Do It This Weekend: Refractory, Gifts for Glitter, Abnormal Formal, Soloist writer Steve Lopez, HISTeria and more

Seems that the cool events keep happening at the Tampa Armature, a.k.a. the Old Trolley Barn, a.k.a. the Heights Waterfront. (Pick a name already.)

If you’re unfamiliar, the historic building sits on a scenic spot by the Hillsborough River, and even if the event weren’t taking place there, this Friday’s Refractory could go down in an abandoned Save-a-Lot and still be righteous. The art party features a swirl of moving images and media that utilize the industrial and historical features of the Armature.

Local and national artists will be participating in the show, including Robert Chambers, Genesis P. Orridge, Negativland, Spanky and Maureen Hudas, Michael LeMieux, Kurt Piazza, Brian Taylor and several others.

The evening’s centerpiece will be a large-scale version of a Dream Machine installation – a stroboscopic flicker device, originally designed as a tabletop gizmo, that will be reconstructed as a giant pillar of light for the Refractory show. 8-11 p.m. Fri., Oct. 15, 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. $5.

On Sept. 8, Alaine Bernat, a derby gal known as “Glitter Head Splitter No. 1/5,” was gravely injured while riding her scooter. A truck ran a red light and struck the USF graduate, who has a master’s degree in photography and has been active in the local arts community.

In addition to other injuries, Bernat suffered a fractured left hip and will require surgical maintenance for the rest of her life. Oct. 16 is her 25th birthday, so to bring her some cheer and much-needed financial assistance, The Bricks of Ybor and Tampa Bay Derby Darlins team up with local artists and musicians to present the fund-raising event Gifts for Glitter.

Performing will be ambient rockers Sleepy Vikings, pop-punk band Neglected Superhero, the alt-prog-funktastic Florida Night Heat and progressive metallic band Battlestar. Bricks/Skatepark of Tampa proprietor Brian Schaefer emcees while the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins entice attendees with an “enormous” bake sale. Nifty-cool art, goods and services will be available for auction and raffle. 8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 15. 1327 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Free. For information, call Anne Vela at 813-810-0814.

If you didn’t go broke during the Rays playoff stint, here’s another big-ticket event worth the splurge. Cirque Shanghai: Bai Xi is an internationally renowned acrobatic circus that’s both family-friendly and artistically wondrous. The CS troupe challenges perceptions of human limitation and dazzles audiences with colorful and spectacular pageantry. The performers reenact centuries of acrobatic tradition while adding modern touches, all the while eliciting gasps with their aerial tricks, plate spinning, contortion, hoop diving, demonstrations of physical strength and balance, dance, martial arts and more. This is a Chinese import you will want to recall – fondly. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 15-16, Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $34-$54. 727-892-5798.

If you’ve read or seen The Soloist and want to see the real-life journalist played by Robert Downey Jr. or learn more about the touching true story — or are just curious about it from a writer's perspective — attend Conversations with Steve Lopez at the Poynter Institute of Media Studies. Friday 7-8:15 p.m.  $35. Includes reception and light refreshments. For reservations, call 727-821-9494 Poynter is at 801 Third St. S., St. Petersburg. 888-769-6837.

In the mood for a creeptacularly swanky bash? Attend the Tampa Bay History Center’s inaugural Halloween fundraiser, HISTeria, a soiree that invites guests to wear costumes that explore the dark side of history (Jack the Ripper, etc.) and sample food from some of Tampa’s best local eateries (SideBern’s, Ella’s, Datz, Cafe Hey, Fly Bar). Emmanuel Leto, the center’s media and community representative, says he’ll be taking the historical theme to the local level with his costume: He’ll be dressed as a ghost soldier from Fort Brooke since the History Center is located on the site of the old Fort Brooke army outpost. The spin-tastic DJ Blenda gets the zombies dancing. 8 p.m.-midnight Sat., Oct. 16, 801 Old Water St., Tampa.

Get set for All Hallow’s Eve in funky-artsy fashion. Dress up in costume and attend ArtPool Gallery’s next blowout, Abnormal Formal, an art party that displays  works inside and outside the gallery space with mood-appropriate experimental-alternative music by the New Math, DJ Sorta, Larry Ludwig, Immeke (The Kraken) Schmidt, The Dre, Gracieli Scremin and DJ Random providing a soundtrack to all the hobnobbing and bobbing-for-apples festivities. There’ll be free PBR, we hear, three fashion shows, a costume concert, fire dancers and a pumpkin-carving contest. 8-11:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 16, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Costs $20 cash at the door to attend. For information, call 727-324-3878.

If you took the colorful and infectious dance numbers of Indian Bollywood movies and melded them with the hypnotic hip sways of bellydancing, you’d get Bombay Bellywood, an elaborate and dazzling spectacle by the Bellydance Susperstars. The troupe says they reinterpret an ancient art form into a new-old exciting extravaganza described as “Cairo meets Bombay in San Francisco and New York with a touch of Buenos Aries and Chicago.” 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 16, Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $32-$45. For information, call 727-822-3590.

Also this weekend, in brief:

Fri.-Sun.  Clearwater Jazz Holiday Annual tradition on a scenic bluff – fresh-air fun and people-watching, even when the sounds are ho-hum. Local standouts: O Som Do Jazz (Sat. 2:30 pm) and Eric Darius (Sun. 2:30 p.m.) Coachman Park., 727-461-5200.

Fri.-Sat. Pops in the Park Pack a picnic and enjoy a free Florida Orchestra concert. Features Brahms, Dvorak and Offenbach, plus big band tunes and songs from South Pacific – the finale: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. River Tower Park in Tampa Friday, Vinoy Park Saturday. 7 p.m. 813-558-5095.

Fri.-Sun Die Momma Die! University of Tampa students stage a comedy by Charles Busch that references campy 1960s thrillers and Greek tragedies. $10; seniors and non-UT students pay $5; free to all UT students, faculty, and staff with a UT ID card. Directed by Ami Sallee Corley. Falk Theatre, Tampa.

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