Hundreds of fishermen and friends (some from as far away as Minnesota, Texas and New York) will be at Fort Lauderdale’s Historic Downtowner Saloon on Friday night for LunkerCon 2017, a free, open-to-all and vigorously anti-corporate gathering of saltwater anglers united for a night of drinking, joking and sharing of fish tales.
Fort Lauderdale-based Capt. Jeff Maggio — who estimates this is the 10th such event he’s organized under various names for the legion of fishermen he describes as “reel guys” — calls LunkerCon “the biggest fishing social event of the year.” And by “social,” he doesn’t mean the face-to-face kind. He means Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Maggio has been fishing South Florida for more than three decades (a former St. Thomas Aquinas football player, he is the son of Joe Maggio, founder of Salt Shaker Custom Yachts), but it is his social media presence — he has about 100,000 followers on various channels with videos showcasing his fishing expertise and acerbic wit — that has made LunkerCon such a draw for rank-and-file fishermen and stars of the industry.
Among 10 or so big-name fishermen dropping by the Downtowner on Friday night will be three-time sailfish world champion Peter Miller (of NBC Sports and “Bass2Billfish”) and Capt. George Gozdz (host of Florida Sportsman’s “Reel Time”).
If history is any indication, a funny thing will happen at LunkerCon — for the first 90 minutes or so fans will be lined up to get pictures with some of the stars and, Maggio sheepishly admits, the longest line likely will be for Snapchats and Facebook Live footage with him. While TV hosts have their following, the personal connection isn’t as close, Maggio says.
On YouTube, Maggio has created a crusty, irreverent character — he embodies elements of all the great captains, from Ahab and Quint to Morgan and that guy who sang “Muskrat Love” — who also happens to be the guy Maggio is in real life.
“TV is just media. This is true social media, where people identify with the person. They want a photo with that person. They know all about him. They know what truck he drives,” Maggio says. “The TV guys, they only get 12 minutes of content. They can’t say what they want, and the sponsors basically drive everything. The reason LunkerCon is so successful is because there are no sponsors driving it. It’s natural. We’re not shoving anything down people’s throat.”
LunkerCon begins at 7 p.m. and will include a DJ, food, beer and liquor, raffles and giveaways, and the inaugural Capt. Jeff look-alike contest (among the prizes is a 10-foot braid net worth $800). Visit Facebook.com/MulletRun.
At the risk of ruining a good thing, I direct your attention to Sons & Daughters Farm and Winery in Lake Worth, one of those unaffected spots that seem so rare in South Florida. Known for their wine, kombucha and popsicles made from a picked-daily crop of flowers, vegetables, plants and herbs, and two miniature donkeys named Henry and June, Sons & Daughters also is home to a smart lineup of live music, continuing with the sweaty, hip-swaying Latin vibe of Tamboka this Friday and the always exuberant funkiness of the Spam Allstars on Sept. 1. Visit: Facebook.com/SonsAndDaughtersFarm.
Voltaire, a new downtown West Palm Beach live-music venue booked by veteran scene curator Steve Rullman, will have a grand-opening celebration of free music through Saturday. Plugging in at 526 Clematis on Thursday will be Public Sounds Collective, followed on Friday by Dead and Loving It, Grumps and Prison Warder, and on Saturday by Gold Dust Lounge. Visit Facebook.com/VoltaireWPB.
If you need to soak up the mysteriously intoxicating retro allure of Gold Dust Lounge closer to your home, the band is playing the Wipe Out! party at Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami at noon Sunday. The gathering is so named because the brewery is wiping out its use of bottles and going cans-only. The beach-themed party will include a display from the Surfrider Foundation, food from El Mago de las Fritas, popsicle-beer pairings by Señor Pop and a limbo contest, which could get dangerous if GDL has anything to do with it. Visit Facebook.com/ConcreteBeachFL.
When last we spoke with Erik Myers, in 2012, he was the captivating headliner at a small black box theater on Oakland Park Boulevard called the Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club, a step on his way back up the comedy ladder after a messy detour with drugs and alcohol. He was a year sober, partial to cans of Red Bull and Monster energy drinks, had just won the title Florida's Funniest Comedian in a statewide competition, and had his eye on bigger things. Five years later, fresh from a run at the L.A. Comedy Club at the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas, Myers brings his frenetic “Dopeless Romantic” observations back to South Florida for sets 8 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 24) for the Lettuce Laugh series at the Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton (Facebook.com/FarmersTableBoca) and 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Palm Beach Improv (PalmBeachImprov.com).
RNGR, the young-professionals group at Fort Lauderdale’s Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, will gather at the Cocktails for Humanity pop-up bar at General Provision 6-11 p.m. Saturday during the FAT Village Art Walk. All the proceeds from drinks served by "celebrity" bartenders, including tips, will support enhancement projects at the park. Visit Facebook.com/CocktailsForHumanity, Facebook.com/FriendsOfHughTaylorBirch.
