Try as you might, how are you supposed to ignore the exhausting, demoralizing horror that is the 2016 Election Season when “The Vagina Monologues” is playing at the Boca Black Box Center for the Arts? When Kesha is displaying her soul-baring spirit, hardened by a sexual-assault case, at the Fontainebleau? When we’re all about to gather in front of the LCD hearth on Sunday for the locked-and-loaded morality play “The Walking Dead”? Take comfort in the fact that the final slog toward the voting booth is less than three weeks away. To quote one “Walking Dead” survivor, or maybe it was Eve Ensler, “Someday this pain will be useful to you.”
GRAVEL AND DUST
A couple of bands high on my local-music playlist these days will turn up at the annual Pirate Fest & Mermaid Splash, the annual family-friendly yo-ho-ho-down in downtown Boynton Beach Friday-Sunday. Russell Mofsky’s Gold Dust Lounge kicks things off at 6 p.m. Friday, when we’re hoping he performs some of the killer new music (deliciously trashy, deliciously Tarantino) he’s shared on social media recently. At 8:15 p.m. Saturday, the Gravel Kings will offer the twangy Americana that makes their new EP “Lure” such a revelation. Best of all, admission is free. Info: BBPirateFest.com.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” returns with its Season 7 premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday, when many Deadheads will be gathered around the 109-inch TV at Bangin’ Banjo Brewing in Pompano Beach. With Negan on the rampage, it’s going to be “a rough, rough, rough episode emotionally,” series creator Robert Kirkman told the Hollywood Reporter. You’ll need the courage of your friends, or the Banjo’s latest brews. Info: Facebook.com/BanginBanjoBrewing.
PUSSY CAT LOVE
The creative collective known as the Van Gogh-gos and local surf punks Octo Gato will host the Van-Gatos Craft Band Cat Rescue Fest at the Vintage Tap in Delray Beach 9 p.m. Friday. The evening includes an army of local craft vendors, food from Diablo Dog, live music (Octo Gato joined by SunGhosts, Ghost Cat and B) and adoptable felines from the Lumenls cat rescue (Lumenls.org). Admission is free. Info: Facebook.com/TheVanGoghgos, Facebook.com/VintageTap.
DOWN WITH POLITICS
How could Marion Grodin (daughter of actor Charles) have known that her revival of Eve Ensler’s funny, sad, intimate, powerful and uncompromising 1996 examination of sexual politics and feminism, “The Vagina Monologues,” could be so timely? Performances are 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at Boca Black Box Center for the Arts. Tickets: $25-$35. Info: BocaBlackBox.com.
While we’re in the mood, few playwrights of the past half-century have been as perceptive on the subject of gender dynamics as the revered Cuban-born playwright Maria Irene Fornes. Her moving 1983 Off-Broadway hit “Mud,” about a young woman’s struggle to escape the men holding her back in her rural town, is playing through Nov. 6 at Thinking Cap Theatre at The Vanguard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Performances (18 and older) are 8 p.m. Thurday-Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. This Saturday will have a 3 p.m. matinee. Tickets cost $35, but special “Sit in the Mud” floor seats (cushions provided) are $10 at ThinkingCapTheatre.com.
LADIES' NIGHT AT SWEAT
Sweat Records in Miami will do one of those cool things they do with Classic Album Sunday, a casual listening party that spotlights great music on great turntables and speakers (thanks to Deja Vu Audio South). At 5 p.m. the album is Billie Holiday’s sublime 1958 release “Lady in Satin,” followed by Amy Winehouse's 2006 hit "Back to Black.” Admission is $5 advance, $10 at the door, and includes free pizza and PBR. Info: SweatRecords.com.
The Gold Coast Derby Grrls close out their 2016 roller-derby season with a doubleheader on Saturday at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale. The night, which includes matches at 6 and 8 p.m., costs $15 advance and $20 day-of, $5 for kids ages 5-12. Info: GoldCoastDerbyGrrls.com.
Kesha is, by all accounts, the same hot, glittered mess she’s always been since anthems such as “TiK ToK” and "We R Who We R” ruled the pop charts, and her recent court battle with her producer over sexual assault allegations has only made her more topical. Fans have been uniquely supportive of her on tour, and it will be interesting to see if that carries over at her 9 p.m. Saturday performance as part of the BleauLive concert series at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Ticket packages start at $70 for a general-admission ticket, discounted valet service ($15) and two-hour open bar. Info: Fontainebleau.com/Kesha.
LAS OLAS NIGHTMARE
The corner of Southeast Eighth Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale will be a, um, colorful place to be Saturday night. That’s a major intersection for the street-hogging masses at opening day for the Las Olas Art Fair, where darkness will bring the young guys and ghouls getting their boo on for the Nightmare on Las Olas Block Party at 9 p.m. Saturday outside the frisky American Social. It’s all free. Info: Facebook.com/AmericanSocial.
OH, SAY CAN YOU SEA?
