Tripping Latino

Los Amigos Invisibles blast off

FRI 8/27

The days of having something to prove in their native Venezuela long gone, the funky Latin jam band Los Amigos Invisibles are waxing cosmic as they take over the world. Since their 2000 breakthrough CD Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space launched them into the orbit of serious musicianship (the album garnered both Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations), the sextet has been winning over fans bite by delicious bite.

The group formed in the malaise of the Caracas club scene, circa 1991, when a dearth of dance music had the Amigos champing at the bit to get some real booty-shaking going on that was more than just salsa or merengue. Nor did they want to follow the rockero trend that was popular at the time. This group of iconoclasts was playing a peculiar fusion of styles in late-night clubs that somehow touched a nerve. Soon they had Caracas woozy and bloodshot with an infectious rhythmic hangover.

They arrived in New York City with a handful of homemade CDs. As luck would have it, David Byrne took a fancy to the disc after finding it at a record shop. A few phone calls later, Los Amigos had a record deal. Other notable producers, such as Louie Vega, have since collaborated with the band. In recent years they have been keeping a grueling touring schedule that continues to win them fans and move them to the forefront of Latin dance music.

Supporting their third release, Venezuelan Zinga Son Vol. 1, Los Amigos returns to Miami for what promises to be a night of non-stop dancing, just as the Amigos like it.

Los Amigos Invisibles takes the stage after midnight at La Covacha, 10730 NW 25th St. Tickets cost $20. Call 305-468-9460. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez


Older School

SAT 8/28

Freestyle's return to the spotlight is long overdue. One of the earlier hip-hop musical incarnations, freestyle grew out of disco, electro-funk, and breakdancing cultures but with a heavy dollop of Latin flavor and rhythms. Until rap unseated it, freestyle was king of the East Coast urban music scene. The Miami sound in particular was upbeat, optimistic, and garnered extensive national radio play. But, it was in the clubs where DJs mixed the tunes to delicious effect -- which makes the Freestyle Reunion: Concert UNO tonight at 7:00 at the Coconut Grove Convention Center (2700 Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove) a real treat for old-school clubkids. In addition to showcasing a mixture of freestyle varieties from artists including Stevie B., George Lamond, Coro, Debbie Deb (above), Lisa Lisa, Shannon, Soave, Joyce Sims, And More, David Torres, Will To Power, and Aby, the show also features Party 93.1 mixologists Raul Rocdahouse, O D Blaze, DJ Rene, and Luis Martinez. Tickets cost $20 ($30 at the door). The special VIP package is already sold out. Booty-shakers under age two get in free. Call 305-579-3310. -- Margaret Griffis

Write Back at You

A wordsmith and history collide

THU 8/26

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) turned out a prodigious amount of work despite being blacklisted by the entertainment industry. One of the notorious Hollywood Ten, he did time in prison in 1950 for refusing to out himself or others as Communists in front the House Un-American Activities Committee. Spartacus, Exodus, and Papillon are among the many epic films he penned. Trumbo's son Christopher has used his father's letters to craft a play about this discomfiting time in American history and its effect on his dad's world. Trumbo: Red, White, and Blacklisted opened nearly two weeks ago at GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables) with producing artistic director/actor Joseph Adler (right) in the title role, and Bruce Miller (center) as narrator. Michael Putney (left) takes over the lead on Thursday, September 2. Tonight, following the 8:00 performance, a discussion will ensue featuring ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon and Miami Herald TV and radio critic Glenn Garvin. Tickets cost $35. Call 305-445-1119. -- Nina Korman

Opera for Everyone

SAT 8/28

The Florida Grand Opera wants you to attend one of its performances. Don't worry, you won't have to blow a bundle on tickets. It's giving them away. Yes, you read correctly: free! One thousand lucky culture vultures will get a pair of tickets each to attend the Tuesday, November 16, performance of Madame Butterfly gratis. They'll also take home goody bags courtesy of Elemis Spa, get to guzzle coffee from Starbucks before the show and during intermission (a good thing for some), and have the chance to win a Young Chang Baby Grand Piano thanks to Piano & Art Galeria. Oh, if you're wondering what Giacomo Puccini's opera is all about, we'll only say it involves a lovestruck Japanese geisha, an American naval officer, and besmirched honor! Those tickets can be yours by participating in a drawing either through the mail or the Internet. Entry forms are available in this newspaper, or you can enter online at Deadline is Monday, September 13. -- Nina Korman

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