Do It This Weekend: Gasparilla arts fests, Jessica vs. Britney and more

The Whitest Kids U' Know. If you haven’t checked out the comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U' Know – a sketch comedy troupe with their own show on IFC – you’re missing out on some truly depraved comedy.  Sun., March 8, 9:30 p.m., The Tampa Improv, 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Centro Ybor, Tampa, 813-864-4000.

EMERGE Art Party Kickstart My Art and the Tampa Artist Emporium exhibit the works of 15 new artists. The theme is "fame" -- each artist has rendered a celebrity in his or her unique artistic style. A free opening night reception is held on March 6 from 7 to 10 p.m., and guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite celebrities -- the "paparazzi" will be on hand all night snapping photos! March 6-31, Tampa Artist Emporium, Tampa, 813-254-3443.

Five + 5. The second group show of unframed works-on-paper by [5]art-affiliated artists and five invited guests. An opening reception with light hors d'oeuvres, free drinks by Cigar City Brewing, and spins by DJ Oblivion is held 7-10 p.m. Fri., March 6. [5]ART,  West Tampa Center for the Arts, Tampa, 813-245-1034.

Gasparilla International Film Festival closes this weekend. Go to for more information; read CL's feature here. Through March 7, Channelside Cinemas, Tampa Theatre, Beach Theatre, [email protected]

Pink Flamingo Home Tour The Gulfport Chamber of Commerce presents a "Then and Now" home tour beginning at the Gulfport Historical Museum. Sat., March 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Gulfport Historical Museum, Gulfport, $12, 727-327-0505.

Urban Dare. Urban Dare is a nationwide treasure hunt adventure that challenges two-person teams to explore the urban jungle. These brave pioneers must face Tampa’s perils to solve clues and document their discoveries — all while traversing five miles of city streets by foot or public transportation. Sat., March 7, check-in 11 a.m., race at noon, starts and ends at Four Green Fields, Tampa, $90 per team until March 6, $110 day of the event, 813-254-4444, (Franki Weddington)

The Abilities Wine Tasting & Silent Auction. 40-plus area restaurants serve samples of their specialties, sips of more than 400 wines from around the world, and possibly some of the best auction items of any fundraiser you’ll find. Since its inception, the well-attended event has raised over $3.2 million for thousands of Floridians with disabilities. And this year, as an anniversary gift to you, they’re rolling back the ticket price to 1999 levels: $50 in advance for the Grand Tasting; $100 in advance for VIP. Sat., March 7, 6-9 p.m. VIP, 7-9 p.m. general, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, 727-538-7370, Ext. 345,

The Pen Is Mightier Series. Poets Helen Wallace and Peter Meinke (of CL "Poet's Notebook" fame) are the featured writers in this month's event, which includes a writing workshop at 3 p.m., and a reading and discussion at 7 p.m. Sat., March 7, The [email protected], St. Petersburg, 727-895-6620, free admission.

Britney Spears w/The Pussycat Dolls Over the past few years, Britney Spears has been through the media gauntlet. But the superstar songstress picked up the pieces, clocked some hours in the dance studio and got in svelte shape, hit the studio with the right producers, and got her pop groove back.  Sun. Mar., 8, 8 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa.

Jessica Simpson The Strawberry Fest’s concert closer features the country-music-friendly curves of Simpson, who makes up for her limited singing ability with  sun-kissed girl-next-door sexiness. Sun. Mar. 8, 7:30 p.m., Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, Plant City.

Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts More than 300 artists and crafters take part in the 39th annual fest, displaying paintings, ceramics, fiber, jewelry and more along Franklin Street and throughout Lykes Gaslight Square Park. March 7-8, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., Lykes Gaslight Square Park, downtown Tampa, free admission,

GASP!Arilla. If you’re looking for the after-dark, floral-free alternative to the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Café Hey presents GASP!Arilla. The single-day art party features live music by Acho Brother, Bay Area Klezmer Konnection and DJ Fuego, and work by up-and-coming artists. Sat., March 7, 8 p.m., Cafe Hey, Tampa, free admission, (Leilani Polk)

Verdi Requiem The Florida Orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay present a Progress Energy Masterworks concert of Verdi's powerful operatic work. More than 200 musicians and singers perform. Sat., March 7, 8 p.m., Progress Energy Center for the Arts - Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, and Sun., March 8, 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, $19-$65.

After the jump: Whitest Kids, Pen Is Mightier, Abilities, Emerge, Urban Dare and more.

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