Screening of “Le Havre” at Movies of Delray, 7421 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 7:15 p.m.; $10; 561/638-0020
Local film historian Shelly Isaacs bring his Café Cinematheque series of international films to this small Delray Beach cinema for a special screening of “Le Havre” before the movie opens in a handful of theaters on Dec. 9. Directed by deadpan Finnish master Aki Kaurismaki, “Le Havre” is one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films, boasting a 98 percent positive assessment on the critic aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. It’s about the relationship between a bohemian shoeshiner and a young African boy who risks deportation from government officials. The special screening price includes popcorn and a drink.
Opening night of “Mark Handforth: Rolling Stop” at Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 N.E. 125th St., North Miami; 7 to 9 p.m.; free for museum members and Art Basel VIP members and $25 nonmembers; 305/893-6211 or www.mocanomi.org
Back in 1996, Miami sculptor Mark Handforth was the first artist to have an exhibition at the fledgling, newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. Now, to celebrate its 15thanniversary in the Joan Lehman Building, the museum is returning, full-circle, to the artist who started it all. Handforth specializes in large-scale, outsized sculptures of quotidian, everyday objects like coat hangers and traffic signs. “Rolling Stop” compiles more than 30 works spanning Handforth’s career, including a new light installation occupying more than 80 feet of the museum’s walls. Tonight’s opening-night party also celebrates the kick-off of Art Basel.
Opening day of “Jenny Saville” at Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $5 to $12; 561/832-5196 or www.norton.org
Contemporary British painter Jenny Saville is the first of at least three coups in the Norton’s 2011-2012 season, which seems to be chockablock with young, groundbreaking female artists. Lumped in with the Young British Artists movement that began in the late 1980s, Saville makes rough-hewn, abrasive and thematically heavy renderings of the human form, often spotlighting transsexuals and transvestites. Preferring to focus on the female form in its many variations, Saville has said that she paints subjects with “floating or indeterminate gender,” making spectators rethink any preconceived notions about gender in the process. The exhibition is on display through March 4.
Howie Mandel at Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood; 8 p.m.; $49 to $69; 800/745-3000 or www.hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com
This slot in the Week Ahead was initially supposed to filled by Don Rickles, but after the legendary insult comic canceled last week, Howie Mandel was gracious enough to fill in. Frankly, I find most of the biggest marquee names in stand-up comedy – Jay Leno, Dane Cook, Carlos Mencia – to be fame-stained hacks who have rested on their laurels and forgotten their comedic roots. I’ve never gotten that impression with Mandel, a seemingly effortless funnyman whose career as a comic remains his strongest calling card, despite achieving newfound notoriety as a game-show host. But if you see him before or after his appearance, don’t offer to shake his hand: His germophobia is notorious.
Bill Clinton at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 5:30 p.m.; $23.95; 305/442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com
On the other hand, it’s not often you get to shake hands with a former president, let alone score the man’s John Hancock. Visitors to Books and Books on Thursday evening will have the opportunity to do just that, provided they buy Clinton’s new tome, “Back to Work,” for 24 bucks at the bookstore. Purchasers will receive a voucher that allows entry into the autograph line. A far slimmer volume than Clinton’s autobiography, “Back to Work” is a timely, 208-page remedy for our current economic woes. A long time ago, Clinton may famously have said, “The era of big government is over,” but this time around, he lays out just how the federal government can fix a broken financial system.
Thursday to Sunday
10th Annual Art Basel at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach; noon to 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; $23 to $40; 305/674-1040 or www.artbaselmiamibeach.com
Expect to see the work of more than 2,000 diverse artists from more than 250 galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. As the most important art fair in the Southeastern United States, if not the entire country, Basel’s reach extends beyond the convention center; the satellite fairs, film screenings and free concerts scheduled around Miami are often as exciting as the main attraction. We’ll have more on the music end of Art Basel on this site later this week, with previews of the unique concerts coming our way.
Thursday and Saturday
“Luisa Fernanda” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday; $21 to $200; 954/462-0222 or www.fgo.org
Florida Grand Opera launches its season with a rare and special treat for Hispanic audiences and opera aficionados alike: its first production of a zarzuela—an ancient, populist form of Spanish musical theater. Titled “Luisa Fernanda,” this romantic zarzuela by Federico Moreno Torroba debuted in 1932 and has since been sung by Placido Domingo at Madrid’s legendary Teatro Real. What separates zarzuelas from traditional operas is that the works have spoken dialogue (projected with English and Spanish subtitles), a rarity in a Florida Grand Opera production. Zarzuelas are typically on the lighter side emotionally, so “Luisa Fernandez” looks to be a pleasant introduction to an FGO season heavy on tragedies such as “Rigoletto” and “Romeo
Buzz Bake Sale at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury’s Way, West Palm Beach; 12:30 p.m.; $26 to $46; www.livenation.com
On South Florida FM dials littered with station after station of hip-hop/R&B, top 40 and country music, it’s nice to know that there remains at least one – and only one – venue for alternative rock music. The Palm Beach station The Buzz 103.1 may be the lone dial for teenagers to get their angst on, but it’s still responsible for one of South Florida’s major single-day musical festivals. The Buzz Bake Sale features live performances by 10 acts on the station’s rotation. I’ve only heard of three of them, but here’s the full list: Staind, Seether, Chevelle, Hinder, Everlast, Adelita’s Way, Art of Dying, Middle Class Rut, Falling in Reverse, and One:. Gotta love superfluous colons.
The Boca Raton Symphonia at St. Andrews School, 3900 Jog Road, Boca Raton; 3 p.m.; $33 to $59; 866/687-4201 or www.bocasymphonia.org
The Boca Symphonia, one of our city’s top nonprofit arts institutions, opens its 2011-2012 season with this afternoon concert, which will include pieces by Mozart, Prokofiev and Schubert. Guest violin soloist Tim Fain will perform with the Symphonia. Fain is charismatic young star who has appeared on the soundtracks of “Black Swan” and “Bee Season,” performed at Alice Tully Hall and Lincoln Center, and has played everything from Beethoven to Philip Glass.