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Your weekend arts forecast: A taste of funky New Orleans

Bill DeYoung



New Orleans' Rebirth Brass Band plays the Central Park Performing Arts Center Friday. Photo provided.

Since 1983, the Rebirth Brass Band has been synonymous with New Orleans. These are not guys called Meters, Neville or Dirty Dozen, but they contribute a vibrant and vital musicality that has carved its own niche into that tall and distinguished family tree. The band won a Grammy in 2012 for Best Regional Roots Album.

Catch Rebirth Friday at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center, keeping up the second line tradition with injections of jazz, R&B, rock, funk and hip hop. Said the New York Times of this Grammy-winning group: “Reverb can be precise whenever it wants to. But it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: As long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.”

Details and tickets here.

Happy Birthday Bob and Family

Sunday marks the 17th anniversary of thestudio@620, St. Pete’s premiere independent art and performance venue. Bob Devin Jones, who co-founded the space at 620 1st Avenue South with the late David Ellis, has a birthday bash planned for 6:20 p.m. (natch) Sunday, with live entertainment, baked goods (you’re invited to contribute cookies or cupcakes if you like – hopefully Mr. Jones will bake some of his famous chocolate chips). Because it’s taking place on Fathers Day, and because 620 has always been about community, the free event is titled “We Are Family.”

Detail: “The Race – Run For Your Life,” bronze composite by Basil Watson, now on exhibit at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

New at the James

Saturday, of course, is Juneteenth, and not coincidentally the day the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art will debut the exhibition Reverberations: Black Artists on Racism and Resilience, featuring works in various media by Black artists. The exhibit is co-curated by the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, and you can read about in the Catalyst’s Thursday story here. Also opening Saturday at the James is Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day, 365 distinctive panels created by Canadian wildlife artist Karen Bondarchuk.

Pride continues

Derek Baxter’s Off Kilter Theatre is in its second and final week of its Pride-themed new show, + (plus), at the Mar. “Placing emphasis on all members of LGBTQIA+,” Baxter writes, “ this play celebrates the triumphs of the past, while looking forward to the achievements of the future, all while singing in tune and telling incredible stories.” Details and tickets are here.

St. Pete Pride’s monthlong calendar of events zeroes in on The Factory Saturday. From 4 to 10 p.m., the Warehouse Arts District arts venue will come alive with Arts & Qulture, featuring an array of talent from local organizations, from stage performers to wandering musicians. Tickets are $5.

Also happening Saturday at the Factory: Juneteenth Jubilee, 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., a celebration with many of the area’s premiere Black artists, a stage with DJs, emcees and more (all of them local), food trucks and vendors, and all bar proceeds earmarked for Keep St. Pete Lit. Read more about this “pay what you can” event here.

No more Rice Krispies: St. Petersburg Opera Company’s “Pagliacci” is sold out. Photo: Jim Swallow/Packinghouse Gallery.

And still more

This weekend’s final two St. Pete Opera performances of Pagliacci, at the Palladium Theater, are sold out. Call the venue; maybe there’s a waiting list.

Meanwhile, there’s professional theater onstage in Tampa, in the form of Shockheaded Peter at Jobsite, The Lady From Havana at Stageworks, and Tampa Rep’s Every Brilliant Thing in the outdoor garden at the Ybor City Museum State Park (Stageworks and Tampa Rep shows are in their final weekends of performance).

Last, but certainly not least, fans of acerbic comedian and political commentator Bill Maher will be glad to know that he, too, has braved the pandemic and gone out on tour; Maher stops at Ruth Eckerd Hall Saturday (tickets here).

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