By Ben Crandell, SouthFlorida.com
11:13 AM EDT, April 17, 2014
It’s not often that the Broward Center for the Performing Arts offers a concert by a singer whose songs are heard among the thumpy pop hits on Y100, but there are all kinds of new things going on at the big house on the New River.
To be sure, it’s not much of a stretch for the Broward Center to host Tuesday’s performance by suave and soulful singer-pianist John Legend, who himself may be a little uncomfortable having his ballad “All of Me” bumping up against the Chainsmokers’ “Selfie” on pop radio. But we like to think we see a shift in the Venn diagram that illustrates the relationship between popular culture and the new and improving Broward Center.
The new riverside Huizenga Plaza — with its ground-floor restaurant and bar and second-floor ballroom, which opened last weekend with a performance by Sheryl Crow — is the most dramatic piece of a 40,000 expansion and remodeling that seems aimed at bringing a youthful energy to the Broward Center.
“It’s part of it,” Broward Center CEO Kelley Shanley says. “We hope that overall this generates a lot of new interest in the center.”
Shanley says that initial discussions about the expansion to the center four years ago coincided with the formation of a young-professionals support faction called the Ghostlight Society.
“They are a really strong group, raise money for us and do all kinds of events, but it’s also a younger generation that’s a great sounding board,” Shanley says. “They already have the propensity to attend, but they’re also good for guidance on what experiences we should provide, what programming we should have. They can help us cultivate that audience, as well, in a really authentic way.”
Two seasons ago, the center added the luxurious and popular Club Level suite, and in November opened the Intermezzo Lounge, a casual dining and socializing space.
Booking someone like Legend, who appeals to a diverse and monied pop audience is another step in that direction, Shanley says.
“Gestures like that don’t go unnoticed. Just in terms of how they feel and how they get associated with the brand,” he says. “It’s one thing to say we’re going to renovate the complex. It’s another thing to say, who do we need to be for the next 20 years? What do we have to anticipate? Who is going to be our audience?”
John Legend will perform 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Broward Center. Tickets: $40-$120. Info: 954-462-0222, BrowardCenter.org. He also will play the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets: $31+. Info: 561-832-7469, Kravis.org.
THE TORTUGA CROWD
Despite a stretch of ark-worthy rain on Sunday, last weekend’s second annual Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival drew more than 44,000 attendees, organizers say, a major jump over the 25,000 crowd for 2013’s inaugural gathering on Fort Lauderdale beach. If you want to relive the energy, Country Music Television will look back at Tortuga on “CMT Hot 20 Countdown,” with hosts Alecia Davis and Cody Alan, airing 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Get a preview here at CMT.com.
In this recent review of the punk-opera outfit Timur and the Dime Museum, the Los Angeles Times’ music man Mark Swed offered a goulash of source material for singer Timur Bekbosunov, from L.A. by way of Kazakhstan, that included elements of Al Jolson, Ethel Merman, Maria Callas, Cathy Berberian, Liberace, Tim Buckley, Frank Sinatra, Boy George, David Bowie and Mick Jagger. The mind (and ear) reels. Timur and the Dime Museum perform at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday in one of the few places cool enough to hold them, the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse (404 NW 26th St., Miami). Tickets: $20-$100. Info: 305-576-4350, MiamiLightProject.com.
This weekend, for Record Store Day on Saturday, the late, lamented LCD Soundsystem will release on vinyl its final show in 2011, “The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden.” Next weekend, on April 26, you can tell James Murphy how much you still miss his old band when he does a DJ set at Bardot in Miami. Tickets: $30, $40. Info: BardotMiami.com.
Record Store Day happens all over, of course, but closest to us is Radio-Active Records (845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale), where you’ll find live music (from Sweet Bronco at 5 p.m. to Ketchy Shuby at 9 p.m.), food trucks and giveaways. Make a purchase and get a raffle ticket to be in the running for tickets to Revolution Live shows including Band of Skulls, Ghost, Neon Trees, Say Anything and Earl Sweatshirt. Doors open at 9 a.m., with raffle at 5 p.m. Info: 954-762-9488, Facebook.com/RadioActiveRecords.
For all the exotic allure of the leaf-chomping giraffe and the Malayan tiger, the most captivating animal making its home in West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society may be the capybara, the world’s largest rodent. The zoo has wisely decided to leverage your curiosity (or, maybe, your kids’) with the opportunity to meet and feed the 140-pound cousins of the guinea pig during 25-minute sessions in the “Capybara Experience.” Guests must be at least 8 years old, and accompanied by an adult if younger than 12. Cost is $15 through May 23, when the price goes to $20 for nonmembers ($15 for members). Pre-registration required at PalmBeachZoo.org/Animal-Experiences.
