Blue Martini Fort Lauderdale

According to Wikipedia, the cougar, also known as the puma, mountain lion, panther, or catamount, is a large cat of the family Felidae native to the Americas. While Florida panthers may be highly endangered, South Florida cougars proliferate. And they can frequently be found in large numbers at Blue Martini. This species has a distinct set of traits: highly visible cleavage, long manicured claws, and evidence of much time spent at spas. With a cosmo in hand, this Cougar stands waiting, searching for her prey. Possibly you, if you give her the chance. Just order a drink, throw your Beemer keys on the bar ­— if you don't own one, you can always rent — and wait. You're about to be prey — and probably have the time of your life.

American Social Bar
Photo courtesy of American Social Bar

You know that adage, "God helps those who help themselves"? It may be true, because we've just found heaven in a glass at American Social. The Las Olas pub has something that no other South Florida establishment has — yet: taps at your table. Two tables are equipped with four taps where lucky patrons can help themselves to as much beer as they like (the portions are measured, and you pay as you pour). The taps are rotated on a regular basis from the 40 or so draft brews available, but there's always a good selection, since the restaurant owners strive to always have an IPA, a lager, a pale ale, and one other unique beer at the ready. There's also a "wall of taps" where you can help yourself — much like those frozen yogurt shops where you can get as much self-serve as you like... only this is beer we're talking about. Beer that we can pour ourselves as we see fit? We've just found religion. Could this be why they call a beer opener a "church key"?

Some women (and men) complain that it's hard to meet a good man these days. What if there were a magical place where the men all had jobs... and flew airplanes. And what if this place were in Fort Lauderdale? There are places where pilots are herded together, much like cattle, for the taking. These places are called FBOs (Fixed Base Operators) — basically, a private air terminal for small planes. Be bold. Park your Corolla right beside all the Beemers and Bentleys in the parking lot and walk in. Freshen up in the ladies room, where mouthwash and body lotion is provided gratis. Once beautiful, sit down in the plush seats and watch the parade of men walk to their airplanes. Some are pilots, some are owners, but all of them have one thing in common, pretty lady — they do not work at Walmart. Ever been whisked away for conch fritters in Key West or a sundowner in Bimini? You may just meet a guy even Daddy will approve of.

Living Room at the W
ftltoday.com

You've done the online thing, but the photo is always better than the reality. It's time to up the game, and it's time to stop screwing around. You don't want a girl with a flat attitude. You want sophistication, but you also want genial mixed with sexy. Clean yourself up, put on your sharpest duds, and head on over to the W Hotel's Living Room. It's a luxurious place where you can order yourself an old-fashioned and get your Don Draper on with some of the finest single ladies you'll find anywhere in Fort Lauderdale. Scan the joint and you'll find what you're looking for. The Living Room offers plenty of couches and corner seats to sit and chat and get your game going. Women come here to unwind after a hard week of work and are very much into socializing, drinking, dancing, and getting to know a man who knows how to play his cards right. You can always sit and chat in the dark in a booth or, better yet, order her a drink and walk her to the outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. As the night gets livelier, so does the dance floor. And there's no better way to close the deal than showing her your dance moves. Sharp dresser, classy drinker, good conversationalist. Go get 'em, Don.

This was what excellence looked like in the 2012-13 theater season, an unmissable production that should have humbled any theater professionals lucky enough to see it. Lorraine Hansberry's multifaceted meditation on race, class, housing, family, and the American dream remains devastatingly accurate when performed as flawlessly as Dramaworks' cast of 12. Ethan Henry was fierce and desperate as Walter, the crestfallen cabdriver whose business decisions put the family's future in peril; Joniece Abbot Pratt brought nuance and relatability to her role as Walter's progressive sister; and Pat Bowie's Mama, especially, transcended the familiar trappings of her stone-cold matriarch. In her performance, you glimpsed the history of travesties she's endured, her noble dignity, and the fear she could exude in her authority. Guest director Seret Scott had the audacity to start the play slowly, lingering longer than most on the banal reality of the family's domestic life, a decision that only made the play's dramatic confrontations resound even louder.

