Your Week Ahead: Oct. 17 to 23

A Belgian movie star gets his own day at a Boca brewery, the Wick pays cheeky homage to classic musicals, and a Boca-bred blues-rock duo plays Arts Garage. Plus, Conor Oberst, “The Little Foxes,” WWI aviator art and more in your week ahead.



What: Opening day of “Knights of the Air: Aviator Heroes of World War I”

Where: Flagler Museum, 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Museum admission of $18 adults, $10 youths

Contact: 561/655-2833, flaglermuseum.us

One of the many surprising pleasures of this year’s Wonder Woman movie was the unorthodox World War I setting, personified by Chris Pine’s heroic aviator. Whether planned or coincidental, this is an ideal year to revisit the romance and patriotism of classic wartime fliers, as 2017 marks the centenary of the United States’ entry into the First World War. In honor of this anniversary, the Flagler has organized “Knights of the Air,” the first museum exhibition dedicated to the pilot-heroes of World War I. For folks on the American mainland, the daredevil aviator became a national symbol for the overseas war effort—avatars of adventure and derring-do. This exhibit showcases the period art, artifacts and printed materials that brought our military might to the home front. It runs through Dec. 31.


What: Screening of “Basic Instinct”

Where: O Cinema, 90 N.W. 29th St., Miami

When: 9 p.m.

Cost: $12

Contact: 305/571-9970, o-cinema.org

If you’ve never seen this campy 1992 thriller by movie bad-boy Paul Verhoeven, this is not the place to experience it. But if you either love or hate “Basic Instinct,” this special interactive screening is a singular way to appreciate its quirks, faults and schlocky joys. As part of O Cinema’s Reel Hottpants series, host DJ Hottpants will provide a live commentary during the screening, complete with audience participation cues, a la “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The notorious Sharon Stone police-interrogation scene is only the tip of this iceberg of absurdity, whose two Oscar nominations and two Razzie nominations attest to its polarizing nature. Arrive at 8 p.m. for a preshow presentation with DJ Hottpants, including clips of the cast, ‘90s music videos and trivia.



What: Van Damme Day

Where: Barrel of Monks Brewing, 1141 S. Rogers Circle, Suite 5, Boca Raton

When: 5 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Varies per beer

Contact: 561/510-1253, barrelofmonks.com

This week is a momentous one in the history of Belgian cultural dominance on the global stage. I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, as Wednesday marks the 56th birthday of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Belgium’s native son and top cinematic export, known for his kickboxing prowess, limited acting skills and conveyer belt of anonymously titled straight-to-video movies (“Kill ‘em All” and “Pound of Flesh” are two of the latest, but you knew that). Barrel of Monks, Boca’s top purveyor of Belgian-style ales, will toast JCVD’s latest calendar cycle with specialty beers and food pairings from Tucker Duke’s, along with “movie spotlights, photo ops, hero moments and more,” whatever that means. Practice your best roundhouse kick if you must, but do show it off while you’re still sober!


Photo by Rachel Fosbenner

Photo by Rachel Fosbenner

What: ONYX Art Stroll and concert

Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach

When: 7 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Art Stroll is free, $10 for concert

Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org

It’s the third Thursday of the month this week, which means Arts Garage returns for its celebration of local art, both visual and musical. Starting at 7, artists will begin vending their wares for the night, and beginning at 8, two local bands will perform spirited sets. You don’t want to miss this all-Palm Beach County lineup: Rocket to Anywhere (pictured), which began as a solo project in 2014 and has evolved into a high-energy rock group, recorded with Grammy-nominated producers and secured a show at SunFest this year with a sound that conjures New Found Glory one minute and Bruce Springsteen the next. We’re also excited to catch Anastasia Max, a teenage brother-and-sister duo from Boca that plays bluesy, garage-tinged music that belies their age, with influences such as Nina Simone and the White Stripes evident in their stripped-down sound.



What: Opening night of “The Little Foxes”

Where: Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $90 ($75 for later performances)

Contact: 561/514-4042; palmbeachdramaworks.org

A new season begins at Palm Beach Dramaworks with Lillian Hellman’s masterpiece, “The Little Foxes.” It’s the tale of a greedy Southern family that will stop at nothing—including violence—to get what it wants. Driven by greed and ambition, Regina Giddens and her clan rely on cutthroat maneuvers and betrayal in their ruthless drive to amass wealth. Although it’s set in 1900 (and written in 1939), this classic is striking a chord with modern audiences. A much-heralded Broadway production of the show starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon wrapped up its run over the summer. Both actresses, as well as the audiences and critics they delighted, found the script to be surprisingly timely. “Given where we are now and given where our culture is now—particularly looking at money and power and what do you value and what do you not value—it’s sort of shockingly right on point,” Linney told NPR.

Conor Oberst's new album, Salutations, comes out March 17.

What: Conor Oberst

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $30

Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net

Emerging from the cultural hinterlands of Middle America—Omaha, Nebraska, to be exact—with a quavering voice, a deft pen and an emo artist’s confessional nakedness, Bright Eyes was, for a time, the biggest thing in indie rock. In 2008, Rolling Stone named its chief musician and singer-songwriter, Conor Oberst, Best Songwriter of the Year. After mastering a ragged strain of neo-folk rock, Bright Eyes went to sleep in 2011, but Oberst has persisted in a fertile solo career. He remains as cultishly worshipped as ever, and his lyricism has only improved with age. Pitchfork recently called him “one of the 21st century’s most mercurial and charismatic songwriters.” Oberst’s Americana-inflected latest album, Salutations, is nostalgic without being saccharine; its lyrics nod to everyone from Jane Fonda and Paul Gauguin to Ronald Reagan to Christopher Hitchens. Perhaps the best part, for longtime fans? He still plays plenty of Bright Eyes songs, and switches up the set list nightly.



