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Your weekend arts forecast: The wizarding world of Todd Rundgren

Bill DeYoung



Todd Rundgren onstage. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Rock ‘n’ roll legend Todd Rundgren is back in the bay area for yet another visit. The iconoclastic Pennsylvanian is bringing a band and one of his “theme” shows to Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Capitol Theatre, on a cross-country tour he’s calling “The Individualist, a True Star.” There will be concerts on two consecutive nights.

Sunday night’s concert will be devoted to a performance of Side One of his classic 1973 release A Wizard, a True Star. Monday night, Rundgren will burn through Side Two.

The rest of each set list will be different on different nights, he says, drawing from his massive catalog (that’s the Individualist part, so named for his 2018 autobiography).

He changes things up, Rundgren told, so he won’t “bore the hell out of” hardcore fans who are planning to attend more than one concert. “If you’re playing more than one show in a city, you want your fans to buy as many tickets as possible,” he said, laughing. “Buy five, please!”

No laughing matter for this prolific singer, songwriter and record producer is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has announced it will induct him in 2022.

Rundgren has been openly critical of the Hall, and its nomination process. He has used the word “scam” to describe it.

“I’ve striven since the nomination to just not say anything, because I don’t want to rain on anybody else’s parade,” he told the website. “A lot of artists take this seriously. Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean I should try and spoil it for them.

“So, you know, I haven’t really had much to say about it. I would just like it to elapse without any kind of bad vibes or anything being a result of it. I’d just like it to happen and be over with.”

On Sept. 3, Rundgren wrote on his Facebook page:

“We care so much about everyone involved in making this happen and all of you attending, so we will be requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of your event OR full vaccination to attend all shows on the tour.”

Ruth Eckerd Hall’s posted safety protocols are here.

Still more good stuff

Two of the bay area’s professional theaters open new shows this weekend: The big news is that St. Pete’s freeFall Theatre is moving back inside for its first fully-staged performances since March 2020: The 1930s-style music and dance play Dames at Sea is in a Friday preview, and officially debuts Saturday (we’ll have more on this show in Saturday’s Catalyst).

In Tampa’s Jaeb Theatre (inside the Straz Center complex), Jobsite Theater is opening Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Friday (preview tonight). It’s the Jeffrey Hatcher adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson horror tale. Look for a story on this show Friday.

You’ve also got a pair of excellent choices, two well-received shows in their second weekends: Evil Dead the Musical, which is pretty much what the title suggests, at Stageworks (Tampa); and the trans/lesbian love story Plot Points in Our Sexual Development, at Studio Grand Central (St. Pete).

Meanwhile, at Vinoy Park, the massive Reggae Rise Up festival starts today. Read all about it here.

And, of couse, St. Pete’s spectacular week-long SHINE Mural Festival is in full swing, with a couple of closing-weekend events in the offing. Festival story here; weekend events story here.

The Florida Orchestra means business this weekend, with shows at the Mahaffey Theater Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.). With Andrew Sewell at the baton, the band will perform Berrlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (no Disney animation, however), and the world premiere of Thierry Caens’ Contrasts trombone concerto. Get tickets here.

At the Palladium, we told you already about the concert ‘n’ chat Friday featuring rhythm ‘n’ blues legend Latimore. Saturday night, the venue brings in the acoustic swing trio Dean Johanesen and the 24 Hour Men – kind of like a Tom Waitsian lesson in Americana, as taught by Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks. On Sunday, Tampa’s Acme Jazz Garage – laying down jazz, blues, funk and fusion – plays in celebration of a new album release (Sharkskin). The band includes guitarist Matt Swenson, pianists/keyboardists Bryan Lewis and Jody Marsh, bassist Philip Booth, saxophonist Rick Runion and drummer Dave Rudolph, with Shelby Sol on vocals. All Palladium event info and tickets here.

The Friends of Jack Kerouac have a poetry reading Saturday at thestudio@620, in recognition and celebration of the great writer’s epic poem “Mexico City Blues.” Readers include Skyla Luckey, Anthony Patterson, Tom Hallock, Greg Byrd, Pedro El Poeta, Donnie Ibn Malik, Ali McClendon and Trey Conner. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; tickets here.

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