The Coastal Star

Around Town: Doc’s pet project delivers food, cigars and a culture of jazz

By Thom Smith

     Boca entertainment has never been like this. Bob James and Fourplay one week, followed by Molly Ringwald, then Larry Carlton, with James returning with David Sanborn on June 20 and Steely Dan at the Mizner Park Amphitheater on Sept. 12. Just what the doctor ordered.
    Of course, Michael Fagien isn’t your typical doctor. He spends the day looking at PETs (Positron Emission Tomography images) on his home computer and telling other doctors what’s wrong with their patients. The rest of his time is spent with his other “pet” — Jazziz, a two-headed musical monster. One head is the magazine, Jazziz, which claims after 30 years to be “the undisputed authority on jazz and style.” The other is Jazziz, the restaurant, a complete reworking of the old Zed 451 at the south end of Mizner Park.
    “It’s not a jazz club,” Fagien insists as he sneaks a french fry from his son’s plate. “It’s a restaurant. The food is great. It’s fresh, local. We have a great chef (Justin Flit) and a see-through kitchen. We have a cigar lounge, a caviar bar, champagne room, private dining room, outdoor bar. We could be like a Wine Spectator or Cigar Aficionado.”
    But with the promise of live entertainment seven nights a week, he concedes he’s “creating a culture of jazz.”
    Actually, it could be called Jazziz Redux. In 2004, Fagien opened the prototype next to Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood. Two years later, he closed it — wrong clientele. He regrouped, found new backers, and looked toward home.
    “This is what people in Boca have been waiting for,” he said. “They’re more attuned to an upscale concept here.”
    Fagien seldom slows down, except perhaps to marvel at the keyboard artistry of James, who gave us the theme to Taxi, or listen to Ringwald, who went from child singer to teen film star to mother of two to grownup torcher. But he isn’t playing solo. Twin Steven, a plastic surgeon, also has a stake in Jazziz, and wife Zakiya, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is the magazine’s publisher.
Other artists appearing this month are singers Bobby Caldwell (June 5-6) and Jon Secada (June 12-13), and guitarist and former Tonight Show bandleader Kevin Eubanks (June 26-27).
    Jazziz Nightlife is at 201 Plaza Real in Mizner Park. Tickets range from $35 to $95; visit www.jazziznightlife.com, or call 300-0732.
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    Here they come, just down the street … at Mizner Park Amphitheater July 27, hey, hey, it’s the Monkees, extending their reunion tour with the no longer reclusive Michael Nesmith and paying tribute to Davy Jones, the band’s local member (Indiantown) who died last year.  

Poet Richard Blanco, who read his poem One Today at the second inauguration of President Obama, gave a reading and talk May 1 at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach in Manalapan for the Plum Blush of Dusk Soirée, which benefited the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. Blanco said he did not know how he was chosen to read at the inauguration. After the event he met with the president, who hinted that the poet’s work had been recommended to him. Mary Kate Leming/The Coastal Star