What: Opening night of “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $85

Contact: 561/995-2333, thewick.org

This self-reflexive musical comedy premiered nearly 20 years ago in Toronto. It was ahead of its time then, and good productions still have a wry, sophisticated sensibility of simultaneously winking and not winking at the audience. The protagonist and narrator, simply known as Man in Chair, is an agoraphobic New Yorker in a run-down apartment whose greatest joy in life is an obscure (fictional) 1928 Broadway musical called “The Drowsy Chaperone.” When he plays the record in his living room, the show flowers around us, as the man’s apartment transforms into a tony Broadway set. The musical-within-a-comedy is deliberately rife with ancient musical-theatre clichés and stereotypes—a controversial wedding, a ditzy flapper, a pair of bumbling gangsters, a Latin lothario—and the Man in Chair frequently interrupts the action to comment on it. It’s a clever night of entertainment for all, but Broadway junkies especially should flock to this. Its Palm Beach County regional premiere runs at the Wick through Nov. 12.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Delray CRA Unveils New Arts Venue in Pineapple Grove

The visual arts community of Delray Beach, which has faced the brunt of rising rents and vanishing studio space in recent years, will soon have a new champion: a 15,000-square-foot building buttressing Artists Alley.


Situated on Northeast Third Street just west of the train tracks, the palm-lined, pale yellow edifice is known as the Arts Warehouse, and it’s been a long time coming. Delray’s Community Redevelopment Agency purchased the building in 2010, during the economic downturn, as a prong of its 2006 Cultural Plan to brand Delray Beach as an arts haven.

Originally, in conjunction with Creative City Collaborative and other entities, the CRA considered transforming the building into a performing arts venue. But with Arts Garage satisfying the community’s needs for this aspect of culture, the CRA shifted the focus to visual arts.

After years of painting, construction and redesigns—local architecture firm Currie Sowards Aguila designed the improvements—the CRA unveiled the new digs to the media this week. The building’s sleek, geometric entrance ushers visitors into a cavernous ground-floor exhibition space, which will be open to local, national and international artists. High ceilings can accommodate large-scale installations, and movable walls will ensure flexibility.


Upstairs, approximately 18 single- or double-occupancy studios, each equipped with sinks, await tenants. The studio spaces can welcome up to 26 artists, offering 24/7 access, at a monthly cost of $2 per square foot. Other spaces ideal for classes and workshops, ground-floor kitchen and meeting rooms, and a mixed-use, all-purpose space fit for video shoots and casting calls complete the facility.

The CRA expects to soft-open the Warehouse to the public later in 2017 and to host a grand opening in 2018, once it has a full season of exhibitions lined up. In the meantime, artists interested in leasing studio space have until Oct. 20 to apply at delraycra.org/artswarehouse.

When it’s all up and running, Brown hopes to work with the city’s other visual-arts resources, seeing Artists Alley as collaborator more than competitor.

“I want us all to work together to make this a good area,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in meetings with the different arts organizations, trying to come up with ideas. We’re hoping to have a trolley route for First Fridays. I have a lot of ideas for how to get things going. We’re off the Avenue, but there’s a lot to Delray besides the Avenue. We want to do things a little differently and help these artists grow.”

For updates on the Arts Warehouse, keep up with its Facebook page here. The CRA can be reached at 561/276-8640.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The Art of Climate Change, Stunningly Explored at the Norton

For most of us, climate change is an abstract concern—an accumulation of hopeless data we can’t see, smell or hear, and can only occasionally, and debatably, feel (read: Hurricane Irma). So perhaps it makes sense that an abstract artist would produce the most illuminating visualization of global warming’s impact on Earth’s natural resources.

That artist is innovative photographer Justin Brice Guariglia, who flew over Greenland with a contingent of NASA scientists seven times during 2015 and 2016. The resulting images—of arctic voids and industrial landscapes alike—form the basis for “Earth Works: Mapping the Anthropocene,” now on display at the Norton Museum. (“Anthropocene” is the proposed era of geologic time in which we currently live, with “anthropo” referring to changes caused by human activity.)


These photographs, printed on an ultra-archival process Guariglia himself pioneered, are stunningly beautiful objects on its own. Guariglia’s work conjures the terror and intensity of the early abstract expressionist painters more than anything in the traditional photographic realm.

But their collective implication is of a clarion call unheeded, of the last desperate gasps of a dying planet unsentimentally presented for observation by its very killers. It’s just about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in an art museum.

For this monumental show to settle in, it’s best to take things slow. If you follow this one-room show clockwise, you’ll start with its most frenzied works and progress to its more despairing selections. “Obur I,” one of many photographs taken over industrial mining sites, is an ominous blur of furious topography—created, like so many of these works, by integrating elements of painting. He coats his shots in platinum gold acrylic pigment and mineral-based gesso. These materials are deployed as much for their commentary as their aesthetics; three of his “Landscape Studies” are awash in 22-karat gold leaf, one of the products mined from this mutilated region for our pleasure, resulting in tempestuous images of a world in flux that are also partial diagnoses of its current state.

Another “Landscape Study,” this one pointedly lacquered in pewter leaf, resembles a broken mirror, a straightforward if effective metaphor. His images of the Arctic Ocean and Baffin Bay, however, were taken after the breakage. Once-mighty glaciers have been reduced to glacial dust—specks of white on a dark surface that suggests deep space more than the North Pole. These aren’t icy masses anymore; they’re simply detritus.


Finally, you arrive at Guariglia’s extreme close-ups of ice sheets, many of them ballooned in size. The four-panel “Akunnaaaq I” looks like the most inhospitable planet in a science-fiction film. But even this is dwarfed by “Jacobshavn I,” depicting a landmass pockmarked and cratered by carbon dioxide emissions. It’s a nine-panel wake-up call too massively scaled to ignore.

At least, that should be the response. The reality is, on the day I visited, most museumgoers breezed in and out of the gallery without reading the wall text. As with the issue of confronting climate change, the urgency is lost on too many of us.

“Earth Works: Mapping the Anthropocene” runs through Jan. 7 at Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Admission is free. Additionally, Guariglia will be discussing his work and the exhibition at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the museum, at no cost. Call 561/832-5196 or visit norton.org.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

3 Simple Ways to Get Your Child Involved in the Arts

Arts and achievement go hand in hand.


by Melanie Gibbs

Funding for the arts is getting slimmer and slimmer. In March, President Donald Trump proposed a budget that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal program that provides vital arts funding to nonprofits, schools and local and state governments. While it will continue to be funded until Dec. 8, the future of the NEA is uncertain.

