Perhaps like you, I have family in town for a stretch, a motley crew who must be entertained or suitably distracted. There’s the Austin resident and the engineer, the home brewer and the ’80s fan, and two West Point grads who are happy to be off the base, with all that entails.
For the Austin chick, we'll do a night with the Juan MacLean, spinning newish music from the album “In a Dream” on Friday at Bardot, both for the trippy loops of MacLean and hovering vocals of Nancy Whang, but also because of the club’s not-of-this-place allure. Info: BardotMiami.com.
The engineer will find himself Jan. 2 at Legends Lounge at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek for music by Sarah Packiam, a walking, singing reminder that the music industry doesn’t get even obvious things right. How is she not huge by now? Plus, the engineer is single, and Packiam is, you know, nice to look at. Info: SeminoleCoconutCreekCasino.com.
I’ll take the home brewer to Due South Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach this weekend, when they’ll be tapping some of their specialties each night at 6, including Calling All Cars, Mocha Stout and Coconut Bay Breeze. From 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, the Boca Raton-based food truck Lucille’s on Wheels will be there serving one of my favorite burgers of all time: the Double Crown Burger, two quarter-pound burgers with cheese and pastrami, lettuce and tomato, and mesquite-ranch dressing. King me! Info: DueSouthBrewing.com.
The ‘80s chick, my sister-in-law, gets the Dan Band at the Palm Beach Improv on New Year’s Eve, or at the Fort Lauderdale Improv on Jan. 2-3. Dan Finnerty may get tired of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but I do not. And I look forward to my sister-in-law getting an earful. Plus, she’s married to the home brewer, who can probably recite most of the “Old School” script by heart. Info: Improv.com. Here is a Dan Finnerty interview.
Ah, the West Pointers … it’s a gamble, but I’m going with “The Imitation Game,” the taut and complex story of British war hero Alan Turing, the brilliant pioneer of modern computing who saved an untold number of lives after cracking Germany’s unbreakable WWII Enigma codes, only to be jailed after the war for his homosexuality. It’s been winning raves from critics around the country, and Oscar buzz for star Benedict Cumberbatch, in advance of its opening in South Florida theaters this week. But that’s not news here: “The Imitation Game” was featured last month at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, where it won the best film award.
While the New Year’s Eve show is a sell-out, scattered tickets remain for other performances in the remarkable four-night set of concerts by jam-band icons Phish at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena. Tickets: $80.10. Info: 786-777-1000, AAArena.com, Ticketmaster.com. If you can't make it, remember that the band if offering webcasts of all four concerts ($29.99 for NYE, $19.99 each for the other shows) at Phish.com.
After Thursday’s Phish show, fans will gather for Roosevelt Collier's Miami Throwdown, pairing Collier’s sacred-steel magic with the Meters’ bassist and singer George Porter Jr. at Railroad Blues (28 NE 14th St., Miami). Tickets: $20. Info: 305-392-0687, RailroadBluesMiami.com.
YOUR 'INTERVIEW' PROTEST
Are you surprised that the controversial James Franco-Seth Rogan comedy “The Interview” is just un-good? Or as Variety puts it, “an evening of cinematic waterboarding.” If instead of thanking North Korea for its attempts to protect us from the film, you’d rather (rightly) express your disdain, consider the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Miami, which beginning Jan. 3 will celebrate free speech with the “No Interviews Mini Festival,” a mash-up of Korean-themed cinema and stoner films. Included are “Pineapple Express,” starring Rogen and Franco; “Shiri,” a thriller set amid tensions between North and South Korea; 2012’s “Red Dawn,” about a North Korean invasion of the U.S.; and “Die Another Day,” pitting James Bond against the North Koreans. Info: MiamiUrbanDriveIn.com. Similarly, but more efficiently, O Cinema in Miami Shores, gets to the point on Sunday with an 8 p.m. screening of the Charlie Chaplin classic “The Great Dictator.” Info: OCinema.org.
True to their word, Manny Carrera and Amy Miller of Argyle Coffee Roasters have been anxious to share the nuances of a well-brewed cup of quality coffee by offering free cups at neighborhood gatherings in their shop (722 N. Andrews Ave., behind Balloon Bazaar), which opened in September in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Progresso neighborhood. Their next free public “cupping,” which includes discussion of “the art and science” of coffee, will take place 10 a.m. to noon Sunday. The warehouse is small: RSVP at Info@ArgyleCoffeeRoasters.com.
