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Movie Review: “Dunkirk”

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With its cast of thousands, its IMAX photography and its nonstop intensity, Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (opening Friday) is a film of breathtaking scope and design, a gargantuan accomplishment in large-screen ambition. Dramatizing the three-pronged efforts—by air, sea and land—to rescue some 400,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk during the early stages of World War II, Nolan’s movie is an experiential distillation of the director’s epic style, unshackled by traditional storytelling concerns. Imagine something like the opening 27 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” stretched to feature length, and you’re getting there.

Nolan’s choice of 65mm film stock results in a clarity of composition and a depth of field rarely achieved, or even attempted, in movie history. Its majestic aerial images of 6,000 ant-sized troops hark all the way back to Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epics, and its marvelous tracking shots are Kubrickian in their execution.

Like needles in a war-torn haystack, Nolan burrows down on a few rugged faces—both the evacuees and their rescuers—who serve as synecdoches for the enormity of the event. These include the newly discovered Fionn Whitehead as a British Army private who smuggles his way onto a Navy evacuation destroyer, Jack Lowden and Tom Hardy as Royal Air Force pilots, and Mark Rylance as a stoic mariner captaining a requisitioned yacht with his brave sons.

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Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy appear in supporting roles as well, but “Dunkirk” is decidedly not a star vehicle, and dialogue is scant. Technical virtuosity surpasses character development. Nolan’s camera juggles multiple crises like they’re flaming torches, a technique familiar to fans of his “Inception,” with its patchwork of intercut dream layers. “Dunkirk” is just as dexterous in its editing rhythms; the Academy might as well announce that award today. It’s accompanied by an equally impressive, singularly unnerving Hans Zimmer score that balances moody bombast with violent violin solos and the perpetual ticks of a stopwatch.

Despite its bounteous formal wonders, “Dunkirk” is not entirely successful at generating audience engagement for these hardscrabble characters: When people are scripted in two dimensions, it’s hard to connect with them on an emotional level. Its relentlessness is another hurdle. As an accounting of seemingly insurmountable miseries, there is only so much bombardment we can be expected to stomach, and “Dunkirk” brushes against its limit.

Yet as it crashes, chugs and barrels toward its conclusion, the movie ends up touching the heart more than you might expect. Lessons in compassion, patience, forgiveness and perseverance are conveyed gracefully, with a characteristic dearth of words. With images this stunning, I guess you don’t need them.

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.
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Your Week Ahead: July 18 to 24

A cinema honors a late horror legend, The “Real Kramer” visits Boca, and a Sondheim masterpiece opens at the Kravis. Plus, Bryan Norcross, “Bad Jews,” a Talking Heads tribute and more in your week ahead.


THURSDAY

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What: “Kramer on Seinfeld”

Where: Boca Black Box, 8221 Glades Road, Suite 10

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25-$35

Contact: 561/483-9036, bocablackbox.com

For “Seinfeld” creator Larry David, art imitated life. For six years, in an apartment complex in Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y., he lived across the hall from an eccentric guy named Kramer—first name Kenny, not Cosmo—who would develop strange ideas and inventions, and share his obsessions with golf, hot tubs and other tropes that would later be alchemized into sitcom gold. Kenny Kramer, aka the “real Kramer,” has made a career of this association. A former standup comedian himself, the 74-year-old entertainer’s multimedia presentation, “Kramer on Seinfeld,” features anecdotes from the show’s history, focusing on how his own life stories became fodder for one of the ‘90s most iconic characters. Look for a review of this tour on Friday here at bocamag.com.

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What: Art After Dark: “Happy Birthday, Edgar Degas!”

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

When: 5 to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org

The Parisian master Edgar Degas died at 83 in 1917, which would make him—bear with me, as math isn’t my strongest suit—183 this year. (OK, that’s an easy one.) In honor of this birthday centennial, the Norton is dedicating a portion of this week’s Art After Dark to his legacy. Degas was famous for his influential sculptures of dancers, and at 6:30 p.m., members of Ballet Florida (speaking of blasts from the past!) will perform site-specific works that reference Degas’ iconic paintings and sculptures. Also at 6:30, violinist Lisa Fearon will perform 19th century music, complementing Art After Dark’s usual array of spotlight talks, art activities, Happy Hour drink specials and more.

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What: Bryan Norcross

Where: Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 305/442-4408, booksandbooks.com

Anyone who lived in South Florida in October 1992 probably has a Hurricane Andrew horror story. Many involve huddling in bathtubs, all ears tuned to the voice of God—aka CBS’s Bryan Norcross—on battery-powered or hand-cranked radios. Norcross famously talked South Floridians through the Great Hurricane of 1992, a disaster that established a national reputation for the Miami meteorologist. In honor of the storm’s 25th anniversary, Norcross will speak about his new book My Hurricane Andrew Story. Now employed by the Weather Channel, where he’s still the nation’s go-to voice on hurricanes, Norcross reflects on the killer ‘cane and offers lessons we can learn when the next superstorm blows our way. See him discuss these topics and more, and pick up a copy of the book while you’re there.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening night of “Company”

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $45

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical comedy turned out to be a watershed moment in Broadway history. Much like Woody Allen elevated the romantic film comedy seven years later, with “Annie Hall,” Sondheim uncrated a (mid)life’s worth of marital strifes and peccadillos into a 16-song concept musical that was as bold in themes as it was in plotlessness. Centering a commitment-phobic single man and expanding outward to three girlfriends and the five married couples with whom he spends the most time, “Company” broached heretofore unexplored topics with scathing wit and honesty. Featuring iconic Sondheim numbers like “Getting Married Today,” “Side by Side by Side” and “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Company” justifiably netted six Tony Awards. MNM Productions’ rendition at the Kravis features an all-star cast including Robert Johnston, Amy Miller Brennan, Clay Cartland, Laura Hodos, Wayne LeGette and Leah Sessa, and it runs through Aug. 6.

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What: Opening night of “Bad Jews”

Where: Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25-$30

Contact: 305/558-3737, mainstreetplayers.com

In dramatizing a family conflict over a priceless Jewish heirloom, this bold, provocative, shockingly funny play by Joshua Harmon addresses such subjects as religious versus cultural Judaism, fidelity to family, Israel/Palestine, the Holocaust, the Jewish diaspora, and the specter of hypocrisy. These are weighty, sensitive themes, especially for South Florida audiences, but “Bad Jews” expresses them with humor and sympathy for all. Featuring a ferocious role for a leading lady, along with rich roles for her three supporting actors, this is a play that will have you discussing and debating its implications long after the curtain rises. Check out Main Street Players’ production, starring Hannah Benitez in the lead role, through Aug. 13.

