When Phil Varone was a student at Coral Springs High, "I was into playing the drums and trying to get chicks," he says. But he grew up to join Saigon Kick and Skid Row, and while on tour in 2000, "someone offered me coke, and for some reason, I did it. It had me at 'hello.'"
Varone admits that age 32 was "very old" to launch a torrid affair with a drug, but he compensated for the late start by snorting $1,000 worth of blow each week, accented by a Xanax here and a bump of meth there. "My friends called it the Phil Varone diet -- two eight-balls and a bottle of Gatorade," he says. The whole "train wreck" is documented in the film Waking Up Dead, which premieres Thursday at the AMC Ridge Plaza 8 (9200 State Rd. 84, Davie, 954-475-8407).
Now sober (Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe sponsored him through rehab) and back in Coral Springs, Varone looks forward to a new career in TV and film. To celebrate his movie's release, he hosts a party at Sofa Kings (9160 W. State Rd. 84, Davie) on Friday with former Saigon Kick singer Matt Kramer, Crease, Temple of Brutality (featuring Dave Ellefson of Megadeth), and more. Call 954-474-5637, or visit www.wakingupdeadmovie.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Real to Reel
Life, with a twist
Not since late '90s flicks like Reality Bites or Singles have film audiences been privy to a fictional production about what really happens after college: extended happy hours, career ambivalence, and questionable dating choices. In Funny Ha Ha, a new comedy of manners, actress Kate Dollenmeyer (as Marnie) taps into her reserve of young professional angst and delivers a performance complete with quirky conversations, awkward silences, and stuttering -- resulting in a character who seems more real than anyone on "reality TV" these days. Since director Andrew Bujalski has been compared to industry legends like Richard Linklater and John Cassavetes, his street cred alone should be enough to attract the indie set. But he's been scooping up a bunch of awards too. Funny Ha Ha runs through Sunday at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). General admission costs $8. Call 954-525-3456, or visit cinemaparadiso.org. -- Melissa Meisel
Forget about the Bearded One
Not everybody in Cuba is waiting for Fidel to kick the bucket. In fact, foreign companies, real estate speculators, and exiles with a 50-year-old grudge are the ones holding the death watch. Plenty of Cubans have been traipsing along, living colorful and productive lives under the current regime. For proof, see the work of four artists in the "Contemporary Cuban Masters" exhibit at Old School Square (51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach). Nelson Dominguez is a painter/illustrator/ceramist/art professor. Manuel Mendive (whose work is pictured) is influenced by the Yoruba religion. Pedro Pablo Oliva leans toward neo-expressionism; Cosme Proenza studied art in the Ukraine. The exhibit runs Thursday through October 30. Admission costs $6 for adults. Call 561-243-7922, or visit www.oldschool.org. -- Deirdra Funcheon
The Old Man and the See-r
You know that Ernest Hemingway palled around with Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald when he lived in Paris, but who kept him company in Cuba? None other than legendary photographer Walker Evans. Check out notes and pictures that the two men shared during "Three Weeks in Cuba, 1933." The exhibit opens Wednesday at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton) and runs through November 20. Call 561-392-2500, or visit www.bocamuseum.org.