"Don't even get me started on the state of American radio," Patty Larkin says from her home on Cape Cod, acknowledging that the Clear Channel brainwash machine (i.e., the company that controls most U.S. radio stations and concert venues) has not included much of her music in the chum it feeds to the masses.
Yet, that might be a good thing. The self-described "acoustic-oriented singer-songwriter" has managed to make a living playing music for 20 years. The mayor of Boston declared a "Patty Larkin Day" in her honor. She earned an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, and her albums have made the Top Ten lists of reviewers at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Says one Larkin fan, "Everyone who hears [her album] at my house says, 'That's really great -- who is it?'" This word-of-mouth path seems to be how Larkin's music travels. Her most recent disc reached a respectable number 38 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart last year. Called Red = Luck , it was written just before Larkin went to China to adopt a daughter, and its title comes from the fact that red is considered a lucky color in that country. Larkin's little girl's name? Ruby.
Of her record, Larkin says: "It's good drive-in-the-car music. The images are cinematic; the textures have a layered effect." Her guitar-driven sound has been described as "wistful," "bittersweet," and "tasteful" -- and people who like to put things in boxes have sometimes labeled her with that double-edged-sword, the term "folk." But don't take their word for it -- check her out yourself. Larkin toured with a band last year, but this time around, she's flying to Florida, renting a car, and hauling her guitar from stage to stage by herself. Next thing you know, you'll be driving, listening to her CD, and your friend will say, "That's really great -- who is it?"
Larkin plays at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 2 (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-832-7469), and at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-462-0222) on Saturday, April 3. Tickets cost $25. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Mutts Take a Bow -- Wow!
House Pets Go Hollywood
Fourteen cats, twelve dogs, ten doves, and six white mice (and who knows -- maybe a partridge in a pear tree) are on the road again. Next stop, Coral Springs. It wasn't long ago that these furry celebrities bunked at the pound. Now, they reside in a customized, climate-controlled trailer. This is show business, after all. International circus man extraordinaire Gregory Popovich brings his shelter-rescued entourage of household pets to the Coral Springs Center for the Arts (2855 Coral Springs Dr.) for one night only. His famed Comedy and Pet Theatre show has been to Letterman and Leno and back, and this is an opportunity for South Florida to catch a Vegas-quality show for kibble. Ticket prices range from $7 to $13 for nearly two hours of bow-tied critters jumping through hoops and swinging on bars. That's half of what you'd pay to see his standing gig in Branson, Missouri. An animal lover and adoption advocate, Popovich builds on his pets' inherent personalities by encouraging tricks that are natural and enjoyable for the animals -- you know, totally normal stuff like tabbies pushing terriers in baby carriages. Curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Call 954-344-5990, or visit www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com. -- Michele D. Omenson
It's hardly uncommon for an actor to bend his gender for a good-humored Cher impersonation. But how often do you see a guy dressed as the legendary pop diva performing "I Got You Babe," playing both Cher and her late, former hubby? Meet Joe Schmitz, who plays both roles faaa-bulously, holding a fake mustache up to his face to sing Sonny Bono's lines. How great is that? And it's only one of the many celebrity diva impersonations seen in Guys as Dolls, at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). Joining Schmitz in the revue is costar Joe Posa and dancer Richie Mastascusa, who doll themselves up for a night of song and dance. Schmitz and Posa cover all the classic impersonations (Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli) as well as some of the newer pop divas (Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez). But this ain't a drag show; both Schmitz and Posa are seasoned actors. To wit: Posa once appeared on All My Children as Susan Lucci -- opposite the real Susan Lucci. Top that! Guys as Dolls runs through April 4. Sure, you could watch Cher on VH1 almost any time. But at this point, Schmitz probably does a better Cher impersonation than the face-lift-happy diva does herself. Tickets cost $20 to $25. Call 954-525-3456. -- Jason Budjinski
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Pubescent angst is served up with alternating portions of love, laughter, and tears in the Youth Actor's Guild's presentation of Glimpses. Teenage playwrights penned the work in 1983, and the play's been a hit with teen and college-age audiences ever since. Glimpses consists of short scenes, plays, and monologues that offer, uh, glimpses of the world as seen by the young playwrights. Each work, from a child's memory of a pair of beaten-up red sneakers to a young man's inner rage at society, provides a different view. Leave the wee ones at home this time, since the frank realism in a few of the pieces might upset tender minds. Performances take place Saturday and Sunday at Bob Carter's Actor's Workshop & Repertory Company in the Cuillo Centre for the Arts (201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach). Tickets cost $10. Call 561-835-9226. -- Barbara Kasser