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What: Opening day of “Haroon Mirza: ACIDGEST”

Where: Perez Art Museum, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: $12-$16

Contact: 305/375-3000, pamm.org

Those of us who have never experienced the sensorial confusion of synesthesia—i.e. “hearing” colors and “seeing” sounds—might be able to simulate the next best thing at “ACIDGEST,” the latest multimedia exhibition from London-born artist Haroon Mirza. Consisting primarily of speakers and LEDs that communicate via corresponding frequencies, the exhibition will impact its viewers visually and aurally through electrical current and a concrete poem the artist created. Mirza seeks to redefine and distort relationships between optics and acoustics, and this complex new work, which must be seen to be believed, is surely a prime example of it. It will run all the way through May 20, 2018.

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What: “Night of the Living Dead”

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

When: 11:45 p.m. Cost: Free

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

Cinema fans, still reeling over the passing of Jonathan Demme this year, lost another titan of the medium this past weekend, when George A. Romero died after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” per his producing partner. Romero is universally acknowledged as the creator of the modern zombie film, and in tribute to the late horror maestro, O Cinema and the Popcorn Frights Film Festival will host his most groundbreaking feature, 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead.” The black-and-white midnight-movie benchmark was shot on a miniscule budget of $114,000, and it earned more than $30 million in return. Romero’s genius was to merge visceral B-film scares with the thoughtful subtext and adult themes of art cinema, a deft combination will be on display in full flower at this weekend’s memorial screening.

SATURDAY

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What: Talking Dreads

Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $15-$35

Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com

Island sounds were never far from singer-songwriter David Byrne’s consciousness as the lead singer of Talking Heads, the pioneering Rhode Island new wave act that married jagged punk with an increasingly prominent Caribbean influence. The tribute band Talking Dreads imagines what Byrne’s groundbreaking act would sound like if you excised the punk angst and replaced it with reggae grooves, reinterpreting the Talking Heads canon with a Rastafarian vibe. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Talking Dreads singer Mystic Bowie, whose connection to the original act is only once removed: He sang for, and recorded with, Tom Tom Club, the Talking Heads spinoff, for nearly 20 years. At this intimate performance, check out the group’s mellowed takes on “Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House” and many more.

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.
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Movie Reviews: “Lost in Paris,” “Wish Upon”

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Post-“La La Land,” whimsy is back in vogue, and that movie’s French heir, “Lost in Paris,” follows in its magical, choreographed footsteps. But if the romance of “La La Land” took its cue from jazz and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” the wacky couplings in “Lost in Paris” owe debts to everyone from Buster Keaton to René Clair to Jacques Tati to Jerry Lewis to Wes Anderson. Bursting with color and hyperreal joie de vivre, it’s a live-action cartoon set in the Paris of every foreign dreamer’s fantasies, whose action culminates—where else?—at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The story, which exists mostly as the clothesline on which to hang gag after gag, involves Fiona (Fiona Gordon), a Canadian librarian and the niece of Martha, a spry Parisian pensioner (Emmanuelle Riva). Fiona responds to an urgent letter from her 88-year-old aunt, but when she arrives in the City of Light, Martha is nowhere to be found.

The mystery is handled leisurely, allowing plenty of time to observe Fiona, adrift with a comically enormous backpack and a minimal command of the language, stumbling from one high jink to another. Eventually, fate places her in the circumference of Dom (Dominique Abel), a determined homeless man who speaks as much English as she French. In a city of 2.2 million people, they can’t seem to escape each other, and pretty soon, familiarity breeds affection.

The gangly Gordon and the raffish Abel have effortless chemistry, and there’s good reason for it: They’re married in real life, and they co-wrote and directed this film, along with three lesser-seen features throughout the Aughts. Their talents are prodigious and manifold, and their sensibility is full of much-needed sunshine.

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“Lost in Paris” has all the fluffy machinations of a Broadway musical comedy—mistaken identities, improbable reconnections, ridiculous plot points—but their command of the filmic medium is impeccable. The movie contains brilliantly inspired sight gags, such as the POV iris shot through a tiny hole in a newspaper formed by Dom’s cigarette, and the directors’ playful use of a wall-breaking split-screen to connect characters miles apart. Sound is also integrated with exceptional dexterity, most notably in a wonderful sequence involving the bass-heavy speaker system of a floating restaurant.

It might take a half-hour or so to connect to the film’s groove: Early on, I found its preciousness grating, as if it were parodying the aforementioned Wes Anderson. But it grows on you like a lovely bougainvillea if you let it. Romance, destiny, the infinite possibilities of filmed action—these have been there since the birth of cinema. This loopy comedy might be the most classicist film of 2017.

“Lost in Paris” opens Friday at Living Room Theaters at FAU, Movies of Delray, Movies of Lake Worth, Lake Worth Playhouse, Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood.


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“Wish Upon,” the latest example of teen-targeted horror schlock, is about the discovery of an octagonal box from ancient China that fulfills wishes for its owner, only to take something (or more accurately, someone) from them in return.

With its bordello-red coloring and embossed letters, the box makes for a plum dumpster discovery for Jonathan Shannon (Ryan Phillippe), a widowed flea-market salvager living hand to mouth with his daughter Clare (Joey King), a high schooler. “That’ll fetch a ton at the swap meet!” he offers.

Leaving little room for ambiguity about this destructive treasure, director John R. Leonetti then slowly cranes his camera toward a menacing sculpted gargoyle perched ominously above the garbage bins, bolding what the soundtrack and screenplay have already underlined for us.

In fact, the gallant Jonathan doesn’t hawk his find: He gifts it to Clare, who happens to be studying Mandarin in school. She can read only two words of the antiquated text on the box: “seven wishes.” For kicks, she wishes ill upon a popular mean girl. You can fill in what happens next.

And so it goes with this hackneyed horror pic grafted onto a hackneyed teen-angst drama, its cast chockablock with self-absorbed millennials with all the smarts and common sense of a victim in a “Final Destination” sequel. Worst of all is Clare. Despite the initial likeability of King’s performance, screenwriter Barbara Marshall’s schizoid script sends her in directions that contradict everything we’ve come to know about her character: After a few blood-traded wishes based on greed and vanity, this artsy outsider becomes a materialistic, superficial fame-whore. That she continues to utilize the box, despite the bodies “coincidentally” piling up around her, makes her either tone-deaf or psychopathic.