The Wynwood Beer Festival begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mana Wynwood, boasting a lineup of 150 beers from all over the country, including from breweries in exotic places such as North Miami (Descarga Brewing), Doral (Tripping Animals Brewery) and Clearwater (Pair O’ Dice Brewing). General admission tickets cost $40 online, $50 at the gate (Facebook.com/WynwoodBeerFest) … Due South Brewing in Boynton Beach will tap its Category 4 Red IPA (their Cat 4 mashed up with a traditional Irish red ale) noon-11 p.m. Friday, and begin pouring Caramel Latte (a coffee-infused Imperial Caramel Cream Ale) at 3 p.m. (Facebook.com/DueSouthBrewing) … Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park at 7 p.m. Monday will host Drinking in the Dark, a blindfolded instructional taste test of eight beers led by Funky staff designed to heighten your knowledge of aromas and tasting notes. Cost is $25 (Facebook.com/FunkyBuddhaBrewery).
MUSIC FOR DOLPHINS
A who’s-who of South Florida singer-songwriter royalty will gather at the Luna Star Café in North Miami on Sept. 1 to raise money and awareness for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project. Sept. 1 is Japan Dolphins Day, which marks the beginning of the annual dolphin-drive hunts in Taiji, Japan, revealed in Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove.” Hosted by Jim Wurster and Rich Ulloa, the music begins at 8 p.m. with performers including Diane Ward and Jack Shawde, Matt Sabatella, Charlie Pickett, Darrel Arnold, Sarah Jacob, Birdman, Karen Feldner, George Zhen, Chris DeAngelis, Trish Sheldon, the Atomic Cowboys, Adam Matza and others. Visit DolphinProject.net, LunaStarCafe.com.
Tickets go on sale 11 a.m. Friday for the inaugural Mile 0 Fest, scheduled to bring more than 50 Americana and red-dirt country artists — including the Turnpike Troubadours, Cody Jinks, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Old 97’s and Shooter Jennings — to the new Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater in Key West Feb. 7-10. Hosted by singer-songwriter Elizabeth Cook of Sirius/XM’s “Outlaw Country,” the festival also will include performances by Pat Green, Charlie and Bruce Robison, Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram, the Black Lillies, William Clark Green, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, the Great Divide and many others. Advance four-day general-admission passes will cost $275 through 5 p.m. Sept. 4, when they’ll increase to $325. Four-day VIP passes will cost $425/$475 and Platinum VIP will go for $575/$625. Visit Mile0Fest.com.
MUSIC FOR ALL AGES
From the live-music-in-unexpected-places file: ArtServe in downtown Fort Lauderdale will host a lineup of youthfully energetic bands at 6 p.m. Friday, including Natalie Claro, the Takers and Leavers, Most Bad Things and Cannibal Kids. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. The show is open to all ages. Visit Facebook.com/ArtServeFlorida. Slightly more mature energy will power Rock the Dock, the free summer concert series returning to Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale 3 p.m. Saturday. Co-hosted by iHeartRadio and DJ Doc Reno, music will be by Mouth Tape (3-6 p.m.) and Grindstone (7-10 p.m.). Visit Facebook.com/ShootersWaterfront.
A lot of charities try to raise money by auctioning things you don’t want. The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County is now selling tickets for a drawing to win a 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King (second prize is $1,000, third is $500). At $100 a pop, only 500 tickets will be sold, so your odds are not insurmountable. The drawing will take place at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ at West Palm Beach's CityPlace on Dec. 23. Merry Christmas. Visit BGCPBC.org.
Reminder: Country-pop queen Shania Twain will bring the 2018 tour for her imminent album “Now” to the BB&T Center in Sunrise on June 1, with tickets scheduled to go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ticketmaster.com and by calling 800-345-7000. Prices start at $35.
OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS
Palo! vocalist Leslie Cartaya performs 9 p.m. Friday at Ball and Chain in Miami (Facebook.com/LeslieCartaya), then joins the band at the Surfcomber on Miami Beach 5-9 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/GoPalo) … Fresh Paint plays the Salty Saturdays gathering at Saltwater Brewery’s Reef Room in Delray Beach noon Saturday (Facebook.com/ReefRoomDelray) … The Intoxicators will be joined by the Disasternauts 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale (Facebook.com/MaiKaiRestaurant) … Birdman's Clambake is at Titanic Restaurant and Brewery in Coral Gables 9 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/BirdmansClambake) … The State Of plays Dada in Delray Beach 11 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/TheStateOfFanPage) … Negra Fabulosa and Bonnie Beats will perform during Paradays at 1306 Miami at 10 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/1306Miami) … Jazz drummer Jeffrey Miller and his Quartet play Wine Scene in West Palm Beach 8-11 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/WineSceneWPB) … Daylen Brinkley brings folky Americana to the new Sunday Night Jams series at the Blind Monk in West Palm Beach 7:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday (TheBlindMonk.com) … Robert Patroni will spin a reunion party for fans of the Sandbar Rooftop at Cash Only in downtown Fort Lauderdale 3 p.m. Sunday (Facebook.com/CashOnlyFTL) … Mr. Pauer will do a 6 p.m. DJ set during Sancocho Sundays at El Patio Wynwood (Facebook.com/MrPauer) … Roots Almighty plays Kulcha Shok’s Reggae Sundays party at Wynwood Yard beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday (Facebook.com/Kulcha.Shok) …