Literary and jazz lions kick off Festival of the Arts, a new Italian festival brings a Stallone to Fort Lauderdale, and the Okeechobee Music Festival camps out with the stars. Plus, KT Tunstall, A.O. Scott, the Miami Film Festival and more in your week ahead.
What: A.O. Scott
Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach
When: 3 p.m.
Contact: 561/655-7227, fourarts.org
Scott has been chief film critic for the New York Times since 2004. He’s a witty, erudite and observant critic, whose tastes lean as much toward perfectly executed family fare as they do meandering art-house experiments. An accomplished book critic as well, Scott will discuss his chosen art form and his recent book Better Living Through Criticism, his eloquent defense of a career spent in the shadows of artists and clowns.
What: Opening night of Festival of the Arts Boca
Where: Mizner Park Cultural Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 561/368-8445, festivaloftheartsboca.org
Festival of the Arts Boca is finally upon us, offering 11 eclectic days of jazz and symphonic concerts, lectures, film screenings and more. Thursday’s opener, Jennifer Egan, is a darling among both the fiction and nonfiction literary sets, thanks in part to her episodic, rock-and-roll-set, Pulitzer-winning 2010 novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” as well as her award-winning reporting for the New York Times. She’ll discuss her occasional tightrope-walking between these not-so-opposing worlds of writing in her FOA lecture, titled “Novelist as Journalist/Journalist as Novelist.” Return Friday for acclaimed jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis at Mizner Park Amphitheater; and Saturday for a 4 p.m. presentation by affable New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff and a 7:30 p.m. semi-staged production of Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” with the Boca Raton Symphonia.
THURSDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Okeechobee Music Festival
Where: Sunshine Groves, 12517 N.E. 91st Ave., Okeechobee
When: Begins at 4 p.m.
Cost: $279 for four-day passes
It’s hard to believe, with the many months of anticipation, but at the time of this writing, tickets are still available for the Okeechobee Music Festival (we can’t all be Ultra, I guess). Now in its second year, this campground festival lies outside our usual coverage range—it’s about a 90 minutes’ jaunt from Boca—but we’re certain a huge contingent of South Florida music lovers will fill the middle-of-nowhere milieu for a lineup heavy on alt-rock, indie rock, hip-hop, electronic and jam bands. Top acts include Kings of Leon, Bassnectar, the drool-worthy pairing of Usher & the Roots, The Lumineers, Wiz Khalifa and George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic. Our favorites, among the dozens of acts, include the arena bombast of Bleachers, the crunching harmonies of Sleigh Bells, South Florida fuzz-rockers Jacuzzi Boys, throwback rockers The Growlers, and the brilliant and uncategorizable Merchandise.
What: The Fab Faux
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com
The star-studded Beatles tribute act will once again descend on Fort Lauderdale for its annual tour of the Fab Four’s hits and deep cuts. Eschewing mop-tops and Liverpudlian accents, the singers and musicians of the Fab Faux—which includes former “Late Show With David Letterman” bassist Will Lee and Conan O’Brien guitarist Jimmy Vivino—focus 100 percent on the tunes themselves, often performing difficult albums in their entirety. This year, however, they’re mixing it up, isolating their two-act program by songwriter, not by LP: The first set will feature the “Book of Lennon—The Beatles According to John,” and Act Two will spotlight “The Book of McCartney—The Beatles According to Paul.” You know you fall on one side or the other as to the Beatles’ over-arching genius: Let the raging debate continue.
What: Opening night of Miami International Film Festival
Where: Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami
When: 7 p.m.
Cost: Varies per event
Contact: 305/237-3456, miamifilmfestival.com
Arguably the worldliest of South Florida’s film festivals, MIFF is the nation’s preeminent festival showcasing Ibero-American cinema. It’s also one of its most progressive festivals, with workshops and programming aimed at closing race and gender gaps in film and technology. To that effect, the 2017 fest will feature 15 premieres by female directors, from the American indie “Carrie Pilby” to the Indian political drama “Lipstick Under My Burkha.” The festival opens Friday with the Florida premiere of “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” which arguably provides Richard Gere’s best star role since “Arbitrage,” in a similarly set story about the intersecting worlds of politics and finance. It screens at 7 p.m. at the Olympia Theater, followed by an opening-night party at the Historic Alfred I. DuPont Building; for the entire schedule, visit the festival’s website.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: “Taste of Little Italy” Festival
Where: Huizenga Park, 312 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
When: 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $10 adults, free for children 12 and younger
Contact: 561/427-0500, fortlauderdaleitalianfestival.com
Creating a “cultural journey filled with authentic Italian food, music, art and tradition” is the ambitious mission of this inaugural Fort Lauderdale festival. It aims to achieve this goal with a generous slate of culinary presentations and activities, vendor booths and live performances. There will be cooking demos, wine seminars, bocce and festival rides, and more than 10 singers, bands and dance troupes. Headliners for the three nights include Tommy Mara & the Crests, Salvatore Valentinetti and our personal fave—if only because he inspired some of Norm MacDonald’s best “Weekend Update” material—Frank Stallone, brother of Rocky himself. He’ll take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, following the 7:30 p.m. opening ceremony.
What: KT Tunstall
Where: The Bowery, 567 Hibiscus St., West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/420-8600, bowerypb.com
One of West Palm Beach’s newest restaurants, The Bowery has also become one of the region’s most impressive live music venues, hosting major international acts in intimate, under-the-radar performances: Lee Greenwood recently performed, and Edwin McCain and Jefferson Starship are on its March docket. But next up is KT Tunstall, the stylish Scottish singer-songwriter whose music is sunny, soulful and driving. Her backstory is astonishing: She was born to a Hong Kong stripper and was adopted by a family from Fife, where she learned piano at the prodigious age of 4. On the strength of her 2004 debut “Eye of the Telescope” and its ubiquitous single “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree,” Tunstall secured Grammy and Mercury awards. She’s never topped that song’s mass penetration, but her devoted following has continued to support her through four more albums, including 2016’s “Kin.”
MONDAY, MARCH 6
What: Staged reading of “The Camp”
Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/237-9000, lynn.edu/tickets
The last time South Florida playwright Michael McKeever premiered a new work at a Lynn University staged reading, that play—“Daniel’s Husband”—went on to win three Carbonell Awards, and it will enjoy its New York premiere in early April. So anticipation is high for McKeever’s latest work in progress, “The Camp,” a change of historical pace from McKeever’s contemporary-set recent plays. It takes place in a village of “good Germans” circa World World II, focusing on the citizens who looked the other way while the Nazi death machine steamrolled around them. “It’s a very human take on a time in world history where inhuman things were happening,” McKeever explained in a press release. “Sadly, it’s become relevant in the times we find ourselves living in now.” Sounds like another sobering winner.