Cathode Ray is more than a bar: It's three distinct places to hang beneath one television-strung roof. Take a left past the giant saltwater aquarium by the front door and you'll enter a plush foyer bar complete with wing chairs, honey-color wooden floors, and a pristine white piano. Feel like playing around? The back bar gives clientele a chance to do just that. Cutouts of football players grace a side wall, and electronic dart boards, a pool table, and retro video games like Centipede and Ms. Pac-Man add to the frat-boy ambiance. If you're more interested in a little bump and grind, a final back bar borders a dance floor where you can hear house and other electronica till 2 a.m. No matter where you are, the bar's namesake looms large: Every few feet there's a monitor flashing selections from a library of more than 50,000 hours of video, and virtually all of it features one or more luscious hotties playing pool, fixing cars, or engaged in some similarly manly act. With a kitchen serving seared-tuna nachos, weeknights devoted to Ally McBeal and Will & Grace, and a host of buff babes sidling up to the bar at any given hour, why would you want to go anywhere else?
Over the course of its 13-year run on the South Florida club circuit, the Nucklebusters Blues Band has served as the house band at a number of reputable local venues, including the legendary Musician's Exchange in Fort Lauderdale. Having suffered innumerable lineup changes over the years, the Nucklebusters are still riding high in the saddle with a current roster consisting of mainstay vocalist and lead guitarist "Famous" Frank Ward, vocalist-bassist Sheldon Voss, vocalist- harmonica player Jason Ricci, drummer Tim Kuchta, and organist Joe Saint. The band's specialty is raucous, Chicago-style blues, and after all their years of nonstop gigging, Famous Frank and the boys pretty much have their act down cold. With a vast repertoire of tunes, including everything from original roadhouse boogie and smoldering instrumentals to swingin' covers of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" and Big Bill Broonzy's "I Feel So Good," it's not surprising that when locals want their blues kicks, they go looking for Nucklebusters.

Over the course of its 13-year run on the South Florida club circuit, the Nucklebusters Blues Band has served as the house band at a number of reputable local venues, including the legendary Musician's Exchange in Fort Lauderdale. Having suffered innumerable lineup changes over the years, the Nucklebusters are still riding high in the saddle with a current roster consisting of mainstay vocalist and lead guitarist "Famous" Frank Ward, vocalist-bassist Sheldon Voss, vocalist- harmonica player Jason Ricci, drummer Tim Kuchta, and organist Joe Saint. The band's specialty is raucous, Chicago-style blues, and after all their years of nonstop gigging, Famous Frank and the boys pretty much have their act down cold. With a vast repertoire of tunes, including everything from original roadhouse boogie and smoldering instrumentals to swingin' covers of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" and Big Bill Broonzy's "I Feel So Good," it's not surprising that when locals want their blues kicks, they go looking for Nucklebusters.

We can only hope CBGB's has booked them for a show by now. The sloppy punk-rock sound of the Creepy T's was made for New York City, where vocalist-guitarist Derek Hyde and drummer Eddie Brandt recently moved the group. While part of the South Florida scene -- originally with guitarist Will Trev, bassist Mark "Crypt" Burton, and drummers Tim Vaughn and later Chino -- the group made a brazen name for itself on stage. During live performances Hyde, a truly lovable guy in person, would make out with plastic skulls and badger audiences to share their drugs while the band provided a wonderful supporting din of catchy, fuzzy guitar noise à la the Stooges or the Vaselines. When Hyde sang, his choice of subjects ranged from sex with fat women ("Clam Digger") to '60s B-movie director Herschell Gordon Lewis ("Just For the Hell of It"), who just happens to live in Plantation. Sure, it was a show, but a visit to any of the band members' houses, crammed with old toys and horror videos as well as primordial blues, punk, and gospel records (some in 78 rpm format), confirmed that these boys lived their music. Now they're living the dream. Too bad they never left a record behind as a document of their greatness. With any luck someone will notice them in the Big Apple and remedy that situation.

We can only hope CBGB's has booked them for a show by now. The sloppy punk-rock sound of the Creepy T's was made for New York City, where vocalist-guitarist Derek Hyde and drummer Eddie Brandt recently moved the group. While part of the South Florida scene -- originally with guitarist Will Trev, bassist Mark "Crypt" Burton, and drummers Tim Vaughn and later Chino -- the group made a brazen name for itself on stage. During live performances Hyde, a truly lovable guy in person, would make out with plastic skulls and badger audiences to share their drugs while the band provided a wonderful supporting din of catchy, fuzzy guitar noise à la the Stooges or the Vaselines. When Hyde sang, his choice of subjects ranged from sex with fat women ("Clam Digger") to '60s B-movie director Herschell Gordon Lewis ("Just For the Hell of It"), who just happens to live in Plantation. Sure, it was a show, but a visit to any of the band members' houses, crammed with old toys and horror videos as well as primordial blues, punk, and gospel records (some in 78 rpm format), confirmed that these boys lived their music. Now they're living the dream. Too bad they never left a record behind as a document of their greatness. With any luck someone will notice them in the Big Apple and remedy that situation.

