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The Go Guide Places, people and life with Ben Crandell

New Year's Eve weekend preview: The MAGA edition

Little that happened in 2017 moved us closer to a more perfect union. Domestic tranquility was in short supply, defensiveness common, liberties insecure and our posterity unclear. Nothing that a little Salt N Pepa can’t cure. Or Reiki. Or covfefe. We can turn this around. We can make A Flock of Seagulls great again, at least for one night.

If you are looking to make changes in 2018, start by stepping into your discomfort zone on New Year’s Eve, with Wang Chung, comedian Bert Kreischer or the Lacs. Get picked apart by Pam Ann, wear a mask at American Social or take a sound bath at Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame. See Travis Scott at Liv or dress in gold for the disco party at the Electric Pickle. And whatever you do, make it to the King Mango Strut. Your 2018 will thank you.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Rock the Block returns to Boca Raton Resort and Club with a lineup that includes Salt N Pepa, Wang Chung , Cutting Crew and A Flock of Seagulls, along with amusement rides, carnival games and fireworks on the 18th fairway. Rock the Block ticket prices start at $150 for adults, $125 ages 13-17, $75 for 12 and younger. Dinner packages and access to resort accommodations are also available. Visit BocaResort.com/RockTheBlock.

Boston’s on the Beach in Delray Beach celebrates with Victor Wainwright and the Train, led by the dynamic singer-pianist who received the Blues Music Awards’ Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year honor in 2013 and 2104. The festivities run from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., with separate dinner and breakfast buffet dining, and cost $80 (party favors and tip included). Visit Facebook.com/BostonsDelrayBeach.

Former Florida State Seminole student (and that isn’t even the funny part) Bert Kreischer will end a slate of weekend shows at the Palm Beach Improv in West Palm Beach with performances at 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday. General-admission tickets cost $40, but the 7 p.m. show includes a VIP dinner package for $73.23. As you may have heard, Kreischer has turned into one of those workout guys, but he’s not in the business of shaming anyone into a healthier lifestyle for the new year. He described his workout to Runner’s World magazine thusly: “Tito’s and soda and f---ing mileage, son. That’s all I do.” Visit PalmBeachImprov.com.

It’s guitar for New Year’s at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, where South Florida favorite Albert Castiglia is joined by British blues star Matt Schofield and the Heather Gillis Band, led by the young roots rocker formerly of Butch Trucks and the Freight Train. Sunday’s 8 p.m. gathering costs $50 (standing room with champagne toast) or $100 (plus tip) for reserved seats with a four-course dinner and a champagne toast. Visit FunkyBiscuit.com.

Come as you are on Clematis Street as five nightspots in the 500 block of West Palm Beach’s clubby thoroughfare unite for one big party at five different cost options. For $40, you can do the open bar 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Hullabaloo, Kapow and Lost Weekend, or $65 for the premium open bar. For $60, you’ll get an open bar at those clubs, plus Respectable Street Café and Voltaire, which will have live music (Sweet Bronco and Lindsey Mills at RSC; Manzino's Bowl of Fire, Tchaa! and Joey George at Voltaire), or $80 for all that and premium open bar. But no package purchase is necessary: You can pay a la carte to hear the bands, with admission $10 at RSC and Voltaire. Visit Facebook.com/RespectableStreet.

Double Dee's Ranch in West Palm Beach will host the Lacs, the duo who have spent most of 2017 sharing their Georgia-bred hybrid of Southern rock and hip-hop on the Deplorables Tour, supporting the album “American Rebelution.” The party at Double Dee’s runs from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., with general-admission tickets going for $20, $45 for the all-you-can-drink package, $70 for the all-you-can-drink package with a buffet dinner. Visit Facebook.com/RanchDDWPB.

Accomplice Brewery & Ciderworks in West Palm Beach throws its third annual Poor Man's New Year's Eve party, where pretensions are checked at the door and the cider and select beers are all-you-can-drink for $20 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Massimiliano's Italian Food Truck will be there to satisfy one of your other needs. Visit Facebook.com/AccompliceBrewery.

Family-oriented Noon Year's Eve festivities at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach are 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with live science demos, music and dancing, face painting, DIY confetti launchers, buy-one-get-one mini golf and a New Year’s toast with dry-ice apple cider when the clock strikes noon. Museum admission is $16.95, $12.95 ages 3-12, $14.95 seniors. Visit SFScienceCenter.org.

Parents with older kids should look for the celebration in downtown Delray Beach from 5 to 9 p.m., when Old School Square will be filled with food trucks, a gaming tent, cornhole and Jenga, as well as wallet-friendly ($3) ice-skating, mini golf and a carousel. The fireworks go off from the top of the parking garage at 9 p.m. Visit 100ftChristmasTree.com.

Lake Worth hell-raisers Everymen get the new year off on the right foot during a parking-lot party at Death or Glory in Delray Beach 9 p.m.-2 a.m., joined by Ben Childs and the Wails and DJ Mike Locke. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/DeathOrGloryBar, Facebook.com/Everymen.Music.

