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Theatre Review: “1984” at Pompano Cultural Center

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“You can’t found a civilization on fear and lies and cruelty!”

Perhaps not, but you can certainly win a presidential campaign on it. This protest, uttered in the throes of torture by Winston Smith, the everyman hero of 1984, is one of countless ways George Orwell’s novel echoes across our zeitgeist. With every passing year, his fiction lurches closer to prophecy, even if he was off by a few decades.

Endless war, the erosion of privacy and the ubiquity of surveillance, the stifling of dissent and the deconstruction of language, the proliferation of propaganda and the doctoring of truth: Most of these “1984” forecasts were gaining traction in the United States by 2004, when playwright Andrew White adapted the book for the stage, but they’ve reached full flower in 2017. Sales of the book famously spiked this past January, when the phrase “alternative facts” entered the political lexicon, introduced by a person who would have fit snugly into Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth.

For Outre Theatre Company, the temptation to revisit Orwell’s dystopia in the Trump era proved too enticing to resist. The gypsy company, formerly of Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, chose White’s “1984” as the first production in its permanent new home at the just-opened Pompano Beach Cultural Center.

The decision was greeted by much anticipation, but by intermission, it was difficult to feel anything but deflation. Languorously paced by director Skye Whitcomb, this dreary production of an already downbeat source material updates few of its rich ironies and profound revelations. White’s imperfect edit eschews some of the more salient and necessary points of Orwell’s novel, and Outre’s translation—stolidly acted and plagued with audio issues—leaves even more gaps. If you’re unfamiliar with the novel, expect to feel marooned.

Whitcomb favors a barebones aesthetic suggestive of the bland, functional sterility that Smith and his co-workers inhabit. The scenic design, by Doug Wetzel, consists of a vacant stage with three slightly raised platforms, whose cleverest touch is the pair of Big Brother banners flanking the stage, each bruiting a signature “1984” contradiction: “Freedom is Slavery; War is Peace.” The implication is that Big Brother is watching us while we’re watching the play.

Ambience is generated mostly through the giant “telescreen” behind the stage, adding a welcome multimedia element. On it, we see footage, shot specifically for this production, consisting of everything from jingoistic news reports to buried memories from Winston Smith’s childhood to the occasional POV shot that, oddly, does not match the onstage visuals. In the most compelling and inventive usage of the telescreen, we watch Winston Smith (Seth Trucks) re-edit a soldier’s dispiriting battlefield interview into a falsely patriotic bromide. He creates this “fake news” on an iPad, one of the ways Whitcomb situates the story in a more modern era.

On opening night, there were still tech kinks to be ironed out, as evidenced by the disastrous opening of Act Two, in which a televised Emmanuel Goldstein (Michael Small), Big Brother’s straw-man enemy, offers his treatise on war. But the audio malfunctioned, leaving us to observe Winston reading Goldstein’s words silently onstage for a languid minute or two. This is unfortunate, because the soundtrack likely contained some of Orwell’s most incendiary and accurate prognostications. (i.e. “War hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when they are committed by one’s own side and not by the enemy, meritorious.”)

It wasn’t the only instance of the sound design going astray on opening night. One of Winston’s diary entries abruptly stopped mid-sentence, and most of the other audio clips were inaudibly low, even when providing crucial exposition.

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These problems cannot be overstated. For a show that depends this much on a sensorial experience, they are debilitating, and do no favors to the actors. Trucks, who recently excelled in Evening Star’s effusive production of “Waiting for Godot,” performs on the opposite end of the spectrum here, so much so that he lacks both the presence and personality of an inchoate revolutionary. The same can be said of Jennipher Murphy’s Julia, who shares no chemistry with Winston; even the sex scenes proceed with plodding, clinical detachment.

As O’Brien, Peter Galman’s finest hour is the show’s menacing climax in and around Room 101. Carrying himself with stentorian, fascistic authority, he’s the embodiment of a dictatorship. Yet it’s impossible to buy his character’s bait and switch of the naïve Winston and Julia, which came off as plausible in the novel: There’s nothing in Galman’s performance to indicate subversion, save for an unexplained insignia on a business card.

