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Weekend forecast: Ringling, Comic Con, jazz and hip hop

Bill DeYoung



Feld Entertainment's "Ringling" show (Friday through Sunday at Amalie Arena) ramps up the X-factor. Publicity photo.

As far as big spectacles go, there’s nothing this weekend that tops the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Amalie Arena.

You can call it Ringling. You can even call it The Greatest Show on Earth (it’s copyrighted). Just don’t call it a circus.

As the Catalyst previously reported, this is a re-imagined three-ring production, emphasis on high-tech and flash, with zero live animals and zero whiteface-painted clowns piling out of tiny cars. They were all dismissed when producer Feld Entertainment permanently shut down the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2018, after 150 years.

Instead, the focus is on high-wire and trapeze acts, acrobats and high-flying BMX bike riders. And music. And comedy. And a fast, fast pace for a generation raised on television.

Find showtimes and tickets here.


First Friday returns

With the onboarding of several new sponsors, organizers of the monthly First Friday St. Pete event have scheduled another block party for this Friday (Jan. 6), after canceling December’s event for lack of funding. 22N, the traditional First Friday band, will perform outside during First Friday – 6 to 10 p.m. on Central between 2nd and 3rd Street, closed to vehicular traffic.


Comic Con ’24

The St. Pete Comic Con is back at the Coliseum Saturday and Sunday, for the third consecutive year. Along with the usual marketplace, contests, panels and guests including cosplay and anime voice performers, comic artists and writers and others.

Returning for his second local appearance is Garrett Sander, the creator of the Monster High franchise. Sander, who’ll sign dolls and other Monster High ephemera for free, was the honored guest at St. Pete’s first-ever Horror Con (produced by the Comic Con gang) last May. Here’s the Catalyst interview with the man himself.

Find all info about Comic Con ’24, and tickets, at this link.



Jazz drummer Rod Alnord. Photo provided.

The Rise Up St. Pete concert series returns, after a holiday break, with a Saturday bill pairing hip hop artists Atmosphere, Brother Ali, producer RJD2, SA-ROC and Zoodeville. Doors open at 5, show at 6, and tickets are here.

Haiti-born and Tampa-based jazz drummer Rod Alnord brings the Rod Alnord Quintet to thestudio@620 Saturday for an 8 p.m. show. With a program heavy on Latin, Afro-Caribbean, fusion, contemporary and swing jazz, he’ll be joined by vibraphonist Eric Zabala, saxophonist Ross Strauser, bassist Ruben Davila and vocal artist Nicole Hoffer, who’s also a member of the band In the Pocket. Tickets for this show are here.

Playing Clearwater’s Coachman Park amphitheater The Sound Friday night is none other than perpetual ‘70s denizens Styx, with “classic era” members Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young, with support from .38 Special – which, against all odds, still includes singer/songwriter Don Barnes (“Caught up in You,” “Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ into the Night”) making .38 Special one of the precious few bands from the classic rock era with its original lead singer still in the ranks. Find tickets here.

Southern rock singer/songwriter Edwin McCain (“I’ll Be”) is back in the bay area for a Saturday show at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets.


On theater stages

Gaspar! The Musical, written by St. Petersburg playwright William Leavengood and Tarpon Springs composer Constantine Grame, opens its four-performance debut run tonight (Thursday, Jan. 4) at the Palladium Theater. It is, as you might have guessed, loosely based on the myth of the Tampa Bay-invading pirate sometimes known as Gasparilla. Here’s a Catalyst interview with the composers; tickets are here.

Violinist Vadim Gluzman performs this weekend with The Florida Orchestra. Publicity photo.

Where’s the orchestra?

Former Florida Orchestra resident conductor Thomas Wilkins returns to conduct Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 this weekend, with guest artist Vadim Gluzman; the program also includes Leonard Bernstein’s On the Waterfront Symphonic Suite (Maestro alert!), Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) and Fountains of Rome by Respighi.

The Florida Orchestra’s ticket site is here. This concert takes place Saturday 8 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater, and again at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, at Ruth Eckerd Hall.


And a few more

The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine is at the Mahaffey Theater Friday with a fully-staged production of Cinderella. Find tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance here.

Friday (8 p.m.) is Standup Comedy Night at thestudio@620, with host Forrest Beers. Find tickets here.


The Weekend Forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

Please add us to your mailing list – send all press releases and event info to bill@stpetecatalyst.com.

You can also submit your events to the Catalyst calendar, by clicking here.




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