It's a foreign concept to youth-obsessed Americans, but in much of the rest of the world, older folks are revered for their wizened world views. This is especially true in the Orient, where, hundreds of years ago, the Chinese applied their older-is-better belief to trees. By 1400 B.C., the art of bonsai had crossed to Japan. Bonsai relies on illusion: making relatively young plants and trees look old. "If the plant has a small trunk and large leaves, it looks like a young bush," explains bonsai nurseryman Mike Cartrett. "Generally the leaves, to create the proper illusion, need to be small in proportion to the size of the trunk." So with the help of wiring to shape them just so, juvenile plants are made to look like miniature, ancient trees. Cartrett will teach the secrets of the art during the four-part bonsai workshop that begins tonight at Mounts Botanical Gardens (531 N. Military Trl., West Palm Beach). Tonight's three-hour session begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $25, plus a $15 materials fee. Call 561-233-1763.
The Southeast Winter Sports Show is ostensibly a giant, three-day sale put on by Peter Glenn Ski & Sports. But by bringing in Olympic skiers, skiing and skating demonstrations, and a rock-climbing wall -- and by making the show a benefit for the Make-A-Wish foundation -- promoters have found a way to get people to pay to get in the door. Tommy Moe, who won Gold medals in both the Super G and downhill events at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, will sign autographs and pose for photos with fans today and Saturday; Andy Mill, former Olympian and a member of the Skiing Hall of Fame, signs and snaps pictures on Sunday. And throughout the Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), ski resorts, travel agencies, tour operators, and sports-equipment manufacturers will hawk their wares and services. Admission is $5. Hours are Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 954-484-7800.
It takes just two to tango, but during the Dance & Passion concert today and Sunday, more than two will be on hand -- dancers and styles, that is. The tango will be danced by Luis and Tania Bruna of Argentina. Also performing will be the Bailes Ferrer Flamenco Dance Company and the Harmonic Motion Trio, which performs Middle Eastern dance and drumming. On the musical side of the mix are flutist Richard Brookens and guitarist Jorge Luis Perez. And after they've alternated sets, all of the groups will come together onstage for a grand finale. Tickets cost $12 and $15. Curtain tonight is 8 p.m. The Sunday matinee is at 3 p.m. The shows will be held at the Broward County Main Library Auditorium, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-384-2241.
With Luv, a comedy that was hit on Broadway in 1964, playwright Murray Schisgal gives audiences an over-the-top satire about neurotic New Yorkers. Harry Berlin wants to commit suicide, but the bridge he's chosen for the deed is already occupied by his friend, Milt Manville, and Milt's wife, Ellen. The comically co-dependent couple is headed for a breakup -- Milt wants a divorce to be with his lover -- so Harry intervenes. Will everyone jump or live happily ever after? Find out when Curtain Call Playhouse presents Luv this weekend and next at the Pompano Beach Civic Center, 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. Showtimes today and Sunday are 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-784-0768 for more information.
When the Florida Panthers play their first preseason hockey game tonight against the Boston Bruins, the venue will be on exhibition as much as the players. The Panthers' new home is in the National Car Rental Center, which is fan friendly, according to Panther vice president of marketing, Declan Bolger. Here's his laundry list of amenities: huge video screen for live action and replays; six food courts; Budweiser Terrace and Stanley's bars; Panthers Land and Panthers Den, the two team stores; and an interactive area where fans can play games, find information on their favorite players, and see Panther memorabilia. But what excites Bolger most is the venue's old-style organ customized with red and yellow team colors and Panther logos. "It sounds like a classic old organ," he says. "It's up on the press level, but you'll be able to hear it wherever you go." Face-off for tonight's game is at 6 p.m. Ticket prices range from $26 to $38. The center is located at 1 Panthers Pkwy., Sunrise. Call 954-835-8000.
While Matthew Brady toted a wagonload of clunky camera equipment around, documenting the Civil War as official Union photographer, Winslow Homer didn't take sides -- or pictures. The artist-correspondent instead gave an objective depiction of the war in his illustrations. Major battles presented the artist with plenty of action and drama, but Homer also excelled at showing what went on behind the scenes -- the suffering of the wounded, the care of the nurses and doctors, the emotions wrought by war. Homer (18361910) was hired by Harper's Weekly, and his paintings, sketches, and drawings -- after being transformed into wood engravings for transfer to newsprint -- were published in the 1860s and 1870s. The exhibition "Winslow Homer: Reporter" features original Harper's papers from the collection of Jerome Reinert of Boca Raton. The show remains on view through November 8 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 801 W. Palmetto Park Rd., Boca Raton. Admission prices range from $1 to $3. Call 561-392-2500.
The debut album from the California quintet Incubus is titled S.C.I.E.N.C.E., and the music sounds like an experiment: Take a beaker of guitar-driven rock; add a flask of funky grooves and goofy lyrics à la Primus; mix in a test tube full of hip-hop; and heat slowly over a burner of electronic soundscapes. A recipe like this is bound to blow up -- either by going up in a puff of smoke or providing listeners with a charge. Individual results may vary according to musical tastes. So break out the lab reports and hit the Button South (100 Ansin Blvd., Hallandale) for the band's show tonight. Tickets cost $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. Call 954-454-3301.
Author Sandra Jackson-Opoku first visited Africa in 1974 as an exchange student in Nigeria. During her year there, she began a travel journal, in which she'd later include reports and anecdotes from trips throughout North America and the Caribbean. Although she was on the road, the places were secondary to the people she encountered, mostly strong-willed black women. Versions of those characters ended up in Jackson-Opoku's first novel, The River Where Blood Is Born, which won the 1997 Best Fiction of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library. From the viewpoint of various characters, she tells the story of several generations of black women throughout the African diaspora. There are many stops along the way: the 18th-century African Gold Coast; a passage on a slave ship that ends up in antebellum Barbados; the U.S. and Canada during the 1970s; London in the '80s; and, finally, Africa. Jackson-Opoku speaks about her book at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bienes Center For the Literary Arts, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free; reservations are suggested. Call 954-357-7348.