What: Mike Birbiglia
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
Since 2008, Mike Birbiglia has been one of the few comedians gifted enough to take his humor to a more theatrical level, creating two successful one-man shows—“Sleepwalk With Me” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”—that hew closer to Spalding Gray monologues than traditional standup routines. The memorization, the delivery and the acting came together flawlessly with Birbiglia’s autobiographical subject matter: “Sleepwalk With Me” explained his rapid eye movement behavior disorder, which has led to some dangerous sleepwalking incidents, and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” was a warts-and-all account of his relationship history, which won numerous comedy awards in 2013. His latest production is titled “Thank God for Jokes,” which suggests a return to his standup roots but with the meticulous, actorly polish he’s brought to his previous shows. We’ll review it on Friday here at bocamag.com.
What: Opening day of “Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Fashion Photography at Conde Nast”
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach
Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org
Few portraitists played with the beautiful contrast of light and shadow quite as potently as Baron Adolph de Mayer, whose 1913 appointment as Vogue’s fashion photographer made him the first artist to attain that position. His black-and-white and sepia-toned images of models such as Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford cut through the Victorian-style gloom of the period with cinematic attention to detail, while helping to establish the groundwork for the nascent genre of fashion photography. “Coming Into Fashion” begins with de Meyer and continues to the present day, studying the evolution of the medium across 150 photographic prints from Conde Nast’s archives in New York, Paris, Milan and London. Edward Steichen, Irving Penn and Miles Aldridge are among the photographic voices whose personalities resonate through their work. Witness fashion photography’s deviations from, and its fundamental similarities to, those early de Mayer shots at the Norton, one of just two American museum engagements for “Coming Into Fashion.”
What: Opening night of “Altarations: Build, Blended, Processed”
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: FAU’s Schmidt Center Gallery, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
Contact: 561/297-2661, fau.edu/galleries
Inspired by such recent New York exhibitions as “What is A Photograph?” and “A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio,” this exhibition of photo-based artworks is, its curators promise, unlike anything seen in South Florida in recent memory. More than 20 contemporary artists, from across the United States and countries such as Israel, Peru and Denmark, contributed artworks that blur the boundaries between photography and other forms of visual art. Some employ digital image-making while others defy its temptations, but all of them have something inherent to say about the state of photography today, in ways that celebrate, contradict and undermine its traditions. Miami artist Maria Martinez-Canas, who is considered one of the anchors of the exhibition, will speak at Thursday’s opening. The exhibit runs through Feb. 28.
What: Opening night of “Marvel Universe Live!”
When: 7 p.m.
Where: The BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise
Contact: 954/835-8000, thebbtcenter.com
For fans of Marvel Comics’ storied superhero universe, the only experience more thrilling than the latest 3-D movie adaptation is to watch the heroes’ and villains’ adventures in the flesh. The likes of Wolverine, Captain America, the Avengers and more will provide just that opportunity at this action-packed arena spectacular, complete with trailblazing special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial choreography and motorcycle stunts. A bowel-shaking thunderclap from Thor opens the show, whose plot—as if that really matters—involves preventing the Cosmic Cube from entering enemy hands. He’ll need plenty of help from his aforementioned friends; Spider-Man will be there, as well, clinging upside down to a prop dangling in front of the Statue of Liberty. Phil Smage, the actor playing Captain America, told the New York Daily News that the stunt work is “not easy and everyone is sore, but we’re doing what we love to do.” The show runs through Sunday, Nov. 23, then moves to Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena Nov. 29 and 30.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Miami City Ballet’s Program I
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
When it comes to “Romeo and Juliet,” you know the story, and spoiler alerts need not apply: Both lovers get it in the end. The joy in experiencing and re-experiencing this passionate tale of star-crossed lovers year after year, and medium after medium, is in the individuality its creators bring to the ageless text. In the world of classical ballet, such knighted choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton and Sir Frederick MacMillan have created full-length dances based on the story, but Miami City Ballet is re-mounting what most consider the best “Romeo and Juliet” ballet of all: the 1962 version by South Africa’s John Cranko, a choreographer who sought to create dance that was “a representation of life itself.” Known for his clear-eyed storytelling mastery and his thrilling pas de deux, Cranko’s take will be presented with romantic costumes and lavish sets.
What: Hope Fest
When: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Abacoa Amphitheatre, 1267 Main St., Jupiter
Cost: $25 adults, free for children 12 and younger
This inaugural Jupiter festival will offer an excellent survey of Florida music, but it’s much more than that: It’s the most ambitious fundraiser yet for Hope From Harrison, the moving nonprofit formed by local parents Matt and Melissa Hudson, who lost their second child Harrison after five months due to an inexplicable birth defect. The Hudsons initially launched their nonprofit to assist with the mounting medical costs of treating their son, and they’ve been paying it forward ever since, raising some $40 thousand for families of sick children. At today’s festival, you can contribute to this worthy cause for an affordable $25, while enjoying nutritious food options, craft beer and a full day of music including Mike Mineo, The Resolvers (pictured), Boxelder, Ketchy Shuby, No Bodies Crew, Miami Street Band and Uproot Hootenany. Notably, the festival also features the first South Florida performance in two and a half years by John Ralston’s Invisible Music, whose frontman recently returned to the area from a three-year sabbatical in Southwest Virginia.
What: Valerie Plame and Robert Baer
When: 10 a.m.
Where: Miami-Dade College, 300 N.E. Second Ave., Miami
Contact: 305/237-3258, miamibookfair.com
What do you when you’re no longer a spy? Presumably, you don’t take a job at Starbucks: You write about spy games. Valerie Plame, the famous CIA operative who was “outed” by columnist Robert Novak in 2003, has launched a fiction series that borrows heavily from her own covert experiences working against nuclear proliferation. In one review, her protagonist, Vanessa Pierson, was called “a smart, sexy action hero, a kind of James Bond with high heels, short skirts and a Glock in her purse.” In the second Pierson novel, Burned, which Plame will discuss at this Miami Book Fair appearance, Pierson must collaborate with a notorious nuclear arms dealer to catch an even more threatening terrorist. She’ll be joined in this discussion by Robert Baer, another accomplished CIA operative and the author of four New York Times best-sellers. His latest book, The Perfect Kill, is a nonfiction adventure about political assassins and the origins of radical Islam.
What: “Autumn Sonata” with Liv Ullmann
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Cosford Cinema at University of Miami, 5030 Brunson Drive, Coral Gables
Contact: 305/284-4861, cosfordcinema.com
One of the all-time great movies about mother-daughter strife, Ingmar Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata” is also notable as being the director’s only collaboration with his (unrelated) namesake, Ingrid Bergman. She plays a concert pianist visiting her daughter Eva (Liv Ullman) for the first time in seven years. At Eva and husband Viktor’s bucolic parsonage, the mother and daughter will spend a day, night and painful morning stirring up decades of emotional cobwebs, mostly fixated on mom’s frequent absences, narcissism and workaholism. Told in muted colors and stylized, protracted soliloquies, it’s one of Ingmar’s slow-burning chamber dramas, and a brilliant showcase for the subtlety and versatility of his two actresses. One of whom, his wife and muse Ullmann, will be in attendance following the film for a special Q&A. The screening is part of the Cosford Classics series, so it will be screened on its original 35mm film format.