One contributor to www.urban-dictionary.com defines the word samurai as an "underrated Suzuki jeeplet with a huge following, known for its off-road capabilities." Another writer simply says, "Tom Cruise is not a samurai." And a third defines samurai as "the most kick-ass warrior class, and they bitch-smack the ninja in every way." But a more careful writer argues that "Ninja were the special ops equivalent of the sami"-- they carried out acts for which "the average samurai was simply underqualified." To set the record straight, we turn to William Scott Wilson, translator, author, and samurai expert, who's lecturing about "Bushido and the Lone Samurai" tonight. Wilson knows all about the ancient warriors' code of honor, and he wrote a book about Miyamoto Musashi, who wandered Japan for 30 years and never lost a swordfight. The jibber-jabber goes down at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach) starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $7. Call 561-495-0233 and RSVP. (DF)
Steve Bhaerman used to be a teacher, and then he became a writer, and then he put a glittery purple turban on his head and started performing as Cosmic Comedian Swami Beyondananda. The swami is a rare, oxymoronic breed: a leftist who's happy. He founded the "Right to Laugh Party," declared "all-out peace," and delivered a "State of the Universe Address," in which he said, "Listen, Mr. Bush, I know you sometimes get words mixed up, but Jesus did NOT say, 'Doo doo unto others BEFORE they can doo doo unto you. '" Enter Beyondananda's weird world, but beware -- he commands, "Don't squeeze the shaman!" He performs at Science of Mind Center (2 SW 12th Ave., Boca Raton) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18 to $24. Call 561-478-8380, or visit www.wakeuplaughing.com. (DF)
The Miami International Film Festival opens Friday, but the real nitty-gritty doesn't start 'til tonight with 15 films about as random and dissimilar as a David Lynch plot. It's got films about marriage, both gay (Three of Hearts) and postal (Mail Order Bride); female wrestling (Lipstick & Dynamite); an Italian painter (Modigliani); and Miami-based documentaries about the 2003 hunt for a serial rapist (CODE 33 ) and the city's booger-sugar industry (Cocaine Cowboys). The festival's 118 films are shown at five venues throughout Miami: the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Cosford Cinema, Regal South Beach Cinema 18, Sunrise Cinemas Intracoastal, and the Tower Theater. MIFF runs through February 13. Tickets to the screenings cost $9 to $11 on average nights; $25 for opening and closing nights. If you want to party, that'll be $50 on opening night and $75 at festival's end. And please -- leave the booger sugar at home. Call 305-405-6433, or visit www.miamifilmfestival.com. (JB)
Any band with a guitarist named Tasty Licks who digs Burt Bacharach, Bob Marley, and Metallica probably has more to offer than the standard three-chord rock. You like Fishbone? Then how's about some Sweetbone, the reggae/funk /rock hybrid band that has recently taken over Sunday nights at Alligator Alley (1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park). The trio may have funny names like Big Smood and G-Baum and some downright silly lyrics to boot, like the song "Tasty Jam," from Sweetbone's Rise of the Bone EP ("Tasty jam, peanut butter/Tell your sisters, tell your mother"). But they're not afraid to mix the serious and the humorous, with tales of working-class blues and tongue-in-cheek rants against racist "dogg mess" ("Don't feed me no dogg mess/No, no, no!"). The bone gets picked at 9 p.m. Call 954-771-2220. (JB)
It must be nice to thrive on the misdeeds of the shysters in Washington. Such is the life of humorist Mark Russell, who has made a career of skewering politicians. Russell went from performing in dingy Beltway bars to having his own syndicated columns and comedy specials on PBS. However, Russell's act isn't just about politics; his Catholic upbringing is always fair game for a few jokes, as are a number of social issues that don't involve elected officials. But he's always on top of current events, especially if they're timely, like the rise and fall of Bernie Kerick, Bush's homeland security chief who never was ("He will be negotiating a peace treaty between his two mistresses"). OK, so Russell's no Tom Lehrer, but it still beats watching those cable news blowhards. Russell performs at 8 tonight at the Palm Beach Community College Eissey Campus Theater (3160 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens). Tickets cost $40 to $50. Call 561-207-5900. (JB)
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All those hazy nights in Himmarshee Village, stumbling from bar to bar, scrounging through your pockets for change -- were they really worth it? Hell, yes! Now you're ready for tonight's First Annual Fat Tuesday Pub Crawl on Second Street. The event, jointly sponsored by ten local bars and restaurants, rewards all those bar hops with hops and barley. Yes -- free booze. Just pick your starting point, plop down $10 for a T-shirt, and make your way down the street, getting the logo of each bar marked on your shirt as you go. There are plenty of Mardi Gras-themed food and drink specials. The crawl starts at 4 p.m. at any of the following locations: Capone's, Porterhouse, Fat Cat's, Dicey Riley's, San Loco Cantina, Rush Street, Tarpon Bend, Limoncello Trattoria, Himmarshee Bar & Grille, and Tavern 213. Kneepads not available. Call 954-523-3233. (JB)
Wood monkeys are soooo last year. According to the Tibetans, 2004 was the Year of the Wood Monkey, and 2005 -- which, on their calendar, starts today -- is the Year of the Wood Rooster. Tibetan nobleman Tsipon Shuguba wrote, "Our new year begins officially as Losar with the rising of the new moon... This festival celebrates Buddha Sakyamuni's triumph over the evil spirits who tempted him during his meditations." Party on -- or "eliminate all the demons of the old year and insure a happy new year" -- with the folks at Tubten Kunga Center (665 SE 10th St., Deerfield Beach). The traditional Tibetan rituals start at 7:30 p.m., and they're free. Call 954-421-6224, or visit www.tubtenkunga.org. (DF)