubs left standing in the north side of town.) Then they mowed through Memphis. Now the Midwestern noise duo known as Cock E.S.P. and Miami noisemeister Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra's cacophonous collective, the Laundry Room Squelchers, are in Miami to assault your ears during two shows at Churchill's Hideaway (5501 NE Second Ave.). Tonight at 10:00 they perform with Guitar Thieves and Honey Baked Ham. Tomorrow the Ham returns and Monotract and the Wright Brothers join the bill. Admission is three dollars. Call 305-757-1807.
You know the first lines of the song everyone associates with Brazil: "Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes, "ahhh!" As far as we know the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami won't provide any half-naked babes strolling down Miami Beach. They do guarantee one little adventure on the sand, though. Tomorrow night at 8:00 behind the Cadillac Hotel (39th Street and Collins Avenue, Miami Beach) they'll present a free screening of How to be Single in Rio, the people's choice winner at last year's festival. The film fest officially opens tonight at 9:00, when the acclaimed movie Central Station unspools at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The fest, which runs through May 29, will present 30 films followed by discussions with actors, producers, and directors at either the Colony or the Alliance Cinema (927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Three workshops will also take place at the Colony. Approximately twenty movies will compete for the fest's Cristal Lens Awards. Tickets cost eight dollars per screening. Call 305-860-2940 or see "Calendar Events," page 43 for more details.
As a kid you had the odd habit of smelling your food before you considered lifting a fork to it. (A good idea because it prevented you from ingesting Brussels sprouts.) As an adult you do the same thing. You're just a bit more discreet about it now. Well, if you're an adult who has kids, you can feel free to indulge your hound dog instincts with them: Today is National Sense of Smell Day. From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble (18711 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura) the Miami Children's Museum will sponsor a fun-filled odoriferous day of activities. Some of the events on the agenda: a taste vs. smell-a-thon, wherein blindfolded folks hold their noses while they sample various foods and try to guess what they've eaten; and a visit from a K-9 unit police dog and its human partner, who'll show and tell how the pooch is able to sniff out drugs and find missing people. Admission is free. Call 305-663-8800.
What better way to wake yourself up on a Sunday morning than by going for a nice leisurely bike ride? Today at 8:00, in honor of National Bicycling Month, the Everglades Bike Club sponsors the Deering Estate Ride, a jaunt from Monty's Seafood Restaurant (2550 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove) to the Deering Estate at Cutler (16701 SW 72nd Ave.). The trip may sound slightly daunting, but the group promises to pedal the 26 miles at a slow and easy pace. So oil up that chain, pump up those tires, dust off the helmet, and fill up the water bottle. The ride is free. To register call 305-371-5156 and ask for Jerry Garcia, but keep the long, strange trip jokes to a minimum, please.
There's more to celebrate this month than bicycling. Since 1991 May has been recognized as Asian Pacific-American Heritage Month. The past three weeks have been spent honoring the culture, traditions, and contributions of our friends with Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Not that you noticed. Among the celebrations: No, not a marathon of Hawaii Five-0 episodes. (Though that could be kind of fun. Nobody wore a scarf with quite the same panache as Jack Lord did, and that villainous Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies is clearly a rip-off of the notorious Wo Fat.) Actually festivals, dance, and musical performances have been the standard events held around town. Even Miami's resident Mr. Know-It-All, historian Paul George, is getting in on the action. Tonight at 8:00 George delivers an Asian Pacific-American Heritage Month Lecture titled "Quilt of Many Patterns: Southeast Florida's Asian Community" at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, 50 Alhambra Plaza. Admission is free. Seating is limited, so call 305-375-4967 for reservations.
Two artists from the Big Apple -- painter Danny Simmons and photographer Nina Crews -- help get you into a New York City Groove today in the main gallery of the Bakehouse Art Complex (561 NW 32nd St.). Crews takes photos of fragments from subway posters and then layers her color C-prints on aluminum, creating a collagelike effect. Simmons is an Abstract Expressionist whose brightly hued works are informed by tribal arts and the African-American experience. Simmons, the brother of music mogul Russell Simmons of Def Jam fame and the Rev. Joseph "Run" Simmons of hip-hop pioneers Run DMC, is also the vice president of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating children in the arts. The show runs through June 8. Admission is free. Call 305-576-2828.
Being first lady is no easy job. Being a former first lady seems even tougher. If your erstwhile president husband isn't dragging you all over the country to build houses for charitable organizations, then you're flying here and there to give rousing speeches. Remember onetime first lady Rosalynn Carter? She was known as the pushy one, who was advising her hubby on issues even before Hillary Clinton had White House dreams dancing in her head. Apparently Carter has taken off the toolbelt and slowed down her schedule long enough to get a book done. A long-time advocate for the mentally ill, she has written Helping Someone with Mental Illness. Advances in the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and manic depression are just some of the pieces of the mental-illness puzzle she discusses. Hear more from Mrs. Carter when she appears at Temple Judea (5500 Granada Blvd., Coral Gables) tonight at 8:00, courtesy of Books & Books. Admission is free but requires tickets, which can be obtained at either Books & Books location (296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables or 933 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Call 305-442-4408 or 305-532-3222 for details.