The autumnal equinox on Thursday reminds me of the great jazz ballad “Autumn in New York,” both for the many artists drawn to the song — among them, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell — and for the memories of good times in the old neighborhood.
In September 2020, during the bad old days of COVID, Diana Krall released her version of the song, with a stunning video shot by revered photographer Mark Seliger. The gloomy black-and-white images soared over the city, shocking in its emptiness, as Krall sang in a style that was equal parts lament and love letter. Ex-New Yorkers who have come to South Florida since then know the feeling.
Although autumn in South Florida is a lot like summer in South Florida, we do feel encouraged by a sense that cooler times are coming. Here are a ways to get out this weekend, including a few date-night recommendations. No lament, all love letter.
Date No. 1: On your list of venues worth getting in the car to experience and bands worth getting in the car to hear, put Friday’s 9 p.m. show at Lagniappe House in Miami by Gold Dust Lounge. The group, led by guitarist-composer and veteran scenemaker Russell Mofsky, traffics in a brand of noiry, guitary moodiness that may call to mind a scene dreamed up by Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch. Music to look over your shoulder by. And Lagniappe House, just south of the Design District and Interstate 195, west of Biscayne, is just a lovely wine bar, with a broad, brick patio under lighted trees and a scruffy-chic indoor lounge with a small corner stage. The menu is efficient, with grilled items, charcuterie and cheese. The wine list is where it’s at. Admission is free. Visit LagniappeHouse.com or GoldDustLounge.com.
Weekend laughs: If you know Dan Cummins’ “Timesuck” podcast, then you know. This week he did an extended riff on the glory of George Carlin, necessary listening for … well, anybody. The profane and cerebral Cummins brings his Symphony of Insanity Tour to the Dania Improv for shows at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $30+. Visit DaniaImprov.com.
Dog night: On Fort Lauderdale beach Friday night, the LOOP (Las Olas Oceanside Park) will host the final edition of its Dogs Days of Summer movie series, with a free, pet-friendly 8 p.m. screening of “The Secret Life of Pets” on the lawn. Co-hosted by the sunglasses-wearing star of the Instagram account @TourwithTeddy, the event is BYO lawn chairs and blankets, and will feature an assortment of vendors in a people and pets’ marketplace. My wife would call this a date. Visit TheLOOPFLB.com.
Date No. 2: We’ll begin at the end, with dessert … Luchadough, the local pro wrestling-themed doughnut pop-up, will bring its inventive square rings (like a wrestling ring) to Laser Wolf, the intimate beer dive in Fort Lauderdale’s Progresso Plaza, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Visit Instagram.com/laser_wolf. Steps away, you’ll find the popular terrace recently unveiled outside Patio Bar & Pizza, with an outdoor cocktail bar, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. Facing the terrace is Sidewalk Bottle Shop, an engaging source of natural wines and a hip crowd. What more do you need? Visit PatioBarPizza.com or SidewalkBottleShop.com.
Ladies’ night: Lizzo will bring her infectious anthems to FLA Live Arena in Sunrise at 8 p.m. Friday, with scattered tickets available at Ticketmaster.com. Full price is $64.75+, but there are resale seats for almost $20 less. … You can still get tickets to see Karol G at 8 p.m. Friday at Miami’s FTX Arena, but they start at $225+ (with some resale tickets slightly cheaper) at Ticketmaster.com.
Date No. 3: Wynwood’s food-forward Saturday afternoon staple Smorgasburg Miami adds a Friday night edition this weekend for the final installment of its Summer Nights Music Series, featuring the funky and danceable Xperimento. Open from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., you’ll also find many of Saturday’s best food vendors serving for your noshing pleasure. Admission is free. Visit SmorgasburgMiami.com or Xperimento.com.
Puerto Rico relief: While you’re at Smorgasburg Miami, you’ll find them taking donations for Puerto Rico hurricane relief at the information booth. The Smorg will match weekend donations up to $1,000, according to a post on Facebook.com/Smorgmiami, and also will donate proceeds from all merchandise sales, sending funds to local nonprofit Neighbors 4 Neighbors.
Take the kids: Tickets for Brightline’s The Polar Express holiday train rides went on sale this week, starting at $50 for adults and $45 for kids age 2 to 11 (lap infants younger than 2 ride for free). The two-hour journeys from MiamiCentral Station offer an entertaining recreation of the classic children’s story led by a cast of actors, as well as hot chocolate and a treat from dancing chefs. Pajamas optional (but encouraged). Visit MiamiThePolarExpressRide.com.
