This Week's Day by Day Picks

Thursday 5/15

Like the sour-apple martini, Chilean sea bass is perhaps one of the most fashionable items you can sample at your favorite bistro. But did you know that it's WRONG? Just like wearing a mink coat might get you splattered with red paint by animal-rights activists, ordering the trendy dish may get you harpooned by a mad fishmonger. First of all, Chilean sea bass is not really from Chile, nor is it a sea bass. Its proper name is the Patagonian toothfish and it's usually caught in Antarctic waters, thank you very much. Because of its recent popularity and its need to live many years before it can reproduce, the toothfish-cum-sea bass faces extinction. Just imagine what could happen: Foodies may be forced to order cod! To end the madness, the chefs at Bongo's, Nikki Beach, Pearl, and Here Comes the Sun will stop serving Chilean sea bass and offer alternatives. These chefs will join scientists and activists at an early anti-Chilean sea bass lunch conference today, pledging to just say no to the much-loved sea critter. The dish on the fish is served at 10:30 a.m. at Bongo's Cuban Café at the American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd. Admission is free. Call 786-777-2100. (JCR)

Friday 5/16

One sings like she has a mouth full of hot potatoes and the other (when not turbaned) is bald. But fans of Grammy Award winners Cassandra Wilson and India.Arie are in for a double-header treat that just may be stirring, soulful, and darkly sweet like molasses. Although they may attract different crowds (Wilson is a jazz diva while Arie is an urban-folk-popstress), the combination promises a night of original musical stylings that could very well complement each other. The two appear as part of the JVC Jazz Festival. Be sure to party to the sounds of DJ Snowhite afterward at KISS Steakhouse and Lounge (301 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach). The concert starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Jackie Gleason Theater of Performing Arts, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets range from $35 to $60. Call 305-673-7300. (JCR)

Saturday 5/17

With a lineup of at least nine hot bands, the fifth annual Haitian Compas Festival at Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd.) is guaranteed to make your booty shake into the wee hours. Haitian stalwarts Carimi, Konpa Kreyol, and Djakout Mizik headline the festival with their trademark slink and sass. Be sure to check out the art and the wide variety of Haitian delicacies served all day. Gates open at 2:00 p.m. Tickets cost $35. Call 305-343-4750. (JCR)

Sunday 5/18

If only you could predict the future and balance a candelabrum or a sword on your head while belly dancing. It's what we'd all like to do. And everybody can learn if they take part in Dance, Music, and Divination at 3:00 p.m. at the Mideastern Dance Exchange (350 Lincoln Rd., ste. 505, Miami Beach). On the program: presentations about tarot, palmistry, and reading Turkish coffee grounds; classes in Persian, Turkish, and Egyptian dance; plus invaluable tips about keeping those candleholders and sharp objects on your noggin. Diaphanous belly-dance attire is heartily encouraged. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-538-1068. (NK)

Monday 5/19

After living in Miami for nearly twenty years, author Les Standiford finally got bitten by the Cuban bug, as in sending his protagonist to the island. Guess the Latin explosion has been truly incorporated into his suspense novels featuring Miami construction-company owner/heroic crimefighter John Deal. Don't get apoplectic, exiles. In Havana Run, Standiford writes about a postnormalized Cuba, where Deal goes to make a big construction deal and inevitably gets into some incendiary intrigue. Wait a sec, we're not ticked that Les is setting a novel in Cuba. What really irks us is that his latest book, unlike almost all his others in the Deal series, doesn't have the word "Deal" in the title. What's the deal, Les? May we suggest you name your next tome Keepin' It Real Deal? Here's the plot: John Deal's company wins the bid to build the latest South Beach nightspot, immersing him in the oft-dangerous world of hip-hop. Standiford will read from Havana Run at 8:00 p.m. at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is free. Call 305-442-4408. (NK)

Tuesday 5/20

Skinny, whiny chicks strumming guitars. You gotta hate 'em. Except if they're Suzanne Vega. Sure, you only know her most commercial hits like "Tom's Diner" and "Luka," but there's much more to Vega than those monotonous tunes. Her crystalline renderings of everyday life, love, and the occasional lapse into outright misery make up the bulk of her nearly twenty-year body of work, which contains nary a clunker. Opt for the Cliffs Notes version of Vega by purchasing her latest release, Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega, or go hear her perform at the Broward Center of the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) tonight at 8:00. Tickets cost $30. Call 954-462-0222. (NK)

Wednesday 5/21

With the frequent use of DNA evidence in criminal cases these days, it's a wonder that anyone gets wrongly convicted of a capital offense anymore. But thanks to coerced confessions and other such stuff (see the case of the Central Park jogger), it still happens. Ernest Gaines's powerful novel A Lesson Before Dying concerns an innocent black man sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit and the unlikely friend who helps him face his end with dignity. The Florida Center for the Literary Arts wants you to read that work -- right now! -- as part of its vaguely didactic One Book, One Community program. In conjunction with its literary edict, the FCLA will hold a town hall meeting dubbed The Death Penalty: A Wrongful Conviction? at 7:00 p.m. at Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson Campus (300 NE Second Ave., rm 3208-9). Attorney Marvin Jones will moderate a discussion featuring assistant state attorney Penny Brill, Edwin Colfax of Chicago's Death Penalty Education Project, and Juan Roberto Menendez Colon, exonerated of a crime after he spent eighteen years on Florida's death row. Admission is free. Call 305-237-07621. (NK)