Parties and peace at the Morikami
Sushi and sake go together like pizza and beer, chocolate chip cookies and milk, yada yada yada... So to kick off "Taishi," its spanking-new social group, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach) is throwing a "Sushi & Sake" party Thursday, December 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. Taishi translates to "ambassador," a theme the museum hopes will represent a cross-cultural spirit attractive to the targeted 20- to 40-year-old post-beer-bong/pre-prune-juice demographic. The party, courtesy of Delray's Kyoto Sake, costs $15 and includes admission to the museum's two current exhibits.
One of those exhibits, "From Geisha to Diva: The Kimono of Ichimaru," offers a slice of geisha culture through the wardrobe, wigs, and furniture of a popular mid-20th-century geisha and recording artist. The other, "Sharaku Interpreted," presents a contemporary Japanese graphic artist's take on the work of an 18th-century woodblock artist. Although his only known works -- prints depicting kabuki actors -- come from about ten months during 1794 and 1795, Sharaku's influence has stretched across centuries.
The Morikami has been a center for Japanese art and culture since 1977. But Japanese immigrants made South Florida home long before that. In the early 1900s, Japanese farmers settled the Yamato Colony in what is now Boca Raton (didn't you ever wonder why that road in Boca is named "Yamato"?). They grew pineapples and vegetables until the U.S. government confiscated the colony's farmland in May, 1942, five months after the Pearl Harbor attack drew the U.S. into World War II.
On a more harmonious December note, if blinking Christmas lights and mall muzak become overwhelming as the month rolls along its inexorable, merry path toward the 25th, you can escape to the Morikami's 200 acres of gardens, koi-filled lakes, trails, and bonsai trees for meditation and hiking. During the museum's Peaceful Holiday Season, which runs from December 7 to January 9, you can fold origami paper doves for the Peace Tree or make your own "nengajo" New Year's cards stamped with pictures of the 2005 zodiac animal of the year, the rooster. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $9 for adults. Visit www.morikami.org, or call 561-495-0233. -- Dave Amber
Pac Man Fever
Free arcade games!
It's free play all weekend at the South Florida Arcade and Pinball Expo, where classics like Dig Dug and Galaga join pinball machines for some hot flipper-on-ball action. It may now seem quaint (or at least slightly disco) that during the Golden Age of arcades in the early 1980s, you could hear "Pac Man Fever" on the radio: "So I'm heading out the back door and in the other side; Gonna eat the cherries up and take 'em all for a ride." Go, Pac Man, go.
Of course, you can stay home and sit bare-assed on your couch while you play with your PlayStation, including some lame virtual pinball. But real pinball machines are tactile, with metal springs and the sloped surface necessary to support a trade-secret gaming software called, um, gravity. Many of the older machines, long banished to the basements of misfit collectors, are back for the expo, which is open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Admissions and Student Affairs Building of Broward Community College's Central Campus (3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie). Admission is free, but bring your checkbook to make a small donation for community programs that help place foster kids. Call 954-201-6967, or visit www.sflape.com. -- Dave Amber It's His Fault
Dukakis traces the origins of evil
If you're unhappy with the current resident of the White House, come to Florida Atlantic University (777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton) today and yell at Michael Dukakis. "If I'd beat his old man," Dukakis told the Boston Globe, "you'd never have heard of this guy, so blame me." The 71-year-old former governor of Taxachusetts has taken a lot of heat for acting all dorky when he was running for the presidency in 1988. Dukakis made it impossible for a "liberal" to get elected and, so, might actually be responsible for the current reign of evil in Washington. Still, before his disastrous campaign, Dukakis was elected for three terms as governor. Nowadays, he walks from his boyhood home to work at Northeastern University, picking up litter along the way. And for that, we dig him. Relive the whole painful saga when Dukakis analyzes the latest election during a lecture at 6:30 p.m. He speaks again at 9:45 a.m. Friday at FAU's Jupiter campus (4688 Main St.) Cost: $10. Call 561-297-6902. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Read It and Weep
"'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the houses/Our daddies were drilling their best buddies' spouses." Ring any bells, Rudolph? If the thought of our annual winter festivities fills your aching head with visions of something other than dancing sugarplums, check out Holidays Gone Wrong, a reading of twisted fiction and poetry sponsored by Fort Lauderdale's Gay and Lesbian writing circle, Lavender Writes. This year's theme: "disastrous holidays and families that give new meaning to dysfunction." Writers and listeners come together to exchange tales of woe at the Pride Factory (845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale); the free event runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and is open to any queers and straights wanting to read a few words about the time Mom butchered the pet bunny for her holiday pot au feur. For info or to register to read, call 954-463-6600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Gail Shepherd