It would be tempting to draw an admirably cynical subtext from the film’s morally bankrupt antihero—to see her ascension to prosperity on the hides of others as a metaphor for predatory capitalism. This would be ascribing too much credit to this tacky film. Leonetti’s direction is as soulless as his lead character, more concerned with perverse “thrills” than exploring the calculus of Clare’s mortal bartering. There is much silly death-dodging and death-succumbing, dutifully protracting its secondhand set pieces (including a garbage disposal incident handled much better on “Orphan Black”) for maximum spectator squirms.

Like a “Twilight Zone” teleplay drained of depth and dimension, “Wish Upon” is all sport for Leonetti. And when everything is a game, it’s hard to care about any of this nonsense.

“Wish Upon” opens Friday at most area theaters.

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.
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Your Week Ahead: July 11 to 17

Patty slingers vie at the Boca Burger Battle, the Arsht lets it snow, and a neo-soul icon headlines an Overtown arts fest. Plus, Roger Waters, “Sweeney Todd,” Royal Room cabaret and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: Opening night of “Slava’s Snowshow”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $30-$75

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

Cosmo Kramer is decidedly not in the demographic group of “Slava’s Snowshow.” But for those of us without a preternatural fear of clowns, this ambitious production looks to be one of the year’s most exciting theatrical tours. Conceived in the 1990s by famed Russian clown (and Cirque du Soleil alum) Slava Palunin, the 90-minute experience channels its creator’s influences, Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin, with a budget for live spectacle that neither enjoyed in their lifetimes. Snow, streamers, webs, confetti and giant inflatable balls will rain down on the audience in this mix of Cirque, the Blue Man Group and kabuki theatre. Returning by popular demand after its successful Arsht run in 2013, “Slava’s Snowshow” runs through Aug. 6.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

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What: Screenings of “My Journey Through French Cinema”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse’s Stonzek Theatre, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 6 p.m.

Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

It’s hard to contest the global dominance of French cinema. It’s second only to American movies in the depth of genius displayed over more than a century of innovation stretching from the Lumiere Brothers to contemporaries like Bruno Dumont. In “My Journey Through French Cinema,” Bertrand Tavernier, director of such classics as “Coup de Torchon” and “The Clockmaker,” explores France’s boundless film history on a scale that is both personal and comprehensive. Narrated by Tavernier and composed of savory archival footage from films both famous and obscure, this video essay masterfully traverses the oeuvres of master directors and iconic actors alike. Belmondo and Gabin, Godard and Truffaut, Renoir and Sautet are just a few of the names Tavernier chronicles in this 197-minute experience. “My Journey Through French Cinema” has been lauded by none other than Martin Scorsese—high praise from another erudite scholar of Francophilia.

THURSDAY

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What: Roger Waters

Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $51 and up

Contact: 786/777-1000, aaarena.com

When Roger Waters tours, this man tours. Most recently, the Pink Floyd frontman and theatrical impresario spent four years performing his band’s “The Wall” in its entirety, a stint that included two South Florida appearances years apart: That’s two motorized warthogs, two gargantuan mother inflatables, two walls comprising 424 bricks apiece. How can Waters top this production, which holds the record for the highest-grossing tour ever for a solo musician? Find out at his latest concert spectacular, “Us and Them,” taken from the Dark Side of the Moon hit of the same name. The song’s prescient references to income inequality inspired this tour, conceived amid the populism and divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election. Waters has promised 75 percent of classic Pink Floyd and solo songs and 25 percent new material, all of it woven into a narrative through-line about those nasty haves and the pitchfork-wielding have-nots.

FRIDAY

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What: “Lettuce Laugh” comedy series

Where: Farmer’s Table, 1901 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $15

Contact: 561/417-5836, farmerstableboca.com

Beginning this Friday, Farmer’s Table, one of the more innovative healthy dining destinations in Boca, will be serving up more than butter-free cooking. The restaurant, attached to the Wyndham Hotel, will present a main course of comedy every two weeks in this new series hosted in its intimate Oak Room. Local comedian Jen Hellman will emcee an evening of laughs, with Boca native Mike Vecchione—a “Tonight Show” and “Last Comic Standing” alum—headlining. In addition to the venue’s signature cocktails, attendees can try special, “guiltless” bar bites, including Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Not Your Typical Cheesesteak, Not-Yo Nachos and more. All we ask is that you forgive the pun in the event’s name.

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Shane R. Tanner in ‘Sweeney Todd’, 2017

What: Opening night of “Sweeney Todd”

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $67

Contact: 561/514-4042, palmbeachdramaworks.org

Beauty and brutality commingle in Stephen Sondheim’s singular 1979 musical about a demon barber and his culinary accomplice, who terrorize London by developing a new meaning for the term “mystery meat.” It’s funnier than it sounds, and also lovelier, featuring some of the maestro’s most elaborate and seductive compositions. Full-fledged musicals are still new for Palm Beach Dramaworks, but judging from director Clive Cholerton’s imaginative spin on “1776” last season, I for one can’t wait to see how we scales “Sweeney Todd” for the cozy Don & Ann Brown Theatre. Shane Tanner leads the all-star cast in the title role in a production that runs through Aug. 6.

SATURDAY

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What: Overtown Music and Arts Festival

Where: Overtown Business District at Northwest Third Avenue, downtown Miami

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 786/529-4586, overtownmusicartsfestival.com

Overtown is arguably Dade County’s most historic black community. Its first settlers were the workmen hired by Henry Flagler to extend his FEC Railway down to Miami, and they eventually formed cultural roots in the area near downtown Miami, welcoming the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday to its theaters. The region suffered much decline in the late 20th century, but its ongoing redevelopment is both inspiring and invigorating, as evidenced by this annual arts festival. Cee Lo Green headlines a stellar entertainment lineup that includes Keyshia Cole, RL, Inner Circle, RUFF ENDZ and Tito Puente Jr., and attendees can also enjoy art, craft and jewelry vendors, ethnic cuisine and an extensive Youth Zone with face painting, bounce houses and karaoke.

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What: Boca Burger Battle

Where: Sanborn Square Park, 72 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 6 to 10 p.m.

