Is that... Is that the sun? As we all emerge from our Slankets and Snuggies and favorite Old Navy sweats and stumble, blinking like naked mole rats, into the sun, we realize not only does the weather not suck harder than a stoner seeking one last hit, it's also Friday, which means it's time to get out do some stuff.
Without further cutesy intro stuff, here's the weekend I would have if I were in town this weekend, which sadly, I am not. I'm investigating southern distilleries for next week's Sipping the South drinking issue, which means I cannot, alas, weekend with you fine folks. So please, Loafers, enjoy the sunshine and, in my honor, go forth and weekend like no one's watching. Except for all your friends with iPhones, of course.
So, start out with tonight, where the weekend is shiny and new and yet to be tainted with the scent of Monday. Let's start with opera. Yes, you heard me, opera. Opera Tampa's presentation of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti is a rip-roarin' (yes, you heard me. Stay with me, K?) bet between three dudes as to whether they can get their women to swap partners. OK, so I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. It ain't all fat ladies dressed as vikings up in there; there's always the good old-fashioned lady-swap to keep opera relevant.
After the opera, the sophisticated fans of songs about lady-swapping get drinks, and why should you be any different? Head over to Four Green Fields with, with a little luck, you'll hear music of a totally different sort. This weekend's just running the entertainment gamut, isn't it?
Assuming you all made it through all the culture, say hello to Saturday. Grab breakfast at the Wooden Rooster (try a crepe; we insist) and then line 'em up and knock 'em down: Gulfport Masters Fine Arts Festival in Veterans Park (dog friendly and, well, it's Gulfport, so bring your pet pig, too) in the morning, a break from the outdoors (as if you need it) for a 1 p.m. showing of Disney's Silly Symphonies (part one) at the Dali, and then over to the St. Pete Fine Arts Festival.
Head next to St. Pete Beach, and, while it's still sunshine-y, hit the 100 Artists Show in Horan Park. It's sunshine-y, it's waterfront, and the art — mostly local — runs the gamut of media. I have a piece made with crabs and old shipping pallets, but you can also get some exquisite acrylic paintings.
So, then, Saturday night. What to do, what to do? Puh-lenty, people. Plenty. But do it outside, OK? I felt guilty enough sending you in to the movie, but I would have felt worse had you missed it (it's a landmark in animation). So, nighttime in Tampa Bay in February... you can always take selfies on the beach at sunset and send them to the relatives in Maine, but why make them hate you more (or possibly decide to come visit you)? Look, you're on the beach, so go watch the sunset, and then get a couple pounds of peel-and-eat shrimp from a place like PJ's Oyster Bar on St. Pete Beach.
And then there was Sunday.
Start with brunch (yes, brunch. Face it, Loafers, we're those people. Embrace the brunch. Lean into it.) You know where I can't get enough of the food? Red Mesa. Any of them, but I'm partial to the original. Seriously, eat all the things, and eat them with a lovely Bloody Mary. Would I lead you astray?
Full on shrimp burritos and Bloodies, you can catch the 2 p.m. showing of Can You Dig This? at Eckerd College. It's a free film about gangsters who garden in a pretty severe food desert.
You last night of wonder should be filled with Loretta Lynn. Or Steep Canyon Rangers. Man, it sucks you can't do both. Loretta's in her eighties and she looks better than most waitresses at Crabby Bill's (she also sings better, too); Steep Canyon Rangers simply rock the hell out of some bluegrass (and they're Steve Martin's preferred band when he gets hot with a banjo).
And then, alas, it's Sunday night. Go ahead and make sure you have your hummus burrito packed for tomorrow's lunch. It's OK; we'll be here again next week, bringing all the awesome and maybe finally ready to unleash the full force of a spring weekend upon you.
Psst? Want to squeeze some extra drops of weekend? Head to Pass-a-Grille Monday night for some full moon journaling with the Audubon Society.