Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pet Shop Boys coming to St. Petersburg

   Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, aka Pet Shop Boys, are coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
   The Sept. 13 concert will be the second stop on the Boys' American tour. Their 12th album, "Electric," is set to be released July 15.
Tennant (left) and Lowe
   Pet Shops Boys are the most successful duo in British Music history, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and they've sold more than 50 million records since they debuted in the early 1980s.
   Tickets go on sale Saturday, May 4 at the Mahaffey box office, by phone at 727-893-7832 or at www.themahaffey.com. Prices range from $29.50 to $99.50.

Monday, April 29, 2013

WBTT showcases troupe members in solo performances

   Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is launching a new series called the Young Artist Program that offers company a members a chance to show off their talents in solo performances.
   The series gets going tonight (April 29) with a performance by Alyssa White. Next up is Michael Mendez on May 13.
White and Mendez in a previous WBTT show
   WBTT hasn't given details of what to expect from these first two concerts, but it's not like an open-mic night for troupe members. Anyone who wants to perform submits a proposal, and artistic director Nate Jacobs and board members have to approve it. Then the artists work with Jacobs to develop the show. So it's reasonable to expect really strong, polished evenings.
   White is one of the youngest members of WBTT, still in her teens, but she was selected to perform in the Harlem Apollo Theater's "Best of the Best" show in 2011.
   Both shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. For tickets to White's performance this evening, call 941-306-6477. For tickets to Mendez' show on May 13, call 941-957-1088. You may also be able to get tickets at the door.
   WBTT is at 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-366-1505 or visit www.wbtttroupe.org.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Country legend George Jones dies at 81.

   Country music legend George Jones died today, April 26, 2013.
   His career spanned decades. He had hits from the 1950s into the 1990s, and he endured through changes in country music that ended a lot of his contemporaries' careers.
  His best songs have become part of America's cultural collective
subconscious: "The Race Is On," "She Stopped Loving Him Today," "She Thinks I Still Care" and "Good Year for the Roses," among others, transcended country music and were often covered by rock and pop artists.
   He was known just as much for his lifestyle as for his music. He had a reputation in his younger years as a heavy drinker; he even called himself country music's "national drunk and national drug addict" in his autobiography.
George Jones, 1931-2013
   He missed so many gigs that he was known as "No-Show Jones"
   In 1999, he was critically injured in a car accident that was attributed at least in part to the fact that he was talking on a cell phone, which helped sparked the early discussion about the safety of driving while talking on the phone. (It was so early in the history of cell phones that newspaper reports said he was talking on his "cellular" or "cel" phone.)
   His seven-year marriage to Tammy Wynette, which ended in 1976, spawned some memorable duets. They were considered country music's "other" great couple, after Johnny Cash and June Carter.
   The couple lived in Lakeland, and their marriage was notoriously tempestuous. According to news reports at the time, after one fight Jones was arrested, taken from his home in straitjacket and hospitalized for 10 days.
   He married Nancy Sepulveda in 1983. He quit drinking and taking drugs and remained with her until his death.
   He was 81.

Black Sabbath comes to Tampa July 29

   The essentially reunited Black Sabbath is coming to Tampa.
   Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler have recently completed their first album together in decades -- it's called "13" and it's due out in June -- and they're touring America. They'll stop at Tampa's Live Nation Amphiththeatre July 29. (Drummer Bill Ward is out because of some kind of contract dispute.)
   Ticket prices haven't been announced yet. Check www.livenation.com for more information. You can pre-order the album at www.blacksabbath.com.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Saliva, Candlebox headline Muscle Madness in Sarasota.