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    The hills are alive …  with the sounds of construction, trunk lids slamming, dollies creaking and employees and volunteers trying to figure out what goes where. Welcome to The Wick, South Florida’s newest performance house, which has taken over the old Caldwell Theatre on North Federal in Boca. The curtain won’t rise until mid-September, but Marilynn Wick, the woman behind the name, has lots of work to do.
    She’s already begun remodeling the lobby. Walls will fall to create a space for the “ladies who lunch,” a la Tavern on the Green. She’ll create a cabaret and a space for her Broadway Collection, America’s largest repository of theatrical costumes that she moved from Pompano Beach. And she’ll put on a show or two, beginning Sept. 18 with The Sound of Music.
    “Everybody loves it and it hasn’t been done here in a while,” Wick says. “Plus we have Mary Martin’s original costume (Martin originated the role on Broadway), and all the kids will be local.”
    The opening season is tried and true — White Christmas, 42nd Street, The Full Monty, Steel Magnolias and Ain’t Misbehavin’, but Wick needs time to settle in. She thought she had lined up Douglas C. Evans, former Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment CEO as managing and producing director, but that is tenuous.
    She does have an artistic director on board — Jonathan Van Dyke, a veteran of many South Florida productions who worked most recently at the David Straz Center in Tampa. Van Dyke is lining up directors and planning auditions.
    At least he won’t have to worry about costumes.   
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    Father’s Day. What to get Dad? The folks at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County have about 1,400 ideas. The Council’s Uniquely Palm Beach gift shop at 601 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth is a showcase for works by more than 50 artists that would suit that “gem of a man.”
    Mobiles made of found objects, books, men’s jewelry, money clips made of glass, candles, bars of soap, note cards, jigsaw puzzles and, of course, paintings. Prices start at $3.
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    Speaking of art, the 62nd All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition continues through July 14 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Mark Scala, curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, selected 149 works by 122 artists. He chose the paintings, graphics, drawings, sculptures, installations, photographs, computer-generated images, and videos because they “could be shown … anywhere in the world without there being a question of (their) artistic merit.”
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    I wonder where John Boehner would have been more comfortable.
    At the April 27 Palm Beach wedding of Michael Jordan to Miami model Yvette Prieto? Or the May 10 wedding in Delray Beach of daughter Lindsay to Dominic Lakhan? Palm Beach is a great repository for Republican campaign funds; the guest list was full of NBA Hall of Famers and some decent golfers, including one named Woods; and the speaker of the House does like to play golf.
    Delray, by comparison, has less money, but it is more fun, has better nightlife, has more public beach, has a few celebs … and, after all, that’s where Lindsay was sequestered.
    Plus the gardens at the Sundy House are more romantic than the Gothic Bethesda-by-the-Sea.
    When Boehner’s younger daughter, Tricia, married James “Jak” Kinney, two years ago, the media paid little heed. Not so with Lindsay and Dominic … for several reasons: The groom is Jamaican, 38 years old, works in construction, sports waist-length dreadlocks and several years ago was busted for possessing less than a quarter ounce of marijuana, enough for six to eight joints.
    Media reports fell slightly short of Watergate standards. Lakhan may have been cited for marijuana possession, but no record was produced of any judicial action. Because of the dreadlocks, the event was dubbed a “Rasta” wedding, despite lacking any evidence that Lakhan is a Rastafarian. Several news reports identified him as “black” or “African-Jamaican.” Though the groom and his mother were born in Jamaica, his father came from Trinidad and is of Indian descent.   
    The wedding was small, 60 or so guests. The groom and the father of the bride both wore light gray suits. A trio played as Boehner danced with his daughter.
    We do not know if the music included any Bob Marley tunes, although “One love, one heart, Let’s get together and feel all right” would have been fitting. We do know that Lindsay’s father supports the Defense of Marriage Act and opposes any legalization of marijuana, even for medical reasons.
    We don’t know much about Lindsay either, other than she’s 35. No info on what she’s been doing for 15 years — nothing on colleges, jobs or where she’s lived. Not even a Facebook page. Ditto for her sister and both spouses.
    Boehner spokeswoman Brittany Bramell told the Cincinnati Enquirer in an email: “The Speaker’s daughters are not public figures. Accordingly, our office does not comment on their personal lives, even with respect to joyous family occasions such as their weddings.”
    But that didn’t stop the screaming headline in The National Enquirer: “Secret Service Goons Wreck Boehner Wedding.” As second in line to the presidency, the speaker of the House receives Secret Service protection. Where he goes, they go; and they do their job. They check everyone.
    However, the Enquirer’s photos — shot from a helicopter — don’t suggest an “armed camp” at The Sundy House. Guests hardly appeared disturbed — except possibly by the chopper, as suggested in a tweet from the speaker’s deputy chief of staff, David Schnittger: “Paparazzi rent-a-chopper over Boehner family wedding tonight. Hope you got some good pics. Congrats Lindsay and Dom.”
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    If you plan to catch the Fourth of July fireworks in Boca, here’s a tip: Don’t go to the park!
    For years, the display was held on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. But without consulting with FAU officials or the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Parks District, the city administration decided to move the event to the district’s new DeHoernle Park on Spanish River Boulevard. It’s big, 80 acres, but it’s filled with soccer and baseball fields, jogging paths and native scrub. Its 403 parking spaces are adequate for a baseball or soccer crowds, but not the thousands who watch fireworks, especially when many will be occupied by game booths, children’s rides, food vendors and a few black and whites (police cars).
    Furthermore, the park has only one entrance. Good luck if you want to get home at a reasonable time.
The city is arranging for bus or tram transportation from Boca Corporate Center, the old IBM campus on the north side of Spanish River Boulevard, but it, too, has limited access, and district officials warn that limited access could result in round trips of 40 minutes or more.
    The Parks District’s board is elected by residents who live in the city and beyond to the turnpike. Though not a city agency, it has cooperated closely since it was created in 1974 to provide parks and recreation facilities for the area. Rather than risk damage to the new fields, the district board offered to absorb some of the cost if a fireworks show could have been accommodated in FAU’s new stadium. The city ignored the offer.
    If the fireworks produce any duds — attendance, parking, emergency vehicle access, potential field damage, cleanup — the city and its residents will pay. The district’s board members are not happy and suggest that future negotiations may not be so cordial.
    Let the sparks fall where they may.

