What: Drag the River
Where: The Lion & Eagle Pub, 2401 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/447-7707, thelionandeaglepub.com
Country and punk music aren’t as diametrically opposed as they originally seem: Take out the cultural baggage of each (country as patriotic music, punk as the soundtrack of dissent), and both share a sonic history rooted in liberated, anti-establishment blues. It’s why bands like Social Distortion, The Beat Farmers and Uncle Tupelo lived so comfortably in both genres. And when Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price formed the alternative-country act Drag the River in 1996, they had emerged from a punk rock background, easily trading three-chord riffs and thwacking snare drums for pedal steels and twangy pastorals. Hailing from Fort Collins, Colorado, they wittily describe themselves as a “country & mid-western band,” cultivating a sound that’s both rural and urbane, rocking and balladic, which would fit nicely on an opening jaunt for Old 97s or Son Volt. The group has plenty of material from which to pull at this rare and intimate appearance, having released nine albums and even more 7-inch singles—a distributive holdover from its indie-punk roots.
What: “Ma Ma”
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 5, 6:45 and 9:10 p.m.
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Nobody’s immune to breast cancer, not even Penelope Cruz. In this latest and most-personal film from Spanish director Julio Medem, Cruz’s character, Magda, contracts the disease at a pivotal point in her life, balancing chemotherapy treatments with a pregnancy; the father is a widowed soccer scout. A departure from the light comedies and sexy thrillers in which she’s normally cast, the Goya-nominated “Ma Ma” aims to prove Cruz’s mettle as a dramatic actress; she also produced the movie. The film hopes to channel the melodramatic angst of vintage Douglas Sirk films, and while early reviews have been mixed, both its champions and its detractors agree on one thing: You’re best to bring a few hankies to the theater. “Ma Ma” is also playing, at least through Thursday, at the Classic Gateway Theatre and Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale.
What: Jeffrey Smith
Where: Hippocrates Health Institute, 1466 Hippocrates Way, West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, but RSVPs encouraged
Contact: 561/471-8876, hippocratesinstitute.org
Long before the pervasive consumption of genetically modified organisms became a concern for a growing contingent of Americans, Jeffrey Smith was tirelessly advocating against them: As early as 2000, just a few years after the introduction of GMO crops, Smith rose to vice president of a GMO testing company. He’s since become, arguably, the nation’s most prominent anti-GMO activist, penning two books and adapting one into the award-winning (and must-see) documentary “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives.” A figure of some controversy in the medical community—his background is yoga, not science—Smith has nonetheless built up a powerful and persuasive argument that the introduction of GMO foods correlates with a multitude of health issues which can be eliminated by switching to a non-GMO diet. He’ll discuss this and much more at his lecture this week, which is titled “Recover From GMOs: The Wrath of GMOs and Roundup.”
What: Opening night of “Feeding the Bear”
Where: Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/519-2533, islandcitystage.org
Body dysmorphia, Alzheimer’s and divorce are just a few of the topics addressed in “Feeding the Bear,” the latest seriocomedy from New York playwright Michael Aman—whose “Poz” earned a Carbonell nomination for Best New Work in 2014. Like “Poz,” the show will receive its world premiere beginning this weekend from Island City Stage, a company that produces gay-centric work for audiences of all demographics. It centers on a gay teacher with body dysmorphia—an obsession with minor or even imaginary physical flaws—who is forced to re-connect with his distant father when the latter contracts a degenerative illness. Along the way, plenty of laughs (and calories) will help ease this personal journey, thanks to an important supporting character: a TV chef in drag. Expect to see a cake and an entrée of chicken with mole sauce prepared onstage. Michael Leeds will direct a cast including Andy Rogow, Niki Fridh, Kevin Reilley and Jonny Bowls, in a production that runs through July 3.
What: Opening night of Summer Shorts
Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org
City Theatre’s annual celebration of the short-play format will hope to follow its exceptionally strong 2015 production with another new crop of carefully curated 10-minute plays. Never a company to rest on its laurels, City Theatre will, for the first time, include two musicals among its play-centered lineup, both of them appropriately offbeat: In “Evelyn Shaffer and the Chance of a Lifetime,” a video game maker meets her game designer hero, and in “Warped,” a singing computer illustrates the love between a human spaceship captain and an extra-terrestrial lieutenant navigator. Other works include a commissioned, darkly comic playlet by national TV scriptwriter Steve Yockey; “Eggs,” which addresses helicopter parents; and “The Talk,” in which a new widow re-learns how to date from her adult daughter. The stellar cast features Elizabeth Dimon, Tom Wahl, Karen Stephens, Meredith Bartmon, Alex Alvarez, Cherise James and Andres Maldonado. The show runs through July 3.
What: “Weird Al” Yankovic
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
“Weird Al” Yankovic is proof that the normally forecasted tides of music sales can sometimes yield a powerful, unpredictable wave. In the summer of 2014, Yankovic, considered by many a relic of the last century—a parody artist who had become a self-parody—released the No. 1 Billboard-charting album in the country. His 14th LP, “Mandatory Fun,” was a genuine industry disrupter, becoming the first comedy album to hit No. 1 since Allan Sherman’s “My Son, the Nut” in 1963. But this only sounds shocking until you hear the album, and realize how justified Yankovic’s newfound attention is. “Mandatory Fun” is arguably his most inspired collection ever, from his cheerfully sardonic take on pop hits like “Royals” (“Foil”), “Happy” (“Tacky”) and “Blurred Lines” (“Word Crimes”) to clever originals such as “Mission Statement” (a corporate mission statement put to music) and “First World Problems” “(I bought too many groceries for my refrigerator/I forgot my gardener’s name, I’ll have to ask him later”). His recent set lists reflect the spring in his step, including lengthy medleys of early hits.