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Your weekend arts forecast: Magic, mirth and lots of ukuleles

Bill DeYoung



From the United Kingdom, "Champions of Magic" is at the Mahaffey Theater Friday. Publicity photo.

The late George Harrison loved the ukulele. He loved it so much that he kept dozens of them in his English country home, so when friends came over he could pass them around and everyone could participate in a happy jam.

Fun to play, easy to carry and a great social ice-breaker, the world’s favorite four-stringed instrument will be thrust into the spotlight with WMNF’s sixth annual ukulele festival, “Uke it Out,” Friday and Saturday on both sides of the bay: 7-11:30 p.m. Friday at New World Brewery in Seminole Heights, and 4-10 p.m. Saturday at Cage Brewing in St. Petersburg.

Each day presents a combination of uke-centric performances from local artists, and open jams (Beatles, Tom Petty, bluegrass, blues et cetera). There will be group lessons as well.

Tickets for each day are $17 advance, $20 day of show, with admission free for age 12 and under. All the details are here.

Wait … there’s more!

Bob Devin Jones continues his interpretations of the works of Martinique-born poet, artist and politician activist Aimé Césaire Friday at thestudio@620. The Poetry and Politics of Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest is a staged reading from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and from Césaire’s 1969 post-colonial  adaptation, in which Prospero is a white master, Ariel is a mulatto and Caliban a black slave. Details and tickets here.

RELATED STORY: Poetry in motion: Bob Devin Jones meets Aimé Césaire

St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater is at full strength this first December weekend: Friday brings Great Britain’s Champions of Magic, one of the world’s biggest touring illusion shows (there are five prestidigitators doing everything from sleight-of-hand to grand illusions), Saturday The Florida Orchestra plays its regular Mahaffey gig (see below) and country singer Martina McBride is onstage (with her Christmas show) Sunday. All Mahaffey info and tickets here.

Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott joins The Florida Orchestra this weekend for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, on a program with Mahler’s colossal Symphony No. 5. Michael Francis conducts TFO Saturday evening (8 p.m.) at the Mahaffey, and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Morsani Hall in the Straz Center. Tickets here.

In the big Tampa concert halls: Jimmy Buffett is back at Amalie Arena Saturday (tickets here), and on Sunday, the Seminole Hard Rock Live’s got Tony Orlando’s Christmas Show (here).

There’s a touring production of Menopause The Musical at Ferguson Hall (in Tampa’s Straz Center) Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets here.

It’s time again for the monthly First Friday Art Walk in Gulfport (5-9 p.m. Dec. 3). More than 30 fine artists, most if not all of them based in quaint, scenic Gulfport (it’s at the southern edge of Pinellas County) will be set up along the streets amid a festive shopping atmosphere (live music is part of the package). Details here.

Gulfport’s fine artist studios (29 of them) are open for visits Saturday (10-5) and Sunday (11-4) for the annual Art Jones Studio Tour. This is your chance to really get up close and personal with the creatives who call this Gulfside enclave home. There are details here and here:

Our professional theaters won’t go dark for the holidays for several weekends yet – so take your pick:

The original Christmas musical comedy The Night Before at freeFall;

The dark (and purposefully bizarre) cabaret Shockheaded Peter at Jobsite;

The Off Central Players’ original drama The Sister-Mothers of Gulfport;

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, rotating with The Giver (Tampa Rep and ThinkTank).

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




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