Cost: $50-$125

Contact: 561/338-7594, bocaburgerbattle.com

Now in its sixth year, the Boca Burger Battle is a char-grilled, seasoned and filling treat for the city’s year-round residents. The snowbirds don’t know what they’re missing, so let’s edify them: The Battle features 15 chefs grilling their best meat and alternative patties for a panel of discerning judges, as they vie for the coveted title of Best Grill Master and Best Alternative Grill Master. All eyes (and teeth) will be on M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom, which has taken home the former title the past two years. It will have competition in the form of Sybarite Pig, Yard House, Josie’s Ristorante, Deck 84, ROCK: BRGR, Shake Shack and many others. Attendees can sample the burgers along with craft beers and wines and other gourmet food items, while enjoying live music from Voodoo Possum and the Big City Dogs.

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What: Jill and Rich Switzer

Where: Royal Room at Colony Hotel, 155 Hammon Ave., Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $40 for show only, $75 for dinner and show

Contact: 561/659-8100, thecolonypalmbeach.com

Listeners to Palm Beach County’s own Legends 100.3-FM Radio are familiar with the station’s charismatic morning show hosts, Jill and Rich Switzer, who delight audiences from 6 to 10 a.m. with TV Song Trivia, the Word of the Day and other caffeinated morning-radio staples. But they don’t just spin records: This married couple also performs music. Rich is an accomplished pianist and composer, and Jill is a sought-after vocalist whose dancey standards album, It’s You I Like, was featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Fans can see and hear the couple this weekend at the Royal Room during the launch of its inaugural summer concert series, which continues with four more cabaret acts slated through Aug. 26.

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.
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Your Week Ahead: July 4 to 10

The Romantics rock July Fourth, Palm Beach Shakespeare visits Capri, and Val Kilmer becomes Mark Twain. Plus, Independence Day in Boca and Delray, “The Art of Cobra,” “The Big Sick” and more in your week ahead.


TUESDAY

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What: Fabulous Fourth

Where: Spanish River Athletic Facility, 1000 N.W. Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton

When: 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/393-7995, myboca.us

The City of Boca Raton’s Independence Day extravaganza is perfect for kids and adults alike, featuring an epic, State Fair-style slide—28 feet high, and 110 feet long—and other rides and midway games. Feast on carnival nosh and food-truck items, and enjoy live rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘60s through the ‘80s courtesy of the All-Star Band. Fireworks blast off at 9 p.m.

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What: July Fourth Celebration

Where: Downtown Delray Beach

When: 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/278-0424, julyfourthdelraybeach.com

Delray Beach’s brand-new 60-foot flag will be raised at 5 p.m., signaling another eclectic Fourth of July lineup of family activities. Flag-related arts and crafts, a tent-covered mini-golf course, and the special “Kids Corner” will entertain the young ones, while the whole family can enjoy sports activities including Soccer Darts, live music from national and local acts, and al fresco at beachfront dining from Caffe Luna Rose, BurgerFi and Boston’s. The fireworks display concludes the festivities at 9 p.m.

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What: July Fourth Celebration

Where: BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise

When: 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 954/747-4600, thebbtcenter.com

Remember “Who Let the Dogs Out?,” the most rhetorical question posed by a pop artist since “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” Well, the hit-makers behind the 2000 Grammy-winning smash, Baha Men, are still around, with a dozen albums to their credit, and their 6 p.m. performance will kick off the City of Sunrise’s Independence Day celebration, which takes place just outside the BB&T. They’ll be followed by a nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll set from the Romantics (pictured), whose ubiquitous smash “What I Like About You” is impossible not to dance to. While enjoying the hit tunes, check out the variety of food and beverage vendors, children’s rides and inflatables, and 9 p.m. fireworks display.

WEDNESDAY

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What: Opening night of Buddha Bash Summer Concert Series

Where: Funky Buddha Brewery, 1201 N.E. 38th St., Unit A1, Oakland Park

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 954/440-0046, funkybuddhabrewery.com

In case you needed a reason to visit—and imbibe—at this great South Florida brewery, the weekly Buddha Bash Concert Series has made it even more difficult to resist. Every Wednesday through the month of July, the Funky Buddha will host a live band on its patio, beginning this week with MC1—a one-man band featuring multi-instrumentalist Joe Koontz, formerly of punk rockers Against All Authority. He founded the band while recently healing from a damaged retina, and its minimalistic sound contains echoes of old-school hip-hop and noise-pop groups like Jesus & Mary Chain. The night also includes a pig roast and a vinyl sale from local record vendors We Got the Beats.

THURSDAY

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What: Opening night of Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival

Where: Seabreeze Amphitheater, 400 Florida A1A, Jupiter

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: Suggested $5 donation

Contact: 561/966-7099, pbshakespeare.org

Elizabeth Dashiell, publicist for the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival, jokes that the Bard must have been paid by the word when he penned “Love’s Labours Lost,” one of his earliest comedies, for an audience headed by none other than Queen Elizabeth I. One of Shakespeare’s most loquacious plays, it contains the longest monologue and the lost word (“honorificabilitudinitatibus”) in his canon. It’s also a deft study of courtship, livened by some of Shakespeare’s cleverest wordplay. Centering on a king and his three companions, whose attempts to forswear women cold-turkey skids off the rails after a visit from the princess of France and her lady companions, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” will be presented in blissfully truncated form by the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival. This version is set in modern-day Capri, in what Dashiell calls “a gorgeous resort in the lap of luxury,” complete with high-end bathing suits, tennis wear, and sundresses. The production runs through July 16.

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What: Opening night of “The Big Sick”

Where: AMC Aventura 24, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 3001

When: Show times pending

Cost: Prices vary

Contact: 305/466-9880

A contender for the year’s best American comedy, this marvelous and hard-won romance is inspired by the real-life courtship of its co-writers, Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon. Nanjiani, portraying himself as a lapsed Muslim from a deeply devout family, struggles to find himself as a comedian and a person. He begins a clandestine relationship with a Caucasian grad student while his parents coordinate a parade of eligible Pakistani bachelorettes, hoping for an arranged spark that will never come. Just when the secrets and cover-ups reach their inevitable breaking point, the movie throws a narrative curveball—a medical emergency baked into the couple’s complicated biography. Every character in this edifying gem is a three-dimensional person, and it overflows with wit, honesty, insight and circumspection on subjects ranging from Islamophobia in the United States to the eternal conflict between tradition and modernity. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, in supporting roles, deliver some of the best work of their careers. “The Big Sick” is a must-see on multiple levels.

