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Your weekend arts forecast: ‘A hybrid of history and art’

Bill DeYoung



Roman, Antioch, Mosaic pavement from The House of the Drinking Contest, c. AD 200300, Stone Tesserae, Museum purchase, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

Big doings Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, as the astonishing collection of five Greco-Roman stone mosaics, which were acquired by the MFA in the early 1960s, are going back on display after an extensive period of cleaning and restoration, alongside other major works on loan from Princeton University Art Museum. These mosaics were part of the floors of private villas in the richly cultured city of Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria, dating from c. AD 200—300. They were excavated in the 1930s, and this new presentation includes historic photographs, excavation logs and dig notebooks, as well as rare film footage of the actual excavations. Curator Michael Bennett calls it “a hybrid exhibition that seams together history and art.”

Antioch Reclaimed: Ancient Mosaics at the MFA debuts Saturday (April 10) and will be on view through Aug. 21.

The museum has announced its exhibition schedule for the next year (through Spring 2022). Next up are From Margins to Mainstays: Highlights From the Photography Collection (opening April 24), Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration (May 22) and From Heath to Hedgerow: Doulton Lambeth Ware and the British Countryside (June 5).


Saturday is also the day of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s monthly ArtWalk, which, in normal times, would find 40 or so area studios and galleries linked by an invisible chain, all of them open for visits and organized perusals. Sometimes there’s wine, and occasionally cheese, sometimes there’s music, and always there’s a wonderful communal feeling and celebration of St. Pete as a vibrant – and friendly – art town.

Well, that part’s still true, even if the free trolleys aren’t running, masks are required, and the necessary rules of social distancing are forcing people to avoid large gatherings of any sort, even with the best of intentions. Only certain venues are participating – hours will vary, and here’s the official list. So while it’s still the Second Saturday ArtWalk, and there’s still much to be discovered and feted, you’re pretty much on your own.


Performing arts

It’s anniversary #12 for the Hideaway Cafe and Listening Room, and owner John Kelly has a celebratory bash planned for Saturday that includes the “sophisticated party band” Boho Sideshow, outside from 3 to 5 p.m., and live music inside from 5 on. The Josh Nelms Trio headlines at 8, with “special guests” aplenty scheduled.

 The Florida Orchestra principal violinist Jeffrey Multer takes the spotlight on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto Saturday and Sunday at the Mahaffey Theater. With Michael Francis conducting TFO will also tackle Florence B. Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes and Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme of Corelli. Details and tickets here.

Friday’s Palladium Live! Virtual concert features the high-stepping, quick-moving, serious and surprising jazz Trio La Lucha (John O’Leary, Alejandro Arenas and Mark Feinman) with guests James Suggs (trumpet) and Ken Peplowski (trumpet). Watch the concert in the comfort of your own home – find out how by clicking here.

Your professional theater choices are twofold this weekend. Leonard Bernstein’s New York, a musical with Julia Rifino, Emanuel Carrero and Michal Raabe’s five-member mini orchestra is onstage at freeFall Theatre (by “stage,” we mean “parking lot stage,” as it’s a socially-distanced parking lot show (tickets). And in the David A. Straz Center across the bay, an eight-member cast from Jobsite Theater is in the spaced-out Jaeb Theater with an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V (read all about it here).

We haven’t had chamber delights since goodness knows when; so the Tampa Bay Symphony’s return Sunday at 2 p.m. with More Chamber Delights! should be most welcome. Mark Sforzini will be at the podium as the all-volunteer group performs Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48 by Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss’ Suite in B-flat, Op. 4. It’s at the Palladium, and tickets are available here.






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