Enhanced by more than 300,000 square feet of tony shops and the trendy Treats Food Hall, the new Aventura Mall is a world apart, a state of mind, the capital of Kardashia.
But it is also, now, a place of down-to-earth whimsy.
“I have long asked what would be the result of sliding if it was part of the daily routine? Can slides become part of our experiential and architectural life?” That is renowned artist Carsten Höller, the man responsible for the most dramatic feature of the mall’s new wing, the Aventura Slide Tower, a nearly 93-foot-tall spiral work that is both a towering landmark and, yes, a functional slide.
“The emotional state created by traveling down the slide is a unique condition and was once described by the French writer Roger Caillois as ‘a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind,’” the 56-year-old Höller says in a statement for the slide’s opening last weekend. “The slide can be experienced both by sliding down it or by viewing it from the outside with people coming down in it — which are different, but both powerful, experiences.”
On a weekend when childlike wonder is celebrated, what better way to remember the motivation of the season than jumping on a massive slide for a little “voluptuous panic”? In public. As commerce happens all around you. In the heart of Kardashia. Weeee!
The slide is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Visit AventuraMall.com/arts.
Miami City Ballet’s newly redesigned production of “George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker” continues its run at the Arsht Center in Miami through Sunday, before moving to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach for performances Dec. 28-30. There are tickets to be had for all these performances, some more available than others. Visit Nutcracker.MiamiCityBallet.org.
Theater critic Christine Dolen doesn’t throw a word like “sublime” around lightly, and reading her review of Slow Burn Theatre’s production of “The Secret Garden” — “a true holiday gem” — is likely to make you want to scoop up the family and rush to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to catch it. You can see it through Dec. 31, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (with an additional matinee 1 p.m. Dec. 27). Tickets cost $47-$60. Visit BrowardCenter.org.
Friday night’s free 6:30 p.m. screening of “Polar Express” at Boca Raton’s Mizer Park Amphitheater is a pajamas-optional party (beginning at 5 p.m.) with train rides, kids’ activities and pizza, popcorn, hot chocolate and other concessions available for purchase. Chairs can be rented for $5 (cash only). Visit MyBoca.us.
MATZO BALL’S IN YOUR COURT
Not everyone will be wearing ugly sweaters this weekend, when low-cut, leggy and sheer will be the uniform of the day at the Matzo Ball, the 31st annual series of Christmas Eve parties for Jewish singles (and their admirers) at three of the warmer hot spots in South Florida. In Delray Beach, the Matzo Ball takes place 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday at Il Bacio, with tickets $30, $40 for priority entry, and various table packages also available. The party in Fort Lauderdale is at Vibe Las Olas ($30/$40), and on Miami Beach the 9 p.m. gathering is at Story ($50/$75, and $100 for VIP). In case they were being too subtle, Matzo Ball organizers are offering a discount rate on rooms at the Fontainebleau resort starting at $249. To buy tickets and get more information, visit MatzoBall.org.
The gentlemen of Spred the Dub, who have been propogating a swaggering ska-soul hybrid in clubs all over South Florida for just about a decade, will celebrate the release of their third album, “Friends and Enemies,” at 8 p.m. Friday at Voltaire in West Palm Beach. They will be joined by friends JM & the Sweets and Public Sounds Collective, with between-sets ska and rocksteady sounds from the Basement Presents. Suits and dresses are optional, but encouraged. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door. Voltaire is, of course, the intimate lounge perched above new Lost Weekend, at 526 Clematis St. Visit Facebook.com/SpredTheDub, Facebook.com/VoltaireWPB.
