South Floridians have one more series to look forward to during the upcoming high season. Starting in October and running through May of 2014, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts will host its inaugural Fort Lauderdale Speaker Series one Wednesday of each month, featuring seven luminaries from the fields of politics, media, literature, finance and exploration.
Sponsored by the Sun Sentinel, WLRN and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the series should fill a gap in the Broward Center’s diverse season; it’s about time the venue joined the Society of the Four Arts and the Crest Theatre by welcoming esteemed speakers onto its proscenium. Here’s the complete schedule.
Oct. 23: Steve Forbes
An audience of more than 4 million international readers visit Steve Forbes’ media empire; he is the editor-in-chief and CEO of Forbes magazine, which is arguably the pre-eminent American business magazine of record. An impassioned advocate for the flat tax and smaller government, Forbes twice sought the Republican nomination for the presidency, in 1996 and 2000.
Futher reading: Forbes’ latest book “Freedom Manifesto” explores some of his favorite topics: the morality of the free market and the immortality of “big government.”
Nov. 20: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The paternal nephew of slain president John F. Kennedy will visit the Broward Center just days before the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. As vice chairman of Riverkeeper, he has spearheaded the fight to restore the Hudson River, one of his many initiatives in the field of environmental law. Despite suffering from the speech disorder spasmodic dysphonia, Kennedy co-hosts the respected, syndicated progressive talk show “Ring Of Fire.”
Further reading: Kennedy’s 2005 best-selling “Crimes Against Nature” took aim at the George W. Bush administration.
Jan. 22, 2014: Bob Woodward
Woodward and his former colleague Carl Bernstein literally wrote the book on modern investigative journalism with the seminal “All The President’s Men.” He has continued to bring readers inside the halls of the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill with his exhaustive, fly-on-the-wall accounts of presidents dealing with crises. He is a recipient of Pulitzer, Polk and Lovejoy awards, with nearly every one of his books rocketing to best-seller status.
Further reading: A light read (for Woodward, anyway), his latest book “The Price of Politics” runs 448 pages, chronicling the attempts of President Obama and Congressional Republicans and Democrats to wrest the economy from a recession.
Feb. 12, 2014: Jeannette Walls
Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence has been tapped to portray this famous journalist and columnist in an upcoming movie adaptation of her remarkable memoir “The Glass Castle,” which spent 261 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. After accruing a reputation as a top gossip columnist for MSNBC.com, Walls’ book hit home with readers for its frank depictions of the author’s nomadic, dysfunction-laden upbringing.
Further reading: Next month, Walls will release her much-anticipated follow-up to “The Glass Castle,” a coming-of-age novel called “The Silver Star.”
March 12, 2014: Michael Beschloss
Newsweek called Beschloss “the nation’s leading presidential historian” for good reason. NBC’s official Presidential Historian has penned nine books, including studies of Truman, Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, plus a tome about presidential courage spanning 200 years. Best known for his work in print, the award-winning commentator has embraced digital media as well; his tweets have earned a spot on Time’s list of “Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.”
Further reading: His latest book is “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.”
April 23, 2014: Jean-Michel Cousteau
The first son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel has followed in his father’s wet footsteps, first diving into the ocean with an aqualung at age 7. Though he has had several public and legal run-ins with his father, Cousteau has nonetheless forged his own career in a similar field, producing some 70 environmental films since 1993 – one of which, “Voyage to Kure,” prompted President George W. Bush to designate a marine monument in northwestern Hawaii as one of the largest Marine Protected Areas in the world.
Further reading: In 2010, Cousteau published a memoir, “My Father, My Captain: My Life with Jacques Cousteau.”
May 21, 2014: Soledad O’Brien
The former co-host of CNN’s “American Morning” and then anchoring its replacement, “Starting Point,” until February of this year, O’Brien is known for her crusading documentaries for the news network, including “Who is Black in America?” and “The Women of 9-11.” She is now founder of Starfish Media Group, a production company that will distribute O’Brien’s documentaries to CNN as well as other potential buyers.
Further reading: O’Brien’s memoir “The Next Big Story,” covers some of the most dramatic worldwide news during her tenure as an anchorperson.
Series tickets run $260 to $475. Call 954/462-0222 or visit fortlauderdalespeakerseries.com.