One jazz legend honors another at Festival of the Arts Boca, Ballet Palm Beach revives a complex classic, and a play for crossword nerds opens in Fort Lauderdale. Plus, Okeechobee Music Festival, Bill Maher and more in your week ahead.
What: Opening night of Okeechobee Music + Arts Festival
Where: 12517 N.E. 91st St., Okeechobee
When: 6 p.m.
Glitchy techno, shimmering psychedelia, vintage funk and roof-raising hip-hop will be a few of the sounds wafting over Lake Okeechobee for four days this weekend at this beloved outdoor festival less than two hours northwest of Boca. Returning to the capacious grounds of Sunshine Grove after last year’s pandemic pause, the festival welcomes headliners Rezz, Tame Impala, Megan Thee Stallion, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and Porter Robinson alongside dozens more prominent national acts. The live music, performed on seven stages, falls within a cultivated atmosphere of wellness, positivity and warm vibes; the festival also features yoga, an “Aquachobee Beach” and stunning immersive art installations that must be seen, and experienced, to be believed.
What: Terence Blanchard & opening night of Festival of the Arts Boca
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/571-5270, festivalboca.org
The musical voice of just about every Spike Lee “joint” from 1990 onward, jazz composer Terence Blanchard has accumulated six Grammys, two Oscars and a USA Fellowship in a vibrant 40-year career. In this special appearance to open Festival of the Arts Boca, jazz, and funk and classical commingle, with trumpeter Blanchard sharing the stage with the E-Collective and Turtle Island Quartet for a set that leans heavily on Blanchard’s modern interpretations from one of his major influences, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Activities continue at Mizner Park Amphitheater for another nine nights; check out the entire exciting schedule at festivalboca.org.
What: Lucinda Williams
Where: The Parker, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
In 2020, for Rolling Stone’s periodic revision of its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, a Lucinda Williams release cracked the Top 100 for the first time. The singer-songwriter’s 1999 magnum opus of genre-fusing country, folk, rock and blues music Car Wheels on a Gravel Road clocked in at 97, beating out Elton’s Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road, the debut albums from Led Zeppelin and the Clash, even a landmark from Williams’ Americana genre, the Band’s Music From Big Pink. It’s a well-deserved acknowledgement of Williams’ influence across styles and demographics, in a career than has spanned more than 40 years. While early cuts appear aplenty in her concerts, here’s hoping we get a few scorchers from 2020’s Good Souls, Better Angels, one of her most urgent and righteous musical missives.
What: Opening night of “2 Across”
Where: Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 866/811-4111, pigsdoflyproductions.com
To quote one of the two characters in this romantic comedy—and as any crossword fanatic knows—“Crosswords are a metaphor for life. Those who finish, succeed; those who don’t, fail.” “2 Across” is set on a 4:30 a.m. San Francisco BART train whose only riders are a middle-aged man and woman, both married to other people, both trying to complete the same New York Times crossword puzzle. He’s a free-spirited former ad executive; she’s a sensible psychologist. He usually gives up when the clues get too cryptic; she won’t quit until every square is filled. Their divergent personalities and puzzling skills come to a head during this 80-minute play set in real in time, which takes them to places far beyond pencils and newsprint. “2 Across” runs through March 20.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
What: Bill Maher
Where: Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 305/673-7300, fillmoremb.com
One of the few standups from the genre’s 1980s Golden Age to still pursue the craft after succeeding in a larger medium, Bill Maher has cornered an influential market as the libertarian left’s contrarian in chief. Always opining to the beat of his own drum—or, if you will, the hit of his own bong—Maher is as likely to offend the P.C. police and certain progressive Democrats as he is his longtime rivals on the right. His two-night stint at the Fillmore this weekend isn’t just any standup gig, however. Attendees will be a part of history, as these performances will be featured in a forthcoming HBO standup special, his 10th overall.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Ballet Palm Beach’s “Giselle”
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
Many of us enjoy dancing, but we’d prefer not to hoof ourselves straight to the grave. Yet that’s the punishment for adulterous men in “Giselle,” this 1841-vintage, full-evening ballet composed by Adolphe Adam. It’s all thanks to the Wilis, a group of spectral sisters-in-arms who torment their ex-lovers with fatal choreography from the other side. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves: “Giselle” is a love story as much as a ghost story. In Act I, Giselle is an effervescent peasant girl smitten with Albrecht, her aristocratic lover. When he strays, she dies from madness and heartbreak, and spends Act II in the afterlife, where her imperative for revenge clashes with her transcendent feelings of love. “Giselle” is a romantic tribute to dance—the activity deployed in life, death and beyond—with one of the classical repertory’s most complex and challenging roles for a lead ballerina.