JACOB JEFFRIES IS BACK
Plantation-raised singer-songwriter Jacob Jeffries is in from his new home in Los Angeles Thursday night (Dec. 21) to play a free reunion show with old Jacob Jeffries Band mates Brian Lang and Jimmy Powers V at the Wynwood Yard in Miami. While there he may share tales of his second career as a member of the musical-comedy band the Cooties, which has been selling out clubs in L.A., played with Weird Al Yancovic and is being pushed by Reggie Watts, the irreverent musical director on “The Late Late Show With James Corden.” Hit the link for a Jacob Jeffries interview. Visit TheWynwoodYard.com, Facebook.com/JacobJeffries.
Honestly, I had not thought of comedian Louie Anderson in a good, long while, until I saw him in drag with Zach Galifianakis in the FX rodeo-clown comedy series “Baskets.” Amazing. Anderson, who won an Emmy for the role (his third), returns to the standup stage 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, with special guest Wil Shriner. Visit LPACFL.com.
Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park and the Laser Wolf in Fort Lauderdale’s Progresso neighborhood join forces for the Funky X-Mas Party at the Wolf 7 p.m. Saturday, with DJ Ex-Laxx spinning vinyl funk and real elves bearing gifts. Visit LaserWolf.bar.
Las Rosas in Miami on Saturday night will host the Miami Punk Rock High X-Mas Party, also a birthday celebration for influential music promoter Richard Shelter. Headliners the Holy Ghosts (Shelter, Charlie Pickett, Rob Elba, Leo Casino, Blake Eden, Dan Ceritelli and Jordan Kohn) will be abetted by Mike Vullo, Oscar Herrera, John Camacho and DJ Skidmark (Facebook.com/LasRosasMiami).
The Funky Buddha Brewery will throw its Ugly Sweater Party 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, with a DJ, photo booth, and a contest (sign up before 9 p.m.) to see if your sweater can win you a crowler of beer a month for a year (Facebook.com/FunkyBuddhaBrewery) … The first 25 ugly sweaters at Due South Brewing in Boynton Beach will earn their wearer a free beer during the party 6-9 p.m. Friday, with the person wearing the ugliest winning a bottle of Bourbon Barrel Aged Mariana Trench Imperial Stout (Facebook.com/DueSouthBrewing) … The Ugly AF Sweater Party at Tarpon Bend in Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee District 5-11 p.m. Saturday will include live music, two-for-one drinks and a sweater contest (Facebook.com/TarponBendLauderdale).
26 Degree Brewing in Pompano Beach is calling its noon-11 p.m. Saturday gathering The Hangover Before Christmas, and will ensure them with the release of their Cherry Cordial Stout (Facebook.com/26brewing) … Invasive Species Brewing in downtown Fort Lauderdale will have a bottle release beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday for an IPA called Pillow Talk and a honey-brewed double IPA called Buzz (Facebook.com/InvasiveSpeciesBrewing) … Khoffner Brewery in downtown Fort Lauderdale will celebrate its second anniversary 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 29 with live music, food trucks and the release of Sour Cherry Red IPA, aged in Chardonnay wine barrels (Facebook.com/Khoffner.us).
OTHER BEER NEWS
The city of Fort Lauderdale has finished its repairs to the Southwest 11th Avenue Swing Bridge, which stood between those on the north side of the New River and favorite watering holes at the Riverside Market (Facebook.com/RiversideMarket) and Craft Beer Cartel (Facebook.com/CraftBeerCartel). Not that they weren’t worth taking the long way, but …
Holiday orphans and the otherwise detached can gather on Christmas Day at Two&'s Annual Chinese Food Christmas Party beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, when the downtown Fort Lauderdale bar and bike shop will offer a place to hang, eat Chinese food and watch movies. Visit Facebook.com/TwoAndWhatever).
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONAIRIES
Registration is open for the Save the Panther 5K at the Palm Beach Zoo on Saturday, Jan. 6. The 7:30 a.m. run is part of the the 2018 Big Cat Race Series, with net proceeds going to the zoo’s partnership with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, an organization working to protect Florida panthers and their habitat. Registration also includes admission to the zoo for the day and three half-price coupons for friends and family. Visit PalmBeachZoo.org.