Wednesday

Opening day of Santa Fe Art Colony: Early American Modernists in New Mexico at Boca Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; $5 to $8; 561/392-2500 or www.bocamuseum.org

John Sloan, the celebrated realist painter from New York, and Edward Hopper, his East Coast colleague known for muted urban portraits brimming with straight lines and melancholy, are among the American artists who went west in the early 20th century. Attracted to the multiculturalism, the wide-open spaces and the majesty of the natural land, these artists and others settled in Santa Fe, where they helped create a nascent art colony separate from the more-established art culture in Taos. This exhibition, organized by the Boca Museum of Art and containing upwards of 40 pieces, runs an eclectic gamut from Santa Fe “Old Guard” artists to realists like Hopper and Sloan, on through to modernists such as Stuart Davis, who took inspiration from jazz for his abstract paintings. The exhibition runs through Jan. 5.

Thursday

Opening night of Fright Nights at South Florida Fairgrounds, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach; 6 to 11 p.m.; $30 to $70; 561/793-0333 or myfrightnights.com

There’s only one time of the year when the midway rides, cotton candy artery-cloggers and good-natured carnival games of the South Florida Fairgrounds share space with roving axe murderers and devilish clowns. It’s all harmless, of course, though if done right, the folks behind Fright Nights ought to send a few jolts through visitors brave enough to enter its four elaborate haunted walk-throughs. This year’s festivities include A Grim’s Tale (exposing the murderous underbelly of children’s fairy tales), The Smiths (the latest residence for a family of everyday psychopaths), Sunnyville Orphanage (neglected children plot their revenge on the world), and Country Bill’s Meat Market (need we say more?).

Oktoberfest Kickoff Concert at Delray Beach Center for the Arts, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 6 p.m.; free; 561/243-7922 or www.delraycenterforthearts.com

Forty years ago, the American German Club of the Palm Beaches launched its first Oktoberfest as a Sunday picnic. These days, the four-decade tradition has expanded to a two-weekend affair in Lake Worth, complete with German culinary delicacies, traditional folk dance, choral singing, live German music, children’s activities and more. But before the Lake Worth event begins this weekend, locals can get an early start on the alcohol-fueled affair at this special kickoff concert in Delray Beach, which will include performances from two bands visiting straight from the Munich Oktoberfest: Heldensteiner Band and Die Lustigen Bayern. Seating will be limited, so bring lawn chairs; the best part about the event is that, unlike Oktoberfest proper, this kickoff is free.

Friday

Nicole Henry at Arts Garage, 180 N.E. First St., Delray Beach; 8 p.m.; $25 to $35; 561/450-6357 or www.artsgarage.org

Jazz singer Nicole Henry is big in Japan, having won awards and topped charts there. But she’s also mighty popular in this country and her home base of South Florida, where she graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theater. She scored Miami New Times’ designation as Best Solo Musician in 2002, years before she released her debut album, and more recently the New York Times’ Stephen Holden referred to her as “a pop-soul superwoman.” The beautiful silken-voiced singer has released six albums and is touring in support of her latest CD “So Good, So Right,” a collection of live ‘70s covers from Aretha Franklin to James Taylor. She’ll be touring with her five-piece band, which helps create her rich studio sound at excellent cabaret-style venues like the Arts Garage (additionally, on Nov. 1, she’ll be playing a tribute to Henry Mancini at Miami’s Arsht Center).

 

Opening night of “Of Mice and Men” at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 8 p.m.; $75 (or $60 for the rest of the run); 561/514-4042 or www.palmbeachdramaworks.org

While Hollywood movies and best-selling paperbacks during the Great Depression specialized in sensationalism and escapism, John Steinbeck was a wet blanket, if also a literary master. He was the anti-Horatio Alger, known for pointing out this country’s hardships, iniquities and roadblocks in such realist masterpieces as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. The latter, which depicts the tragic Depression-era decline of a pair of displaced migrant workers, was based on Steinbeck’s own history as a bindle-carrying hobo. Targeted by censors in its day for its “vulgar” language, Of Mice and Men has now become essential reading in schools, and has undergone several adaptations for film, opera and theater. Palm Beach Dramaworks will launch its 2013-2014 season with the stage version, which premiered in 1938 and includes a cast of 10. It runs through Nov. 10.

Frightened Rabbit at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 8 p.m.; $22.90; 954/564-1074 or www.ticketmaster.com

After years toiling in the underground rock scene and opening for marquee headliners Death Cab for Cutie and Belle & Sebastian, the hardworking, heart-on-sleeve Scottish act Frightened Rabbit finally scored major-label distribution with its fourth album, this year’s “Pedestrian Verse.” Originally founded as a songwriting vehicle for singer and guitarist Matt Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit’s music vacillates between plaintive folk and indie-pop anthems, and the quintet’s best songs are hookier than a bait shop. Dramatic and evocative, Hutchinson’s lyrics are poetry in mini-epic motion; “Swim (Until You Can’t See Land)” suggests an exhilarating escape from life’s stresses, and this year’s smash “The Woodpile” finds its protagonists communicating clandestinely in a burning building. Look for a review of the concert this weekend at bocamag.com.

 

Anthony Jeselnik at Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 8 p.m.; $29.15; 954/462-0222 or www.parkerplayhouse.com

If you’ve ever seen Anthony Jeselnik perform standup comedy, you know to expect the unexpected—and ti prepare for the most morbid conclusion to any situation. Case in point: “You don’t know anything about pain until you’ve seen your own baby drowned in a tub … and you definitely don’t know anything about how to wash a baby.” That’s the Jeselnik formula in a nutshell: Start at Point A with a universal statement and conclude with a 180 into the writer’s dark abyss of a mind. Enough playwrights have explored the Theatre of Cruelty, but few funnymen have plumbed the Comedy of Cruelty with as much brilliance as Jeselnik, and South Florida is lucky to snag him for this one-night engagement.

Saturday

Opening night of “X-Scream Halloween: Aftershock” at G-Star School, 2030 S. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach; 11:30 p.m.; $10 to $13 adults, $5 children; 561/967-2023 or www.xscreamhalloween.com

The G-Star School’s contribution to the horror genre doesn’t end with its students’ low-budget slashers. Each October, the film school transforms into a themed carnival called X-Scream Halloween, which the Travel Channel recognized in 2008 as one of the “13 Most Haunted Attractions in America.” Now in its eighth year, the event will feature new additions such as roving “scare-actors,” a stage show and live music, and food and vendors. This year’s theme is a trendy one: End Times. The Mayans may have been off about 2012, but G-Star will envision a post-apocalyptic landscape battered by nuclear conflicts and climate change, and lorded over by independent despots and militias—until the inevitable mutant uprising, that is.