   If you're a big fan of Saliva, Candlebox and Mad Margritt, circle July 6 on your calendar.
   That's when those three venerable nu-metal outfits will headline Muscle Madness XVIII on the grounds of the Robarts Arena.
   Promoters are calling it "the hottest summer event of 2013," and they're apparently talking about the music, not about the temperature at an outdoor concert in the middle of the Florida summer. 
   If those bands aren't enough to draw you to Muscle Madness, there's also an aerial circus performing above the crowd.
   It all starts at 5 p.m. Tickets are $30, and there will be only 5,000 sold. Information and tickets are available at  www.bigcatlove.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

St. Petersburg's freeFALL offers "John & Jen"

   If you saw "The Addams Family" at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall recently, and it whetted your appetite for songs by composer Andrew Lippa, you can hear more next week.
   Lippa's first musical, "John & Jen," is next up at freeFALL Theatre in St. Petersburg.
 Katie Zaffrann, Chris
Crawford as "John & Jen"
   It's not nearly as well known as "The Addams Family" or even  "The Wild Party," but "John & Jen" is what brought Lippa to the attention of the theater world in 1995. It's a chamber musical, with just two actors and three musicians.
   It starts in 1952. Jen is a young girl and John is her baby brother and she protects him from their abusive father. In the '60s, she become a free spirit and he joins the Navy and dies in war. She later marries and has a son, whom she names John.
   It's not often staged, but it's respected in theater circles for its warmth and intelligence. A New York critic called it   "the little show that packs a big punch."
   Besides, just about everything that freeFALL does is interesting. In just a few years of existence, freeFALL has developed to the point where it rivals American Stage as the best theater company in St. Petersburg and maybe even in the Tampa Bay area,
   "John & Jen" runs May 3-26. Show times: 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $39. freeFall is at 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Information: 727-498-5205 or www.freefalltheatre.com.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Promising production of "Hamlet" opens in Tampa

   It's William Shakespeare's birthday -- he'd be 449 today -- and two of Tampa's best theater company are finishing up rehearsals for what may be Shakespeare's best play.
Holloway as Hamlet
   Tampa Repertory Theatre, a young company that has staged several of phenomenal shows and no bad ones, and Hat Trick Theatre, a solid company that has just returned to Tampa after relocating for a few years, are teaming up to open "Hamlet" on Thursday.
   It's directed by C. David Frankel, the artistic director of Tampa Rep. Jack Holloway, a fine actor and the artistic director of Hat Trick, plays Hamlet. Ned Averill-Snell, who is perhaps the finest actor in Tampa, is Claudius, and Steve Mountan, who is also among the  Tampa Bay area's acting elite, is Polonius.
   Every indication is that this will be something really special, and well worth the drive to Tampa for anyone who loves theater.
   It runs through May 12 at the Hillsborough Community College Studio Theatre, 1304 E. 11th Ave., Tampa (at the corner of Palm Avenue and Avenida Republica de Cuba in Ybor City). 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. $20 general, $15 students, military and seniors. www.tamprep.org.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Richie Havens, 1941-2013

   He'll always be best known for opening Woodstock, both the festival and the film. But Richie Havens had a long career -- he stopped touring only three years ago -- and wielded one of the most beautiful voices and one of the most distinctive acoustic guitar styles in folk music.
Richie Havens at Woodstock
   He was a strong songwriter -- he wrote "Handsome Johnny," which was part of that Woodstock set, with Louis Gossett Jr. -- but he was primarily known as a distinctive interpreter of other artist's work. He performed memorable versions of several Bob Dylan songs, perhaps most notably "Just Like a Woman," and he had a hit with a cover of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun."
   He died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday, April 22. He was 72.

Dylan, Wilco coming to Tampa June 27

Bob Dylan
  You never know what you're going to get from a Bob Dylan concert, but it's always great to have the chance to find out.
  He'll be at the Live Nation Amphitheatre
 in Tampa June 27.
  His live shows are sometimes sublime and sometimes silly. But this time, just in case Mr. Zimmerman's in a foul mood, he's got two very reliable live acts opening: My Morning Jacket and Wilco. They're both phenomenal in concert, and people who like Dylan will probably like both of them.
  For information, 813-740-2446 or www.livenation.com.

Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre announces summer season

   Performing arts pickings get a bit slim in the summer, but Florida Studio Theatre is making sure you can sate your appetite for quality stage offerings.
   On Monday, FST announced a three-show summer season that includes a Kander and Ebb revue, a Steve Martin farce and a Miami-based satire.
Steve Martin
   The summer season starts May 29 with "And the World Goes 'Round," a revue based on the songs of Kander and Ebb. Their best-known shows are "Cabaret" and "Chiacgo," so there are plenty of numbers from those two shows, as well as familiar songs from "New York, New York" and other Kander and Ebb works. It runs through June 30.
   Next up is the "The Underpants," Steve Martin's adaptation of the classic hundred-year-old German farce "Die Hose." The story's about a woman who accidentally exposes herself in public, which sets off string of circumstances that, according to reviews from a round the country, are hilarious. June 28-July 28.
   Finally there's "South Beach Babylon," a 2010 comedy by South Florida playwright Michael McKeever, that pokes fun at Miami's people and the lifestyle of Miami. That one runs July 26-Sept. 1.
   Single tickets run $18-$49. A subscription to all three shows  start at $39. Information: 941-366-9000 or wwwfloridastudiotheatre.org.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The 10 best bands from Boston

   Everything's all about Boston this week. So here's my list of the 10 all-time greatest bands and solo artists from one of the best music cities in the country. It's totally subjective, not at all comprehensive, just my tastes. Your mileage may differ. Feel free to argue and tell me I'm stupid for leaving out J. Geils or someone.

The Pixies
1. The Pixies
2. The Modern Lovers
3. Lemonheads
4. Dinosaur Jr.
5. Morphine
6. The Click Five
7. Dropkick Murphys
8. Blake Babies
9. Susan Tedeschi
10. Aerosmith

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Florida Orchestra offers an all-Mozart program

   This weekend's Masterworks Series concerts by the Florida Orchestra features Mozart’s "Requiem" "Ave Verum Corpus" and "Symphony No. 35."
  For the symphony, the orchestra is joined by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.
Xian Zhang
Anytime the Master Chorale performs with TFO, there's the potential for something really special, and the sublime "Requiem" ought be be thrilling, too.
   The guest conductor is Xian Zhang, who's gaining a strong international reputation.
   The best bet for people from Bradenton will probably be the Sunday concert (that's April 21), at 7:30 p.m at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg (727-892-5767, www.themahaffey.com). There's also a performance at 8 p.m. April 19 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa (813-229-7827, www.strazcenter.org) and another at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater (727-791-7400, www.rutheckerdhall.com).
   Tickets are $15, $30, $45. There might be service charges added on at the Straz and Ruth Eckerd.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Amish Project," Shepard play in St. Petersburg

   This is your last weekend to see "When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable) at American Stage. The play, by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin, has been getting absolutely phenomenal reviews.
Katherine Michelle Tanner
   It's among Shepard's lesser-known and lesser-produced plays. It's a two-hander about a jailed killer who's a former chef and a young woman who's interviewing him about his crime and his life in food.
   Remaining shows are at 8  p.m. April 18 and 19, 3 p.m. April 20 and 5 p.m. April 21.
   It's running in repertory with "The Amish Project," a devastating but inspiring fictional work based on the 2006 massacre of Amish school children. Katherine Michelle Tanner plays all seven roles, including two of the young victims, the killer, his wife and some of the non-Amish people from the area.
   It's a short play, only 70 minutes, but its emotional impact stays with you for a very long time. In fact, you may never forget Jessica Dickey's script and Tanner's performance.
   Todd Olson, the producing artistic director for American Stage, directed both shows.
   "The Amish Project" runs through May 12.
   Tickets are $39 for weekday evenings and weekend matinees, $49 for Friday and Saturday evenings. Evening shows are at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. There's a "twilight show" at 5 p.m. April 21.
   American Stage is at 163 3rd St. North, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529 or www.americanstage.org.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sci-Fi film series takes off in Bradenton

   This weekend, the South Florida Museum kicks off a new film series called “They Came From Outer Space.” 
   At 6 p.m., every Friday through June (except May 3)  the Bishop Planetarium Theater will host classic and not-so-classic films about flying saucers, UFOs, and various kinds of alien monsters abound throughout this survey of the history of space invaders on film. 
   Admission is $5. The South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium Theater is at 201 10th St. W. in downtown Bradenton. 
   Here's the full schedule:

   April 19: "It Came From Outer Space" (1953) Rated G, 80 minutes.
   An amateur astronomer and a school teacher are the only residents of a small Arizona town to suspect alien influence when people begin acting strangely.