SUNDAY

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What: Opening day of “Human Animals: The Art of Cobra”

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

When: Noon to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5-$12

Contact: 954/525-5500, nsuartmuseum.org

“Cobra” has nothing to do with slithery creatures: It’s an acronym for an avant-garde art movement that thrived in post-WWII Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The NSU Art Museum contains the largest Cobra collection in America, and this summer it showcases the artists’ creative use of animal imagery.

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What: Val Kilmer Presents “Cinema Twain”

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

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $30

Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com

No stranger to embodying real people from Jim Morrison to Doc Holliday, Val Kilmer’s most recent venture is a one-man show about Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, whom Kilmer considers one of America’s first standup comedians. In 2012, he began workshopping his one-man show “Citizen Twain,” a labor of love that he also wrote and directed. Clad in a curly white wig and makeup that ages him 20 years, Kilmer disappears into the great writer, in a production that explores Clemens’ biography as well his words, and pivots on his fraught relationship with Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. At this rare tour appearance, Kilmer will introduce a filmed version of his “Citizen Twain,” then field questions after the screening.

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.
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Movie Review: “Baby Driver”

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In the serious comedies of writer-director Edgar Wright, genre is putty, and he loves confounding us with the shapes he creates. As he proved in his breakthrough—and still probably his best film, though I have doubts as I type this—“Shaun of the Dead,” few contemporary directors can shift styles as fluidly, suddenly and completely as Wright. “Shaun” began as a deadpan zombie parody and became a frightening zombie horror film, full stop.

“Baby Driver,” his imperfect but intensely likable new feature, maintains a similar generic freedom as it skids from too-cool action-comedy to poignant character study to bombastic thriller to outlaw romance, all of it anchored by a carefully curated soundtrack. Because above all of these categories, “Baby Driver” is most transcendently a music movie, as cultish and precise in its pop selections as Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World.”

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In “Baby Driver,” it’s Ansel Elgort versus the world. The millennial heartthrob plays Baby, who, thanks to a traumatic backstory, drives getaway cars for Doc, a strong-arming Atlanta crime boss expertly (and effortlessly) played by Kevin Spacey. Like the laconic wheelmen of cinema’s past—Ryan O’Neal in “The Driver,” Ryan Gosling in “Drive”—Baby doesn’t say much, partly because he’s constantly listening to music through earbuds and a collection of mood-tailored iPods.

Music is both his trump card and crutch, his salve and escape. Baby has had permanent tinnitus since suffering a tragic car accident as a child, and the tunes block out the tones. He’s a driver of superhuman skill and dexterity, as the movie’s thrilling opening sequence reveals, but he’s also a little OCD and a little Asperger’s-y, refusing to touch the accelerator until the right song is cued up just so. This irks the traditional, heavily tatted and frankly one-dimensional baddies that pull off Doc’s crimes—Jamie Foxx’s “Bats,” Jon Hamm’s “Buddy”—and it’s only a matter of time until the morally compromised Baby winds up on the wrong side of their gun barrels.

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The final third of “Baby Driver” succumbs to silly action-movie overkill. But it remains a film of captivating sound, if only pedestrian fury. Everything from gunshots to windshield wipers to screeching tires moves to the rhythms emanating from Baby’s devices, and what a mix it is. We hear Beck and The Damned and The Commodores and T. Rex and Jonathan Richman and Dave Brubeck and Young MC and Queen; Simon & Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver” plays during the credits. The movie is like plugging into the most eclectic radio station in America for a couple of ear-pleasing hours.

Wright’s visuals complement his audio mastery. Whether behind the wheel of a variety of jacked cars or on foot, each urban landscape becomes an obstacle course our hero must deftly navigate, from parking garages to bustling streets to mall interiors, as he evades criminal psychopaths, spooked pedestrians and hopeless police officers alike. “Baby Driver” is the rare non-dance film that features a choreography credit, and it shows.

If the narrative itself leaves you a bit hollow, the dynamism of the direction and sound design are everything but. No matter what you listen to, you’ll want to buy this soundtrack.

“Baby Driver” opens today, June 28, at most area theaters.

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.
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Your Week Ahead: June 27 to July 3

PAMM explores the politics behind dominoes, Mad Cat Theatre opens a climate-change comedy, and a “Stranger Things” star brings psych-pop to West Palm Beach. Plus, the Vans Warped Tour, French photography, “Slack Bay” and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: Post Animal

Where: Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 9 p.m.

Cost: $8

Contact: sub-culture.org/respectable-street

The hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” may trade in nightmares, but Post Animal barters in dreams. There’s a reason for this comparison. The horror procedural and the Chicago psych-rock band share a cast member in common: Joe Keery, a distinctively pompadoured millennial whose acting career has helped bolster his musical one. He plays guitar and sings in Post Animal, whose members have grown from four to six in just a couple of years, a testament to the group’s ever-expanding sound—a trippy, ‘60s-inflected psychedelic stew with echoes of acts like Tame Impala and the Shins. It belongs on alternative radio as much as both of those bands, and its cachet is growing. See this exciting new act now before it outgrows intimate venues like Respectable Street.

THURSDAY

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What: Opening day of “French Connections: Photography”

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

When: Noon to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org

If your knowledge of French photography begins and ends with the street photos of Henri Cartier-Bresson, you’re forgiven. Bresson, considered by many to be the godfather of photojournalism, tends to tower over his contemporaries and followers like the Eiffel Tower. But for more than a century, French photographers of many moods, styles and disciplines have been illuminating their country for international and local viewers alike. This exhibition, culled from the Norton’s photography collection, features prominent French photographs from early black-and-white documents of Paris to contemporary portraits reflecting the nation’s diverse cultural makeup. Stay late for Thursday’s Art After Dark, featuring live music, a DIY art activity, a Curator’s Conversation, Happy Hour drinks and more.

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What: Opening reception of “Spots, Dots, Pips, Tiles”

Where: Perez Art Museum, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $12-$16 museum admission

Contact: 305/375-3000, pamm.org

Though its roots date to ancient China, the game of dominoes thrives most prominently today in Latin America, the Caribbean and the American South. Miami tends to straddle all three of these worlds, and a stroll down Calle Ocho in Little Havana any night of the week offers a testament to the gane’s competitive, community-building popularity. “Spots, Dots, Pips, Tiles” speaks the language of dominoes, featuring works by 21 artists that reference the game directly or indirectly. These include paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and mixed-media works touching on political struggle, racial stereotyping, religion and more. At Thursday’s opening reception, three of the artists will discuss the show with two PAMM curators. It runs through Oct. 29.