There’s a reason why the NEA exists. Art isn’t just for artists, it’s for everybody. And the earlier kids engage in the arts, the better off they are.

A Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching study found that young artists are likely to read for pleasure nearly twice as often as their peers and perform community service more than four times as often. There are also links between increased participation in the arts and being recognized for academic achievement.

There is a real and measurable link between participation in the arts and success in academics. So why do many families miss the connection?

Let’s face it, “busy” doesn’t begin to describe today’s families. Between work, school and extracurriculars, there’s little time left over for a meal together, let alone those subjects thought of as inessentials. And sometimes, parents are unable to cover the cost or transportation involved with arts education outside of school.

Florida schools have been hit with deep spending cuts since the 2008 recession, and overworked teachers don’t get much time or resources to fill the gaps. Private schools frequently include visual and performing arts in their curriculum, but their higher tuition often proves prohibitive for many families.

There are many obstacles to making the arts a part of your child’s life, and yet research has proven that a student involved in the arts excels in school, period. So what’s a frazzled parent to do? Here are some ideas you can implement right now:

  1. Play classical music in The Mom Taxi. Your kids might fight it at first, but they’ll get used to this new normal. There is a proven link between music and math skills so don’t give up—you might even enjoy it yourself!
  2. Sign your child up for dance. Even one class per week can make a visible improvement in your son or daughter’s confidence and poise, and the benefits of physical activity for kids age 4-9 are widely acknowledged. Remember recess? Dance class is like recess in Fantasyland.
  3. Leave art supplies out and easily accessible in your home. Art time doesn’t need to be structured—just let your kids create the way they want, when they want. Dorothea Brande said “A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.”

You don’t need a degree to help your own kids get to the graduation stage—just use these simple tips to make the arts part of their daily schedule. Then stand back and watch them shine!

This post was sponsored by Boca Dance Studio.

Melanie Gibbs is the owner of Boca Dance Studio in Boca Raton and ProAm Dance Studio in Pompano Beach. Her son practices the piano three times a week with only a little whining.

For more info visit BocaDanceStudio.com or call 561/391-8557.

7. Jason Newsted

Former Metallica Bassist to Appear at … the Colony Palm Beach?

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County recently announced its 2017-2018 season of “Culture & Cocktails” guest-speaker events. A cursory glance at the schedule makes for a fun game of “which of these things is not like the others?”

7. Jason Newsted

“Culture & Cocktails” events are upscale affairs celebrating the loftiest arts, often operating on the nexus of culture, economics and politics, where esteemed Cultural Council members interview their immaculately spoken kin in august settings. So I had to commit a double take when I read the name of the second speaker of the season. Jason Newsted, the bassist for Metallica from 1986 to 2001, will speak on “Heavy Perspectives: From Metallica to Modern Art” on Jan. 8, 2018. I hope the Colony Hotel on Palm Beach, where the events will take place, is prepared to welcome the faded-T-shirt-and-ripped-jeans crowd.

While I’ve admittedly outgrown Metallica, it was a formative band from my youth: During the ‘80s and ‘90s, nobody evolved into punk, post-punk and indie rock without starting with Metallica. And Newsted performed with the band during its commercial peak, 1991’s self-titled “black album” and its landmark predecessor, …And Justice for All.

Newsted has since become a visual artist—the influence of Jean Debuffet and Basquiat is evident in his earthen, occasionally frenzied and primitive paintings—which is more the Cultural Council’s bailiwick. But by booking a heavy metal bassist, the Council is admirably extending its wheelhouse to musical forms normally left to rock promoters. It’s a validation, in a roundabout way perhaps, that hard rock is culture. Pretty cool, huh?

The rest of the “Culture & Cocktails” schedule will feature:

“Putting it Together: A Conversation about the Birth & Growth of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County,” with legendary benefactor Alexander W. Dreyfoos and former Council Board Chair George T. Elmore (Nov. 6)

“Behind the Embassy Door: A Conversation with Edward Elson, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark,” who helped create National Public Radio (Feb. 5)

“Shining Bright: The Eternal Allure of Silver,” in which Michael James, owner and founder of The Silver Fund, will discuss his worldwide dealings in estate silver and its relationship to the art and antiques market (March 5)

“Let Me Entertain You,” which welcomes the heads of Palm Beach Opera and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches (April 2)

For more information, visit palmbeachculture.com or call 561/471-2901.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Your Weeks Ahead: Aug. 29 to Sept. 10

[NOTE: This column covers the next two weeks ahead, to accommodate for a vacation next week.]

Mizner Park hosts a Brazilian bash, South Florida artists re-interpret the classic femme fatale, and Boca restaurants offer a month of prix fixe specials. Plus, Green Day, the Norton’s “Earth Works,” “Marjorie Prime” and more in the weeks ahead.



What: Opening night of “Femme Fatale” All Girl Art Show

Where: Howley’s, 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

When: 7 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/833-5691, sub-culture.org/howleys

The archetype of the femme fatale—the seductive beauty from many a pulp novel and noir film, who ensnares a hapless male into a web of deception—is the subject of this diverse exhibition of work by 20 female artists from South Florida. The artists will reinvent, re-interpret and recontextualize femmes fatales, in a dynamic show curated by Kelcie McQuaid of Shangri-La Creations. At Tuesday’s opening, in addition to the art, at least 10 vendors will be on hand selling their wares, and local singer-songwriter Lindsey Mills will perform an acoustic set. You’ll want to stick around and order from Howley’s extensive, classic diner menu—or come back another day to view the art in a less raucous context. The show runs through Sept. 25.