   April 26: "The War of the Worlds"  (1953) Not rated, 85 minutes.
   Gene Barry stars in the classic film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Martian invasion novel about a vicious alien attack.

   May 10: "It: The Terror From Beyond Space" (1958) Not rated, 69 minutes.

   The story of a rescue mission sent to Mars to see what has become of a marooned expedition crew is a precursor to such later classics as "Alien."

   May 17: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978) Rated PG, 115 minutes.
   Donald Sutherland stars in the remake of the 1956 classic about a San Francisco man who suspects that everyone he knows is being replaced by an emotionless alien clones.

   May 24: "Little Shop of Horrors"  (1986) Rated PG-13, 88 minutes.
   The musical adaptation of the Roger Corman camp classic. Rick Moranis stars as the nerdy skid row florist who makes the discovery of a lifetime – a talking, singing plant with a taste for human flesh.

   May 31: "The Blob" (1988) Rated R, 94 minutes.
   This gruesome remake of the 1958 cult classic features a rebellious group of teenagers who can’t quite convince the local adults that a giant, quivering blob is threatening to consume their entire population..

   June 7: "Contact" (2005) Rated PG, 150 minutes.
   Jodie Foster stars as an astronomer trying to find proof of alien existence. From Carl Sagan’s novel.

   June 14: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"  (2005) Rated PG, 109 minutes.
   Adapted from Douglas Adams’ popular book. A British everyman is saved from Earth just minutes before its destruction by aliens, but that's just the beginning.

   June 21: "District 9" (2009) Rated R, 112 minutes.

   A thought-provoking film that depicts what happens after alien refugees become second-class citizens of earth. A blend of alien invasion and apartheid, with plenty of gore.

   June 28: "Attack the Block" (2011) Rated R, 88 minutes.
   A teen gang becomes neighborhood heroes in South London in the wake of an extraterrestrial attack.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sarasota Film Festival announces this year's award-winners

   The 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival ended Sunday, and one of the last major pieces of business was the ceremony at Sarasota Opera House where the winner of the festivals’ jury and audience awards were announced. Actor Cheryl Hines hosted.
   “Laurence Anyways,” directed by Xavier Dolan. took home this year’s Narrative Feature Jury Prize. “After Tiller,” directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson was the Documentary Jury Prize winner.
   Two special jury prizes were awarded. In the narrative category, “It Felt Like Love.” directed by Eliza Hittman, took home a Special Jury Prize, and in the documentary feature competition a special jury prize for direction went to “Survival Prayer,” directed by Benjamin Greenè.
   The festival’s Independent Visions Award went to “The Dirties,” directed by Matthew Johnson. The jury also gave a special "On Golden Pond" Award for Artistic Accomplishment to “This Is Martin Bonner,” directed by Chad Hartigan.
   The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature winner was “The Forgotten Kingdom,” directed by Andrew Mudge, and the Audience Award for Best Documentary went to “Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde,” directed by Suzanne Mitchell
   The Best In World Cinema Audience Award went to “The Angel’s Share,” directed by Ken Loach.
   “This is Normal” and director Derek Watson won the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Prog, surf, Louisiana funk in St. Petersburg

   The State Theatre in St. Petersburg has three shows in the coming week  that could be phenomenal.
   Prog-rock king Steven Wilson, whose band Porcupine Tree makes stunningly beautiful music,  performs a solo show at 7 p.m. April 16. Tickets are $26.50.
Dick Dale
   Guitar legend Dick Dale, who pretty much invented surf-rock guitar, comes to the State at 8 p.m. April 19. He’s 75 years old now but the smart money says he still rocks. Tickets are $20.
   The next night  offers the best buy for your music buck, a concert by a supergroup called New Orleans Suspects. The lineup includes Reggie Scanlan, the bassist from the Radiators and Professor Longhair;  Neville Brothers drummer Mean Willie Green and guitarist/vocalist Jake Eckert of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. You can hear influences of all those bands in the Suspects’ music, which is kind of good-time New Orleans R&B funk. That one  starts at 8 p.m. April 20 and tickets are only $4.20. ($4.20 on 4/20.)
   The State Theatre is at 687 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. Call 727-895-3045 or visit www.statetheatreconcerts.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lloyd Webber takes on "School of Rock"

