Feeling apathetic about voting in the next election? Consider the story of Fannie Lou Hamer. A sharecropper's daughter from Mississippi, youngest of 20 children, Hamer joined the civil rights movement in the early '60s, when she first learned she actually had the right to vote. Blacks were "discouraged" from going to the polls in Mississippi (Hamer was once beaten so badly by police that she permanently lost vision in one eye), but she persisted and eventually became a leader in the voting rights movement and speaking for black Mississippi delegates at the 1964 Democratic convention. Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act a year later.
Thanks to the efforts of Lori Gold, formerly of Broward's American Civil Liberties Union, a one-woman show about Hamer's life written and performed by actress/writer M'Zuri kicks off a series of workshops sponsored by the Broward Voting Rights Coalition at the Mount Hermon African Methodist Episcopal Church (401 NW Seventh Ter., Fort Lauderdale), an affiliation of local organizations dedicated to ensuring that all voices get heard on November 2. The workshops address voting rights for former felons, new chad-less touch-screen machines, and transportation and childcare on voting day. The free performance begins at 2 p.m. A $10 donation is encouraged. Call 954-926-6700. --Gail Shepherd
James Brown's wife's butt rocks
Quick! Which musician's wife has got so much back that a band named itself after her ass? Nope, not Marc Anthony's. The wife in question is married to Mr. Entertainment, James Brown. According to Govt Mule guitarist Warren Hayes, "There's this segment in James' show where he's waltzing with this woman, who turned out to be his wife. She had an extremely large rear end, and [our friend] turned and said, 'Shit, government mule,' talking about the size of her ass." Did that comment have anything to do with Brown's infamous claim that the CIA gave him powerful bull's testicles? Alas, that remains one of the world's great mysteries, along with "Why don't meatballs bounce?" and "Why are jam bands popular?" Govt Mule -- which includes two former members of the Allman Brothers band -- brings its bluesy brand of rock tonight to the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre (1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach). Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $29.75. Call 954-523-3309, or visit www.ticketmaster.com. --Deirdra Funcheon
And then there's Modi
Observation comedy is more hit-or-miss than blindfolded bowling. It's easy to tell if a comic wrote his material on a napkin ten minutes before the show and -- more important -- if he even believes in his shtick. Fortunately for Modi, the Manhattan comic doesn't have to worry about committing on-stage suicide. When Modi's on, he's on, enthusiastically engaging himself in the quirky characters he creates. And he's got broad appeal too, appearing anywhere from The Howard Stern Show to the USO Comedy Tour and as a standup at multinational corporate affairs (those bills aren't gonna pay themselves!). Modi performs tonight and Saturday at the New York Comedy Club (8221 Glades Rd., Boca Raton). Tickets cost $12. Call 561-470-6887. --Jason Budjinski
Salon owner Faye Bailey helps local girls get an education, having founded Hair in the Spirit to help send them to college. To aid her cause, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) presents the rollicking comedy Holy Rollers, depicting a day in the life of a beauty shop. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Call 954-462-0222. -- Gail Shepherd