It’s game on for a retro party in Mizner Park, two titans of alternative rock co-headline in West Palm Beach, and a local author proves it’s never too late to write a first novel. Plus, Bob Saget, Ben Rhodes, a tribute to the Smiths and more in your week ahead.
What: An Evening with Ben Rhodes
Where: Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
When: 8 p.m.
Cost: Free, but RSVP at Books & Books’ website
Contact: 305/442-4408, booksandbooks.com
Largely unknown to audiences outside the niche of political junkies, Ben Rhodes kept a mostly low profile in his eight-plus-year tenure at Barack Obama’s side. This is beginning to change during Obama’s ex-presidency: Rhodes is a major player in the HBO documentary “The Final Year,” focusing on the administration’s diplomatic accomplishments amidst a fraught 2016 campaign season. And now he’s touring behind The World As It Is, a memoir of his time in the Obama White House, which encompassed speechwriter, deputy national security adviser and multipurpose aide. Rhodes is a writer by trade, and his memoir promises to be more novelistic than most political tomes, bringing audiences into the Oval Office for decisions as consequential as the Bin Laden raid and the Iran nuclear agreement. He’ll discuss his book, and will likely wade into current political punditry, at this appearance.
What: ‘80s Throwback Game Night
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 7 to 10 p.m.
Contact: 561/544-8600, mizneramp.com
Don’t listen to the snowbirds: It’s great to be in Boca Raton in the summer, especially with new city initiatives like this one. Beat the humidity with some retrograde fun at the first party in this monthly summer series, featuring jumbo versions of classic ‘80s games like Operation and Lite Brite, and take out your frustrations from the past week on a game of Whackamole. There will be a vintage arcade area, a mini golf course, LED ping-pong and cornhole setups and much more, along with a caricature artist and fortune teller. A DJ will be spinning tunes from the ‘80s, to solidify the “Stranger Things” vibe events like this immediately conjure. Food trucks and a beer garden complete the experience.
What: Weezer and Pixies
Where: Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/795-8883, livenation.com
Few bands have had as much influence on alternative rock as Boston’s Pixies, whose contrast between bombast and ethereality, dream and nightmare, quiet and loud, laid the foundations for Nirvana, Radiohead, Arcade Fire and countless acolytes. Quintessential Los Angeles band Weezer, though favoring a sunnier sheen, has also cited its debt to the Pixies, stating in 2017 that “no other band had the impact they did on [Weezer’s] early sound.” So it’s sensible that these alt-radio powerhouses will share a stage together on their first co-headlining tour, which begins right here in South Florida. The Pixies have promised 75 straight minutes of banter-free rock spanning their 31 years of innovation; Weezer, likewise, will pull from its seminal nerd-rock debut as well as its tropical middle period and the wry party anthems of recent years.
What: Ordinary Boys
Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/449-1025, jointherevolution.net
Speaking of iconic alternative bands, the Smiths lasted just five years in the early 1980s and all but invented a strain of earnest but muscular jangle pop that married punk, goth and art rock. Their prickly frontman, Morrissey, wrote lyrics that wallowed in self-pity one minute and bristled with dark humor the next, a trade he’s continued to ply in an enduring solo career. But Morrissey plays few Smiths songs on his current tours; Ordinary Boys, a Florida-based tribute to the Smiths and Morrissey, performs a robust mix of Smiths classics and deep cuts, along with selections from Morrissey’s solo career. Vocalist AJ Navarette, who formed the tribute in 2010, performs a perfect mimicry of the real McCoy, and his band is equally adept. Considering the Smiths will never reunite, this is the closest you’ll get to a real gig in Manchester circa 1986.
What: Opening night of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Where: The Classic Gateway Theater, 1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
When: Show times pending
Contact: 954/763-7994, classicgateway.com
Who knew Mr. Rogers was such a radical innovator? This insight, central to this illuminating documentary about the children’s-TV mainstay, was certainly news to this writer, whose childhood was more consumed with Nickelodeon slime-fests and “Animaniacs” than Rogers’ nutritious hybrid of puppet show and healing circle. Charting Fred Rogers’ early forays into DIY television in Pittsburgh through his national success as a syndicated host, director Morgan Neville cuts through the parodies and slanders of Rogers’ detractors. He curates dozens of interviewees to paint a vivid picture of Rogers’ pioneering program, which managed to convey antiwar, antisegregation and progressive messages while challenging the fast-paced conventions of his medium. It’s a must-see doc about a national treasure.
What: Richard Conrath book signing
Where: Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach
When: 1 p.m.
Contact: 561/279-7790, murderonthebeach.com
South Florida author Richard Conrath is proof that it’s never too late to write a first novel. Conrath has worn numerous hats in an illustrious life that has included Catholic priest, philosophy professor and college president. He conceived of a mystery series while serving as headmaster of an American school in Turkey, and emerging with not one but three books, a trilogy that will be released in intervals. Along with his sundry careers, Conrath has also worked as a freelance reporter, so journalistic detail will likely inform the first entry in his trilogy, Cooper’s Moon, which introduces audiences to Professor Cooper, who abandons his teaching job to hunt for missing people—one of whom is his daughter Maxie, who has disappeared for seven years. Conrath happens to be visiting Delray Beach on his birthday; he’ll speak and sign copies of this auspicious debut at his first east coast book signing, complete with sandwiches, wine, soft drinks and birthday cake.
What: Bob Saget
Where: The Pavilion at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5550 N.W. 40thSt., Coconut Creek
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/977-6700, casinococo.com
Of all the comedians you should absolutely notbring your children to see, Bob Saget probably tops the list, despite his decades of family-TV white-bread wholesomeness. That’s because the everydad star of “Full House” and its recent, inevitable Netflix reboot, “Fuller House,” is a different animal when he grabs a mic and steps onto a stage: He is a bluer-than-blue comic—his vulgar routines might make Andrew Dice Clay blush—whose routines thrive off the contrast from his television persona. In total, Saget is more than just these twin personalities; he’s also a talented director, having helmed the cult classic “Dirty Work,” and a Broadway actor, following his lauded turns in “Hand to God” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.” But for this weekend’s performance, prepare to shower afterwards.