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What: Opening night of “Firemen Are Rarely Necessary”

Where: Miami Theater Center, 9816 N.E. Second Ave., Miami Shores

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $15-$25

Contact: madcattheatre.org

Like George Orwell, South Florida playwright Theo Reyna believes language matters—and that when governments attempt to remove linguistic weapons from our arsenal of truth, we mustn’t acquiesce. At least that’s my takeaway from the story and inspiration behind Reyna’s latest comedy, “Firemen Are Rarely Necessary,” opening this weekend from Mad Cat Theatre Company. Described as “a dark comedy about some light censorship,” the play was borne out of Gov. Rick Scott’s provocative banning of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” by the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and other government agencies. It’s set in the near future, and its protagonist, a climate scientist, must fight an obstinate bureaucracy to raise necessary alarm bells about the erosion of the state’s limestone bedrock. Is it science fiction or a prophetic docu-play? Decide for yourself in this world-premiere production, which runs through July 16.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening day of “Slack Bay”

Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $6.50-$9.50

Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com

Three of French cinema’s biggest stars—Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi—pratfall majestically through “Slack Bay,” the latest absurdist farce from master director Bruno Dumont. It’s set on the titular bay in France, a picturesque summer getaway for the Van Peteghams, an eccentric bourgeois family. They’d like nothing better than to while away a season sunbathing and feasting, but a pair of bumbling inspectors disrupts their reverie: They’re investigating a strings of missing tourists, and the Van Peteghams might be suspects. Marrying the class critiques of directors like Bunuel and Godard with the slapstick of Laurel and Hardy and Monty Python, “Slack Bay” has been called “madcap,” “deranged” and “completely off the wall”—which are compliments, of course.

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What: Nights at the Museum: “SeaFari”

Where: South Florida Science Center, 4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach

When: 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $6-$12

Contact: 561/832-1988, sfsciencecenter.org

Swimming with tropical fish is made easy—with no wetsuits or snorkel equipment required—thanks to South Florida Science Center’s Virtual Oceans. The virtual reality technology simulator is one of the highlights of this aquatic-centered edition of the museum’s monthly evening program for families. Attendees can also enjoy a fishy craft activity, the Shark Trek Interactive Lab, and activities and conversations with local marine vendors. For an extra $3-$5, you can catch the museum’s appropriately themed planetarium show, “Kaluoka’hina: The Enchanted Reef,” about a pair of animated fish on a mission to save an endangered reef.

SUNDAY

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What: Vans Warped Tour

Where: Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach

When: 11 a.m.

Cost: $42

Contact: livenation.com

While other touring rock festivals have peaked and fallen, bankrupted and reformed, the Vans Warped Tour has consistently survived recessions and changing musical trends, continuing to offer its durable brand of punk, emo, hardcore and metal since 1995. This year’s lineup, on a whopping seven stages, skillfully commingles classic and newer acts, retaining the Warped Tour’s dedicated core demo while expanding its sonic footprint. This year, catch the recently reformed ska titans Save Ferris (pictured), metalcore pioneers Hatebreed, theatrical horror-rockers GWAR, protest punks Anti-Flag, Southern rock/heavy metal fusers Valient Thorr and many, many (many!) more.

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.
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Movie Review: “The Exception”

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Pictorially handsome and awash in wartime intrigue, “The Exception” milks romance, sex and pathos from one of the more uncharted territories of World War II fiction: the Netherlands.

That’s where the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer), the last monarch of Germany, spent his final years, as the Nazi machine metastasized throughout Europe. Based on Alan Judd’s respected 2003 novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss, “The Exception” dramatizes the Kaiser’s decline against a charged, clandestine romance between his newly commissioned guard, Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney), and the Kaiser’s most mysterious chambermaid, Mieke (Lily James).

Light on thrills, the film coasts elegantly without them, thanks to assured, uninhibited direction from longtime British stage director David Leveaux. Stefan and Mieke meet each other sexually before they know each other’s names, in a pair of smoldering sequences that bring welcome parity to onscreen nudity, effectively demolishing the master-servant hierarchy. Keeping what becomes a string of compounding secrets grows ever more tenuous, especially considering the rules of the Kaiser’s estate: “Copulation with the servants is strictly forbidden.”

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Screenwriter Simon Burke, by way of Judd’s novel, ratchets up the drama by integrating a surprise visit from Heinrich Himmler (the great character actor Eddie Marsan), the head of the S.S., with an offer the naïve Kaiser cannot refuse, culminating in a swirl of colliding motivations.

Marsan plays Himmler as a chilling personification of pure evil, casually discussing the extermination of children over a plate of dinner. “The Exception” is more ambivalent toward the Kaiser, a character who provides a rich, complicated canvas for the superb Plummer. Famous for tactless pronouncements, he sounds Fascist-lite when bemoaning the “freemasons, Bolsheviks and Jews” taking over Germany, but he saves some of his most potent potshots for the Third Reich, Hitler and Gohring. Many of his opinions, spoken with faded stentorian authority, seem self-serving, designed to polish his shattered reputation and cling to whatever wisps of power he still commands. Mostly, he lives like an active retiree, chopping wood and feeding ducks on his still-capacious grounds.

That he lands somewhere in the middle on the continuum of good and evil is to the movie’s evenhanded credit. Burke’s script is prone to occasional on-the-nose archness (“You are the Kaiser!” his wife, played by Janet McTeer, feels compelled to remind him, and us, early on), but it’s mostly for clarity, helping to elucidate a time and place with which most audiences won’t be familiar. With acting, directing and atmosphere this unimpeachable, all minor quibbles are forgiven.

“The Exception” opens Friday, June 23 at Movies of Delray, Movies of Lake Worth, and the Tower Theater in Miami.

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.
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Your Week Ahead: June 20 to 26

The Morikami toasts four decades of Japanese culture, a photography pioneer exhibits in West Palm Beach, and 40 bands blanket Dade County with noise at the Miami Psych Fest. Plus, Diana Ross, a Delray literary panel, “Manifesto” and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: International Yoga Day

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

When: 5 p.m. Cost: $30

Contact: 954/295-2458, namastacyyoga.org

It doesn’t get more Boca than this annual wellness festival presented in honor of International Yoga Day, hosted worldwide each June 21 since its inception in 2015. Palm Beach County’s celebration, presented by NamaStacy Yoga, features contributions from Master of Ceremonies Suzanne Boyd, of CBS-12; a one-of-a-kind VinVersion yoga class hosted by NamaStacy’s telegenic founder, Corbin Stacy; a taiko drumming performance; and a YinYoga and meditation program lead by “Vegas Gone Yoga” festival creator Kristina Blunt and meditation guru Pam Butler. Attendees must bring their own mats.

