The Cocaine Cowboys saga comes to the stage, a beloved Delray festival returns to Old School Square, and a virtuoso musician brings his “Earth harp” to Lynn. Plus, cat videos on the big screen, Jazz in the Gardens and more in your week ahead.
What: Thalea String Quartet
Where: Flagler Museum, 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/655-2833, flaglermuseum.us
This Bay Area quartet takes its name from the Greek “Thaleia,” meaning to “flourish,” and that’s exactly what it’s done in its five short years of existence. Praised for the vibrancy, sincerity and expressivity of its playing, the diverse quartet—its members spring from Nigerian, Venezuelan, Japanese and Canadian heritage—has become the quartet-in-residence at numerous esteemed conservatories, and has collaborated with the famed Kronos Quartet and Pulitzer-winning composer Caroline Shaw. The group’s performance concludes the Flagler’s 2019 Music Series.
What: Opening night of “Confessions of a Cocaine Cowboy”
Where: Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 305/674-1040, colonymb.org
This play’s title may project a romantic aura, but its subject, the Miami Drug War of the 1980s, was anything but. From the seizure of $100 million worth of cocaine from Miami International Airport, to the 200-plus killings attributed to crime kingpin and trafficker Griselda Blanco, the white powder has acted as both a stain on Miami’s history and a boon to its economy that still can be felt in the skyscrapers that light up its metropolis. Filmgoers know the story from Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary “Cocaine Cowboys;” now, Corben is collaborating with Miami New Drama to produce a theatrical docudrama centered on Rivi Ayala, an assassin hired to do Blanco’s dirty work. Previews begin Thursday, with an opening night gala scheduled for March 16; the production runs through April 7.
What: “TOBI or The Memory Machines” kick-off event
Where: The Bridge, 4220 N.W. Seventh Ave., Miami
When: 8 p.m. to midnight
Caleb Scott, one of the South Florida’s newest stage talents and a recent Carbonell-nominated actor, is also a playwright—and judging by the plot of his forthcoming play “TOBI or The Memory Machines,” he’s as thoughtful offstage as he is on the boards. In the futuristic narrative, TOBI is an ageless, genderless artificial intelligence who seeks to understand what it means to be human, a quest that seems increasingly removed when she begins a relationship of sorts with Grant, a frustrated musician and time traveler trying to piece together memories from the quantum world TOBI generated. Heady stuff for sure, and it’ll be a while until we see the final production: “TOBI” will premiere this fall at The Bridge. In the meantime, Scott and the show’s producer/director, Jessica Farr, will host a variety show this weekend that will include a sneak peak of the play and its unique design elements, along with performances by local musical acts Haute Tension, Shira Lee and the “Memory Machines,” aka Afrobeta. Drag performers will complete the festivities, and tickets include access to an open bar.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
What: Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Festival
Where: Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/279-0907, windandseafoodfest.com
Taken separately, wine and seafood are two of the favorite taste-bud ticklers of South Floridians; when combined, at least until the cabernet glass is empty and the gazpacho fully consumed, nothing else in the world seems to matter. Returning to Downtown Delray by popular demand, this event marries these perennial favorites, with vino options spanning from “amarone to zinfandel” and seafood possibilities not limited to lobster rolls, Creole platters, coconut shrimp, fried clams, conch ceviche, Maine lobster and clam fritters, fish tacos, scallops and crab cakes. If you don’t know which drink to combine with which dish, the festival has you covered with pairing seminars from top vintners. One hundred art and craft vendors and live music from seven local bands can make this free festival a daylong bash.
What: William Close & the Earth Harp Collective
Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/237-9000, lynn.edu
‘New age’ sounds like old age next to the mystical musicality of William Close, a “visionary” (according to Sharon Osbourne, anyway) who combines sound and architecture with his signature playable sculptures. Watching a Close performance—and many tuned in to watch his musical experiments on “America’s Got Talent,” where he was a finalist—is like seeing a concert beamed in from another dimension. Even the names of his invented instruments, like the Drum Orb, the Percussion Jacket, the Aquatar and the Drumbrella, seem like science-fiction jargon, and he’s developed more than 100 of them. For his Lynn University appearance, he’ll bring along his “Earth Harp,” which is regarded as the longest stringed instrument on the planet, and whose strings extend out into the audience. The New York Times likened the experience to “being in a giant cello.”
What: Jazz in the Gardens
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Drive, Miami Gardens
When: 4 p.m.
Cost: $99-$247 two-day pass, $72-$110 single-day pass
Contact: 561/681-5645, jazzinthegardens.com
Miami Gardens’ premier annual cultural event has produced another robust and eclectic lineup of talent for its 12th year, with R&B and soul music overtaking its namesake jazz this time around. Saturday’s special “Teddy Riley & Friends” showcase features R&B projects spearheaded or produced by this premier industry kingmaker, including Blackstreet, Guy, Doug E. Fresh, Bobby Brown, Envouge and Jagged Edge. Local favorites Black Violin are among the opening acts. Sunday features three sensational headliners that need no introduction: Lionel Richie, Brandy and the O’Jays.
What: Cat Video Fest
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times TBA
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Cat videos are the ultimate Internet time suck: Watch one YouTube video of a feline playing Beethoven, or falling off a scratching post, or goingmano a mano with a hair dryer, and two hours later you’re still watching them. It was inevitable that this most egalitarian, DIY, populist form of televised entertainment would make its way onto the big screen, and here it is: the annual Cat Video Fest, a 70-minute reel of the 100 best cat clips from the past year. This touring festival is more than just a mindless diversion; it also helps cats in need, with a percentage of proceeds benefiting animal welfare organizations. Don’t pretend you don’t want to see this.