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Your weekend arts forecast: Benise at the Mahaffey, Second Saturday ArtWalk

Bill DeYoung



Benise plays fiery flamenco, rock 'n' roll and world music Friday at the Mahaffey Theater. Photo provided.

Benise (buh-NEE-say) is a Nebraska guitarist whose dramatic, exotic – and flashy – music is often referred to as “nouveau flamenco.” Friday at the Mahaffey Theatre, Benise is back (he’s played there before) with his “20th Anniversary Tour.”

This is not just some guy sitting on a stool playing a gut-string – long-haired Benise, who has a sort of Yanni-meets-Fabio look, performs as the centerpiece of an electrified world-music band. It’s a show, and the show also features bright lights and costumed dancers … you might have seen him on his PBS specials, or on Dancing With the Stars.

Here’s what the man (whose real name is Roni Benise) says about his two-hour extravaganza: “With this show I want to take the audience on an escape … to a beautiful Spanish courtyard filled with flamenco dancers, stunning costumes, and fiery Spanish guitars.” It will also, he says, “incorporate some fan favorites from my street performing days and rock classics like Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ and  AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck.’”

Tickets are here.

Walkin’ the Walk

As we ease, ever so carefully, back into some semblance of normalcy, segments of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk are coming back around. No trolleys yet – that might be a few months away – but this Saturday (Oct. 9) will see the long-awaited return of potter Charlie Parker’s gallery and studio to the open-house tour.

Charlie Parker’s back! Photo: Facebook.

Although the ArtWalk returned on a very limited basis nearly a year ago, Parker – one of the city’s most-loved artisans – chose to sit it out. Until now.

From 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, more than 45 studios and galleries, something like 200 artists, will welcome visitors. This includes the Central Arts District, Edge District, Grand Central District, Warehouse Arts District, Uptown Arts District and downtown Waterfront District (there is an operation “looper trolley” along the waterfront only).

Want to know who exactly is participating? Check the Arts Alliance October map here.

Particularly delightful in this run-up to Halloween season is the next exhibit at Atelier de Sosi Gallery, in the Warehouse Arts District. Dia de los Muertos 2 is a full-figured celebration of the Mexican Day of the Dead (that’s officially Nov. 1 and 2, but … meh).

The skull-and-reaper themed art show will indeed be on view for the Second Saturday Art Walk (the gallery’s in the Warehouse Arts District, behind Duncan McClellan’s glass shop) – but best of all, they’re throwing a Dia de los Muertos 2 party Friday night. Read all about that in out story from earlier this week, here.

The other stuff

Big weekend at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Hillsborough County: Country’s Brooks & Dunn (that’s Kix and Ronnie to y’all) perform Friday, with those pyrotechnical pioneers Kiss taking the stage Saturday. On Monday, it’s Alice Cooper on a bill with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley.

Professional theater this weekend: The funny and deeply involving Dr. Ride’s American Beach House, at Jobsite Theater, which is part of Tampa’s David A. Straz Center (in the Jaeb Theatre, to be precise). Read more here.

More Than Retro: The Art of ’70s Photography opens Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Here’s the Catalyst preview story.

Surprisingly, it’s not a Pablo Cruise tribute band – the actual Pablo Cruise (including three original members) plays Saturday at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Tickets are here.

Catch teen sensation Harry Styles at Amalie Arena Sunday.

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