Paul Bunyan, the hunky lumberjack who could fell 23 trees in a single stroke, is pure Americana: ridiculous, annoying, glorious. And loaded with camp possibilities: In the late 1930s, two gay British expats living in New York, poet W.H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten, then in their twenties and thirties, turned these tall tales into a children's opera, Paul Bunyan, which opens at the Florida Grand Opera (Miami Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.) tonight at 7:00.
These hilarious stories may not even be authentic folktales. Parts were penned by hacks working for the Red River Lumber Company for its promotional pamphlets, although teasing out who said what when is like trying to fact-check the Year of the Blue Snows, or the exact distance between Babe the Ox's horns (it measured 142 ax handles, 4 bottles of sassafras soda, a plug of chewing tobacco, and a hard-boiled egg.) Auden and Britten's cast of characters will please the tots -- herons, moons, wind, Fido the dog, wild geese, a Western Union boy, and a cowboy cook. But their parents will have hardier stuff to chew. As Auden put it, the legend reflects "the cultural problems that occur during the first stage of colonization of the land and the conquest of nature." Tickets cost $21 to $150. Call 1-800-741-1010 or visit www.fgo.org. -- Gail Shepherd
For people who love Babs
During the last decade, Barbra Streisand has performed publicly only a handful of times (which is still more concerts than she played in the 1980s), leaving her fans saying "Hey, Focker, play some more shows!" However, there's another little lady from Los Angeles who loves to sing in front of an audience and will play Euphoria Fridays tonight at Jade Lounge (1766 Bay Rd., Miami Beach). Looking and sounding remarkably like Babs, impersonator Sharon Owens has been performing her Tribute To Barbra Streisand since 1992. Also tonight is the launch of Daisy D's weekly DJ and Drag show at Euphoria where the Deco Drive diva will be spinning and doing her special thang live. Curtain rises at 11:00 and admission is five dollars. Call 305-695-0000. -- Margaret Griffis