Miami artist and anthropologist Sarah Keene Meltzoff, age 50, has spent her life traveling to remote villages, mostly in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. After studying different peoples and their folk art, she now creates what she calls "cargo art." The cargo cults of the Pacific were made up of islanders who were given machine-made objects by American soldiers during World War II and thereafter aspired to industrial wealth. In her work Meltzoff combines artifacts from different cultures in the hope that viewers will "rethink art, science, and spirituality in the fragmented industrial world in which we've lost nature and spirituality." One piece features a metal step from a boat adorned with New Guinea boars' tusks and cowrie shells. At the opening of the "Figurative Small Works Exhibition" tonight at Armory Art Center, Meltzoff will conduct a "cargo art" workshop for middle-school kids. They'll bring in shoeboxes of stuff from their homes (dog fur, bird bones their cats have collected, seashells) and combine them with things from the family garage (fishing rods, bicycle parts). Then they'll dance around the objects to drum music in a show called Offerings. The event begins at 6 p.m.; the exhibition remains on view through June 12 at the Armory, 1703 S. Lake Ave., West Palm Beach. Admission is free. Call 561-832-1776.
Championship figure skater Michelle Kwan revives a bit of skating history in her routine. The 1998 Olympic silver medalist has reintroduced the "Charlotte," a move named for German skater Charlotte Oelschlagel. Most skating fans probably don't remember Oelschlagel. She was the first skater to perform in an ice show on Broadway, in 1915, and the first to appear in a movie, The Frozen Warning (1916). She was sought after for her trademark trick, in which she arched backward and touched the ice with one hand, then spun on one leg while holding the other leg parallel to the ice. Kwan will perform the "Charlotte" during Champions on Ice tonight at 8 p.m. at the National Car Rental Center, 1 Panthers Pkwy., Sunrise. Oksana Baiul and 20 other top skaters will also perform in the show. Ticket prices range from $26 to $56. Call 954-835-8000.
Playwright Peter Sagal's Denial (1995) is an award-winning play that was produced at Florida Stage in Manalapan in 1997. His latest play, What to Say, debuted earlier this month at Florida Stage (262 S. Ocean Blvd.), but it was written several years before Denial. Sagal penned the play when he was just out of college and working as a literary manager at a regional theater, choosing plays and working with playwrights. He calls it a "bit of a satire on academe." The play is about a literature professor who falls for a woman who may be deceiving him about who she is, and it examines the conflicts between those who make art and those who talk about it -- something to which Sagal can relate. Aside from being a theater manager-turned-playwright, he does a lot of talking as host of National Public Radio's news quiz show, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. What to Say runs through June 13. Today's showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $28 (matinee), $31, and $34. Call 561-585-3433. For a complete schedule, see "Stage" listings.
On the third Sunday of every month, there's plenty of pickin' and grinnin' going on at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. The 200-seat covered amphitheater fills up with folks hankerin' for a dose of bluegrass music, and local musicians give it to them during the Bluegrass Jam Session. Other bluegrass fans sit in the grass and picnic or come in from swimming at the beach to listen. The session is informal, so the lineup changes from week to week, but guitarist and banjo player Bill Rich and his 17-year-old daughter, Amy, who plays the fiddle, are usually there. Only acoustic string instruments are allowed, but everyone is invited to join in. Rich says beginning players just need to know etiquette: Stand near the outside of the circle and play softly. Most of the seasoned players who show up have been in one band or another, he says. In fact, the members of the South Ocean String Band, which has kept South Florida toes tappin' for more than 20 years, show up often. The park is located at 10900 Ocean Blvd., North Palm Beach, and the jam is held from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $3.25 per vehicle. Pickers get in for free. Call 561-624-6952.
When he was writing Damascus Gate, Robert Stone had plenty to go on. The novel revolves around an American journalist who is sucked into a terrorist plot in Jerusalem. Although he's critically acclaimed as a novelist, Stone began his writing career as a copy boy and caption writer at the New York Daily News in 1958. He went on to write for the National Mirror in New York City from 1965 to 1967. Between 1967 and 1971, he worked as a freelance writer and covered the war in Vietnam, where he ran into the kinds of thieves, hustlers, and conspirators that populate Damascus Gate. Stone will discuss and sign copies of the book starting at 3:30 p.m. today at the Broward County Main Library (100 S. Andrews Ave., 2nd Flr., Fort Lauderdale). Admission is $7.50. Call 954-357-7401.