Night & Day
Everyone's heard of the guy, but how many folks, outside of the art world, really know anything about him? Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is now famous for his depictions of the nightlife of the Montmartre section of Paris in his paintings and drawings. But he began his career as a designer of posters, working in a style inspired by photography and Japanese woodblock prints. His works appeared in magazines and journals, and his posters advertised the Montmartre scene, to which his name is now tied. But when Toulouse-Lautrec's mother offered his works to the museums of France after his death, they didn't bite. It wasn't until 1922, when she made the offer to the French city of Albi, that his works found a permanent home. Daniele Devynck, chief curator of the Museum Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, will talk about the artist and his work before screening the French documentary Lautrec (with English subtitles) at 7 p.m. at the Carefree Theatre (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach). The screening will also include an appearance by Philippe Decroix, owner of Chateau Malrome in France, where Toulouse-Lautrec spent his final years. Admission prices range from $5 to $10 for the screening alone, or $50 for the screening and a wine tasting (6 to 7 p.m.) at the studio of artist Philip Reaci beforehand. Call 561-833-7305.
Some artistic genres complement each other naturally. Books and movies. Dance and music. Poetry and stage. But painting and music? "Fugitive Visions" is the first installment of "Arts Exchange," a series of avant-garde arts events taking place in Fort Lauderdale, and it features the works of pianist Lara Downes of New York and painter Kim Ray Krupnick of Fort Lauderdale. Downes and Krupnick are friends, and when the pianist saw some of the painter's small, abstract landscapes, she was reminded of the quick atmospheric shifts in Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives. So get this: She's going to play the piece tonight while surrounded by 47 of Krupnick's paintings, which depict various regions of Florida, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, and New Mexico. Get it -- "atmospheric shifts"? Krupnick's media include wax and oil on wood, gouache on wood, and oil on paper, and each canvas is sandwiched between a pane of clear glass and a pane of sandblasted glass. All are hung from the ceiling by wires. Downes will also play pieces by Debussy, Gershwin, and Stephen Paulus as slides of some of the paintings are projected on the walls as backdrops. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $7 or $10. Call 954-522-1370.
"Go fly a kite" is not an insult -- at least not when you direct it toward Dennis Kucmerowski, a self-proclaimed kite fanatic who is also an assistant engineer at Siemens Information and Communication Networks. Put hobby and job together, and you get Kucmerowski's "kite-flying robot," which he'll demonstrate at the Harness the Wind Family Kite Flying Festival today at Dagger Wing Nature Center in Boca Raton. The four-foot-tall machine is diamond-shaped, like a traditional kite, and equipped with a pulley system that guides the kite line, via remote control. "It's really for fun," says Kucmerowski, who's traveled the world to attend kite festivals. "It gets a lot of looks, a lot of smiles. And that's why I'm out there." During the free festival, visitors will also get to make miniature paper kites, watch kite ballet and stunt kite demonstrations, and scramble for candy, which will be dropped from a kite pinata. Dagger Wing is located in South County Regional Park, one-half mile west of State Road 7 off Yamato Road. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 561-488-9953.
Robert Fripp. The name itself is enough to set the head spinning. Remember the '70s, hanging in a friend's basement, listening to King Crimson with strobe lights flashing? Even if you can't remember or you simply weren't there, the experience has been re-created by dancer-choreographer David Parsons, who mixes Fripp's music with strobe light effects in "Caught." The six-minute solo piece features 80 consecutive leaps with the strobes flashing at the apex of each jump. The result: The dancer looks like he's floating. (And just think, this is all done without the help of mind-altering drugs.) The choreographer and his nine-member Parsons Dance Company will present a total of six dance pieces at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). The shows began yesterday (at 7:30 p.m.) and continue today (3 p.m.). Tickets cost $32. Call 954-462-0222 for details.
The people who put together Clematis Street Jazz series want to make sure you get your $5 worth of music. Every Monday the concert begins outdoors with a set by the Palm Beach Society Band, continues with a performance by the headliner in Clematis Street Theater in the Cuillo Performing Arts Center (201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach), and concludes with a jam session in the theater lobby courtesy of the band Fly by Night. This week's main act is blues-jazz vocalist Roseanna Vitro, a New Yorker whom critics have compared to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Aretha Franklin. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Call 561-833-8817 for more information.
Uncle Peck is a doting -- make that very doting -- relative when it comes to his niece by marriage, Li'l Bit. While the teenager is growing up in rural Maryland, her uncle not only teaches her how to drive; he also instructs her in the ways of intimacy. The story of their seven-year relationship is told in How I Learned to Drive, the 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Paula Vogel. Using something of a Greek chorus, a sparse set consisting of two chairs, and references to driving manuals, Vogel spins the tawdry tale with enough wit and warmth to keep audiences from rejecting the inappropriate relationship outright. Rather than eliciting disgust, she raises questions about seducers and the seduced and about the complexity of relationships. The play opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs through April 4 at the Caldwell Theatre Company (7837 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton). Ticket prices range from $26 to $37.50. Call 561-241-7432 or toll-free 930-6400. For a complete schedule, see "Stage" listings.
Even those who couldn't care less about theater immediately turn to the "Arts & Leisure" section of the Sunday New York Times to get a glimpse of the caricatures drawn by Al Hirschfeld. Deemed the "Dean of Entertainment Illustration," he's as well-known today as any Broadway artist -- writers, actors, and directors included -- mainly because his powers of portraiture have not waned in the many decades he's been working for the Times. Hirschfeld, who was born in St. Louis in 1903, moved to New York at age 12 and was drawing for film companies before he was 20. At that point he began to perfect his style, characterized by long, fluid pen strokes. His images have appeared in the Times since the '30s, as well as on movie and theater posters. The 1964 placard for Hello, Dolly! features a cartoon of Carol Channing, her hair and mouth even bigger than in real life. And in a Casablanca drawing for the Times, Humphrey Bogart's drawn, flat face and Ingrid Bergman's high, defined cheekbones are ridiculously exaggerated. Works covering Hirschfeld's career are on view through May 9 in "In Line With Al Hirschfeld" at the International Museum of Cartoon Art (201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton). Admission prices range from $3 to $6. Call 561-391-2200 for hours of operation.
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