When artist Michael Joseph moved from Connecticut to Fort Lauderdale seven years ago, he felt pretty disconnected. But after landing a job at the now-defunct Squeeze, where he helped design the nightclub's ever-evolving decor, he was invited by owner Jack Kearney to put some of his own photographs and surreal ink drawings on the wall. "It started off as an individual effort to show my own artwork and as a way to become part of the community," he says. Soon he was putting together shows featuring his and other artists' works in various alternative-gallery settings. He'll do the same as curator of The Gallery, the new art-show space at the Chili Pepper. The grand opening takes place tonight from 8 to 11 p.m., and complimentary champagne and appetizers will be available as viewers take in works by Christina Ellis, W.R. Ferguson III, Robert Giordano, Parya Jatala, and Smog One. The Chili Pepper is located at 200 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5996.
Most know him as the man behind the mask in The Phantom of the Opera. But the fact is, British tenor Michael Crawford has done a heck of a lot more than belt out hackneyed Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes. For those who haven't seen his PBS special, Michael Crawford in Concert, now's your chance to experience the legend live. His imaginatively titled show, An Evening With Michael Crawford in Concert, includes songs from his choir-boy days in London's grand cathedrals; from the film Hello, Dolly!, in which he starred with Barbra Streisand; from the Broadway musical Barnum; and from Phantom. Backed by a 40-piece orchestra, Crawford will even sing duets with soprano Dale Kristien, who played Christine opposite his grotesque, disfigured organ-player in Lloyd Webber's grotesque musical. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. tonight at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Ticket prices range from $15.75 to $65. Call 561-793-0445.
Founded in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, the Tokyo String Quartet is a renowned chamber ensemble. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., its members will work with a local ensemble of young musicians in a master class that's open to the public. Music fans will get a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a string ensemble while listening to some Beethoven music. The composer wrote some of his most intense, intricate works for such small groups, and the Tokyo players will help the younger musicians negotiate one of his pieces. They're certainly familiar with the territory: The Tokyo String Quartet has recorded all of Beethoven's works for quartets. The master class takes place at the Broward County Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Cost is $5. For reservations call 954-561-2997. Thursday and Saturday nights the quartet will perform without the kids at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts. See "Concerts For the Week" for details.
Imagine this: You're a homosexual living in England in the 1890s, and your lover is the son of the Marquis of Queensberry. Welcome to the world of acclaimed Irish-born writer Oscar Wilde (18541900), who probably wouldn't have gone to prison for three years if he hadn't tried to sue the Marquis for besmirching his character. Queensberry, who reportedly talked trash about Wilde's sexuality, was an atheist and general rabble-rouser, who created the rules of boxing still used today. The aristocratic man's man didn't want the family reputation ruined by his son's association with Wilde. And when Wilde's suit failed, Queensberry took him to trial on charges of gross indecency for being gay. The trial ended in a hung jury, but Wilde was convicted on the next try. This battle of wills is relived in the play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, which shifts between the courtroom in 1895 and present-day debates among several narrators. Gross Indecency runs through August 2 at the Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $29 to $37.50. Call 561-241-7432.
Biathletes cross-country ski and shoot rifles. So why not bike and snorkel instead? The Boca Bike, Beach, Picnic, and Reef Bash isn't a competition, and unlike biathletes -- who tote their guns while skiing -- participants will have their snorkel gear shuttled by van. But they'll still get a workout. After gathering at Boca Raton's South Inlet Park (Ocean Boulevard between E. Camino Real and DeSoto Road) at 8:30 a.m., cyclists will head north on Ocean Boulevard to South Beach Park, stop for a breather, then get back on their bikes for the ride up to Red Reef Park Beach. After snorkeling and swimming, they'll pedal north to Spanish River Park for lunch. On the trek back down Ocean Boulevard, they'll hit Gumbo Limbo Nature Center for a look at its large seawater aquariums and a nature hike on boardwalk trails. Then it's back to South Inlet. The moderate-pace ride is about 10 miles roundtrip. Cost is $7 to $10, plus $4 for parking. Call 954-733-7772.
Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties, the book by leftists-turned-right-wingers Peter Collier and David Horowitz, was first published in 1989. Those too young to read the book back then can grab the paperback and learn all about the irreparable damage caused by the decade's activists. The liberal left's morally bankrupt, antiestablishment, communist, Marxist, and socialist leanings, the authors write, still affect our political and social climate. Gee, if we had just stuck it out in Vietnam, or at least pumped billions more into the Cold War effort, we'd be so much better off today. Read the book, take sides, and get ready to hash out your views in today's discussion of the book, which will be led by Randy Burling of the About Time book discussion group. The free forum is at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 700 University Dr., Coral Springs. Call 954-340-3307.
The Dinosaur Exhibition at the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History may be housed in the cool confines of a display hall, but it details how hot things got for the poor dinos before they started dropping like flies. The skulls and bones on display include those of a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Velociraptor, and an Edmontosaur, the leg bones of which reach the ceiling. The show retraces history from the era of the early dinosaurs to the rise of mammals. The dinosaur portion concludes, appropriately enough, with a collection of meteorite fragments. Chunks of the space debris supposedly plunged to Earth and lit the place up, frying the dinos in their skins. The museum, located at 481 S. Federal Hwy., Dania, is open every day except Monday. Admission prices range from $4 to $6. Call 954-925-7770.
Whether they like heavy metal or not, anyone with an ear for rock guitar has to admit that George Lynch can flick the frets with the best of 'em. The lead guitarist laid down the licks for Dokken's Breaking the Chains in 1982 and really ripped it up on the group's breakthrough 1984 album, Tooth and Nail, which had critics putting him in a league with Eddie Van Halen. When Dokken split up in 1989, Lynch formed the Lynch Mob and released a couple of marginal albums before going solo in 1993. He hooked up with Dokken again for a reunion record in 1995 and continues to inspire heavy-duty guitar wannabes. He'll demonstrate why today when he conducts a free guitar clinic at 7 p.m. at MARS, 5300 N. Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-938-7962.