Looking ahead to the 2011-12 cultural season, Broward and Palm Beach counties are, as usual, flooded with arts options. Here's a look at just ten of the many unmissable events in visual art, music, theater, dance, and comedy.
The World According to Federico Uribe
Through December 4 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500, or visit bocamuseum.org.
In another time and vocation, Federico Uribe might have been one of those crazy scientists from black-and-white B-movies, fashioning mutant hybrids from the combined body parts of any and all pulse-carrying creatures. Today, though, he's a sculptor, and his ideas are no less ambitious. The Colombian-born, Miami-residing conceptual artist is known for creating entire scenes — with people, animals, and landscapes — out of common objects like mop heads, shoelaces, and clothes hangers. His epic 2008 installation "Animal Farm," which will be presented in part at this Boca Museum show, features an entire family of farmers constructed out of colored pencils, with hovering birds assembled out of pliers. The show also debuts Uribe's latest installation of several life-sized palm trees made of book materials. They must be seen to be believed.
October 20 at the Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222, or visit parkerplayhouse.com.
Lucinda Williams is responsible — as much as Steve Earle, Wilco, or anyone else — for transitioning alt-country from a niche genre into the adult-contemporary mainstream. Her 1988 Rough Trade release Lucinda Williams is still a fan favorite, but she's continued to challenge herself, including on 2001's Essence, 2007's emotionally sweeping West,and her rich, downtempo latest, Blessed. A three-time Grammy winner who has collaborated with everyone from Flogging Molly to Elvis Costello to Yo La Tengo, Williams doesn't make it down to Florida very often, so catch her while you can.
October 23 at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-564-1074, or visit cultureroom.net.
A supergroup of punk-rock royalty, Off! formed in 2010 by Circle Jerks founder Keith Morris before adding members of Redd Kross, Rocket From the Crypt, and Burning Brides into its blistering rhythm section. The band's hardcore sound is straight out of 1981: short, spasmodic bursts of rough-and-tumble urgency that make the Ramones' breezy pop songs resemble prog-rock dirges. The band's misanthropic lyrics — check out "Now I'm Pissed," "Fuck People," and the 35-second "Full of Shit" from the band's debut compilation, First Four EPs — lend credence to its aggressive moniker. Off! is hardcore punk distilled into its enraged essence, played by industry veterans who leave their Warped Tour contemporaries in the overproduced dust.
Miami City Ballet's Program I
October 28 to 30 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222, or visit browardcenter.org.
Miami City Ballet comes to Broward County this year with a show that condenses the best of 20th-century dance. It opens with Square Dance,George Balanchine's acclaimed 1957 ballet and one of his most popular light confections. Next up is Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun, a duet from 1953 about a young dancer, absorbed by his mirrored reflection in a dance studio, who is interrupted by a ballerina. It's followed by Liturgy, a haunting 2003 piece by Christopher Wheeldon, and the evening ends with its most anticipated work: Twyla Tharp's signature 1986 ballet In the Upper Room, with its stunning cast portraying Chinese temple guard dogs, a two-person "bomb squad," and six running-shoe-wearing "stompers" in a propulsive, twisted masterpiece.
All My Sons
November 12 to December 11 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042, or visit palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Standing like a vacant monolith at the end of Clematis Street for the past two years, the Cuillo Center for the Arts is ready for its rebirth. Rechristened the Clematis Street Theatre, the 218-seat venue will now be home to Palm Beach Dramaworks, West Palm Beach's only professional theater company. Dramaworks' move down the street means, in part, that it will now cost a small fortune to attend one of its shows; ticket prices have been raised to $55 for all performances. But the company's lineup this season is without peer in Broward or Palm Beach counties, and the expanded stage space has allowed for more ambitious works that couldn't fit in its former Banyan Boulevard shoebox. All My Sons, Arthur Miller's three-act, 1947 Best Play Tony winner about truth, lies, and family, kicks things off.
"Andy Warhol: The Bazaar Years 1951 — 1964"
December 3 to January 15 at Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach. Call 561-655-7227, or visit fourarts.org.
Needless to say, a show this hip is a coup for the Society of the Four Arts, a private club that stages public shows seemingly aimed at the Palm Beach elite. On loan from the Hearst Corp., "The Bazaar Years" compiles many of Andy Warhol's rarely seen illustrations from Harper's Bazaar, where the pop-art iconoclast launched his career as an illustrator. At Harper's, Warhol toiled for the bourgeois Man before cementing his career on the subversion/reincorporation of commercial products. He also revealed a pastiche style that suggests the layered simplicity that would come to define his legacy. Unfortunately, Warhol's original illustrations for Harper's Bazaar supposedly have been destroyed, so we'll have to make do with these enlarged reproductions from the magazine's archives.
Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour
December 18 at the Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-0222, or visit parkerplayhouse.com.
The quick-witted Stephanie Miller has a loyal following thanks to Sirius XM syndication, and the Parker Playhouse will mark the only stop in Florida for her "Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour." Known for shredding Republicans with inconvenient truths, inspired skits, and more than a few morning-zoo sound effects, Miller has been touring the country since April while maintaining her radio show. She'll bring along some of her favorite guests — Hal Sparks, John Fugelsang, and Aisha Tyler — for a night of blue state comedy.
February 3 to May 6 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196, or visit norton.org.
The first artist in the Norton's annual "RAW" series — which stands for Recognition of Arts by Women — Saville has been a force of debate and discussion in the feminist art world since emerging amid the young British art movement of the late '80s. Employing the materials of traditional oil painting but without the filigrees of romance, Saville presents her taboo subjects in all their flesh and blood, inevitably anticipating the controversy. Transsexuals, transvestites, crash survivors, victims of surgical deformity, and diseased patients are among her favorite subjects to paint, offering a gallery of otherness culled from the underbelly of Western civilization. Shocking even to those of us jaded by disturbing internet imagery, Saville's singular work has led to awards and commissions.
March 8 to April 1 at Mosaic Theatre, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Call 954-577-8243, or visit mosaictheatre.com.
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Alfred Hitchcock's iconic adaptation of The Birds has certainly reached countless more audience members than Daphne du Maurier's novelette on which it was based. Here, Irish playwright Conor McPherson uses the book to create the stage adaptation, so expect a purer encapsulation of du Maurier's vision that's freed from the personal neuroses that clouded Hitchcock's Birds. The Mosaic Theatre has had an enviable history with playwright McPherson; its renowned 2008 production of his ensemble drama The Seafarer took home three awards from the New Times Broward/Palm Beach in 2009. But this show will likely put sound design and visual effects to the ultimate test.
May 13, 2012, to November 4, 2012, at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5500, or visit moafl.org.
More than 35 years after Steven Spielberg's Jaws positioned the shark as our most feared domestic terrorist, marine biologists are still assessing the damage the film caused in the public psyche. But documentaries like Sharkwater and exhibitions like this — organized by, and premiering at, the Museum of Art — are helping to polish the shark's sundry image, transitioning it from a savage sea monster to a mostly peaceful, endangered necessity to our ecosystem. The exhibit explores the history, geography, and variety of sharks through drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video, with a special portion dedicated to the shark-saving activism that has sprung up in recent years. Environmentalist Richard Ellis, known for his vivid, lifelike shark paintings, will guest-curate the show.