On what is shaping up to be a quintessentially gorgeous South Florida weekend, there is no shortage of ways to indulge the desire for a sunny, sweatered stroll.
If you have yet to witness the thoughtful beauty of Giralda Plaza in Coral Gables, the monthly, first-Friday Giralda Under the Stars series returns this weekend with the new promenade alive with outdoor dining and music from Brothers of Others and Javier Garcia beginning at 7 p.m.
Giralda Plaza is the result of a radical idea: to close Giralda Avenue and turn it into a pavered, pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined community promenade. The project was not without cost, but the fruits of the city’s labor and money and the sacrifice by local businesses during construction are now being enjoyed. Visit Facebook.com/CityOfCoralGables.
Downtown Fort Lauderdale will close its main tourist thoroughfare this weekend, albeit temporarily, for the 30th annual Las Olas Art Festival on Saturday and Sunday. This is another one of those glorious weekends when the art festival coincides with the free, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. JM Lexus Sunday Jazz Brunch along the New River.
The confluence of pedestrians at the two events — extending nearly a mile and a half from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to the corner of Southeast 11th Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard — is a rare thing downtown, and perhaps an instructive thing for city planners looking for a dramatic way to get people together in the city.
For those of you running into the new year, the Save the Panther 5K takes place at the Palm Beach Zoo on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Part of the 2018 Big Cat Race Series, net proceeds go to the zoo’s partnership with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, an organization working to protect Florida panthers and their habitat. Registration also includes admission to the zoo for the day and three half-price coupons for friends and family. Visit PalmBeachZoo.org.
The Wynwood Yard in Miami opens the year with flurry of live music and new music series. This weekend will see the debut of the monthly folk series First Fridays with Keith Johns, 9-11 p.m. Friday; a 7:30-11 p.m. Saturday performance by local favorites Afrobeta, paired with indie-electronic duo Twyn; Reggae Sunday is 2 p.m.-midnight, with family activities noon to 2 p.m. and performances by Tree House at 6-7 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. The monthly series A Night With Elastic Bond and Friends returns 7:30-10:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 11). Visit TheWynwoodYard.com.
South African-Swiss DJ and deep-house producer Nora En Pure will provide a weekend soundtrack at Wall Lounge at the W South Beach beginning at 11 p.m. Saturday and again 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Rhythm and Vine in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Part of a free daytime party co-sponsored by Miami’s Slap & Tickle, Nora En Pure’s Sunday set will be bracketed by music from Pirate Stereo (3-5 p.m.) and Santi Caballero (7-10 p.m.). Visit Facebook.com/WallMiami, Facebook.com/RhythmAndVineFTL.
‘RAWK’ TALK WITH JASON NEWSTED
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s first 2018 edition of its Cocktails and Conversations series brings painter and musician Jason Newsted, longtime member of Metallica, to the Colony Hotel Pavilion 5-7 p.m. Monday. Newsted, who exhibited his work at Art New York and Art Miami in 2017, has his first solo show, “RaWk: The Art of Jason Newsted,” is up at the Cultural Center’s gallery in Lake Worth through Feb. 3. Newsted’s performance with the Chophouse Band at the gallery on Jan. 12 is sold-out. Visit PalmBeachCulture.com.
TAKE THE KIDS
Oshogatsu, the annual New Year’s celebration at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, returns for a 40th year 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, with sights, sounds, food and drink for all. There are tours of six historic gardens, games of hanetsuki (Japanese badminton) and Japanese beers and rare high-end sakes in the tasting room. Advance tickets (purchased by noon Friday) cost $12, $6 (ages 4-10); cost at the gate in $15/$10. Visit Morikami.org.
RUNNING IN CIRCLES
So tall it requires FAA clearance, the 155-foot Midway Sky Eye, billed as North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel, is scheduled to arrive at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach on Saturday. After three days of construction the ride will be ready for the South Florida Fair Jan. 12-28. Visit SouthFloridaFair.com.
