Should unexpected pleasures be so unexpected around here anymore? A visit to South Florida by Steve Martin, banjoist? Mike Tyson at the Arsht Center? A family-style scavenger hunt in Wilton Manors? New Kids on the Block … anywhere? Nothing should surprise us.
AN AMAZING RACE
When the invitation to the inaugural Wilton Manors Scavenger Hunt asks, “Are you ready for a different kind of fun?” you may wonder whose definition of “different” they are using. How many stereotypes can you knock down in a day? And whose stereotypes are they, anyway?
Wilton Manors, of course, is famous for its energetic nightlife in the bars and restaurants of Wilton Drive. The most-recent U.S. census found Wilton Manors was America’s second gayest city. It has a reputation to uphold.
The scavenger hunt is not about that. But it’s also not not about that.
The goal of Saturday’s afternoon event, organizers say, is to open up people’s minds to Wilton Manors as a destination for family entertainment. That goes for residents, too.
“As it’s become easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt, we are seeing more and more of them with children,” says Krishan Manners, president/CEO of the Wilton Manors Development Alliance. “We want to welcome everyone, to show people that there is something here for everyone.”
The scavenger hunt, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hagan Park, is a fundraiser for the Wilton Manors Historical Society and the Wilton Manors Development Alliance, two organizations that may just be as stuffy and traditional as they sound.
When the Historical Society offers a tip on how to win the Wilton Manors Scavenger Hunt, it has nothing to do with extra martinis, but rather a book, “Wilton Manors: From Farming Community to Urban Village.” Other recommendations include comfortable shoes and a digital camera.
If you are looking for a martini, however, “There are plenty of places to get something to drink nearby,” Manners says, laughing. The afterparty is at Richardson Historic Park, sponsored by Pinche Taqueria.
“We hope to have everyone from nerdy historians to families to groups of guys just looking for fun,” says event coordinator Adrienne Foland, a 10-year Wilton Manors resident who patterned the scavenger hunt after a similar event held annually in San Francisco on Chinese New Year.
“It’s ‘The Amazing Race’ meets 'Wilton Drive' and ‘Jeopardy,’ ” Manners says.
Teams of three or four will compete in the scavenger hunt (you can enter as a team or be assigned to one). Cost is $10, $15 for two tickets, and $7.50 for three or more. Children younger than 12 accompanied by an adult are free. Yes, there are prizes for first, second and third place. More info: WiltonManorsScavengerHunt.com.
HERE COMES THE BANJO
Two new shows on the horizon illustrate the admirable diversity of tastes at work at the Kravis Center. On April 10, comic-actor Kevin James, last seen in the oddly touching big-screen mixed-martial-arts comedy “Here Comes the Boom,” will perform on April 10. On May 24, comic-actor-author-musician Steve Martin, last heard just the other night on the CD “Love Has Come for You,” will bring his banjo and his musical collaborator, Edie Brickell, to the Kravis Center. Tickets (starting at $25 for James, $35 for Martin) are available now for Kravis members, and will go on sale to the public 10 a.m. Feb. 9. Info: Kravis.org, 800-572-8471.
WE LIKE MIKE
In the blurbage accompanying the announcement that former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will be bringing his one-man show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” to Miami’s swank Arsht Center on April 16, arena CEO John Richard says the show “adds a new dimension to the center’s Live at Knight series.” What dimension that is will be up to debate, as anyone who witnessed Tyson’s show a few months back at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek will attest. Strange, touching, funny and bizarre (his anecdote about confronting Brad Pitt with his wife, Robin Givens, is all those things), “Undisputed Truth” is relentlessly entertaining, perhaps in ways that will make you uncomfortable. But what’s wrong with that? Tickets, on sale Monday, cost $35-$75, with a variety of meet-and-greet VIP packages available. Info: ArshtCenter.org, 305-949-6722.
WE LIKE THIS MIKE, TOO
Mike Birbiglia is just a guy, like you, walking around without much of a clue as to how to get or maintain a relationship with a woman. Of course, he’s fairly famous (frequently of NPR’s “This American Life” and the movie “Sleepwalk With Me), and he’s onstage, while you’re in the audience wondering if you’ve got singles for the valet. But go with him: The rewards are many in Birbiglia’s nerd-in-the-henhouse yarn “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts (2855 Coral Springs Drive) on Friday after a 15-week New York City run. Tickets: $35. Info: CoralSpringsCenterfortheArts.com, 954-344-5999.
MORE POOP ON WOMEN
Since 2009, the Miami Beach-based Fertile Earth Foundation has extolled the virtues of composting via blogs, workshops and events. Recently they decided to add a missing component: scantily clad women covered in poop (pictured above). “The 2013 Ladies of Manure Calendar” is a project bankrolled with $5,000 in Kickstarter cash that Fertile Earth hopes “will get you to rethink all your waste, even your daily # 1's and 2's." The calendar, tastefully shot by some of the area’s top photographers, will have a launch party Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cafeina Lounge in Wynwood (297 NW 23rdSt., Miami). You also can buy the calendar ($25) at FertileEarth.org.
GET THEE TO THE MOVIES
The Friday refresh at the local cinema is especially exciting during weeks between Oscar nominations and the awards themselves. Some thoughts on the new weekend lineup at the Gateway Theatre (1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale): Two best-picture nominees, the polarizing “Zero Dark Thirty” and the dark, star-laden rom-com “Silver Linings Playbook,” are joined by another, “Amour.” Passionate reviews for this emotion-rich French drama, starring two octogenarians, have been ubiquitous. In explaining his consideration of “Amour” as the best picture of the year, the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan wrote: "’Amour’ is a moving love story, a privileged glimpse of a relationship between two people who are everything to each other, and a film that enlarges our understanding of a reality we would prefer not to confront. This is a narrative not of the end of love but of love taken to the bitter, hard-to-bear end."