BROWARD COUNTY

For an elevated evening, consider TRP Taste, which made its debut in downtown Fort Lauderdale in 2017 and will offer a 10-course NYE dinner (with wine or cocktail pairing with each course) prepared by TRP culinary director Peter Boulukos and Taste executive chef Chris Miracolo from 8:30 to 11 p.m. The cost is $250 per person. Afterward, go upstairs to the elegant Rooftop for a view of the New River and the fireworks, with a premium open bar from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Rooftop Upgrade Package costs $50 per person (in addition to the dinner package). Visit Facebook.com/TRPtaste.

Tucked away in a corner of the MASS District in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Glitch Bar will adopt a dystopian, Mad Max theme for its 6 p.m. Wasteland New Year block party, with post-apocalyptic costumes encouraged (as if you needed it). There will be free classic arcade games, cornhole, a large outdoor video screen for games and music videos, and $5 Jameson and $1 PBR all night. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/GlitchBarAndArcade.

Fasten your seat belts: Faux flight attendant Pam Ann returns to the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale 8-9:30 p.m. Sunday with a fresh batch of rude, crude observations about the world, sparing no concerns about ethnic background, country of origin or sexual orientation. Of course, she was a sell-out last February. Tickets for Pam Ann’s “NYE Flight 2018” cost $35 (general admission), $50 for premium seating, $100 for VIP seats and a meet and greet with Pam Ann after the show. Visit PamAnn.ticketleap.com.

The Orange Bowl Downtown Countdown, the free NYE street festival that lights up Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee District with fireworks, runs until 1 a.m. But nearby, the nightclub Sway knows how you roll, so renowned DJ-producer Tracy Young’s eight-hour Genesis dance party, also featuring Grammy winner Hex Hector, starts at 8 a.m. New Year’s Day, just as you’re getting your second wind. Tickets start at $55. Visit TracyYoung.com or SwayNightclub.com.

The Lone Palm Pool Deck New Year’s Eve Soiree at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort includes music from popular Miami-based group Tony Succar & Mixtura and Y100’s DJ GQ, cash bars and a countdown to midnight. General-admission access to the party starts at $30 per person, with open-bar tickets for $125 per person. Cabanas ($1,000 for six people) and day beds ($600 for four people) also can be reserved, with prices including open bar, party favors, a charcuterie platter and a champagne toast. Visit MargaritavilleHollywoodBeachResort.com.

The Neon New Year's Eve Party at Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale is a family-friendly 7 p.m.-1 a.m. roller-skating party (with DJ Chris Harrell) that includes free champagne toast (21 and older) and big-screen projections of the Times Square countdown at midnight. Tickets cost $10 (skate rental included) or $20.18 (includes two tickets for beer or wine). Visit XTremeActionPark.com.

Cash Only in Fort Lauderdale begins a free weekend of festivities with Talib Kweli on Friday night and ends it with a New Year’s Eve party in a new space called the Alley. As it sounds, a nondescript space between two adjacent buildings will be set up with DJs, food trucks (Porkfection!), live art and more from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Inside Cash Only, the Sunday night party runs until 4 a.m., with premium open bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $49.99 and a 2-4 a.m. open bar for $29.99. Visit Facebook.com/CashOnlyFTL.

Those crazy kids and their novels, right? American Social on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard will host the Black and White Ball, a tribute to Truman Capote’s celebrity-festooned Party of the Century more than 50 years ago. In keeping with the theme, guests are asked to dress in black or white, with coordinating masks. Admission is free, with complimentary champagne at midnight. Visit Facebook.com/AmericanSocial.

New Year’s weekend at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood includes an inspired set of musicians, beginning 6 p.m. Saturday with the Sunset Sessions white party in the Portico Beer and Wine Garden, featuring engaging Electropico DJ-producer Mr. Pauer. Good stuff. Sunday’s events include a 6-10 p.m. bossa nova show by Rose Max, followed by a 10 p.m.-1 a.m. set in the Hotel Bar from Erick Paredes (accompanied by live musicians), a resident DJ from the cooler-than-thou Anderson bar in Miami. Visit Facebook.com/TheDiplomatBeachResort.

More family festivities can be found in Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream Park’s free Party at the Park, which includes a laser light show, Cirque performers, free party favors, drink specials, champagne bars and live music from the Gipsy Band. A midnight toast will take place as the ball rises from the Walking Ring Fountain. Visit GulfstreamPark.com/Events.

