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It's a Ruff Life

Being for the benefit of Mr. Mutt

THU 10/21

Benji. Lassie. Hootch. Besides being very popular Playgirl centerfold pseudonyms, these are, indeed, the furry icons of the silver screen. Acting can be a great gig for lucky dogs -- but what about the unsung pups who perform less glamorous tasks like guiding blind folks around? Did those dogs even get to see Air Bud? This weekend, you can help both disabled humans and their wet-nosed friends while sipping champagne and watching movies at the same time. The Sundawg Film Festival (a mini-event within Fort Lauderdale's International Film Festival) is a four-night affair that benefits the Pet Project, Allen Babcock Dog & Cat Rescue, and Sun States Animal Blood Bank. It begins Thursday with a champagne reception from 7 to 10 p.m. at Central Bark Doggy Day Care (3699 N. Dixie Hwy., Oakland Park). The following night brings us to the Flomingo Bar (3148 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park), behind which you'll find the Dawg-in Drive-in. Bring your puppies and popcorn to watch The Truth About Cats & Dogs on the two-story outdoor screen. On Saturday, the festival moves to Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) for a showing of animal-friendly short films at 9:30 p.m., and it continues there on Sunday with a showing of Acquária at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 per evening. Call 954-568-DOGS, or visit -- John Shannon

Chili Wars

Spice up your gallbladder

SAT 10/23

One person's chili recipe is another's source of envy. To each his own, right? Hell no!!! My recipe's the best! Oh, is that so? Well, then it's time to put your chili where your mouth is and enter today's 10th Annual Hospice Chili Cookoff at Big Dog Saloon (2283 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors). Good luck, though; you'll be up against dozens of other chili lovers competing to win the judges' favor based on texture, aroma, front-end taste, and back-end taste (that's the after-taste, not the effects). Past cookoffs have drawn more than 100 chili enthusiasts (chileans?) to the saloon, and this year's event promises to be similarly chockfull of creative recipes and belt adjusting. So start your taste-testing now... and be sure to stock up on Beano. The cook-off starts at noon; the stomach tremors kick in around 4 p.m. Admission is free. Call 954-467-7423. -- Jason Budjinski

Once You Pop

The beat won't stop

SAT 10/23

Ever wonder where club nights get their names? Some obviously cater to a specific audience (X-Rated, Skirts), while others sound like some new type of body fragrance (Hush, Addiction, Temptation). So with a name like Pop It Off -- tonight's event at Meridien (115 S. 20th Ave., Hollywood) -- it's hard to tell what's implied. What is happening, however, is a long night of dance and drink, featuring music by House Arrest, Renegade, and Nu Fashion. It's up to you to infer any deeper meaning from the event's flier, which depicts (surprise!) the silhouette of a naked chick. Ladies drink free before 12:30 a.m.; guys, you have until then to get 'em nice and tanked. Call 954-558-4804. -- Jason Budjinski

Restaurant Hopping

FRI 10/22

When restaurants compete, you win! Lending Tree commercial references aside, you can chow down on a variety of finger-lickin' meals at today's Taste of Boynton at Westchester Country Club (12250 West-chester Club Dr., Boynton Beach). Thirty bucks gets you sample meals from the various restaurants trying to impress the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce (gotta win those awards!). Call 561-732-9501. -- Jason Budjinski

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