[image-1]The seventh annual Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg takes over the citys downtown March 24-27. The waterfront circuit winds around Pioneer Park, the Mahaffey, the Dali Museum and extends onto runways at Albert Whitted Airport, a section that overlooks the Bay and St. Petersburg Harbor and Marina. Six sanctioned races are scheduled, and surrounding venues such as Jannus Live present concerts and special events. Thursday evening is the Festival of States Illuminated Night Parade at 7 p.m. Vincent Lecavalier, Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is grand marshal for driver parade Sun. morning. For race schedule, visit gpstpete.com, and for city info, visit stpete.org.
[image-2]Gasparilla International Film Festival truly has something for every movie watcher, with around 100 screenings, performances, premiere parties and workshops compacted into four short days. Movies can be seen at multiple venues, including Tampa Theatre, Cinebistro Hyde Park and Muvico Ybor. The event is book-ended by festivities at Tampa Theatre and a block party downtown with splashy finale at the Kress Building.
Friday night at the fest: see Paul Giamatti's latest, Win Win (pictured, right), a standout at Sundance and centers on attorney Mike Flaherty, who volunteers as a wrestling coach and takes on the guardianship of an elderly client as a last-ditch effort to keep his practice from going under. Things go awry when the client's teenage grandson runs away from home and show's up granddad's doorstep. The movie's blessed with nuanced perspective of the critically acclaimed writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent and The Visitor). 7:45 p.m. Cinebistro Hyde Park.
[image-3]Saturday, see Color Me Obsessed and Everyday Sunshine. "A crazed and crazy look" at the band known by fans as "The Mats," the Replacements rock doc Color Me Obsessed has its world premiere at GIFF. The film follows the exploits of the famed '80s-'90s underground garage rock group from Minneapolis. (Sat., March 26, 7:30 p.m., Muvico Centro Ybor). Everyday Sunshine takes us back to the spaztastic punk funk of Fishbone. Laurence Fishbone narrates. (Fri., March 25, 7:30 p.m., Muvico Centro Ybor). After party at New World Brewery, Ybor City.
Admission is $10 at the door and a waiting list will be provided for sold-out screenings. For more highlights of the event, click here. Event admissions vary; check GIFF2011.com.
Presented in conjunction with GIFF, the ninth annual Ybor Festival of the Moving Image offers thought-provoking cinematic fare and visual. We're particularly intrigued by "media matador" Francesca Talenti's video installations (such as "Pantry Ghost" pictured here) that are part of The Digital Lounge Show at the HCC Ybor Gallery. Through Sun., March 27, HCC-Ybor presents film screenings, filmmaker panels, workshops, live performances and art exhibitions celebrate art thats more than meets the eye. Best of the Fest will be featured from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sun. at Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave., Ybor City ($5). Most events are free. Visit yborfilmfestival.com for details.
How about athletic race action on two wheels? See 600 cyclists zoom through Downtown Tampa at speeds up to 35 mph during the Cigar City Criterium and Festival.
[image-4]The all-day event includes the Times Family Fun Ride (at 12:45 p.m.), food and beer garden, cycling gear and safety information, bike-decorating station, fitness zone with spin demonstrations, mini bike tune-ups, bicycle valet parking, electric car and exotic bike displays. TAPS, Pizza Fusion, Pour House, Datz Deli and The Bricks restaurants are participating in the event. The tbt* Urban Roll is at 5:30 p.m. You don't have to be an athlete for this activity. Bring your bike for a casual ride around the "racecourse." Stop by the tbt* booth in Lykes Gaslight Square to sign waiver and get your race number. Raffle prizes available include Cigar City Beer for a year. Helmets strongly suggested. Free bike valet parking available. Sat., March 26, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Meet up at Lykes Gaslight Park, Franklin Street, downtown Tampa. 813-221-3686. tampacrit.com. (Photo by Chip Weiner.)
[image-5]For more bicycle action on a more laid-back tip, the next PBR Pub Bike Ride is happening again on Sun., March 27, 6-11:30 p.m. The trek goes from Cafe Hey to Pizza Fusion, Kenny's and ends at The Hub.
