Do It Today: Chromatophore, I Love Africa, Think+Drink Cinema

We often list losing our jobs, forgoing health care, or sacrificing fresh, healthy foods for Ramen noodles as signs of the rough economic times. What One City Ministries discovered on their mission trip to Uganda is that their tough times are altogether different: entire families infected with HIV or AIDS, crops and cattle destroyed by disease, and malnutrition to a degree almost unheard of in the U.S. This week, add an extra Ramen night to your dinner schedule to help the children and families of Uganda at the I <3 Africa benefit. The event's African-style marketplace showcases handcrafted art and basketry, authentic cuisine, a performance by the Kuumba Dancers and world music by multi-cultural musicians, Planet Collective. Uganda's rich culture comes to Tampa, and in turn, event proceeds directly benefit the people of Uganda via continued aid from OCM -- including health care provisions, scholarship funds, and economic development via the trAID program. Thurs., Aug. 27, 7-10 p.m., Grace Family Church, 5101 Van Dyke Rd., Lutz, $15 in advance, $20 at the door, onecityministries.org. -- Franki Weddington


The Think + Drink Cinema Series focuses on cultural, social and scientific topics, and the American Music Series prior to each movie explores the history and icons of the music that have shaped America, and features a live performance by a new local musician each week. Tonight's series finale is Mayor of Sunset Strip, about Los Angeles DJ, music reporter, promoter and fan, Rodney Bingenheimer, who helped to break some of the century's most famous artists, including everyone from David Bowie to Coldplay. Electric Myakka performs live before the film. Thurs., Aug. 27, 6 p.m. music, 7 p.m. film, Bishop Planetarium, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, $8, $6 students, $5 museum members, southfloridamuseum.org.

If the typical trappings of visual art — white-box exhibitions, snooty gallery assistants and mind-boggling price tags — strike you as absurdly pretentious, take heart in mail art. The fiercely anti-commercial genre most often takes the form of postcards, illustrated envelopes and custom paper creations (though the odd three-dimensional object makes for a welcome surprise), traded among practitioners for the modest cost of a postage stamp. The [email protected] presents Chromatophore, the multidisciplinary space’s second annual mail art exhibition, curated by St. Petersburg artist Jennifer Zoellner. Many of the more-than-300 mail art works on display engage the concept of the chromatophore (a pigment-bearing cell that enables creatures to change color in response to their surroundings) as a theme. Roll up your sleeves for hands-on mail art activities and soak in the sounds of singer-songwriter Rebecca Zapen at the exhibit’s multi-sensory opening reception. (Pictured: Me and Mona Go for a Boat Ride, by Katherine Michael) Chromatophore: a Mail Art Exhibit, Aug. 27-Sept. 5 with an opening reception Thurs., Aug. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m., [email protected], 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg, 727-895-6620, studio620.org. – Megan Voeller

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