Friday, February 16, 2024

Your Week Ahead: Dec. 4 to 10

Mizner Park hosts its first Jazz Brunch, Old School Square goes “Beyond Art Basel” and the Arsht Center presents “Sleeping Beauty” as never before. Plus, Alan Cumming, Iris DeMent, an anime masterpiece and more in your week ahead.


What: Screenings of “Mirai”

Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road

When: 4:45 and 7 p.m.

Cost: $5

Contact: 561/549-2600,

I was late to the party regarding this Japanese animated gem—I caught it this past weekend, after it already opened—and it’s hard to express my surprise. My knowledge and interest of anime doesn’t extend much beyond Hayao Miyazaki, but “Mirai” is as stunning as the best films from this master of the form. The narrative is presented through the eyes of 4-year-old Kun following the birth of his first sibling, Mirai. Jealous of the attention lavished on his new sister, Kun lets his imagination run amok, bending space and time in the process, to ultimately see the world from new perspectives. The animation is staggering and original, but it’s the film’s humanism that most transcends, wrapping its metaphysics around the real and relatable struggles of both the parents and the parented. It’s intricate, sublime and abundantly truthful. It runs at least through Thursday.


An interactive work by Jonathan Rosen, who will appear at Beyond Art Basel

What: Beyond Art Basel

Where: Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 561/243-7922,

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I prefer to appreciate Art Basel Miami Beach from afar. The mere thought of braving the white-knuckle gridlock on Alton Road, the unseemly parking fees, and the hordes of international glitterati snapping selfies while Rome burns is enough to conjure my inner Howard Beale. Luckily, you can appreciate cutting-edge Basel-style art and socialization without leaving Delray Beach, courtesy of the Cornell Art Museum’s Beyond Art Basel, hosted on the eve of the big event at the Miami Beach Convention Center. “We’re trying to bring the energy of Miami up to Delray for a night during the ‘Basel season’ so that people who don’t want to make the drive down can get a taste of the excitement!” summarizes Melanie Johanson, the museum’s curator. “The list is extensive of artists that we will be displaying in the Cornell that are also showing down at the art fairs in Miami.” Approximately six of them will discuss their work at Beyond Art Basel, all of whom are included in the Cornell’s winter group exhibition “The Tech Effect,” focusing on artists inspired by technology. A performance artist, live music, cash bar and light bites enliven the atmosphere.


What: Opening night of “House on Fire”

Where: Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $90, with reception ($75 for remainder of run)

Contact: 561/514-4042,

A dark comedy in which the title action may or may not be symbolic, Lyle Kessler’s “House on Fire” sounds like an ideal fit for Palm Beach Dramaworks’ thought-provoking bailiwick. Set in Fishtown, Pennsylvania, it’s another play about a dysfunctional American family—in theatre terms, the very bestkind of family—whose prodigal son, Coleman, has returned home to a viper’s nest of lies told by his brother, Dale, and baseball-obsessed father. Complicating matters is the pair of cunning thieves that followed Coleman home: a one-armed grifter and his empathically “gifted” sister. Dramaworks hosted a staged reading of “House on Fire” back in February as part of its Dramaworkshop series of new plays, and the experience sealed the deal for Artistic Director Bill Hayes, who slotted the world premiere in his 2018-2019 season. “I found it extremely funny and at some points moving,” he says. “It’s a reminder that no matter how dark and bleak that life may seem, there’s always a ray of hope.”

What: Iris DeMent

Where: Miniaci Performing Arts Center, 3100 Ray Ferraro Jr. Blvd., Davie

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $39.50

Contact: 954/462-0222,

Born into a Pentecostal household in Arkansas—as her father’s 14th child—singer-songwriter Iris DeMent grew up with gospel music. Worship songs still inform portions of her impressive archive, even as she’s drifted from religion. Hymns share studio time with Appalachian country ballads and protest rockers, their author treating genre like putty. An infrequent troubadour, DeMent has released just five albums since her 1992 debut. It hasn’t stopped TV producers from taking notice: DeMent’s first original song, “Our Town,” played in the final episode of “Northern Exposure,” and “Let the Mystery Be,” her ambivalent amble about the afterlife, defined the tenor of HBO’s “The Leftovers” as its opening theme music. Robert Christgau, the dean of American rock critics, best summarized DeMent’s appeal: “Her writing defines the directness sophisticates prize in traditional folk songs—she has something she wants to say, and so she proceeds from Point A to Point B in the straightest line she can draw without a ruler.”


What: “Sleeping Beauty Dreams”

Where: Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $32.89-$161.29

Contact: 305/949-6722,

It’s tough to know in which artistic medium to file this one-of-a-kind hybrid, which re-imagines the Tchaikovsky-scored “Sleeping Beauty” into a 21st century fusion of dance, music and art supplemented by cutting-edge digital technology. Attempting to visualize the title heroine’s dreams during her century-long slumber, the production employs artists to paint us somnambulant images, set to a score by electronic composers Noisia. Live onstage, prima ballerina Diana Vishneva and celebrated dancer Marcelo Gomes will dance alongside three-dimensional digital avatars. Purists beware.


What: Opening day of “The Art of Seating”

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5

Contact: 561/655-7226,

Chairs—they’re not just for sitting anymore. An exhibition that truly has legs (sorry), this touring showcase originated by Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art offers 43 examples of artists and craftspeople whose wildly differing visions of seats combine style and functionality. Many of the chairs have never been exhibited in public. Examples range from a spartan Shaker ladderback rocking chair circa 1840 to the modernist Vivian Beer designs of the 2000s such as “Current,” with its evocation of undulating waves. There are chairs by familiar names like Charles Eames and Frank Gehry, and fantastical contraptions like Kenneth Smythe’s “Synergistic Synthesis XVII,” which, if given a pair of eyes, could become a Pixar character. The most illustrious seat in the show may be the Chamber Arm Chair, designed by an architect of the Capitol Building, which welcomed a number of presidential derrieres. The exhibition runs through Jan. 20.


What: Sunday Jazz Brunch

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

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/393-7700,

A longtime monthly tradition in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the Jazz Brunch is finally coming to Boca! Promising “brass + brunch + beats,” the debut edition of this upbeat and delicious gathering will feature live jazz from the French Horn of Miami as well as a curated mix of jazz, soul and funk tunes from DJ Blues 45’s vinyl collection. Brunch will be provided by an eclectic array of food trucks, including Chubby Mermaid, Tony Waffles, That Vegan Food Truck and Las Mexicanas. It wouldn’t be brunch without some hard stuff, too: Potions and Motions will dole out the mimosas and Bloody Marys. Finally, a handful of vendors will be selling gift-ready wares.

What: Alan Cumming: “Legal Immigrant”

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25-$110

Contact: 561/832-7469,

This Broadway, film and television gadfly is most lauded for his Tony-winning embodiment as the Emcee in “Cabaret,” which led the New York Timesto praise him as an “androgynous provocateur” and “pansexual pied piper.” He brings a similar sense of gregariousness, charm and genderless insouciance to his solo shows. His latest, “Legal Immigrant,” marries reflections on his 10 years as a U.S. citizen with a typically eclectic song list, running the gamut from Sondheim to Adele, Peggy Lee to Pink.

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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