Weekend things to do: A banana with Jeff Ross, SantaCon in Hollywood, a Swiftmas Party in Boca Raton

If you are looking for the holiday season to soften some of the harshness of modern life, you may want to check out performances by pugnacious roastmaster Jeff Ross at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach this weekend. No, really. 

Ross has a well-earned reputation for menacing shot-taking — he’s the Krampus of comedy — but illuminates another side of himself in “Take a Banana for the Ride.” The one-man show takes a redemptive look back at his formative years, losing both parents as a teenager in New Jersey and the construction-worker grandfather who moved in with Ross and took over the parenting role as he was making his way as a young comic. It was his grandfather who would urge him to take a banana for his nightly trip into Manhattan to work the comedy clubs.

If you saw his recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” you saw a reflective Ross, more wise than wiseguy as he described a show that includes old pictures, film, songs, audience participation, laughs, but also tears. “It’s a very healing show,” he said. 

Performances at the Kravis Center are at 7 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets start at $37.50 at Kravis.org. And you may go home with a banana.

Comedian Jeff Ross will perform at The Norva on Friday night..Photo Courtesy of Personal Publicityn
Comedian Jeff Ross will perform his one-man show “Take a Banana for the Ride” at the Kravis Center. (Personal Publicity/Courtesy)


Mission to Mars: Fifteen-time Grammy-winning song-and-dance man Bruno Mars has two shows at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, both sold out. Resale tickets for his concert at 9:30 p.m. Thursday start at more than $600+, while his show at 8 p.m. Friday is going for closer to $900+. Visit MyHRL.com

Eating Palm Beach: The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival rolls out this week with leading national and local chefs appearing at more than two dozen events in restaurants and other swank spots across the county Thursday through Sunday. Most of the gatherings are sold out — but not all. As these words were being written, there were tickets available for at least a couple of events each day, including Sunday’s Grand Tasting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center from 2 to 6 p.m. The Grand Tasting features samplings from top South Florida top restaurants, along with top-shelf wine and spirits. Grand Tasting tickets cost $195+. For the full schedule and tickets for individual weekend events, visit PBFoodWineFest.com.

Think Tank: Singer and poet Tarronia “Tank” Ball of Grammy-nominated New Orleans R&B and hip-hop group Tank and The Bangas will take part in the sixth annual Exit 36 Slam Poetry Festival, which takes place Thursday-Saturday at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center. Ball will read from her debut book of poetry, “Vulnerable AF,” on Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m., then do an Artist Talk on Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. Three-day passes for Exit 36 cost $30+ at PompanoBeachArts.org/exit36.

Police work: Guitarist Andy Summers, who defined myriad hits of The Police, brings The Cracked Lens + A Missing String Tour to The Parker in Fort Lauderdale at 8 p.m. Thursday. Expect a multimedia show that includes his photography, film and personal stories weaved among classic songs from The Police, solo material and a set of Brazilian music. Tickets start at $29.50+ at ParkerPlayhouse.com.

You’re a mean one: The musical Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey and sharing creative DNA with “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Legally Blonde” and “The Book of Mormon,” concludes its run at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $34+ at Kravis.org

Weekend DJs: LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau resort on Miami Beach has booked serious DJ talent for Art Basel Weekend: Tiësto at 11 p.m. Thursday ($95+), John Summit at 11:30 p.m. Friday ($125 women, $150 guys), Kaytranada and Rampa at 11:30 p.m. Saturday ($125 women, $150 guys) and DJ Khaled at 11 p.m. Sunday ($100+). For tickets and more information, visit  LivNightclub.com.


Weekend laughs: Comedian and actor Eddie Griffin performs at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale at 8 p.m. Friday, with tickets starting at $45+. Visit ParkerPlayhouse.com. … Comedian and actor DeRay Davis is at the Dania Improv in Dania Beach for shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $35+. Visit DaniaImprov.com.

Bad Santa: Taking its cues from Krampus, the half-man, half-goat legend of Alpine folklore who was supposed to scare naughty kids into being nice, the third annual Krampus Nacht festivities return to the American German Club of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth Beach on Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. The night of Christmastime mischief, with dancing, a DJ, German food and drink, costs $10 in advance, $20 at the gate. Parking is $10. Visit AmericanGermanClub.org.

Weekend burger: Brooklyn-bred Emmy Squared Pizza opened a new location last week in downtown Fort Lauderdale on the east side of the Federal Highway seam between Victoria Park and Flagler Village (in an attractive makeover of the old Spatch space). The chain’s reputation has been built on well-regarded rectangles of Detroit-style pizza, but I am here to tell you that the cheeseburger should not be missed.  Called Le Big Matt, it stacks two quarter-pound patties of grass-fed beef and tops them with slices of white American cheese, greens, pickles and Sammy sauce, a mayo-based spread enlivened by Indonesian sambal chili paste. It is a fist of flavor. Cost: $17. Mountain of seasoned waffle fries: $7. Creamy pint of Prison Pals’ Nelson Hazy IPA: $8. Visit EmmySquaredPizza.com.

The burger known as Le Big Matt with fries at Emmy Squared Pizza, which just opened a location in downtown Fort Lauderdale. (Ben Crandell / South Florida Sun Sentinel)
The burger known as Le Big Matt with fries at Emmy Squared Pizza, which just opened a location in downtown Fort Lauderdale. (Ben Crandell / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Take the kids: The Great Lawn on the West Palm Beach Waterfront will be the setting for a free holiday double-feature screening of “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island” from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday. Visit WPB.org.

