Opening day of “Ghosts, Goblins and Gods” at Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $8 to $13; 561/495-0233 or www.morikami.org
The creatures that populate Japan’s netherworlds color the whole spectrum of good, bad and ugly. There are half-man, half-bird tricksters that abduct children, forest animals that can take human forms, and a handful of Japan’s many gods, representing everything from wisdom to longevity to agriculture. This exhibit showcases all of them and more, in the form of paintings, woodblocks, sculptures and masks depicting the supernatural beings of Shinto, Japan’s native religion. “You’ll see what people from another culture think about when they turn their thoughts to the other world or to the supernatural,” says Tom Gregersen, cultural director at the Morikami. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16.
Opening reception for “Transcultural Pilgrim” at Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 6 to 9 p.m.; $4 to $8 or free for students; 305/375-3000 or www.miamiartmuseum.org
Entrenched between figurative and abstract painting and sculpture, Cuban artist Jose Bedia has helped tear apart these distinctions for some 30 years. He has done so through his morbidly sociological art, plumbing the spiritual and historical depths of his own culture and others from around the world in works that are at once supernatural and familiar, spooky and tranquil. Born the very year Fidel Castro marched into Havana, Bedia’s artistic journey has encompassed stints in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, the North American Plains, the Amazonian rainforest, the Dominican countryside and the Central African savanna. All of which contribute to the artist’s eclectic output, on display through Sept. 2 in this rare comprehensive retrospective.
Opening night of “Proof” at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 8 p.m.; $55; 561/514-4042 or www.palmbeachdramaworks.org
Mathematics and mental illness. These are the twin bugaboos a young college dropout would rather not inherit, postmortem, from her disturbed genius of a father in “Proof,” a Tony-winning 2000 play by David Auburn. A romantic drama set in the worlds of high academia and the traumatic contours of the human mind, this intense Pulitzer winner ran for more than 900 performances on Broadway. It was later adapted into a successful film with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. Dramaworks is just the theater that should be up to the challenge of bringing it new life. The play runs through June 17.
Buggin’ Out Nights at the Museum at South Florida Science Museum, 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach; 6 to 10 p.m.; $5 to $11; 561/832-1988 orwww.sfsm.org
Tonight marks the opening night of “Backyard Monsters,” a creepy and crawly new exhibition at the South Florida Science Museum featuring giant, robotic models of a butterfly, praying mantis and dragonfly. The metal insects are all anatomically accurate, according to the American Entomological Society. To celebrate the opening of the exhibit, the museum is staying open late tonight, with activities that offer an up-close-and-personal look at insects, including a cockroach dissection and “bug’s eye” view of a butterfly’s wing structure. There also will be touch tank demonstrations, observatory viewings and three screenings of the planetarium show “Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure.”
Opening night of “Payback” at Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; show times pending; $5 to $9.50; 561/549-2600 or fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Forgive the crunchy title of “Payback,” a name this film shares with a Mel Gibson action clunker from 1999. This “Payback” is a sobering new documentary about debt based on novelist Margaret Atwood’s 2008 essay collection of the same name. The film looks well beyond traditional notions of economic debt to explore the more insidious kinds of debt: societal, personal, environmental, spiritual and criminal among them. You might think it strange that a compilation of nonfiction ruminations would make for an engaging motion picture, but we’ve already seen at least three self-help books turned into narrative features, so anything can happen in this day and age.
Friday to Sunday
Jon Lovitz at Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach; show times vary; $30 plus a two-drink minimum; 561/833-1812 orwww.palmbeachimprov.com
The last time many Palm Beach County residents saw “SNL” alum Jon Lovitz, it was far removed from the brick backdrops and microphones of a comedy club. Last November, for the 22ndstraight year, he participated in the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. He made it all the way to the championship, winning alongside a fellow with slightly more experience on the court: John McEnroe. Lovitz had other players and guests in stitches even then; this weekend, you can see the multitalented actor, singer and comedian in his natural element across five standup appearances in West Palm Beach.
Friday and Saturday
Ayikodans at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; $35; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
Just because you can’t pronounce it doesn’t mean you should skip it. Translated from two Creole words, Ayikodans is Haiti’s premiere dance company. Founded in 1987, the company has performed throughout the world, integrating folk performance, free improvisation and voodoo religious culture into its boundary-pushing modern dance repertoire. But thanks to the devastation of the Haiti earthquake, Ayikodans’ future was in jeopardy – which is where the Arsht Center’s president and CEO, John Richard, came in. Richard visited Haiti more than a year ago, discovering Ayikodans, effectively saving the organization and commissioning a new work that will premiere this weekend. With all the cultural nonprofits that falter and shutter, it’s nice to hear an inspiring story about one being pulled from the wreckage.
Saturday and Sunday
“Gratitude! The Show” at Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth; 2 to 6 p.m.; $25 adults and $15 children 15 and younger; 561/586-6410 orwww.lakeworthplayhouse.org
The thinking will be positive and the joy will be palpable at the Lake Worth Playhouse this weekend for “Gratitude! The Show,” a day of self-discovery and entertainment launched by Swedish native (and South Florida resident) Jo Englesson. Taking a fun, variety-filled approached to the self-help seminar formula, Engelsson will play host to a number of artistic disciplines over the four-hour “edutainment show,” which will combine education and entertainment, all geared toward the goal of thankfulness and spiritual uplift. The entertainment includes the choral group S.T.A.R.S., hoop-dancer Casandra Tanenbaum, artists Jessica Hollen and Kristy Garloff, yogi Angel Lucia and dancer Anna Nunes.