This Week's Day by Day Picks

Thursday July 17

During the Nineteenth Century the Fisk Jubilee Singers were considered the last word in Negro spirituals, their heartfelt performances enchanting audiences around the world. These days the celebrated National Spiritual Ensemble has been handed the torch, keeping spirituals resonating in concert halls everywhere. Begun in 1994 as the New England Spiritual Ensemble in Boston, the group moved to Washington, D.C. and took on a more inclusive name last year. Known for belting out traditional songs as well as arrangements by modern black composers, the ensemble raises the roof at 8:00 tonight at Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd.) for a Coral Gables Congregational Church Summer Concert Series show. Tickets cost $25. Catch them tomorrow too at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. Admission for the Caleb show is free, but you must call the church to reserve a place. Call 305-448-7421.

Friday July 18

Folk singer/songwriter/guitarist Sam Pacetti has been performing more than half his life -- and he's only 28 years old! A resident of the St. Augustine/ Jacksonville area, he studied with Florida folk legend Gamble Rogers and has often been compared with guitar-picking guru Leo Kottke. Those in the know make sure to attend all of Pacetti's performances when he swings through South Florida. You'll have two opportunities this weekend: first at Folk Friday, taking place this evening at 8:00 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami). Admission is free. Call 305-893-6211. This Sunday Pacetti will be one of many folkies playing at Pinecrest Gardens (11000 SW 57th Ave.) for the monthly Folk Music in the Park event, going on from noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-669-6942.

Saturday July 19

What celebrity doesn't have his or her own pet charity these days? Aerosmith, Michael Douglas, Whitney Houston, Jane Fonda, Gloria Estefan, and even Ed Asner have established foundations named after themselves. Egomaniacs! At least the guys in 'N Sync or maybe their management had the good sense and the modesty to name their foundation something different. Theirs is called the Challenge for the Children Foundation and centers on raising money to improve the quality of sports and music education in schools and healthcare for kids. Yesterday the 'N Syncers and a host of famous folks descended upon our shores for a series of fundraising events. You can help out the kiddies and check out athletes, actors, and musicians (they'll probably be the pasty-looking ones) in action today at 1:30 during the Challenge for the Children Celebrity Skills Challenge, taking place at Collins Park, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $40. If you're not ready to brave the convection-ovenlike heat outside, head up to the Office Depot Center (2555 NW 137th Way, Sunrise) tomorrow for the weekend's finale, a Celebrity Basketball Game, and watch your favorite uncoordinated rich people fall all over the court. Tickets range from $14 to $500. Call 860-354-8027.

Sunday July 20

Fill the void of vallenato music in your life and wish feliz cumpleaños to the country of Colombia by being the first one at the Colombian Independence Day Festival, noon to 11:00 p.m. at the Fair Expo Center, Tamiami Park, 11201 Coral Way. Expect the usual dancing, ethnic food, vendors peddling Colombiana, and music. Admission is $15. Call 305-223-7060.

Monday July 21

Protecting the environment in Florida -- or anywhere for that matter. Ha! That's too funny. So funny in fact that Fantasy Theatre Factory created what they call an eco-comedy titled The Never Everglades to address such issues. In their story for kids ages five to ten, a Florida roseate spoonbill (that's a bird for those of you who are, as Woody Allen says, "two with nature") named Dudley tries to guide his bird buddies south for the winter. His attempts at navigation by using natural resources as a guide, however, are foiled by three little destructive pigs who are tearing their way through the Everglades. Hmm, could one of the little porkers be named Bush? See the show at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. today through Thursday, July 24, at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Tickets cost five dollars and include admission to the garden. Reservations are required. Call 305-284-8800.

Tuesday July 22

Stop pounding the pavement with all that protesting you do and try changing the world in a less shoe-damaging way -- via writing. Poet, novelist, essayist, and conceptual and performance artist Kathe Izzo can teach you how with her Shadow Writing Workshops. Her method: Create a serene environment and have students write quickly and without correction, basically letting their pens go uncensored wherever their minds take them. That's the way she thinks folks can find their "true stories" and release their pent-up creativity. Starting tonight and running on Tuesday and Thursday through July 31, Izzo will offer her seminars from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. at P.S. 742, 1165 SW Sixth St. Tonight's session tackles removing creative blocks. Admission is $25 per session, which may be taken separately or consecutively. Call 305-324-0585.

Wednesday July 23

Known around Miami mostly as a popular teller of Haitian tales, Liliane Nerette Louis is also an elementary school teacher and a doctoral candidate concentrating on a tasty topic: Haitian cuisine. She's been imparting her love for the stuff since the 1950s, when she began conducting cooking classes in her mom's kitchen. But you don't have to hop a plane or a boat down to Haiti to take advantage of Louis's expertise. She'll be offering two sessions of her Haitian Home Cooking seminar from 9:00 a.m. to noon today and next Wednesday at Miami-Dade College, Kendall Campus, 11011 SW 104th St. Cost is $75. Call 305-237-0636 for registration details.

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Nina Korman
Contact: Nina Korman