Tom Toyama, a jazz vibraphonist and composer, is hoping to restore nature's harmony with musical harmony. For two years the Hollywood resident helped researchers and recorded the sounds of endangered wildlife in the Everglades. The result is Everglades Suite: Spirit of the Rain, a world-music composition featuring percussion instruments, dancers, and the spoken word. Toyama also threw in some of his recordings, like those featuring Cape Sable sparrows. One of the drums used in the piece was fashioned from a Melaleuca log. The dancers, meanwhile, symbolize the guardian spirit of the Everglades, and act out the creation and destruction of the River of Grass. Talking about how to save the Everglades is all well and good, Toyama says, but it's not enough of an inspiration. "By using the music and other art forms, you make people feel something passionately," he claims. "That's how you get them to do something about it, to make them feel it." Toyama will lead a performance of his piece tonight at 8 p.m. at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, 1770 Monroe St., Hollywood. Ticket prices range from $15 to $25. Call 954-924-8175.
When kids put together a neighborhood football game, the sidelines are usually marked by hedges and flower beds, and passes that bounce off nearby cars are just part of the game. Arena Football isn't much different. The fake-grass field is only 50 yards long and 85 feet wide, so forget about any long bombs. Tiptoeing along the sideline for extra yardage is also out, because the line runs along a four-foot-high wall. It's a professional sport, so regular football rules apply, but passes that spring off nets hanging at the back of the end zones are up for grabs. And two eight-player teams packed into such a small space make for fast and furious action. With just two more home games left in the season, the Florida Bobcats take on the Tampa Bay Storm at the West Palm Beach Auditorium (1610 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach) today at 7:30 p.m. Next year, the Bobcats will move to their new home, the Broward County Arena in Sunrise. Tickets prices for the game range from $8 to $16. Call 561-683-6012.
Netherlands-born artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (18981972) is renowned for his jigsaw-puzzle style paintings in which interlocking designs create mind-bending optical illusions. Less well-known is his background in graphic design and architecture, which, if you look closely enough, you'll see in his work. As part of the Spring Family Festival at the Norton Museum of Art, kids and parents will participate in the "Escher and Architecture" art hunt, which leads folks through an exhibit of his works. After learning about Escher's background with the help of guide notes, they'll look for architectural elements, such as building shapes and intersecting planes, in his paintings. During the event, which takes place from 1 to 4:30 p.m., children will also use colored pencils to create their own Escher-like pieces with help from artist Sharon Koskoff. Admission is $2 to $5. The museum is located at 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5194.
The five books in the Sea of Fertility series tell the story of a young hero who dies and is later reborn. With that in mind, one wonders if the author, Yukio Mishima of Japan, was attempting to fulfill some sort of life-imitates-art fantasy when, in 1970 at the age of 45, he took his own life, hara-kiri style. Or was it just a political statement? Scholars still debate the mysterious death of Mishima, who wrote more than 200 novels, short stories, dramas, and essays. On that fateful day, the political activist held an army general hostage as he made a speech to the general's troops. In particular, Mishima railed against the constitution imposed on Japan by the United States following World War II. He then sliced open his stomach. Whether or not the act was a political statement, it made for a heck of a publicity stunt. Earlier that day Mishima had left the just-completed manuscript for the final Fertility book, Decay of an Angel, on his desk for his publisher to find. The series and Mishima's life will be discussed today at Borders Books in Coral Springs (700 University Dr., 954-340-3307). Forty of Mishima's novels have been translated into nine languages, and he was recognized for his graceful writing style and candor in addressing issues ranging from politics to sexuality to metaphysics. The 7:30 p.m. session is free.