Special post-ride concert by Raguckas, which is not, as the name suggests, famed bartender Joe Raguckas' new band, but that of Jeff Brawer's (of the Dukes of Hillsborough) -- basically Regular Size People Fight lineup with a new drummer and material. pabstblueribbon.wordpress.com. Cafe Hey is at 1540 N. Franklin Ave., Tampa;
If you're looking for good comedy, you're in luck. Famous, award-winning stand-up comics like Steve Harvey, Larry Miller and Robert Klein and headline venues on both sides of the bay. Here's some more:
[image-6]Also headlining: Greg Fitzsimmons, a regular on the talk show circuit and cable TV shows. He's won four Daytime Emmys for his writing on The Ellen Degeneres Showand he's helped pen episodes of Lucky Louie, Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher and The Man Show. Fitzsimmons' mischievous sarcasm and wit get him big laughs on the stand-up circuit. March 24-27. $15, $17; Friday's show is 18 and up. The Tampa Improv, 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Centro Ybor, Ybor City. 813-864-4000. improvtampa.com.
Suzanne Westenhoefer (pictured above, right) is the first openly gay comedian to take the mic on television and has gotten laughs on Letterman, HBO, Bravo, Logo and GSN as well as performances across the U.S. Sat., March 26, 8 p.m. $26-$31. The Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. 727-822-3590.
[image-7]In its brief seven years of existence, The [email protected] has offered the best of the Tampa Bay community by creating a gathering place of arts, entertainment, social development and education. The best of the best are saluted at the 2011 Studio Honors in recognition of five individuals "who have contributed to the intellectual, artistic, economic, social, and cultural aspects of our community here and beyond": midtown rebuilder Goliath Davis (pictured, right), author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), community enricher Patricia Mason, human rights protector John Prendergast, and and emerging actor Monica Raymund. The celebration begins at at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club. Reservations are required; call 727-895-6620. Sat., March 26. $175. Sponsorships are available. All proceeds benefit the [email protected] Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club, 501 Fifth Ave. N.E., St. Petersburg. 727-894-1000. studio620.org.
Also, briefly ...
[image-8]1st Art Invitational: Art, Music, Fashion: New exhibition and fabulous art party opening celebration featuring works from illustrator and painter Ray Domingo, artist Doug Bloodworth (whose "Oreo" is pictured, right) and St. Petersburg resident Don Kobasky. Stay late for the midnight fashion show by Freeway Fashion, Valentine Productions, MISRED Outfitters and the Trunk Stylists. Music by the Helios Jazz Orchestra and DJ Mega. Gourmet goodies from Executive's Chef will also be served. Fri., March 25, 8 p.m.-3 a.m. 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg. 727-821-6682. nova535.com.
Highland Fling at RenFest: This weekend experience the Florida State Highland Heavy Games Championship Mens Open Amateur, a series of 9 different events, as well as the Florida State Masters Highland Games Championship. The festival, as usual, offers costumes, every type of food, music, theater, live jousting and human chess, and a marketplace with a wide variety for sale -- including those crazy legs o' lamb. A pirates feast features a three-course meal with live entertainment. Admission at the gate: Adults $17.95, Children 5-12 $9.95, four and under free. Discount tickets available at Circle K and Walgreens and at MOSI or online. Through April 17. bayarearenaissancefest.com.
Casks for a Cause: Knock back some craft beer and rock out to local music. The annual festival at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City offers fun for a good cause. The craft beer and music event benefits the Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit organization that funds microlending programs in developing-world communities. $10 admission; $2 per 8-ounce pour. The first 500 guests receive a free pint glass. For more details, visit wholefoods.com/tampa. Sat., March 26, 2-6 p.m. Tampa Bay Brewing Company, 1812 N. 15th St., Tampa. 813-247-1422. tampabaybrewingcompany.com.
[image-9]Cirque Extravaganza Be a part of theater-in-the-round performance that allows audiences to get up close and personal with the dancing fairies. Produced by Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, performances will consist of eye-catching aerialists, bouncing acrobats, stiltwalkers, characters and buffoonery. March 26-27, 2 p.m. $15; $30 VIP seating. Children under 3 admitted free. Refreshments are included in ticket price. The Conmy Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 750 San Salvador St., Dunedin. 727-461-0098. fairiesinc.org.
Oldsmar Days Kick back at the little Gulf-side community with a 50th annual community wide family event featuring classic rock and blues, arts and crafts and a carnival with midway. Special events include "Vettes and Hogs" Show (5-8 p.m. March 25), Oldsmobile car show (noon-5 p.m. March 26), Classic car show (noon-3:15 p.m. March 27) and "Wing Wars" cook-off (2 p.m. March 27). March 26-27. Free; Ride wristbands $18 per day, $50 all weekend. R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive W., Oldsmar. 813-855-4233.
Classic Car and Motorcycle Show See some 50 vintage cars and motorcycles. Free. Sat., March 26, 5-9 p.m. Largo Community Center, 400 Alt. Keene Road, Largo. 727-518-3131.