Photo courtesy of CNHVision

Photo courtesy of CNHVision

What: Grunge Fest

Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/449-1025, jointherevolution.net

Those of us unlucky enough to have discovered Nirvana posthumously can experience the next best thing at this bargain-priced tribute concert. Orlando-based Nirvanna goes beyond the call of cover-band duty, re-creating the music, clothes and hairstyles of the grunge pioneers, perfectly imitating Kurt Cobain’s distinctive howls and signature disaffected look. One listen to the music, either in a live setting or recorded, confirms the group’s note-perfect commitment. Arrive early for Facelift, which memorializes the look and sound of another platinum-selling Seattle export, Alice in Chains.



What: Opening day of Boca Raton Restaurant Month

Where: Participating area restaurants

When: Lunch and dinner!

Cost: $21 to $40 for prix fixe meals

Contact: 561/395-4433, bocarestaurantmonth.com

September is a great month to experiment with a new dish, or finally try that hot new restaurant in Mizner Park or Royal Palm Place. For the entire month, 23 restaurants will be offering prix fixe dinner (and sometimes lunch) specials, thanks to this initiative from the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. The theme of this year’s Boca Restaurant Month is “I Love New York,” and each venue will offer, as part of its special menu, a New York-themed item, from Manhattan clam chowder to N.Y.-style cheesecake. Given the number of ex-New Yorkers that call the 561 area code their home, standards will be high. But with eateries like Max’s Grille, Henry’s, Morton’s and City Fish Market participating, expect them to be exceeded. Visit the promotion’s website for all restaurants.



What: Green Day

Where: Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $27 lawn seating still available

Contact: livenation.com

For audiences of a certain age, Green Day became synonymous with adolescent awakening, channeling the anxieties and rebellion of the pre-college set on its 1994 breakthrough Dookie—still an awesome album, even by this 34-year-old writer’s tastes. But the pop-punk trio has remained relevant three decades later, after many of its peers have shredded and snare-drummed into the dustbin of alt-rock history. American Idiot, from 2004, became a potent rallying cry for the antiwar, anti-Bush left, and was later adapted into a musical. Last year’s Revolution Radio, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, has become a similar cultural touchstone for the anti-Trump resistance, which will be in full flower at next weekend’s South Florida tour stop. Expect fireworks (literal and figurative), T-shirt guns, audience participation, imaginative cover medleys and a frenzied, eclectic set list spanning nearly the band’s entire career.


Earth Works image 1

What: Opening day of “Earth Works”

Where: Norton Museum, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org

Art and science share canvases in this collection of more than 30 environmentally alarming works by photographer Justin Brice Guariglia. The New York City artist flew over Greenland seven times during 2015 and 2016 as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge, which surveys the impact of climate change on the country’s melting glaciers. The resulting exhibition, subtitled “Mapping the Anthropocene,” is both a striking collection of abstract photo-paintings and a clarion call about sea level rise. Printed with an acrylic process Guariglia himself invented, the impossible-to-replicate aerial close-ups of “Earth Works” are both placid and tempestuous, astral and arctic, forcing us to look anew at the geography we’re slowly losing.



What: Opening night of “Marjorie Prime”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 2 and 6 p.m. Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

This much-anticipated science-fiction movie arrives in theaters with an impeccable provenance: It’s based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. It’s set in the near future, where holographic projections of deceased loved ones are de rigueur, helping widows cope through the illusion of immortality. For the 86-year-old title character (played by Lois Smith), this technology becomes her link to the past and her crutch against Alzheimer’s, manifesting in the form of John Hamm’s virtual simulacrum of her late husband. A meditation on memory and mortality from the cerebral sci-fi auteur Michael Almereyda, “Marjorie Prime” co-stars Tim Robbins and Geena Davis, and it currently boasts a 93-percent “fresh” ranking from Rotten Tomatoes.


What: Opening night of “Dual Frequency”

Where: Art and Culture Center, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood

When: 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/921-3274, artandculturecenter.org

Not all of the best local artists struggle financially, but the romantic cliché of the starving artist still carries a lot of truth. Hence the continued importance of grants to ensure their impactful, unifying work can proceed without extreme financial hardship. “Dual Frequency,” an initiative/exhibition from the South Florida Cultural Consortium, showcases work from 14 preeminent South Florida artists pegged for 2017 grants of either $15,000 or $7,500. The diverse group show crosses many disciplines, with Art and Culture Center curator Laura Marsh stating in a press release that “this group of artists represents some of the most committed and community-engaged in South Florida.” Catch the exhibition through Oct. 22.



What: Brazilian Beat

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 6 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/367-7070, downtownboca.org

Brazil will celebrate its Independence Day Sept. 7, and for us in South Florida, that means it’s a great excuse to party like we’re South Americans. Downtown Boca hopes to draw thousands to Mizner Park for the sixth-annual Brazilian Beat, which has become the region’s premier celebration of Brazilian culture. The evening will feature gourmet and authentic Brazilian cuisine, a Zumba showcase, a Capoeira circle, carnival dancers and samba drummers, along with a couple of outstanding music acts courtesy of Miami’s Rhythm Foundation: national headliner Vanessa de Mata, the longtime Brazilian songstress whose reggae career included a stint with Jamaican legends Black Uhuru; and Batuke Samba Funk, an Afro-samba Big Band whose funk-influenced sound aims to bridge the gap between American and Brazilian music.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
blue green swipes on yellow

Your Week Ahead: Aug. 22 to 28

Animal artists show off their paintings, a Miami mentalist plays Russian roulette, and an all-female tribute act brings a Whole Lotta Love. Plus, Demetri Martin, Gilbert Gottfried, “The Sunshine Boys” and more in your week ahead.


Michael H. Small & Peter Librach

What: “The Sunshine Boys”

Where: Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road, Margate

When: 2 p.m. Cost: $48

Contact: 954/344-7765, stagedoorfl.org

This 1972 Neil Simon comedy is the playwright’s nostalgic ode to vaudeville, that early-20th-century clearinghouse for live entertainers of various stripes—think “America’s Got Talent” for the Depression era. The Sunshine Boys of the title, Al Lewis and Willie Clark, were a once-successful vaudeville comedy duo for more than four decades, but whose relationship withered. When Willie’s nephew, a talent agent, inspires his uncle to reunite with his former partners, old wounds reopen with humor and Simon’s trademark humanism. Simon is said to have been inspired by several mostly forgotten, real-life vaudeville duos, such as Smith & Dale and Gallagher & Shean. We’d like to think that, given this week’s celebrity passing, that Martin & Lewis were firmly on Simon’s mind. “The Sunshine Boys” runs through Sept. 24.



