"They were what everyone wanted to be: young, witty, and full of talent." Is photographer Harry Benson describing (a) Big Boi and Andre 3000, (b) Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, or (c) New Times writers? Answer: none of the above. He's talking about the Beatles, whom he followed around with a camera for two and a half years while they toured America and Europe. Benson captured Beatlemania in a massive number of images, 70 of which have been selected to hang at the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach) in an exhibit called "The Beatles: Photographs by Harry Benson." An award-winning photojournalist, Benson has gone on assignment for Life, People, Vanity Fair, and GQ and has covered every U.S. president since Eisenhower. He photographed Sen. Robert Kennedy the night he was shot, Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral, and President Richard Nixon the day he resigned. Benson witnessed the Watts riots in 1965, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. But this is different. At the Norton, you can check out more lighthearted photos of the Fab Four having a pillow fight, meeting Cassius Clay in Miami, and filming A Hard Day's Night.
Also showing at the Norton is a collection of works created in response to the Kennedy presidency. During the Camelot era -- with two babies in the White House and all -- the line between politics and entertainment blurred considerably, and every artist, major and minor, put his or her two cents on canvas. The Norton show includes Pablo Picasso's Rape of the Sabine Woman, which was painted in France during the Cuban Missile Crisis and depicts a deadly combat between two armed warriors who are trampling a mother and child. Other notable pieces include Norman Rockwell's The Peace Corps, and Andy Warhol's silk-screened images of Jackie O. Both exhibits run through May 2. General admission is $8 for adults, $3 for visitors ages 13 to 21, and free for children 13 and younger. Call 561-832-5196. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Love is weird
There are many of you out there who, when the beginning of February rolls around, feel a slight spring in your step, enjoy the chirping birds, and welcome the gushing affections of loved ones. And then there are the rest of us who feel that overwhelming rush of self-pity and loathing after polishing off a box of Whitman's Samplers. But wait! All is not lost on the meaning of love. South Florida photographer J. Garner offers a look through a different lens in his new exhibit, "From the Heart -- A Study on the Ambiguity of Love." Garner creates his photos and paintings in a method he calls "anti-stylism," which uses digital manipulation to create dream-like landscapes not found on your basic photo shoot. Check out Garner's exhibit as an alternative to the candy-coated sentiments V-Day often brings. Take that, Hallmark! The show begins today and runs through the end of the month at the Razoo Gallery, 3038 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Put down the chocolates and call 954-663-3888 for more info. -- Terra Sullivan
Drinking? On Clematis?
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Every February, America's biggest party gets under way with a proclamation from Rex, King of Mardi Gras: "Law-abiding citizens shall direct every effort towards fun and merrymaking and shall not confuse Mardi Gras with other issues." If any Floridians can produce a party to compare with the all-consuming revelry taking place in New Orleans, it's those folks who bring us SunFest every year. For "Mardi Gras Madness on Clematis," they've lined up street performers, palm readers, a French market, Cajun foods, tarot card readings, a kids area, and two stages featuring blues and zydeco bands. Hurricanes, those dangerous mind erasers innocently disguised as fruity cocktails, flow freely. Watch out for flying beads too. The festival starts at 6 p.m. and includes a parade that is open to anyone -- from Girl Scout troops and school bands to any freak with a costume and an instrument. The parade starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.sunfest.com/mardigras, or call 561-659-5980. -- Deidra Funcheon
Take It Outside
Ah, the great outdoors is perfect this time of year. It's not too hot and certainly not too cold. What to do, what to do... Well, there's kayaking, biking, croquet, and a beach blanket boot camp (see Sports/Outdoors). And then there's the "18th Annual Outdoor Juried Art Festival" at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton), which goes on all weekend. Lone dilettantes and families alike can take in a variety of media, painting, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, photography, graphic design, and glass from international and local artists. After basking in the sun, visitors can take a gander at the museum's two new exhibits: "Return to Realism" (which features work from Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, among others) and "Frederic Remington: Illustrator, Sculptor, Painter, and Artist of the Old West." The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Parking and admission to the festival are free, and admission to the museum is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens. Call 561-392-2500. -- Audra Schroeder