   Remember Andrew Lloyd Webber? He dominated musical theater on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1970s and '80s, ushering in an era of lugubrious tech-heavy quasi-operas such as "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats," but he hasn't scored a big hit in a couple of decades.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
   He seems to be straining to score another one. His last few, which included a sequel to "Phantom" and a stage adaptation of the "The Wizard of Oz" film (with new songs by Webber added to the score), were bizarre concepts to begin with, and didn't cause much of a stir.
   Now Lloyd Webber says he has the rights to the 2003 Richard Linklater film "The School of Rock" and that he's going to turn it into a musical
   It's a dumb and mean-spirited slacker comedy - albeit a very popular one - about a substitute teacher who, instead of teaching kids, turns them into rock band so he can make money off them. (And nobody else in the school notices that he has a rock band rehearsing in his classroom every day.) It's hard to see how Lloyd Webber's pompous and unoriginal music will be able to improve it. Besides, the possibilities for flashy special effects, which have saved many lackluster Webber musicals over the years, seem slim.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dancer defects from Cuba, joins Sarasota Ballet

    Edward González Morgado was on tour with National Ballet of Cuba recently when he and six other dancers from the company decided to take a chance at a better life,
Gonzalez with Sarasota Ballet
director Iain Webb
    The seven dancers defected, and on Tuesday the Sarasota Ballet announced that González is the company's newest soloist.
    “It was very hard, but I kept thinking about the future," González said. "I want to be the best dancer I can, and I know that being in America will allow me that opportunity.” 
   González is just 23, but started training when he was 9, so he already has 14 years of experience. He's performed in "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty" and  "La Fille mal Gardée, among many others.
    A statement from the company praised González for his "strong athleticism" and "purity of line and technique." 
   He'll start classes with the company immediately.
   For information about Sarasota Ballet, visit www.sarasotaballet.org or call (941) 359-0099

Monday, April 8, 2013

"World's best" wings at Sarasota Film Festival

   The Sarasota Film Festival has added a party featuring wings chosen as the“world's best" by an international panel of experts in the new documentary“The Great Chicken Wing Hunt.”
Sauce is being shipped in from the northeast for the event, which takes place at White Buffalo Saloon, 5377 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, starting at 5 p.m. April 10. 
“We don't want to say exactly where the sauce is from, as we don't want to spoil the film, said "Wing Hunt" director Matt Reynolds. “It's from a regular restaurant, not a chain.”
   The party is open to the public and will include free wings, line-dancing and complimentary vodka cocktails.
   There's one remaining screening of The Great Chicken Wing Hunt" during the festival, at 9:15 p.m. April 9 at Regal Hollywood Cinema 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe buys Sarasota theater

  After 14 years, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe finally has a place it can call home. WBTT announced Monday that it has purchased the site where it has been performing for the past three years. It's two buildings, totaling almost 28,000 square feet, on two acres at 1646 10th Way, Sarasota.
   WBTT has been using just a third of one building until now. A statement from the company says the second building will be used for set construction, rehearsals and storage for costumes and scenery. Eventually the combined space will also house educational programs and administrative offices.
Nate Jacobs of WBTT
The company has been producing plays at that site for the past three years. Before that, it performed wherever it could find available space.
   "In four short years, we have gone from living season-to-season and not knowing what tomorrow would bring, to having one place to call home and being able to own it," said Nate Jacobs, WBTT's founder and artistic director. "WBTT can now grow its roots among the giants in the Sarasota cultural community.”
   The next production at WBTT is "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues," a musical revue that traces the development of the blues in America, opens Friday and  runs through May 12. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at www.wbttroupe.org, follow on Facebook or call 941-366-1505.