Actress Lisa Morgan is a great supporting player in the sense that, no matter how cast, she magnificently supports the interests of theatergoers, directors, fellow actors, and playwrights. Last season she appeared most notably in two shows. As the twittery, resolute mother of the flapper Sally Bowles in New Theatre's I Am a Camera, Morgan's on-stage time was less than 15 minutes. Nonetheless, from her first entrance, she carried an entire universe of subtext with her. On a larger scale, Morgan's ensemble role in One Flea Spare, also at New Theatre, demonstrated her ability to hoist an entire play, even one as prickly poetic, impressionistic, and director-driven as this Obie winner. Courageous and inventive, she consistently reaches into dangerous territory with her acting, leaving safer routes for less daring performers. And that's always a thrill to watch.

Actress Lisa Morgan is a great supporting player in the sense that, no matter how cast, she magnificently supports the interests of theatergoers, directors, fellow actors, and playwrights. Last season she appeared most notably in two shows. As the twittery, resolute mother of the flapper Sally Bowles in New Theatre's I Am a Camera, Morgan's on-stage time was less than 15 minutes. Nonetheless, from her first entrance, she carried an entire universe of subtext with her. On a larger scale, Morgan's ensemble role in One Flea Spare, also at New Theatre, demonstrated her ability to hoist an entire play, even one as prickly poetic, impressionistic, and director-driven as this Obie winner. Courageous and inventive, she consistently reaches into dangerous territory with her acting, leaving safer routes for less daring performers. And that's always a thrill to watch.

In a season fraught with top-drawer solo performances (Charles Nelson Reilly in Life of Reilly, Kathleen Turner in Tallulah, Melinda Lopez in Media Noche, and Jean Stapleton in Eleanor: Her Secret Journey), Judith Delgado towered over all. Playing fashion diva Diana Vreeland, the actress delivered a performance that lived up to Vreeland's motto: "Give 'em what they didn't know they wanted." Vreeland's life story turned play won creators Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson Drama Desk and Obie awards in 1996 when Wilson starred in it, and Elizabeth Ashley did the honors when the national tour passed through South Florida in 1998. Nonetheless, Delgado, a genius at transforming herself, turned the taste-maker and long-time Vogue editor into something of her own (and director Joseph Adler's) making. Even the actress' elegant, oversize hands conspired to become a perfect physical match for Vreeland's elegant, larger-than-life personality. It was a performance that reached out and grabbed us by our lapels.

In a season fraught with top-drawer solo performances (Charles Nelson Reilly in Life of Reilly, Kathleen Turner in Tallulah, Melinda Lopez in Media Noche, and Jean Stapleton in Eleanor: Her Secret Journey), Judith Delgado towered over all. Playing fashion diva Diana Vreeland, the actress delivered a performance that lived up to Vreeland's motto: "Give 'em what they didn't know they wanted." Vreeland's life story turned play won creators Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson Drama Desk and Obie awards in 1996 when Wilson starred in it, and Elizabeth Ashley did the honors when the national tour passed through South Florida in 1998. Nonetheless, Delgado, a genius at transforming herself, turned the taste-maker and long-time Vogue editor into something of her own (and director Joseph Adler's) making. Even the actress' elegant, oversize hands conspired to become a perfect physical match for Vreeland's elegant, larger-than-life personality. It was a performance that reached out and grabbed us by our lapels.

Hailing from the wilds of Falls Church, Virginia, now making his home in Hallandale Beach, Colin Kenny, a.k.a. Raiford Starke, has injected the otherwise touchy-feely local acoustic scene with jagged, rawboned blasts of accomplished pickin', singin', and harp-blowin'. Sure, Starke plays a mean electric guitar for local swamp funksters the Shack Daddys and sits in with Chief Jim Billie's band whenever an opportunity to jam arises, but it's as a solo acoustic act that the thickly bearded, soft-spoken 38-year-old troubadour really shines. With one stellar CD under his belt -- last year's Speak Me -- and a fast-growing reputation as a crowd-pleasing performer, it's been a sweet year for Starke, who in recent months has opened shows for the likes of Leon Russell and Chris Duarte. The fickle folks of South Florida probably don't deserve an acoustic act this good, but with Raiford Starke it looks like we're stuck with one.

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