Art: Starting Tuesday, two important shows at local art museums open, shows that will be running into the early weeks of January.
The Flagler Museum on Palm Beach offers the story of how Henry Flagler’s railroad made it all the way to Key West a century ago. Over a seven-year period beginning in 1905, construction workers braved five hurricanes and mosquito-borne disease to make a way for the train, which finally arrived in Key West on Jan. 22, 1912. This is one of those stories that is utterly emblematic of the Gilded Age, when major industrialists and men of finance moved the world around to their liking. It’s the hubris of a newly imperial America, and it never fails to impress.
First Train to Paradise: The Railroad That Went to Sea features historic photos and artifacts that illustrate the tale of how the Over-Sea Railroad came to be. The show runs through Jan. 8 at the museum; adult tickets for admission to Whitehall are $18. Call 655-2833 or visit www.flaglermuseum.us for more information.
Meanwhile, Delray Beach’s home of Japanese art and culture, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, offers Zenmi: A Taste of Zen, a collection of paintings, calligraphy and ceramics from the collection of Riva Lee Asbell, a prominent Philadelphia-area eye surgeon and entrepreneur. The collection features more than 80 works infused with Zen practice created from the 17th to the 20th centuries. This is art as a focus of meditation and inner enlightenment, and its surface simplicity conceals deep waters of thought beneath.
The exhibit opens Tuesday and runs through Jan. 22. Adult admission to the grounds of the lovely museum in western Delray Beach is $12. Call 495-0233 or visit www.morikami.org.
Film: The entrancing British actress Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah’s Key, I’ve Loved you So Long) is fluent in French and can play a French native very persuasively, as she again demonstrates in the psychological tale of cutthroat office politics, Love Crime, now playing at the Mos’Art Theatre in Lake Park. She is a business executive and boss from hell, who trains a young, savvy assistant (Ludivine Sagnier, Swimming Pool), then takes credit for her successes. As we learned earlier this year in Horrible Bosses, such a management style is enough to drive underlings to thoughts of murder, but Love Crime is not interested in drawing laughs. Sagnier concocts an elaborate scheme to exact revenge on Scott Thomas and that is about all you should know before going and enjoying this film.
Theater: You Can’t Stop the Beat is one of the finger-snapping, toe-tapping vintage rock tunes in the Tony Award-winning musical, Hairspray, based on John Waters’ 1988 movie of female empowerment and racial integration in Kennedy-era Baltimore. Coral Gables’ Actor’s Playhouse opens this weekend with its homegrown production of the show, directed by David Arisco, who also stars as put-upon mom, Edna Turnblad. Also featured is area favorite Avi Hoffman as Edna’s loving hubby, novelty store owner Wilbur. The show runs through Nov. 13, tickets range from $42 to $50, available by calling (305) 444-9293.
Music: This will be a season with a strong complement of world premieres, and that process begins this weekend with a new work by James Lee III, a Maryland-based composer who teaches at Baltimore’s Morgan State University. Lee’s Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula is a 10-minute piece for orchestra that reflects Lee’s Seventh-day Adventist faith as it attempts to describe the second coming of the Messiah, descending out of the heavens to earth. Heady stuff, but the New World Symphony is on the case, and it should get a first-class reading. Also on the programs this weekend at the New World Center in Miami Beach is the Piano Concerto (in A minor, Op. 54) of Robert Schumann, as played by Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, and two Czech works: the overture to Bedrich Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride, and Leos Janacek’s brassy, beautiful Sinfonietta. Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the two concerts, which are set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, and are virtually sold out. But some seats remain, and can be had for $39-$84, or on Saturday night you can see the concert via Wallcast on the 17th Street building. Call 305-673-3331 or visit www.nws.edu.
Mei Mei Luo, a native of the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, has been a familiar face to South Florida concertgoers for two decades, performing in the Delray String Quartet, the Florida Philharmonic, the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival, and other groups. This weekend, she can be heard in solo recital with pianist Daphne Spottiswoode as part of the Music at St. Paul’s series. The program includes the Kreutzer Sonata (No. 9 in A, Op. 47) of Beethoven, as well as music by Brahms, Sarasate, Dohnanyi, Bruch and Astor Piazzolla. The concert begins at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Delray Beach. Tickets: $15-$20. Call 278-6003 or visit www.stpaulsdelray.org.
British pop has had more than its share of leather-lunged chanteuses, from Shirley Bassey and Cilla Black to Joss Stone and the much-lamented Amy Winehouse. Adele Adkins, who’s known by her first name, burst on to the scene a couple years back with Chasing Pavements, and this year she had one of the most ubiquitous of all pop hits with Rolling in the Deep. It’s a powerful, bluesy instrument, and she backs it up with fluency on several instruments, a diversity that should keep her in good stead in the years to come. Adele performs tonight beginning at 8 at the American Airlines Waterfront Theatre in Miami. Tickets range from $45-$102, and are available through Ticketmaster.com.
Dance: The dance season gets under way this weekend with two performances Saturday by the Florida Classical Ballet Theatre, including a new ballet by company founder Colleen Smith. In the Mood is a World War II-era piece that looks back to the styles and sounds of the 1930s and 1940s, and it will feature company principals Lily Ojea, Rogelio Corrales and Marshall Levin, along with FCBT’s usual troupe of well-managed younger dancers. Also on the program is the dance staple Les Sylphides, originally created by Michel Fokine, and set to eight pieces by Frederic Chopin. The program will be presented at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Eissey Campus Theatre on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens. Tickets: $22-$32. Call 207-5900 or visit www.fcbt.org.