Duncan Strauss began broadcasting his Talking Animals radio program about animals and animal rights in Southern California back in 2003 and brought it to WMNF's airwaves a few years later. Now hes ready to bust out of the studio and into the wild well, sort of. This weekend, Strauss hosts the first ever Talking Animals Festival, which promises to be a mini-Woodstock for the animal loving Tampa Bay community. More than a dozen local artists and musicians (like Ronnie Elliot) perform animal songs. If youre currently petless but are considering adopting a dog or cat, the Humane Society is on hand with adorable pets looking for forever homes. You can microchip your own pet for only $10, get low-cost vaccinations for your animal, and see "smart" pet tricks. Noon-5 p.m. Sun., April 11, Lowry Park Band Shell, 7350 North Blvd., Tampa, free, talkinganimals.net. Mitch Perry
Some people think contemporary dance is just another name for people writhing around onstage barefoot, claiming that their ribbon dancing is symbolic of womens oppression or something. Well, those people have obviously never seen Serenade/The Proposition, a multidisciplinary work from the New York-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company inspired by (and including excerpts from) the speeches of Abraham Lincoln. Ahem. Created by multi-award-winning choreographer/director Jones (a MacArthur genius grant winner), the piece is as much theater as dance, and engages Lincolns legacy as a rumination on the nature of history and our relationship to it perhaps an especially interesting approach for audiences in the South. USF School of Theatre & Dance students take on this ambitious project, which combines video projections, an original score of classical and folk music, and a cast of actors and dancers. (Pictured: Jermaine Thornton and Tyler Orcutt dance Serenade/The Proposition. Photo by Anthony Morrison) April 8-10 and April 14-17, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., additional 3 p.m. matinee Sun., April 11, Theater I, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, $8-$15, theatreanddance.arts.usf.edu. Franki Weddington
Experience everything that made the historic district what it is today (minus the puking college kids and techno-blasting dance clubs) at Ybor Aficionado Days, the fourth annual homage to Cigar City. Saturday offers a Tapas Trail through some of Ybor's most delectable fine dining spots, followed by an after party and smoker at the Italian Club, where you'll puff on hand-rolled cigars and sample rum, wine, beer, desserts, and café con leche while listening to music by Mainstream. A Sunday Brunch at the Columbia Restaurant soaks up all the fuzzy feelings of the night before while you enjoy jazz by Les Sabler and witness the first ever Tapas Cooking Challenge. Visit ybor.org or call 813-241-8838 for tickets and info. April 10-11, 4-7 p.m. Sat., 11:30 a.m. Sun. $35 Tapas Trail, $45 Jazz Brunch, $70 combined ticket.
St. Pete's resident fashion maven, Marina Williams, hosts tonight's second anniversary ART pARTy for her vintage/thrift/art/craft/event/music space, ARTpool. Expect a reprise of the painted ladies (and boys) from her Muse show, an insane Steampunk Fashion Show by Joanna Coblentz, live painting and a video installation by David Meek. There ain't no party like an ARTpool party. Visit artpoolrules.com for tickets and info. Sat., April 10., ARTpool, St. Petersburg, $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Your favorite rollergirls, the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins, are back for more action in Franky Panky: two days of girl-on-girl roller derby fun. It features fellow WFTDA teams — the Dallas Derby Devils, Tallahassee Rollergirls, Cincinnati Rollergirls, and our own Tampa Tantrums — going head-to-head in five fierce bouts each day. Be sure to grab some raffle tickets for the chance to win a Joe Bonamassa custom autographed guitar. It'll be fun for all ages, so grab grandma and the kids to enjoy some fast-paced flat track fun. Visit tampabayderbydarlins.com for more info. April 10-11, 11 a.m. Sat.-Sun., USF Recreation Center, Tampa, $15 day pass, $25 weekend pass; $5 day pass, $10 weekend pass for students and teachers.
In preparation for its upcoming string of performances at the Orlando International Fringe Festival, American Stage hosts four nights of Reefer Madness, based on the 1936 film cult classic. T. Scott Wooten wrote, directed and stars in the play, alongside Katie Castonguay, Jan Ray and Michael Titone. Reefer follows a group of college students who commit serious crimes manslaughter, rape and suicide when theyre overtaken by the devil (aka reefer) and descend into insanity. This kind of reminds me of the anti-pot commercial where the kid forgets to go to grandmas house for dinner because he got high. Cmon, who misses grandmas dinner when theyre stoned? Thats exactly when you want home cooking the most. CL has said in the past that youll get high on this parody American Stage mustve noticed our munchies, because theyre serving up Doritos and brownies in the lobby. April 9-12, 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 and 9 p.m. Sun.-Mon., American Stage, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg, pay what you can admission, americanstage.org. Lily Reisman
FICS (Florida Institute for Community Studies) hosts the Multicultural Food and Arts Fest, a day of music and dance performances, youth and adult art exhibits, and a visit from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Slavery Museum, a converted truck that simulates the degrading, near-slavelike conditions that some of Florida's farm workers face. Visit ficsinc.org or call 813-477-2882. for more info. Fri., April 9, 4-8 p.m., FICS Multicultural Family Center, 6704 Hanley Road, Tampa, $5.
