Saturday, October 1, 2022

Your Week Ahead: Sept. 20 to 26, 2022

Hip-hop royalty tour West Palm, the planet Jupiter is ready for its close-up, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning play tackles race and sibling rivalry. Plus, Green Day and more in your week ahead.

TUESDAY

What: Nas and Wu-Tang Clan

When: 8 p.m.

Where: iTHINK Amphitheatre at South Florida Fairgrounds, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach

Cost: $29-$409

Contact: 561/795-8883, livenation.com

Though remembered fondly as a ‘90s rapper—his stirring 1994 debut Illmatic is one of the foundational albums of this influential decade of hip-hop—Nas has never gone away, remaining in the popular-music firmament while staying true to his conscious East Coast rap vernacular. So potent, in fact, is the music of the middle-aged Nas that he took home his first Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2021, and in 2022 his rhymes helped the character of Ruth Langmore, in “Ozark,” grieve the murder of her cousin. The son of a jazz cornet player, Nas is known as a “rapper’s rapper,” but he’s also a musician’s musician, performing with generous horn and string sections. In this “NY State of Mind” tour, he’ll co-headline with equally important rap royalty, the Wu-Tang Clan, whose own auspicious debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2021, and launched solo careers for all nine of its original members.

WEDNESDAY

What: Screenings of “God’s Country”

When: 1:30, 4:10, 6:50 and 9:30 p.m.

Where: Cinemark Palace 20, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton

Cost: Prices vary

Contact: 561/395-4695

Co-writer and director Julian Higgins’ sophomore feature “God’s Country” has been likened to a neo-Western, and indeed, it conforms to a long tradition of movies about characters protecting their rural homesteads from threats. But everything else about this tense thriller speaks to our current moment, with its whispers of a second American civil war. Thandiwe Newton, in a performance of rich complexity, plays Sandra, a former New Orleans cop who now lives in a quieter life in the isolated Montana countryside. The story spans a week following the death of her mother, when the grieving Sandra is forced to (or chooses to, depending on how you look at it) confront more than her mourning: When two aggressive white men, who prefer to park their red truck on her property to go hunting, refuse to leave when asked, events escalate with sorrowful results. “God’s Country” has the epic feel of a great American tragedy, addressing race, culture, class, power structures, and the failure of law enforcement as an institution. It may go a tad over the top in its final third, but its fury is deep, earnest and palpable. The movie runs at least through Thursday; it’s also playing at IPIC at Mizner Park.

THURSDAY

What: Green Day

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

Cost: $295 and up (most arena sections sold out)

Contact: 866/502-7529, myhrl.com

Forged on a diet of pop-punk progenitors like the Ramones, Screeching Weasel and the Queers, Green Day formed in California’s East Bay in 1986 with a natural ear for the tuneful side of punk rock. By the time of the release of the trio’s earth-shaking 1994 breakthrough Dookie, it had mastered the combination of fast ‘n’ hard instrumentation with sweet melodies that effectively mainstreamed punk for generations. Now an institution in popular music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have experimented across the board, from acoustic balladry to garage rock to arena rock—even Broadway, where an adaptation of their celebrated Bush-era rock opera American Idiot has enjoyed a life of its own. If you ask me, it’s the three-chord, snotty-voiced punk anthems about burnout, masturbation, insomnia and paranoia that still ring the truest all these years later, and Green Day still tends to play all of them in their generous, hit-filled set lists.

FRIDAY

What: Jupiter’s Perihelion Opposition Open Dome Event

When: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Where: FAU Astronomical Observatory, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/297-7827

This time, when we say “Jupiter,” we’re referring to the planet, not the northern Palm Beach town. Though in the eyes of FAU’s professional-grade astronomical telescope, the gas giant may well appear just as close! This Friday marks the moment in the fifth planet’s orbit when it reaches its perihelion, or its closest position to the sun. According to the experts, this sort of opposition won’t occur again for another 70 years. FAU’s astronomy department is celebrating the occasion with this special public viewing event, which includes presentations as well as opportunities to view this rare cosmic phenomenon. The discussions will focus on Jupiter and its moons but also will cover a wide range of topics, including the formation of the universe, NASA’s Juno spacecraft mission, and a postulated ninth planet in the nether regions of our solar system.

What: Opening night of “Topdog/Underdog”

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Main Street Players, 6812 Main St., Miami Lakes

Cost: $25-$30

Contact: mainstreetplayers.com

Theatrical surrealism collides with a confrontational examination of issues plaguing Black men in America in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks. It’s set in a living space shared by two brothers ominously named Lincoln and Booth. In one of several meta details, Lincoln, the older brother, earns his living as a whiteface Abraham Lincoln impersonator in a local arcade, a demeaning position that is on the brink of being replaced by a wax model. Booth, meanwhile, has an aptitude for shoplifting and three-card Monte, a hustle to which Lincoln ultimately returns. Money problems and women problems dictate the course of the action in “Topdog/Underdog,” along with a sibling conflict as old as the Civil War—maybe as old as Cain and Abel. Parks has a lot to say in this play, a Tony nominee upon its 2002 premiere that continues to enjoy a long life in regional theatre. Hopefully, Main Street Players’ production, directed by Cary Brianna Hart, will do it justice. It runs through Oct. 16.


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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