Who would want to direct an adaptation of Aphra Behn's The Rover in 2013? It's a question right up there with "Who would ever want to be president of the United States?" This ribald, 17th-century sex comedy about gender relations, betrayal, and mistaken identities is almost impossibly difficult, with something like a dozen characters and an unabridged text of more than 30,000 words, written in antiquated English whose delivery makes Shakespeare look easy. We still don't think it's a great play, but Stodard oversaw a marvelous reboot, drastically trimming the duration and cast list and stamping the production with anachronistic flourishes, from the inventive costumes — punk-rock and fetish wear commingle with ecclesiastical garments and luchador masks — to the century-spanning musical choices. Under Stodard's direction, Behn's dated verbiage flew off her characters' tongues with the ease of smartphone tweets, and she guided Scott Douglas Wilson, as the titular Rover, to one of his most galvanizing performances yet.

Mosaic Theatre

There's something about watching someone crack up onstage that has made mental patients such attractive archetypes for actors and audiences alike. For thespians, parts like the civil-services prole in Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman — who loses his sanity after one too many days of mind-numbing drudgery for a monolithic government — provide an opportunity for complete liberation from normalcy, an expressionistic freedom from the regular strictures of real-world acting. Ken Clement made the most of it in this production, arguably the last great show from the now-defunct Mosaic Theatre. He had an occasional assist from actress Betsy Graver, but the production was mostly just Clement, acting through the multiple voices in his head. He was funny, relatable, and ultimately tragic, conveying the play's challenging, staccato script with worn-in ease, slipping into full-on psychosis with disturbing aplomb. That he did all of this in unseemly suspenders and a sand-colored mop for a wig was all the more impressive.

Maltz Jupiter Theater

If, understandably, you failed to make the drive up to Jupiter this past winter to see one of Maltz's few nonmusical productions of the season, you missed an elegant, pitch-perfect rendition of Doubt, John Patrick Shanley's prescient morality tale about a priest who did, or didn't, molest a child. The entire cast was impeccable, but Maureen Anderman, as the play's conclusion-jumping Mother Superior, was most memorable of all, projecting the magnetism of a villain you loved to hate. This is a role for which mannered severity is essential, and she arguably did a better job at shaping her character's ice-streaming veins and prison-warden mentality than Meryl Streep did in the motion picture. But beneath all the self-righteous bluster and knee-jerk conservatism, she buried a sarcastic wit that was so polished as to look effortless. It took the entire play for her character to exhibit an iota of change, but when that final expression of doubt came, the result was quietly earth-shattering.

The cast of No, No, Nanette.

Rumors, a caustic farce from Neil Simon about a dinner party gone very, very awry, was Broward Stage Door's finest hour last season — a play directed like a choreographed musical, with humor and absurdity brimming from all contours of the stage. At the heart of its Carbonell Award-winning ensemble was Matthew Korinko, who knocked the play's most difficult role out of the park. His character arrived at the dinner party having just suffered a traffic accident that nearly broke his neck, so he played the part with his head perpetually cocked to the side, working through the obvious discomfort. But it was his climactic scene that earned Korinko justifiable praise from everybody who saw the show: He was saddled (or gifted) with the play's manic pièce de résistance, in which his character invents a preposterous narrative on the fly to explain the play's depraved actions to a pair of police officers. This sputtering story was delivered with a pitch-perfect combination of inspiration and desperation, absent any whiff of learned memorization.

Exit the King, Eugene Ionesco's protracted absurdist exercise, is about a blustery monarch, played in Dramaworks' production by Colin McPhillamy, who refuses to accept that, after hundreds of years of rule, he is finally dying. But the only character onstage that exuded a genuine air of regality was Angie Radosh, who, with her upright posture and hardened countenance, appeared to be the show's lone anchor on a ship of fools sinking ever faster into the abyss. As the king's first wife, long abandoned for a clingy trophy played by Claire Brownell, Radosh was, in other words, the only adult in the room. But it isn't until the play's end that we realize she's been bestowed with an otherworldly wisdom transcending time, space, and dimension. When she ushers her husband into the afterlife, Radosh becomes the show's mesmerizing center, pulling us in with every hypnotic command as much as she helps the king's transition. It was a performance full of surprises, echoing through the auditorium, haunting us even while it soothed us.

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