Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Week Ahead: Oct. 27 to Nov. 1

THURSDAY

What: Demetri Martin

Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35, with a two-drink minimum

Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com

This Greek-American comedian from New York has built up an unimpeachably hip cultural pedigree: For years, he was the “Senior Youth Correspondent” on “The Daily Show; he appeared on musical jokesters The Flight of the Conchords’ TV series; he starred in an Ang Lee movie and appeared in others by Steven Soderbergh and Lake Bell. He has achieved all of this bankable success through his consistently unique standup act, a sophisticated mélange of observations, self-deprecation, non-sequiturs and malapropisms inspired by the no-frills deadpanning of Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. As reviews of his current tours have indicated, Martin is also evolving: He eschews props such as the white drawing board of his earlier gigs, letting the jokes alone—eventually accompanied by acoustic guitar and other instruments—bring the funny.

What: Gang of Four

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $20

Contact: 954/564-1074, ticketmaster.com

In the late ‘70s, Leeds’ Gang of Four essentially invented dance-punk music, giving the nascent energy and radical snarl of the Sex Pistols a metronomic foundation and a danceable backbeat. The politics remained as a provocative as anything released by the Pistols or the Clash, if not more so: The songs on Gang of Four’s still-seminal 1979 debut “Entertainment!” touch on fascism, chemical warfare, consumerism and sexual inhibition. Since 1983, Gang of Four has split and reformed, unable to capture the consistent pulse of its early albums. But with a new LP to offer (“What Happens Next?”) and a crop of three new members, the band seems poised to reestablish itself in the 21st century. Gang of Four closes its 2015 tour in South Florida, alongside opening acts The New Regime and Astari Nite.

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

What: “The Wedding Warrior”

Where: The Vanguard, 1501 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: vanguardarts.org

Before she became an actress and theater professional in South Florida, Casey Dressler had a less enviable job: wedding coordinator in her hometown of Islamorada. Dealing with crazed mothers-of-the-bride, egotistical chefs and unpredictable weather patterns and technical difficulties is not for everyone, but in managing the chaos that precedes “I do,” Dressler at least got a knockout play out of it. Her one-woman show “The Wedding Warrior,” written with the breezy, crackerjack patter of a Hollywood comedy, follows her onstage avatar as she passes the wedding-prep torch to a new coordinator. Teaching her protégé everything she knows involves retracing some of her memorably catastrophic weddings, and Dressler plays every part—more than 10 in total, from a Cuban cigar-roller to a gastronomically challenged maid of honor to a southern-fried hotel clerk. The show, which has drawn raves from important fringe festivals in New York City and Edinburgh, will open this weekend and run for just four performances only; you can also catch it at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 and 6.

FRIDAY

What: “Spooky Science Nights at the Museum”

Where: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

When: 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $6-$12

Contact: 561/832-1988, sfsciencecenter.org

Einstein knew what he was saying when he called quantum mechanics “spooky action at a distance” back in the 1920s. Setting aside the mysteries of the paranormal, even hard science can be quantifiably weird, strange and creepy-crawly, as this entry in the South Florida Science Center’s monthly “Nights at the Museum” series will reveal. Attendees can learn scary science secrets while watching as pumpkins ooze and scorpions are dissected. And, as always with these events, science-related crafts and activities, planetarium shows, and stargazing from the museum’s observatory are included in the admission cost. Arrive in costume for a chance to win prizes.

What: Opening night of “The Assassin”

Where: Cinema Paradiso, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

When: 4:15, 6:45 and 9:15 p.m.

Cost: $6-$10

Contact: 954/525-3456, paradisocinemas.com

The Chinese fiction genre known as wuxia, which follows the gravity-defying adventures of ancient swordsmen, reached American shores with And Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and achieved Oscar-winning success with Zhang Yimou’s stupendous “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers” a few years later. The latest wuxia drama to turn critical heads, “The Assassin,” is also the most idiosyncratic. Unlike these movies, staging trumps editing: It’s shot by the great Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien, a storyteller of painterly patience, and while the swordplay is swift and jolting, it’s presented against a wider canvas of methodically deliberate long takes, with special attention paid to the sounds of Tang Dynasty life as well as its ravishingly photographed settings—wheat fields, caves and denuded forests; cliffs, valleys and gilded palaces. Shu Qi plays the title assassin, Yinniyang, dispatched to slay corrupt rulers until her conscience gets in the way. In presenting her steely markswoman as a selective pacifist, Hou offers a wuxia epic with a moral calculus all its own: a bloodless anti-action movie that lives up to the eastern duality of Yinniyang’s name.

SATURDAY

What: Moonfest

Where: Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach

When: 6 p.m.

Cost: $10 advance, $15 day of event

Contact: moonfest.me

Downtown West Palm Beach’s annual Halloween shindig is your only opportunity to encounter Superman, witches, zombies, centaurs, disfigured ex-presidents and the entire Addams Family stumbling into each other in the course of one square block. But the annual costume contest is just one facet of this freakish freewheeling favorite, which draws tens of thousands for the one-of-a-kind people-watching, innovative food truck entrées, inexpensive drinks, laser-light shows and live music by national and local bands: This year, iconic rockers The Romantics (“What I Like About You,” pictured) will headline the festivities, joined by great local acts like Raggy Monster, Gravel Kings and The Band in Heaven. Also, expect the return of such ancillary activities as the Dark Carnival—a sideshow bonanza, complete with bearded lady and knife swallowers—and the Silent Disco, a tented “club,” sequestered from the main event, in which attendees are handed a pair of battery-powered headphones and can dance along to one of two warring DJs.

What: HallowScream

Where: Begins at Lake Worth Cultural Plaza, 414 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 6 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: lakeworthcra.org

This year, for the first time, costumed revelers in downtown Lake Worth will also have a ghoulish party to call their own. Sponsored by Saltwater Brewery, the inaugural HallowScream is a pub crawl—the $10 “Destination Card,” purchasable at the Cultural Plaza, allows free entry and/or discounts and freebies at the evening’s 10 locations—and so much more. More than 20 live bands and DJs will perform all night long at all 10 hotspots: Local favorites the People Upstairs and Mylo Ranger will play the Cultural Plaza, Johnny Raincloud and Fuzzhound will rock Propaganda, the Bobby Nathan Band and Making Faces will bring the grooves to the Bamboo Room, the Mighty Quinn will perform an indefatigable four-hour set at Brogue’s, and so forth. Organizers will award $750 in cash and prizes to the best costumes, and a dozen shops and galleries will stay open late. Visit the event’s Facebook pagefor complete details.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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