Hand-wringing, eye-rolling, and shrugging shoulders is the best we non-Jews/non-Palestinians can do when we consider the absurd, blood-soaked comedy that's become the Middle East. Both sides have their screaming fanatics, each with children who speak with blood lust against each other. Although recent reports of a sunny road map to peace are popping up in press conferences, the world has come to expect the bombs and military offensives to never halt. As most outsiders wonder -- why can't these people just get along? The film Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in Israel, may answer that very question, albeit from a Jewish point of view. Comprising film clips of Palestinian television, religious sermons, and political rallies, the film aims to uncover a hidden agenda behind the collapse of the Oslo accords. The event might get more people involved, but may we suggest the us-versus-them mentality at similar rallies continues to make the idea of peace an impossibility. The film screens at 8:00 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 1701 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 888-883-4726.
Friday July 11
To those who are not in the know, Gotan Project is a delectable mix of trip-hop, electronica, and tango. The combo, made up of Argentine musicians living in Paris, makes its Florida debut with a nightclub date at Level (1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) tonight. The performance is part of the Rhythm Foundation's ongoing series of concerts by musicians from around the world. Gotan encompasses the merging of world cultures in its sleek and film-noirish sound that is engulfed in a low-centered dance beat. Its music is finding an audience with Gotan's current CD, La Revancha Del Tango. The show starts at 8:00. Tickets cost $27. Call 305-672-5202.
Saturday July 12
Nature is perhaps the central part of any artist's muse. And its creatures, great and small, have always served as subjects for watercolorists and painters of all media. Recall the fabulous paintings of dogs sitting around a poker table. Or how about the teary-eyed kitten posters that say, "I Luv You This Much." Today one of the foremost nature artists, Guy Harvey, speaks to zoogoers as part of the opening celebration of "Art and the Animal," the 42nd annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists. Here is your chance to get inside tips on how to best capture the lanky pose of a blue heron or soft gaze of an Everglades buck. Harvey will display his works as well as those of a variety of animal artists from around the world. The exhibit opens at 10:00 a.m. at Metrozoo, 12400 SW 152nd St., and is included with $12 zoo admission. Call 305-251-0400.
Sunday July 13
Capping a weekend of fundraising events, Miami Heat cager Alonzo Mourning throws perhaps one of the biggest parties of the year at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd.) tonight. Zo's Summer Groove Mega Groove Concert promises to fill the stage with a blazing array of entertainment stars including Gladys Knight, Ginuwine, Chris Rock, Faith Evans, Tyrese, Brian McKnight, Lenny Kravitz, the Ohio Players, and a heaping mound of others. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Children's Home Society of Florida, 100 Black Men of South Florida, and the Overtown Youth Center. The concert begins at 7:30; tickets cost $19.99. Call 305-476-0095.
Monday July 14
Whether your trees are deciduous or coniferous, Ganoderma applanatum, a pesky and virulent fungal disease, is something to be concerned about. The disease is making life difficult for all varieties of trees in North America, and it's a bitch to get out of your garden. Tonight one of the soldiers in the war against GA, plant pathologist Monica Elliott -- a professor at the University of Florida -- gives a pep talk to the Tropical Flowering Tree Society on how best to combat the botanical social disease. Don't worry, chances are you don't need to start wearing latex. The meeting begins at 7:30 at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Attendance is free for visitors. Call 305-669-9864.
Tuesday July 15
Depending on how well superstar rapper Nelly plays tonight, there's a good chance there will be a whole lotta naked booty shaking at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Au-Rene Theater (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Actually, he may not have to try too hard, as female Nelly devotees seem only too eager to disrobe for the pretty-boy rapper with the Band-Aid on his face. Since he burst onto the scene with his debut CD, Country Grammar, the chicas just can't get enough of it. When he followed up with his smash hit "Hot in Herre," which commands them to take off all their clothes, they felt duty-bound to oblige. Nelly takes the stage with his band the St. Lunatics. Doors open at 7:00. Tickets cost $39.50 and $49.50. Call 305-462-0222.
Wednesday July 16
The cool sounds of jazz are flavored with salsa, rumba, and other Latin touches tonight as Negroni's Trio takes the upstairs stage at the Van Dyke Café (846 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). The band begins a series of Miami shows supporting its newly released CD, Nature. The disk has been moving up the Billboard jazz charts since its release last month. Lovers of Latin jazz will get a dose of the good stuff as band leader Jose Negroni fires up some musical sabrosura. Come early, as with most feature shows at the Van Dyke good tables go quickly. The trio play three shows, at 9:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and midnight. They also appear next Wednesday, July 23. Tickets cost $10. Call 305-534-3600.
By Juan Carlos Rodriguez