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I found my new favorite bar this week, the Fitz Bar & Lounge in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Tarpon River — not through some kind of hipster, in the-know expertise, but via one of those yard-sale signs, stuck in the ground by the Brightline tracks, with an arrow that read “Cool bar.”
There are a lot of reasons to like the place, but what struck me first was the loop of old ‘80s-’90s-’00s music videos playing over the bar. They included the obvious (Britney Spears, Will Smith, Enrique Iglesias) but also the obscure, including Jane Child’s “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love.”
Has anyone thought of that song in decades? I could not look away.
With its black-and-white, rain-slick cobblestones and the leather-jacketed Child’s towering hair and nose ring, the video is a timeless snapshot of a vintage New York City, when fight-me fashion, art, music and attitude mixed on the street in a very public way.
Even in the cliched version seen in the video, it felt good to see that New York again.
The video for “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” came out in 1990, the year that also saw the death of one of the city’s most effective public commentators, graffiti artist Keith Haring.
The doodle-y but provocative work of Haring, still shorthand for a certain era and street aesthetic in New York City, is on display in a new show at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale titled “Confrontation: Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky.”
The show positions Haring in a new context within the CoBrA movement and next to one of the legends of the European avant-garde, and it feels good to see Haring again. All we need is a yard sign that says “Cool art.”
Weekend movie: Not surprisingly, Academy Awards darling “CODA” (Oscars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur) is back in theaters this weekend from Royal Palm Beach to South Beach. Among independent theaters, Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale will show it 5:30 p.m. Friday (FLIFF.com) and Coral Gables Art Cinema will open a weeklong run on Friday (GablesCinema.com). For a list of local screenings, visit CODA.film.
New beer on Clematis: There once was a brewery from Nantucket … Your friends from Boston know Cisco Brewers, craft-beer pride of Nantucket (now under the AB InBev umbrella), with other locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and, as of a couple of weeks ago, downtown West Palm Beach. Cisco Brewers is running a weekend pop-up at 512 Clematis St. through May 1. It’s open 3-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. The pop-up is a collaboration with Boca Raton-based Kula Cares, which provides educational supplies to underserved schools. Visit Facebook.com/CiscoBrewers.
Weekend laughs: The great Peabody Award-winning satirist Hasan Minaj (“Homecoming King” and “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” on Netflix) performs 8 p.m. Friday at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. Tickets start at $55 at MyHRL.com.
Prolific actor, writer and stand-up Nick Swardson is at the Palm Beach Improv in West Palm Beach for four shows Friday-Saturday. Tickets are $35. Texas-born rapper-comedian-podcaster Chingo Bling brings his Legalize Freedom Tour to the Palm Beach Improv 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $25. Visit PalmBeachImprov.com.
Ticket window: Florence + the Machine will bring their fall tour to FTX Arena in Miami on Sept. 24, with tickets (starting at $35.75) on sale 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketmaster.com. One dollar from every ticket sold will benefit Choose Love to aid refugees worldwide. The tour supports the band’s album “Dance Fever,” set for release May 13. Visit FlorenceAndTheMachine.net.
Light and dark: The weekly Art After Dark series at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach will feature a 6 p.m. Friday screening of the short documentary “The Commons: 15 Artists 15 Spaces,” a profile of 15 local artists commissioned by the city’s ArtLife Committee to create a response to the pandemic. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with artists Ates Isildak, Dana Donaty and Robert Fehre, and moderated by ArtLife Committee administrator Sybille Welter. From 7 to 8:30 p.m., there will be a performance by Charles Goold, a young New York-based jazz percussionist of Haitian descent, whose debut album, “Rhythm in Contrast,” was released in February. Art After Dark admission is free. Visit Norton.org.
No-meat meet-up: The Vegan Block Party brings dozens of food and drink vendors (local and out of state), live entertainment, art, shopping and a family fun zone to downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Huizenga Plaza 4-10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 in advance at VeganBlockParty.com and, if still available, at the gate. Organizers say some vendors will offer free samples: “Arrive hungry and feel free to bring Tupperware!” Stay tuned for the Vegan BBQ Party at Huizenga Plaza on July 2.
