Do It Today: Strawberry Festival, Nude Nite, Disco Pigs at Silver Meteor and poet Gianna Russo at USF

[image-1]You don’t have to take your clothes off to have a good time — but others will — at Nude Nite tonight through March 5.

Organizers are calling the event the largest nude-art event in the U.S. See for yourself when the 16,000-square-foot Trolley Barn space — a former industrial warehouse — gets transformed into a steampunk gallery evoking the Victorian era. More than 200 works in a juried exhibition highlight local artists, but some national and international artists will also showing.

The three-night multimedia extravaganza showcases all representations of visual art including cartoon, film, metal, pin-up, photography, experimental, and installation and invention. More eye candy comes by way of burlesque performers and live art performed by body painters. In addition, attendees can marvel at Lyra hoop aerialists, fitness-pole performances and an unusual cast of theatrical strolling characters. Interactive installations include oversized parlor games such as a life-size Scrabble board from renowned artist Carlo Craig, and Italian Limoncello will be served. 6 p.m.-midnight March 3-5, 1910 N. Ola Ave. Tampa. Must be 21 to attend. Valet and self-parking available; ATM on site. $20. Photo by Chip Weiner.

[image-2]The intense and twisted Disco Pigs is an award-winner by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, and the 1996 love story opens tonight just in time for an offbeat observance of St. Patty’s.

Wright has emerged in the forefront of young Irish dramatists, and her critically acclaimed play takes us into the lives of warped teens Pig (a.k.a. Darren) and Runt (Sinead), “17-year-olds who share everything: birthday, language, worldview and that moment when pop songs and life-changing orgasms flash by and last forever.”

Silver Meteor’s production stars Nic Carter and Dahlia Legault (Best Actress, Best of the Bay 2010), and it’s directed by Megan Lemasney. Runs March 3-20, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. and 3 p.m. Sun. 2213 E. Sixth Ave, between 22nd and 23rd streets, in Ybor City. No show on Sat., March 12 due to Rough Riders’ St. Patrick’s Parade. $15; student and senior admission, $12. 813-300-3585.

[image-3]If you enjoy good poetry and are selective about verse, poet and USF alumna Gianna Russo offers a refreshingly resonant and sparkling balance of detail and restraint. Russo has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she has had poems published in The Bloomsbury Review, Tampa Review and other major publications.

Celebrate the publication of Russo's first full-length collection, , with a book reading and signing. The event includes music by saxophonist Pamela Epps and appearances by local literary/performance luminaries such as poet laureate/CL contributor Peter Meinke, Silvia Curbelo, Phyllis McEwen, Sarah Pachelli and Jeff Karon, USF instructor and Russo's husband. A teacher of creative writing and English for more than 20 years, Russo is the founder of YellowJacket Press. 7 p.m. 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. 813-974-5464.

Below is poem from the collection.

The Fixed and Startled Way

Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune.

Walt Whitman

Now I claim my place in the ring of the moon-poets,

the champions of violets and ash

whose sleep spills on the floor

until waking shapes itself to the ribs of words,

for I am the guide of the alliterative present,

the conductor of the past in its assonance of O,O,O

and I gather to my bosom all the seers

of desert and jungle, all the prophets of rhumba and jazz,

I am the skyscraper stacked into clouds

and weighing down the world with its glory,

even the vultures spiraling see the gleam of sweet sun

on my eyelids and the mournful moon on my heels,

O vagabonds of the sentence,

I travel to the curved tail that instructs me to pause,

the precise dot that commands me to stop,

Red sky at morning, red sky at night,

this heart primes its conveyor belt of blood,

packaging the afterbirth of setting out,

safe return, foolhardy love-matches,

Dear breath, Dear sweat,

I lie down in my mother’s body

on a sheet of swallow sticks and cardinal feathers,

while disillusionment crawls onto its mat

and regret curls into its trundle bed,

My spirit is cool water at the throat of the disheartened

and whiskey on the tongues of the daunted,

cowardice wobbles and keels over like a sad boxer,

but I myself rise and shake out

the waist-length hair of my soul,

and it sets all the bells to ringing.

It's time once again to have a berry good time in Plant City. The Strawberry Festival begins with its Ride-a-Thon Day — a $19 wristband gets you on most rides (3-11 p.m. only).

Entertainers from today and yesteryear abound. At 3:30 p.m. you can roll out the barrel with Bobby Vinton, and gracing the stage at 7:30 p.m. is the velvet crooner,  fried chicken entrepreneur, ex-bf of Lucille and Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers .

.38 Special plays tomorrow, and Trace Adkins and the Judds play on Sun.

Click here for Sweetbay supermarkets offering discounted gate tickets. Midway opens at noon. $10, $5 ages 6-12. Festival runs March 3-13. For more details, visit

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