Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Your Week Ahead: April 9 to 15

Art, fun and frivolity at the Delray Affair, a puppet-master comedian in Boca, and a musical duo’s angst-ridden romance in Miami. Plus, the Bright Light Social Hour, Indie Craft Bazaar, acclaimed film “Diane” and more in your week ahead.


What: Opening night of “Hundred Days”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $55

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

This singular musical, with songs composed by and starring husband-and-wife songwriters Shaun and Abigail Bengson, provides a rousing soundtrack for its meditations on mortality. IRL, the Bengsons met at a New York jamboree and fell in love, quite literally, at first sight: They married three weeks later, only to fall victim to morose thoughts about how loss, by circumstance or fatal fluke, would eventually separate them. Songs addressing this malaise, and its precursors and aftermath—what Shaun Bengson refers to in the show as “the sound of introverts pining”—form the bulk of “Hundred Days,” and range from wistful folk to staccato punk. It runs through April 21.


What: Michael Paul

Where: Boca Black Box, 8221 Glades Road, Suite 10, Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $20

Contact: 561/483-9036, bocablackbox.com

Given that comedian Michael Paul’s actual surname is Ziegfeld, are we really surprised he forged a career in the entertainment industry? By his own admission, Paul is more of a household face then a household name; in his 2015 memoir Breaking Out of Show Business, he writes that he’s “skyrocketed to the middle.” But he’s an old-school, eclectic talent who would be equally at home on a vaudeville stage, a sitcom writing room or a comedy club: He’s a first-rate standup comic and a skilled improviser, and he’s also a ventriloquist who hauls some of his homemade, branded creations—such as Nadia, the World’s Oldest Gymnast—on the road for all-too-intimate conversations, in what one perceptive marionette describes as “Sesame Street on acid.”

What: Opening night of “The Old Settler”

Where: M Ensemble at Sandrell Rivers Theater, 6103 N.W. Seventh Ave., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $31, includes reception ($21-$26 for remainder of run)

Contact: 305/200-5043, themensemble.com

The most-produced play penned by the late actor John Henry Harwood, “The Old Settler” follows the clashing of cultures and generations, the vagaries of the heart and the bonds of sisterhood in World War II-era Harlem. Elizabeth Borny, a 55-year-old spinster—or “old settler,” in the parlance of the time—lives with her recently separated sister, Quilly, in their well-appointed Harlem apartment. Seeking some extra money, they take in a border, a thirty-something country yokel from South Carolina named Husband Witherspoon, who takes a shine to Elizabeth and exposes a long-covered wound in the sisters’ relationship. Redwood tempers this seemingly fractious premise with gentle humor and specific details about the African-American experience in Harlem in the 1940s, and if produced well, it should resound with Chekhovian insights. M Ensemble’s production runs through April 28.


What: Opening night of “Diane”

Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $7.50-$10.50

Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com

Mary Kay Place, still perhaps best known for her Emmy-winning work on the Norman Lear sitcom “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” more than four decades ago, has been a reliable character actor in dozens of film and TV projects since. Few, if any, have pushed her to the emotional, physical and mental brink like her latest starring role, “Diane,” which has already received cautious Oscar buzz. Her title character in this mood-driven period piece is the sort of selfless person who volunteers to save the damaged souls around her, from her bedridden cousin to her drug-addicted son to the denizens of her local soup kitchen. It isn’t until an episode from her past crashes into her present that she’s forced to turn that healing energy back on herself. Already the winner of numerous film-festival awards, “Diane” is the narrative directorial debut of Kent Jones, one of the nation’s premiere film critics and programmers, and a former archivist to Martin Scorsese. The movie runs at least through April 18.


What: Delray Affair

Where: Downtown Delray Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/279-0907, delrayaffair.com

With more than 500 artists and crafters cramming 12 city blocks in downtown Delray Beach, the Delray Affair has earned the mantle of the largest arts and crafts festival in the Southeast United States. Though the vendors come from everywhere, the Affair specializes in the quirky and the whimsical, traits that help define the Delray mystique: Think vibrant watercolors, mixed-media sculptures and funky artisanal housewares. It would be tempting for the event’s organizers to rest on their impressive laurels, but Festival Management Group continues to freshen up the fair with new attractions every year. Debuting this April are three beer and wine gardens—one in the front lawn of Old School Square, the other two at the Fourth Street and Seventh Street intersections of Atlantic Avenue—with live music at each of them. This year’s radio sponsor, True Oldies 95.9, will be on hand to teach attendees dance moves like the Twist, Mashed Potato and Watusi, while The Affair’s “Delray After Dark” festivities, now entering their third year, keep the festival atmosphere afloat with drink specials and after-hours gallery openings long after the tents fold up.


What: Indie Craft Bazaar

Where: Revolution Live and America’s Backyard, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: Noon to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5

Contact: 954/785-7475, indiecraftbazaar.com

With spring having sprung, the region’s biggest marketplace for local artists, crafters and vintage vendors is getting into the spirit. At Sunday’s Indie Craft Bazaar, visitors can receive free seeds, soil and supplies to plant their own kitchen herb gardens, as well as free DIY springtime accessories. All of this, in addition to the unique shopping opportunities from more than 65 sellers, $3 mimosas, food trucks and baked goods on-site, and free swag bags for the first 100 customers.

What: The Bright Light Social Hour

Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $25-$40

Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com

Formed as an art-rock collective in 2004, this Austin-based psych-rock quartet has a scant but dazzling discography of two full-length albums and, most recently, the first of a two-part EP titled Jude. Developing a shimmering, warped sound that evokes Beach House and Slowdive across its two LPs, the Bright Light Social Hour has begun to favor a cleaner, crisper approach more akin to the National, with lyrics of pain, grief and transcendence coloring the driving harmonics of Jude Vol. 1. The EP’s evocative lyrics were born of a monumental loss for co-founder and vocalist/bassist Jackie O’Brien, whose brother and manager, Alex, committed suicide in 2015. Jude, like Nick Cave’s The Skeleton Key,is a reckoning with the loss of a loved one, but it’s a catchier record that also addresses politics and our comfortably numb modern age. Needless to say, these songs should sound terrific live.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, 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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