TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
What: Sandra Bernhard
Where: Jazziz Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 7 and 9 p.m.
Contact: 561/300-0730, jazziz.com/nightlife
Back in 1998, comedian Sandra Bernhard already had to remind America that, as her then-latest album title put it, “I’m Still Here … Damn it!” Sixteen years later, Bernhard is very much still here, and we should be thankful for her continued presence. This sexually liberated counterculture icon has been offering pointed observations about life and skewering political and celebrity figures for decades, with an act that makes Kathy Griffin’s standup material seem safe. But she never put her career eggs entirely in the comedy basket; from her 1985 debut album “I’m Your Woman” onward, she has mixed humor with popular songcraft, performing covers with an impressive vocal range that runs the gamut from rugged blues to soaring falsetto. This makes her a perfect fit for Jazziz, which welcomes cabaret personalities as much as jazz acts.
What: Classic Albums Live
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com
Rock purists might consider it cheating that Classic Albums Live—the respected brand known for recreating studio albums like “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Abbey Road” “note for note, cut for cut” in a live setting—would set their reverent professionalism on a best-of compilation like Elton John’s “Greatest Hits,” the subject of Thursday’s appearance at Parker Playhouse. To reduce an artist’s work to his hits and only his hits, outside of their album contexts, seems antithetical to this brand’s approach. Alas, I expect such concerns to blow away like a candle in the wind when you begin to hear this barrage of masterful songwriting, the likes of “Your Song” and “Daniel” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Rocket Man,” in a tight 10-song set of warm familiarity—all of it dating before 1975, after which the beknighted pop star got all schmaltzy on us. I have a feeling you won’t miss the deep cuts one bit.
What: Opening night of “Centralia”
Where: Mad Cat Theatre Company at Miami Theater Center, 9816 N.E. Second Ave., Miami Shores
When: 8 p.m.
Cost: $15 students, $30 general admission
Contact: 866/811-4111, madcattheatre.org
Miami Shores’ Mad Cat Theatre Company has always been about expanding our definition of what live theater can be, beyond traditional proscenium staging and pigeonholed genres. The company’s summer production is certainly no exception, marking the U.S. premiere of “Centralia,” a combination of comedy, music, dance and cabaret developed by an offbeat U.K. collective called Superbolt Theatre. It’s inspired by the largely abandoned mining town of Centralia, in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, in which a mine fire burning beneath the borough forced the relocation of its inhabitants back in the early ‘80s. These days it’s a ghost town, save for the eight or so residents who defiantly breathe the toxic air and call the region their home. Fascinated by the personalities and politics of these hangers-on, the Superbolt folks created three composites of Centralia residents, envisioning a scenario in which they put on a touring variety show to explain themselves to the outside populace. What happens next is anyone’s guess, with Mad Cat director Paul Tei leading a talented cast of locals through the show’s unpredictable motions. “Centralia” runs through Aug. 31.
What: Opening night of “The Last Sentence”
Where: FAU’s Living Room Theaters, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times TBA
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
It’s hard to believe now, but when the Third Reich was assembling its evil empire, it took balls to criticize Hitler in many corners of the world. One of them was Sweden, a nation that ignored the warning signs of fascism’s rise—except for, as this new film from acclaimed director Jan Troell tells it, one man. “The Last Sentence” is a hefty foreign-language biopic about Torgny Segerstedt, one of Sweden’s top journalists of the 20th century. The psychological drama, shot in elegant black-and-white, details his one-man battle against the Nazi regime as well as his fractured romantic life, capturing a political tumult that sentences Troell’s native country to the crime of complicity through neutrality. Like Margarethe Von Trotta’s recent biopic of Hannah Arendt, “The Last Sentence” looks like a gripping study of a figure fighting against the grain to be on the right side of history.
What: Summer Nationals Tour
Where: Cruzan Amphitheater, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 561/795-8883, livenation.com
Punk rock may have generally eluded mainstream consciousness in recent years, but this catchy, primitive, aggressive music is alive and well. This tour presents the work of four of punk’s most enduring bands of the past 30 years and beyond. Summer Nationals is headlined by the Offspring, the perpetually adolescent alt-rockers whose 40 million records sold have made them one of the most successful punk acts of all-time. But I’m more excited about the opening acts: Bad Religion, the hard-left political polemicists whose anger, tenacity and vigor hasn’t tempered one bit since their 1979 formation; and Stiff Little Fingers, the Ireland-bred cult legends responsible for such proto-punk classics as “Suspect Device” and “Alternative Ulster.” Pennywise, the speedy skate-punks from California, round out the bill.
What: Rock ‘n’ Blues Fest
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
In 1968, Johnny Winter released his debut album. It was called The Progressive Blues Experiment, a fitting name for his own oeuvre and those of the other bands slated at this one-day festival—all of whom are so uniquely weird that they could only be paired with each other, and whose sound rippled through the rock underground over the next decade. The migration from the acoustic howl of traditional blues to the electric shredding of today’s blues rockers owes much to the muscular sound of Winter, who passed away this summer. But his memory lives on in this tribute tour, which includes performances by his younger brother Edgar Winter, famous for his molten instrumental rocker “Frankenstein”; Vanilla Fudge (pictured), the enduring psychedelic act known for its unparalleled renditions of ’60s pop and soul tunes; Peter Rivera of Rare Earth, the first all-white act to score a hit on a major Motown record label; and Kim Simmonds, of British blues rockers Savoy Brown.
What: Old Boca Music Festival
Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com
This unusual bill at Boca’s favorite blues-rock restaurant-lounge features three acts that have been around since about as long as Boca Raton itself. It will be headlined by The Fabulous Fleetwoods, often called the longest running blues act in South Florida, bringing its 32 years of experience to covers and originals ranging from roots-rock to psychedelic country. The opening acts will be the Sheffield Brothers, the family band that has been rocking Florida for 40 years strong, and The Buster Leggs Band, a beloved bar band that rose to local popularity in the ’80s. They all may be Old Boca, but they haven’t lost any of their charm and relevance.
What: Klezmer Company Orchestra’s “JubanoJazz!”
Where: FAU’s Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 3 p.m.
Contact: 561/297-3921, library.fau.edu
Klezmer Company Orchestra maestro Aaron Kula is preparing for a momentous end to the summer: From Aug. 27 to Sept. 1, he’ll be bringing his nine-piece orchestra to Canada, bringing his unique take on klezmer fusion to festivals in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. In anticipation and celebration of the group’s first international tour, the KCO will presented a discounted trial run of its Canadian performances this Sunday at its home base in FAU’s library. The program will revisit material from this past March’s FAU performance, “JubanoJazz!,” a term created by Kula that encompasses his band’s merging of klezmer and Latin jazz. As Kula told me back in February, “I wanted to find a word that encapsulates anything and everything that could relate to Latin, Caribbean and Cuban cultures. There is no word that can capture all of that, so I figured I might as well make up one. Everyone seems to get what I’m doing. … We have 23 completely new, reimagined compositions that use every possible combination of Latin rhythm or Latin percussion or Cuban rhythm or Cuban percussion.” You can pick up your tickets at the event; there is no presale for this limited engagement.