Saturday, August 13, 2022

Your Week Ahead: Sept. 19 to 25

The biggest band in the universe tours Miami, Respectable Street toasts 30 years of oblivion, and a White House correspondent dishes on fake news in Boca. Plus, Salman Rushdie, “Woodpeckers,” a Trump-themed play and more in your week ahead.


April Ryan

What: April Ryan

Where: University Theatre at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: 2 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: 800/653-8000,

As a White House correspondent since 1997, April Ryan has covered four presidencies, at times single-handedly raising issues impacting African-Americans. It’s a demographic she knows well, having penned the award-winning book The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America. But Ryan is an equally pugnacious interviewer on issues relating to foreign policy and international intrigue, famously scuffling with former Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Russiagate. It’s a subject that will almost surely arise during her appearance at Tuesday’s fifth-annual Robert J. Bailyn Symposium on the First Amendment, subtitled “Fake News and the Modern Presidency.” She’ll join a panel of journalists including Palm Beach County’s own Frank Cerabino and Rick Christie.



What: Opening night of “Oleanna”

Where: Evening Star Productions at Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $30

Contact: 561/447-8829,

This prescient two-character play by David Mamet was first produced in 1992, where it expertly forecast issues of political correctness and gender relations that continue to percolate today. In three scenes of escalating tension, a male teacher awaiting tenure takes an initially benign meeting with a female student to discuss a class assignment, only to find his words distorted and manipulated in subsequent tête-à-têtes. Written in Mamet’s exacting staccato style, this challenging and timely two-hander kicks off the season for Evening Star Productions, with Sara Grant and Rob Bruno starring under the direction of Rosalie Grant. The production runs through Oct. 8.



What: Opening night of “Woodpeckers”

Where: AMC Aventura, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura

When: Show times pending

Cost: $11-$14


On my list of places to avoid, a Dominican Republic prison would rank fiercely high. This breakthrough feature—the first Dominican movie to be accepted as an official Sundance Film Festival selection—boldly explores the Darwinian subcultures of a male prison and its adjacent female penitentiary, places compared by their inmates to both Hell and Vietnam. But “Woodpeckers” marries sensitivity with its dog-eat-dog brutality; it’s something of a love triangle between a newly incarcerated inmate, his mentor, and the mentor’s imprisoned girlfriend, with whom they communicate through the bars. An extraordinary story grounded in reality, “Woodpeckers” is the Dominican Republic’s official selection for next year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. You can also catch it at the Tower Theater in Miami, where it opens Friday, and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale, where the director and actor will appear for a Q&A and reception.



What: Respectable Street’s 30th Anniversary Block Party

Where: 500 block of Clematis Street, downtown West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-9999,

Three decades since Respectable Street’s inception, this flagship lounge and concert venue in West Palm Beach remains a downtown anchor, a destination for darkwave, punk, industrial, indie and other left-of-center rock ‘n’ roll subgenres. All of these and more will be represented at the venue’s annual birthday party. She Wants Revenge (pictured), a Los Angeles quartet whose driving, atmospheric goth-punk has earned admirable comparisons to Joy Division and early Interpol, will headline the outdoor main stage in thrilling fashion. Twenty-seven other bands will play all night long on five stages, including Voltaire, Subculture Coffee and Respectable Street’s two indoor stages. Visit the venue’s website for the complete schedule, and arrive early for free pizza and an open bar between 8 and 9.


What: Opening night of “Building the Wall”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $34-$54

Contact: 305/949-6722,

This dystopic drama from playwright Robert Schenkkan might very well be ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. Inspired by then-candidate Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and penned in the weeks leading up to the election, “Building the Wall” imagines the draconian consequences of the president’s proposed roundup and detainment of millions of illegal immigrants, which quickly spiral the nation into anarchy and martial law. Both sides of the contentious debate are explored through the play’s sparring characters—the supervisor of an immigrant detention center (Gregg Weiner) and his interrogator (Karen Stephens), a historian trying to understand his position. The hot-button drama is currently being licensed to regional theaters around the country as a “Rolling World Premiere,” produced locally by Summer Shorts purveyors City Theatre. It runs through Oct. 8.


What: Arcade Fire

Where: Watsco Center, 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $31-$202

Contact: 305/284-8244,

A lot has happened in the years since the most bombastic band in the known universe released its Grammy-winning 2010 concept album The Suburbs and now, typified by this recent headline by the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Wait, is Arcade Fire terrible now?” No, they’re not, but the self-indulgent marketing campaign for the Montreal band’s fifth album, Everything Now, has leant an obnoxious sheen to the critically polarizing LP. But even its staunchest critics have been left breathless by the band’s titanic 2017 tour, with its boxing-ring stage design, its balance between the intimate and the epic, its generously divvied set list and its motley disco energy. Considering Arcade Fire’s last tour in Miami was a low-key club set in Little Haiti, this voluminous celebration of the band’s dense career is expected to be a revelation for longtime fans and new discoverers alike.



What: Salman Rushdie

Where: Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables

When: 4 p.m.

Cost: A $28.99 book purchase at Books and Books grants a voucher for entry for two

Contact: 305/442-4408,

Rushdie’s last two novels, The Enchantress of Florence and the Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, were examples of deft literary escapism—sprawling narratives set in Renaissance Florence and a supernatural future, respectively. But for his latest novel, the outspoken activist is planted firmly on earth, in our contemporary moment. The Golden House is a dense patchwork about an enigmatic septaugenarian billionaire who moves into a cloistered Greenwich Village community with his tempestuous children and a Russian expat aiming to crown herself his queen. The family’s secrets unravel under the gaze of a neighbor, a documentary filmmaker working on a movie about their lives. Meanwhile, according to the official description, “like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.” Now that’s realism.

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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