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Kevin Hart's 'Life Lessons,' Sarah Gerard's 'Sunshine State' and Laura Gibson's Everglades | The Monday Hit List

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Good afternoon, South Florida. [Unintelligible]

(Photo: Talia J. Medina)

1. R&R at R&V

Rhythm and Vine, an outdoor bar and hangout space that has been recognized in's Best of South Florida survey, turned a not-so-terrible 2 years old with a scheduled weekend-long party that, as Talia J. Medina's photos show, managed to squeeze in some fun before the rains came and washed away the shot guy.

Recommended listening: "Alcohol" by the Kinks

(Photo: AP)

2. 'You don't need thumbs to scare me!'

Alec Baldwin has been great and all as Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live," but has anything on the show in recent years been as funny as Kevin Hart's 2015 opening monologue, in which he recounted his terrifying confrontation with a raccoon in his back yard? I don't think so. Hart may not recycle this story in his forthcoming book "I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons," but as Ben Crandell reports, the stories in the book will offer “a different level of honesty ... funny, dark and deep.” Maybe Hart will share one or two of them when he appears in June at Books and Books in Coral Gables.

Recommended listening: Kevin Hart's 2015 monologue on "Saturday Night Live"


(Photo: Barbara Corbellini Duarte)

3. Swinging party

On Friday night, Barbara Corbellini Duarte photographed the 22nd annual Las Olas Wine and Food Festival in Fort Lauderdale. Yes, there were acrobats.

Recommended listening: "Drank Up All the Wine Last Night" by Stick McGhee


(Photo: Laura Gibson)

4. Laura Gibson wilder

“My brain was just on fire with new, exciting facts and observations,” singer-songwriter Laura Gibson tells Phillip Valys of her artist's residency earlier this year at Everglades National Park. Based part-time in Porland, Ore., Gibson visited the swamp seeking inspiration following a rough-and-tumble few years. What did Gibson find? Other than alligators?

Recommended listening: "Animals" by Laura Gibson

(Photo: Justin N. Lane)

5. Talking Florida blues

Don't attend Sarah Gerard's reading this Thursday at Books and Books expecting the Clearwater-born writer to make the kinds of lazy, tired, Florida-is-weird jokes clogging up your Twitter feed. Even though she now has a New York mailing address, the author of the excellent new essay collection "Sunshine State" is still a proud Floridian, as I learned last week when I interviewed her. "When I see people talk about Florida in this kind of derisive way, I get a little defensive," she says. "Because first of all, these are real people that they’re talking about. So if it’s [a story about] somebody riding an alligator in Wal-Mart or something, what we’re really laughing at is poverty, addiction, mental-health issues. There’s no room for empathy in a joke like that.”

Recommended listening: "Bad Florida" by Tim Easton

— compiled by editor Jake Cline,,

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