Old Town Untapped returns to Bailey Contemporary Arts in Pompano Beach 6 p.m. Friday with live music, food trucks, a scavenger hunt and free beer samples from Pompano Beach brewers (Facebook.com/BaCAPompano) … At noon Saturday, Copperpoint Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach will celebrate the bottle release of Barrel Aged Coxness Monster, their Coxness Monster Imperial Stout barrel aged for 13 months in Chattanooga whiskey barrels (Facebook.com/CopperpointBrewingCo) … Looking ahead, the Anything Gose Sour Beer Festival is Jan. 12 at Bangin' Banjo Brewing Co. in Pompano Beach (Facebook.com/BanginBanjoBrewing) … Due South Brewing in Boynton Beach celebrates Trench Day, their annual beer festival and release for Mariana Trench Imperial Stout, on Jan. 20 (Facebook.com/DueSouthBrewing).
SWING YOUR PARTNER
The nonprofit Rhythm Foundation begins another season of its Dance Band Night series at 7 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 11) with the rousing French Horn Collective. As you may recall, the series seeks to get you off your feet for live music performed by a variety of groups, with each 8 p.m. concert preceded by a dance lesson and happy-house encouragement. Led by Miami-based Parisian singer and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Raffard, the French Horn Collective is a youthful quintet known for a progressive, percolating mix of global influences including swing, ska, Gypsy jazz and polka. The happy-hour dance lesson begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, with a donation of $5 encouraged. Visit RhythmFoundation.com.
Why is Shakespeare Miami returning to Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Amphitheater for a weekend of free performances of “Hamlet”? Founder and producing artistic director Colleen Stovall says: “When I was in high school in suburban Detroit, my Shakespeare teacher, Miss Ruth Tharp, would take her classes to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival outside of Toronto Canada. She would pay the way for any of us who earned an 'A' in her class. This was in ‘1978 High School Teacher pay.’ Her only rule was that we needed to pay it forward when we grew up. ... Shakespeare Miami is my way of paying back a mentor and role model. In Miss Tharp's memory, I run this company for free. I fight to keep all performances free and open to anyone who wants to attend. It's my gift to my community.” “Hamlet” will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Bring a blanket or a low-profile lawn chair (chairs can be rented for $5 cash). Food will be available, including a preview pop-up of the Loch Bar, coming to Mizner Park in the summer. Visit MiznerAmp.com or ShakespeareMiami.com.
“I, Tonya,” about two-time Olympian Tonya Harding and her life leading up to the infamous attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan, includes two talented actors at the top of their games, Margot Robbie in the title role and Allison Janney as the mother from hell, both nominated for Golden Globe Awards. There are laughs, but this is “a feel-real film,” as the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern observed in his review of the “sharp-witted, tough-minded biopic.” Of Robbie’s star turn, he wrote: “Playing against what’s tender and vulnerable in Tonya’s psyche, she creates a flesh-and-blood heroine who, as an extra added attraction, is endearingly funny.” “I, Tonya” opens Friday in a handful of South Florida theaters, including the Regal South Beach, O Cinema Wynwood, the Tower Theater at Miami Dade College, Cineopolis Coconut Grove, Landmark at Merrick Park, AMC Aventura, Fort Lauderdale’s Classic Gateway and the Movies of Delray and the Living Room Theaters FAU in Boca Raton.
BUT I’M A CREEP
I don’t always sing karaoke, but when I do, I prefer to do it in a room of the similarly untalented. Not to make assumptions, but karaoke night at downtown Fort Lauderdale’s bike shop-bar Two& seems like the place where I could not possibly do the worst version of Radiohead’s “Creep.” The music starts 9 p.m. Friday. Visit Facebook.com/TwoAndWhatever.
Hemptopia: The Weekend Event takes over ArtServe in downtown Fort Lauderdale 4-11 p.m. Saturday and 3-7 p.m. Sunday, with vendors, live music and DJs, food and speakers. It’s sponsored by Boynton Beach-based DCNC Hemp, which is out to “change the human race by teaching the forbidden knowledge of hemp and its benefits” in areas from fuel and food to textiles and construction. Tickets cost $10 per day in advance, $25 for both days, or $15 cash at the door each day. Visit Facebook.com/DCNCHemp.