Yacht racing is pretty inaccessible as a spectator sport. Ships slice through the ocean with no land in sight, sometimes for weeks, especially during events like the Whitbread Round the World Race, an eight-month, around-the-world jaunt. But when the the nine ships from six countries and their crews stop over in Fort Lauderdale today through April 19, South Floridians will get a close-up view of the boats and a yacht-racing primer. Volvo Village, named for the race's sponsor, will set up at Port Everglades (2100 Eller Dr., Fort Lauderdale) with a cyber cafe, sports pavilion, sailing exhibitions and lectures, and -- best of all -- free sailboat rides. Bands and food are also on tap. The yachts, which left San Sebastian, Brazil, March 14 for the trip to Florida, will begin the next leg of the race at noon on April 19, tacking around the start buoys and heading for open water en route to Baltimore. It's free to get into the village, open today through April 19, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. Call 954-767-9559.
Neil Young has always been a rocker who likes to shift gears, going solo one year, playing with a band (think CSN&Y) the next. In '69 he joined forces with the Rockets, which eventually became Crazy Horse, and the now-legendary collaboration rears its hard-rocking head, on albums and in concert, every couple of years or so. A tribute to Young and the band's longevity is the new rockumentary Year of the Horse, directed by Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law, Night on Earth). The movie includes on-stage and backstage footage from tours in '76 and '86, including a blistering version of "Like a Hurricane." But most of the footage was shot during the '96 tour, during which Young, dubbed by some "the Granddaddy of Grunge," is seen in his Eddie Vedder-inspired outfit of baggy shorts and black T-shirt. Dispersed throughout the film are interviews with Young and the band's members -- drummer Ralph Molina, bass guitarist Billy Talbot, and guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro. The film will be screened tonight at the Carefree Theatre (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach). Admission is $5. Showtime is midnight, so fans who jammed to Crazy Horse before grunge was hip might want to take a nap beforehand. Call 561-833-7305.
Offbeat playwright Christopher Durang's stage version of Titanic -- which, thankfully, has nothing in common with the syrupy movie -- is truly theater of the absurd, with its strobe-light, slow-motion sequences and a strange, humorous storyline involving incest and rodent bestiality aboard ship. "It's the bizarro stuff that we want to do," claims director Bryan Sears, who's in charge of lining up productions for X-Ray Spex Late Night Theatre, the 11 p.m. play series at Florida Playwrights' Theatre (1936 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood). Aiming to draw a "dangerous crowd," Sears and company send out unusual promotional material. Titanic's flier, for instance, was designed to look like a condom packet, which carries this warning: "If viewed properly, Titanic will help reduce the risk of cultural difficiency [sic] and many other psychological problems. Also highly effective against boredom." Depending on your disposition, the show may actually add a psychological problem or two. But taking risks is the point of X-Ray Spex, which stages Titanic Friday and Saturday nights through April 11. Ticket prices range from $5 to $10. Call 954-925-8123.
One wouldn't imagine that, during the Children's Reading Festival in Fort Lauderdale, the subject of makeup would come up, but indeed it will. "Making Up Faces," which is part of the South Florida Black Film Festival's educational series Moving Stories of Color, fits into the framework of storytelling, whether in books or on screen. With that in mind, TV and movie makeup artist Carol Rasheed will show kids and parents the tricks of her trade during an audience-participation workshop. Most kids are probably familiar with her work on the TV series Swamp Thing and the popular Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All. Rasheed's workshop takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. today, but the reading festival starts Saturday at the Broward County Main Library (100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Magic, dance, theater, puppets, concerts, and -- of course -- storytellers are also included in the weekend of free activities. See "Calendar: Kid Stuff" for additional listings. Call 954-357-7406 for more information.
"Groooovy baay-bay." That's what Austin Powers, comedian Mike Myers' retro-spy character and ladies' man reincarnate, would probably say about Shauna Hicks and Her '60s Chicks. In the one-woman revue, Broadway actress Hicks (Blood Brothers, Meet Me in St. Louis) conjures up English go-go girls, sexy James Bond villainesses, and other iconoclastic women of the decade. Winner of the 1994 Mac and Cab Award for Best New Show, the performance features Hicks singing more than 50 songs and doing takes on more than a dozen characters, each of which is a far cry from her role as Kelly on the soap opera As the World Turns. The chicks in Chicks include Petula Clark, Mary Tyler Moore (as Laura Petrie from The Dick Van Dyke Show), Nancy Sinatra, and Twiggy. Hicks performs at 8 p.m. tonight at the Crest Theatre, Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Tickets cost $25. Call 561-243-3183.
Think Texas, and you may as well think big -- steaks, the Dallas Cowboys, and ten-gallon hats, for instance. Now you can add to the list the voice of opera soprano Helen Donath, who was born in the Lone Star State. The singer regularly performs gigs with elite European outfits, such as the Vienna and Dresden state operas and, when she's stateside, New York City's Metropolitan Opera. She's earned plenty of awards in Europe, including an honorary membership in Germany's Richard Wagner Society. As a soloist during tonight's 8 p.m. Florida Philharmonic Orchestra concert, she'll perform Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs. Philharmonic concertmaster Igor Gruppman will play the violin solo from Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending during the performance, which will also include Strauss' Metamorphosen. The concert takes place at Florida Atlantic University's University Theatre, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Ticket prices range from $17 to $75. Call 954-930-1812.
Back in Adam and Eve's time, nobody was wearing clothes, so it only makes sense that a dancer in Bale Folclórico da Bahia performs part of the group's opening number, "Danca de Origem (Origin Dance)", in the buff. He does so until two female "spirit" dancers cover him in ritualistic body paint. So maybe you want to leave the kids at home for this performance, which takes place tonight at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach). The 30-member Brazilian troupe of dancers, singers, and musicians offers a mix of classical and African ballet and modern dance based on the customs of the Brazilian Bahia people, the largest black population outside of Africa. After the opening piece, the drum-driven dancing gets downright wild and is known to get audiences stomping in the aisles. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35 for the 8 p.m. show. Call 800-572-8471 or 561-832-7469.