Sunday, October 2, 2022

Your Week Ahead: Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2022

Bumblefest buzzes into West Palm Beach with its best lineup yet, an acclaimed photographer trains his lens on Boca’s Pearl City, a harrowing play explores a dark corner of gay history. Plus, UB40 and more in your week ahead.

THURSDAY

What: UB40

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $54-$78

Contact: 561/393-7890, ticketmaster.com

One of seminal feel-good—scratch that, feel-great—reggae acts from the genre’s migration to western Europe, England’s UB40 emerged from the nation’s hardscrabble city of Birmingham and have spread sunshine and positive vibes to listeners’ ears for more than 40 years. Though the group has written much successful original material, its chart-topping mastery has focused on its groovy covers of reggae benchmarks and ‘60s R&B and pop classics, among them “I Got You Babe,” “Breakfast in Bed” and the ubiquitous “Red Red Wine.” Celebrating their 21st album Bigga Baggariddim, the band is embarking on its first post-pandemic tour, also its first with new lead vocalist Matt Doyle. Arrive early for the stellar opening acts, including Bob Marley’s original backing band, the legendary Wailers, and pioneering reggae fusion vocalist Maxi Priest.

What: Opening night of “Bent”

Where: Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 954/678-1496, empirestage.com

One of the more harrowing journeys into the heart of the darkness in contemporary western theatre, Martin Sherman’s “Bent” debuted in 1979 in London and would become a landmark play in its presentation of the atrocities suffered by gays in Nazi Germany. It’s set during and after the Night of the Long Knives, and depicts the capture of a same-sex couple, Rudy and Max, by the Gestapo, and the torture they faced both on the train to Dachau and in the concentration camp itself. Nominated for a Pulitzer and a Tony, “Bent” is remembered not only as a curdling drama that’s not for the faint of heart but as a vital contributor to gay history: Little was known about the Nazis’ persecution of LGBTQ people at the time Sherman began researching the play, and “Bent” opened up new doors of scholarly inquiry. The play is also largely responsible for the symbol of the pink triangle to identify gay prisoners, which would later be adopted as a pride symbol by the community. Empire Stage’s production, in concert with ArtBuzz Theatrics, runs through Sept. 25.

FRIDAY

What: Opening day of “The Territory”

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

When: Show times pending

Cost: $9-$12

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

Fresh off its award-winning premiere at Sundance in January, this documentary by Alex Pritz (and co-produced by Darren Aronofsky) is an immersive look at the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people of Brazil and their struggle to retain their land in the Amazon Rainforest from encroaching farmers and settlers. Pritz filmed the doc on location between 2018 and 2020, with some of the footage shot by the native peoples themselves. The result is admittedly an advocacy film—there’s no doubt Pritz sides with the Uru-eu-wau-wau—buttressed by extraordinary cinematography from one of nature’s most resplendent regions, and a storytelling structure that immerses viewers into the heart of a conflict that rarely, if ever, makes news in western media. The movie runs though at least Sept. 8.

SATURDAY

What: Opening day of “Reginald Cunningham: Black Pearls”

Where: Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: $10 seniors, $12 adults

Contact: 561/392-2500, bocamuseum.org

A prime example of an activist-artist, Washington, D.C.’s Reginald Cunningham embraced photography as a full-time vocation only in 2017. But within three years he had already seen one of his works grace the cover of British Vogue’s trendsetting September issue, alongside credits in the Washington Post, Ebony and others. Cunningham’s focus is a celebration of Black talent and history, and “Black Pearls” fits powerfully into his oeuvre. It reflects his visit to Boca Raton’s predominantly African-American Pearl City, the oldest neighborhood in the city, with a culture and importance that transcends its geographic limits. This place-making exhibition features 24 photographs of Pearl City’s residents as well as the community infrastructure that supports them, and it is complemented by oral histories, communicated by the subjects themselves, in audio and video form. “Black Pearls” runs through Jan. 22.

What: Opening night of “Exposed” exhibition and fundraiser

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

When: 5 to 8 p.m.

Cost: $7 general, $4 students

Contact: 954/921-3274, artandculturecenter.org

Often functioning as a bellwether for the state of contemporary art in Florida, the Art and Culture Center’s beloved annual “Exposed” returns this weekend for its 14th year. Seventy artists each contributed at least one piece—paintings, drawings, photos, sculptures, site-specific installations and videos likely among them—which will be on display throughout September. During this time, visitors can purchase tickets for a drawing to win one of these original artworks ($375 for one artwork, $725 for two artworks, $1,000 for three artworks). At the end of the run, on Sept. 30, the order of the winners will be announced via life raffle, but every ticket buyer will leave with an original piece of artwork. You can view the exhibition Sept. 30.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

What: Bumblefest

Where: 500 Block of Clematis Street, West Palm Beach

When: 6 p.m.

Cost: $20 one day in advance, $30 two-day pass

Contact: bumblefest.com

Bumblefest, the annual festival celebrating the influential local music zine PureHoney, returns this weekend for its much-anticipated 2022 edition, with a slate of 35 bands over six stages and two nights. Casting a wide indie-pop net, this may be the best Bumblefest to date, as PureHoney founder and sonic curator Steven Rullman has amassed six bona fide headliners from around the country. Among them are Spaceface, the heady new psych-pop project from former Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist Jake Ingalls and friends, which will appeal to fans of Tame Impala and Olivia Tremor Control; Brooklyn’s cumgirl8, a band name we don’t recommending googling on your work computer, which specializes in a spiky post-punk sound evocative of the Slits and Gang of Four; Tampa’s ethereal shoegazers the Stargazer Lillies; Leah Wellbaum, vocalist of the heavy and underrated Boston rockers Slothrust; and Georgia’s Immaterial Possession, whose spartan and nervy sound suggests the lovechild of the Feelies and Joy Division. Check out these acts and many more at the cluster of Sub-culture Group venues all around the 500 Block of Clematis Street.


For more of Boca magazine’s arts and entertainment coverage, click here.

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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