NO. 1 JACKASS
My Gator and Seminole friends suggest that it was his year at the University of Miami, and not his graduation from clown school at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, that best prepared London-born comedian and stuntman Steve-O for his roles as a professional “Jackass.” Ask him yourself when Steve-O brings his stage act to the Fort Lauderdale Improv at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday (tickets are $22 at FTL.Improv.com) and the Palm Beach Improv at 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday (tickets $22 at PalmBeach.Improv.com).
UP, UP AND AWAY
The Gulfstream Polo Club (4550 Polo Road, Lake Worth) is the setting for the Built Ford Tough Polo and Balloon Festival, with polo, food, vendors and hot-air balloon rides. Friday’s events begin at 6 p.m. with a polo match followed by tethered balloon rides from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday is the big day with dozens of balloons lifting off in a mass ascension just after 7 a.m., with tethered balloon rides at 8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. Saturday (and 8 a.m. Sunday). At 8 p.m. Saturday, the polo matches end as the balloons return to the field for the balloon glow light show. Admission to the festival is free with a donation to the Semper Fi Fund for injured Marines. Tethered balloon rides cost $5, with proceeds to the Marines fund. Traditional rides will be offered at 6 p.m. Friday, and 7 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. Cost $200. Call 803-652-1181. More info: PoloAmerica.com.
UNSPINNING A WEBB SONG
No one is more familiar with the architecture of a pop song than Jimmy Webb, who won the first of many Grammy Awards for the 1967 Fifth Dimension hit “Up, Up and Away” when he was barely out of his teens. Most of his best know work was done at the intersection of rock and country that is even busier today than when he was writing “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” But his most ambitious song, one that still confounds the pop music establishment, was the single that put actor Richard Harris (most widely known now as Harry Potter’s Dumbledore), on the pop charts: the seven-minute love poem “MacArthur Park.” In an interview with Jimmy Webb linked here, the songwriter offers an explanation, and he suggested that he’ll paint in more details during his performances at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach Saturday and Sunday. But the video below shows how polarizing “MacArthur Park” is and may always be for music experts. The word “genius” is thrown around a few times. Hit the link for more on Jimmy Webb’s Delray Beach performances.
Listening to Jimmy Webb may rekindle your appreciation for the well-written song. At 2 p.m. May 4, some of South Florida’s best songwriters will gather for “Remembering Pete and Toshi Seeger: A Musical Tribute” at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale (3970 NW 21st Ave., Oakland Park). The afternoon will include performances by event co-producer Rod MacDonald (Susan Moss of the Labyrinth Cafe is the other producer), longtime Seeger friend Allan Aunapu, Amy Carol Webb, Grant Livingston , Annie Wenz, Ellen Bukstel, Laurie Jennings, Marie Nofsinger, Rod Koppelman, Tracy Sands and Vanessa Gilyard. Tickets are $20, and can be reserved before April 28 by sending a check payable to UUCFL (noted “MAY 4 CONCERT”), along with phone number and email, to Susan Moss at the church (address above). After April 28, email Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org. to see if space is available.
The bubbly Young at Art Museum will celebrate 25 years of art exploration with its third annual fundraising gala on April 25, with a couple of familiar names going for it. The essential pop-culture banter will be handled by “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, who will tell you what you really want to know about Jon Stewart. The pop art will come from renowned street-art interpreter Kenny Scharf, who will create one of his “Karbombz” on a 2003 Toyota Celica that will be raffled off. Tickets cost $250 (members $200). The museum is at 751 SW 121st Ave., in Davie. Info: 954-424-0085, YoungAtArtMuseum.org.
WHO DO WE APPRECIATE?!
The 2014 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders tryouts are fast approaching, May 3 at Sun Life Stadium. We feel compelled to mention that here because, hey, who else is going to? And it’s important business. The audition doors will open at 8:30 a.m. with on-site registration, but those who have pre-registered online will be first to enter. All contestants must have an application, bio sheet and photo at the registration table. More info: DolphinsCheerleaders.com.
A-OK AT HARD ROCK
In case you missed it, Steve Aoki’s poolside appearance on Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino sold out and has been moved inside to the larger-capacity Hard Rock Live. The concert hall will be reconfigured to include an open dance floor, pedestals for go-go dancers and VIP sections with bottle service. A limited number of general-admission tickets are now available for $54 (advance) at MyHRL.com, all Ticketmaster outlets and at 800-745-3000. Tickets will be $79 day of show, which begins at 7 p.m., with doors open at 6 p.m. South Florida native Kat Lane will perform at the afterparty at Passion Nightclub. More info: 954-797-5531.
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