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What: The Indie Experience

Where: Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/279-7790, murderonthebeach.com

Historical thrillers, eccentric South Florida-set comedies, tender romances, and private-eye mysteries will take center stage at this diverse panel discussion between local authors. Moderator Charles Todd will host six emerging and veteran wordsmiths, each of them promoting a book hot off the presses: Carol White (A Divided Duty), R.V. Reyes (Jeweler’s Mark), Victoria Landis (Alias: Mitzi & Mack), Marcia King-Gamble (Just You), Joanna Campbell Slan (Love, Die, Neighbor) and Kathy Runk (Murder at the Rectory). Pick up a summer beach read, and discover a new favorite author.

THURSDAY

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What: Opening reception of “John Reuter: Second Impressions”

Where: Palm Beach Photographic Centre, 415 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 6 to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/253-2600, workshop.org

A celebrated photographer since the 1970s, John Reuter has been at the forefront of some of the medium’s most luminous innovations—especially the Polaroid Corporation’s 20X24 camera, whose instant, massive prints became the gold standard in analog large-scale photography: Its adopters included Andy Warhol, Chuck Close and William Wegman. The stunningly high-resolution format has apparently reached its twilight, with Reuter’s 20X24 Studio set to cease operations by the end of 2017. So it’s an ideal time to remind us of its capacity. Reuter’s own 20X24 shots, which broke ground by combining photography with painting and collage, will display at this free exhibition, along with his captivating infrared landscapes of Singapore, shot between 2009 and 2011. It runs through Aug. 5.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening night of “Manifesto”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse’s Stonzek Theatre, 709 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 2 and 6:15 p.m.

Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

From royal elves to wicked stepmothers, and from Queen Elizabeth I to Bob Dylan, Cate Blanchett has inhabited a remarkable range of personae in a film career that has swung, pendulum-like, from the conventional to the eccentric. In terms of the latter, it’s going to be difficult to eclipse “Manifesto,” in which Blanchett takes on 13 roles with chameleonic ease, from schoolteacher to factory worker, punk to newsreader, scientist to homeless man. Each character represents, and reads from, an important political or art-world manifesto, in curated settings that support, or ironically comment on, the spoken provocations. Originally an audiovisual exhibition by artist Julian Rosefeldt, which ran in museums on 13 screens simultaneously, this film version presents the roles in a linear fashion, but don’t expect a plot to emerge: This is Art with a capital A. It runs through next Thursday.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

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What: Miami Psych Fest

Where: The Bridge, 4220 N.W. Seventh Ave., Miami

When: Begins at 5 p.m. Friday

Cost: $10 per day, $15 for weekend pass (free for the first 50 entrants per day)

Contact: miamipsych.eventbrite.com

Miami has always been a haven for weird music, and this weekend’s Psych Fest gathers 40 radical acts in one compact place: the experimental arts hub The Bridge. The “psych” label is deployed liberally: Headliners and other touring acts include the inventive Memphis rapper Ash Leon; the indefatigable avant-jazz virtuoso Kenny Millions, who has released nearly 70 albums since 1964; Nashville-based No Wave/shoegaze band Sallow; and the definitive psych-pop of Orlando’s Timothy Eerie. There’s also live art-making and a lightshow, and all ages are welcome. “Trippy” attire is encouraged.

SATURDAY

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What: Diana Ross

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $49 and up

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

We tend to overuse the superlative “legendary,” but with a career dating back nearly 60 years, Diana Ross has earned her status as soul-dance-disco royalty. Like Alfred Hitchcock, the former Supreme inexplicably never won the premier competitive award in her industry, but the Grammys did bestow her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, honoring a career total of 70 hit singles and more than 100 million records sold worldwide. At 73, the singer-actress can still belt with the best of them: She’s fresh off a five-night stint in New York City, where she played two dozen songs per show, from Supremes classics to solo songs and covers, including tunes she popularized in her film work in “The Wiz” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” Her daughter, accomplished singer Rhonda Ross, will open the show.

SUNDAY

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What: 40th Anniversary Celebration

Where: Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach

When: Begins at 10 a.m. Cost: $15 (or four tickets for $40)

Contact: 561/495-0233, morikami.org

It’s been four decades since the Morikami opened in western Delray Beach, on land once occupied by influential immigrant farmer George Morikami. The relationship between Delray Beach and Japan has continued to blossom thanks to the Morikami’s remarkable growth: The institution now spreads Japanese art, culture, food and horticulture to more than 200,000 annual visitors, and its museum houses more than 8,000 objects. Celebrate the venue’s landmark anniversary at this daylong bash, which includes craft activities, live music and Museum Store discounts. Satisfy your sushi cravings with a pair of exclusive rolls as well as a special appetizer: the Pacific Yellowtail Tuna Carpaccio.

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What: “’night, Mother” reading

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

When: 1 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/610-7283, thinkingcaptheatre.com

In its ongoing efforts to bridge the gender gap in the theater community, Thinking Cap Theatre has been producing the yearlong series “Gap,” featuring readings of Pulitzer Prize-winning plays by women. It’s a small pool from which to choose: Of the 86 Pulitzer-winning plays, only 15 have been written in part or in full by women. Thinking Cap’s monthly series spotlights 11 of them, including this weekend’s entry, ‘”night, Mother”—Marsha Norman’s emotionally taxing masterpiece about a young woman who, to her mom’s dismay, has decided to take her own life. This powerful two-hander will be read by Karen Stephens and Tina Thomas, with direction by Elizabeth Price. A talkback will follow the performance.

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.
In this Jan. 26, 2015 photo, Tig Notaro poses for a portrait to promote the film, "Tig", at the Eddie Bauer Adventure House during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

Your Week Ahead: June 13 to 19

The Art & Culture Center marries postcards and protest, the Stonewall Festival honors LGBTQ resistance, and two funny women create a dynamic stage comedy. Plus, Tig Notaro, Will to Power, a foodie documentary and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: Opening night of “Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women”

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35-$45

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

As the story goes, friends and veteran stage actors Linda Klein and Barbara Gehring recently rediscovered their childhood diaries and decided to plumb them together. The similarities that connected these natives of Canada and Colorado, respectively, overrode their differences, convincing these naturally funny creatives that there might be a show to be found in the detritus of their youth. The estrogen-fueled “Girls Only” expanded from there, evolving into a multimedia touring production that includes sketch comedy, improvisation, audience participation, videos and songs. Gehring and Klein play all the characters in a tour de force by and for women. It runs through June 25.