The view, the exercise and the chance to do some real good in the community: Whats not to like about Harveys 5k Run in downtown St. Pete? This years race, which is a part of St. Petersburgs annual Festival of States, starts at the Renaissance Vinoy, heads south along Bayshore Drive, and then sends participants up a few blocks on Central Avenue. Runners then jog south again on Bayshore toward Albert Whitted Airport before heading back up and completing the loop where they started at the Vinoy. Now, if that sounds a little too daunting, you can always take it easy and participate in the mile-long Fun Run. Proceeds will benefit students as well as arts and music programs in Pinellas County schools. Sat., April 10, 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. start time, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 5K entry fee $15 in advance, $20 day of race, Fun Run entry $10 in advance, $15 day of race, festivalofstates.com. Anthony Salveggi
Tonight's installment in the After Hours Cabaret series is Too Legit to Quit, but it isn't an homage to MC Hammer so much as a celebration of music "from opera to popera." Vocalists Emilia Sargent and Sacha Iskra take on Puccini and Aretha; Harold Arlen and Kelly Clarkson; Broadway showtunes, contemporary faves and classical standards. Consider it a musical history lesson, with all the arias, runs and glass-shattering high notes you can handle. Visit americanstage.org for more info. April 9-11, 6:30 and 8:15 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m. Sun., American Stage, St. Petersburg, $15 at the door, $20 in advance.
Yappy Hour is a night on the town for pups and their well-behaved owners, when pets and people can nosh on tasty treats (the human variety includes fare from Panera, Chili's and Tijuana Flats), with proceeds to benefit Lost Angels Animal Rescue. Visit houndsmeow.com for more info. Sat., April 10, 5 p.m., The Hound's Meow, Lutz, $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
If you're headed to today's Antique Evaluation Saturdays appraisal fair, chances are you've done one of two things: either you've searched through Aunt Edna's attic hunting for buried treasure; or spent a fortune on old junk in an antique shop that turns out to be counterfeit. Here's hoping the panel of experts on maps, silver, documents, furniture, collectibles, paintings and prints have some good news. Visit plantmuseum.com for more info. Sat., April 10, 10 a.m., Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa, $5 per item; limit four items per family.
Philphest 2010 is a benefit by the bay that includes a concert by former Idol contestant Phil Stacey (er, who says you can't be successful without the help of Simon Cowell?), the Black Honkeys and Soul Power Review. When you're not country rockin' out, you can nosh on barbecue from Angry Pepper, check out the kid's zone with games, caricatures and face painting, or visit the skin cancer screening booth and silent auction area. Proceeds benefit the Philip A. Bryant Melanoma Foundation. Visit PAB40foundation.org for more info. Sat., April 10, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., R.E. Olds Park, Oldsmar, $3, free for kids 6 and younger.
The eighth annual Ybor Festival of the Moving Image celebrates the diverse, powerful work of independent artists and filmmakers. Based at HCC Ybor and organized by HCC Special Projects Manager David Audet, the five-day fest offers documentaries, personal films, live performances, workshops and lectures. Both the artists and their works run the gamut: Blake H.S. student Garrett Brown, 18, presents his claymation short, What Lurks in the Dark; Paul Fierlinger born in 1936 and his wife Sandra exhibit their full-length animated film, My Dog Tulip (pictured); and UNC professor Andre Silva showcases Ichthyopolis, a short animated technomation film. The highlight is Dreamers and Troublemakers, a collaborative exhibit of mixed media sculpture by artist Charlotte Lee, whose creations are so fluid as to appear to be in perpetual motion; and digital imagery by Christopher Weeks, whose Tampa-centric, comic book-inspired images invite viewers to look beyond Busch Gardens and the Buccaneers to the citys true nature. The fest also explores the theme of cultural diversity, with featured films promising to illuminate contemporary political and cultural issues affecting and influencing our daily life. Ybor Festival of the Moving Image, April 7-11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Weds. -Sun., HCC Ybor Performing Arts Building, $7 screenings; Dreamers and Troublemakers, opening reception 6-9 p.m. Thurs., April 8, HCC Ybor Art Gallery, 2204 N. 15th St., Tampa, on display through April 15, yborfilmfestival.com. Lily Reisman