B.B. King once sang, "The blues had a baby, and they named it rock 'n' roll..." He wasn't suggesting that the blues had unprotected sex -- he was just layin' down a metaphor. So what's the progeny of blues and a cooking show? Answer: Bill "The Sauce Boss" Wharton -- the best guitar-playin', gumbo-makin', crowd-feedin' bluesman in the business. In fact, he's the only one -- though Elvis came close with his fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches.
It's one thing to "get sauced" at a concert, but if you're swallowing chunks of crawfish, you must be in the Parrothead-friendly audience of the man Jimmy Buffett wrote about in his 1999 song "I Will Play for Gumbo." For 15 years now, Wharton has actually cooked gumbo on-stage while performing his music. And not only does he feed his audience but he instills the metaphor -- nay, the message -- of gumbo: "Gumbo is not just a dish," he says. "It's the blending of cultures. From the Africans who brought the okra to American natives who added the sassafras, the recipe comes from whatever's been growing in your garden. And everyone in the audience just simmers in the roux all night long. We are the gumbo."
Taking us to a higher plane one tureen at a time, the Delta blues-inspired slide guitarist plays all over the nation, including stops at homeless shelters, where he and volunteers serve the audience his Liquid Summer Datil Pepper Hot Sauce-infused gumbo. Armed with a wooden spoon, a Marshall stack, and a golden heart, the "Sauce Boss" has served more than 125,000 steamin' bowls of pleasure to date.
Check out Wharton's website -- www.sauceboss.com -- where you can meet his band, peruse his discography, and read about his Jimmy Carteresque commitment to humanity. Get a taste of Wharton on Saturday night at 8:30, when he indoctrinates the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $25. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org. -- John Shannon
WMDs of the Soul
Those Inner Voices Can Spin Anything
Lemon is a lonely young woman who may be influenced a tad too much by the sharp-talking memory of her Aunt Dan. Aunt Dan just loves Henry Kissinger. And she defends the Nazis. In playwright/actor Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon, which begins tonight at the Sol Theatre (1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale), Aunt Dan shows how arguments can be twisted to justify any actions. The play is about how we spin ourselves. Aunt Dan was written and produced in 1985, a time of post-Vietnam guilt and the rise of the Reagan Administration propaganda mills. Twenty years later, director Robert Hooker thinks it still brings relevance, especially when it comes to death, killing, and the blind acceptance of teachings mouthed by those we respect. At the theater's website, he talks about the war and even the Terri Schiavo case -- "Media manipulation as well as political rhetoric and national guilt are at work now more than ever." Underlying message? Question the origins of all your philosophical foundations. Aunt Dan and Lemon runs until May 15, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for this week's preview shows ($20 and up beginning next week). Visit www.soltheatre.com, or call 954-525-6555. -- Dave Amber
Tsunami Bomb washes over the Factory
Ditch your orchestra recital, sneak out your window, and steal your parents' car. Tonight, Tsunami Bomb -- not the most politically correct name in the world right now -- plays at the Factory (2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). OK, so your parents might see you sneaking out the window, considering that the all-ages show starts at 6:30 p.m. But so what if you get grounded -- spend the next couple of weeks thinking about how awesome it was singing along while the beautiful and kick-ass Agent M (we like to think of her as the Angelina Jolie of rock), backed by her pop-punk bandmates, raged "So long!/Been swell!/See you/in hell!" (from the song "Lemonade"). Interesting side note: Toward the end of World War II, a New Zealand scientist developed a bomb designed to trigger a tidal wave and drown people in low-lying enemy territory. Yikes! Tickets cost $9. Call 800-564-ROCK. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Fall in for Fall Out
Despite what overzealous Simpsons aficionados may think, the Chicago pop-punk quartet Fall Out Boy didn't name itself after the comic-book sidekick once portrayed by Bart's blue-haired chum, Milhouse van Houten. Well -- not exactly. According to the band, while playing their first show nameless, the members asked the crowd what they should call themselves. Someone yelled "Fall Out Boy," and it stuck. Now, it's five years later, and it looks like a name you'll be hearing a lot from in the months to come. The band's first major-label debut hits stores on May 3, but you can catch it this week on the Fueled by Ramen & Friends Tour at the Factory (2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, April 15. The all-ages show costs $15 and starts at 6 p.m. with opening acts Silverstein, the Academy Is, and Gym Class Heroes. Call 954-564-7625. -- Paul A. Leone