More kudos for the little Florida Stage that could. And here's why: Stephen G. Anthony, Patricia Dalen, Suzanne Grodner, Kendra Kassebaum, Johnathan F. McClain, and Gordon McConnell. This outstanding cast served up an endless stream of hilarious yet sometimes touching characters in this black comedy, from Anthony's tortured G-man to Grodner's wacky Mrs. McCarthy (wife of Senator Joe) to Kassebaum's smoldering, sex-hungry good girl. This romp of a production included romance and intrigue, spies and bagmen, nuclear secrets and red scares, hard liquor and clever parody. The cast took the basket of outrageous thematic goodies and ran with spirit, hilarity, wit, and panache. Can't wait for more.
More kudos for the little Florida Stage that could. And here's why: Stephen G. Anthony, Patricia Dalen, Suzanne Grodner, Kendra Kassebaum, Johnathan F. McClain, and Gordon McConnell. This outstanding cast served up an endless stream of hilarious yet sometimes touching characters in this black comedy, from Anthony's tortured G-man to Grodner's wacky Mrs. McCarthy (wife of Senator Joe) to Kassebaum's smoldering, sex-hungry good girl. This romp of a production included romance and intrigue, spies and bagmen, nuclear secrets and red scares, hard liquor and clever parody. The cast took the basket of outrageous thematic goodies and ran with spirit, hilarity, wit, and panache. Can't wait for more.
Florida Stage
This Palm Beach County company serves up challenging productions with a nice blend of local and New York City actors and a welcome infusion of talented directors and designers from across the nation. Artistic director Louis Tyrrell has an excellent instinct for play selection and maintains close relationships with several important playwrights. The result is a sophisticated level of theatrical artistry that sets the standard in South Florida. Some highlights this season: the sly and sophisticated comedy Red Herring, set during the McCarthy era (hey, red baiting can be a hoot!), and Lee Blessing's Black Sheep, also a dark comedy that takes aim at racial relations, the idle rich, and insipid pop culture.
This Palm Beach County company serves up challenging productions with a nice blend of local and New York City actors and a welcome infusion of talented directors and designers from across the nation. Artistic director Louis Tyrrell has an excellent instinct for play selection and maintains close relationships with several important playwrights. The result is a sophisticated level of theatrical artistry that sets the standard in South Florida. Some highlights this season: the sly and sophisticated comedy Red Herring, set during the McCarthy era (hey, red baiting can be a hoot!), and Lee Blessing's Black Sheep, also a dark comedy that takes aim at racial relations, the idle rich, and insipid pop culture.
In the old days, the relationship between dining out and a movie was clear and quite sequential. A matinee might lead to dinner, or an 8 o'clock show to a late-night meal, but ne'er the twain met. Videos changed that, however, and the pleasures of chewing and viewing during Hollywood blockbusters are now a living-room standard. Cinema Café is a logical extension of that merger, bringing, in essence, kitchen or restaurant to the screening room. Think you're satisfied with popcorn and Twizzlers? That's like limiting yourself to a lifetime of G-rated films. Try the café's platter of chicken fingers, wings, mozzarella, fried mushrooms, and onion rings for $11.95; it's enough for a small party. For the more veggie-minded, order the spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips. Main courses include chicken (BBQ, Cajun, and parmigiana), burgers, and pizza. Wash it down, if you wish, with theater-sanctioned beer or wine.
In the old days, the relationship between dining out and a movie was clear and quite sequential. A matinee might lead to dinner, or an 8 o'clock show to a late-night meal, but ne'er the twain met. Videos changed that, however, and the pleasures of chewing and viewing during Hollywood blockbusters are now a living-room standard. Cinema Café is a logical extension of that merger, bringing, in essence, kitchen or restaurant to the screening room. Think you're satisfied with popcorn and Twizzlers? That's like limiting yourself to a lifetime of G-rated films. Try the café's platter of chicken fingers, wings, mozzarella, fried mushrooms, and onion rings for $11.95; it's enough for a small party. For the more veggie-minded, order the spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips. Main courses include chicken (BBQ, Cajun, and parmigiana), burgers, and pizza. Wash it down, if you wish, with theater-sanctioned beer or wine.