What: ONYX Art Stroll

Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach

When: 7 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 866/811-4111, artsgarage.org

Arts Garage’s monthly celebration of South Florida artists and musicians features a pair of live bands and handful of artists and crafters hawking their original wares in the venue’s Grassroots Gallery. August’s lineup features soulful, funky rock bands Chemradery (pictured) and the Nostalgic Minds. The latter, a six-piece outfit, recently released an EP of acoustic songs and a faithful cover of Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days.” Between acts, and before the show, shop the local vendors, whose work is usually concentrated in outsider art, painting, sculpture, mixed media and jewelry.



What: Gilbert Gottfried

Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 250, West Palm Beach

When: Various show times

Cost: $22

Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com

Back when “The Celebrity Apprentice” was merely one of television’s guiltiest pleasures and not a road map to a polarizing presidency, Gilbert Gottfried had the hilarious, unmitigated audacity to compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler … to Donald Trump’s face. It should come as a surprise to no one that Gottfried didn’t last much longer on the NBC series; getting fired for un-P.C. barbs is kind of his thing. Just ask Aflac, which ended Gottfried’s lucrative tenure as its spokes-duck after he tweeted off-color jokes about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But for fans of the screechy-voiced comic, his ruthlessness at pillorying such sacred cows continues to ensure packed comedy clubs wherever he performs, in an act that is old-fashioned in its approach and cutting-edge in its content. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.



What: Alan Chamo: “Mind Hacker”

Where: Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $39-$49

Contact: 800/211-1414, colonymb.org

Chamo, a longtime Miami magician and comedian, concludes his three-week residency at the Colony with six shows in both English and Spanish this weekend. A favorite on cruise ships and corporate mixers, Chamo’s “mind-blowing” show is focused on mentalism, the sophisticated art of simulating psychic powers. Interactive in nature, his act includes mind reading, blindfolded object detections, and a show-stopping, Russian Roulette style game involving paper bags and a large spike—making for a pointed illusion, indeed.



What: “Wet Hot American Summer”

Where: Crest Theatre at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $5, or $15 for VIP ticket

Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org

This 2001 comedy set at a debauched summer camp in 1981 has enjoyed a surprisingly robust afterlife. Despite failing at the box office and among critics, “Wet Hot American Summer” has struck a chord with Gen-Xers and beyond, who appreciate its satirical skewering of 1980s sex comedies and its bonkers sense of humor, courtesy of “The State” alums Michael Showalter and David Wain. Bawdy, iconic and endlessly quotable, the movie’s enshrinement as a cult classic makes it a perfect fit for the Crest’s summer movie series. It also provides for plenty of star-gazing, with a parade of familiar faces including Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, and a then-unknown Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper. For a $15 VIP ticket, you get one drink and food item along with admission.


Lez Zeppelin plays Led Zeppelin at the State Theater in Fairfax, Virginia on June 18, 2011. Photo by Pat Benic

Lez Zeppelin plays Led Zeppelin at the State Theater in Fairfax, Virginia on June 18, 2011. Photo by Pat Benic

What: Lez Zeppelin

Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

“Lez Zeppelin” is an irresistible name for an all-female tribute act to Led Zeppelin, but if the four ladies didn’t bring the fire along with the irony, it would be easy to write them off as a novelty act. But these women rock just as hard as Robert Plant and company, resurrecting Zeppelin’s greatest hits with unimpeachable passion and urgency. The group established its authentic bona fides in 2007, when it enlisted Led Zeppelin sound engineer Eddie Kramer to produce its debut album. The band subsequently employed ‘60s-era period instrumentation, includes ‘50s guitars, a 1960s compressor and a Fuzzbender stomp box, to recreate the vinyl version of Zeppelin I. As a live band, the extra x chromosome goes a long way; for evidence, look no further than Lez Zeppelin’s orgasmic take on “Whole Lotta Love.”

blue green swipes on yellow

What: “Savage: Art Made by Animals”

Where: Macaya Gallery, 145 N.W. 36th St., Miami

When: 7 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: zoomiami.org

Yes, you read that correctly: This fundraiser features artwork created by the animals of Zoo Miami, with some assistance by their stewards. Themes include the relationship between the animals and their keepers, a collaboration that resonates across dozens of abstract paintings from a wide range of creatures, from snakes to elephants. The best of the bunch, like “Chimp Splatter” and “Croc Chaos,” even conjure Jackson Pollock! This special event includes music, free snacks and a cash bar, along with animal encounters for the first hour. All proceeds will support species conservation and research.

MONDAY (Aug. 28)


What: Demetri Martin

Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 250, West Palm Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com

This Greek-American comedian from New York has built up a hip cultural pedigree: For years, he was the “Senior Youth Correspondent” on “The Daily Show;” he appeared on musical jokesters The Flight of the Conchords’ TV series; he starred in an Ang Lee movie and appeared in others by Steven Soderbergh and Lake Bell. He has achieved all of this bankable success through his consistently unique standup act, a sophisticated mélange of observations, self-deprecation, non-sequiturs and malapropisms inspired by the no-frills deadpanning of Steven Wright. As reviews of his current tours have indicated, Martin is also evolving: He eschews props such as the white drawing board of his earlier gigs, letting the jokes alone—eventually accompanied by acoustic guitar and other instruments—bring the funny.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Patricia Nix’s Boca Museum Show is the Right Kind of Crazy


At first awestruck blush, Patricia Nix’s work seems absolutely insane. And I mean that as a compliment, of course. She doesn’t create sculptures or paintings so much as phantasmagorical monuments to imaginary realms, often on a monolithic scale.

