October has arrived, as we all suspected it would, and with it comes the full blossom of an honest-to-goodness arts season. St. Petersburg – well, the whole bay area – has shaken off the effects of its sleepy summer snooze.
As the snowbirds begin to trickle back in, they’ll find an arts calendar more varied, and more vivacious, than ever before.
It all starts with October, and in the world of visual art, October means the SHINE Mural Festival. As a sign of rebirth and renewal, you can’t get much more metaphorically obvious than a new coat of paint.
St. Petersburg’s widely renowned celebration of outdoor art returns for its fifth season Oct. 18-26, with a roster of five international, four national and 25 local artists. Each brings a distinctive style to mural art, and each will create a one-of-a-kind work on a very large canvas (i.e. the side of a building) somewhere downtown, or elsewhere in St. Pete.
The obvious benefit of SHINE is the beautification of our city – these are fine artists, curated and invited for their specific talents, and the work of past years is visible all over the area. At stpetemuraltour.com, you’ll find an official map of existing works, for a self-guided walking tour.
The sponsoring Arts Alliance has a separate website devoted entirely to SHINE. That’s here.
The other, rather obvious benefit is that this art is all created in public, in real time, giving us the opportunity to watch these talented artists create. You can talk to them, you can ask them questions – you can literally watch the artistic beautification of St. Petersburg as it happens.
Here’s a detailed list of the creators who’ll be creating in 2019.
The Florida Orchestra’s busy October is crowned with an appearance by German cellist Maximillian Horning, who’ll guest on Strauss’ Don Quixote, itself the recipient of a new film by TFO’s visual artist-in-resident Geff Strik (he crafted an extraordinary piece for last season’s performance of Schoenburg’s Transfigured Night. The concert (Oct. 12 at The Mahaffey, Oct. 13 at Ruth Eckerd Hall) will also include Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. The pre-concert conversations (an hour before curtain time), music director Michael Francis says, have been drawing enormous crowds.
TFO’s also got a free Pops concert in Vinoy Park (conducted by Daniel Black) Oct. 19, and a Latin Pops show with conductor Matt Catingub and vocalist Christina Souza Oct. 26 (a matinee and evening performance at the Mahaffey).
The classical calendar swells with the seasonal return of the St. Petersburg Opera Company, at the Palladium Theater. Artistic director Mark Sforzini and company present Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow – fully staged, with live orchestra and performed in English – Oct. 18, 20 and 22.
Tampa’s extraordinary Jobsite Theater is finishing up with Steve Martin’s quirky comedy Meteor Shower this coming weekend, and will be back Oct. 25 with Larissa FastHorse’s scathing satire The Thanksgiving Play. American Stage, in St. Pete, is starting the season with the comedy VietGone, opening Oct. 2 (that’s tomorrow, calendar-watchers).
Currently running: The Turn of the Screw at freeFall (St. Pete), and Wait Until Dark at Stageworks (Tampa).
Roxanne Fay has written and will perform the one-woman drama Thrice to Mine, Oct. 25 and 26 at thestudio@620 (Fay’s also doing the show as a fundraiser for Tampa Repertory Theatre Oct. 19).
The always amazing acoustic artist Alison Krauss (apparently without her longtime band Union Station) headlines the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Oct. 17-20 in Coachman Park. Other performers include Boyz II Men, Chicago, Yonder Mountain String Band, Marcia Ball and Robert Randolph’s Family Band.
Current Ken Burns starboy Marty Stuart is at the Capitol Theatre Oct. 13, followed by Wynonna on the 24th and British keyboard legend (and seriously funny guy) Rick Wakeman on the 26th.
Hard-rocking Coheed and Cambria play the Mahaffey Oct. 18
At the Museum of Fine Art St. Petersburg, Jennifer Angus’ The Grasshopper and the Ant and Other Stories opens Oct. 12. Would you believe me if I told you it’s made up almost entirely of dried bugs? It’s an amazing sight to behold, and the artist herself will give a “Process Talk” that afternoon.
The James Museum celebrates Indigenous People Day Oct. 14 with a talk from Mindahi Bastida Muñoz, Director of the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics.