The B-52s toast 40 years of party rock, and Casey Affleck directs a stark new thriller. Plus, Beck & Cage the Elephant, comedian Jamie Kennedy and more in your week ahead.
What: The B-52s with OMD and Berlin
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
It’s been four decades since the B-52s released their seminal self-titled debut, a still-resonant, kitsch-driven marriage of style and substance that introduced the world to iconic hits like “Rock Lobster,” “Planet Claire” and “Dance This Mess Around.” To celebrate this anniversary, the band, still led by founding vocalists/instrumentalists Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, is hitting the road to play compositions from this and a handful of other albums, including its 2008 comeback release Funplex. Their opening acts constitute a veritable Rolling Synth Revue, making this one of the most exciting tours of the year: Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, another shiny ‘80s band with nearly 40 years of hits (“Enola Gay,” “When You Leave,” “Tesla Girls” etc.); and Berlin, whose “Take My Breath Away” is at least partially responsible for the success of “Top Gun.” Expect the often-sedate Broward Center audience to be dancing in the aisles all night long.
What: Senator Jeff Merkley
Where: Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, but RSVP required
Contact: 305/442-4408, booksandbooks.com
One of the few prominent Democrats not running for president in 2020, Oregon junior senator Jeff Merkley is a proud progressive whose stature in his party’s left flank would pass anybody’s purity test: He even endorsed Bernie Sanders in the ’16 primary, the only U.S. senator to do so. Lately, he’s become most outspoken on the president’s draconian border policies, after his thwarted attempt to enter an immigrant processing facility in Texas in 2018 went viral. His efforts, research and point of view on this issue is the subject of his seething new book, America is Better Than This: Trump’s War Against Migrant Families. He will discuss this central issue of his advocacy, and will likely field questions on other relevant political topics as well.
What: Opening day of “Light Of My Life”
Where: Cinema Paradiso, 2008 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
When: 12:45 p.m.
Contact: 954/342-9137, fliff.com
A decade after a plague has wiped out most of the world’s female population, a man (Casey Affleck) traverses a dreary American landscape with his daughter (newcomer Anna Pniowsky). With danger around every corner, this intrepid father disguises his child as a boy, protecting her as one would the Hope Diamond. Fusing the mortality crisis of “Children of Men” with the post-apocalyptic journeying of “The Road,” “Light of My Life” is a simmering plunge into a bleak future and, if its most effusive critics are correct, it’s a gripping example of cinematic minimalism. Elisabeth Moss, who can’t seem to avoid flashback-filled reproductive dystopias, co-stars. “Light of My Life” is just Affleck’s second feature as a director; it plays through Sept. 5.
What: Beck and Cage the Elephant with Spoon
Where: Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 1607 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach
When: 6 p.m.
Cost: $28 and up
Contact: 561/795-8883, westpalmbeachamphitheatre.com
Alt-rocker Beck has been delighting, surprising and confounding audiences for the past 30 years, trying on genres like wedding dresses on each of his 13 albums, and never staying married to any of them for very long. Most known by the masses for 1994’s slacker-rap anthem “Loser,” with its bonkers patchwork of nonsensical lyrics—“With the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables/dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose”—Beck has flirted majestically with acoustic folk, electronic, ‘60s soul and funk, and psychedelic pop over the years, seesawing between maturity and juvenilia. Just a few months ago he released a hypnotic soundscape inspired by the Oscar winner “Roma” and a sugary disco track for “The Lego Movie 2,” epitomizing his restless duality. See him plumb tracks from his entire oeuvre at this rare tour appearance with two killer opening acts: Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant, which combines raucous barn-burners with plaintive elegies; and Spoon, the innovative and enigmatic indie rockers from Austin.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
What: Jamie Kennedy
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 250
When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $25 plus a two-drink minimum
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
Prolific character actor Jamie Kennedy has dozens of credits in film and television, but like most of my generation, I remember him most fondly as Randy Meeks, the smart-alecky horror-movie cinephile of Wes Craven’s “Scream” franchise, and the character whom my high-school self most wanted to be in those movies. Though he’s appeared in a bevy of horror and science-fiction projects, it wasn’t until the top-rated hidden-camera series “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” in the early 2000s, that he was able to fully unleash his comic id, creating at least eight different characters, Sasha Baron Cohen-style, including the white rapper Brad Gluckman, whom Kennedy went on to portray in a feature film. The good news for us: Kennedy is as gifted a comedian on the standup stage as he is in front of cameras; if his previous riffs on cinema, homeless people, student debt and his own fame are any indication, his sets at Palm Beach Improv this weekend will please longtime fans and possibly earn him some new ones as well.