Nowadays there is a Grammy category for Best Reggae Album, but "if you don't look very closely at the fine print running at the end of the credits, you won't know who [won]," Winsome Charlton says. "It was kind of pissing me off."
Not one to sit passively and complain while her favorite artists go unrecognized, the Jamaican-born Charlton stuck it to the Recording Academy by establishing her own awards show. For the 11th year, Charlton has organized the Reggae Soca Awards, taking place tonight at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). The event, whose patois slogan is "Dis a fi we Grammy" (translation: "This is our Grammy"), recognizes the depth and breadth of the Caribbean music. The program includes categories the Recording Academy wouldn't touch with a ten-foot cash register receipt -- like Best Dub Poet and, especially, Best Independent Record Company.
In addition to the opening of 31 envelopes, special awards will be doled out to Singin' Francine, Judy Mowatt, and Derek Morgan. Live performers include Fab5, Lloyd Brown, Coco Tea, Richie Stephens, DYCR, Freddie McGregor (pictured), Half Pint, and Denise Belfont. The weekend's plans also include a free Friday-morning seminar at the African-American Research Library (2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), where, at 11 a.m., record producers, lawyers, and artists will advise starry-eyed hopefuls on how to succeed in the recording industry. And unlike most celebrity handlers, who keep fans away from the artists they adore, Charlton suggests you come down to the Broward Center between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. the day of the event. "The artists will be there to do rehearsals," she says. "If you're there buying tickets, you might see them. Maybe they will take a picture with you." Tickets cost $35 to $55. Call 954-321-0882, or visit www.reggaesocamusicawards.com. --Deirdra Funcheon
DRAMA OF DEPARTURE
As theater groups from Mexico, Venezuela, and South Florida's own Teatro Avante set out to explore how issues of migration, immigration, and politics shape human beings and our relationships, one undeniable reality emerges at this year's International Hispanic Theatre Festival: It's becoming increasingly difficult to get groups into the United States to perform. This irony certainly is not lost on Mario Ernesto Sanchez, artistic director of Teatro Avante as well as of the festival, who says, "The reality of putting the festival together post 9/11 is that it's more expensive and bureaucratic to actually get performers into the country." Still, now in its 19th year, IHTF -- the largest Hispanic theater festival in the United States -- appears to have a staying power that even the changing political and economic climate can't destroy. This year's festival offers ten productions from seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and Venezuela. Plays are presented in English and Spanish, with some of the Spanish-language productions accompanied by opera-style supertitles in English. Children's theater is free and open to the entire family. The festival takes place through Sunday, June 20, at Teatro Avante (235 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables) and various other venues. Call 305-445-8877. -- Mia Leonin
Dancing web vixens return
Every Internet geek's wet dream came true six months ago when the Suicide Girls made the leap from web page to stage with its first Burlesque Tour. However, expectations were even higher than hormone levels, and the somewhat brief show left many of the drooling men in the audience flying at half-mast. Maybe the concept of burlesque eludes a generation reared on the full-frontal nudity of the strip bar, but when you have skankily clad girls performing to a room full of drunken, horny guys, there's probably one thing the audience wants to see. Underwear? We don't think so. Nonetheless, they'll converge en masse at the Factory (2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) to see the girls dance, lip-sync, and pour chocolate syrup on one another. The show starts at 11 p.m. with openers Gerling and Whole Wheat Bread. The cost is $12 for ages 18 and up. Call 954-564-ROCK. --Jason Budjinski
Group therapy can be more than just a venue for people with relationship problems to wax pathetic about their personal shortcomings. It can also be a place to forge new relationships... and create a whole new set of problems, as in the movie Bedrooms and Hallways. The film follows the passions of Leo, a London resident who joins a men's group to discuss his troubled love life and ends up falling for another group member, Brendan. While Brendan's there to deal with being separated from his girlfriend of many years, he accedes to Leo's advances. However, romance is never that easy, and Brendan's ex-girlfriend reenters the picture, complicating matters for all three. Bedrooms and Hallways shows tonight at the Pride Factory (845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). The free screening starts at 8 p.m. Call 954-463-6600. -- Jason Budjinski