“In Celebration: Hispanic Heritage” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 8:15 p.m.; 954/462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org
Symphony of the Americas will honor Hispanic Heritage Month with this special evening of songs from zarzuelas – Spanish-language operas that incorporate spoken dialogue into their narratives. Attendees will hear selections from some of the most acclaimed Spanish- and Cuban-based zarzuelas, including “Luisa Fernanda,” “Cecilia Valdes” and “Maria La O,” as performed by soloists from the Seattle Opera, the Cincinnati Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall. The colorful, eye-popping paintings of Cuban artist Hector Catá will be showcased in the theater lobby for this night only, and the evening begins with an optional lecture at 7:30.
Swans at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 9 p.m.; $18.50 advance, $22.50 at door; 800/594-8499 or respectablestreet.musictoday.com
No longer the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll apocrypha for many audiences, New York City’s legendary Swans brought their singular live show across the country last year, which included a stop at West Palm Beach’s Respectable Street. I reviewed that appearance and was blown away by the passion, discordant beauty and bludgeoning volume of the unforgettable evening – not thinking for one second that I would have the opportunity to see them again in less than a year’s time. But the celebrated band, which birthed in the atonal No Wave movement but has since incorporated acoustic guitars and melodies into its moody sonic cataclysms, is continuing its prolific revival, supporting a new album called “Seer” that has received raves from fans and critics alike. The band A Hack and a Hacksaw will open the show.
James Finley at FAU’s University Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; 7:30 p.m.; $15; 800/564-9539 or www.fauevents.com
Dr. James Finley isn’t the first mystical leader to trumpet meditation as a path toward spiritual enlightenment, but he’s certainly one of its most vociferous proponents. A disciple of legendary mystic Thomas Merton, Finley has written four books, approaching Merton’s teachings from a Christian perspective but incorporating material from the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Kabbalah and Tao Te Ching – all of which will be read and discussed at this enlightening lecture, presented by FAU’s Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life series. Visitors can stay later for a Q&A with Finley, whose books include “The Contemplative Heart.”
Opening night of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival at Gulfstream Village, 501 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach; 7:30 p.m.; $75 to $100; 954/525-3456 or www.fliff.com
Florida’s longest film festival returns for a monthlong selection of more than 200 independent and foreign films, documentaries and shorts. The festival, which continues to spread far beyond its home base of Fort Lauderale’s Cinema Paradiso, extends to cinemas in Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Coral Springs and Hollywood—not to mention Grand Bahama Island, which will host FLIFF-related screenings and parties from Oct. 25–28. We’re particularly excited about tonight’s opening festivities, which the first time do not coincide with a film premiere. Expect clips from the opening weekend films, food and beverages from six Gulfstream restaurants, and selections from an ice cream bar and cigar bar. The movies start Saturday, where the opening night film is the much-anticipated “Sapphires” screening at 7 p.m. at Muvico Pompano.
Bonnie Raitt at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 8 p.m.; $36.50-$76.50; 561/750-1668 or www.myboca.us/mizneramphi
Bonnie Raitt has been making great music for longer than most people think. She released her first album, “Bonnie Raitt,” in 1971, but it took her 18 years—and bouts with alcohol and drug abuse—to achieve a top 20 Billboard record, rocketing to No. 1 with 1989’s “Nick of Time.” Raitt’s signature confection of ragged blues, rollicking country and heartbroken balladry refinished in a slick studio polish finally found its niche in the 1990s, with three platinum albums to show for it. At 62, Raitt still sounds like an iconic blues banshee on her most recent release, the reggae-inflected “Slipstream.”American Songwritermagazine called it “one of the best albums of her 40-year career.”
Let’s Move Boca! at Royal Palm Place; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; $15; 954/636-2388 or www.letsmoveboca.org
The exclamation point in this event title is well-chosen. All of us, Boca residents and beyond, could benefit from moving a little bit more, the important of which cannot be overstated. This health and wellness fair in downtown Boca should act us a fun and edifying impetus to shape up the lives of the estimated 61 percent of adults and 34 percent of low- to moderate-income preschool children in Palm Beach County who are overweight or obese. The entry fee grants visitors a T-shirt and all-access pass to classes on Zumba, kickboxing, hip-hop and ballroom dancing, yoga and Pilates, as well as nutrition demonstrations, live cooking performances and children’s activities. There’s even a video game hub with all three major game consoles. No Funyuns allowed.
Debate watch party and concert at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 7 p.m.; free; 561/750-1668 or www.rockthevote.com
We all wish we could be in attendance at Lynn University tonight for the third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But when demand outstrips supply by this much, we’ll take whatever we can get, even if it means watching the debate on a giant screen a few miles away in Mizner Park. Event-goers will have an energetic soundtrack to usher in the foreign-policy chatter; prior to the debate, acclaimed alternative rock band Neon Trees – best-known for the hits “Animal” and “Everybody Talks” – will perform an exclusive one-off concert on the amphitheater stage, courtesy of Rock the Vote. Let’s hope they are still aren’t too jetlagged (or is it bus-lagged?) from their summer tour, in which they broke the Guinness World Record for performing in eight different cities in a 24-hour period.
Gina Gershon at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 8 p.m.; free; 305/442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com
I for one am tired of gossipy Hollywood tell-alls from actors and actresses with inflated senses of self-worth. Luckily, you won’t get such a tome from Gina Gerson, the sexy star of “Bound,” “Showgirls,” “How to Make it in America” and other endeavors. Her first nonfiction book, “In Search of Cleo,” (she’s previously contributed to a children’s book) focuses on the singular pursuit of her beloved cat, who slipped out of the sight of her assistant (whom we assume is no longer her assistant). The night-prowling journey led Gershon and her friend Ellen DeGeneres to some awfully strange people, from a Santeria priest to a pet psychic and a fortune-teller. Along the way, in true Hollywood fashion, she discovers herself as well.