Two Hearts

Make love and war

 SAT 7/31

Ask the average Joe Military why gays shouldn't openly serve in the armed forces and his response will be something like this: "When I'm out there being shot at, I don't want some dude checking out my package." Uh-huh. 'Cause that's all them gays ever think about, right? But, really -- look at what all those American-as-apple-pie heteros did at Abu Ghraib. How could that be any worse than, say, two male soldiers falling in love? Well, that's what happens in the play In the Heart of America, opening tonight at the Sol Theatre Project (1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale). The story follows Craver and Remzi, two U.S. troops who become romantically involved during the first Gulf War; but that's where the linear plot line ends. As Remzi goes missing at war's end, he is sought by his sister. Meanwhile, on the other side of time and space, the spirit of a Vietnamese woman searches for her daughter's murderer, William Calley, the Army lieutenant responsible for the My Lai massacre. Sure, it's complex, but that's real life -- not like the black-and-white world of the men who get us into these wars. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $22, $12 for students. Call 954-525-6555. --Jason Budjinksi

Get Branded

Are you sure no one's taking pictures?
Are you sure no one's taking pictures?
Dude, I saw Jerry's ghost!
Mike Gorman
Dude, I saw Jerry's ghost!
Put away your term paper and check out Dave Matthews.
Put away your term paper and check out Dave Matthews.

The Cars meet the Clash

SAT 7/31

The bright lights of New York City aren't exactly a hop, skip, and jump from our subtropical suburbia, but that doesn't stop Hialeah's the Brand from making frequent treks to America's rock 'n' roll epicenter. Though the Brand has been around for only two years, the four synth rockers have traveled the East Coast three times already, with plans for a U.S. tour already in the works. So it's about time they swing by Delray Beach for tonight's show at Dada (52 N. Swinton Ave.). Judging by the songs on the band's self-titled EP, these guys (and girl) are into '80s pop like the Cars, as well as more modern, electronic-tinged bands like Wannadies (the Brand's primary influences). The songs' emotion-laden melodies often straddle a Ramones-inspired backbeat, occasionally with clean guitars, such as on the folksy "Smiling Crying." It's poppier than an Afghani garden, but there's plenty of punch packed in these tunes. The Brand performs at 10 p.m. Call 561-330-3232. --Jason Budjinksi

Party On, Jerry

A grateful birthday

SUN 8/1

Though Jerry Garcia's up there at some big Woodstock party in the sky, jammin' out with Jimi and Janis, that doesn't mean he can't pay an earthly visit once a year on his birthday. So while the big J's feelin' the groove somewhere out in the cosmos, local Grateful Dead tribute band Crazy Fingers continues its annual tradition of performing a birthday show in Garcia's honor. So how old's the grateful one? Were he alive today, Garcia would be 62 -- that's almost old enough to be in the Rolling Stones! The party takes place at Alligator Alley (1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park) beginning at 9 p.m. The cost is $5. Call 954-771-2220. --Jason Budjinksi

World Music 101

SAT 7/31

Sure, you could say that the Dave Matthews Band is world music for trendy college students. And you could say something about Matthews being the bastard son of Paul Simon. But 20 bucks says you own one of his CDs. The band plays tonight and Sunday at Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach). The show starts at 7 p.m. with opener Daniel Lanois. Tickets cost $35.50 to $53. Call 561-793-0445. --Jason Budjinksi

 
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