Witness poetry in motion at Old School Square, explore three weeks of Jewish cinema across the Palm Beaches, and see why “10 Hairy Legs” are redefining male contemporary dance. Plus, Palm Beach VegFest, the Delray String Quartet, “The Bridges of Madison County” and more in your week ahead.
What: Opening full day of Palm Beach Poetry Festival
Where: Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: Various events run 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: $10 to $18 per event
Contact: 561/868-2063, palmbeachpoetryfestival.org
This week, turn down the sound and fury of TV, radio and Netflix for the intellectual balm of poetry—live poetry, in all its reflective, interior, long-view splendor, spoken in glorious rhyme and meter by some of the great thinkers of our time. Palm Beach Poetry Festival workshops are already underway today, but the main event launches at 2 p.m. at the Crest Theatre with a “Craft Talk” between Chard DeNiord, the poet laureate of Vermont, and Tim Seibles, the poet laureate of Virginia. At 4 p.m. at the Crest, DeNiord will interview fellow poet Coleman Barks (pictured), and a star-studded kickoff at 8 p.m. features live selections from Beth Ann Fennelly, the poet laureate of Mississippi; poet and professor Ross Gay; and Chicago poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Visit the website for the week’s full schedule of exciting events, including Wednesday night’s Thomas Lux Memorial Reading and Friday’s night of “Powerful Performance Poetry.”
What: Opening night of Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival
Where: AMC CityPlace 20, 545 Hibiscus St., West Palm Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Cost: $18 for film only, $43 for film and reception
Contact: 877/318-0071, palmbeachjewishfilm.org
Now in its 28th year, the Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival continues to illuminate aspects of the Jewish and Israeli experiences across a broad spectrum of English-language, foreign and documentary films. The fest opens Thursday with “Body and Soul: An American Bridge,” which traces the lineage of the jazz standard “Body and Soul” from its 1929 inception by Jewish composer Johnny Green through its Broadway vibrancy and its adoption by Louis Armstrong as a jazz standard. The film makes the case that “Body and Soul” served as a key point of cross-pollination between two oppressed American minorities: Jewish Americans and African-Americans. Stick around afterward for a dessert reception and performance by cabaret personalities and radio hosts Jill and Rich Switzer, and visit the festival’s website for the full list of screenings, which run through Feb. 10 at six Palm Beach County theaters.
What: Opening night of “The Bridges of Madison County”
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
The Bridges of Madison County, James Waller’s 1992 novel, has not aged well. Though it sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, it was torpedoed by critics; Ben Brantley, of the New York Times, recently dismissed it as “50 Shades of Vanilla.” But Waller’s tale of a repressed Italian wife in 1960s Iowa who engages in an affair with a hunky National Geographic photographer has enjoyed an artistically robust afterlife, first as a more-nuanced Clint Eastwood film and then as a 2014 Broadway musical in which composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown transformed the intimate romance into a splashy big-ticket production on the strength of his score—an eclectic goulash of styles ranging from folk and country to pop and opera—and a plum, demanding role for any leading lady. Anna-Lise Jensen will take the reins in Slow Burn Theatre’s regional premiere of the Tony-winning musical, which runs through Feb. 4.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
What: 10 Hairy Legs: “Celebrating the Artistry of the Male Dancer”
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
Beyond the subversive humor of its name, New Jersey-based dance company 10 Hairy Legs is a markedly serious purveyor of male-centered dance. The 100-percent male repertory has earned effusive praise for its mission of advancing the role of the male in dance, and this tour, subtitled “Celebrating the Artistry of the Male Dancer,” features some of its finest commissions by esteemed choreographers.
What: Dorrance Dance
Where: Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach State College, 4200 S. Congress Ave., Lake Worth
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/868-3309, duncantheatre.org
An accomplished tap dancer who has performed with Savion Glover and STOMP, Michelle Dorrance combines a melting pot of genres into the choreography for her eponymous New York City company. Elevating tap traditions into the 21st century, Dorrance’s routines integrate street, club and experimental dance forms into her stylish and unpredictable movements.
What: Palm Beach Vegfest
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact: 561/393-7890, pbvegfest.com
Adherents to plant-based cuisine can take comfort in the fact that they’re no longer an obscure minority unable to find anything to order at most restaurants. The website Live Kindly called 2017 “the best year for veganism so far,” citing, among other statistics, Neilson’s claim that demand for vegan food has spiked by 140 percent. We have events like Vegfest, a twice-yearly market in Palm Beach County, to thank for raising awareness of plant-based diets and even, perhaps, winning converts to the cause. The local and national vendors who will pack the Amphitheater on Saturday certainly debunk the stereotype that vegan food tastes like cardboard; it’s as flavorful as anything produced by an animal. But enough preaching: Check it out yourself and enjoy copious free samples, organic juices and smoothies, a veggie burger bar, guacamole-making, live music and games, and more.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
What: Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts
Where: East Atlantic Avenue from U.S. 1 to A1A
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 561/746-6615, artfestival.com
Another weekend, another art festival: This time it’s the 29th-annual Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts, a bonanza of more than 250 fine artists from around the corner and around the globe, offering everything from life-sized sculptures to handcrafted jewelry, one-of-a-kind décor and much more. The artists are vetted by a jury, and include recurring favorites and new faces alike, all of whom will be on hand to discuss their work with inquiring visitors. This year, the talent includes the vibrant metal sculptures of Josef Belchatovski (pictured), the kinetic animations of photographer Michael Brown, the upscale fiber art of Prince Duncan-Williams and the inviting watercolors of Delray’s own Patricia Kaufman. Leashed pets are welcome.
What: Delray String Quartet
Where: Colony Hotel, 525 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach
When: 4 p.m.
Contact: 561/213-4138, delraystringquartet.com
The Delray String Quartet’s season-opening program sees the accomplished chamber musicians welcoming a fifth player: Uruguayan-born guitarist Marco Sartor, a performer of international renown who currently instructs at Miami’s New World School of the Arts. His nimble, dexterous, harp-like guitar prowess will enrich Borodin’s “Quartet No. 2 in D Major” and Boccherini’s “Guitar Quintet in D Major, Fandango.”