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December 25
Families in search of a new holiday tradition could do worse than the Christmas Day Picnic and Cruise to Deerfield Island Park. The day of Intracoastal cruising begins at 9 a.m. with hourly pickups by boat from Sullivan Park, which is located on Riverview Road at the west end of the Intracoastal Bridge (Hillsboro Boulevard) in Deerfield Beach. At Deerfield Island, naturalist Pat Howell will be on hand to talk about the area's flora and fauna. Additionally, facilities are available to grill your own food for the picnic. Boats launching between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. take cruisers on a twenty-minute excursion around the island before heading back to the mainland. Reservations are required for this free event. Call 954-360-1320.

December 26
Opera great Maria Callas teaches brown-nosing students Madonna and Glenn Close in Master Class? As portrayed by actress Patti Lupone in Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back! she does. Updated each theater season, this spoof of Broadway shows began as a showcase for creator-lyricist Gerard Alessandrini's talents when it debuted in New York City in 1982. The cabaret send-up has since become one of that city's longest-running musical-comedy revues, even winning the approval of some of its targets, including Ethel Merman, Bernadette Peters, and Stephen Sondheim. In addition to Master Class, the new version of Forbidden Broadway skewers Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, Rent, and Victor/Victoria. Tickets cost $30 to $40. Performances take place today through Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 7 and 10 p.m., plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, 800-572-8471 or 561-832-7469.

December 27
In the 1979 documentary film Culture as Nature, Australian-born art critic Robert Hughes goes off on the American-spawned, twentieth-century pop art movement as a reaction against media domination, mass production, materialism, and bad taste. Hughes uses as examples works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and others. Since that time Hughes has recanted some of his scathing attacks on contemporary art, notably in his recent book American Visions: The Epic History of American Art. As a result, Culture as Nature can be viewed as a historic snapshot of Hughes. However it's viewed, says Bass Museum of Art Curator of Education Wanda Texon, it is a great primer on pop art. It will be shown at 3 p.m. today and Sunday. Tickets cost $3 to $5. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-7530.

December 28
"Each performance is an intense experience for us," notes Creed frontman Scott Stapp. "We play from the heart." That's apparent on an emotional, unplugged rendering of "My Own Prison," the title cut from the Tallahassee quartet's debut album. (The acoustic version is not included on the CD.) A large guitar sound and Stapp's gruff, impassioned vocals supply the power behind socially conscious lyrics on songs such as "In America," while the band mines the themes of survival and compassion on "Torn" and "Sister." My Own Prison was recorded in a home studio for $6000 and released independently before being remixed by Ron Saint-Germain (Tool, Soundgarden, 311) and rereleased earlier this year. Find out what all the fuss is about when Subrosa and Love Canal open an all-ages show tonight at 7 p.m. at the Chili Pepper, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $9.50. Call 954-525-0094.

Eight-time Grammy winner Manhattan Transfer celebrates its 25th anniversary with Swing, an album that pays homage to big band, jazz, and swing luminaries. The two-woman, two-man vocal group puts its spin on the Ella Fitzgerald-Chick Webb classic "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and Fletcher Henderson's "Sing You Sinners." Long-time Manhattan Transfer collaborator and great jazz singer Jon Hendricks penned lyrics for instrumentals the singers wanted to cover, such as Jelly Roll Morton's "Stomp of King Porter." The group shows off its updated-yet-retro repertoire at 8 p.m. tonight at Coral Springs City Centre Theatre, 2855 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Tickets range in cost from $29.50 to $39.50. Call 954-344-5990. They perform again Monday at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets for that performance cost $22 to $35. Call 800-572-8471.

December 29
One of Broadway's most durable stars, Chita Rivera, presents South Florida audiences with a live retrospective of her own work, as well as a great musical-theater medley, in Chita and All That Jazz. The 64-year-old made her Broadway debut in Call Me Madam in 1950 and has never looked back. Rivera will sing selected songs and reprise her dance moves from West Side Story -- she starred in the original Broadway production -- Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman; she'll be joined on stage by a company of male dancers and accompanied by a full orchestra. Shows are at 8 p.m. today, Tuesday, and Wednesday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Following tonight's performance, the extravagant Latin Christmas celebration Noche Tropical is held at the center. Tickets for Jazz range in cost from $20 to $48. Call 954-462-0222. Combination tickets for the show and festival cost $75. Call 954-527-5346.

December 30
Kids set off on a pristine lake at Okeeheelee Park to learn basic paddling strokes and spend time exploring during the Youth Kayak Sampler. Sponsored by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, the lessons are given by the folks from Adventure Times Kayaks. Children learn about the craft's features (they are sit-on-top kayaks, sort of a beginner model), boating safety, and how to maneuver a kayak. Then there's plenty of time to tool around the scenic freshwater lake, which is off-limits to motorized boats. The event costs $15 and takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Okeeheelee Park is located off Forest Hills Boulevard, two miles west of Military Trail in West Palm Beach. For reservations call 561-966-6620.

December 31
Kevin James' large size and physical humor have a lot of folks comparing him to Jackie Gleason. The actor-comedian has appeared in three episodes of the television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond with fellow stand-up comic Ray Romano and has written for the show. Additionally, he's appeared on many of cable TV's comic showcases, as have Gary Valentine and Rock Reuben, who also will appear tonight on this New Year's Eve triple bill at Uncle Funny's Comedy Club, 9160 State Rd. 84, Davie. All three funny guys are members of the critically acclaimed sketch comedy troupe Strike 3. The 8 p.m. show costs $15 with a two-drink minimum; a $50 package of drinks, appetizers, and party favors is also available. Call 954-474-5653.


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