Yeah, yeah, we know you've heard it all before: As we've declared for the past two years, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is tops. And as the festival approaches its 17th season, that's truer than ever. Organizers like to cite numbers -- how it has grown from 7 days to 28, from 20 or so films to more than a hundred, from 20 screenings to 300, from 1500 in attendance to nearly 70,000. Despite those impressive stats, however, what really distinguishes the festival is its continuing commitment to movies you're highly unlikely to see at any of the megaplex chains. Where else, for instance, could you have seen last year's Soul Bowl, a funky little documentary about a longtime rivalry between two Broward County high school football teams? Or such defiantly noncommercial movies as The Zookeeper, which casts Sam Neill in the title role of a drama set in a war-torn Eastern European country, and The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, which plops Richard Dreyfuss into the Amazon rain forest as an aging Hispanic explorer? Or, for that matter, the extraordinary Australian flick Lantana -- with a startling ensemble cast featuring Anthony LaPaglia, Barbara Hershey, and Geoffrey Rush -- that went on to receive rave reviews nationally but never caught on with audiences or the academy? That's what an international film festival should give us. Let's just hope ours doesn't settle into complacency.
Yeah, yeah, we know you've heard it all before: As we've declared for the past two years, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is tops. And as the festival approaches its 17th season, that's truer than ever. Organizers like to cite numbers -- how it has grown from 7 days to 28, from 20 or so films to more than a hundred, from 20 screenings to 300, from 1500 in attendance to nearly 70,000. Despite those impressive stats, however, what really distinguishes the festival is its continuing commitment to movies you're highly unlikely to see at any of the megaplex chains. Where else, for instance, could you have seen last year's Soul Bowl, a funky little documentary about a longtime rivalry between two Broward County high school football teams? Or such defiantly noncommercial movies as The Zookeeper, which casts Sam Neill in the title role of a drama set in a war-torn Eastern European country, and The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, which plops Richard Dreyfuss into the Amazon rain forest as an aging Hispanic explorer? Or, for that matter, the extraordinary Australian flick Lantana -- with a startling ensemble cast featuring Anthony LaPaglia, Barbara Hershey, and Geoffrey Rush -- that went on to receive rave reviews nationally but never caught on with audiences or the academy? That's what an international film festival should give us. Let's just hope ours doesn't settle into complacency.
Savor Cinema
Photo by Eric Barton
From the outside, it still looks like a church -- which it was when it was built in 1926. Sixty years after opening, the First Methodist Church was renovated and rechristened the Vinnette Carroll Theatre, an intimate space devoted to showcasing small theatrical productions. In the past two years, with the assistance of Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, it has undergone another transformation, emerging as a sanctuary for those who worship at the altar of offbeat movies. At first, Cinema Paradiso -- the name is an homage to the Oscar-winning 1988 Italian picture about a small-town theater -- had only occasional screenings. But now the upgraded facility features a full slate of weekly programming. And a recently formed partnership with the independent gay and lesbian newspaper the Express led to showings of such acclaimed gay-themed films as the documentaries The Celluloid Closet and Daddy and Papa. Classic foreign-language titles such as Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle, Akira Kurosawa's Ran, François Truffaut's Day for Night, and Eric Rohmer's My Night at Maud's and Claire's Knee have been resurrected, along with such landmark American movies as Nashville and Raging Bull. The theater, which bills itself as Fort Lauderdale's only nonprofit year-round art house, also schedules monthly screenings of the works of local moviemakers trying to break into the business. And to further its cosmopolitan image, Cinema Paradiso includes a tiny café that serves beer, wine, champagne, and light snacks.
From the outside, it still looks like a church -- which it was when it was built in 1926. Sixty years after opening, the First Methodist Church was renovated and rechristened the Vinnette Carroll Theatre, an intimate space devoted to showcasing small theatrical productions. In the past two years, with the assistance of Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, it has undergone another transformation, emerging as a sanctuary for those who worship at the altar of offbeat movies. At first, Cinema Paradiso -- the name is an homage to the Oscar-winning 1988 Italian picture about a small-town theater -- had only occasional screenings. But now the upgraded facility features a full slate of weekly programming. And a recently formed partnership with the independent gay and lesbian newspaper the Express led to showings of such acclaimed gay-themed films as the documentaries The Celluloid Closet and Daddy and Papa. Classic foreign-language titles such as Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle, Akira Kurosawa's Ran, François Truffaut's Day for Night, and Eric Rohmer's My Night at Maud's and Claire's Knee have been resurrected, along with such landmark American movies as Nashville and Raging Bull. The theater, which bills itself as Fort Lauderdale's only nonprofit year-round art house, also schedules monthly screenings of the works of local moviemakers trying to break into the business. And to further its cosmopolitan image, Cinema Paradiso includes a tiny café that serves beer, wine, champagne, and light snacks.

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