Readers: I will be in Thailand for the next two weeks, and am expecting to re-emerge bleary-eyed in South Florida on March 10, with a travel story for this magazine on the horizon. In the meantime, this special Week Ahead covers the next two weeks of A&E happenings, and I’ll still be posting additional arts blogs during my absence.
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Eric Whitacre at Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach; 3 p.m.; free for members; $15 nonmembers; 561/655-7227 or www.fourarts.org
Eric Whitacre initially wanted to become a rock star, and he still has the look of one. Instead, the intense, blond-haired Nevadan studied choral music, graduating from Juilliard and winning a 2012 Grammy for his best-selling “Light & Gold” album. At this exclusive lecture, he will discuss his “Virtual Choir” project, which involves joining together thousands of voices from around the world in an online choir. So far, this democratic project has received more than 3 million hits on the Web.
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Brunch in Boca with Hal Linden at Boca West Country Club, 20583 Boca West Drive, Boca Raton; 10 a.m.; free, but reservations required; 800/211-1502 or www.jnf.org
Hal Linden is a triple threat: An actor, singer and dancer who launched his career as a Big Band musician in the ‘50s, won a Best Actor Tony award for his role in Broadway’s “The Rothschilds,” and eventually went on to immeasurable fame as the star of the TV sitcom “Barney Miller,” where he played the titular, long-suffering police chief in New York City. In 2011, the septuagenarian Linden made news for finally releasing his first album of pop and jazz standards, appropriately titled “It’s Never Too Late.” The actor is also an observant Jew and a national spokesman for the Jewish National Fund, which is presenting this brunch and guest lecture. This will be Linden’s second annual appearance with the fund, and the program promises to be completely different from last year’s.
Friday, March 1 to Sunday, March 10
Miami International Film Festival at various Miami movie theaters; various show times and prices; 305/237-3456 or www.miamifilmfestival.com
In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Miami International Film Festival will look to the past as well as the future by honoring Sweden’s Lasse Hallstrom, whose art-house classic “My Life as a Dog” premiered at the Miami Film Festival in 1984 and established his international reputation. This time, he’ll be presenting “The Hypnotist” (pictured), a promising crime drama. The festival also will pay tribute to Spanish director Fernando Trueba, who will make his 10th appearance at the MIFF. The 10-day event also features a symposium on the Chinese film industry, a Culinary Cinema series and a rare retro screening, in 35mm, of Robert Bresson’s all-time masterpiece “Au Hasard Balthazar.”
Saturday, March 2
Tribute to pandit Ravi Shankar at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 6 p.m.; $25 to $45; 954/462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org
Arguably the most famous sitar player of all-time – and a collaborator of the Beatles during the band’s weird years – pandit Ravi Shankar died last year at age 92. He deserves the credit for bringing an obscure Indian stringed instrument to worldwide popularity, and at this concert sponsored by the Association of Performing Arts of India, two modern masters of Indian music will pay tribute to him. Sitarist Kartik Seshradi, a disciple of Shankar, has performed with Philip Glass and graced the stages of Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center; he’ll be joined onstage by Alam Khan, who will perform on the sarode, a fretless lute. Khan has received praise from the likes of Shankar, Carlos Santana and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, so expect the very best.
Saturday, March 2 to Saturday, March 9
Kultur Festival at Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; various show times and prices; 800/564-9539 or www.fauevents.com
In its fifth year, the ever-expanding Kultur Festival celebrates Jewish culture across eight days of concerts, films, author presentations, comedy programs and more. “Second Avenue Jazz ’n’ Jive” (March 3) will showcase the Klezmer Company Orchestra performing new arrangements alongside the Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches; radio personality Marty Bookspan will speak about his friendships with Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland (March 5); and author Thane Rosenbaum will read excerpts from his best-selling philosophical novel The Golems of Gotham with live musical accompaniment (March 9), among other events.
Wednesday, March 6
“Sip & Savor” at Total Wine and More, 11221 Legacy Ave., Palm Beach Gardens; 6 to 8 p.m.; $25 advance, $30 at door; 561/837-8066 or www.sunfest.com
We’re all still waiting patiently – and some of us not so patiently – for SunFest to make its dang lineup announcement for its annual music festival, now only about a month away. Until then, you can help support and promote the festival, while enjoying a worldly evening of wine, at this special tasting in Palm Beach Gardens. The SunFest-sponsored event features an impeccable array of international wine divided into five categories: American wines (from Oregon, Washington and California), Italian wines, French wines, “adventurous” wines (from Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand) and other European wines (from Spain, Portugal, Germany and Austria). There also will prize giveaways and hors d’oeuvres from Sandy James Catering.
Friday, March 8
Opening night of “Brothers Beckett” at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 7:30 p.m.; $35; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
Local playwright David Michael Sirois recently described his play “Brothers Beckett” to me thusly: “It’s about two Peter Pans in a codependent sibling relationship who affectively destroy each other’s other relationships.” Sounds serious, and its themes are, but this cogent description doesn’t get to the play’s relatable wit and humor, sure to be performed wondrously. “Brothers Beckett” enjoyed a world premiere in 2010 at Miami Lakes’ Alliance Theatre Lab; ever since seeing that production, Scott Shiller, vice president at the Arsht Center, had been hoping to bring it to his own audience, a dream that has finally become a reality for both institutions. Sirois and Gabe Hammad play the titular Brothers Beckett, young adults whose stunted, bunk-bed cohabitation is threatened when their love lives pull them apart. Mark Della Ventura reprises his Carbonell-nominated breakthrough part as the Becketts’ best friend. I don’t say this all the time, but this show is definitely worth a drive from Palm Beach County. It runs through March 24.
Monday, March 11
Roger McGuinn at Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter; 7:30 p.m.; $35; 561/575-2223 or www.jupitertheatre.org
As the frontman and lead guitarist for The Byrds, Roger McGuinn has left an indelible mark on American folk rock – and other genres, too. The Byrds album “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” virtually invented country rock, and McGuinn’s innovative guitar playing borrowed liberally from psychedelic rock’s unpredictability and John Coltrane’s free-jazz sensibilities. It’s been more than 20 years since McGuinn has enjoyed much commercial success as a solo artist, but with such a killer back catalog, who needs radio hits? These days he’s a spry 70-year-old whose live performances including humor, storytelling and all the Byrds hits fans will show up to expect: “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High” and many others.