Taking the stage in front of a crowd of drunken strangers is a harrowing experience for anyone. It's even tougher when you're supposed to make them laugh. But having your jokes judged on national television -- with the odds stacked firmly against you -- is worse than being de-pantsed and finding strange stains in your underwear. At this point, the three standups performing on the I'm Still Standing Comedy Tour have survived comedy hell. After sitting through the agonizingly slow voting process of NBC's Last Comic Standing, Gary Gulman, Alonzo Bodden, and Jay London can rest assured that the hard part is over (especially for poor London, who had the humiliation of losing twice). So relax and enjoy a vote-free night of comedy. The trio performs tonight through Sunday at the Miami Improv (3990 Mary St., No. 182, Coconut Grove). Tickets cost $18.19 to $21.40. Call 305-441-8200.
"I like to go on an adventure when I play," jazz pianist McCoy Tyner told Innerviews magazine. "I like to experiment and take people along the way and bring them back. It's like a voyage. I want them to understand what I'm doing as opposed to trying to baffle them." The 66-year-old jazz pianist, at age 17, became good buds with, and then a long-time bandmate of, Miles Davis saxophonist John Coltrane. He's all about the tunes you can groove to, rather than trying to impress you with some headache-inducing syncopated beats that came out of a Julliard textbook. Friday, after a cocktail party at 7 p.m. and after 23-year-old badass Manuel Valera kicks out his Afro-Cuban piano jams, Tyner takes the stage at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center (1770 Monroe St., Hollywood) with fellow jazz bigwig bassist Stanley Clark. The 22nd Annual Hollywood Jazz Festival continues Saturday with a free performance at 2 p.m. by the U.S. Air Force's Airmen of Note (18 of the country's greatest musicians, in uniforms) at the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk (Johnson Street and A1A). At 8 p.m. Saturday, it's back to the Performing Arts Center, where the Florida Jazz Collective plays at 8 p.m., followed by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet at 9:30. Tickets cost $35 per night. Call 1-877-877-7677, or visit www.southfloridajazz.org.
We've seen reality shows come and go, starring everyone from backwoods Amish kids to rich heiresses. So you'd think the 954 and 561 would be representin' a little more than on the occasional one-season-only show like Mr. Personality. Well, that's about to change -- for two nights, anyway -- as the nationally syndicated show elimiDATE holds an open casting call at three Fort Lauderdale locations: Friday night at Voodoo Lounge (111 SW Second Ave., 954-522-0733) and today at Beach Bums (219 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., 954-779-2544) and Café Iguana (17 S. Atlantic Blvd., 954-763-7222). Singles 21 and over who don't mind being embarrassed on national TV can swing on by for a shot at their 15 seconds of fame. Hey, maybe you'll get lucky -- or provide a good chuckle for the rest of us, at least. Visit www.elimidate.com.
Artists can be weirdos, true, and many wear that label with honor. As purveyors of the enigmatic, they're privy to the type of obscure ideas that classical thinkers (e.g., normal people) just don't get. Such right-brain exploration is best left up to artists like those featured in the exhibit "I Feel Mysterious Today," at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth). The exhibit assembles a group of international artists who deal solely in the strange. Naturally, this involves more than just paintings and sculptures; the exhibit also features video and sound installations, such as those of Miami-based architect/artist duo Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt or Kirstine Roepstorff's conceptual collage pieces. If you're a numbers person, beware -- the left side of your brain will fail you. The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through March 27. Call 561-582-0006.
Supporting the the-a-tah is a nice idea and all, but it's kind of difficult when tickets to productions at the Broward Center often cost $50 a pop. That's why you might be intrigued to know about these things called playreadings, when serious actors do a run-through of an entire play, except without the expensive sets or costumes. This allows companies to try out plays in front of audiences on the cheap or, in this case, completely free. Tonight, the Ghost Light Series presents a reading of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, about love, power, revenge, and lies at a boarding school for girls. It goes down at ArtServe (1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) at 7:30 p.m. If all goes as hoped, another theater company with money in the bank will pick up the play for a full-on production and you can see it again at the Broward Center after you've saved your pennies. Call 954-815-2103.
Sometime between the Renaissance (when everyone had to paint like Michelangelo) and the modern day (when any schmoe can poo in a jar and get some museum to display it) came Jasper Johns. A class clown in the mid-1900s school of New York artists, he helped pull one over on the fancy museum people. Once, he bronzed two beer cans. Another time, he painted the American flag on a piece of plywood. He explained his work by saying, "There may or may not be an idea, and the meaning may just be that the painting exists." Which everybody knows also means "Ha ha! Now my work is valued at $1 million." Johns has had the coolest life -- hanging out with Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, collaborating with writer Samuel Beckett and composer John Cage, and now, at age 74, still having exhibits of his prints go up at Eaton Fine Art Gallery (435 Gardenia St., West Palm Beach) through December 31. It's free to browse. Call 561-833-4766.
The recent passing of John Peel was a major bummer for bands worldwide, many of whom looked to the BBC Radio 1 DJ as the only open ear in the music industry. One such band is Napalm Death. In 1987, when popular opinion was against grindcore, Peel heartily gave the band its share of the airwaves. With its debut album, Scum, Napalm Death took the notion of short, rapid-fire songs to the furthest extreme; of the 28 songs on the album, 12 clock in at under a minute. Napalm Death drops in tonight at 7 at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). Also playing are Cannibal Corpse, Macabre, Goatwhore, and Kataklysm. Tickets cost $22.50. Call 954-564-1074.