You might want to salute 280-pound "Jammin'" Joe LaRue as the "kernel" of consumption. A circuit star with the International Federation of Competitive Eating, this husky Hollywood chef will take on top-status scoffer Ed "Cookie" Jarvis and others on Sunday, April 25, to compete for $1,000 in cash and the title of World Sweet Corn Eating Champion. "Cookie's going to be hard to beat," LaRue admits. "[But] he'll be in California the night before doing an asparagus contest, and I'm hoping he's kind of tired."
Earlier this month, LaRue devoured 60 chicken wings in four minutes to qualify for a Miami competition. His upcoming quest to ingest will be part of the Fourth Annual Sweet Corn Fiesta, and the audience will be all eyes and ears (including some 40,000 ears of the variety that's shrouded in husks). Coordinated by the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau to promote local growers before the Memorial Day weekend rush, the event features cultivators including self-touted "simply ear-resistible" Glades Super Sweet Corn. Sugary corns will be available for sampling, including a multisweet variety that bureau President Ann Holt likens to candy. "Some people just pull back the husk and eat it raw," she says.
The event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds (9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach) features live music, a shucking contest, carnival rides, bungee jumping, and water balloon wars. Larger-than-life veggie Shucky, the Fiesta mascot, will greet attendees; re-enactors in period swimsuits will strut their stuff in a bathing beauty competition; and amateur corn-eating contests will include a Palm Beach County Sheriff candidates-only face-off. "Let the games begin!" says sheriff's office Capt. Fred Mascaro, a corn-eating competitor. "The farmers in the Glades area produce some of the best corn I've ever eaten."
Activities and rides are free. Radio Disney will be on hand, and the old-time village with blacksmiths, weavers, a general store, a schoolhouse, and a historical museum will be open for tours. Admission costs $3 for children ages 6 to 11, $5 adults. Call 561-996-0343 or 561-793-0333. --Michelle Sheldone
Enlightenment is convenient to 595
When Ravi Shankar goes on-stage tonight in Davie, he won't be the 84-year-old sitarist who inspired the Beatles in the '60s, jammed with George Harrison in the mid-'70s, and then fathered singer Norah Jones. Rather, he'll be the 47-year-old spiritual leader from Bangalore, India -- Sri Rave Shaker -- who teaches meditation and is now on the U.S. leg of his 2004 Love Moves the World Tour. Sri Rave Shaker (Sri = the Reverend) is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. According to its website, the foundation has helped millions of people relieve stress through a trademarked rhythmic breathing technique called the Sugarcane Kraal. Tonight's event is billed as "an evening of wisdom, music and deep meditation." But what does that mean? Well, that depends on the rev. Likely is a Q&A with the audience -- common questions include "What is love?" and "Why am I here?" -- and then a guided meditation. And then you can buy CDs.
Peace seekers, shake your inner groove thing at the Signature Grand Hotel (6900 State Rd. 84, Davie) at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or at www.artofliving.org. They cost $15, or $10 for students/seniors. Supersized enlightenment comes with $25 preferred seats. Call 954-793-1633. -- Dave Amber
These ads aren't bad
Commercials -- bah! Seeing that first split second of advertisement means it's time to make a snack or take a leak. Unless they're foreign commercials. Then they become interesting, less of a burden, and more of a cultural study. "Commercials are really the expression of the society, and the way things are presented in European ads is very different from in America," says Filipe Timon, of the Alliance Francaise de Miami. To prove this point, the organization is bringing 230 international TV commercials from 47 countries to Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) for Ad-Eaters Night. European commercials, Timon says, are more sophisticated -- yet often less politically correct -- than their American counterparts. And Ad-Eaters demonstrates more than just a contrast of cultures; there's a bit of history as well, with commercials dating back to the early 1900s. Imagine watching 230 commercials without once seeing John Basedow's "tight six-pack of abs." Who's not sick of that guy? The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 to $20. Call 954-523-9052. -- Jason Budjinski
'Til Nielsen Ratings Do Us Part
Lovebirds who love to talk about their relationships, here's a reality show for you. Producers from A Wedding Story are aiming to shoot at least 20 South Florida couples who are getting hitched. They're looking for chatty folks with entertaining stories about their relationship, how they met, or the proposal, and also for couples putting together interesting weddings -- perhaps revolving around an unconventional theme or away at a romantic island resort. Before the camera captures the couple exchanging vows, it must follow them to a few prewedding events, such as dress fittings, massages, and bachelor parties. Participants aren't paid, but there's the priceless opportunity to express your love to the world -- or at least to fans of the Learning Channel. You'll also get a copy of the TV-quality video. To apply, call 954-922-4639 or log on to www.northsouth.tv, especially if you have a wedding date between now and September. -- Patti Roth