Talk to imaginary friends, and you'll be viewed as wacky. Actor John Davidson, however, is winning accolades for such behavior. Only he's talking to fake friends and family members on stage as the 26th President of the United States. In Bully! An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt, Davidson holds up both ends of the conversations between Roosevelt and fellow politicians, his wives, even the family dogs. Round spectacles perched on his nose, Davidson introduces audiences to the charismatic President: A hero of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was Vice President when President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and is remembered for battling big-business trusts, building the Panama Canal, and a foreign policy based on the motto: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Bully! starts today and runs through April 21 at the Kravis Center For the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $32 ($37 including a preperformance discussion with Davidson at 6:45 p.m.). Call 561-833-8300 or 800-572-8471. See "Stage" listings for a complete schedule.
Stress sucks. It causes insomnia, headaches, indigestion, impotence -- well, you get the point. So, if that extra glass of wine isn't doing the trick, you may want to consider checking out the Whole Life Expo at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center this weekend. Dozens of holistic-health and spiritual gurus, including Buddhists, will conduct workshops on everything from aromatherapy's benefits to the need for intestinal cleansing. Deepak Chopra will be there, as will Marianne Williamson, whose book The Healing of America condemns materialism. Karma Chstso, resident instructor at the Kagyu Shedrup Chsling Buddhism Center in Hollywood, will talk about meditation as a way to achieve good karma (Sunday, 11 a.m.), plus some fringe benefits: "It's just a side effect that it's good for your health and reduces stress," she notes. And it just so happens that the expo's opening today coincides with the Dalai Lama's visit to Florida International University's South Campus in Miami. His monks, the lamas of Drepung Loseling Monastery, will perform mystical chants and dance at the expo Sunday at 7 p.m. The expo begins today at the Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 800-551-3976. For prices and hours, see "Events" listings.
When Arthur Mitchell founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969, he wanted to prove that Harlem wasn't just a crime-ridden neighborhood, but a community in which artistic talent thrived. One of the group's trademark works is Dougla, which is named after the descendants of black slaves and laborers from India who intermingled on the island of Trinidad. Incorporating ballet and modern dance, Dougla features dancers in bright costumes celebrating the marriage of a young couple. Dance Theatre will perform at Ocean Dance 1999, an international dance festival on Hollywood Beach. Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Maximum Dance Company, and Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero of Miami City Ballet will also perform. The show begins at 7 p.m. at OceanWalk, 101 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood. Admission is free. Call 954-921-3274 for more information.
Like plenty of bands, San Diego's Sprung Monkey started out as "kids getting buzzed, having fun," according to vocalist Steve Summers. Tied in to the local surf scene, the five-piece quickly gained a following among the surf-skate-snowboard crowd, mixing Faith No More's brand of metal-funk with surf guitar and melodic hooks. After the band put out its debut album, 1995's Situation Life, fan mail started to roll in, and Summers realized people were actually listening. So he started to focus on the lyrics, beginning with the band's next album, Swirl, which came out later in 1995. On the band's newest album, Mr. Funny Face (1998), the words focus on a bully picking on a kid with Down syndrome (title track), aggressive cops and hate crime (the accessible, upbeat single "Get 'Em Outta Here"), and a premature midlife crisis ("Super Breakdown"). The band plays tonight at 8 p.m. with openers Gonemad and the Groovenics at Respectable Street Cafe, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Cover is $8. Call 561-832-9999.
The title of the Squeak Carnwath show "The Am-ness of Things," on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth, comes from a line in a 1993 essay by the California postmodern artist: "Art is not about facts but about what is; the am-ness of things." Carnwath explores this concept in her paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture, most of which are collages of text and images -- some abstract, others impressionistic. In the 1992 painting A Call to Be, for example, a black phone sits in the lower left corner of the canvas beneath the outline of a face, which is filled with dozens of faceless figures. Carnwath, it seems, is advising viewers not to let outside influences determine who they are and how they present themselves to the world. Other bits of wisdom are offered in the more than 100 works by Carnwath on view through May 2 at the museum, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Admission is $2. Call 561-582-0006 for more information.
It's for the birds, literally, but it's good for people, too. Raw millet is a grain used in bird seed, but in the Intro to Grains cooking class at Wild Oats Community Market (2200 W. Glades Rd., Boca Raton), store staff will teach patrons how to make the healthy bird fodder more palatable to humans. Our bodies are like swimming pools that need the right combination of chemicals to maintain a proper acidic balance. Grains are an important part of diet for that reason. They're also a good source of protein, which can be especially important for those who don't eat foods like meat and fish. So if you're not getting enough millet, bake up a savory millet loaf? Toast the raw millet in a pan until it gets light brown and begins to pop. That gives it a slightly nutty flavor. Add onions and celery before popping it into the oven. Recipe specifics will be revealed during the free class today at 4 p.m. Call 561-392-5100.
Joe Spagnola, age 32, still remembers sitting in high-school English class being bored to tears by Shakespeare. "We read Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet," he recalls. "But then the teacher showed a BBC production of Macbeth, and I was completely captivated. I realized from there that we were supposed to watch this, not read it." Now a part-time actor and full-time employee at Barnes & Noble in Hollywood (4170 Oakwood Blvd.), he's the host of the Modern Shakespeare discussion group, which meets at the store the third Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. Talking about Shakespeare's works might not sound much more exciting than reading them in school, but Spagnola gets the group -- composed of people of all ages, from teenagers to seniors -- gabbing about various productions of the Bard's writings. For example, group members familiar with the traditional Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet (1968) and the more recent film starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio (1996) concluded at a recent meeting that the Zeffirelli movie kicks ass. April being National Poetry Month, the group will check out Shakespeare's sonnets at tonight's gathering. Attendance is free. Call 954-923-1738.