Luxurious vacations are at your bidding

Stays at lavish resorts in Jamaica, Antigua and Belize, and an array of cruise ship vacations, are just some of the items up for bid in an online fund-raising auction presented by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and its 2008 partner, the Antigua Pier Group.
Bidding in the annual “Holiday Gift Project” kicked off on November 28 and it ends Friday at 5 p.m. Funds raised through the auction will benefit organizations that help the needy in the Caribbean and Latin America.
This year, the Antigua Pier Group worked with the Curtain Bluff Resort, the Antigua Yacht Club Marina Resort, Le Bistro, Diamonds International, Noreen Phillips Couturire and Stingray City Antigua to donate three chic vacation packages worth about $7,000, all for a good cause.
“We saw the online auction as a real opportunity to not only help make a difference in the lives of people in the Caribbean and Latin America, but also to help raise awareness about giving at a time of the year when we think about those most in need,” said Avonelle Pole, speaking for the group.
For information on the auction, visit www.f-cca.com or contact Victoria Lalta of the FCCA Foundation at 954-441-8881, or send e-mail to vlalta@f-cca.com.

Voices of Jamaica
Jamaica’s renowned University Singers will return to New York on Saturday for a performance at the Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Theatre at 8 p.m. The show is part of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College series.
The group is famous for their skilled command of music styles ranging from classical works, jazz and original Caribbean music. The talented ensemble of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of the West Indies was founded in 1957 and is under the direction of composer Noel Dexter and UWI vice chancellor emeritus Rex Nettleford.
The theater is located at 2900 Campus Road, near Nostrand Ave. Tickets are $25 and $40. They can be purchased online at brooklyncenteronline.org or from the Brooklyn Center box office. Call 718-951-4500. Group rates are available.

Talent and tales
A day of storytelling and music is coming Friday when the Pickney Players performance group presents two shows in Manhattan.
The Manhattan-based ensemble, founded by veteran storyteller Malika Lee Whitney and celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, will be the featured performers in “Shekere, Songs and Stories,” which takes place Friday at the Harlem Stage at the Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue, at 135th Street. The program of storytelling music and dance will begin at 10:30 a.m. The show is being presented in conjunction with Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall. Admission is $7.
Later, “The Art of Storytelling” will be explored at the Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute, 361 West 125th St. in Manhattan from 4 to 8 p.m. Resource materials will be on sale at the event. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
For information on “Shekere, Songs and Stories,” call Harlem Stage at 212-281-9240. Call the Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute at 212-531-0515 for more on “The Art of Storytelling.” In addition, for more information about the Pickney Players, call 212-969-0779.

The right frame of mind
Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill Simply Art & Framing gallery is boasting special Obama art framing. Through January 31 the gallery will give customers $10 off any custom picture framing order or framing services on any President-elect Barack Obama posters, prints, photographs, placards or collectibles.
The Clinton Hill Simply Art & Framing gallery is at 583 Myrtle Avenue (near Classon Avenue) and is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 718-857-0074.

Months of great paintings
Expose yourself to fine art by getting a beautiful 2009 calendar featuring works by Haitian artist Yolene Legrand. The 12-inch-by-12-inch calendar has photos of 13 Legrand paintings on durable high-quality semi-gloss paper. For information, call 212-253-6803, visit www.yolenelegrand.com online or send e-mail to itiah1@aol.com.

Kwanzaa fest and feast
Medgar Evers College will host Kwanzaa 2008, a celebration of music, dance, drumming and spoken-word performances, on Saturday at the college’s Carroll St. building, 1150 Carroll Street, from 4 to 11 p.m.
The event will also feature a tribute to faculty member Mary Umolu, who died last year. In addition to her distinguished career at the college, Umolu was instrumental in the founding of the Medgar Evers College Radio Station, WNYE radio (91.5 FM). There will also be an African marketplace of vendors.
Before the Kwanzaa event, there will be holiday meals provided for needy children and adults, starting at 3 p.m. The sponsors, the MEC Student Government Association, the MEC Afrikan Heritage Club, the People of the Sun Middle Passage Collective and Akeem Productions, are also asking people to bring unwrapped toys, which will be distributed during the holiday season.
For information on any of the activities, call 718-270-4902, 718-659-4999 or send e-mail to akeem827@yahoo.com.

This column is reprinted from the November 9 Sunday editions of The New York Daily News. If you have items suitable for this column please e-mail them to jmccallister@nydailynews.com.