Meredith Bartmon, Michael Conner, Joey de la Rua, Murphy Hayes and Daryl Patrice provide capable support; Bartmon is especially memorable as Syme, the story’s ultimate party loyalist, gleefully truncating the dictionary and hissing at Goldstein with sociopathic fervor. Yet some actors’ transitions into secondary roles—such as Bartmon and Patrice doubling as spoiled children—feel jarring and unconvincing.

This “1984” is, sadly, adrift. It’s neither a suitable introduction to the book nor an immersive tribute for its longtime admirers, though it probably aspires to be the latter. A few more days in tech may have helped.

“1984” runs through July 30 at Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. Tickets run $19-$39. Call 954/839-9578 or visit ccpompano.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.
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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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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

Roger Waters

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.

Shane R. Tanner in 'Sweeney Todd', 2017

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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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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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.
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McKeever World Premiere Highlights JCC Theater Season

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“The Camp,” one of the newest works by South Florida wunderkind Michael McKeever (pictured), will enjoy its world-premiere production at the Levis JCC in Boca Raton just months after it debuted as a one-night-only staged reading at Lynn University.

The play is set in Germany in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Its title refers to the remnants of a concentration camp on the outskirts of a small village, whose elders—so-called “good Germans”—looked the other way while the Holocaust commenced beside them. Written with the pointed, vividly descriptive dialogue for which McKeever is known, the play addresses the complicity of average citizens during the rise of Fascism, a theme he found particularly timely.

“The Camp” provides the thought-provoking linchpin of the JCC’s 2017-2018 theater season, when it runs for 12 performances from Nov. 30-Dec. 17. Produced in conjunction with the West Boca Theatre Company, “The Camp” represents a coup for the intimate black-box theater, arriving just a few months after McKeever’s other 2017 world premiere, “Finding Mona Lisa,” bows at Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables.

“We knew this would be our dramatic historical production for the year,” says Alan Nash, director of theatre at the Levis JCC. “Myrna Loman [of West Boca Theatre Company] saw the reading at Lynn and said, ‘this is something special.’ Michael has a great foothold in South Florida, and he’s such a terrific guy.”

“The Camp” may be the attention-grabbing centerpiece of the Levis’ season, but the rest of the shows are no slouches. The ‘17-‘18 slate is arguably the venue’s most eclectic lineup yet, featuring a healthy balance of recent Tony-winning plays, familiar musicals and even a touring one-man show.

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A still from the Levis JCC’s previous production of “Driving Miss Daisy”

These include the scabrous comedy “God of Carnage” (Nov. 9-19); the absurdist Chekhov homage “Vanya & Sonia & Masha and Spike” (Jan. 4-14); “Wrestling Jerusalem” (Jan. 17-21, 2018), Aaron Davidson’s celebrated solo play about the Arab-Israeli conflict, performed by Davidson himself; the Stephen Sondheim masterpiece “Company” (Feb. 1-11, 2018); and “Handle With Care” (March 1-11), a romantic comedy with some Hebrew dialogue.

“We have a very defined audience at the Levis,” Nash says. “They love all sorts of things, everything from historical dramas to comedies and musicals. When we were programming for this year, we thought, ‘What can we give them that’s a little more sophisticated, a little more rounded?’”

If that means straying a bit from central themes about Judaism—with such universally targeted choices as “God of Carnage,” “Vanya & Sonia” and “Company”—that’s OK. “We want to make sure there’s light comedies and musicals we know people will love,” Nash says. “They’re great, enjoyable productions. All have won multiple Tony awards.”

Season and group tickets are available for the Levis JCC’s 2017-2018 season. Call 561/558-2520 or visit levisjcc.org/culture/music_theater. The theater is at 21050 95th Avenue S., Boca Raton.

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

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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.
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5 to See in Old School Square’s 2017/2018 Season

From primatologists to political humorists, folk rockers to glass artists, tribute acts to magic shows, Old School Square’s 2017-2018 season is arguably more eclectic than ever. Announced this week, the Delray arts campus’ schedule welcomes more than 60 entertainers from October to May.

The Crest Theatre’s bedrock cabaret, singer-songwriter and lecture series remain strong, while the addition of top-shelf tribute artists—“Billie Holiday” and “Neil Young” will take the stage—and a National Geographic Live series add new elements to the robust selection of talent.

We (quite subjectively) combed through the roster to find the five most exciting acts in next season’s lineup. Mark your calendars for these high-profile bookings, and visit Old School Square’s website under “All Events” for the complete breakdown.

