Tuesday

Joachim de Posada at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 8 p.m.; free; 305/442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com

Based on a landmark Stanford University study that tested children on eating a marshmallow in front of them versus waiting 15 minutes for a second marshmallow, the new self-development book “Keep Your Eye on the Marshmallow” is as much about consuming the delectable dessert as “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is about servicing motorbikes. Its author, internationally acclaimed motivational speaker Joachim de Posada, understood the message of that Stanford study – that delaying gratification leads to greater success later in life, from finances to personal relationships – and has built his new book around that concept. This evening’s lecture presents a rare, free opportunity to hear this sought-after speaker, whose previous clients has included the Los Angeles Lakers, Verizon, the U.S. National Guard and several Olympic teams.

Thursday

Opening night of “Dawoud Bey: Picturing People” at Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 N.E. 125th St., North Miami; 7 to 9 p.m.; free for members or $10 nonmembers; 305/893-6211 or www.mocanomi.org

Award-winning Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey launched his career in the mid-1970s as a project in family history: He wanted to explore Harlem, a city he had never lived in, but where his parents had met. The resulting exhibition, “Harlem U.S.A.,” captured the spirit of the iconic community and its inhabitants in candid street photographs. It put Bey on the art world’s map, and he later found inspiration in photographing adolescents in his “Class Pictures” series; his portraits of public and private school students from wildly differing backgrounds helped eliminate perceived differences between them. This rare exhibition offers an expansive survey of Bey’s career. It runs through Sept. 8.

Friday

Free Community Day at South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free; 561/832-1988 or www.sfsm.org

What used to be known, in another era, as the South Florida Science Museum has gotten its feet wetter than ever, tripling the size of its aquarium. This is one of a handful of ways in which the beloved science museum has improved its facilities, thanks to a $5 million capital campaign over the past year. The grounds have ballooned from 20,000 square feet to 30,000, resulting in new permanent exhibitions like “Science on a Sphere,” a room-sized display of global planetary data, and blockbuster touring exhibits like “Savage Ancient Seas: The Ancient Deep,” which explores underwater dinosaurs. And don’t miss the new aquarium, which houses everything from tiny seahorses to giant lobsters.

 

Real Mail Fridays at FAU’s Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; 4 to 6 p.m.; $10 suggested donation; 561/297-0245 or www.fau.edu/library

The U.S. Postal Service may be scaling back Saturday delivery, and we all have become slaves to the immediacy of poorly spelled e-mails. But apparently, everything old is new again, including the writing of actual letters, folded in envelopes, lovingly licked with stamps, and inserted into mailboxes with the plastic red flags pointed to the heavens. As a preserver of all things created by dead trees, the FAU’s Jaffe Center for the Book Arts has been hosting these Real Mail Fridays, where participants write letters on handmade and commercial papers, which will be supplied along with pens and inks, rubber stamps, sealing wax and other artistic accoutrements. Just bring your creativity. There will be no extra charge for the postage stamps, and coffee, tea and cookies will be served as well. FAU accurately describes its Real Mail phenomenon as “social networking, old school.”

 

Wayne Brady at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5555 N.W. 40th St., Coconut Creek; 9 p.m.; $35 to $55; 954/935-2636 or www.ticketmaster.com

Wayne Brady is nothing less than a freak of nature – an international titan of improv comedy whose performed-on-the-spot material made him arguably the most talented fixture on the British and American versions of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” He specialized in song parodies, excelling in any genre thrown his way and crafting instantaneous material that was funnier than most comedy songs written over extensive periods of time. He’ll no doubt bring some of his musical chops to this variety performance at the casino – he’s released a couple of albums as a singer – and as for the comedy, here’s hoping he left his scripted material at home.

 

Opening night of “Summer Shorts” at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 7:30 p.m.; $35; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org

Like umbrellas, Morikami strolls and superfluous 3D blockbusters, “Summer Shorts” is one of South Florida’s staples of Fun Season, the cultural community’s unofficial kick-off to summer. When City Theatre first opened its Summer Shorts collection of short plays, in 1996 at Coral Gables’ Ring Theatre at UM, the content was divided between light comedies and heavy dramas. Gradually, to meet demand, the genre has been almost exclusively comedic, with sketch-comedy series like “SNL” acting as signposts along the way. To that end, this year’s collection of 12 short plays will include Paul Rudnick’s “The Gay Agenda,” a hilarious character study of an anti-gay bigot; and Sheri Wilner’s “A Tall Order,” a surreal exploration of gender differences inspired by the ordering of food in a restaurant. We don’t know what to expect from the seven world premieres, which bear such intriguing titles as “iZombie” and “Mothra Vs. the Casting Agent, An Allegory.” Summer Shorts runs through June 30.

Saturday

Kurt Elling at Minaici Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University, 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd., Davie; 8 p.m.; $40; 954/462-0222 or www.miniacipac.org

For a while, Kurt Elling was the Susan Lucci of jazz vocalists, constantly receiving nominations for his industry’s top awards, but never winning them. But after seven nominations—one for each of his albums, most of them recorded for the legendary Blue Note label—Elling finally won the 1999 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, for “Dedicated to You,” his tribute to the songs of John Coltrane and John Hartman. Notoriety has only grown for this versatile performer, who is as comfortable scatting improvised lines as he is reviving a Brill Building classic.

 

Opening day of “Charles M. Schulz: Pop Culture in Peanuts” at Art and Culture Center, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood; noon to 5 p.m.; $10 adults, $6 students, seniors and children; 954/921-3274 or www.artandculturecenter.org

It’s hard to quantify the influence of Charles M. Schulz’ “Peanuts” comic strip in mere numbers, but I’ll try: Over a span of five decades, Schulz drew more than 18,250 strips, reaching readers in 75 countries and 21 languages. Go to any reasonably developed country and you’ll find locals who understand the universal language of Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown. Along the way, Schulz absorbed the pop-culture trends of his time and integrated them into his strip; this attention to the zeitgeist forms the foundation of “Pop Culture in Peanuts,” an exhibition of more than 70 original Peanuts strips addressing popular trends such as coonskin caps, 3-D glasses and macramé. The exhibition runs through Sept. 1, but try to make it today, when the gallery hosts a “Snoopy Jazz Party,” advertised as “a special celebration of all things Peanuts.”