The fourth feature screening at the Gateway beginning Friday is the Dustin Hoffman-directed “Quartet,” a more bouyant look at aging set in an English retirement home for musicians and performers. Its stirling cast includes Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connelly, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon. The title will be familiar to attendees of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, where it was shown last fall. Which reminds us: Last year’s Oscar for best picture went to “The Artist,” which South Florida films fans saw first at FLIFF 2011. The prescience of the FLIFF curators continued in 2012, when its splashy closing-night film was a head-scratcher (a Bradley Cooper-Jennifer Lawrence romance at FLIFF?) that had unanticipated rewards: “Silver Linings Playbook.” And coming soon to the Gateway will be “Any Day Now,” a poignant, based-on-a-true-story drama about love, parenthood and gay adoption, with a tour-de-force performance by Alan Cumming (most recently of CBS’s “The Good Wife”). Yes, “Any Day Now” also made its local debut at FLIFF 2012. The point being, South Florida has thoughtfully programmed film festivals all over every year, from Palm Beach to Miami Beach. Give ‘em a try. Info: TheGatewayTheatre.com, 954-763-7994.
SPEAKING OF SMART CINEMA
“Rust and Bone” –– starring Marion Cotillard (best-actress Oscar winner for her Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose") as a marine-park whale trainer left a double amputee after an accident and Matthias Schoenaerts as her club-bouncer friend (His “sensitive-brute instincts recall Marlon Brando,” gushed the Chicago Tribune) –– has been held over for a 483rd week (we've lost track) at Coral Gables Art Cinema (260 Aragon Ave.) Info: GablesCinema.com, 786-385-9689. The Academy Award-nominated (best foreign film) "A Royal Affair" screens all weekend at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). Info: FLIFF.com, 954-525-3456. And the Oscar-contending documentary “Searching for Sugarman” is screening this weekend at Wynwood’s O Cinema (90 NW 29th St., Miami). Info: O-Cinema.org, 305-571-9970.
After sellout runs in Miami and at Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center, Miami City Ballet takes mercurial British choreographer Liam Scarlett‘s world premiere of “Euphotic” and the rest of Program II to the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach for performances Friday-Sunday. Info: MiamiCityBallet.org.
Maybe there aren’t many movies you and she can watch together without the wisecracks devolving into something that gets uncomfortable. But how about a film you can both appreciate sincerely while having fun torching it at the same time? “Top Gun,” a jet-propelled guys’ adventure and a biceps-flexing, Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer-fueled chick swoonfest, screens for free at 8 Friday night at the ArtsPark in Hollywood. Ready the wit bombs and engage Maverick! Info: 954-921-3404.
NEED A VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT?
Valentine’s Day is about sacrifice. Remember that as we alert you to the just-announced New Kids on the Block tour, reuniting some of her favorite now-middle-aged poster boys, including 98 Degrees (Nick Lachey!) and Grammy winners Boys II Men, who will perform on The Package Tour at the BB&T Center on June 22. Tickets (available Friday to American Express card members) go on sale via Ticketmaster on Feb. 2. At least now you can stop worrying about that gift. On the other hand, you may get stuck going to the show. On the third hand, NKOTB ringleader Donnie Walhberg (yes, before he was kicking butt on “Blue Bloods” and “Boomtown” he was kicking it old-school with the boy band) is keeping things in irreverent perspective: “Ladies, we’re coming for you. … We can’t wait to give fans ‘The Package!’"
CUPCAKES, EXTRA FROSTING
Fort Lauderdale-based Cupcake Burlesque gets back into the swing of things on Saturday with a show at Five Points Lounge, when Miss Jenna Beth Smith and the ladies will be accompanied by ribald rockers Audio Heist. Recommended is the opening set by Brooklyn’s hopped-up Les Raquet (below). Doors at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m. and free domestics for the first 20 paying customers. Info: CupcakeBurlesque.com.
THE WILD ONES
They aren’t making any promises, but last year the 8,000 to 9,000 visitors to the Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show included one Billy Joel. This year’s seventh annual event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Frost Park (300 NE Second Ave.), will include more than 250 American, European and Japanese motorcycles, a Harley skill-riding demo, an antique bicycle display, a kid’s area, food, vendors and live music from the Whipping Post. Admission is free, with bike entries and other proceeds going to Stray Aid & Rescue. Info: DaniaBeachVintageBikeShow.com, 954-830-8855.
GET ME TO THE GREEK
Tzatziki season is upon us, and not a moment too soon. Two major Greek Festivals offer that magical blend of food, music and wine Friday-Sunday at St. Mark’s Church in Boca Raton (2100 Yamato Rd.; 561-994-4822) and St. George’s in Hollywood (425 N. 58th Ave.; 954-966-1898). Fort Lauderdale’s famous St. Demterios Greek Festival (815 NE 15th Ave.; 954-467-1515, Facebook.com/FTL.Greekfest) is coming Feb. 8-9.
As Steve Martin once observed, “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!” But no translation is required to enjoy the delights of Canadafest (“The biggest French festival in the United States,” according to your hosts) on the Hollywood Broadwalk Saturday and Sunday. More than 150,000 visitors are expected to roll through sampling the food, wine and music favored by the Quebecois. And, no snow! Info: Canadafest.com, 954-924-9705.
Photo: Ben Thacker, courtesy FertileEarth.org