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Jason Bishop (Jan. 6-7, 2018)

This grand illusionist is, among other things, a case study in overcoming hardship. Orphaned as a child, the Newark native spent his first 18 years shuffling between foster homes, escaping his transient childhood with the transformative power of magic. He’s since become one of the most eclectic and sought-after magicians on the circuit. As known for his comedic asides and rock-powered soundtrack as his spectacular illusionists and sleights of hand, Bishop’s tricks include double levitations and plasma illusions, aided by cutting-edge technical gadgetry.

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Annie Griffiths (Feb. 15, 2018)

This photographer helped shatter the glass ceiling at National Geographic by becoming one of the famed magazine’s first female photographers—a job that has allowed her to see, and document, nearly 150 countries. As comfortable capturing landscapes and fauna as she as is portraits and culture, Griffith’s best work explores the plight of young girls and women worldwide, particularly in such interrelated issues of climate change and food insecurity. She will share this mission, and stories from her exciting life, at afternoon and evening presentations on Feb. 15.

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Roger McGuinn (March 14, 2018)

Don’t “Turn! Turn! Turn” away (sorry for that groaner) from this founder of the Byrds, one of the most influential folk-rock bands of all-time. McGuinn has been active in the music business for 60 years, initially climbing the studio ladder as a sideman for Judy Collins and other folksingers. Later with the Byrds, he helped fuse folk, rock, jazz and country into a plangent stew we now call Americana. Songs like “Eight Miles High” and “Mr. Spaceman” have become the standards of their generation, and at 74, McGuinn still captures their harmonic, youthful spirit.

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“Million Dollar Quartet” (March 17-18, 2018)

As the story goes, for one fraught night in December of 1956, four musical titans descended on the Sun Records studio in Memphis: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Gathered at the behest of Sun impresario Sam Phillips, the members of this impromptu jam session were not known for playing nice together, and this jukebox musical dramatizes both the great music and the inflated egos, and the internecine squabbles and thrilling collaborations. Though the show isn’t new to South Florida—Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables produced a gangbusters version last year—it’s never played Delray before, and this touring version is a real treat for such an intimate theater.

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James Judd (June 2, 2018)

The world has enough comedians and actors. But humorists and monologists? Those personalities are a rarer breed: Think Spalding Gray, David Sedaris and this guy, NPR personality James Judd, who makes a living memorizing his misadventures as a banned journalist and turning them into hilarious spoken-word recollections performed at a whiplash pace. His stories include “accidentally” winding up in a Chinese brothel, and imagining a shark’s dive off the coast of New England. He records a podcast (who doesn’t?), but it’s way better to see this whirling dervish perform his monologues live.

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.
Trevor-Noah

The Week Ahead: May 30 to June 5

The Norton celebrates a Beatles landmark, Summer Shorts premieres a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, and Florida Classical Ballet dances three masterworks. Plus, Trevor Noah, Joe Jackson, Burt Reynolds and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: Joe Jackson

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $37.50-$67.50

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

One of the more singular acts of the British New Wave movement, this impeccably dressed and sonically chameleonic singer-songwriter is famous for Elvis Costello-like barn-burners, baroque pop earworms, and jaunty swing music alike. He even dabbled with classical music, albeit to a more diminished audience, in the ‘90s. At this “encore” tour of his 2015 album “Fast Forward,” Jackson will play hits dating back to his classic 1979 debut “Look Sharp” on through to the conceptual ambition of “Fast Forward,” whose 16 cuts are inspired by four beloved cities: New York, Amsterdam, Berlin and New Orleans. A sprinkling of surprising, ever-changing covers will complement Jackson’s own eclectic material.

THURSDAY

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What: Art After Dark: Sound and Vision

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

It’s been 50 years this week since the U.S. release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the favorite Beatles album among art nerds, recording aficionados and lovers of all things weird. Across complex tracks such as “Within You Without You,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and “A Day in the Life,” the Beatles expanded their pop sensibilities to include vaudeville, avant-garde and Indian music, among others, knowing they wouldn’t have to perform the songs live. Half a century later, however, the possibilities for dynamism and range in live music have caught up with the endless capacities of the recording studio, and voila! Tribute acts like South Florida’s Across the Universe are more than happy to perform compositions from this iconic album. Catch them at 7:30 at this week’s Art After Dark at the Norton, but you can arrive by 5:30 for Spotlight Talks on four art works, and by 6:30 for an Artist Talk from South Korea’s Yeondoo Jung, whose installation “Documentary Nostalgia” is on display now at the Norton.

