If you're going to do a musical, focus on the music. Writer and lyricist Dean Pitchford learned that lesson with the movie Footloose. He wrote the screenplay and collaborated on the nine-song soundtrack, which was the real star of the film about a town where dancing is illegal. The trite, teen-rebellion plot just got in the way of all the dancing and music, which included six Top 40 tunes. The soundtrack album spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, and the music, not the movie, was nominated for awards: Golden Globe for Best Song ("Footloose"), two Grammies (Best R&B Song, "Dancing in the Sheets"; Best Soundtrack Album, Footloose), and two Academy Awards (Best Song, "Footloose" and "Let's Hear It For The Boy"). With that in mind, Pitchford added nine more songs to Footloose and turned it into a Broadway musical, the touring version of which continues its run at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) through April 18. Tonight's curtain is at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $36.50 to $49. Call 954-462-0222. See "Stage" listings for a complete schedule.
Even if you remember the 1972 hit "Hot Rod Lincoln," a remake of the Tex Ritter original by spaced-out rockabilly and boogie-woogie band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Bill Kirchen probably doesn't ring a bell. An original Airman, Kirchen was just one of -- count 'em -- four guitarists in the group, so who could keep track? Kirchen was actually the band's driving force, but looking at him today, it's tough to believe he ever fit the Airmen's hard-drinkin', deep-tokin' image; with his short hair and wire-rimmed glasses, he looks like a science teacher. But his twangy, gritty guitar contribution to the Cody sound is still evident on his Raise a Ruckus album, scheduled for release April 20. Also evident are Kirchen's early interests in folk, blues, and string bands, all balanced by lilting country ballads. He and his backing band will perform tonight at Home, 3841 Griffin Rd. in southeast Broward. Cover is $8 for the 9 p.m. show. Call 954-965-0042.
"The Canvas Tattoo Exhibit" at Gallery Cafe is a showcase for local tattoo artists' work in other media. "They are always being told what to do," says curator Tracey Gantenbein. "I wanted to give them a chance to show off their own stuff." What do tattoo artists create when they're not inking bodies? The ten inscribers represented in the show paint and take pictures, mostly. David Bollt does both. His Skin Seven, which looks like Alice Cooper with his skin peeled away, is a photograph of a model he airbrushed with paint. Bollt says the dark, brooding image is a "surreal anatomical breakdown." We couldn't have put it better ourselves. A traditional illustrator, Bollt started painting bodies as an entree to tattooing. His other works in the show are airbrushed acrylic on paper -- a majority of them images of naked, voluptuous women set in mythical scenes -- which are based on photos of models whose bodies he painted with swirling, psychedelic patterns. The show runs through April 28 at the Gallery Cafe, located inside the Chili Pepper nightclub (200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). Admission is included with cover; hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Call 954-525-5996.
A group of people sits in a circle on the grass, talking about the experience they've just shared. A woman in her mid-fifties says she felt like she was standing on top of the world, feeling lighter and freer than she had in years. A woman next to her saw vivid colors and the face of an Indian -- maybe a shaman. No, this is not a group of hippies coming off an acid trip. It's the scene following a performance of Spirit Dance, a tribal drum and flute group from Sedona, Arizona. In order to shut out external distractions and let the music take them on a journey into their inner selves, participants at shows wear blindfolds as they hop and sway to the pulsating drum and soothing flute. It's not a requirement to share your vision, but a circle is formed for those who want to do so. Locals looking for inner peace can search for it during the 4 p.m. performance ($10) at the Hollywood Beach Bridge Pavilion (Sheridan Street and Ocean Boulevard at the Intracoastal Waterway) and at shows Tuesday and April 15 to 18. See "Concerts" listings for details. Call 561-482-2345.
Roll over Beethoven, the amateurs are singing your tune. Wannabe classical singers don't need to know that Missa solemnis means "customary mass" in Latin to sit in with the Florida Orchestra Chorus tonight. But an honest self-assessment will go a long way toward keeping tonight's open rehearsal of Beethoven's majestic Mass in D from devolving into an out-of-tune cacophony. Singers who think they have the pipes are welcome to join the initial practice of the piece and to sign up for an audition to perform with the group at the Beethoven by the Beach festival in July. "Everyone can come and wail away and jump into one of the great choral masterpieces in history, sort of see it from the inside," says chorus administrator Alice Meyer. Rehearsal begins at 8 p.m. tonight at the Philharmonic Rehearsal Hall, 1430 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-345-1821.
Growing up in Miami, comedian Rita Rudner didn't venture to historic Hialeah Park to see the horseraces. "I rode horses at summer camp when I was a kid," she told The Blood Horse interactive online magazine. "I never had any in-depth conversation with one, though. They're not big on witticisms." But now she and her husband, screenwriter-director Martin Bergman, own thoroughbreds, so don't be surprised if equine jokes show up in her standup routine. In her girlish whisper of a voice, Rudner delivers wry observations on daily life, which these days involves the ponies. "The more I know about [horseracing], the more exciting it gets," she told the industry mag. "And the more I think about it -- like 'Ah, this jockey is riding this horse again. He must like him very much.' -- the more interesting it gets." A subject with which Rudner is more familiar, relationships, is the topic of her book Rita Rudner's Guide to Men, which offers more real-life observations: Women like clothes, men like cars; Rudner likes cars because they take her to clothes. The comedian performs tonight at 8 p.m. at the Coral Springs City Centre Theatre, 255 Coral Springs Dr., Coral Springs. Ticket prices are $17.50 and $27.50. Call 954-344-5990.
It sounds like a dream: a three-hour ride with 20 of your best friends on a yacht, during which hors d'oeuvres and wine are served, the food provided by chefs Gianni Respinto of Darrel and Oliver's East City Grill, Oliver Saucy of Cafe Maxx, Mark Militello of Mark's Las Olas, and Bryce Latham of Blue Moon Fish Co. Actually, it could happen. But only if you're the highest bidder for the trip being auctioned at Taste of the Nation, the annual gala fundraiser to combat hunger. More than 45 area chefs -- including those taking part in the dream trip -- will prepare specialties for this year's Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Chef's reception ($115 per person; 6 p.m.) and the main taste event ($55-$65, 7 p.m.) at the Broward County Convention Center (1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). Also up for bid, during live and silent auctions, are California winery tour packages, rare wines, and sports memorabilia, including a Joe DiMaggio-autographed baseball. Proceeds will benefit local food banks and Share Our Strength, a national antihunger organization. Call 888-633-9861, ext 456.