Jonny Lang is only 19 years old, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd is 21. They're both white. And they both purport to play the blues, of all things. Fair enough, but let's take a look at the music. They're both virtuosos, no doubt about it, but fancy fretwork does not make someone the next Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose legacy has been a big influence on both young men. It took Vaughan a long time to work his way through the clubs of Texas before he hit the big time and started to make a reputation for himself. So by the time he arrived, he'd earned his keep and had a soulful delivery to show for it. What Lang and Shepherd play isn't blues, it's blues-rock light -- blues without the soul. But it sure does sell, as the popularity of both musicians proves. Find out what all of the fuss is about when Lang plays tonight at 8 p.m. at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre (1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach). Tickets cost $21. Call 954-946-2402. Shepherd plays the Carefree Theatre (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach) at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets cost $25. Call 561-833-7305.
Orchids are beautiful flowers, but they have a reputation for being prima donnas. Some bloom only once a year, and others aren't very hardy. One exception is the moth orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis), which features white petals resembling the wings of its namesake. Better yet, the flower stays in bloom for two to three months. Although the moth orchid is a good place to start, veteran gardeners prefer choosing from the dozens of orchid varieties, which put out petals in an array of colors. Many of those orchids are on display and for sale at the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Show, which began yesterday at War Memorial Auditorium (800 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale) and continues through tomorrow. The show, put on by The Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society, runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and today, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $3 in advance or $5 at the door. Call 954-761-5380 for more information.
"Hang On Schleppy?" Well, he might not add Yiddish slang to his old hit "Hang On Sloopy," but aging rocker Rick Derringer will join the yarmulke crowd today at Yidstock, an international music and food festival celebrating Jewish culture at Markham Park (16001 W. State Rd. 84, Sunrise). Derringer isn't Jewish, and he's not known for playing klezmer music, but his appearance at the festival isn't as far afield as it seems. Derringer started out as the teenage leader of the McCoys (with whom he recorded the No. 1 hit "Sloopy" in 1965), then went on to produce albums for a variety of artists, including Johnny and Edgar Winter and "Weird" Al Yankovic. So it's not a stretch for him to share the stage with Israeli rock star Yosi Piamenta (often referred to as the "Hasidic Hendrix") and Sephardic/Ladino sensation Avram Pengas. Also on the bill is Dr. Laz, a.k.a. David Lazerson, a multi-instrumentalist who plays songs from a variety of genres with his six-piece band. And it's Laz, who was in the crowd at the original Woodstock, who gives Yidstock its Woodstock connection. Admission to the festival, held from noon to 5 p.m., is $15 for adults, $8 for children. Call 954-442-1660.
The Vatican museums are loaded with the kinds of artwork you'd imagine: cracked, ages-old frescoes featuring biblical scenes. But, to some degree, the curators have kept up with the times. For instance, Salvador Dali's Angelic Landscape (1977), a surrealistic desertscape featuring angels frolicking, is part of the collection in the Vatican's 13 museums. It's also one of the 100 rare works the curators have chosen to include in "The Invisible Made Visible: Angels From the Vatican," which is on view at the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach) through April 4. The exhibit features paintings, sculpture, tapestries, and liturgical vessels and vestments, which trace the depiction of angels from the 9th to the 20th centuries. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $8 or $10. Call 561-832-5194.
The title may have been swiped from a line in Shakespeare's The Tempest, but Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World (1932) is far from derivative. In fact the writer might have had a crystal ball at his disposal when he penned the satirical tale about the possible consequences of scientific and social developments. Although scientists weren't able to clone a sheep until a couple years ago, Huxley wrote of human embryos developed in bottles and brainwashed into complacency. And one of his characters, a "savage" found in New Mexico and brought into "civilized" society as an experiment, educates himself by reading (who else?) Shakespeare and comes to believe in free will. But that mindset doesn't play in the brave new world of Huxley's imagination, and the forward-thinking savage soon goes crazy. One modern invention Huxley apparently didn't foresee was Prozac. The Sci-Fi Discussion Group talks about his novel at 8 p.m. at Borders, 525 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach. Admission is free. Call 561-734-2021.
If you snored through history class and nodded off trying to digest thick textbooks full of names and dates, maybe 1776 is more your speed. The comically irreverent musical is set in Philadelphia just before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Only 12 of the 56 signers are featured in the show, but among them are the big boys: Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and, of course, John Hancock. Set to fife-and-drum tunes, the Tony Award-winning musical takes place mostly in the chamber of Continental Congress Hall, and rather than portray the forefathers as stoic figures, it shows all the behind-the-scenes bickering and infighting that went into forming our great nation. Broward Stage Door Theatre (8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs) presents 1776 today through March 28. Curtain is Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Call 954-344-7765.