Aphrodite Jones. Sounds like the name of a sexy crime reporter who pores over affidavits, logs hours in courtrooms, and scours grisly crime scenes for clues that others have missed, delicately flipping her raven-like hair the whole time. Well... it is. Jones is a real-life author (and Aphrodite is her real name) who began writing in second grade, when she had to do a report about "the sex life of ants." Her parents died when she was young, and she often sympathizes with the families of the victims about whom she writes. Jones' books include All She Wanted, the true story of the murder of transgender teen Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon, which inspired the film Boys Don't Cry. In her latest work, Red Zone, Jones investigates the story of San Francisco's infamous dog-mauling case that resulted in the death of athlete Diane Whipple. Meet Jones tonight at Archives Book Café (1948 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), where she'll tell you everything the mainstream media didn't. The $30 ticket includes music, wine, and a signed copy of Red Zone. Call 954-764-8212.
A lot of people 'round these parts seem to like their rock Southern style. Yet a lot of these same people, being city folk of sorts, also like the more urbanized sounds of alt-rock and post-punk. So why not put the sounds together? That's the approach taken by Two Story Double Wide, South Florida's premier "alternative cow punk" band. You could say that 2SDW sounds like an updated, poppier version of Lynyrd Skynyrd. But that overlooks the band's more upbeat, punky songs, like "Mohawk." And even then, you'd still be neglecting the band's slower, bluesier songs like "Bloody River." It's best to just check 'em out and decide for yourself what alternative cow punk is. 2SDW is joined by Dragster and the Remnants, 9 p.m. at Red Lion British Pub (10114 S. Military Trl., Boynton Beach). Admission is free for ages 21 and up, $5 for under 21. Call 561-737-0434.
May didn't get off to a good start weather-wise, but that's no reason to alter your plan to spend the weekend at the beach. While the City of Deerfield Beach's Beach Blowout Weekend kicked off Friday morning at the Deerfield Beach parking lot (SE First Street and Ocean Way), you've still got two more days to catch it. Friday's Firefighter Challenge Relay Competition is fun for spectators, but if you want to get off the sidelines and get fit, show up bright and early for Saturday's triathlon. Starting at 7 a.m., the event consists of a quarter-mile swim, a ten-mile bike ride, and a 2.6-mile run. Other events Saturday include a kids firefighter challenge, an air-land-sea rescue demonstration, the Southeast Regional Firefighter Challenge, and lots of live music. Boy, are you gonna be pooped. Admission is free. Call 954-480-4433.
All right, it's day two of your mid-May beach party. You spent Saturday at Deerfield Beach, and now it's time to head south for Ocean Festival 2004 at Fort Lauderdale Beach (A1A, just south of Las Olas Boulevard). The three-day event, which kicked off Friday, concludes today with an underwater treasure hunt, free scuba diving, live entertainment, and a grand prize raffle drawing (raffle tickets cost $3 each or $5 for two). Also, more than 200 exhibitors set up shop for the trade show, and seminars take place inside the nearby Sheraton Yankee Clipper Hotel (1140 Seabreeze Blvd.). And, of course, food vendors abound, offering plenty of dishes from the Caribbean and Bahamas. Admission costs $7 per day or $16 for all three days; a portion of that money will be donated to various environmental organizations. Call 954-462-3400, or visit www.oceanfest.com.
For an exercise in road rage, take a trip down Dixie Highway through downtown West Palm Beach during rush hour. What a mess -- there've got to be smoother roads in Iraq. Of course, the result will look as nice as any of those palaces Saddam Hussein once called home, but getting there is not a pretty picture. Or is it? Maybe it would make a good photography exhibit. Mark Shulgasser seems to think so, and so does the Palm Beach Photographic Centre (55 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach), which hosts his "To Dream a New City: West Palm Beach Under Construction" exhibit through May 22. Shulgasser's photographs document the progress of the ever-growing city. Just think, one day, there will be an end to new development in West Palm Beach (we can dream, can't we?). The center is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission costs $3. Call 561-276-9797.
We take our roles as arbiters of cool very seriously. One evening, when we were hanging around Hollywood Beach (Broadwalk at Johnson Street), wearing our Von Dutch muscle T's and chatting loudly about that time we sipped mojitos with Paul Van Dyk at Nikki Beach, we witnessed the free line dancing going on in front of the bandshell. We hate to admit it, but passersby stopped watching us and started watching the dancers, 'cause they just seemed to be having a damn good time. You heard it from us: Line dancing is officially cool now. Boot scoot boogie to the beach by 7:30 p.m. to catch the full event, featuring live music by Wayne L. Fun. Call 954-921-3404.
Stop! Don't leave for L.A. just yet! We know you've already bought your Beamer, gotten your boob job, and kissed your mama goodbye. We know you're gonna land that role in Pootie Tang 2! But wouldn't your chances be that much better if you took a couple of professional acting classes first? The folks at the Actors Workshop of South Florida claim to have a technique that "takes the hit-and-miss out of the concerns an actor can have from audition through production." The method also works for people who just want to add a new dimension to their lives through acting as a hobby or for business types who want to improve their public-speaking abilities. The acting class at the Boca Community Center (150 Crawford Blvd., Boca Raton) begins today. Another one, at Sugar Sand Park (300 Military Trl., Boca Raton), begins June 7. The cost is $135 for eight weeks, Poot. Call 954-421-7469, or visit www.theactorsworkshop.org.