Do It Today: Pre-Fest, Olivia Newton-John, MGMT and other hump-day happenings

[image-1]MGMT delivered a near-perfect mix of psychedelic rock, synth pop and ’70s-retrofied disco funk in their 2008 major label first, Oracular Spectacular. The musicians were still rather young and figuring themselves out creatively, so they got more experimental and progressive in 2010’s Congratulations, retaining the framework of their sound but treating it with a distinctly anti-pop vibe and getting overall mixed reviews from both critics and fans, though it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Regardless of whether Congrats won you over or not, the Brooklyn five-piece is talented and has a certain can-do-no-wrong appeal that’ll keep people coming to see them live. Get your tickets now, this show has definite sell-out potential.  8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. (Contributed by Leilani Polk.)

Pink and Blue Times Two raises awareness and funds for both [image-2]breast cancer and prostate cancer and takes place at the Moroccan-themed Desert Grill today at Busch Gardens. Entertainment is provided by Ms. Object of Hopeless Devotion, herself an idol of hopelessly aging women worldwide, Olivia Newton-John, who has lived with breast cancer for 18 years. The event was founded by the actress/singer’s nephew, Emerson Newton-John. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Moffitt Cancer Center, as well as Olivia Newton-John’s up-and-coming Cancer and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia. Ticket holders can enjoy an open bar with top-shelf liquor provided by Grey Goose. So grease up those shoes, or hair, or whatever it is you do to look spiffy to enjoy this special event. (Here's a thought: Should we invite Ms. Newton-John to play the Skatepark show? How cool would that be?) Private meet and greet with Olivia Newton-John, 6 – 7 p.m., event p.m. – 10 p.m., tickets are $150 per person and must be purchased in advance (Pictured right: Olivia Newton John at first PB42 event in Miami last April, photo from; info provided by Lily Reisman.)

Local activist, City Council hopeful and beloved fly in the ointment Kelly Benjamin teams up with former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis (D-Dist. 11) to host a Transit Town Hall Meeting that addresses lingering questions about the Hillsborough County Transit Referendum and how light rail might affect city neighborhoods, particularly Seminole Heights, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Hillsborough High School Auditorium, Tampa. Write to [email protected] for details.

If you're staying in tonight, watch the locally produced, cable-access nostalgia fest that's The Tampa Natives Show. Hosted by Mario Nuñez and Steve Cannella, the show highlights memories and photos of Tampa back in the day.

This week's topic will be favorite Halloween trick-or-treat stories with "guest hosts" Groucho Marx and Dr. Paul Bearer. If you're a Tampa native and want to participate in this televised trip down memory lane, send your best scanned Halloween childhood pics before the show's 9 p.m. air time to [email protected]. Ch. 30 on Verizon, Ch. 950 on Bright House and Ch. 20 on Comcast, or watch live online.

Last but not least, Swing Time’s Ninth Annual Halloween Costume Ball is tonight and starts with two dance lessons: Wicked Partner Dancing 6-7 p.m. and Shim Sham (with Special Zombie Styling) 7-8 p.m.; no partner needed for either lesson.  Starting at 8 p.m., dance until midnight. Event features a costume parade and contest with hundreds of dollars worth of cash and prizes. $7 admission includes food, dancing and drinks, and all ages are welcome, at the Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport. For more information, call 813-840-3715.

Each year, around Halloween, hordes of punk bands, rogue troubadours and other DIY indie acts head to Gainesville for a ginormous multi-venue music festival that offers everything from the obscure to the up-and-coming to the odd international headliner. This year, British heir to the Billy Bragg throne Frank Turner performs. Notable locals Dukes of Hillsborough, New Bruises, Devout and Too Many Daves will be there, too.

A great Tampa precursor to the Gainesville's Fest 9 this weekend is Pre-Fest at Transitions Art Gallery at the Skate Park of Tampa. It's going on tonight and tomorrow night and includes Florida bands and touring acts appearing at Fest.

Lineup tonight includes Franz Nicolay, Fake Problems (pictured), The Gay Blades, Capsule, Big Kids, 1994, Caves, Arms Aloft, Calvinball and the Anchor. If you can't make it tonight, tomorrow's bill has some crucial headliners such as Tiltwheel and the Arrivals. Songs and bios of all the bands are all provided on Fest's impressively extensive site. 6 p.m. Skatepark of Tampa is at 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $10. For more information, visit

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