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Your weekend arts forecast: Music (and food) in the park, a bad movie at the Straz

Bill DeYoung



Writer/director Roland Emmerich's 1986 bad movie "Making Contact" will be verbally skewered by the snarky robots of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Saturday at the Straz Center in Tampa. Image DVD cover (Kino Lorber).

Here we are at the last weekend in January, and although there’s a considerable chill in the air, the bay area’s arts and entertainment scene continues to heat up.

The Florida Orchestra returns in a big way with Beethoven’s beloved 9th Symphony, complete with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay supplying the “Ode to Joy” chorus. Michael Francis is back at his baton-waving best on a program that also includes Runestad’s A Silence Haunts Me.

To minimize audience interaction in this time of lingering Covid, the concert will be performed sans intermission at the Straz Center Morsani Hall (Friday, 8 p.m.), the Mahaffey Theater (Saturday, 8 p.m.) and Ruth Eckerd Hall (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.).

All tickets are here.

Food and music in Williams Park

Manatee County-based Paragon Festivals is behind this weekend’s St. Petersburg Seafood & Music Festival at Williams Park, Friday 4-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Along with food and libations from local vendors, the event has live music all three days. Stormbringer, Albert Castiglia and Pat Travers perform Friday (at 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., respectively). Saturday delivers music starting at 12:30, with headliners the Black Honkeys taking the stage at 6:30, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section at 8:30.

Sunday’s music includes Hooten Hollers, Hummingbirds and Sean Chambers.

General admission tickets are $10; age 14 and under get in free. Festival website with tickets and additional info.

Making contact with badness

All roads lead to the Straz Center, Saturday night, for what Wired calls “the greatest talk-back show EVER made.” Why, of course, it’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE, during which TV’s semi-legendary Tom Servo, Crow and GPC take apart – as the audience watches – the 1985 movie Making Contact, a paranormal, supernatural extraterrestrial (or something like that) film from writer/director Roland Emmerich, who of course went on to greater (and louder) things like Independence Day, Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow.

Also released under the title Joey, the movie features a ventriloquist dummy possessed by a demon. Say no more.

What will be sarcastic movie-reviewing robots of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 have to say about Making Contact? One can only imagine. Tickets here.

Theater stages

Matthew McGee plays celebrity chef James Beard in I Love to Eat, James Still’s one-person play (“a love story with food”), opening Saturday at freeFall Theatre. Beard (“If ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around”) is considered the country’s first “foodie,” and hosted the first-ever TV cooking show in these United States, called (what else) I Love to Eat. We’ll have more on Messrs Beard and McGee in Saturday’s edition. Tickets here.

Across the pond, Tampa’s Jobsite Theater is starting its second weekend of David Jenkins’ adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. It’s getting raves on social media. Tickets are here.

(Heads up, theater fans: Next week brings all-new productions from American Stage, Tampa Repertory Theatre, thestudio@620, Stageworks and ThinkTank.)

Very fine art

A round of applause for St. Petersburg art museums, because this is a giant weekend. On Saturday, the Dali Museum unveils the long-awaited Picasso and the Allure of the South exhibit, with 80 of the Spanish master’s works painted in the South of France between 1909 and 1972. Here’s the Catalyst story from earlier this week, with all things Picasso.

At the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, Friday brings Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories. The late 19th and early 20th centuries found the federal government shipping Native American children off to “indoctrinating” boarding schools, in an attempt to strip them of their heritage and “assimilate” them into (white) American society. Through historical photographs, works of art, writings and other objects, the story of this unfortunate chapter in our history is told.

Look for a preview story on Away From Home Friday in the Catalyst.

And still more

It’s one heck of a weekend, too, at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall and downtown sister venue, the Capital Theatre. Check out Dwight Yoakam tonight at Ruth Eckerd, acoustic guitar legend Leo Kottke Saturday night at the Cap, the Alan Parsons Live Project Saturday at Ruth Eckerd, Wynonna Judd Saturday at the Cap, the all-dog “comedy show” Mutts Gone Nuts! Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd (The Florida Orchestra’s in the hall that evening) and blues guitarist Robert Cray with band Sunday at the Cap. And Monday and Tuesday (Jan 31 and Feb. 1), a touring production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is onstage at Ruth. All tickets can be found here.

Tango Fire. ICM Artists photo.

At Ferguson Hall in Tampa’s Straz Center Friday night is Tango Fire, a two-hour dance spectacular featuring some of the most passionate and erotic dancing in the world. The company, led by dancer/choreographer German Cornejo and his partner Gisela Galeassi of Buenos Aires, features a troupe of award-winning professional dancers. Tickets are here.

Oh yes: Saturday is Gasparilla Pirate Festival day in Tampa. Here’s our story about all the fun and festivities involved.

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