The third annual Feast of the Sea returns to Meyer Amphitheatre in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday for a daylong seafood celebration to benefit golfer Ernie Els’ Els for Autism Foundation. Beginning at 11 a.m., the event will feature top area chefs selling samples, along with demonstration stations, seminars and a bourbon-and-cigar bar. Admission is free. From 6 to 10 p.m. the festival will host 16 local chefs set up at the amphitheater and on nearby stages competing to knock off defending champion Blake Malatesta (MIA Kitchen & Bar in Delray Beach) for the title of Maestro del Mar and a $5,000 prize. The evening, which includes live entertainment and chef samples, is a ticketed affair, with admission $45-$175. Info: FeastOfTheSea.com.
If you witnessed the awe-inspiring production of “The Wall” that Roger Waters brought through South Florida (twice) a few years back, you can’t help but be excited at the prospect of seeing his new tour, Us and Them, at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena on July 13. Tickets ($51-$195.50) go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at the arena box office and all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.
Reminder: Another monumental show headed toward South Florida in 2017 is Coldplay’s Aug. 28 stop on its long-running A Head Full Of Dreams Tour at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Tickets ($24.50 to $220) go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.
Honduran-born comic Carlos Mencia’s strong suits are insights about race, immigration, criminal justice and politics in general. Can there be a better time for him to do six shows at the Fort Lauderdale Improv? Catch him Thursday (Oct. 20) through Sunday. Tickets: $30-$50. Info: FTL.Improv.com.
Adventurous Latin funketeers Locos por Juana will host a free release party for the long-awaited album “Caribe,” including the band’s first English-language recordings, at 8 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 20) at Gramps in Miami. Info: Facebook.com/LocosporJuanaMusic, Gramps.com.
MUSIC, NOT GUNS
The Guitars Over Guns Organization on Saturday will host its third annual Choose Your Sound benefit concert to raise funds to support arts-based mentoring for at-risk youth in Miami-Dade County. The evening runs 7-11 p.m. at the University of Miami’s Donna E. Shalala Student Center, with host Kimmy B of 99JAMZ, music by ArtOfficial, food from Mena Catering, and drinks courtesy of Bombay Sapphire, Russian Standard Vodka and Wynwood Brewery and a silent auction (one item is a four-night stay at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita). Tickets are $100. Info: GuitarsOverGuns.org/ChooseYourSound.
FREE SERAPHIC FIRE
This is the season-opening weekend for the youthful Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, which begins its 15th year with sections of Philip Glass’ avant-garde epic “Einstein on the Beach,” along with world-premiere compositions by artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley and Guggenheim-winning composer Christopher Theofanidis (“Rainbow Body”). Fans of thoughtful, challenging music would be wise to check them out. Worth mentioning is that again this season Seraphic Fire is making an aggressive effort to reach a younger audience by offering free tickets to anyone younger than 30 (as availability permits). Call them at 305-285-9060 a week prior to the performance and they’ll have the ticket waiting for you at will call. Performances this weekend are at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Coral Gables, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale and 4 p.m. Sunday at All Souls Episcopal Church on Miami Beach. Tickets: $41-$50. For a schedule of future performances this season, visit SeraphicFire.org.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
It is not often that you’ll find two music icons of global significance performing in the same city on the same night in the same building, but that’s the embarrassment of riches we have on Tuesday at the Arsht Center. At 7:30 p.m. in the Arsht’s Ziff Ballet Opera House, multitalented Charles Aznavour, a spry-looking 92, will share the vocal sophistication that earned him the title “the French Frank Sinatra.” Tickets cost $69.50-$250. At 8 p.m. Omara Portuondo, the 85-year-old, Havana-born singer most widely known for her graceful appearances with the Buena Vista Social Club, will perform in the Knight Concert Hall. Tickets cost $49-$110. For information on both shows, visit ArshtCenter.org.
OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS
West Palm Beachers-turned-New Yorkers Hypoluxo play Respectable Street 9 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 20) and Gramps in Miami 8 p.m. Friday with the Gun Hoes, Heavy Drag and Lindsey Mills (Facebook.com/HypoluxoMusic) … Pop-soul band Chemradery plays the Free Friday Concert Series on Old School Square in Delray Beach at 7:30 p.m. to raise money for Haiti hurricane relief and Frank McKinney’s Caring House Project Foundation (OldSchoolSquare.org) ... Miami folk singer Keith Johns will have a release party for the album “Grateful Fool” 7 p.m. Friday at Wynwood Yard (Facebook.com/KeithJohnsMusic) … Vocalist Kevin Mahogany does a free show at Ball & Chain in Miami 6 p.m. Friday, followed at 9 p.m. by Palo! (BallAndChainMiami.com) … Popular Led Zeppelin interpreters Zebra return to the Arts Garage in Delray Beach (where they sold-out last time) 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Sunday (ArtsGarage.org) … Brett Staska plays Sunday brunch at the Blind Monk in West Palm Beach (Facebook.com/BrettStaska) … The Psychedelic Furs play the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale 7:30 p.m. Sunday (CultureRoom.net) … Mary Chapin Carpenter brings musc from her excellent new album to the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (ParkerPlayhouse.com) …