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What: An Evening With Burt Reynolds

Where: Eissey Campus Theatre, 11051 Campus Drive, Palm Beach Gardens

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $45-$75

Contact: 561/207-5900, legendsradio.com

Palm Beach County art royalty doesn’t get more regal than Burt Reynolds, the now-octogenarian actor whose Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre established northern Palm Beach as a cultural destination. Candid and self-deprecating, Reynolds recently told an interviewer than he’s probably made “50 good movies and 50 bad ones,” but his most iconic parts, in the likes of “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Deliverance” and “Boogie Nights,” have a permanent place in our mass consciousness. Still a working actor—his quasi-autobiographical new film “Dog Years” is currently playing the festival circuit—Reynolds will field questions from the audience at this intimate gathering, which will benefit the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre. Deep-pocketed fans can pay $500 for a front-row seat and meet & greet.

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What: Opening night of Summer Shorts

Where: 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 7:30 p.m. Cost: $39-$54

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

South Floridians waiting (im)patiently for their chance to finally see “Hamilton,” as part of the Broward Center’s 2018-2019 season, can enjoy some tapas by Lin-Manuel Miranda starting this weekend at the Arsht Center’s annual Summer Shorts festival of acclaimed short plays. Miranda’s micro-musical “21 Chump Street,” written prior to his success with “Hamilton,” and set in Boca no less, is the main draw at this always-popular collection of eight-to-15-minute works. The seven other plays, which lean heavily in the comedy direction, address topics ranging from Internet trolls and storefront psychics to Girl Scout cookies and the art world. Paul Tei, Jessica Farr, David Nail and new Artistic Director Margaret M. Ledford will lead a multifaceted cast of eight through the wacky and poignant material. Summer Shorts runs through July 2.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening day of “Colossal”

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

When: 2 and 6 p.m.

Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

This peculiar sci-fi comedy is just the sort of inventive idea that could breathe new life into both genres. At first, “Colossal” seems like a conventional domestic dramedy about a wayward, bender-prone New Yorker (Anne Hathaway) whose comically endearing bad habits have cost her a job and relationship. No sooner do we establish a tone and texture to “Colossal” does the story toss us a car-crushing, building-incinerating curveball, in the form of a giant monster terrorizing Seoul, South Korea. How are these twin narratives related? See the film and find out, or start by watching the crazy trailer.

SATURDAY

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What: Trevor Noah

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $39.50-$100

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

In 2015, a largely unknown comedian named Trevor Noah was appointed to the most plum job in political humor: host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Noah is not Jon Stewart—in some ways, he’s a better presence, less prone to tiresome camera mugging—but his star has risen nearly as high in two short years. He recently debuted his third standup special for Netflix, and his award-nominated 2016 memoir Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood introduced a global readership to his alternately hilarious and shocking childhood in apartheid South Africa: The guy who now dates a supermodel and rakes politicians over fires for a living once subsisted on caterpillars for nutrition, and was thrown out of a speeding taxi by gangsters. Noah’s boundary-pushing standup reflects hard, inconvenient realities, which helps explain the title of a documentary about his formative years: “You Laugh But it’s True.”

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

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What: Florida Classical Ballet Company Spring Gala

Where: Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $35

Contact: 954/839-9578, ccpompano.org

South Florida’s newest performing arts venue is not wasting any time in bringing exciting cultural programming to underserved Pompano Beach denizens. One of its resident companies, Florida Classical Ballet specializes in the fusion of Cuban dance technique with American styles, thanks to the vision of ballet mistress, choreographer and company founder Magaly Suarez. This weekend’s spring gala is great opportunity to discover this dynamic company, whose program features classics and newer works alike. Attendees will experience the dramatic Act II dance of “Swan Lake,” the grand pas de deux from “Don Quixote,” and the exotic “La Bayadere” suite, all featuring choreography by the legendary Marius Petipa. Jorge Garcia’s Cuban divertissement “Majismo” and Edwaard Liang’s 2009 “Wunderland,” featuring a Philip Glass score, round out the program.

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.