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Weekend Preview: Sun, surf, sand, soccer, sangria and Saigon Kick

The future site of the Flagler Garden,  destined to be a hub for all manner of earnest conviviality and creativity in downtown Fort Lauderdale, will have its first event on Sunday with Grow Downtown.

The afternoon of live music from the Bonfires (pictured) and Laura Creel, tree hugging and sangria (courtesy Whole Foods Market, which will donate proceeds to the Flagler Garden) runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 441 NE Third Ave. Info:

Grow Downtown highlights a weekend of events in FAT Village, including Saturday night’s ever-festive Art Walk and the kickoff of the painted-piano caravan known as Play Your City the same night.

Debuting during Art Walk at 435 N. Andrews, as well as at Esplanade Park on the New River during the 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Riverwalk Sunday Arts event (, Play Your City features a brigade of pianos repurposed by local artists that will pop up around the city over the next three months. Artists include Brian Buzzella, Luzalma Gonzalez, Richard Vergez and two by MoAFL Art Academy students.

“Seeing these pianos move around downtown and seeing what transpires around them will be exciting to watch” says Genia Duncan-Ellis, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale president and CEO, in a press statement.

The project is a team effort between the city, Riverwalk and Cadence, a downtown landscape architecture and urban design firm.

Play Your City is a "catalyst for activating space and engaging the community in the underutilized public landscapes," says Cadence co-founder Rebecca Bradley.  “We’re delighted to see the city working with local designers, artists and nonprofit organizations to improve the vibrancy of downtown for those that work and live here.”


This is the weekend when the Restaurant People planned to open S3, a laidback dining and drinking spot on Fort Lauderdale beach. But you know how it is waiting for that final inspection: It's supposed to happen ... and then it doesn't. Assuming it goes through in the next couple of days, they are looking to officially swing open the doors at S3 next weekend.

What is S3? The answer to the question when out-of-town family wants to take you to a moderately priced place to eat, perhaps with the kids, while watching the ocean. Obviously, you don’t need to wait for family to visit.

“I love Steak 954, but you can’t do that very often,” says S3 owner Tim Petrillo, the father of two daughters, 14 and 12. Petrillo says the menu at S3 (which stands for “sun, surf, sand”) will be a range of steak, seafood and sushi, with “small plates” for $4 to $14 and entrees in the $19-$25 range.

“Our goal is to bring locals back to the beach to dine,” he says.

Whether this place will be a game-changer for diners and cocktailers on Fort Lauderdale beach is hard to say, but there's nothing wrong with having another option to consider when Casablanca is packed (always).

Petrillo and the Restaurant People are the folks who gave us YOLO, the Las Olas hot spot whose swinging late-night “scene” has obscured the fact that it’s a really fine place to eat. The fire pits that are a signature of YOLO and the adjacent Vibe nightclub will also be a feature on S3’s tiered, open-air terrace, a beautiful space that glides down onto the sidewalk at the base of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. But don’t let the fire pits fool you.

“This will be casual. We want people to feel they can come in right off the beach with a cover-up,” Petrillo says.

Petrillo learned the ropes in the restaurant business at Houston’s, and the chain’s hallmarks are in his blood.

“Coming onto the beach is a commitment. Coming over the bridge, over the causeway,  is a commitment,” he says. “We’ve got to give people quality, consistently.”

S3 is at the corner of A1A and Viramar St (505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.). Valet parking will be available for $5. Info: 954-523-5215,

Grateful Dead icon Bob Weir was just added as an opener for Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket on June 26 at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday for $29.50-$79.50 at Some dates on the tour include revered guitarist Richard Thompson and singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham, but not the Cruzan show. More info:

Wild animals (caged) and beers (uncaged) come together at the World of Beer-sponsored Brew at the Zoo event Saturday night at the Palm Beach Zoo (1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach). Favorite Florida breweries (Due South, Monk in the Trunk, Cigar City, the Native) will offer product from 6 to 9 p.m. along with dozens of national brews. (We have heard good things about Back Forty from Alabama. Really.) Live music, food and “animal encounters” are part of the deal. Tickets: $35, $75 (special beers in the VIP). Info: 561-533-0887,

