By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
FLIFF is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with more celebrities and movies than ever. From September 27 to October 20, it's putting on an epic retrospective, with daily screenings of films from each past year of the festival. On October 22, FLIFF officially opens with the Southeast premiere of the feel-good comedy Nice Guy Johnny, with stars Kerry Bishé (Scrubs) and Matt Bush (Adventureland) in attendance. The Trotsky, the story of a teenager convinced he's the reincarnation of the renegade Soviet leader, is screening on opening weekend as well. Judd Nelson (the ne'er-do-well in The Breakfast Club) is slated to attend the showing of his filmed-in-Florida crime thriller, Endure, in which a photo of a bound woman turns up in a fiery car-wreck and leads a detective and his smart-ass sidekick, a Seattle transplant, on a chase. On November 6, FLIFF hands a Lifetime Achievement Award to the eminent actress Claire Bloom and screens her fantastic 1960 horror flick, The Haunting (immeasurably better than the laughable remake starring Catherine Zeta-Jones). On closing night, FLIFF screens Casino Jack, a biopic of crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff (played by Kevin Spacey), whose slime-trail of corruption led back to the casino business in South Florida. As always with FLIFF, there are scores of high-octane after-parties, galas, and Q&A sessions with industry heavyweights. New this year is a brunch cruise on October 24. Check out fliff.com for the rundown of events and films.
The Las Olas Art Fair
October 23 — 24 on Las Olas Boulevard between SE Sixth and SE 11th avenues, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-472-3755, or visit artfestival.com.
The Las Olas Art Fair is a 23-year-old tradition in Fort Lauderdale. And unlike the Art Basel monster down south, it has something approaching a democratic spirit. Along with $20,000 metal sculptures and $10,000 paintings, the fair offers affordable trinkets, like $15 handcrafted earrings. More than 150 American artists, screened beforehand by a jury, set up booths along Las Olas, where they're obligated to sit and answer questions from the masses, making art appreciation interactive. Altogether, the fair has pulled in more than $15 million worth of art: paintings, sculptures, photos, glass, wood, jewelry, collage, and ceramics.
"The Art of Wine & Food: Boo-tiful Reds!"
From 6 — 7:30 p.m. October 28 and every fourth Thursday at the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. To RSVP, call 954-262-0249, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit moaflnsu.org.
If you've always hoped to learn the principles of wine pairing (e.g., low-alcohol wines go with spicy foods) or the rituals of tasting ("see, swirl, sniff, sip, and swallow"), then you need to shell out $30 for a social with a certified expert at the Museum of Art, where you'll get four pairings and a lubricated crowd of people to get drunk with. In line with Halloween, this tasting is "all-red." (In wine-speak, they're sampling "red varietals.") The Museum's galleries open from 5-8 p.m. for free buzzed/tipsy viewings, and "The Art of Wine & Food" happens monthly.
"Killing Kevin Spacey"
October 29 — 30 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in the Amaturo Theatre, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222, or visit browardcenter.org.
Charlie is a hopeless, dead-end working stiff, henpecked at home by his girlfriend and berated at work by bosses fluent in management-speak; his only high point during the daily malaise is a stop by the bagel shop, where he fantasizes about the barista. One day, a Kevin Spacey movie arrives via Netflix in the mail and Eureka! It dawns on Charlie that he's the embodiment of Kevin Spacey's weaker characters, especially the washed-up, failed husband/father undergoing a midlife crisis in American Beauty. Charlie decides that he'll transmogrify into Al Pacino instead. Killing Kevin Spacey is a Canadian contribution, and the Canadians must have some demented bloodlust for Spacey, because the play has earned five-star reviews from newspapers up there. At the Broward Center, it has its U.S. debut.
"Modernity and Nostalgia: Woodblock Prints by Toyohara (Yoshu) Chikanobu"
In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy sailed into Tokyo Harbor, pointed his cannons at the city, and warned that if he wasn't allowed ashore, and if the Japanese didn't sign up for global trade, he'd open fire indiscriminately. It was classic American pirate diplomacy. The Japanese caved, and in came a flood of Western fashion, commodities, and sensibilities. The hermetic, feudal shogunate transformed, nearly overnight, into one of the most modern empires on Earth. That breakneck transition from the samurai to the Meiji era is chronicled in the Morikami Museum's 60 exquisite, painstakingly detailed woodblock prints by Toyohara Chikanobu, who, starting in the late 19th Century, depicted both Kabuki characters and sensational yellow-news stories, old samurai battles, and the clash of mechanized armies in the Russo-Japanese war. Chikanobu pivoted between the ancient and the modern: At first glance, the women in a print called "Western Clothing" seem to be wearing bright-colored, traditional kimonos, but look closer and you notice that they're decked out in the bonnets and corsets of a Southern belle. Today, Japan has, with its gadgets and fetishes, almost exceeded American modernism. But in Tokyo Harbor, there's still the ruin of an unsuccessful island fort built to keep the Americans out.