Twenty Can't-Miss Art Events

From gallery shows to Kevin Spacey's planned murder, here's a collection of the season's best to come.

"Altered States: Jose Alvarez, Yayoi Kusama, Fred Tomaselli and Leo Villareal"

April 2 — July 17 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196, or visit norton.org.

The Norton Museum of Art has your fix in four of today's biggest artists. First is Jose Alvarez, one of Florida's most innovative minds. With the care of an ikebanist (an artist in Japanese floral arrangement), he positions feathers, minerals, and other materials on canvas to form technicolor dreamscapes — friendly realms down the rabbit hole. Next is Yayoi Kusama, perhaps the world's most celebrated living female artist. She lives in a mental ward by choice and applies in her various media obsessive patterns and, in particular, polka dots, which she calls portals to infinity. Fred Tomaselli, an American master, paints scenes on wood panels of burning, ecstatic revelation, those moments when you have ten eyes and a wormhole opening in your mind. And Leo Villareal does light shows that are like hallucinatory neon constellations. Villareal is designing light architecture for a supertall skyscraper under construction in Seoul; the world would be a futurist utopia if we let him turn our cities into his art installations. Alvarez, Kusama, Tomaselli, and Villareal are titans of contemporary art, and their work is woven together at "Altered States," which this year could be Florida's most outstanding exhibition — a beautiful, arresting bender.

Nice Guy Johnny at FLIFF
Nice Guy Johnny at FLIFF
Valerio Adami
Valerio Adami

Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour

April 12 at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Call 954-835-7825, or visit bankatlanticcenter.com.

Before she became the most sought-after celebrity on Earth, Lady Gaga traveled from little gay bar to little gay bar, banging on a piano and belting out songs like "Poker Face" to roomfuls of curious onlookers. She even made a stop at Bill's Filling Station in Wilton Manors just a few months before her takeoff. Today, her concerts sell out in nanoseconds around the globe, but South Florida seems to occupy a privileged place in her heart. Gaga played two concerts in Miami last New Year's. This April, she's making another round in the region, with a concert at the American Airlines Arena in Miami and one for her Broward fans at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, where Semi Precious Weapons will be her special guest. A lot is bound to happen between now and April: Gaga's new album, Born This Way, is slated for release around New Year's, and no doubt she'll find a hundred new outfits to one-up her meat dress at the recent VMAs. Thus far, she's kept her promise: "Pop music will never be low-brow again." Here's hoping that Born This Way blows us away; and that, as rumors have it, Gaga is planning to string up actual cadavers next year and make them dance on stage.

Don Giovanni

May 12 & 14 at the Au-Rene Theater in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222, or visit browardcenter.org

Don Giovanni, the two-act opera by Mozart, has captivated artists and philosophers for centuries. Kierkegaard called it "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection." So what's all the hype about? Don Giovanni is the antihero, a young, rich, and lecherous playboy, so slutty that he records his sexual conquests on a scroll: 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 1,003 in Spain. In the opening scene, he wears a mask while sneaking into a home to seduce a woman named Donna Anna. But he's caught, kills her father in a duel, escapes unscathed, and is then enlisted to avenge the murder he committed. The ending is legendary. David Pittsinger, a frequent presence at the Met, sings Giovanni; Jacquelyn Wagner, who got her start in Europe, sings Anna; and conductor Andrew Bisantz has been extolled over the years in the Financial Times and New York Magazine. In such seasoned hands, it's bound to be a smooth spectacle as staged by the Florida Grand Opera.

Ages of the Moon

June 2 — 26 at Mosaic Theatre, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Call 954-577-8243, or visit mosaictheatre.com.

Sam Shepard is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, an Academy Award-nominated actor, and a film and television director — in short, one of America's most accomplished and dynamic artists. Last January, Ages of the Moon, his play about two grouchy old men and a gun, opened to laudatory reviews in New York. At the Mosaic Theatre in Broward, it will be in the hands of one of South Florida's finest directors, Richard Jay Simon. Ages of the Moon follows Ames and Byron, geezers on a front porch with problems to pore over and lethal tensions to suppress as they await a lunar eclipse.

"Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes From Film and Television"

June 4 — September 4 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196, or visit norton.org.

If Star Trek is accurate, human beings in the 23rd Century will wake up every morning and pull on monocolor spandex body suits with walkie-talkies pinned to their breasts. As flattering as it is to the svelte jet-setters on the Enterprise, though, the Star Trek uniform has a long way to go before it's high fashion, let alone an item at Macy's. For now, it's a curiosity confined to a glass case at the Norton Museum, which is showcasing more than 30 costumes from sci-fi flicks, the ones that tend to be more grungy or leather-themed: Star Wars, Blade Runner, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica, and Batman.

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