What: Erskine Bowles

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $15-$35

Contact: 561/655-7226, fourarts.org

North Carolina businessman and politician Erskine Bowles embodies a spirit of bipartisanship from left side of the aisle, having worked with Wyoming Republican Alan Simpson on 2010’s much-anticipated National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The comprehensive plan died on arrival and has been viewed by some as yet another squandered opportunity to reduce the nation’s deficit. For a plan to be embraced by such polarized political figures as Nancy Pelosi and Tom Coburn – and shunned by ideological opposites Paul Krugman and Paul Ryan – the plan must have done something right. At any rate, Bowles knows a thing or two about debt reduction, which will be the subject of his Four Arts lecture, which concludes the institution’s 2014 lecture series.


What: Opening night of “Mr. Marmalade”

Where: Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $20-$30

Contact: 866/811-4111, outretheatrecompany.com

Continuing to take a chance on controversial work, Boca Raton’s Outre Theatre Company has scheduled a surrealist comedy so black it must be seen to be believed. The main character of “Mr. Marmalade” is a 4-year-old girl with an imaginary friend. Pretty normal, except that the friend is a cocaine and pornography addict who beats up on his personal assistant. Meanwhile, the girl’s only real friend was the youngest suicide attempt in her state’s history. The play was written by emerging talent Noah Haidle; don’t hold his recent work on the lousy Hollywood buddy film “Stand Up Guys” against him. “Mr. Marmalade” runs through April 13.


What: “The Elephant Wrestler”

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $28

Contact: 561/832-7469 or kravis.org

Performance artist Jacob Rajan is from New Zealand, not India, but that hasn’t stopped him from exploring that country’s traditions and modern-day atmosphere, while adopting a pitch-perfect Indian accent, in this show. The award-winning “The Elephant Wrestler: Your Guru of Chai” finds Rajan inhabiting the character of a humble chai vendor at the Bangalore Train Station, who is challenged by the Hindu gods to solve the greatest mysteries of life. Rajan is an actor, comedian and magician, and he adopts all of these hats in this unique performance piece, which also integrates audience interaction, slapstick, puppetry and live music; most importantly, reviewers have said that this award-winning show never condescends to the Indian archetypes Rajan portrays.


What: Boca Bacchanal

Where: Private residences, Mizner Park Amphitheater and Boca Raton Resort & Club

When: Event times vary

Cost: $85-$225

Contact: 561/395-6766 ext. 101, bocabacchanal.com

Entering its 12th year, the Boca Bacchanal is one of those only-in-Boca events that make other communities jealous. It’s also become one of the most popular foodie events in the state, with Friday’s event, pairing top chefs with top vintners for meals in haute private residences, long sold out. But tickets are still available for Saturday’s Bacchus Bash at the Boca Resort, which promises entertainment, cooking demonstrations, music, dancing and live and silent auctions, in addition to copious “by the bite” food stations and tableside presentations; and for Sunday afternoon’s more budget-friendly Grand Tasting at Mizner Park Amphitheater, with its sip-and-stroll al fresco luncheon from 30 local chefs and restaurants.


What: The Golden Dragon Acrobats

Where: Delray Beach Center for the Arts, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $45

Contact: 561/243-7922, delraycenterforthearts.org

Chances are you’ve never seen plate-spinning, ball-juggling and contortionism quite like it’s performed by the Golden Dragon Acrobats. The only Chinese acrobatics company touring the U.S. full-time, this troupe has been defying gravity since 1985, and its new show, “Cirque Ziva,” marries Cirque du Soleil-style theatrics with centuries-old Chinese tradition. The lighting design will be handled by a veteran of the American Ballet Theatre and the 1996 Summer Olympics, and the props include a gong, chairs, marionettes and giant spinning hoops. But when they’re not dancing or contorting themselves into impossible pretzels, these 25 daring performers essentially act as their own props, creating jaw-dropping human towers of precipitous poise and precision whose only impediment is the venue’s ceiling.


What: Miami City Ballet’s “Don Quixote”

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

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20–$175

Contact: 561/832-7469 or kravis.org

Miami City Ballet’s most ambitious long-form ballet of the season, “Don Quixote” is, of course, based on Miguel de Cervantes’ timeless novel, which gave us the adjective “quixotic,” the tilting-at-windmills idiom, and more than one star-crossed movie adaptation that never reached our screens. But it’s in ballet form that the iconic story has had its strongest shelf life, with esteemed companies mounting versions of it for more than a century. Choreographers Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky plumbed most of the material for their four-act ballet from just two chapters of Cervantes’ text, but it includes all the sensual gypsies, macho toreadors, donkeys and equines the story is most known for—to say nothing of the gnomes, fairies, gigantic spiders and other supernatural elements the beleaguered characters will experience on their journey.


What: Ales for Anglers

Where: Sunset Cove Amphitheater, 12551 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: 2:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 561/699-7097, alesforanglers.com

Florida is home to some great bands. And, lately, with the craft-beer phenomenon fermenting all across the state, we’ve proven that we can produce some great brews, too. And it goes without saying that our waters are some of the best for fishing. The inaugural Ales for Anglers event will combine all of these passions, in a concert and beer fest whose entire proceeds will benefit the Snook and Gamefish Foundation, a charity organization dedicated to protecting Florida fisheries. The acclaimed Jacksonville act JJ Grey & Mofro (pictured) will headline the concert, and will be joined by homegrown talent Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Have Gun Will Travel and Forrest Hoffar. Thirteen brewers will be on site to offer their latest concoctions, including Florida Keys Brewing Co., Due South Brewing Co. and Midnight City Brewing.


What: Carbonell Awards

Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Say what you want about the Oscars, Tonys and Grammys, but the Carbonell Awards are always my favorite of the seasonal awards shows—and only partly because, as a Carbonell judge, I happen to have some skin in the game. Mostly, though, it’s nice to see such hardworking local talent recognized. At South Florida’s answer to the Tony Awards, honors in 20 theater categories will be dispensed, along with honorary awards, live performances of songs from the five nominated Best Musical productions, and an after-party for ticketholders at a nearby bar. I’m in the dark about who will win what, but Palm Beach County theaters will surely have another strong year; in its very first Carbonell-eligible production, of “next to normal” (pictured), West Boca’s Slow Burn Theatre Company leads the pack with 10 nominations, and the north county powerhouse Maltz Jupiter Theatre earned 19 nominations, more than any other venue.