COOL NEW YEAR
Beauty and the Feast, the restaurant in the Atlantic Hotel and Spa (601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.), will hold its inaugural New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge Brunch at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 1, when all-comers are invited to gather at Lifeguard Tower 11 on the beach in front of the hotel to take the chilly dip. The hotel will offer a place to dry off and change on your way to the brunch, which includes entrees of lobster omelet, eggs Benedict and bananas Foster French toast for $29.50 (beverages/tax/tip extra). The plunge is free, register at Society8.com to receive free commemorative New Year’s 2015 Polar Bear Plunge favors and refreshments.
'A' IS FOR ANGRYOSA
The New Year’s Day Recovery Brunch at American Social (721 E. Las Olas Blvd.) has all the things you may want, a buffet including omelets, Belgian waffles, prime rib, fried chicken, chilled snow crab legs and an assortment of baked goods ($22.95), as well as some things you didn’t know you wanted. Along with the all-you-can-drink Bloody Marys and mimosas ($10 with meal), you can get Angryosas, a combination of Angry Orchard Cider and orange juice. It sounds almost virtuous. Info: AmericanSocialBar.com.
WANT TO BAILANDO?
The Cuban rap act Gente de Zona collaborated with Enrique Iglesias on a song they wrote to create one of the biggest pop hits of the year, “Bailando.” Gente de Zona will show off other hits from Havana when they perform 8 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Live (5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Tickets: $59-$154 at MyHRL.com.
Local blues guitarist Albert Castiglia will form half of a killer blues bill with John Ginty at the Funky Biscuit (303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton) on Friday night. Ginty’s Hammond B3 has been a key part of Robert Randolph’s Family Band since its inception, but he’s also done side work with everyone from Citizen Cope and Santana to Bad Religion, the Allman Brothers and the Dixie Chicks. Castiglia this year released perhaps his best album ever in “Solid Ground.” Tickets: $10-$25, 561-395-2929, FunkyBiscuit.com.
A NEW TACO
Marc Falsetto, who gave us the bricked classiness of Rok:Brgr and the pixel-y brassiness of Himmarshee Public House, on Jan. 2 will debut a taqueria and tequila bar in the Himmarshee District called TacoCraft. The restaurant, located in the TMex Cantina space (204 SW Second St.), is a partnership with TMex’s Chuck Bergwin, and plans to offer “modern interpretations on authentic street tacos” and an “an upscale casual dining experience.” We like tacos. Muralist Ruben Ubiera was brought in to give the space a “Wynwood” vibe. We like murals. Looking forward to this place opening. Info: TacoCraft.com.
SHEEP AND SAKE
Tickets are on sale for the 37th annual Oshogatsu New Year’s festival at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach on Sunday, Jan. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The popular, family-friendly celebration of Japanese customs and games will ring in the Year of the Sheep. New this year is the Oshogatsu Tasting Room, where VIP ticket holders can try samples of rare, high-end sake, a sake cocktail, Japanese craft beer and a Q&A session with sake sommelier Midori Roth. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the gate; ages 4-10 $6/$12; 3 and younger free. The Tasting Room is $35 and includes Oshogatsu entry. Info: Morikami.org.
THE BIG READ
The Morikami is the destination of a free bus trip by the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami-Dade College as part of The Big Read, the annual NEA-sponsored, month-long community read-in. MDC chose “When the Emperor Was Divine,” by Julie Otsuka, the account of a Japanese family that is forcibly relocated to an internment camp after the start of WWII, about the time that Japanese-owned farmland in the Yamato area was confiscated by the U.S. government for a military installation. Events related to the book will take place Feb. 5 through March 5. The MDC trip to the Morikami is Feb. 21. Info: TheCenterAtMDC.org.
'MOCKINGBIRD,' HAVE YOU HEARD?
The Florida Center for the Book at Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale is also taking part in The Big Read, choosing Harper Lee’s classic tale of race and justice, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Discussions and events will take place all over Broward County beginning Jan. 10 at the Coral Springs Museum of Art. Info: Broward.org/Library, NEABigRead.org.
The Rhythm Foundation has booked Galactic as the season-opening act for the Hollywood ArtsPark Experience, a series of six free, family-friendly and culturally adventurous concerts beginning 7-11 p.m. Jan. 30. The New Orleans-based Galactic just released the album “Carnivale Electricos,” which draws on the funky instincts of their hometown and not-so-distant rhythms of the carnivals of Brazil. San Francisco psychedelic soul band the Monophonics will open. Other confirmed shows in the ArtsPark Experience series include George Porter Jr. and the Running Pardners, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and the Dillard High School Jazz Band (Feb. 14), and the Wood Brothers (March 21). Info: VisitHollywoodFL.org, RhythmFoundation.com.