The scene is a 1930s Harlem night club, and the music is all Fats Waller. Some 30 songs by the rotund, fun-lovin' stride pianist and composer are sung by a cast of five in the musical review Ain't Misbehavin', an homage to Waller. Born in 1904, he grew up in Harlem, son of a Baptist preacher father and a mother who played piano and organ. Waller began playing at age 6, and at age 14 began studying piano under the great James P. Johnson. A big man, Waller was nonetheless light and flexible on the keyboard, and he pioneered the use of pipe organ and Hammond organ in jazz. But he's best known for his humorous, satirical, sexually suggestive tunes, such as "Honeysuckle Rose" and "T'Ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do." No one in the cast portrays Waller, but those songs, along with classics like the title tune and "The Joint Is Jumpin'," evoke his spirit. Ain't Misbehavin' opens today at Broward Stage Door Theatre (8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs) and runs through August 15. Evening performances take place Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., matinees Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Call 954-344-7765.
Some conspiracy theorists still believe the televised shots of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong bouncing around the lunar surface were a hoax. Back when Apollo 11 touched down on the moon in 1969, the idea of people surviving in the vacuum of space probably did seem far-fetched. But since Apollo we've gone from clunking around in module-type spacecraft to buzzing in and out of the atmosphere in the space shuttle and checking out the farthest reaches of our solar system with the Hubble Space Telescope and a remote-controlled Mars rover. The less-skeptical among us can check out "evidence" like Martian rock fragments and lunar dust samples from the Apollo era in "Not of This World -- A Journey to the Planets." The exhibition, which opens today at the South Florida Science Museum (4801 Dreher Trl. N., West Palm Beach), also gives visitors a chance to experience the challenges of space exploration by trying to tie their shoes or pound a nail while wearing thick astronaut gloves. Admission is $3 to $5. The show remains on view through September 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, Friday till 10 p.m. Call 561-832-1988.
Let's hope the music of Levinhurst is more innovative than the band's name. In late 1998 keyboardist Lol Tolhurst and drummer Andy Anderson, both former Cure members, teamed up with vocalist Cindy Levinson (aha, we get it) to try their hands at the musical flavor of the moment -- electronica. Tolhurst handles keyboards, Anderson has traded in his drum kit for a drum machine and duty triggering prerecorded loops and samples, and both of them play DJ. As calculated as it sounds, the group supposedly retains a pop sensibility and personable persona on stage amid all of the techno gadgetry. We haven't heard for ourselves, but it sounds promising; and even if the new stuff is lacking, plenty of live Cure remixes should keep fans happy tonight when Levinhurst plays at the Chili Pepper, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Doors open at 10. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Call 954-525-5996.
If you're not familiar with Barbara Bradshaw, you've been ignoring South Florida theater for the last 25 years. She's been treading the boards of the Caldwell Theatre Company since it opened in 1976 with Star Spangled Girl, has since appeared in more than 75 area productions, and has won three Carbonell Awards and a Los Angeles Drama-logue Award. Beginning today she'll share her award-winning techniques with up-and-coming actors in a six-week Scene Study Workshop at the Delray Beach Playhouse (950 NW Ninth St., Delray Beach). An acting workshop covers basic acting techniques such as stage presence and improvisation, says Bradshaw. Scene study, she explains, lets actors take those techniques into an actual scene, forcing them to make specific choices within that context and to play their characters off each other. Students will be paired and expected to rehearse together between 7 p.m. Monday workshop sessions. Over the six weeks, scenery, props, and maybe a costume piece or two will be added. "They are just tools to help the actor, but you add them one at a time," Bradshaw notes. "We're not doing a full-scale production here." Cost for the workshop is $125. Call 561-738-6391.
We think of channeling -- talking with the dead -- as a New-Age phenomenon, but it was even more popular in Europe hundreds of years ago. French poet and novelist Victor Hugo (1802-1885), perhaps best known for Les Miserables, was something of a channeler in his day. He didn't want folks to think he was whacked, so he kept the channeling thing hush-hush. He did a good job: Transcripts of his seances didn't surface until the early 20th Century, and they have just recently been translated into English by Palm Beach County author John Chambers. In Conversations With Eternity: The Forgotten Masterpiece of Victor Hugo, Chambers has compiled Hugo's extensive notes about talks with the dead and added background commentary on some of the famous spirits in question. For example, Chambers provides historical context on Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who attacked the Roman Empire; the general supposedly described to Hugo what Carthage looked like before the Romans leveled it. Chambers will sign copies of the book tonight at 7:30 at Borders, 12171 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation. Admission is free. Call 954-723-9595 for more information.
To call Cuban painter Dagoberto Jaquinet young is just plain wrong. The guy is 57 years old. Still, he's listed among the "young" artists in the show "Cuban Masters & Young Artists Living in Cuba Today." He's mislabeled, perhaps, because although he has name recognition throughout Cuba and Europe for his vividly colored, representational canvases, his work has only recently been shown in the United States. "Emerging" might be a better term for Jaquinet and the other unknowns in the show, which comprises some 50 works by five other "young" artists and four established masters, including Nelson Dominguez and Ever Fonseca. Jaquinet's acrylic-on-canvas painting Gallo Cosmicos features a gargantuan, bright-red rooster with a billowing, multicolored tail and depicts the creature either stomping or picking up a human form with one of its clawed feet. Now that ought to get him noticed. The exhibition runs through August 30 at the Cornell Museum, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Admission is $3. Call 561-243-7922.