"The Amish Project" opens Friday in St. Petersburg

   Among the most roundly acclaimed plays in the past few years is Jessica Dickey's "The Amish Project," a work based on the 2006 massacre of a group of children in an Amish school. The play has one actor portraying several characters involved with the shooting, including the gunman, two of the victims, a local college professor and a grocery store clerk.
   Parallels to "The Laramie Project" are obvious, but in Dickey's work the characters and the dialogue are fictional.
   It's next up at American Stage in St. Petersburg. Previews are Wednesday and Thursday, April 10 and 11, and opening night is Friday, April 12. It runs until May 12.
Katherine Michelle Tanner
   The play promises great things, and the production should be just as edifying. Sarasotan Katherine Michelle Tanner is the actor, and she never turns in a performance that's anything but stellar. She's directed by Todd Olson, American Stage's producing artistic director.
   It's $29 for previews and Wednesday matinees, $39 for weekday evenings and weekend matinees, $49 for Friday and Saturday evenings, and $59 for opening night. Evening shows are at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. "Twilight shows" are at 5 p.m. April 14 and 21.
   American Stage is at 163 3rd St. North, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529 or www.americanstage.org.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert dies.

   Roger Ebert, the best and probably the most prolific film critic of all time, died today.
Roger Ebert, 1942-2013
   His home paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, posted this on its Facebook page:
   "It is with heavy hearts that we report our legendary film critic Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70."
   Ebert had cancer, and had been unable to speak. Just in the past few days he announced that his cancer had recurred and he would be reviewing fewer films. 

New "Great Gatsby" soundtrack features Jack White

   F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is by far my favorite novel. I make a bit of a ritual out of reading it once a year, and I've read it more than 50 times.
  So the announcement that Baz Luhrmann was doing a film version left me with mixed emotions. Luhrmann does good work and his version of "Romeo and Juliet" had some really cool elements.
   But there's never been a really great movie version of "Gatsby," which is kind of odd because the book is intensely visual. And Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby? I don't think so. But he's sometimes quite good, so maybe he'll surprise me.
   The track list for the soundtrack CD was released today. It makes me nervous. It's got some of my favorite people on it (Jack White, The xx, Andre 3000) but also has people like Fergie. But I can't see how any of this, even the stuff I like, is going to make for a comfortable "Gatsby" experience. Either the music is going to anachronistic or Luhrmann's moving the story out of the Jazz Age, which doesn't seem to make sense.
    The film, by the way, opens May 10. Here are the songs on the soundtrack album, which will be released three days earlier:
1.   100$ Bill - Jay Z
2.   Back To Black - Beyoncé x André 3000
3.   Bang Bang - will.i.am
4.   A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) - Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock
5.   Young And Beautiful - Lana Del Rey
6.   Love Is The Drug - Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
7.   Over The Love - Florence + The Machine
8.   Where The Wind Blows - Coco O. of Quadron
9.   Crazy in Love - Emeli Sandé and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
10.  Together – The xx
11.  Hearts A Mess - Gotye
12.  Love Is Blindness – Jack White
13.  Into the Past - Nero
14.  Kill and Run - Sia


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Black Crowes play Mahaffey in St. Petersburg

   The Black Crowes have been on hiatus for a couple of years, but that hasn't diminished their fan base.
Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes
   They're back on an American tour now, just of a five-week tour of Europe, and a lot of their upcoming dates are already sold out.
  There are still some tickets for their April 30 show at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg, but it's probably a good idea to get yours soon or you may not get them at all.
   The show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $39.50-$49.50. Call  727-892-5798 or visit www.themahaffey.com.

