Festival Rep '98 features three totally different types of plays, but all share the common theme of discrimination or repression. In Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, protagonist Eugene Morris Jerome deals with anti-Semitism for the first time while in Army boot camp in 1943. Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles recounts the social and political changes for American women from the '60s to the '80s. In Mary Chase's comedy Harvey, protagonist Elwood P. Dowd has trouble finding acceptance from family and friends when he befriends the title character, an invisible, human-size rabbit. The repertory theater program is a joint effort between Florida Atlantic University and the Broward Center For the Performing Arts and features FAU thespians and professional actors. The plays will be performed in rotation every Thursday to Sunday through July 19. Evening curtain is 8 p.m. and weekend matinees begin at 2 p.m. All shows are at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $12 (or $30 for three shows). Call 954-462-0222.
How does one go from playing Latin jazz to playing gigs with rock schlockmeister David Lee Roth? "It is hard to make a living out of jazz, especially when you're starting, so you have to balance it out with some other gigs," keyboardist Silvano Monasterios says, explaining his reason for touring with the former Van Halen singer two years ago. These days, however, he's back on track, playing with his quintet, which includes bassist Dan Feiszli, sax player Tom McCormick, drummer Archie Pena, and percussionist Oscar Salas. The band is just back from the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in California, a gig they got by winning the 1998 Hennessey Cognac Jazz Talent Search. Tonight the quintet plays Latin jazz at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show cost $10. Call 954-921-3274.
If the title of the event, Songwriters' Solstice, sounds less than inspiring, consider this: Today's gathering of South Florida musicians will feature jazz fusion, country, blues, pop, alternative rock, and folk music. Jupiter band Boxelder, for example, falls well outside the singer-songwriter stereotype, with its flying dreadlocks and groove-rock jams. The show will also include performances by Jim Collier, Marianne Flemming, Human Beings, Legacy, James London, Rod MacDonald, and Mad Dogs and Irishmen, among others. Proceeds will benefit the Connor Moran Children's Cancer Foundation, established by the parents of Connor, who died of cancer in 1992, two months shy of his second birthday. If you go, be sure to scream. The show will be taped and eventually released as a live CD. The concert starts at 7 p.m. at the Kravis Center For the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Ticket prices range from $10 to $25. Call 561-832-7469.
You ever see a tyke in an arcade and say to yourself, "Kids get to have all the fun"? Not so in The Escape!, the adult-oriented arcade at Las Olas Riverfront (Las Olas Boulevard and SW First Avenue, Fort Lauderdale). The main attraction is virtual reality, served up in various shapes and sizes. In Star Theatre, for example, hydraulic seats put audiences right in the middle of the action in one of four movies. Max Flight Simulated Roller Coasters allow "riders" to choose loops, drops, back flips, and corkscrews while designing their own hair-raising rides. Other virtual-reality offerings include watercraft rides, downhill skiing, and NASCAR racing. In the Sports Den area, leather recliners and big-screen TVs make for a comfy game of interactive NFL football. Debit cards may be purchased in any amount for use in the arcade. The Escape! also houses three theme bars, and ID is required after 10 p.m., when the 21-and-over age restriction kicks in. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 954-463-3318.
Representing a mishmash of type styles, shapes, and colors, the letters in artist Jack Pierson's sculptural relief look like a line from some giant ransom note. Sadly, no amount of cash will bring back the Chairman of the Board, but Frankie is a unique homage to the late Frank Sinatra. The work, currently dominating the front wall of the lobby at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth, was created before the singer's death. Its oversize letters from discarded business signs spell out F-R-A-N-K-I-E. The "F," for example, comes from a Firestone sign, and while Pierson won't reveal where the other letters came from, one looks like it used to hang on an old movie marquee, another on a Burger King sign. Frankie and two exhibits -- "Karen Thompson: Woman, Goddess, Mad Dog" and "Mick Sheldon: Odd Mythologies" -- are on view through July 5. The museum is located at 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Admission is $2. Call 561-582-0006 for more information.
With its brooding, midtempo guitar and the warbling vocal inflections of frontman Travis Meeks, the first single from Days of the New, "Shelf in the Room," sounds like something from an Alice in Chains album. So do the songs on Jerry Cantrell's solo debut, Boggy Depot. It's not surprising, since Cantrell is the guitarist and sometime vocalist for the Seattle-based Alice in Chains. With the group on hiatus, Cantrell has had a chance to go solo, and he's hooked up -- ironically or intentionally -- with the similar-sounding Days of the New for a road show to support his record. The acts make up two-thirds of the Metallica/Days of the New/Jerry Cantrell tour, which stops tonight at Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Ticket prices for the 7 p.m. show range from $25 to $39.50. Call 561-795-8883.