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The Go Guide Places, people and life with Ben Crandell

Weekend preview: Young passion and old loves

15 things to do in South Florida this weekend and beyond

The headliner for A Day at the Beach on Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell is Cuban singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno, founder of the band Yerba Buena and the man responsible for Enrique Iglesias’ massive hit “Bailando.” But the biggest round of applause should be reserved for the opening act, the young musicians of the Guitars Over Guns Organization.

The six high school students you’ll see onstage first picked up a musical instrument in GOGO’s after-school mentoring program for at-risk middle schoolers, and they are the first group of graduates to perform as an opening act on a major concert stage. For GOGO founder Chad Bernstein, it will be a moment of incredible pride.

“It’s pretty significant for our kids to have opportunities like this. I remember the first bandshell concert we had, which was maybe three years ago, and it was the first time many of our kids had ever seen a beach,” he says of his Miami students. “Even though they may seem like they’re [from] right down the road, there’s a whole world outside of their neighborhood that many of them don’t get to explore.”

A Day at the Beach is 4-10 p.m. Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), with tickets $25. Info: GuitarsOverGuns.org. The music continues at the bandshell on Sunday during a free preview of next weekend’s Virginia Key Grassroots Festival, with performances by Afrobeta, Big Mean Sound Machine, Jean P Jam, Oigo and Big Brooklyn Red, and workshops, food vendors, crafts and more. Gates open at noon. Info: Facebook.com/CultureMiamiDayAtTheBeach

A Day at the Beach is sponsored by arts-education nonprofit Community Arts & Culture, winner of a 2015 Knights Arts Challenge grant and a National Endowment of the Arts Challenge America award. Credit also goes to the Rhythm Foundation, which programs music at the North Beach Bandshell.

By night Bernstein is a trombonist for two of South Florida’s most accomplished Latin-funk bands, the Spam Allstars and Suenalo. By day he is president of the nonprofit Guitars Over Guns, which for eight years has paired professional musicians with vulnerable students. A recipient of a CNN Heroes award, Bernstein expanded his program to Chicago two years ago, and last Friday spoke about his work on “The Steve Harvey Show.”

“Music is the vehicle by which we’re able to reach a lot of kids that are otherwise written off as unreachable,” says Bernstein, who has a doctorate from the University of Miami and wrote his dissertation on “the cognitive and social effectiveness of music mentoring.”

Bernstein says the six students performing on Saturday are especially impressive: After they graduated from the GOGO program in eighth grade they returned during high school to mentor the middle-school students following behind them.

“These kids in particular have kind of changed our model. They made us see the value in having them come back and mentor their younger peers. It’s pretty incredible,” he says. “I’ve watched them grow from never having picked up an instrument to now, performing at a very high level, and representing themselves not only as musicians but as young adults, both onstage and offstage. I couldn’t be more proud of them.” 

VIRGINIA KEY CLUB

Yes, next weekend’s Virginia Key Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, is not to be missed, with a solid lineup of nationally touring talent led by Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, the Wood Brothers, the Family Stone, Jim Lauderdale and festival founders Donna the Buffalo joined by a long list of locals,  among them Locos Por Juana, Suénalo, Spam Allstars, Afrobeta, Elastic Bond, the Baboons, Lanzallamas, DJ Bill Kelly, Telekinetic Walrus, Blue Jay and Brendan O'Hara. The music runs Feb. 18-21 at historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, with daily tickets beginning at $25 (12 and younger free). A four-day pass is $100. The annual festival again will be preceded by Culture Camp, a four-day series of workshops on music, dance, yoga, cooking, sustainability and community building, beginning Sunday (Feb. 14). Info: VirginiaKeyGrassroots.com.

HOLD THAT TIGER

Science on Tap, the series of casual pub conversations hosted by the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach, returns with its 2016 season-opener at Due South Brewing (2900 High Ridge Road, No. 3, Boynton Beach) on Thursday (Feb. 11). These discussions are led by serious experts in their fields, but, given the setting, the gatherings are all about letting down the cylindrical, keratinous filaments growing from the cranium. Uh, they let their hair down. First up is energetic Zoo Miami communications director Ron Magill, with photography from his trip to the Okavango Delta in Bostwana. Magill will share lessons learned from his interactions with giant predators, and how to respond when Shaquille O’Neal says, “C’mon, Ron, get me a tiger.”  Admission is free. For information, call the South Florida Science Center at 561-832-1988, or visit SFScienceCenter.org. Hit the link for a wandering Ron Magill interview.  

DRINK IN THE 40s

Admission is free to Art After Dark festivities 5-9 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 11) made even more special for the Norton Museum’s 75th anniversary celebration. The youthful gathering will look back to the era of the museum’s debut with 1940s newsreels, period music from young South Florida chanteuse Chloe Dolandis (and pianist Kevin Maddox), followed by the Swing All-Stars, with Brenda Alford on vocals and  Jesse Jones Jr. on sax, accompanied by dance lessons from Izzy Shniadoski, director of Swing Affair, and period costume displays from Wick Theatre and Costume Museum. Food and drink will be available for purchase. The Norton is at 1451 S. Olive Ave. West Palm Beach. Info: Norton.org.