Date No. 4: Perhaps, like George Costanza, you are better at the daytime date. Drinking in downtown Fort Lauderdale feels a lot classier when they call it Libations by the River. This gathering of craft beers, cocktails, wine and food trucks is at Esplanade Park on the Riverwalk from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. All your friends will be there, among them Tarpon River Brewing, Funky Buddha Brewery, American Icon Brewery, Shady Distillery, Gulf Stream Brewing Co., Paradise Prosecco Co., Rescue Dog Wines, Black Flamingo Brewing Co, ChainBridge Distillery and many others. Admission is free, but five-drink sampling tickets cost $25. Visit GoRiverwalk.com. If you want to add dinner, may we recommend the relaxing patio at The Chimney House, a half-block away on the other side of the Broward Center? Visit ChimneyHouseFL.com.
Go with the Flo: Renaissancing queen Florence and the Machine bring the tour supporting the critically lauded new “Dance Fever” to FTX Arena in Miami at 8 p.m. Saturday, with King Princess opening. There are seats to be had, beginning at $50+. It’s informative when an electric performer such as Florence Welch lines up her tour to create a South Florida performance on a Saturday (the band played Nashville on a Tuesday). South Florida needs to reward that decision. Visit Ticketmaster.com. (Remember, Brightline goes there.)
The Weekender – South Florida Events
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
Date No. 5: Show off your benevolent side at Barrel of Monks Brewing in Boca Raton on Saturday night, when they will release new cans of Witty in Pink, the pink-hued beer (they add raspberries to their Wizard White Ale) that raises money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer through the end of October. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., the evening will include live music by Afraid Dave, raffles and the madcap culinary ambitions of Cheffrey Eats. Visit Facebook.com/barrelofmonks. … Crazy Uncle Mike’s, a reliable spot for energetic good times about 10 minutes east of BOM, is hosting nationally touring but local funk-rock band The Heavy Pets beginning at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $15. Visit CrazyUncleMikes.com.
Racin’ and bourbon: The all-you-can-eat-and-drink series Taste at the Track returns to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the final edition of the season, this one called Bourbon & BBQ. Taking place in the third-floor Flamingo Room, overlooking the action on the racetrack, the afternoon will feature Southern-style dishes paired with cocktails and premium bourbons. Cost for the 21-and-older event is $50. Visit GulfstreamPark.com/events.
Date No. 6: Playing at the Tin Roof in Delray Beach on Saturday night, Got You Covered is, yes, a high-energy South Florida cover band that will define the soundtrack on that end of Atlantic when they take the outdoor stage beginning at 6 p.m. Any band that can do credible versions of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and the classic Black Sabbath singalong “War Pigs” is guaranteed fun. I can vouch for the top-notch burgers at Tin Roof, so you don’t really have to leave. Visit TinRoofDelrayBeach.com or GotYouCoveredFL.com. … On the other hand, this is the final full weekend of Flavor Palm Beach discount-dining month, and among the restaurants taking part is the swankier Avalon Steak & Seafood up the block (110 E. Atlantic Ave.). I guess it depends on how much you need to impress your companion. Visit FlavorPB.com or AvalonDelray.com.
Sandy Saturday: Miami Marlins All-Star Sandy Alcantara will take the mound against the Washington Nationals at 6:10 p.m. Saturday for what will probably be his last start of the season at loanDepot Park. The new T-shirt that comes with tickets in the section called Sandy’s Beach is probably the best one so far, black with a rock-tour theme. Tickets in Sandy’s Beach cost $30. The last time I was there for an Alcantara start, I discovered that you could walk into the Recess Sports Lounge in left field (formerly the Clevelander) and stand about 10 feet from him as he warmed up in the bullpen on the other side of the glass. Very cool. Visit Marlins.com/Sandy.
Fun with rubber: The Wharf Fort Lauderdale on Saturday will host another of its fizzy Blowfish parties, which they call South Florida’s biggest inflatable extravaganza, and who’s to argue? The day begins at noon and includes more than 1,000 inflatables of all sizes, special CO2 cannons and $10 Blowfish Punch. There’s also The Wharf’s Rosé All Day special: $35 bottles of Côtes de Provence Rosé from noon to 4 p.m. Visit WharfFTL.com. … The free rooftop Splash Pool Party at The Easton in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village on Saturday will fill the fancy swimming hole with rubber ducks. The DJ-inspired fun runs from noon to 5 p.m. Daybeds and cabanas are available. RSVP and details at Facebook.com/theeastonftl.
Date No. 7: I have heard good things about brunch at (five-time James Beard Award-nominee) Jose Mendin’s Rivertail on downtown Fort Lauderdale’s New River — for its buoyant environment, the chicken and waffles with Korean barbecue syrup ($15) and bottomless Prosecco ($30). Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Visit RivertailFTL.com. … I mention Rivertail because just under the bridge and across Huizenga Park, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will celebrate Fort Lauderdale Neighbor Day, with free admission to the city’s residents and two-for-one wine in the Museum Café. This is a good chance to see the exhibits “Confrontation: Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky” and “Beyond Alechinsky,” which are up through Oct. 2. The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. You’ll need a photo ID or utility bill to take advantage of free admission. Visit NSUArtMuseum.org.
Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Instagram @BenCrandell and Twitter @BenCrandell.