Opening night of “We Will Rock You” at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 8 p.m.; $26 to $96; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
It was only a matter of time before Queen, one of the most theatrical rock bands of all-time, received its own theater piece. “We Will Rock You” is a jukebox musical integrating the band’s biggest hits into a story about counterculture, bohemia, and resisting tyranny through music that would have made Freddie Mercury proud. The musical premiered in London in 2002 and became the longest-running musical ever at the Dominion Theatre, playing for more than a decade, despite a less-than-enthusiastic response from critics. Whether or not the story lights your fire, the more than 20 Queen songs that inform the narrative certainly will. It runs through Sunday.
“Phyllida Barlow: HOARD” at Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $5 to $12, or free for members and children 12 and younger; 561/832-5196 or www.norton.org
For British sculptor Phyllida Barlow, the material for her work couldn’t be more primitive and, in the context of modern art, more unglamorous: cardboard, plywood, fabric, wire netting, cement and polystyrene form the basis of her abstract pieces, from large-scale cylinders to assemblages of tape and ribbon affixed to walls. While towering and impressive to walk through, her work is also crude, seemingly unstable and refreshingly back to basics. “Raw” would be a good word for it, which makes Barlow a perfect fit, in more ways than one, to be to be third artist in the Norton’s annual RAW (Recognition of Art by Women) series of solo exhibitions. The museum is one of the first in the U.S. to showcase Barlow’s sculptures, which include site-specific, floor-to-ceiling works. The exhibit runs through Feb. 23.
The Thermals at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 9 p.m.; $10 advance, $12 at door; 561/832-9999 or www.sub-culture.org/respectable-street
In 2003, “More Parts Per Million,” the debut album by Portland rockers The Thermals, hit audiences with blast-furnace intensity: 13 songs of defiantly lo-fi punk fury recorded for all of $60 in the kitchen of singer Hutch Harris, who played everything on the record. It was arguably the most inspired record to see a semi-major release that year, in the sense that its very existence suggests the possibility of greatness on the cheap. Five albums have followed since, and while the higher fidelity of their recording processes alienated some purists, Harris has inarguably grown as a lyricist and a political and religious provocateur. His group is touring behind its latest album “Desperate Ground,” and he still sounds like a punk-rock Paul Revere, warning us of existential threats with three chords and endless bombast. The Thermals will be joined tonight by two impressive local acts: Beach Day and The Band in Heaven.
Screening of “The Last Emperor” at Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach; 2:30 p.m.; $5 or free for members; 561/655-7226 or www.fourarts.org
In a recent essay about Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 epic “The Last Emperor,” movie historian David Thomson wrote, “How can a film about China be other than huge?” Indeed, “The Last Emperor” is one of the nation’s hugest, a 163-minute survey of Chinese history, shot in studios in China and Italy, and dramatizing the life of Pu Yi, the last emperor of imperial China. We see him take the throne at the ripe old age of 3, then become an enlightened revolutionary and ultimately succumb to Mao’s tyranny. But it’s the lush colors, countless extras and staggering locations – like “Lawrence of Arabia,” this is a widescreen experience that demands to be seen in cinemas – that have earned it a place in history. If there’s one title on the Four Arts’ 2013-2014 film series I wouldn’t miss, it would be this one.
Friday to Dec. 17
Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival at various Palm Beach restaurants; prices and start times vary; 561/389-1222 or www.pbfoodwinefest.com
Entering its seventh year, this posh foodie destination is slowly but surely attracting the kind of culinary cachet associated with its longer-running Dade County competitor, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. More than 50 world-renowned talents will gather and cook for festivalgoers, some of them not traveling too far to make it: Clay Conley, Lindsay Autry, Daniel Boulud, Todd English, Ted Allen, Christina Tosi and Robert Irvine are among the distinguish guests slated to appear at events like “An Evening in the Garden of Good and Evil” on Saturday at the Breakers, “Southern Comfort” on Sunday at Swank Farms, and the popular Grand Tasting on Dec. 17 at 150 Worth. Other events, however, are long sold out, once again solidifying the vibrancy of Palm Beach’s food culture.
Saturday and Sunday
2013 Winter Performances from the Harid Conservatory at Countess de Hoernle Theater, 5100 Jog Road, Boca Raton; 3 p.m.; $22 to $28; 561/997-2677 or harid.edu
Twice a year, the world-class dancers from Boca Raton’s cherished Harid Conservatory open their doors to the public, offering it a glimpse of the hard work they’ve been perfecting throughout the school year. The winter performances make for one of these times. Showcasing the breadth of the dancers’ talent, the program will consist of classical ballet as well as character and modern dance, along with, most enticingly, a production of “Divertissements” from the second act of “The Nutcracker” – a portion of the holiday classic exploring French, Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dance.
Ayikodans at Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 7:30 p.m.; $28; 561/832-7469 or www.kravis.org
Just because you can’t pronounce it doesn’t mean you should skip it. Translated from two Creole words, Ayikodans is Haiti’s premiere dance company. Founded in 1987, the company has performed throughout the world, integrating folk performance, free improvisation, Indian and French influences, and voodoo religious culture into its boundary-pushing modern dance repertoire. If you can’t catch this dynamic performance this weekend, it will tour Miami’s Arsht Center Dec. 20-22.
Cheech & Chong at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood; 7 p.m.; $49 to $104; 954/797-5531 or www.hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com
With recreational pot use now legal in two states, and with more than half of the U.S. population favoring marijuana legalization, it appears Cheech and Chong, whose pro-pot ethos made them counterculture icons in the Vietnam era, are now firmly in the mainstream: It only took about 42 years for the nation to catch up to them. These days, the ability of Tommy Chong, 75, and Cheech Marin, 67, to shock audiences may not be as potent as it was in the more conservative ‘70s, but they remain funny, talented and indefatigable performers. Their live shows include songs, comedy skits (masturbation, oral sex and other R-rated topics turn up, so parents beware), numerous costume changes and a sincere Q&A portion, in which Chong has been known to discuss his bout with prostate cancer, which he treated with cannabis.