Friday, August 12
Making edgy comedy means poking fun at taboo subjects without punching down or offending vulnerable communities. Only a few comics have the skill to navigate this narrow territory, and Anjelah Johnson is one of them. But it hasn’t always been that way. Johnson’s act is mostly clean, but the characters who made her famous brashly address issues of race and class. While she was on MADtv, a pair of characters she created — a Vietnamese nail salon employee and Bon Qui Qui, a rude fast-food worker who shoots for music stardom — made her a popular cast member. The nail salon bit was her first prominent foray into the general public’s consciousness after it garnered millions of views on YouTube. Today the skits might be viewed as offensive, but in 2007, they earned her meetings with studio executives for film and TV deals, and her life changed overnight. It was all for the better — mostly. Last October, around the release of her Netflix special, Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy, she told Vogue that even though her jokes aren’t “mean-spirited,” she’s become cautious about what she says and even fears visiting nail salons because she’s been recognized more than once. Johnson never envisioned herself becoming a standup comic. She moved to L.A. as an aspiring actress and model and landed a gig as an NFL cheerleader with the Oakland Raiders. Fortunately for her, despite the Raiders’ period of utter failure, Johnson’s career has been on the upswing. She blends the edgy with safer material for a show that’s suitable for (almost) the whole family. Catch her at the Casino at Dania Beach (301 E. Dania Beach Blvd.) Friday at 8 p.m. and at Magic City Casino (450 NW 37th Ave., Miami) Saturday at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $75. Visit casinodaniabeach.com or magiccitycasino.com. Angel Melendez
The 21st-annual South Florida Tattoo Expo is one of the longest-running events of its kind in the region. It’s also a good way to get to know parlors and tattoo pros before committing to some ink. The expo also comes with a solid charitable aspect. All proceeds benefit Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, a world-class facility tackling myriad childhood afflictions. Aside from getting to meet a ton of tattoo artists, attendees can expect suspension shows, fetish displays, classic cars, celebrities, and a solid lineup of rocking rockabilly outfits such as Spin & the Spinouts and Jeff Vitolo & the Quarter Mile Rebels. The expo runs from noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Coral Springs Marriott (11775 Heron Bay Blvd., Coral Springs). Admission costs $20 per day or $40 for the weekend. Parental discretion is advised. Call 954-868-7040, or visit floridatattooexpo.com. Abel Folgar
Saturday, August 13
Whether you spent all your lunch money on the latest Hot Wheels creation for your fingertips to flip, took particular interest in watching the high school rebel do donuts in the student parking lot, or spent time getting schooled in the pit at the racetrack, there never truly comes an age when four-wheeled fun is no longer cool. Just look at the Monster Jam, where you can find fully grown adults turn into wide-eyed, excitable toddlers all over again at the rev of a mighty engine or the muddy spinout of a monster wheel. With stints in South Florida and Ohio this month, Monster Jam August Action returns for three shows at the BB&T Center (1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise). Monster Jam’s machines are the main draw, but the drivers of these beasts receive a fair amount of fanfare on their own. Expect appearances by Fluffy (driven by Kevin King), Gunslinger (driven by Scott Hartsock), Scooby-Doo (driven by Bailey Shea), Carolina Crusher (driven by Gary Porter), and many more. Showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 954-835-7000, or visit monsterjam.com. Terra Sullivan
You may know Corey Artanis as the man behind 3 Sons Brewing, but he’s also got a real thing going with the Brass Tap in Fort Lauderdale, where he’ll celebrate the official launch party for Flagler Village Brewery — the innovative brewing project headed by Artanis. It’s technically a brewpub with a two-barrel system, but that’s not stopping Artanis from putting out some of the most exquisite beers in South Florida. It’s a veritable barrel-aged beer bonanza whose lineup includes Chocolate Love barrel-aged imperial stout with cacao nibs, cedar-aged Dankness Monster IPA, and some beers from Naples’ South Cypress Brewing. A menu of hot dogs, burgers, salads, fritters, and chicken wings will be available all day. The party goes from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Brass Tap (551 N. Federal Hwy. #600, Fort Lauderdale). Admission is free, but drink tickets cost $5 each. Expect lines to be long, but you can avoid wait times by purchasing advance tickets at brasstapflorida.com/flagler-village-brewery-launch. A purchase of 15 or more tickets includes free parking validation; otherwise, valet parking will be available all day for $3 with your Flagler Village Brewery launch wristband. Call 754-200-8648, or visit flaglervillagebrewery.com. David Minsky
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Sunday, August 14
The comic book industry can seem at first blush to be as much a duopoly as our political system: There are the big two, and that’s it. If you’re not published by Marvel or DC, good luck getting prominent placement anywhere but specialty stores. There’s actually a whole world of inventive books that land outside the superhero spectrum, and they’re made by creative writers and artists, many of whom reside in South Florida. That’s where Lauderdale Comics’ inaugural Local Artist Spotlight comes in. This mini comic convention welcomes four artists proffering diverse series on independent imprints, all of whom will discuss, sign, and sell their products. Talent includes the indefatigable Kevin Joseph and Chris Brennan, who produce the time-travel fantasy Tart and the anthropomorphized absurdity of UnderWars; Bohdan Neswiacheny, whose eclectic titles explore Native American mythology, crime drama, and wizardry; Glaister Ormsby, the one-man machine behind Silverback Comics; and Jessica Mendelsohn, an artist with Disney-level ambitions who draws in a style “like stained glass,” according to Lauderdale Comics manager Matt Sadowitz. In addition to hosting the festivities, his store will offer sales and discounts throughout the event. It all goes down from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Lauderdale Comics (1929 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). Admission is free. Call 954-530-6722, or visit lauderdalecomics.com. John Thomason
No one can accuse an award-winning drag star of lacking a flair for the dramatic. In the video for “Purse First,” the hilarious dance track recorded by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, the singer obscures his face from the camera for a full two minutes. Wearing glittering gold heels, he swaggers into an office while hiding his glamorous visage with an outstretched beaded clutch — walking purse first, in other words. The song and video come across as both parodic and genuine, a delicate tonal tightrope walked by this born entertainer who excelled at children’s theater and standup comedy before devoting his pursuits to drag dominance. He’ll showcase some of that comedy at The Queens, a summer tour of fellow Season 8 royalty from the hit LOGO series, headlining a bill that includes Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Thorgy Thor, and Chi Chi Devayne, with Season 7 star Katya MCing the evening. There will be lip-synched performances to spare, but the show will also highlight the queens’ ancillary talents, from Bob’s standup to Thorgy’s violin acumen, Naomi’s modeling prowess, and Kim’s makeup and fashion prowess. The party starts at 8 p.m. Sunday at Parker Playhouse (707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $21.50 to $51.50. Call 954-462-0222, or visit parkerplayhouse.com. John Thomason