Natalie Cole, as we all know, is the daughter of legendary singer Nat "King" Cole, and while her dad's genes may have helped her singing voice, she didn't depend solely on his name to become a star in her own right. The 49-year-old singer performed in her first professional gig at age 11 when she performed a duet with her father. She later met the songwriting and producing team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy in 1973. The following year she landed a contract with Capitol Records, then recorded a string of hit albums and singles with Jackson and Yancy. They parted ways in 1983, and in 1987, with her album Everlasting, Cole made a stylistic shift from the R&B and urban-contemporary fare of her early years to jazz-based pop. Her 1991 album, Unforgettable With Love, is proof. The Grammy winner went to No. 1, and the title track was sung by both Cole and her late father, whose original "Unforgettable" was remixed for the duet. Cole -- Natalie, that is -- will perform today and Friday at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Both shows are at 8 p.m.; ticket prices range from $33.75 to $48.75. Call 954-462-0222.
The goth dance band Hate Department is really just one guy, a multi-instrumentalist otherwise known as Seibold. He plays keyboards, guitar, and percussion, and his distorted vocals are layered atop a mix of punk and industrial-rock tracks. Even those who haven't heard of his band have heard of Seibold's work; he's produced for Berlin and Information Society, and he remixed Smash Mouth's hit "Walking on the Sun." Hate Department's first two albums, meat.your.maker (1994) and Omnipresent (1996), made Rolling Stone's Top 10 Alternative Albums Chart, and Seibold is currently touring in support of his third full-length release, Technical Difficulties. In order to avoid such problems on stage, he's brought along a guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist. Hate Department and opening act Pod play tonight at 9 p.m. at Respectable Street Cafe, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets for the 18-and-over show cost $7 at the door. Call 561-832-9999.
The color ocher is a subdued blend of orange and yellow, and it's the color of the costumes worn by the 22 dancers in After Dark, the latest work from Canadian choreographer Mauricio Wainrot. The piece is set to the music of one of Wainrot's favorite composers, Philip Glass. "I've done several works on his music," Wainrot says in his French accent. "It's very contemporary, emotional music." So is the new dance, which is set to Glass "Violin Concerto" and performed in three movements. The first features only male dancers, the second is a double pas de deux, and the third is a ten-minute group session for men and women. "In some ways it's an abstract work," says Wainrot. "It's an atmospheric work, a very sensitive and emotional work with a lot of energy." Sort of like the warm, fuzzy feeling you get looking at the color ocher. After Dark debuted yesterday at the Kravis Center For the Performing Arts (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach) and will be presented again today at 2 and 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $15 to $55. Call 561-832-7469.
The concept of infinity, that space and time have always existed and always will, is too much for humans to imagine -- except for maybe Stephen Hawking. Geologic time isn't much easier to grasp, considering that our planet, after emerging from a cloud of cosmic dust and gas, grew to its present size between 4 and 5 billion years ago, and that life has existed for some 2 billion years. In order to make such mind-boggling numbers more comprehensible, Buehler Planetarium offers an abbreviated version of Earth's history in the show What Time Is It? Major events, such as the rise of single-cell organisms and the extinction of dinosaurs, are covered in a slide show, and an accompanying exhibit illustrates how humans have kept track of the rotation of the Earth with calendars and clocks. The shows begin at 1:30 and 3 p.m. today in the planetarium (Broward Community College Central Campus, 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie), at 7 p.m. Friday, and at 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday. The show runs through March 28. The free exhibit is on view weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a half-hour prior to showtime. Admission is $4 to $5. Call 954-475-6680.
In his one-man show Clarence Darrow, actor Bill Hindman plays the famous lawyer, who, depicted as an old man, reflects on his remarkable career. Darrow, it seems, was inspired by his father, who told him that when he was a child, he'd squeezed to the front of a crowd that was watching the hanging of a convicted murderer. When he got there, however, he couldn't bear to watch. During his career Darrow defended 104 men facing the death penalty, not one of whom was put to death. Keeping murderers off death row didn't endear him to the public, but Darrow became known as a champion of the underclass. In one case he helped disenfranchised railroad workers get their jobs back after being canned for demanding workers' basic rights. But Darrow's biggest cases took place at the end of his career, when he was almost 70 years old. In the Leopold-Loeb murder case of 1924, he defended the perpetrators of a senseless murder. And in 1925, during the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, he fought for one man's right to teach the theory of evolution in a public school. The play is presented today and February 8 at 2 and 8 p.m. at the Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Ticket prices range from $5 to $15. Call the theater's tricounty toll-free line, 930-6400.
Long before tabloids hit the newsstands in England, the Japanese were scrutinizing their own version of royalty. When Japan's military regime was overthrown in 1868, power was restored to the royal family in the person of a young, progressive Meiji Emperor. His openness allowed Western culture to wash over Japan, and soon Victorian carpets and Western-style fabrics, chandeliers, and architecture were adopted. The emperor's palace was one of the first places to get a makeover, and his adoring public, not allowed inside, hungered for glimpses of his pad and his lifestyle. Artists brought them images in the form of woodblock prints, many of which were published in magazines and newspapers. More than 60 of them are on view in "Imaging Meiji: Emperor and Era, 1868-1912 Japanese Woodblock Prints From the Collection of Jean S. and Frederick A. Sharf." The exhibit remains on view through April 4 at the Morikami Museum, 4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach. Admission prices range from $2 to $4.25. Call 561-495-0233.
The book "Let's Face It, Men Are $$#%\$": What Women Can Do About It sounds like a male basher, and at 300 pages the hardcover version could do some damage if used as a weapon. But it was actually written by two men, psychologist Barry L. Duncan and coauthor Joseph W. Rock, who target a female audience. With years of counseling experience, Duncan suggests why some women are drawn to problematic men, whom he places in categories such as the Ice Man, Don Juan, and the Mama's Boy. The book provides descriptions of each type as well as tips on how to build self-esteem and end destructive relationships. Duncan will talk about and autograph copies of the book at 7:30 p.m. at Liberties Fine Books, 888 Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Call 954-522-6789.