What do you love most about the Caribbean music scene? The infectious beats? The hilarious lyrics? Or the cartoon drama? All of it abounds at the Seventh Annual Caribbean Reggae Fest this Sunday at Bicentennial Park (1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami).
The lineup may change each year, but the themes remain the same: girls, guns, ganja, and gays. This time around, we've got dancehall's biggest-selling international star, Beenie Man. On the scene since releasing his 1981 album Beenie Man, 10-year-old Boy Wonder, Beenie jump-started dancehall's crossover success in America with "Who Am I?" in 1997 and more recently with "Dude." Typical lyrics: "Me have two hot gall inna mi bed tonight!"
In the other corner of the ring, we have Beenie's nemesis, Bounty Killer, who brings more of a badman approach. He racked up record sales with endless tunes about guns and even sent Beenie into hiding after beating him down lyrically on stage one year. Now, however, Bounty's mellowed out: He declared a truce with Beenie, denounced gun violence, and launched a "human rights campaign." Interestingly, this rights activist loves explaining to gays: "The bottom is like a muffler; it is a waste pipe. Nothing supposed to go up there." (Both of the rivals have been targets of gay protests.)
Jamaica's two megastars are also bringing their respective protégés to Miami. Beenie's got Lady Saw (pictured), who sings, "Mi love it from behind/Yu can reach under mi belly rub mi clit same time," while Bounty's protégé, Vybz Kartel, has a song that begins with a reference to Don Corleone and includes the line "Hello, fucker, bye bye!" Elephant Man brings the party anthems -- and plenty of ice, earrings, and hair dye to go with it. If he's dancehall's Dennis Rodman, Red Rat is its Björk, alternately resembling an alien, Ronald McDonald, or a very pretty girl. The festival also features Kevin Lyttle, Spragga Benz, Assassin, Capleton, Tanto Metro and Devonte, and many more. Come to the real, live soap opera to dance your ass off, or just to see who gets amnesia or comes back from the dead. Tickets cost $45. Call 305-651-7556, or visit www.crfest.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Cows, Crops, and Cavy at the Broward Fair
Thrill rides, acrobatic motorcycle acts, and lumberjack shows occupy this year's Broward County Fair, where more than 35,000 exhibits in 38 categories cover a lot of ground, from the gastronomic (pizza- and ice cream-eating contests) to the combative (spelling bees and cheerleading competitions) to something creepily titled "Girl Scouts Gone Wild" (which, thankfully, turns out to be an exploration of Florida's endangered species). But the fair's meat and potatoes are, well, meat and potatoes. The best reason to go is to revisit your inner Jeffersonian "gentleman farmer" through up-close interaction with crops, chickens, lambs, rabbits, cavy (a fancy term for guinea pigs), and cows (only cows with nose rings may enter the cattle contest; sorry, punk rockers). It's all a bucolic daydream in which we see that those freckle-faced boys and girls from 4-H and Future Farmers of America are preserving their family's quaint occupational heritage -- not running monster agribusiness. The fair runs through November 28 at the Pompano Race Track (at the corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Powerline Road, Pompano Beach). General admission costs $5. Call 954-922-2224, or visit www.browardcountyfair.com. -- Dave Amber
If you want to be a millionaire
BY DEIRDRA FUNCHEON
"As you can imagine, there are a lot of logistics to dropping 10,000 rubber duckies into the Intracoastal," says Dario Ayala, who's coordinating the first All-America Duck Derby. To raise funds, the Rotary Club is asking people to adopt a duck for a mere $5 donation ($20 for five). Ducks will be dropped in water 1/4 mile north of the Atlantic Avenue Bridge and then "race" down to the finish line at Veterans Park (802 NE First St., Delray Beach), where they will be captured in a "duck trap." Thirty-eight ducks are marked for prizes -- 35 of them for stuff like massages, vacation getaways, and restaurant gift certificates, three of them for a whopping $1 million cash prize (donated by AFLAC). That means the odds of your walking away with a big, fat wallet are 1 in 3,333 -- waaaay better than Lotto! If an orphaned duck wins the big jackpot, the Rotary Club keeps the cool mil. Get your adoption papers at www.delrayduck.com, or at the park, and make way for a new tradition that will rival Halloween. One derby that started in Saskatchewan in 1988 now attracts freaks in duck costumes who ride hobby horses through the streets. Scary! Ducks drop at 1 p.m. Call 561-441-6511. -- Deirdra Funcheon
If I Had a Hammer
Whether you need a new window treatment to spruce up your view, a little feng shui to soothe your soul, or a big excuse to go blow a wad in the Home Depot, you'll find it this weekend at the Home Design and Remodeling Show at the Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). The special guest is Eric Stromer, who's the hunky carpenter from TLC's Clean Sweep and more important, one of People magazine's sexiest men alive. He'll give two seminars -- Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m. -- on how to creatively organize your home. The expo is open Thursday and Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 7:30 p.m. Admission costs $8 for adults, $1 for kids under 11. Call 305-667-9299, or visit www.homeshowspecials.com. -- Mary Damiano