What: James Van Praagh
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com
Psychic medium James Van Praagh is recognized for his infectious affability and a wry sense of humor betraying his college degree in Broadcasting and Communications: “I’m a medium; I used to be a small,” is one of his funny asides. But the longtime clairvoyant has a mission in life that is serious, with implications beyond the physical world. His eight books, many of themNew York Times best-sellers, and his television and live appearances all seek to connect conscious beings with the spirit world, and he prides his ability to provide evidence of the afterlife. Of course, there have been plenty of skeptics who accuse Van Praagh of manipulative reading techniques and charge his producers with selective editing—Barbara Walters being the most famous case. Judge for yourself at this Fort Lauderdale gallery reading, which will include “messages from spirit” for randomly selected audience members and a guided group meditation.
WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY
What: The Hukilau
Where: The Mai-Kai, 3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, and other Fort Lauderdale locations
When: Various event times
We know that all good things—from the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra to “Breaking Bad”—must eventually come to an end, but this one is especially hard to accept. After 13 years, the nation’s most prominent celebration of Polynesian culture is calling its quits with this “Final Aloha.” “I am focusing on different aspects of my life and career,” says Christie White, aka Tiki Kiliki, the event’s producer and co-founder. “The Hukilau can be all-consuming, even with the great team that I have to help me, and it’s time I dedicate that time to my family and work.” Understandable, but it’s surprising that none of the tiki throngs who make the annual pilgrimage to the Hukilau decided to carry the torch. At any rate, White promises a gangbusters send-off, starting Hukilau 2014 a day earlier than usual. Entertainment includes seven live bands from as far away as California and Belgium; a tiki cruise aboard the Jungle Queen; an appearance from Medusa the Fire-Eating Mermaid; and symposia on everything from “Tiki’s Dark Ages” to Hemingway’s favorite cocktails.
What: Opening night of “High Fidelity”
Where: Slow Burn Theater Company at West Boca Performing Arts Theater, 12811 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 866/811-4111, slowburntheatre.org
Fans of the cult movie “High Fidelity”—I’m one of them, and can pretty much quote the whole thing verbatim—would be best to unremember it when approaching the musical theater version. Its creators, which include such Broadway royalty as “next to normal” composer Tom Kitt and “Rabbit Hole” playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, based their work in Nick Hornby’s original novel, to which it adheres more closely than Stephen Frears’ movie. But the characters remain fundamentally similar: Brooklyn record store owner Rob Gordon lives inside the world of the vinyl he sells, collects and plays, so much so that he can’t seem to settle down with his girlfriend. It’s only through excavating his romantic past that he can reconcile his present love life; original music written in the styles of Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, Beastie Boys, Aretha Franklin and many more will help him through it. The show was considered a bomb on Broadway, closing after 14 performances, but Slow Burn’s artistic director, Patrick Fitzwater, sees its potential. “Many people think that when a show gets to Broadway, it’s in its perfect form,” he tells Boca Raton. “I don’t think it’s fair to say that a show didn’t succeed on Broadway because of the material. We’re working with [the composers] back and forth to try to tweak the plot.” “High Fidelity” runs through June 29.
What: The Jost Project
Where: Arts Garage, 180 N.E. First St., Delray Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org
Paul Jost, the vocalist who gives this touring quartet its name, has long been a practitioner of a genre he terms “Hippie Jazz,” which seems to mean jazz music for people who grew up around flower children and the birth of modern rock ‘n’ roll. The group’s repertoire of covers certainly seems to pull from this era and beyond. They perform compositions by the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, Iron Butterfly, Aerosmith, Lovin’ Spoonful and others, jazzing them up with rollicking vibraphone and occasional scat vocals. The group is supporting its debut album, last year’s “Can’t Find My Way Home,” which includes many of these songs and has received stellar reviews.
What: Opening night of “Summer Shorts”
Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org
The best in local and national short plays—or at least the funniest, per the eccentric sensibilities of the founders of Miami’s City Theatre—will once again be showcased at this annual tradition, now it its 19th year. A cast of top-shelf actors and directors from the thriving South Florida theater community will translate such plays as “Shock and Aww,” a feline comedy written by Deb Lacusta and Dan Castellaneta of “The Simpsons” fame; “My Husband,” an LGBT short by award-winning humorist Paul Rudnick; “Joshua Consumed an Unfortunate Pear,” which I want to see based on its title alone; and six other 10-minute marvels. “Summer Shorts” runs through July 6.
What: Decades Records showcase
Where: Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach
When: 10 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-9999, sub-culture.org/respectablestreet
If you’re seeking a primer on some of the best indie music in South Florida, look no further than Decades Records, the boutique West Palm Beach label launched by local nightlife maven Rodney Mayo. The bands Mayo signs “all share a sense of the strange in independent music,” according to Decades’ website, and this event will spread the strange across two stages and six bands. The inside stage will feature the electronic acts Astrea Corp, Jean Jacket and Symbols, while three more rock-centric acts will play on the outdoor stage: dreamy shoegazers The Band in Heaven (pictured), hooky jangle-poppers Wake Up, and the organic Americana act Gravel Kings. Many of the groups will have merch for sale, so support this free show by supporting the bands directly. Look for special light shows on both stages and a custom drink menu.
What: International Food and Comedy Festival
Where: War Memorial Auditorium, 800 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: Food at 5 p.m., comedy at 9 p.m.
Contact: 877/419-0502, internationalfoodandcomedyfestival.com
Comedy, music and eclectic cuisine highlight this special event timed around Father’s Day. Beginning at 5 p.m., comedy show attendees who purchase an add-on Sampling Ticket can try offerings from several area food trucks competing for audience votes for the “Best Food Award.” Chef Selz, from the Food Network’s Navy Chef Challenge, will host the event, and Junior D, of the reggae band Inner Circle, will perform live. Then at 9 p.m., a lineup of six comedians will take the War Memorial stage, including Michael Blackson (pictured), who appeared in the hit comedy “Next Friday;” Sara Contreras, aka the Latin Queen of Comedy; and local funnyman Larry Dogg.
MONDAY, JUNE 16
What: Steven Seagal and Thunderbox Band
Where: Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 800/745-3000, ticketmaster.com
Steven Seagal’s prime as an action star who could open a movie on a thousand screens may have passed, but he still lurks the shadows of our DVD shelves, dispatching villainous cretins with indestructible ease in films with such disposable titles as “Maximum Conviction” and “Force of Execution.” At 62, it must be a bit draining to play so many ruthless ex-CIA men, ruthless ex-Black Ops fighters and ruthless ex-Navy SEALs who don’t play by anybody’s rules. Seagal relaxes from his day job by performing music, which has been integrated into his films since 1997’s “Fire Down Below.” Seagal and his band, Thunderbox, will open their summer tour here in Hollywood, performing selections of blues, pop, jazz and reggae music from their two albums, “Songs From the Crystal Cave” and “Mojo Priest.”