THU 27

Just in case you fell out of the loop, the cool, young, upwardly mobile set have found a new meeting place. Doraku, Benihana Inc.'s boutique sushi lounge, provides a swanky vibe for the ambitiously well-heeled. At tonight's Young Professionals Networking meeting, you'll enjoy delectable hors d'oeuvres by executive chef Hiro Terada, and cocktails made with S Guaro, a very special Costa Rican rum. In addition to the tasty treats and luscious libations, attendees can win raffle prizes ranging from massages to bottles of fine spirits. Stay for dinner and get a ten percent discount on your bill, saving bucks on Doraku's signature piled-high plates of sushi. Be there this evening from 5:00 to 8:00, at Doraku, 1104 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. YPN members get in free. Tickets for nonmembers cost $20, a portion of which will be donated to tsunami victims via Save the Children. Call 305-695-8383, or visit (PEGY)

FRI 28

Spicy, sizzling, and smoking hot. Flamenco music and dance is just the mix you need to heat up a winter evening. In its fourth year, the Flamenco Festival USA has become a spectacular dancing event with sold-out shows all over the country. Spain's National Dance Award recipient Sara Baras will thrill you with the debut of her work Sueños (Dreams), a traditional flamenco featuring eight dancers and eight musicians. Baras made history with a five-month show in Madrid, and now she brings her passionate performance to Miami. Don't miss this high energy and colorful dancing experience tonight at 7:30 at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The festival runs through Sunday, January 30. Tickets for the performance range from $25 to $65. A reception with the artists (at an added ticket price of $150) follows tonight's performance. Call 305-673-7300, or visit or (LO)

SAT 29

You can stamp on his boots or slosh his beer, but don't ever touch a cowboy's hat. And a lady should never ask to wear a cowboy's hat unless she means business. If you bump into someone, apologize, and if you spill someone's drink, buy them another. These simple tips of line-dancing etiquette will keep you from getting the boot at the German American Social Club's (11919 SW 56th St., Miami) Country Western Dance tonight. Beyond the "Tush Push," the "Boot Scootin' Boogie," and the classic "Achy Breaky Heart," there's the "Turbo Twang," the "Beer for My Horses," and the "Honk If You Honky Tonk" to keep you grapevining, cross-stepping, and heel-clapping all night. Don't have all the right moves? No problem. There's line-dancing instruction from 6:30 to 8:00, followed by open dancing with DJs Bill and Angela until midnight. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 305-552-5123, or visit (LO)

SUN 30

Miami seems to have just as many orchid festivals as there are delicate, brightly colored orchid flowers. The Miami Orchid Festival sets itself apart from the pack of competing fests, being the first of the season and featuring staged exhibits competing for ribbons, trophies, and coveted American Orchid Society awards. Take the opportunity to join or ask questions of South Florida's best orchid societies. Purchase floral arts and crafts, or supplies and paraphernalia for all your orchid growing needs. If you've personally been responsible for the demise of a couple of these mysterious, beautiful parasites, learn to produce blossoms and turn that brown thumb green with informative lectures by internationally known experts, and growing classes for amateurs. Bring your own plants for exhibit or just feast your eyes on flowers this morning at 10:00 at the Tamiami Fair Expo Center, 10900 Coral Way, Miami. Admission is five dollars. Call 305-247-4398. (PEGY)

MON 31

The South Florida spoken-word scene has exploded in the past couple of years. It seems almost everywhere you look there's a stage where one and all are invited to spit rhymes and free their minds on the mike. It only makes sense that such an artistically freeing scene would make a home in the très chic Design District. Welcome to Mello Mondays, an evening of blissed-out spoken poetry. The inaugural night went off with a bang, thanks to a reading by the Afrocentric rap duo dead prez. Expect to hear anyone from nervous newcomers to verbose veterans of the established South Florida spoken-word scene, in addition to a variety of specially invited guest stars. The laid-back vibe comes complete with music and drinks. Mello out tonight and every Monday night in the inviting courtyard of The District Restaurant Lounge, 35 NE 40th St., Miami. Call 305-438-9488. (PEGY)


Of all the artistic forms, what could be more personal, more powerful than the written word? To face an intimidatingly blank page and bring round, real characters to life is something like playing God. To write creatively from the heart is simultaneously stress-relieving and stress-inducing, empowering and intimidating, disciplinary and disorderly. Improve your skills under the tutelage of professional writers, thanks to Miami Dade College's Florida Center for the Literary Arts. Learn the basics of fiction: character, scene, and structure in George Tucker's six-week course Fiction: An Introduction. Norma Watkins will help wannabe writers successfully capture the elusive past in her weekly workshop A Room of One's Own: Writing Memories. This twelve-week course will teach students to hone their own stories, find literary purpose, and craft meaningful narrative. The fiction workshop costs $80, and the memoir workshop costs $125. Preregistration is required for both. Call 305-237-3298, or visit (PEGY)


That cute boy you met over the weekend wants to take you out for a midweek date. But he's too cool for painting pottery. He wants thrills. He wants adventure. He wants to swing from a trapeze. But what do you wear on a trapeze date? Why, a leotard, of course. The eighteenth-century French aerialist Jules Léotard, the man behind the snug-fitting clothing, is also the inventor of the trapeze. And now Trapeze-Experience has brought a regulation-size apparatus to Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) through May 30. "It is safer than most sports," says Peter Gold, the director of Trapeze-Experience, who has twenty years of high-flying experience. The trapeze is available for reservations Wednesday through Friday, between 3:00 and 8:00, and Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 and 7:00. A two-hour session costs $60 or $75, with the higher price on weekends. Call 1-877-759-0044, or visit (LO)