Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Week Ahead: Nov. 1-7

A Davie-raised comedian returns to South Florida as a star headliner, Arts Garage welcomes “New Orleans Big Brass Circus Rock,” and FLIFF launches with a member of the Coppola legacy. Plus, Fitz & the Tantrums, The Edwards Twins and more in your week ahead.



What: Mike Lawrence

Where: Fort Lauderdale Improv, 5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: Various show times

Cost: $20 with a two-drink minimum

Contact: 954/981-5653,

It feels surreal writing this preview of comedian Mike Lawrence, because Mike hails from Davie, and he and I were best friends in high school—two borderline-Asperger’s, old movie-quoting pop-culture geeks who were always the smartest guys in the room about subjects of little consequence. At the time, he was a sterling slam poet at venues like Dada, and I remember his conversion to standup as no less artistically fulfilling. Recalling his embryonic, unpaid performances at forgotten Broward County bars like the Mental Ward, it’s no surprise that the rest of the world eventually took notice—first with appearances on Conan O’Brien and “John Oliver’s New York Standup Show,” then the first of many appearances on “@Midnight,” and briefly on NBC’s most recent season of “Last Comic Standing.” He wasn’t selected, which was the network’s loss: His no-holds-barred, intellectual humor has made him a hit on the alt-comedy circuit and has spawned writing gigs for “Inside Amy Schumer” and the MTV Movie Awards. See this distinctively bearded local-boy-done-good at his first South Florida headlining show this weekend.




What: Fitz & the Tantrums

Where: Revolution Live, 103 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $29.50 advance, $32 day of show

Contact: 954/449-1025,

The “Fitz” in this hot Los Angeles alt-rock sextet is former sound engineer Michael Fitzpatrick, who had a solid reason to form his band, The Tantrums, in 2008: so he could “not lose his mind over a breakup.” Fitz and the Tantrums were borne of financial hardship as well as heartache: Fitzpatrick pooled his life savings into the recording of the group’s debut EP, which has turned into an investment well spent. The band’s debut LP, “Pickin’ up the Pieces,” would top the Billboard Heatseekers charts, and its two follow-ups have continued its remarkable ascent, capped by this year’s sing-along anthem “Handclap.” If there is a secret to FATT’s success, it’s their shrewd disregard for the restrictions of genre, swiftly oscillating between ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll, soul, disco and electronica with the occasional dollop of hip-hop, delivered in a riveting live show that continues to earn them new fans by the day.



What: Opening night of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $6-$25

Contact: 954/525-3456,

South Florida’s longest film festival will once again present more than 150 features, documentaries and shorts celebrating their local, national or world premieres. It all kicks off Friday with the star-studded opening night film “Dreamland,” a comedy about a penniless, aspirational musician whose integrity is tested when he meets a glamorous femme fatale willing to realize his dreams—at a cost. Writer-director Robert Schwartzman, of the Coppola cinema legacy, will attend Friday’s screening and party, along with stars Talia Shire, Beverly D’Angelo and more. As the festival continues through Nov. 20, there will be a special international focus, which includes a French night (Nov. 5), an Italian night (Nov. 7), a Brit night (Nov. 12) and an Israeli day (Nov. 13). A series of Veteran’s Day films will screen all day in Sunrise Nov. 11, including the Brad Pitt vehicle “Fury.” And on Nov. 7, the eve of the presidential election, the festival will premiere “Chief Zabu,” an unreleased ‘80s movie, finally completed in 2016, that contains eerie parallels to the rise of Donald Trump. Visit the festival’s website for complete details.


What: Opening day of “transphysics: istwa, landscapes, paisajes”

Where: Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood

When: Noon to 4 p.m.

Cost: $7 adults, $4 students, seniors and children

Contact: 954/921-3274,

This exhibition with an inscrutable title grows more accessible when you understand its subject matter: four generations of South Florida artists whose work is formed by—and informs—our geography, our climate, our multicultural community. Revered artist William Cordova curated this historical survey, which includes work by pioneering outsider artist Purvis Young, the ethnobotanist and photographer Onajide Shabaka and many more.




What: Dirty Bourbon River Show

Where: Arts Garage, 180 N.E. First St., Delray Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $30-$45

Contact: 561/450-6357,

We’re not entirely sure what “New Orleans Big Brass Circus Rock” means, but that’s the invented style the Dirty Bourbon River Show inhabits. The fact that this Big Easy quintet needed to invent its own genre tells a lot about its eclectic style, which has been evident across a whopping nine albums over six years. At its most traditional, it’s a brass band, with trumpet, baritone sax and Sousaphone jazzily featured among the traditional electric guitars, bass and drums. But then again, grizzled frontman Noah Adams is an accordion virtuoso, and one of the group’s albums is a solo accordion LP. His voice also carries the gravel of Tom Waits, leading his ensemble through colorful and quirky material that conjures the Dirty Dozen Brass Band one minute and the Residents the next. The band’s song titles, like “Ballad of Oompa Soca Man and the Orangutan Factory” and “Jewish Girls Who Went to Art School Know All the Angles” further contribute to the circus-like humor of these singular showmen.




What: The Edwards Twins

Where: Boca Black Box, 8221 Glades Road, No. 10, Boca Raton

Cost: $30-$45

Contact: 561/483-9036,

Chameleonic identical twins Anthony and Eddie Edwards not only look exactly like each other; they can look precisely like 150 other people, too. The natural entertainers honed their imitative sensibilities as children, watching and then re-creating, to an eerie T, the comedy bits from “Laugh-In” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” As adults, they’ve established a peerless brand of impersonation cultivated over more than 20 years, with the Edwards Twins’ transformations not limited to Cher, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Kermit the Frog, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Pavarotti and countless more. And they’re more than just vocal mimics: The twins make a point to visually embody their subjects, too, even if it means donning false teeth and wearing the stars’ actual clothing, the purchase of which initially landed them in debt. Now, their act, and their art, has been perfected to a science, and it needs to be seen to be believed.




What: “The Complete History of America (Abridged)”

Where: Bailey Hall at Broward College, 3501 Davie Road, Davie

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $20-$38

Contact: 954/201-6884,

If every history-studying pupil received his or her tutelage from this madcap comedy instead of textbooks … they probably wouldn’t know much, but they’d likely enjoy class a heck of a lot more. “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” is the latest touring production from the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a troupe that, to understate the obvious, trims the excess from whatever subject they’re satirizing. The company has truncated the Bard’s entire corpus into a one-act comedy and has also condensed the histories of sports and Hollywood into riotous, pop-culture-savvy shows. So the history of this great American experiment? Piece of cake. As the comic actors traverse “600 years in 6,000 seconds,” expect to see Lewis and Clark expediting as a comedy duo, the Lincoln assassination reenacted as a Matrix-style follow-the-bullet slow-motion sequence, a hilarious rewording of the National Anthem for our politically correct times, and plenty more pratfalls and high jinks.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, 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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