Fans swarm The People Upstairs, a South Florida reggae band, during the end of the 2013 Old School BeerFest at Delray Beach Center for the Arts at Old School Square in Delray Beach.  It had begun to rain. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star


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    Harvey Oyer III was thrilled to accept his Distinguished Author award May 15 at Florida House in Washington, D.C., but he was more pumped at being upstaged … by Francesca Alfano, his 12-year-old stepdaughter. At the award luncheon, she sang the national anthem and, as Oyer noted, “crushed it. She was the star.”
    That night at a dinner at the Smithsonian, she gave another boffo performance that  led to an impromptu tour. A Smithsonian administrator led the family to a room where he invited her to play a piano — George Gershwin’s piano.
    “Are we allowed to do this?” Oyer asked.
    “We’re doing it!” the official replied, and explained that Francesca was the first to play it since Paul McCartney. Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon had preceded the Beatle.
    “She doesn’t really appreciate who Gershwin is,” said Oyer, a fifth-generation Floridian and great grandnephew of the legendary Barefoot Mailman. “But someday she’ll have a great story for her grandchildren.”  
    A Boynton Beach native and land-use lawyer, Oyer was cited for his children’s books, The American Jungle, The Last Egret and The Last Calusa, which schools throughout the state use to give students a vivid picture of “old Florida.”
    Florida House was established by Sen. Lawton Chiles and his wife, Rhea, in 1973 as an “embassy” to showcase Florida’s culture and diversity. Funded solely by contributions from Florida residents, its programs include annual trustees awards to an author and an artist. Marine artist Guy Harvey will be honored this fall.
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    Mr. Rapoport goes to Washington. Fortunately for Burt Rapoport, it involved votes but not politics. The South Florida restaurateur made the trip to accept the Community Excellence Award for his Rapoport Restaurant Group at the Small Business Summit of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In February the Chamber included the Rapoport Group among its 100 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners, and then it was up to each winner to drum up votes. Rapoport asked the charities his restaurants have supported to return the favor. They did by a 1,200-vote margin.  
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    The County Commission wants to build a hotel at the Morikami. The one-story ryokan, initially proposed more than three decades ago, would feature traditional Japanese architecture and be built with private funds. As for possible names, how about Hotel Amanohashidate. That’s “Bridge to Heaven” in English. The bridge, one of Japan’s three most scenic wonders, is near Miyazu, George Morikami’s hometown and Delray’s sister city.

Thom Smith is a freelance writer. Contact him at thomsmith@ymail.com.

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