SLOW CINEMA

The relentless increase in the velocity of life in the last 15 years only makes David Lynch’s beautifully paced 1999 road movie “The Straight Story” all the more remarkable. The film follows the quest of an old Iowa farmer, retired and widowed, to reach the side of his estranged brother hundreds of miles away after the brother suffers what may be a fatal stroke. With no car, the farmer (a carefully callibrated performance by Richard Farnsworth) sets out atop his old lawnmower on a deliberately paced journey of spiritually moving connections. Sponsored by the cultural organization PAXy.org, “The Straight Story” (rated G) screens 8 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 11) on the New World Center SoundScape Wall (500 17th St., Miami Beach), an outdoor venue that will echo the farmer’s chilly trek. Admission is free. The screening is part of a monthly Lynch retrospective. Info: PAXy.org.

GREEK TO ME 

Forgive me for getting a little wistful, but the most romantic spot in town on Valentine’s Day weekend may be the Fort Lauderdale Greek Festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church (815 NE 15th Ave.), where you can count on that moment when the dance floor is atwirl in a clutch of gray-headed couples, holding each other in that old, familiar and still beautiful way, showing you what, if you play your cards right, it might be like for you some day. OK, that’s why somebody needs to cut me off at one bottle of retsina! Waiter, more baklava! The Greek Fest is 5-11 p.m. Thursday, noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $5. For information about food, entertainment and parking, go to FortLauderdaleGreekFestival.org

GREAT NECK

As the Bard of Brooklyn once sang, love is a battlefield. Exhibit A: The photograph titled “Neck,” by Lee Miller. As the story goes, the original picture was a portrait of Miller taken by the avant-garde artist Man Ray, who saw nothing in it and discarded the negative. Miller took the negative from the garbage and worked with it, cropping it into an abstract, erotic expression of beauty and longing. This is your last weekend to see “Neck,” and other pictures taken by and of Miller before, during and after her dalliance with Man Ray, collected in “The Indestructible Lee Miller” at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. The exhibit is up through Valentine's Day. Info: NSUArtMuseum.org.

WEEKEND LAUGHS 

Craig Shoemaker is at the Fort Lauderdale Improv through Sunday channeling his first Comedy Central special, unironically titled “The Lovemaster” (tickets start at $20). Because sometimes all the lovey-dovey can make you sick, the Palm Beach Improv has Pauly Shore, sort of the un-”Lovemaster” (tickets start at $22). Both comedians will have a 7 p.m. Valentine’s Day performance that includes a dinner-dessert package ($44.81). Info: Improv.com.

COOL RUNNING 

Here’s that spontaneous thing you’re looking to do with your Valentine this weekend: Cupid’s Undie Run, making its Miami debut on Saturday, is a mile-ish fun run through Wynwood, with proceeds going to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF.org) to raise awareness of neurofibromatosis. The “party” starts at noon with the run at 2 p.m., open to solo runners and teams. Registration is $55 (friends get a discount), with sign-up at the Mana Wynwood Tent, 2250 NW Second Ave. Miami is one of 36 cities to host an Undie Run. Info: CupidsUndieRun.com.

PANCAKE-APALOOZA 

If you sleep in your underwear (or less), try to remember to throw something on for Foxy Brown’s Pajama Pancake Party, a family-friendly benefit for the Jack & Jill Children’s Center (JackAndJillCenter.org), 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Foxy Brown (723 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). The inventive Foxies, said to have never served the same pancake twice for their brunches over the years, will offer all-you-can-eat flapjacks, games, contests (including best PJs) and craft cocktails and beer on the patio out back. Tickets: $25, $12 for kids 12 and younger. Info: BeNiceRestaurants.com.

FUNKY BUT CHIC 

Hard to say whose music is more emblematic of the sounds that dominated the pop charts nearly 40 years ago, Duran Duran or Chic. But both will be onstage April 1 when Nile Rodgers and Chic open for the durable Brits at Bayfront Park in Miami. The creator of such hits as “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” guitarist Rodgers makes a few stylish cameos on the album “Paper Gods,” Duran Duran’s new adventure in funky explorations of modern sonic ambience. Tickets, on sale 10 a.m. Saturday at LiveNation.com, cost $39.50 to $149 (plus fees). Info: DuranDuran.com.

BEY VIEW

Don’t forget: Beyonce will open her first solo stadium tour April 27 at Marlins Park in Miami, with tickets on sale 10 a.m. Tuesday (Feb. 16) at LiveNation.com. Tickets will cost $40-$300. Info: Beyonce.com.

POWER TO THE PEEPLE 

Like swallows to Capistrano, the annual migration of marshmallow chickens to Lake Worth is nearly upon us. Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery (15 S. J St.) is accepting submissions to its irreverent Peeps Show, an annual exhibit of Peeps-inspired art on display March 18-April 6. Once again, prizes will go to the five displays deemed the favorites of a panel of judges ($110 first place) led by the inventor of the Peep, Bob Born. Application and entry fee due by March 15. Info: 215-205-9441, cgmsgallery@flamingoclaystudio.org

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at SouthFlorida.com, on Twitter at @BenCrandell and Instagram /BenCrandell. Email: bcrandell@southflorida.com.

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