Alternative arts devotees know you can't step into the same underground river twice -- nothing endures but change. With today's real estate market being what it is, the hole you squat in today (where you moodily compose your elephant-dung masterpieces) becomes tomorrow's loft apartments: So it goes. That lesson isn't lost on Miami arts nonprofit Artemis. It's closing its beloved performance space, PS 742 in Little Havana (1165 SW Sixth St., Miami), after a farewell run of Nicky Silver's comically demented play Raised in Captivity -- but it's already working with local developers on bigger and better digs. PS 742 has become a visible icon of kinky, wildly creative, multidisciplinary local arts (one recent lesbian art show morphed into an all-night dance party). The black box, until now, kept itself marginally out of the red thanks to the energies of Artemis cofounder Susan Caraballo.
Still, it's fitting that the lights at 742 should finally dim with Raised in Captivity -- a theatrical experience that has charmed the pants off some critics (it rated an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination) while leaving others with their knickers thoroughly knotted ("vulgarly brutal dreck," choked the Cleveland Free Times). To add poignancy, this marks the debut of the Baby Factor repertory, a five-actor cabal conspiring to change the face of South Florida theater. "We got together because we were sick of seeing the same old shows in South Florida," explains actress/producer Jennifer Gomez. "We wanted to create a bigger audience here for underground theater." To that end, Gomez says, they'll be busing in residents from retirement homes for this week's show. Whoa! Silver's absurdist dissection of bad families, bad jobs, bad therapy, and bad man-love ought to really have the geezers bolting out of their wheelchairs. Of course, bigger is relative anyway: PS 742 has only 65 seats. But you know you've found the dead center of the arts scene when you're sitting on a squeaky divan in a close, dark room, inhaling clove cigarettes and watching a crazed psychotherapist put out her own eyes with a screwdriver. The show runs through August 29; tickets cost $20, or $15 for students. Call 561-251-1070, or visit www.ps742.org. --Gail Shepherd
Downtowner Saloon turns ten
The Downtowner Saloon (408 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale) hasn't really changed much in ten years. Same people, same menu, admits its owner, John Baker: "We're full of regulars." However, downtown Fort Lauderdale has changed, with huge office and condo buildings rising around the historic bar and restaurant. "There was nothing at all when I got here," Baker says of the Downtowner's original hood (and its sky-reaching growth).
The preservation of consistency -- the place where everyone knows your name -- amid flux is a thing to celebrate. And the saloon plans three days of music to do so. That includes a lot of R&B and blues, like singer Joey Gilmore on Friday, the sextet Doctors of Blues and Jazz Therapy on Saturday, and a Sunday jazz brunch with Juanita Dixon and the Jeff Prine Group. However, the headline show is Saturday's uncensored performance by the comic piano player, singer, and limerick spewer known as "Dr. Dirty" John Valby. Dr. Dirty John's gig is the perversion of your favorite standards. His video and audio works include Concerto for Piano, Voice and 500 Screaming Assholes; Operation Fuck Iraq; Up for Re-Erection, Your Face or Mine; and of course, John Valby's Greatest Tits. The Downtowner Saloon's Tenth Anniversary Party takes place Friday, August 20, through Sunday, August 22. Visit www.downtownersaloon.com, or call 954-463-9800. --Dave Amber
'Tis the good life
If there's one thing scenesters like to do, it's throw around the e word. Yep, if you add even a modicum of sentiment to your music, you're instantly branded emo. So for a band like Good Life Cycle, which incorporates both emotion and humor into its songwriting, such simplification misses the mark. "I'd like to think we cover all ranges," vocalist Kim Kessler says. "Our slow, emo songs are a little more heartfelt, but we also have sillier songs, punk songs." Yes -- punk, as in the Ramones, which Good Life Cycle recently paid tribute to with a set of covers. Other bands Good Life Cycle has covered include Quicksand, the Misfits, and Morrissey. That should help explain the band's broad influences. And maybe you'll think a little more before you label it... well, you know. Good Life Cycle performs at 11 p.m. Saturday with Modern Day Arcade, Sleeping Girl Drowning, and Sayonara Tokyo at the Fort Lauderdale Saloon (626 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). The show costs $5. Call 954-565-4909. --Jason Budjinski
Not Forever Young
As you read of the upcoming Crosby, Stills, and Nash show, you may wonder whether Neil Young was left out due to a typo or if the free-livin' rocker chose to sit this one out. In this case, the latter is true as CSN performs Saturday night at Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach). One of rock's early supergroups -- featuring members of the Hollies (Graham Nash), Byrds (David Crosby), and Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills) -- the trio released its first record in 1969, part of the nascent singer-songwriter craze that eventually swept the '70s. But the other craze that swept the me decade -- drugs -- nearly killed Crosby, who came clean after his liver transplant in 1994. Of course, there are worse things than sobriety. Remember, he almost cut his hair once. Tickets cost $44.50 to $59.50. Call 561-793-0445. --Jason Budjinski