Some of the scenes in the movie Saving Private Ryan are so graphic that the gore of World War II is sending audiences into virtual shell shock. At least that's what it was called back in the '40s. Today it's called "posttraumatic stress disorder" and affects veterans of not only WWII but also other battles. But why have some been able to go on with their lives while others remain incapacitated? Clinical neuropsychologist Laurence Miller of Boca Raton asked just that question and reveals his findings in his book Shocks to the System: Psychotherapy of Traumatic Disability Syndromes. "There is an overemphasis on the negative effects of trauma," Miller says. "Research shows that most people recover on their own from most traumas." Those most capable of recovery, he claims, share two seemingly contradictory traits: autonomy, or a strong sense of self-sufficiency, which allows you to make decisions on your own; and the ability to connect with those around you. Miller speaks tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 525 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach. Admission is free. Call 561-734-2021.
With the catch phrase "Dy-no-mite!" being uttered by just about everybody in the mid-'70s, actor-comedian Jimmy Walker was known far and wide as James Evans, Jr., a fast-talking, wisecracking ghetto resident on the sitcom Good Times. In fact, Walker and his character were so inseparable that he used his character's nickname, "JJ," as his own middle name. After the show's run ended in 1979, Walker would pop up now and again in the "JJ" persona in movies like Airplane! and Home Alone 2 and TV's Politically Incorrect and The Late Show With David Letterman. But, long before Walker became "JJ," he was doing standup. Time magazine, in fact, named him Comedian of the Decade in 1969. When he isn't writing TV or movie scripts, Walker spends 40 weeks per year on the road doing standup. He'll perform at Bocanuts Comedy Club, 8221 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, today (9 p.m.) and tomorrow (8:30 and 10:30 p.m.). Admission is $15. Call 561-470-6887.
By the time architect Addison Mizner designed the Cloister Inn in 1926, he'd already made a name for himself by designing ornate winter homes for the elite in Palm Beach. Maybe that's why he took a less formal approach to the hotel, which is now part of the Boca Raton Resort and Club (501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton). Mizner's father was ambassador to Guatemala, and, after spending time there, the young Mizner was intrigued by Spanish architecture. He applied Spanish Colonial touches to the original 100-room inn, creating a stately but unassuming retreat for winter tourists. After just one season, Mizner had to close the hotel because he'd gone bankrupt. Since then the hotel has been renovated a few times, but enough of the original remains to warrant a guided historical tour of the Cloister Inn. The tour begins at 2 p.m. today as part of Boca Festival Days celebrations. Admission is $5, and reservations are required. Call 561-395-6766.
When TV was still in its infancy, Tony Barr was a production manager for shows such as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. But by the time he got out of the game in the '70s, he was a top acting instructor. His TV background may explain the logistic nightmares associated with his play Nussbaum, a charming comedy that follows a Jewish immigrant family through some of its trials and tribulations. The Nussbaum grandparents provide a sense of family unity by telling stories about relatives. One concerns a Nussbaum cousin who took her baby to the beach, only to watch in horror as the tyke was swept out to sea by a wave. After the mother plead with God, the Almighty sent the child back on another wave. "Wait a minute," the mother yelled. "He was wearing a blue cap!" Good stuff. But Barr, accustomed to the TV editing process, gave little thought to the limitations of the stage. In his play, seven actors play 50 characters in a patchwork of nearly 50 vignettes -- a challenge for any director. The Public Theatre is staging Nussbaum at the Museum of Art Auditorium, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. The show's run ends today. Showtimes are Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8, at 8 p.m., with a matinee today at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18. Call 954-568-2243.
Whenever voodoo practitioners in Haiti get together, ornate flags are tied to poles and held aloft to pay respects to the loa, or spirits. Each brightly colored flag represents a voodoo deity. Some feature diagrams, called veves, which symbolize specific spirits, while other loa are depicted by figures and images. In one flag in the exhibition "Haitian Vibrations: Art, Color, Spirit," a heart is used to symbolize Herzulie Freda, the goddess of love. Dressed with beads and sequins, the cloth flags hark back to the traditional beadwork done by Africa's Yoruba tribe. Other examples of Haitian folk art are featured in the show, along with paintings, sculpture, and artifacts by Haitian and Haitian-American artists. The exhibition is on view through August 30 at ArtServe Gallery, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. For more information call 954-464-9191.