In the opening scene of Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy's durable off-Broadway hit Parallel Lives, the Supreme Being is not a white-bearded dude on a cloud. Rather, there are two Creators, they're both women, and they have wicked senses of humor and plenty of feminist mores: For one thing, they give men enormous egos as compensation for the female agony of childbirth. Any play that begins with the genesis of the world is not short of ambition, and Parallel Lives could be subtitled, "Everything You Want to Know About Love and Gender But Were Afraid to Ask." Gaffney and Najimy eschew linearity for an SNL-like structure of unrelated sketch routines, with the two actresses embodying more than 30 combined parts — male and female, young and old, urban and countrified. Moments of poignancy stud the uproarious comedy, with sketches ranging from a post-West Side Story cry-a-thon among teenage girls to a desperate, drunken proposal at a honky-tonk. The play's incisive take on gender parity and fluidity makes it an ideal comedy for Thinking Cap Theatre founder Nicole Stodard, who is directing the play's current South Florida run. Casey Dressler and Elena Maria Garcia, two actors with canyon-size range and deft comic timing, perform the vast array of roles.
Parallel Lives runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Vanguard, located at 1501 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $35. Call 754-206-4568, or visit vanguardarts.org.
According to science, the universe is ever-expanding. Since the Big Bang, it has been growing ceaselessly at an exponential rate. The same could be said about a different variety of universes. DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the like have been very busy the last decade or so filling the night sky with new stars, and once again it's time to gather those who have been studying these distant, fantastical bodies to gaze lovingly at them up close. Florida Supercon returns Friday through Monday to the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Drive) for another massive weekend of celebrities, comic books, and cosplay. The state's largest con (over 50,000 attendees in 2015) only seems to get bigger and bigger every year — and with good reason. Every few months, new franchises are rolled out or revamped and an entirely new generation of fans is hooked. Some of this year's guests are a clear indicator of this pattern, including Morena Baccarin of Deadpool, playing a character who was already wildly popular at cons and is now at stratospheric heights; Elizabeth Henstridge, better known as Agent Jenna Simmons on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; and Benjamin McKenzie, who plays James Gordon in Gotham. And as always, there are the Florida Supercon staples: Geek Film Festival, cosplay competitions, various video game events, Revenge of the Nerds Comedy Show, and much more.
A four-day pass starts at $85. Call 305-673-7311, or visit floridasupercon.com. Also read: Florida Supercon Unites Fans of Comics, Sci-Fi, Anime, and Myriad Other Genres
The bars on Duval Street in Key West better have truckfuls of gin martinis, mojitos, and daiquiris in stock for the fourth weekend of July, when a hoard of Ernest Hemingway impersonators will descend upon this drinker's paradise. That's when Sloppy Joe's Bar will host its 36th-annual Papa Look-Alike Contest, recognizing the man whose rugged squint, bristly white beard, and outdoorsman's attire most resembles the legendary writer. But you don't need to traipse to the Keys to get the inside look at this eccentric island tradition. Just visit Cinema Paradiso at 7 p.m. Friday for a free screening of Papa, Shane Christian Eason's documentary about a recent lookalike competition in which a previous year's silver medalist attempts to capture the gold. It's one part of Filmed in Broward II, the theater's hyperlocal sequel to its 2015 celebration of regionally shot movies. Running all weekend, this year's festival is heavy on documentaries, including Sweet Dillard (2 p.m. Saturday), about the beloved Dillard High Jazz Ensemble; the weight-loss saga Fatboy: The Movie (5:45 p.m. Saturday); and Tom Dowd & the Language of Music (4 p.m. Sunday), a star-filled exploration of the influential music producer, directed by Broward resident Mark Moorman.
All the films are free, but attendees can pay $10-$15 for post-film dinner parties each night. Cinema Paradiso is at 503 SE Sixth St. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-3456, or visit fliff.com for the full schedule.
