Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews





;Hitler's Courts: The Betrayal of the Rule of Law in Nazi Germany It's scary to watch this historical documentary, which sharply captures the evil reality that resulted when a country's laws were deliberately perverted by its leader, right under the noses of the lawmakers themselves. Tackling Holocaust subject matter has been a mission for Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Joshua M. Greene, whose past projects include Justice at Dachau and Witness: Voices From the Holocaust. In his latest film, Hitler's Courts, Greene digs up archival footage that has rarely, if ever, been seen to support his chronicle of how misguided trust of der Führer led to the unprecedented mass murder of innocent men, women and children. A growing number of people worldwide feel the same political dynamic is now in play in the United States. Our biggest fear should be the plague of blind stupidity. Hitler's Courts is an eye-opening educational tool. (reception 6:30 p.m., screening 7:15 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, Maitland; free; reservations required: 407-645-5933, ext. 245;


;Joan La Barbara and Tom Chiu This concert by composer/vocalist Joan La Barbara and violinist Tom Chiu is part of an artist-in-residence program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and falls squarely on the art-for-art's-sake side of the spectrum, with works on the program by new-music heavyweights including Luciano Berio, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis and Morton Subotnick. It's not often that a performance of avant-garde classical music takes place near our neck of the woods, as professional companies tasked with bringing "culture" to the masses have to please their corporate sponsors — and the masses. Under no such restraints, La Barbara's inimitable voice and penchant for electronic accompaniment will combine with Chiu's modern violin-playing for a night that'll be as rewarding as it is challenging. (7:30 p.m. at the University of North Florida Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Jacksonville; $18; 904-620-2878;



;The Pirates of Penzance When Major-General Stanley makes his entrance near the end of the first act, it's clear why The Pirates of Penzance has been loved for more than 125 years. It's then that he breaks into the "Major-General Song" ("I am the very model of a modern Major-General/I've information vegetable, animal and mineral"), a fast-sung repository of historical and cultural references that's educational and hilarious. Penzance is Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular comic opera, and though its pirates seem lightweight when compared to Johnny Depp and Keith Richards, they still delight us. (8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Carr Performing Arts Centre; $25-$82;


;MegaCon Convention If you happen to spot Sailor Moon and a cardboard Voltron talking about their favorite episodes of Dragonball Z around the Orange County Convention Center, don't worry. You don't need new glasses, it's only MegaCon 2007. The three-day comic, anime and sci-fi convention will host an anime costume contest and a slew of other events, like a "Dub Your Own Anime" contest, to satisfy the inner Comic-Book Guy in all of us. Best of all, you can get your "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt signed by Pedro himself. Napoleon Dynamite's Efren Ramirez will rub elbows with media guests that also include Hercules' Kevin Sorbo and The Lord of the Rings hobbit Sean Astin. They don't call it "MegaCon" for nothing. Visit the website for info on before- and after-parties. (1 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 18 at Orange County Convention Center Hall C; $20.24-$45.80, passes available; 727-796-5725;


;;B-Boy Unit Jam Born in the Bronx, breakdancing remains a popular subculture in Orlando, and this weekend B-boy and B-girl crews from around the U.S. gather here to compete for an all-expenses-paid trip to South Korea. Why? The body-bending art form is a global sensation and particularly trendy in South Korea (where the musical A Ballerina Who Loved a B-Boy was remarkably successful). Winners of this national qualify to contend next month at the world championships held in Seoul. Stomp the Yard's still playing on the big screen, but you'll smell the sweat at this live showdown. Prepare to see some eye-popping exploitations of gravity without having to follow a crappy story line. (6 p.m. at Dance Orlando, Longwood; $15; 407-830-5523;


;Sol.illaquists of Sound, The Heathens Corralling a country-music crowd and a hip-hop crowd in a room that serves liquor may sound like a melee waiting to happen, but we just love the audacity of this bill. Besides, that's not gonna happen with fans of these two acts. Though the pointed but redemptive intellect of the Sol.illaquists' (Epitaph/Anti- Records) conscious rap and the Mason-jar-on-the-porch vibe of the Heathens' (Post Records) alt country are widely divergent, both are heroes of the surging local indie scene. Even cooler is that this bill coalesced simply because these two groups wanted to play together. Both kick ass as far as we're concerned, but we really roll out the respect to these hometown heavyweights for kicking down the fences to provide an intentionally and intelligently eclectic pairing. (with S.K.I.P. and DJ J. Storm; 9 p.m. at the Social; 18 and up; 407-246-1419;



;Big Squeeze Polka Fest Unpack the ol' squeezebox and/or your sense of adventure. The Central Florida Accordion Club is gonna show us a good time. "Love Songs," a Valentine-themed concert planned for the club's monthly meeting, gets us revved up (5 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Hall, Orlando), but the Big Squeeze Polka Fest is why we're all atwitter. This annual festival offers a full day of music and dancing, polka-style, with live performances by Michigander snowbird Virgil Baker and his Just-4-Fun Band and Orlando constants Jess-n-Joan, as well as raffles, workshops and vendors. (Noon-8 p.m. Saturday at Winter Park Elks Lodge, Winter Park; $18; ;407-772-2322; www.;


;;Dreamgirls Musical Review Leave it to the Parliament House to amplify the glitz of the Broadway-show-turned-silver-screen-smash Dreamgirls to make it all the more fabulous. The Footlight Players' Dreamgirls require no Beyoncés to achieve a dazzling measure of sequins and perfectly coifed bouffants. At 10 p.m., the soul-stirring festivities kick up an octave or two as the "Dreamgirls Musical Review" is belted out from the indoor Footlight stage. At the bewitching hour, a repeat performance will be staged poolside for added sparkle. This special production is a one-night-only affair, so get your tickets and Long Island iced teas early. Jennifer Hudson, eat your heart out. (10 p.m. and midnight; the Parliament House; $10; ;407-425-7571;



;;Varie-tease 14 … Night-;clubbing For the better part of a decade we've watched Atlanta transplant Blue transform the tedium of standard Orlando drag drudgery into something more substantial than, say, a wig and a feather. Besides, she actually is a girl — an alarmingly gorgeous one — so most of the trappings (save bow-tied man-drag) don't apply, anyway. In the past year, she's high-kicked her way out of the trademark Lesbo-a-Go-Go bag that she made famous at Southern Nights, diversifying her schtick into the multisexual, cabaret-cum-lip-sync Varie-tease. Now transplanted to the more accommodating stage at Parliament House, the show has ample room to play out its mix-tape storyline through the limber appendages and loose lips of its talented troupe. Dashes of Nina Simone, Grace Jones, The Triplets of Belleville and "Too Drunk to Fuck" all add up to a fair approximation of rehab at the apocalypse disco. (10:30 p.m. Wednesday, through Feb. 28, at the Parliament House; $8; 407-454-8478;


; Contributors: Omar de la Rosa, Jason Ferguson, Jennifer Heimburg, Bao Le-Huu, Brittany Middleton, Susie Orr, Lindy T. Shepherd


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