How we chill in kooky South Florida

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - THE GO GUIDE - Ben Cran­dell

Ev­ery­thing we love about South Florida — its re­mark­able nat­u­ral beauty, its col­or­ful his­tory and its play­ful kook­i­ness — co­a­lesces in a sin­gle event on Sun­day night as the Mi­ami Sym­phony Orches­tra per­forms at the bot­tom of the Vene­tian Pool, once it has been drained of its 820,000 gal­lons.

The 7 p.m. con­cert at the pool is the fi­nal event of the City of Co­ral Gables’ cel­e­bra­tion of its 90th an­niver­sary. The event is a throwback to con­certs held dur­ing the early days of the pool, cre­ated in 1923 from a co­ral rock quarry and fed by a nat­u­ral sub­ter­ranean aquifer that al­lows it to be drained and filled daily.

A unique com­bi­na­tion of co­ral, grot­tos and wa­ter­falls, the Vene­tian Pool is un­like any public pool you’ll see in any other city. For more than two decades it has been Get daily up­dates on South Florida en­ter­tain­ment and things to do at South and on Twit­ter at @Ben Cran­dell a must-see des­ti­na­tion in the reg­u­lar tours of Mi­ami that Fort Laud­erdale author Thomas Swick has led for out-of-town friends. A few weeks ago he vis­ited the pool with an Ira­nian friend, now liv­ing in Phoenix.

“It was built way be­fore water parks, way be­fore Dis­ney World, but it has that kind of fan­tasy feel to it. You go in there and you don’t feel like you’re in a public swimming pool, you feel like you’re trans­ported to this kind of fan­tasy land,” says Swick, one of South Florida’s most elo­quent cor­re­spon­dents, and for many years the travel edi­tor of the Sun Sen­tinel.

On Tues­day, Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing will pub­lish a new book of Swick’s writ­ing, “The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Il­lu­mi­nate Them.” The book in­cludes a col­lec­tion of per­sonal es­says on what he has iden­ti­fied as “the seven fun­da­men­tal plea­sures of travel”: an­tic­i­pa­tion, move­ment, break from rou­tine, nov­elty, dis­cov­ery, emo­tional con­nec­tion and height­ened ap­pre­ci­a­tion of home. One of the es­says was pub­lished in short­ened form in “The Best Amer­i­can Travel Writ­ing of 2014.”

The es­says are ac­com­pa­nied in the sec­ond half of the book by Swick’s travel stories, each in its way a small mem­oir, set in such di­verse des­ti­na­tions as Warsaw, Mu­nich, Bangkok, Si­cily, Myan­mar, Iowa and Key West. The stories are meant to il­lus­trate the “joys” he finds and open our eyes to the mo­ments that we take for granted, of­ten ob­scured by the splash of the typ­i­cal travel story.

“The sights get all the pub­lic­ity, but … an­tic­i­pa­tion, nov­elty, dis­cov­ery — you don’t pho­to­graph th­ese things, but I re­ally think they are es­sen­tial to the travel experience,” he says.

Swick will dis­cuss the themes in the book at an ap­pear­ance 8 p.m. May13 at Books and Books in Co­ral Gables (265 Aragon Ave.), not far from the Vene­tian Pool (2701 De­soto Blvd.). Info: Book­,

The Vene­tian Pool is closed Sun­day for the an­niver­sary party, and re­opens Tues­day. Hours are 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues­day-Fri­day, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Satur­day and Sun­day. Ad­mis­sion: $13, $8 ages 3-12 ($5.50, $4.50 for Gables res­i­dents). Info: Co­

Sun­day’s per­for­mance by the Mi­ami Sym­phony Orches­tra is $90, and ’20s at­tire is en­cour­aged. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 305-460-5344 or email cvester@coralga-


Quest­love will do a DJ set Satur­day night at Base­ment Mi­ami, fol­lowed by a Sun­day af­ter­noon per­for­mance with the Roots at SunFest in down­town West Palm Beach.

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