There’s nothing wrong with a spring night with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, best enjoyed with a little pre-game food-truck tailgate outside Lockhart Stadium (Commercial and Powerline). If you’ve been on the fence about seeing a Strikers game, consider Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. match that will pit the home team against their arch rivals, the Tampa Bay Rowdies (a sour relationship that goes back to the Ray Hudson days). The Strikers' only previous home game (the April 6 season-opener) drew more than 5,200 fans, and Saturday’s crowd will have a lot of extra, uh, energy. Good times. Tickets: $10-$20. Info:, 954-606-0400.

Say the words “Button South” to someone of a certain vintage and the faraway look in their eyes (recalling an old love? An old haircut? An old restraining order?) is soon followed by an apocryphal story that you can believe or not, I don’t give a rat’s ass! The beloved Button South nightclub in Hallandale Beach will be celebrated by a generation of headbangers and rocker chicks on Friday and Saturday at the Button South Class Reunion III at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale). Among the bands (or members) making the scene will be Gypsy Queen, Heartless, Canaveral and Phineas J. Whoopie, with an all-star jam including members of Saigon Kick, Miss Conduct, Squadron and more. A few radio DJs and personalities who championed the music will be on hand, including Liz Wilde, Steve Stansell and Madman Mike. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $12 at the door, $20 for a two-day pass. Info:, 954-564-1074.

There’s something endearing about the bygone flavor of the annual Sweet Corn Fiesta, on the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach on Sunday. As always, the International Federation of Competitive Eaters will bring major talent from around the country to gnaw on ears for the $2,000 prize. A local contest is open to you and yours with a $100 prize. Festival hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets: $5-$8. Info: 561-793-0333,

Another celebration of South Florida bounty can be found at the annual three-day Pompano Beach Seafood Festival at the city fishing pier. Always a strong feature of the fest, the music lineup this year is especially potent, with 38 Special, Rick Derringer and the Atlanta Rhythm Section joined by popular locals Brass Evolution and the Jacob Jeffries Band (below), among many others. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15. Info: 954-941-2940,

Reminder: U.S. Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco has several readings South Florida readings in the next few days: Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Horvitz Auditorium at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (1 E. Las Olas Blvd.). A book-signing for his latest collection, “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” will follow  at Books and Books at the Museum in the adjacent lobby. Tickets cost $10, but are free with the purchase of “Looking for the Gulf Motel.” Info: 954-262-0255, and On Sunday, the New World Center Symphony Hall (500 17th St., Miami Beach) will be the setting for a 7 p.m. appearance as part of the month-long O, Miami Poetry Festival. Tickets: $20, $30, $50. Info: On Wednesday, Blanco will read during a gala for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach (100 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan). Tickets: $40, $250 VIP (includes pre-reading meet-and-greet reception). Info: 561-586-0203,

Throughout April,  radio station WLRN and the  O, Miami Poetry Festival have been collecting poems starting or ending in "That's So Miami" for a contest with several categories for works about the best and worst of the city. The winners  will be announced at the That's So Miami Contest Reading on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Betsy Hotel (1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach).  There are prizes involved, but  winners will also get to share the stage with Richard Blanco  at the New World Symphony that night. Of course, we went straight to the poems that look at Miami’s flaws (more fun, that’s all). They didn’t have the venom you’d expect, but we like the lone-wolf rage of the contribution below. For more go to

"Everglades Grocery Store Parking Lot"
By Eric Van Fleet

This grocery store was in the Everglades.
Some even say it would be the Everglades again.
Out here, we are on the edge of something,
still wondering what that something might be.

I want to stop the shoppers hurrying for their
cortaditos and Cuban bread and yell:
Here in this parking lot in the semi-Glades
there’s a male painted bunting, folks!

To be the wailing madman, self-appointed naturalist
of grocery store parking lots and colorful lost birds.
Look up! Beauty is trying to demolish your routine!
That’s so Miami.

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