Weekend Dead: Dark Star Orchestra, now in its third decade of re-creating the Grateful Dead concert experience, will perform at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets start at $29.50+ at PompanoBeachArts.org/events.


Back to December: Prosperity Brewers in Boca Raton will throw a Swiftmas Party on Saturday (part Christmas, part birthday celebration for Taylor Swift, who turns 34 on Dec. 13). The 21-and-older event begins with 8 p.m. bracelet trading leading into a dance party at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20, which includes two drink tickets, or $30 for an unlimited-drinks wristband. Visit Instagram.com/prosperitybrewers.

Ho, ho, hold on, buddy: OK, the traveling Christmas costume party known as SantaCon in downtown Hollywood on Saturday starts in a bar, Mickey Byrne’s Irish Pub, and moves around to other nearby restaurants and bars (The Greek Joint, Thirty1 Lounge, Twin Peaks,  Social Room and The Tipsy Boar will have food/drink specials). But in its heart, it is not the boozy stumblefest it’s often made out to be. If you are dressed as Santa (or Mrs. Claus, Hanukkah Harry, Rudolph), you are representing and there are rules (see SantaCon.info), among them: Dress up (a Santa hat is not enough); be joyful, not drunk and disorderly; bring small toys to hand out to kids; tip (overtip) your bartender. SantaCon starts at Mickey Byrne’s at 6 p.m. Participation is free. For information, visit SantaCon.info/Hollywood-FL/ or Facebook.com/mickeybyrnesirishpub. Looking ahead, SantaCon is scheduled to take over Delray Beach on Dec. 14 (SantaCon.info/Delray_Beach-FL/) and Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard on Dec. 16 (Facebook.com/santaconftl).

Warm wishes: Circle House Coffee, former NFL linebacker Stephen Tulloch’s popular coffee house and drive-thru in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village, has unveiled a seasonal drink menu that includes a couple of new ways to warm up on a chilly morning (while they last): Peppermint White Mocha (with peppermint, white chocolate, espresso and milk) and Winter Spice Latte (vanilla cardamom syrup, espresso, milk and a hint of ginger). Each costs $6.15 for a medium and can be served hot or iced. Visit CircleHouseCoffee.com.

Peppermint White Mocha (with peppermint, white chocolate, espresso and milk) is part of a new menu of seasonal drinks at Circle House Coffee in Fort Lauderdale. (Circle House Coffee/Courtesy)
Peppermint White Mocha (with peppermint, white chocolate, espresso and milk) is part of a new menu of seasonal drinks at Circle House Coffee in Fort Lauderdale. (Circle House Coffee/Courtesy)

Sweater weather: You do not have to bring toys to hand out to kids during Fort Lauderdale’s Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl, which wears its liquored-up heart on its enthusiastically tacky sleeve. Taking place on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., this year’s edition is so full of joy that it will take place in two separate crawls. The Flagler Village event begins with 6-8 p.m. check-in at Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery (with stops scheduled so far at Roxanne’s Liquor Bar & Kitchen, Chops + Hops Axe Throwing Lodge and Glitch Bar). A Las Olas/Himmarshee crawl begins with 6-8 p.m. check-in at American Social (with stops including The Den, Booze Garden and Backyard). Tickets for each crawl cost $26+ (groups of four or more $21+ each) and include five welcome shots (or equivalent), drink specials, expedited access with no cover charge, as well as the costume contest and an after-party. For tickets and information, see the Flagler page at EventBrite.com and Las Olas at EventBrite.com.

Saturday laughs: Author and former “Saturday Night Live” fixture Colin Quinn brings his Small Talk tour to the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at  $32.50+ at BrowardCenter.org


Macaulay Culkin -- Photo: Provided by 20th Century Fox ***** Headline: On-screen through their teens ** Other than the Harry Potter kids, what famous fces grew up in the movies? (7/11/07) *****n
Fort Lauderdale’s Tunnel Top Plaza is finally done?! (20th Century Fox / Courtesy)

Tunnel vision: The long-awaited Tunnel Top Plaza on Fort Lauderdale‘s Las Olas Boulevard will make its formal debut with a ribbon cutting and festival on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. The community space is the most obvious benefit in an ongoing $28 million improvement project on the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel underneath the park that has bedeviled downtown commuters for more than two years. The festivities will include live music, food and drink, kids’ activities, vendors and a free screening of the Christmas classic “Home Alone” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Visit LasOlasBoulevard.com.

Local scene: If you’re looking for relief from the shiny new scenes being created by smiling carpetbaggers (more interested in Hoovering up hospitality dollars than making a home), consider the Dan Hosker Music Continuum, which returns to Tarpon River Brewing in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. This free, family friendly fundraiser, now in its 11th year, includes live bands, raffles and TRB food and drink from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The event raises money for music scholarships for high school students in memory of Dan Hosker, a revered South Florida musician who died in 2012 after being hit by a car while stuck on the side of I-95. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/DanHoskerMusicContinuum.

Ms. Bright Side: The effervescent ladies of Sunny Side Market will celebrate the fourth anniversary of their community-building, shopping-gabbing events on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. with a holiday-themed farmers-artisans market in the MASS District in downtown Fort Lauderdale (844 NE Fourth Ave.). Visit Facebook.com/sunnysideupmarketBGN.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at bcrandell@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Instagram @BenCrandell and Twitter @BenCrandell.

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