"Spelling Bee" plays park in St. Petersburg

   One of the funnest theater events in west central Florida every year is the American Stage in the Park Festival in downtown St. Peterburg.
   This year's show is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," an odd but often very funny musical that won a couple of Tony Awards in 2005.
   It's based around a spelling bee in a fictional location, with some quirky kids participating and some quirky adults running the proceedings. The twist in the show is that several audience members are pulled up on stage to take part in the spelling bee. So if you want to see it but don't want to have to be part of the show, start now to practice looking inconspicuous.
   It all happens at Demens Landing, at First Ave. North and Bayshore Bloulevard Southeast, St. Petersburg. Previews are April 24 and 25, the "Gala Under the Stars" fundraiser is set for opening night, April 26, and then the show runs through May 26. There are no shows on Mondays or Tuesday.
   There are all sorts of ticket prices, starting at $13 for blanket seating in advance on weeknights, to $29 for reserved chair seating. The preview performances are "pay what you can" nights (with no concessions available) and pets are allowed April 28, May 5 and May 12.
   The gates open at 6 p.m. -- a lot of people bring picnics and have dinner before the show -- and curtain is at 8 p.m.
   Call 727-823-7529 or go to www.americanstage.org for information and tickets.

Sarasota Film Festival opens Friday with "Blackfish"

  A new documentary by a little-known director has landed the prestigious opening-night slot for this year's Sarasota Film Festival.
Tilikum at SeaWorld
  Gabriela Cowperthwaite's "Blackfish," which premiered at Sundance in January, explores the life of Tilikum, a captive orca who has been involved with the deaths of three people, including one of his trainers at SeaWorld in Orlando. The film traces Tilikum's treatment from the time he was captured near Iceland and explores the question of whether intelligent creatures ought to be be held captive for people's amusement.
  Critics have called it powerful and persuasive; SeaWorld officials have called it misleading.
   It's set to be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Cowperthwaite will be there.
Call (941) 364-9514 or go to www.sarasotafilmfestival.com for information on this film or any other films or events in the festival.

Asolo directors featured in talkback in Sarasota

   The next edition of "Inside Asolo Rep," the series of moderated talkbacks with the creative team from Asolo Repertory Theatre, features two directors on the topic of "American Women."
   Laura Kepley directed "The Heidi Chronicles," which ended its run in March, and Tea Alagic directs "Venus in Fur," which opens Friday, April 5.
   The talkback is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, April 8  at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. It's $5 for the general public, free, for Asolo Rep donors and Guild members. For reservations, call 941-351-9000.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

St. Petersburg show features great cast, director, writer

Director Lisa Powers
   James Rayfield is a longtime Tampa Bay area writer, actor and educator, and his quirky monologues have been delighting audiences for decades. On Sunday and Monday, a bunch of great local actors (John Huls, David O'Hara, Susan Alexander, Bonnie Agan, Chris Jackson and Lulu Picart) will perform six Rayfield monologues, under the direction of the wondrous Lisa Powers.
   These are some of the best theater professionals in the area, and most of them don't take to the stage too often these days. This should be something really special, especially for people who have been following the theater scene in St. Petersburg and Tampa over the years.
   The evening is titled "Bad Love." There are only two shows, at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, April 7 and 8. It's $10 at the door, at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. South, St. Petersburg. Call 727-895-6620 or visit www.studio620.org.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Manatee Players finally, formally announce "Les Miz"

   Perhaps the worst-kept secret in town has been that Manatee Players will be staging "Les Miserables" next season. Company officials have been publicly and frequently dropping unsubtle hints for months, including saying that they'll be performing a musical that "won't make you miserable."
   Now they've made it official. "Les Miserables" is slated to run Aug. 8-25. It'll be the first show of the Manatee Players' 2013-14 season.
   Any doubts that the company could pull off such a huge show were banished by the stunning production values of "Miss Saigon." the first and current show in their new home at the Manatee Performing Arts Center at 502 Third Ave. West.
   For information, call 941-748-5875 or visit www.manateeplayers.com.

Sarasota poker room to open on Sundays

   One-Eyed Jacks, the poker room at the Sarasota Kennel Club, will from now on be open on Sundays.
   It's been closed on Sunday ever since it opened about seven years ago, so some local poker players figured that laws required that. Poker players from the Bradenton area have had to drive to Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, or to a poker room in Fort Myers or one of three poker rooms in Hillsborough County if they wanted to play on Sunday.
   Hours are being expanded on other days too. One-Eyed Jacks will now open every day at 10 a.m., and close at 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
   The Sarasota Kennel Club is at 5400 Bradenton Road. For information, call 941-355-7744 ext. 1054 or go to skcpoker.com.