THURSDAY

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What: Opening night of “The Goldberg Variations”

Where: Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 954/519-2533, islandcitystage.org

Inspired by the gorgeous and ubiquitous J.S. Bach aria of the same name, Stuart Meltzer’s play “The Goldberg Variations” imagines a different group of Goldbergs: an eccentric modern family that gathers for an annual birthday celebration of a beloved, long-deceased matriarch. This year’s party will be a momentous one, as secrets unfurl amid an evening itinerary curated by Goldberg scion Caleb, whose narrative “variations” alter the present while serving to extend a difficult emotional evening. Meltzer, the artistic director of Miami’s Zoetic Stage, based “The Goldberg Variations” partly on the relationship with his own father in the latter’s final months, tempering the drama with comedy that’s both relatable and absurdist. Catch this world premiere production through July 16.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening night of “Past Life”

Where: Regal Shadowood 16, 9889 W. Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $10-$13

Contact: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/past-life

Deftly combining the personal, political and historical, this latest feature from veteran Israeli director Avi Nesher is a fact-based odyssey of truth and reconciliation that spans three countries. In 1977, Sephi (Joy Rieger), an aspiring classical composer and choir student, has just performed a concert in West Berlin when she is accosted by an older woman who accuses her father, a gynecologist in Israel, of being a murderer. This prompts Sephi and her more-rebellious sister Nana (Nelly Tagar) to investigate a traumatic past their father would prefer to consign to the history books. The first film in an intended trilogy, “Past Life” is superbly acted and finely crafted, if overly calculated: As history is rummaged and the chips fall, it can feel too much like a movie. But its powerful sweep bristles with ambition and curiosity for parts two and three. You can also see “Past Life” at Living Room Theaters at FAU. Ella Milch-Sheriff, the real-life inspiration for Sephi, will speak at a live Skype Q&A following the noon showtime on June 18 at Living Room.

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What: Opening night of “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent”

Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $6.50-$9.50

Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com

Though he never achieved the level of fame of some of his contemporaries, celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower has had a major role in defining, and refining, today’s foodie culture. At least that’s one of the takeaways of “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent,” a documentary about the toque’s tumultuous culinary legacy. Capturing Tower’s brazenness, prickliness and perfectionism, the Anthony Bourdain-produced doc is filled with important talking heads waxing praise on Tower, whose history includes helping to create California cuisine with Alice Waters, opening the landmark San Francisco eatery Stars, and disappearing from kitchens for more than a decade before his short-lived return to Top Chef status at New York City’s Tavern on the Green. It’s a worthy introduction to a figure the New Yorker recently called “a forgotten father of the American food revolution.”

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What: Opening night of “Dear 33020”

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

When: 6 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/921-3274, artandculturecenter.org

Call it a form a slow-motion protest. In the instantly gratified age of Tweets and blogs, South Florida artist Lisa Rockford and Connecticut artist Margaret Roleke have collaborated on a project addressing feminism in President Trump’s first 100 days through a most analog of mediums: postcards. From Jan. 20 through May 1, these relative strangers expressed their shared discontent in a series of witty, playful, socially conscious postcards exchanged through the U.S.P.S. Each time a postcard arrived, it was placed on a gallery wall here in Hollywood and in New Haven, connecting with the other postcards to form a comprehensive image encapsulating the artists’ views of the new president. Their co-inspired vision, “Dear 33020,” opens Friday, along with two other exhibitions, “Charley Friedman: Moist Things” and “David Rohn.” All run through Aug. 20.

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What: “I Want My ‘80s Back” with Will to Power

Where: Honey Delray, 16 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

When: 10 p.m.

Cost: $10 presale

Contact: eventbrite.com

Surely the most prominent musical act named for a Friedrich Nietzsche text, Miami’s Will to Power crested the wave of ‘80s dance pop on the strength of its self-titled 1988 debut. The dance trio (now a duo) imagined fresh, synth-driven takes on Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” and Skynyrd’s “Freebird,” while achieving Billboard chart success with its original dance singles “Fading Away” and “Say It’s Gonna Rain.” Having signed to Epic Records, Will to Power’s success was limited to two LPs, though the group returned in 2015, after a 15-year absence, with the album “Spirit Warrior.” See founding member Bob Rosenberg and vocalist Carmen Medina explore Will to Power’s nostalgic catalog at this throwback concert, which will be preceded by at least three hours of ‘80s and ‘90s tunes spun by DJ Johnny Quest.

SATURDAY

Style: "Standard Look"

What: Stonewall Festival

Where: 2345 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors

When: 3 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 954/621-1350, wiltonmanorsstonewall.com

Each June, Wilton Manors’ Stonewall Festival honors the original Stonewall riots of 1969, in which New York City’s gay community staged revolutionary protests against police oppression. These rallies honor that heritage while acknowledging how far the LGBTQ communities have come in nearly 50 years. There will be live entertainment, a vendor marketplace and a 4 p.m. parade down Wilton Drive, with 30,000 individuals and families expected to turn out. This year’s special guest and Stonewall Grand Marshal is Sharon Gless (pictured), the 10-time Emmy nominee for “Cagney & Lacey” and a longtime LGBTQ activist. Visitors can meet Gless for photo ops from 6 to 8 p.m. at the National Stonewall Museum, at 2157 Wilton Drive.

SUNDAY

In this Jan. 26, 2015 photo, Tig Notaro poses for a portrait to promote the film, "Tig", at the Eddie Bauer Adventure House during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

What: Tig Notaro 

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $28.50-$34.50

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

In the early 2000s, Notaro toiled as a cult figure on the alternative comedy circuit, earning a dedicated niche of fans on the strength of her unconventional prop jokes and pithy quips. The Mississippi native never pulled much material from her life until life started pulling at her: In the span of a year, in 2012, her mother died in a freak accident, she broke up with her girlfriend, and she was diagnosed with two diseases, including breast cancer. She addressed these topics in a now-legendary standup appearance on August 2012 in Los Angeles; two years later, having undergone a double mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery, she performed a set topless in New York City. These days, she’s a mother of twin girls and an inspiration who continues to pull from her storied life, sprinkling anecdotes amid signature deadpan observations.

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.