Listen locally: Organized by Ben Childs and Hector Diaz of local band the Killbillies (sage voices behind the weekly 561 Music podcast 561music.com), the 561 Music Festival takes over Mathews Brewing in Lake Worth noon-midnight Saturday. The gathering will feature 20 top local bands on two stages, including Spred the Dub, Sons of a Tradesman, Sierra Lane, Josh Miles, the No Name Ska Band and the Bryce Allen Band, along with a phalanx of food trucks and beers. Tickets $10 at 561MusicFestival.com.
New brunch on Las Olas: Restaurateur/reality TV guy Memphis Garrett has unveiled a new “high energy” brunch noon-3 p.m. Saturdays at the Mediterranean-themed Ya Mas! on the eastern edge of Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard. Called Aura Brunch, the offerings draw from Executive Chef Austin Blake’s interpretations from Greece, Turkey, Israel and elsewhere.
Highlights include the crispy Prosciutto Benedict served with an Aleppo-peppered hollandaise; Falafel Chicken & Waffle, which tucks crispy chicken thighs between vanilla waffles drizzled with harissa honey; and the Breakfast Gyro with loukaniko sausage, scrambled eggs and pepperoncini, served with sliced tomato, feta and herbs. On the drink side of the menu are Lavish Indulgence (Tito’s, lavender-blueberry syrup, lemon and soda) and Clear-Eyed Maria (Los Magos Sotol, tomato water, cucumber-celery juice and lime). Visit YaMasTaverna.com.
We’re jammin’: The city of Lauderhill hosts its eighth annual Jammin’ in the Park, 4-10 p.m. Saturday at Ilene Lieberman Park, with headliners Doug E. Fresh, Michel’le and Slick Rick. Admission is free. Visit Lauderhill-fl.gov.
Let’s go-go: Something else to look forward to when enduring jammers Perpetual Groove hit the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale 7:30 p.m. Saturday — their covers of the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” and the Cars’ “Drive,” from their recent EP “C’mon Covers?” Tickets cost $20. Visit CultureRoom.net.
Faux sure: For those in need of a tribute-band fix, Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach has three popular South Florida acts scheduled on its canopied outdoor stage: Jaded (Aerosmith) performs 7:30-11 p.m. Saturday, Turnstiles (Billy Joel) plays April 8, followed by Van Halen simulators Completely Unchained on April 15. Admission to all shows is free. Visit Galuppis.com.
Good vibrations: Delray Beach vibraphonist and educator Drew Tucker returns to the Arts Garage in downtown Delray Beach 7-9 p.m. Sunday, accompanied by the female string group Trio Wolfe on a set of interpretations of music by Michael Jackson, the Police, Glass Animals and Britney Spears. Tickets are $20-$22 at ArtsGarage.org. … On Tuesday, Tucker will perform with his soulful, hip-hop adjacent band the New Standard at Lagniappe House in Miami. Admission is free. Visit LagniappeHouse.com.
Local beers, local jams: Tarpon River Brewing in downtown Fort Lauderdale will celebrate four years of beers (Already? Can that be right?) with the Take Me to the River Music Festival 2-11 p.m. Saturday, April 9. Among the performers will be the Heavy Pets, Colors in the Void (Phish tribute), the Honest Liars, the Copper Tones and Social Illusions. It’s free. Visit Facebook.com/tarponriverbrewing.
The Weekender – South Florida Events Newsletter
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
Blast from the past: An iconic South Florida rock bar will be remembered at Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach 7:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, during The Button South Class Reunion: The Encore. The show will include performances by the bands that made it such a great room, among them Gypsy Queen, Canaveral and Motor, plus an all-star jam with members of other favorite Button South bands. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door (good luck). Reservations are $150 for tables seating up to six. Visit Galuppis.com.
Future cocktails: In downtown Fort Lauderdale, the energetic Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar has an Easter menu on the way for brunch and dinner on April 17, when savory will do battle with sweet. One highlight will be Costillitas de Cordero, an herb-marinated double lamb chop with a minty-mango chutney ($30). Another is the Cuban Peep cocktail, a melding of vanilla rum and coffee liqueur, topped with a marshmallow Peep ($13). Reservations: CubaLibreRestaurant.com.
SunFest is near: Of course, SunFest is returning to the West Palm Beach waterfront April 28-May 1 with a lineup led by Sam Hunt, Black Pumas, Melissa Etheridge, Lil Wayne, Adam Lambert, AJR and others. Tickets cost $55-$60 (one-day pass), $80 (two-day) and $105 (four-day), but there are ways to save as much as $20 to $25 off gate admission through April 8 at SunFest.com.