Nix is a collagist who constructs totems from secondhand ephemera, from doll parts to broken musical instruments to religious iconography and animal horns. Some suggest humanoid forms, while others adopt more abstract shapes. Most feel like offerings to pagan gods. The best reside on the border of the nightmarish and comic, a twilight zone that both attracts and repels. I’d want to buy these pieces in an instant, if I wasn’t afraid of the kind of energy they’d attract in my home.

These are the weird emotions that percolated during my visit this week to “American Baroque,” the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s audacious survey of Nix’s ongoing oeuvre. The native Texan has been making art for more than half a century, and she now works in her studio on Palm Beach, making surrealist outsider art that couldn’t be more incongruous from the other galleries on the island, with their accessible Pop art and gilded antiques. There’s little accessibility in Nix’s macabre mixed-media goulashes. And those stately figurines in the Worth Avenue galleries? She’s more likely to use them as readymade elements in her collages than display them.


While there’s no linear chronology to the exhibition, “American Baroque” starts quite rightly, for visitors traveling clockwise, with one of her early pieces, “Bulldog on a Tightrope,” from 1978. Begin with this embryonic work, with its muted circusy atmosphere, because it only gets weirder from here. “Beauty and the Beast,” a sculpture begun in 1985 and completed in 2017, features the body of a string instrument encased in a cabinet, topped with the head of a monster which is sprouting wild antlers. The beast part is clear, so does the broken instrument represent music, which represents beauty?

Overthinking is de rigueur for most of these masterpieces, but it’s unnecessary for their appreciation. “Cowboy and Indian,” another wall-mounted assemblage, resembles neither of its titular archetypes, though it does suggest a humanoid animal chimera with a disemboweled keyboard for a spine. “As Time Goes By” conjures an instrument from some madman Terry Gilliam set—part chair, part piano, part clock, part midway amusement whose constituent parts have been stripped of their functionality.


This transformation—from valued appliances, instruments and icons with individual purposes, to reinvented parts of an esoteric whole—is a recurring element across her oeuvre, often resulting in a mordant wit. In “Mother and Child,” a porcelain doll head rests atop what appears to be a miniature stove where inside, instead of a “bun in the oven,” there resides only wood shavings and cracked glass. The title character in “Fat Girl,” from 1984, is comprised of two chubby “legs” (actually ornate table legs), a jigsaw-puzzle heart with missing pieces, and an inverted tortoise shell to approximate an oversized midsection.

As Nix continued her practice into the Aughts, her art has seemingly become more vertical, more deliberately totemic, and even less figural. “Allegro 1” and “Allegro 2” are, in typical totem fashion, divided sectionally—abstract paint swatches here, dominos there, piano keys over there. “Flexible Totems” is a series of 24 narrow objects, each a work of extravagant collation, each suggesting a belt for an eccentric giant.


The exhibition concludes with her large-scale interpretations of tarot cards, paintings composed of fever-dream visions of devils and hanged men, before coming full circle with “The Magic Mountain.” Completed in 2017, this newest sculpture is also the most massive in the exhibit, a golden shrine that feels like a Patricia Nix greatest hits collection, with its mounted steer head, its tiny piano, its billiard balls and bicycle wheel and dominoes and stopwatches. It’s festooned with too many religious icons to count, from Buddhas to crucifixes, popes to saints.

It comes across, like so many of her manic sculptures, like an object of worship, but of what? Certainly, Nix’s catchall ingredients and ambiguous aims transcend any one belief system. For all I know, she’s creating her own.

“Patricia Nix: American Baroque” runs through Oct. 22 at Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and free for students with ID. Call 561/392-2500 or visit bocamuseum.org.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Your Week Ahead: Aug. 8 to 14

A Cuban-American plumbs the distant past in Boca Raton, ’80s and ’90s rock icons channel “Rapture and Rage” in Hollywood,  and “Y&R” stars bring the small screen to the big stage. Plus, The Psychedelic Furs, Norm MacDonald, a horror movie fest and more in your week ahead.



What: Opening day of “Deep Line Drawings by Carlos Luna”

Where: Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $10-$12, free for students

Contact: 561/392-2500, bocamuseum.org

Artist Carlos Luna is the embodiment of South Florida’s melting pot. A Cuban exile, he emigrated to Mexico in 1991 and then to Miami nearly a decade later, absorbing the customs, rituals and rich artistic heritage of each country. Cuban jargon, Mexican Day of the Dead-style imagery and even European cubism inform his dynamic oeuvre, which stretches from paintings and drawings to sculpture, tapestry and installations. Rootless, restless and forever innovating, Luna continues to integrate new styles and formats by, in the case of “Deep Line Drawings,” gazing into the distant past: The exhibition will feature new works on amate, a type of paper formed from natural tree bark whose practice dates to Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. It runs through Feb. 11, 2018.


What: Blondie and Garbage

Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $50-$90

Contact: 954/797-5531, myhrl.com

Pioneering female-fronted rock from two generations headlines this nostalgic jaunt, aka the “Rapture and Rage” tour. Former punk sensations Blondie, indefatigably touring with original members Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke, continues to innovate on its star-studded latest album “Pollinator,” a dancey, sparkly collection of tunes that picks up where the group’s ‘80s pinnacle left off. Just as impressive, ‘90s hitmakers Garbage (“Stupid Girl,” “I Think I’m Paranoid”), led by the infectious and self-flagellating vocalist Shirley Manson, is likewise on the heels of its strongest album in years: the expansive, brooding and serpentine “Strange Little Birds.” Hear a tailored mix of the old and the new at this co-headlining tour, along with opening act Deep Valley. Look for a review of this concert Wednesday here on bocamag.com.



What: The Psychedelic Furs

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $32

Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net

The night after Blondie, keep the ‘80s party raging with The Psychedelic Furs, the British New Wave standard-bearers founded by brothers Richard and Tim Butler. This group’s quartet of albums from their 1981 to 1987 peak period became permanent fixtures of pop music enthusiasts, underground goths and club kids alike, on the strength of Richard Butler’s singular vocal style, the band’s limitless capacity for shiny earworms—“Pretty in Pink,” “Heaven” and “Love My Way” are among its biggest—and its ability to channel the angst of its era and beyond. “President Gas,” for instance, written during the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions, contains lyrics that just as easily apply today. The Furs haven’t released an album in 26 years, but their ‘80s output continues to offer a trove of stellar material for the group’s fans, and their current set list stretches all the way back to their lesser-known, self-titled debut from 1980.



