Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
If we're talking exhibition space only, the best area museum would have to be Lake Worth's Museum of Contemporary Art, a small but aesthetically appealing and tremendously versatile facility that's intimate without being claustrophobic. But if we're talking museum in the larger sense of the word -- as a cultural entity -- the winner is Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art, which has begun to shake off some of its stodginess. From last year's landmark Cuban exiles show to a refreshingly quirky Hortt Competition, the museum is opting for more and more adventurous programming. It also makes its auditorium available to other worthy arts organizations, including theater groups and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
Boys shove girly magazines under the bed when parents come home, and adults lock up the porn videos when kids are underfoot. Galerie Macabre is a warehouse-size "under the bed," where you can gaze at morbid and erotic art without fear of judgment. Lady Vanessa runs the place, displaying the work of half a dozen artists, including herself, during each show. Last spring's "Eroticabre" -- featuring Vargas-like nudes, homoerotic images, and bas-relief phalluses -- drew a curious mix of suits and middle-aged motorcycle boys. The next show, "Gothik," packed the gallery with goth kids, who ambled among the morbid photos and paintings as a thunderstorm raged outside. But the place is best when it's quiet, when the shock of seeing genitalia on the walls gives way to closer inspection of the more complicated artwork, like Shannon English's dolls encased in glass jars sealed with beeswax (Nobody Likes a Crybaby); Hortt winner Tony Campagna's bloody, anatomically detailed canvases (Convict); and the politically charged erotic photos of Wes Carson (Patriotic Lovers). Lady V's motives? "I exhibit art that has no limitations, no boundaries," she says, "because I want to provide that freedom for the artist." While inside her gallery, the viewer is also free.
Boys shove girly magazines under the bed when parents come home, and adults lock up the porn videos when kids are underfoot. Galerie Macabre is a warehouse-size "under the bed," where you can gaze at morbid and erotic art without fear of judgment. Lady Vanessa runs the place, displaying the work of half a dozen artists, including herself, during each show. Last spring's "Eroticabre" -- featuring Vargas-like nudes, homoerotic images, and bas-relief phalluses -- drew a curious mix of suits and middle-aged motorcycle boys. The next show, "Gothik," packed the gallery with goth kids, who ambled among the morbid photos and paintings as a thunderstorm raged outside. But the place is best when it's quiet, when the shock of seeing genitalia on the walls gives way to closer inspection of the more complicated artwork, like Shannon English's dolls encased in glass jars sealed with beeswax (Nobody Likes a Crybaby); Hortt winner Tony Campagna's bloody, anatomically detailed canvases (Convict); and the politically charged erotic photos of Wes Carson (Patriotic Lovers). Lady V's motives? "I exhibit art that has no limitations, no boundaries," she says, "because I want to provide that freedom for the artist." While inside her gallery, the viewer is also free.
Multicolored beads under a blazing sky, 25,000 pounds of crawdads boiled alive, a whole lot of cayenne chased down by a whole lot more beer -- is it any wonder that we're finding it difficult to dredge up distinct memories of the Cajun/Zydeco Fest? Who or what was that Zydecajun playing the Louisiana Swamp Stage we were boogying to in the midst of the sweaty mob? Or had we somehow drifted over to the Crazee Crawfish Stage where the Jean-Pierre Zydeco Angels were sending up a Cajun yowl to the sun-drenched sky? Who knew, or even cared? It was the best of fests.
Multicolored beads under a blazing sky, 25,000 pounds of crawdads boiled alive, a whole lot of cayenne chased down by a whole lot more beer -- is it any wonder that we're finding it difficult to dredge up distinct memories of the Cajun/Zydeco Fest? Who or what was that Zydecajun playing the Louisiana Swamp Stage we were boogying to in the midst of the sweaty mob? Or had we somehow drifted over to the Crazee Crawfish Stage where the Jean-Pierre Zydeco Angels were sending up a Cajun yowl to the sun-drenched sky? Who knew, or even cared? It was the best of fests.
It could be debated what thrill at Butterfly World is the best for kids. Is it simply the thousands of butterflies -- including blue cyrbias, black and red piano keys, traditional orange monarchs, and more than 100 other species -- that flutter about? Or is it the hummingbird section? That's where a purple honeycreeper, its beauty made invisible by its mad rush, whirs by with a hectic flutter that fills the ear. Or would it be the insectarium? There, encased Papua New Guinean grasshoppers the size of mice, huge black beetles with menacing horns, and walking stick insects from Malaysia have the power to captivate any child's imagination. Don't even mention the swinging bridge, which is a smaller replica of one crossing the Toachi River in Ecuador; or the simulated rain forest, complete with rain showers and mist; or the Secret Garden of vines; or the butterfly emerging area, where, under glass, butterfly pupae in all phases of development can be seen. Butterfly World boasts that it's the only place of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It's certainly one of the unique delights of South Florida -- and kids aren't the only ones who find thrills there.
Butterfly World
It could be debated what thrill at Butterfly World is the best for kids. Is it simply the thousands of butterflies -- including blue cyrbias, black and red piano keys, traditional orange monarchs, and more than 100 other species -- that flutter about? Or is it the hummingbird section? That's where a purple honeycreeper, its beauty made invisible by its mad rush, whirs by with a hectic flutter that fills the ear. Or would it be the insectarium? There, encased Papua New Guinean grasshoppers the size of mice, huge black beetles with menacing horns, and walking stick insects from Malaysia have the power to captivate any child's imagination. Don't even mention the swinging bridge, which is a smaller replica of one crossing the Toachi River in Ecuador; or the simulated rain forest, complete with rain showers and mist; or the Secret Garden of vines; or the butterfly emerging area, where, under glass, butterfly pupae in all phases of development can be seen. Butterfly World boasts that it's the only place of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It's certainly one of the unique delights of South Florida -- and kids aren't the only ones who find thrills there.

Best Place To See A Movie And Drink Alcohol (Without Having To Sneak It In)

Cinema Cafe

At the Cinema Cafe, they don't mind if you drink a little during the show. In fact, they encourage patrons to sip and nosh while, say, Jackie Chan kicks and chops his way across the screen. After all, they've let you in the door for a measly $3.50, so they'd love to make a little cash on the eats and drinks. And they don't even make you stand in line at the concession stand. Instead of that ritual bucket o' popcorn, ask your server for a bowl of beef chili, fries, pizza, or a sandwich. And to wash it down, choose from a mighty fine selection of draft or bottled beers, wine, and cocktails. While you're gorging a movie is playing, of course; two levels of dinner-style seating offer good views for all, albeit with the occasional chomping noise from nearby tables added to the soundtrack during quiet on-screen moments. The movies may be second run (though just recently out of first-run houses), but the service is first-rate.

Best Place To See A Movie And Drink Alcohol (Without Having To Sneak It In)

Cinema Cafe

At the Cinema Cafe, they don't mind if you drink a little during the show. In fact, they encourage patrons to sip and nosh while, say, Jackie Chan kicks and chops his way across the screen. After all, they've let you in the door for a measly $3.50, so they'd love to make a little cash on the eats and drinks. And they don't even make you stand in line at the concession stand. Instead of that ritual bucket o' popcorn, ask your server for a bowl of beef chili, fries, pizza, or a sandwich. And to wash it down, choose from a mighty fine selection of draft or bottled beers, wine, and cocktails. While you're gorging a movie is playing, of course; two levels of dinner-style seating offer good views for all, albeit with the occasional chomping noise from nearby tables added to the soundtrack during quiet on-screen moments. The movies may be second run (though just recently out of first-run houses), but the service is first-rate.
Booby Trap
Enough said, no?

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