As owner of the Poor House, one of the few blues clubs in Fort Lauderdale, Bob Pignone relies on local bands to bring in crowds most nights. So before the big-name blues bands show up for next week's Sound Advice Blues Festival, Pignone and promoters at the neighboring Chili Pepper are giving local bands their due by hosting the Historic Old Town Blues Festival today through Sunday at both clubs. Proceeds from the festival will be used to upgrade the shrubbery and stretch of sidewalk between the clubs, which Pignone claims have been overlooked in the city's recent efforts to refurbish the area. Making note of the new Las Olas Riverfront complex just down the street, he says: "The old places kind of get stepped over." Participating in this weekend's festival are area favorites the Hard Luck Blues Band, the Holy Rollin' Hellfires, the Hep Cat Boo Daddies, Iko-Iko, and Cutting Edge Orchestra, among others. Hours are 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. today and Saturday, 2 p.m. to midnight Sunday. Admission is $5 Friday and Sunday and $10 Saturday. Concerts at the Chili Pepper, 109 SW Second Ave., will be held on the outdoor patio; the Poor House is located at 110 SW Third Ave. Call 954-522-5145 or 954-525-5996.
Tired of the traditional costume parties and drunken Draculas? Jungle Night will allow those celebrating Halloween to hang out with real party animals -- bobcats, alligators, and deer, to name just a few. Surrounded by the wild creatures and lush foliage of the Seminole Native Village (3551 State Rd. 7, Hollywood), the party will take place among tiki huts, torches, and a bonfire serving as the centerpiece of a drum and dance circle. The event will be presented by the BambaTouba School of Drum and Dance of Fort Lauderdale, the founder of which, Bamba Ndiaye, is originally from Senegal, Africa. The traditional drum and dance master will perform with his wife, Ndakhte Ndiaye, and brother Lamine Ndiaye, also an accomplished drummer. Costumes are optional, but be sure to bring your drums and shakers to join in the drum circle. Admission is $10, and proceeds will benefit the animals of the village and the people of Ndiaganiao, a village in Senegal. The party starts at 8:30 p.m. Call 954-771-3666.
Jewish scholars first settled in the Safed region of Israel when they were kicked out of Spain during the 16th Century. Although the move didn't take place under the best of circumstances, no one's complaining today. The scholars, who'd settled in a region of mist-shrouded valleys and picturesque mountains, were followed by artists, and by the late 19th Century, when the Zionist movement was trying to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, artists were flocking to the area. Many of Israel's greatest artists got their starts in Safed, including Yonathan Darmon, Nina Guervich, and Leonid Zikeev, and the results of their work are on view in the exhibition "Spiritual Safed," which runs through December 10 at the Nathan D. Rosen Museum Gallery, 9801 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton. Hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. Call 561-852-3285.
During World War II, naval dentist Dr. David Prensky piped classical music into his shipboard office to soothe sailors. After the war he continued to do the same for his patients and was soon lecturing on the effectiveness of the practice. Eventually his music-appreciation talks became popular even outside the dental industry. Before tonight's Florida Philharmonic Orchestra Masterworks Series concert, Prensky will connect the musical dots with regard to three featured composers. Bach's Suite No. 3, he'll explain, is from the middle period of the composer's career, during which he wrote mostly instrumental dance pieces. Prensky will reveal that Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach created the sonata allegro form of composition, which has been the mostly widely used form ever since. But most folks, he'll point out, believe it was invented by Haydn, whose Symphony No. 104, "London" will be performed by the Philharmonic. Standup guy that he was, Haydn openly admitted he borrowed the style from Bach's son. And the family connections keep coming. The night's third selection will be Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart, who studied under Haydn, whom he considered his musical father. Tonight's concert is at 8 p.m. at the Kravis Center For the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Ticket prices range from $17 to $80. Call 800-572-8471 or 561-832-7469.
In the play Monsoon Christmas, the Vietnam War is winding down, and nine Marines at a remote barracks have nothing to do but stand guard while riding out their tours of duty. Oh, by the way, four of them are black and five are white. They're bombarded by monsoon rains and waterlogged rats as they spend Christmas together at the base. Tensions mount after one of the black Marines, scarred deeply by a racial incident, coaxes his black comrades into conflicts with their white counterparts. And despite the loaded subject matter, the play manages to offer some humorous moments. Monsoon opens tonight at the Kravis Center For the Performing Arts (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach) and continues through November 22. Curtain is 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $25. Call 800-572-8471 or 561-832-7469.
Songs like "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," inspired by a tongue-in-cheek chaplain, gave soldiers and civilians a chance to chuckle during the otherwise dark days of World War II. "When the Lights Go on Again" referred primarily to the blackout conditions in London during bombing raids but also hit home for coastal Floridians who went through the drill. Older audience members will reminisce and younger ones will get a history lesson during A Sentimental Journey: Songs of World War II. Backed by a jazz combo, singers Lynn Roberts and Ray Charles (not the one you're thinking of), both war veterans, will also belt out "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B," "String of Pearls," and "This Is the Army, Mr. Jones." Each song will be introduced with a brief history. Tonight's 7:45 p.m. concert will take place at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $27. Call 954-462-0222.