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The month of August in the arts

Bill DeYoung



The Tesla Quartet will perform Aug. 25 at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Photo: Orchid Records

Welcome to the slowest month of the year. The kids are looking at the draggy final weeks of their summer vacation, families are slowly returning home from wherever they’ve been, the snowbirds are starting to plan their Florida exodus, and it’s so hot outside that nobody really feels like doing anything.

September invigorates. August trots and pants like dog days.

That being said, there are a number of arts events this month, in the performing and visual categories, worth talking about in advance.

Coming to the Museum of Art St. Petersburg’s Marly Music Series Aug. 25: The Tesla Quartet, formed at The Juilliard School in 2008 and now one of the most in-demand string foursomes on the recital circuit.

Ross Snyder (violin), Michelle Lie (violin), Edwin Kaplan (viola) and Serafim Smigelskiy (cello) have won top prizes in numerous international competitions, most recently taking Second Prize (as well as the Haydn Prize and Canadian Commission Prize) at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Chamber Choice, the group’s first CD (featuring (Haydn, Ravel, and Stravinsky quartets) got a five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine. In October, Orchid Records will release the second Tesla Quartet disc, a collaboration with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, featuring quintets by Mozart, Finzi, John Corigliano and Carolina Heredia.

Tickets and info here.

The MFA’s Marly concert Aug. 11 is a unique collaboration between father and son origami artists Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine, who are represented in the current Above the Fold exhibit, and classical pianist John C. O’Leary III.

O’Leary – who also happens to be a neuroscientist – will play as the Demaines demonstrate curved folding, in which paper is folded along a curved, rather than a straight line, and other artistic techniques.

Here’s the museum’s official one-line on the event: “Together, the three scientists/artists will create a performance piece based on the intersecting notions of left and right brain, perfectly blending art and science.”

Tickets and info here.

Mark your calendar

1980s singer/songwriter Marshall Crenshaw (“Some day Some Way,” “Whenever You’re on My Mind”) and the retro-rocking Smithereens (“Blood and Roses,” “Only a Memory”) have a date Aug. 9 at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center. Crenshaw, in fact, will be singing lead for the band, which lost irreplaceable lead singer Pat DiNizio in 2017. Tickets here.

George Clinton recently turned 78, but the pioneering funk songwriter, bandleader and event-maker has the energy of a man half his age. Nevertheless, his current tour at the helm of Parliament-Funkadelic (that’s his four-decade “mothership”) is his “farewell” trip around the county. “Truth be told, it’s never really been about me,” Clinton recently told Rolling Stone. “It’s always been about the music and the band. That’s the real P-Funk legacy. They’ll still be funkin’ long after I stop.” Catch the gang Aug. 29 at the Mahaffey Theater, with support acts Fishbone, Main Squeeze and Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf. Details here.

Nearly as old as P-Funk, but similarly young at heart, the B-52s beam down to Ruth Eckerd Hall Aug. 28, with ‘80s stalwarts OMD (aka Great Britain’s Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark) and Berlin (“Take My Breath Away”). Details here. And Ruth’s got country-rock giants Poco, Firefall and Pure Prairie League – each with at least one original member! – on the 31st. Details here.

The big Amalie Arena show this month is the Aug. 18 visit from Queen + Adam Lambert, the remains of Freddie Mercury’s ’70s band with an American Idol alum taking frontman duties. OK, so it’s just guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor from the original foursome – but in this era of box-office bonanza for Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s the closest thing to the real Queen we’re ever likely to get. They are the champions. Details here.

Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre notable dates in August: Country’s Luke Bryan, Aug. 2 (this Friday); 311 and Dirty Heads, Aug. 3; Bush and Live, Aug. 16; Heart, Aug. 17; Beck and Cage the Elephant, Aug. 29; Florid Georgia Line, Aug. 30. Tickets and info here.






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