One of the little perks of living in a spot where other people vacation is that eventually those people will pack up, shake the sand out of their sneakers, and return to their respective hometowns, leaving all of the places they pay to visit wide open for locals to enjoy without lines and often at discounted rates. One of the staycation-friendly spots that should be on your list of places to hit up this summer is Bonnet House (900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale). Added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1984, Bonnet House is situated on 35 acres of native barrier island habitat with five distinct ecosystems located on the property. On the first Saturday of the month (now through October) guests enjoy discounted admission to the grounds during their Cool Saturdays Summer Special. Enjoy the surroundings that include ocean dunes, a freshwater slough, mangrove wetlands, and a maritime forest. There are shady nature trails, a seashell museum, rotating artwork exhibits, monkeys hanging out in the trees, and swans wading in the freshwater lakes.
Adult admission costs $10 (a 50 percent discount off the regular rate), while children under 6 years old and Bonnet House members get in for free. Call 954-563-5393, or visit bonnethouse.org.
The Funky Buddha Snifter Club not only gets you more beer at the brewery's Oakland Park taproom, but you get a slew of other benefits as well. These include a Funky Buddha T-shirt, 10 percent off all branded merchandise, a longer happy hour from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and an 18-ounce, custom-etched snifter that is kept at the taproom waiting just for you whenever you get a craving for craft beer. Why a snifter and not a pint? Because a snifter's large surface area, narrow opening, and rounded bottom trap aromas and allow the beer to slowly arrive at the proper drinking temperature. It's not every day that you get to become a part of the club, but on Saturday, Funky Buddha will be throwing a Snifter Club Sign-Up Shindig in their taproom, giving you a chance to get in on the action.
Sign-up runs from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Funky Buddha Brewery located at 1201 NE 38th St. in Oakland Park. The cost to join is $50, and you get a membership for exactly one year. The spots are limited, so you'd better stay diligent and get there before everyone else does. Call the brewery at 954-440-0046, or visit funkybuddhabrewery.com.
Whether you love the products or have a staunch opinion on their instruction manuals, IKEA is one of South Florida's leading community partners, with many outreach scenarios playing out through their family day events and holidays. One of their programs, People+Planet, is partnering up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to promote sustainable practices for well-managed forests. Sure, it's a stake in their future, but it's a responsible one. Abstract artist Tatiana Cast, who has an inclination toward the equine in her work and is partnered with the BFA Artist Encounter Series, will create a work of art out of an IKEA table and lead a workshop for store guests. In the workshop, folks will help create a collage with an eye for reclaimed wood and recycled materials.
This event is free and open to members of the public of all ages. The workshop will run Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at IKEA Sunrise, 151 NW 136th Ave. The only thing left to be seen is whether Cast employs the faceless/nameless yokels who illustrate IKEA's instruction booklets or not. Call 954-940-5344, or visit bfabroward.org.
This week celebrates the red, white, and blue of our country, but most important, it memorializes the sacrifices that have been made for our independence. Here are some events going on in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Fourth of July Village Street Festival: This event will offer free fun for the entire family: music, face painting, balloon artists, stilt walkers, jugglers, and more. There will also be a food truck and bar.
Plaza Bistro is located at 2900 Belmar St. in Fort Lauderdale and the celebration is from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday. Visit plazabistrofl.com.
Fireworks Show by Grucci of New York: Catch some fireworks at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek starting Sunday at 9 p.m. The choreographed fireworks are by Grucci of New York, so it'll be quite the show.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is located at 5550 NW 40th St. in Coconut Creek. Visit casinococo.com.
Old Fashioned 4th of July: On Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., head to Flamingo Gardens for half-price admission and a celebration. Featured will be "old fashion" activities and games, such as a pie-eating contest. There will also be arts and crafts as well as live music. Prizes will be awarded to those in '50s and '60s attire. Admission costs $9.95 for ages 12 and up and $6.45 for ages 3 and under. Children 2 years old and younger, as well as members, are admitted free.
Flamingo Gardens is located at 3750 S Flamingo Rd., Davie. Call 954-473-2955, or visit flamingogardens.org.
Fabulous Fourth at deHoernle Park: On Monday at 6:30 p.m., patrons can head to deHoernle Park/Spanish River Sports Complex for fireworks, food, family activities, and live music.
This free event is located at 1000 NW Spanish River Blvd. in Boca Raton. Visit myboca.us.