What: Opening of Fusion Art & Fashion Gallery

Where: 501 Fern St., West Palm Beach

When: 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/305-6004

West Palm Beach’s latest gallery, Fusion Art & Fashion, is a brainchild of the producers of the annual Fashion Week Palm Beach, an area staple since 2010. The gallery will keep things local for its inaugural exhibition, “Sublime Chaos: A Journey From Realism to Abstraction,” a showcase of 25 paintings from West Palm Beach-based artist Deborah Bigeleisen. Her swirling, tempestuous art pops off the canvas with bold colors inspired by fellow-abstract expressionist Paul Jenkins. Check it out through Oct. 10, and if you buy a painting, proceeds of the sale will benefit Soroptimist International of the Palm Beaches.


What: Opening night of “True West”

Where: The Vanguard, 1501 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost $20-$35

Contact: 954/591-0818, newcityplayers.org

In the kind of tragic scheduling irony that could never be planned, New City Players were likely in the early stages of rehearsing their production of Sam Shepard’s 1980 masterpiece “True West” when the heartbreaking news came across the wire: Shepard had died, at age 73, from complications of ALS. Also an Academy Award-actor specializing in rugged, earthen characters, Shepard was most prominently a playwright, where he penned emotionally excoriating and shocking sagas of fractured families. “True West” is a stellar example of his invigorating craftsmanship, focusing on the split between estranged brothers—a screenwriter and a petty thief—who find themselves cohabitating in their mother’s otherwise empty house. Tensions flare in this astute and surprising play, which seems to be as much about the entertainment business as filial strife. See this poignantly timed tribute to the late, great playwright, through Aug. 27.



What: Opening night of Popcorn Frights Film Festival

Where: O Cinema Wynwood, 90 N.W. 29th St., Miami

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $12 per screening, $120 for all-access festival badges

Contact: popcornfrights.com

Most mainstream horror cinema, with its cheap and predictable scares and routine plotting, has nothing on the innovative and gonzo approaches of underground auteurs. That’s the raison d’être behind Popcorn Frights, which screens a flurry of cultish horror films too weird or subversive for commercial theaters. It all begins at 7 p.m. Friday with the Florida premiere of “Tragedy Girls,” a satirical horror-comedy that takes bloody aim at fame-seeking internet exhibitionism. The film stars Brianna Hildebrand, of “Deadpool,” and Craig Robinson, and has been described as “Scream meets Clueless.” Tickets are still available for most of the other films, which screen through Aug. 17. Check out the full schedule at the festival’s website.



What: “The Young and the Restless” Soap Opera Festival

Where: Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5550 N.W. 40th St., Coconut Creek

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $30-$50

Contact: 800/653-8000, casinococo.com

Broadcast television may have entered its glacial death spiral, but “The Young and the Restless” shows no signs of diminishing. If anything, it’s keeping CBS alive. The highest-rated daytime drama on American television, “Y&R” proves that well-written, well-acted, well-directed soaps can still attract eyeballs and advertising dollars even in the Netflix world. Having never seen an episode, I won’t pretend to write about it with authority, but for the show’s fans, the actors appearing at this live Soap Opera Festival need no introduction. Amelia Heinle, Kristoff St. John, Tracey E. Bregman (pictured) and Chrisian Le Blanc will field questions from the audience and share behind-the-scenes insights about the Emmy-winning show’s production in this 75-minute program.


What: Norm MacDonald

Where: The Casino @ Dania Beach, 301 E. Dania Beach Blvd., Dania Beach

When: 7 and 10 p.m.

Cost: $30-$45

Contact: 954/920-1511, casinodaniabeach.com

I reckon it’s been years since my favorite comedian, Norm MacDonald, has taken a stage in South Florida, so expect a slate of new (or at least new-ish) material that may or may not also be found on his recent Netflix special “Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery.” MacDonald is most famous for his polarizing three-year run as the “Weekend Update” anchor in the booming ‘90s of “Saturday Night Live,” in which he shredded pop-culture magnets like O.J. Simpson, Jack Kevorkian and Lyle Lovett with relentless potshots. But Norm’s oddball humor, which included deadpan parodies of Larry King and David Letterman, quickly bypassed mainstream acceptance in favor of cult worship, which only intensified during his brief film career and sitcom wilderness. Always better solo than in groups, MacDonald is most gifted on the standup stage, where his brand of alternative, ironic and occasionally anti-humor yields its richest rewards.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Your Week Ahead: Aug. 1 to 7

Delray restaurants offer prix fixe discounts, a cappella singers reinterpret Top 40 hits, and a “Kosher cheerleader” explains her complicated backstory. Plus, Bill Maher, “Landline,” food & wine at an art museum and more in your week ahead.


straight no chaser

What: Straight No Chaser with Postmodern Jukebox

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton When: 7:30 p.m. Cost: $18-$89

Contact: 800/745-3000, ticketmaster.com

Like most a cappella groups, Straight No Chaser found its harmonic calling on a college campus, Indiana University, in the late 1990s. But it took the world nine years to fully discover the band, when a 1998 video of its polyphonic take on “The 12 Days of Christmas” went viral, in 2007. That video yielded 20 million hits and a five-record deal, which has seen the nine-piece ensemble expand well beyond holiday hits. At this concert, expect to hear the singers’ heavenly takes on vintage and contemporary classics from Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Hozier, Walk the Moon and many more. Definitely arrive early for openers Postmodern Jukebox, which similarly reinterprets the hits of others, transforming “Call Me Maybe” into a jazz standard and “Shake It Off” into a vintage Motown number.


Photo provided by Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority.

Photo provided by Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority.