New year, new me. Maybe. Awaken 2018 is about “cultivating consciousness” at Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame in an indoor-outdoor gathering that includes yoga, a shamanic despacho ceremony, a flower release ceremony, a sound bath (gong, crystal bowls and didgeridoo), holistic food and beverage vendors, Reiki, massage and a communal “Om” to usher in 2018. This is not at all my thing. But what I’ve been doing certainly hasn’t worked. Awaken 2018 runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $35. Visit Bit.ly/2E0KX2t.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

There is no better way to cleanse oneself from the smut of 2017 and freshen up for 2018 than a sanctifying bath in the irreverent topicality of the King Mango Strut in Coconut Grove 2 p.m. Sunday. While 2017 has been a banner year for satire, the “weirdest parade in the universe” does not limit itself to the obvious (“covfefe”) and made a plea to participants for “some great, timely non-Trump ideas.” Visit KingMangoStrut.org.

Perhaps the most exclusive party in South Florida is the FiveStar New Year’s Eve event on Watson Island, which touts a gathering of “VIP clientele, celebrities and local tastemakers.” Who are they? No one is telling! Intriguing? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that a ticket (starting at $300) gets you a picturesque view of Biscayne Bay, full-service premium open bar, on-site fireworks, DJs Patrick Pizzorni and Giovanetti and, best of all, the knowledge that 15 percent of ticket sales go to the Little Lighthouse Foundation. Visit FiveStarNYE.com.

Miami’s less cool version of Billy Joel (playing at the BB&T Center Sunday night), Pitbull brings his New Year’s Revolution party back to Miami’s Bayfront Park. As you may have heard, this Revolution will not be televised on Fox, as in years past. Admission is free. Tickets to the VIP party (catered by Sugar Factory) start at $295. Visit WorldwideNYE.com.

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort has a reputation to uphold, and this year delivers another smart NYE party with poolside performances by Demi Lovato and red-hot DJ-producer Kygo (the reason, along with Selena Gomez, for the revival of “whiskey neat”), and Album of the Year Grammy nominee Travis Scott inside at Liv. Ticket packages start at $275 per person. Visit Fontainebleau.com/NYE.

At Story on Miami Beach, a New Year’s Eve set by massively popular DJ-producer Alesso (most widely known for “Heroes” with Tove Lo, “If I Lose Myself” by OneRepublic and Hailee Steinfeld’s current hit “Let Me Go”) is the culmination of a four-day farewell to 2017 that includes Marshmello on Thursday, DJ Khaled on Friday and Puff Daddy on Saturday. A NYE ticket starts at $200, which also gets you premium open bar 9 p.m.-midnight. Visit StoryMiami.com.

At the W South Beach, acclaimed Australian DJ duo Nervo (“People Grinnin’,” “Hold On,” “The Other Boys,” “When Love Takes Over”) will set up poolside at Wet, where remaining tickets start at $200. Inside at Wall Lounge, you can bear witness to Gianluca Vacchi, the Italian multimillionaire playboy dubbed “Instagram’s greatest show-off” (London’s Daily Mail) as he makes the inevitable transition to the DJ booth. Tickets cost $200, $250 after 1 a.m. Visit WSouthBeachNYE18.com.

“Party like Babe Paley” is right there in the subject line of the invitation to the Party of the Century, another masked affair inspired by Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, this one at the luxe Miami Beach hot spot Ora. But party like Babe Paley? We should be so lucky. General-admission tickets cost $100 and include a 9 p.m.-midnight open bar, a menu of 1960s-era cocktails and a soundtrack by DJ Fred Matters. A table in Ora’s Anti-Social Room will set you back $2,000. Visit OraNightclub.com.

At the Electric Pickle, everything that glitters is you. The Miami club’s free 10 p.m.-5 a.m. party is all about local DJs spinning disco and you dressing up in your finest gold attire. Your hosts promise to be a haven from “holiday tourists and knuckleheads,” which is no way to go into the new year. Visit Facebook.com/ElectricPickleMiami.

Tito Puente Jr. is the headliner at Ball and Chain in Little Havana, where admission is free while they have space inside. VIP tickets cost $100 and come with a 10 p.m.-1 a.m. open bar. Puente plays the VIP Pineapple Stage in back, while the Pepe Montes Trio and DJ Danis La Clave alternate in the main room. Visit BallAndChainMiami.com/NYE.

Berries in the Grove has one of our favorite local bands, Suenalo, performing at 10 p.m. during the relaxing Coconut Grove eatery’s third annual NYE gathering. There’s no cover, with bottle specials and free party favors. For dinner reservations and other information, visit BerriesInTheGrove.com.

The weekly Reggae Sunday party at Wynwood Yard in Miami will take a laid-back, family-friendly approach to NYE with music from Jah Steve and the Counteract Crew (6 and 8 p.m.) and Sweet Justice (10:30 p.m.-midnight), interspersed with sets from Kulcha Shok DJs. Visit TheWynwoodYard.com. Meanwhile, #KeepWynwoodWeird is the admirable theme of the free party in and around Mana Wynwood, with live music, DJ Ariel Assault, food trucks and conviviality with your fellow weirdos. Visit SwarmInc.com.

bcrandell@sun-sentinel.com

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