What: Opening day of “Dine Out Delray”

Where: Downtown Delray Beach restaurants

When: Lunch and dinner times

Cost: Varies per restaurant

Contact: 561/243-1077, downtowndelraybeach.com

If there’s still such a thing as a slow season in Palm Beach County, August is it: Parking in downtown Delray is more plentiful, events are scanter, noise pollution less invasive and, perhaps most importantly, restaurants are more available without a reservation. That’s why this midsummer night’s dream in the most fun small town in America has proven so popular: The annual Dine Out Delray Restaurant Week offers discounted opportunities to discover (or rediscover) the finest restaurants on and off the Ave, which will be serving prix fixe lunch and dinner specials through Aug. 7 only. The lunch deals run as low as $10 per person, and dinners start at $16. Culinary events and classes complement the great dining, and the list of participating restaurants is a gastronomic who’s-who: 32 East, 3rd and 3rd, Caffe Luna Rosa, City Oyster, Deck 84, Max’s Harvest, Prime and the list goes on an on. Visit downtowndelraybeach.com for complete details.



What: Art of Food & Wine Series

Where: NSU Art Museum, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

When: 6 to 8 p.m.

Cost: $40

Contact: 954/525-5500, nsuartmuseum.org

Once a month, the NSU Art Museum stays open until 8 on Thursday evenings to brings culinary delights to art lovers. The theme of this month’s program speaks for itself: “Wine & Chocolate, How Sweet It Is.” The event pairs four varietals with four types of chocolates from Hoffman’s, one of our region’s top suppliers of sweet-toothed goodness. While you’re there, stick around to check out shows like “Some Aesthetic Decisions” and “Anselm Kiefer” before they close in September.


Sandy Gelfound

What: Opening night of “The Kosher Cheerleader: A Truish, Jewish Love Story”

Where: PGA Arts Center, 4076 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens

When: Show times vary

Cost: $45-$59

Contact: 855/448-7469, pgaartscenter.com

Comedian Sandy Gelfound has enjoyed an unusual life. Aside from opening standup gigs for Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, Gelfound forged a twin career as a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, a five-year tenure that, in part, inspired this solo show. But “The Kosher Cheerleader” is also about her upbringing, which she says “left a hole in my heart.” Raised by a Jewish atheist father and a Russian orthodox gypsy dancer mom, Gelfound grew up battling her parents’ divergent opinions about life and their daughter’s career prospects. Gelfound hopes her show, with its amusing and touching contradictions, encourages others to find humor through hardship. It runs through Aug. 27.


Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn appear in Landline by Gillian Robespierre, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jojo Whilden.

Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn appear in Landline by Gillian Robespierre, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jojo Whilden.

What: Opening day of “Landline”

Where: Cinemark Palace 20, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $7-$11

Contact: 561/395-4695

Nineties nostalgia permeates the premise of “Landline,” an urbane comedy about a dysfunctional American family set during the fall of 1995. We’re not 15 minutes in before co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre has peppered her script with references to k.d. lang, Blockbuster Video and “Must See TV.” But it’s the transcendent universality of the characters’ foibles, not the ‘90s fetishism, that lifts the narrative. Jenny Slate plays an early-twenties professional who strays from her fiancée; Abby Quinn is her younger sister, newly experimenting with sex and drugs; and Edie Falco and John Turturro play their upper-middle-class parents, whose calcifying relationship is the elephant in every room they share. The film takes all the expected directions, but the charmingly wayward performances give us plenty to root for, and inject the familiar with pathos. It’s easily a sweeter, more egalitarian comedy than Robespierre’s 2014 debut, the polarizing culture-war bromide “Obvious Child.” In Boca, you can also see it starting Friday at Living Room Theaters and Regal Shadowood.


What: Opening night of “The Good Thief”

Where: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 S.W. 211th St., Cutler Bay

When: 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $25 general admission, $20 seniors and industry, free for attendees under age 25

Contact: 786/573-5300, smdcac.org

Local theatre company Ground Up and Rising specializes in minimalist stagecraft, and it doesn’t get more minimalistic than “The Good Thief,” a 65-minute soliloquy from master Irish dramatist Conor McPherson. Carbonell Award winner Gregg Weiner, in what I take to be his first one-man show, plays the title character, a self-described “paid thug” whose profession consists of roughing up—and occasionally offing—the enemies of his employer, a crime boss. In McPherson’s evocative monologue, the thief reflects on his poor career prospects, his busted personal relationships, and a job that went terribly awry, forcing him to confront his conscience. “The Good Thief” is an early McPherson work, completed when he was in his early ‘20s; it likely won’t be produced again for an awfully long time, so it may be worth the schlep to South Miami. See it through Aug. 20.



What: Robert Dubac’s “The Book of Moron”

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $45-$50

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

A monologist whose craft has been compared to Mark Twain and Lily Tomlin, Robert Dubac looks askance at American culture and politics, with an eye that is both jaundiced and probing. Prone to asking big-picture questions about a society awash in distracting minutia, Dubac acts as philosopher and social critic in his latest stage comedy “The Book of Moron,” which showcases his deft combination of standup and live theatre. In this touring production, which recently ran off-Broadway, Dubac inhabits multiple guises in his deconstruction of our so-called idiocracy, shooting at easy targets like the Kardashians and selfies but often reaching profound conclusions that encapsulate our damaged state of things. It’s no wonder that “the Book of Moron” has been described as “a head trip on a banana peel.”



What: Bill Maher

Where: The Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

When: 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $59-$95

Contact: 305/673-7300, livenation.com

It seems like yesterday that Bill Maher was being threatened by a lawsuit from one Donald J. Trump, after alleging in a comedy bit that Trump may, perhaps, be the child of an orangutan, and that only the release of the billionaire’s full birth certificate could disprove the assertion. Nothing came from this litigious confrontation between two of the most inflated egos in popular culture, but it proved a harbinger of humor to come. Trump has a different job title now, one that has been keeping Maher’s weekly talk show, Real Time, stocked with his best material since the George W. Bush administration. Expect Palm Beach’s most famous semi-resident to consume much of the oxygen in Maher’s new standup tour, which will likely address his favorite themes—from religion to political correctness to the media.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.