Planet Picks

A new exhibition at the Dali, comedy troupe Caffeine Kids and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas highlight this week's picks.

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Thursday 11.8

A Muse's Masterpieces A retrospective exhibition of paintings by the French artist Jacqueline Lamba (1910-93) opens at the Salvador Dali Museum. The title of the exhibition, In Spite of Everything, Spring, is taken from her painting by the same name. Lamba is best known for her artistic contributions to the surrealist movement. The exhibition brings together 25 paintings produced between 1938 and 1988, shortly before Alzheimer's disease began robbing the artist of her memory. The early paintings include a portrait of her husband, the poet and writer Andre Breton, as St. Just, and a number of non-objective surrealist works from the 1940s. The Salvador Dali Museum is at 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg (727-823-3767). Admission costs $10 for adults. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Hours extend to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, when admission is half off.

The Kids Are Alright Equal parts comedy and acting, the improv comedy troupe known as the Caffeine Kids is a versatile and experienced bunch who segue from skit to bit to song as swiftly as Red Bull-inspired brain flashes. The kids are Patty White, Ryan Bauer, Joe Davison, Victoria Burton and Jacen Kraynek, several of whom have performed improv locally for years and have film credits to their names. The troupe mixes live sketches with edited sketch videos, and unlike with stand-up comedians, audiences never know what act they're gonna get. The Caffeine Kids perform at 8 p.m. at the Improv Comedy Theater. Advance tickets cost $10, $2 more at the door. For more on the kids, check their spankin' new Web site: caffeinekids.com. The Improv is at Centro Ybor, 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Ybor City (813-864-4000).

Friday 11.9

Children's Classic Brought to life in the 1950s by illustrator Maurice Sendak (In the Night Kitchen, Where the Wild Things Are), Little Bear is the lovable star of five books, the original book having won both the Caldecott Honor and the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award. Maurice Sendak's Little Bear now stars in Little Bear and the Enchanted Wood, a playful hourlong performance packed with singing, dancing and audience participation. The live show is patterned on the animated series, produced by Sendak, which presents children with an ideal world, where early childhood is a paradise of friendships, communion with nature, imaginative exploration and unconditional love. The show takes place at 7 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost $12, $14 and $16. The Mahaffey Theater is at 400 First St. S., St. Pete (727-892-5767).

Brave New World Based on the experiences of playwright Mark Harelik's grandfather, The Immigrant introduces audiences to Haskell Harelik, a Russian Jew who emigrates to the United States to escape persecution in the early 1900s. Harelik arrives in rural Hamilton, Texas, with hopes of tapping into the American Dream and laying a hearty foundation for his wife and future family. The audience is drawn in as Harelik and his wife find their way through preconceptions, prejudice and fear in this sweetly uplifting play. An American Stage premiere, performances take place through Dec. 2, with show times at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (no matinee Saturday, Nov. 10). Tickets cost $20 for matinees, $24 for Wednesdays and Thursdays evening shows, $28 for Friday and Saturday evenings and $30 opening night. American Stage is at 211 Third St. S., downtown St. Petersburg (727-823-7529).

Saturday 11.10

Open Season The Arts Center opens three shows for the holiday season: Celebrations, the center's annual holiday show; Full Circle, a solo exhibit of new collages by Josette Urso; and Dangerous Curves, sculptural works by Paul Larned. The holiday show displays works that make great gifts, including photographs by Ric David and the debut of limited edition hand-printed holiday cards custom-made by Denis Gaston, Lin Carte, Jan Stenhouse and others. Urso's new works are circular collages made of cut, patterned and textured paper. A recipient of fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, among others, Urso says the works are personal explorations of the connection between humanity and nature. Larned's hot-sculpted and cast glass works incorporate wood and metal, and capture a primal look and brittle beauty. The Arts Center's reception for their holiday season exhibits takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and coincides with the St. Petersburg Downtown Art Association's Art Walk and the ArtsAlive! Jazz Finale. (For more info on the Art Walk and Jazz Finale, see The List.) Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Arts Center is at 719 Central Ave., St. Pete (727-822-7872).

Down Home Near the Homosassa River in Old Homosassa stand the ruins of the Yulee Sugar Mill, the most imposing feature of the 5,100-acre sugar plantation once owned by David Levy Yulee and operated by approximately 1,000 slaves. Abandoned during the Civil War — after the burning of Yulee's plantation home — the site is now a State Historic Park and host to the annual Blues Bar-B-Que. The event takes place from noon to 5 p.m. and features live music by Keith Canton & The Accelerators, Blue Dice and Slim-Jim. The grub, catered by Ray's Real Pit Bar-B-Que, is served at 12:30 p.m. So come lounge in a lawn-chair with the hot sauce lovers and bluesheads and appreciate the natural surroundings of one of the Central Florida's most lush historical sites. Advance tickets (including meal) cost $15, $20 at the door, $10 for concert only at the door, and free for children with adult. No coolers allowed. The Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site is on County Road 490 west of U.S. 19 in Homosassa. Call 352-628-1080.

Sunday 11.11

First Person Based on editor Andrew Carroll's recent bestseller, War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars (Scribner), the documentary film War Letters brings to life the deepest, most human side of war. Carroll has collected more than 50,000 war letters since setting up the Legacy Project five years ago in an effort to preserve this correspondence. Using the most compelling and enlightening of these missives, War Letters tells the story of American wars from the viewpoint of the men and women on the frontlines and those who waited at home. The film features breathtaking eyewitness accounts of famous battles, intimate declarations of love and longing, poignant last letters and many profound expressions of fear, whimsy, exhilaration, anger and patriotism. With no narrator and a timeline that spans three centuries, the letters are read like a tone poem by a cast of actors, illustrated with dramatic archival footage and photographs. War Letters airs at 9 p.m. on WEDU-Ch. 3 on the PBS program American Experience.

Monday 11.12

Be a Kid for a Week The week of Nov. 12-18, is National Children's Book Week, and while it's always a pleasure to give a kid a book, don't deny yourself the soulful, childlike enjoyment of curling up with a board book by one of your favorite children's authors. Just another reason to visit your local library, bookstore or online bookseller. If you don't have a relative or friend's kid in mind for a purchase, you might consider stopping by Inkwood Books, where you can get a book for the library of the Metropolitan Ministries charter school for homeless children (grades K-5) at 30 percent off and receive 15 percent off other purchases. Inkwood, which also collects and delivers gently used books, is at 216 Armenia Ave. S., Tampa (813-253-2638).

Tuesday 11.13

Lone Star Lust The musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is based on the remarkable true story of Edna Milton and the closing of her Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas, in 1973. The plot, which originated as a story in a 1974 Playboy magazine article by Larry L. King, follows Miss Mona and her girls as they fight hypocritical politicians and a puritanical TV reporter who demands the closing of the ranch. Screen star Ann-Margret (Carnal Knowledge, Grumpy Old Men, Any Given Sunday) makes her theatrical debut as Miss Mona. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas plays at Ruth Eckerd Hall through Nov. 18, with show times at 8 p.m. through Nov. 16, at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. Tickets cost $35-$55. Ruth Eckerd Hall is at 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater (727-791-7400).

Wednesday 11.14

Elvis Revival The big sound of The Florida Orchestra pairs with the larger-than-life presence projected by Elvis look-alike-sound-alike Elvis Wade for a special performance, Memories of the King ... the Legend Continues. The program includes all of the King's classic tunes known and loved by millions. Tickets cost $20.50-47.50. The performance takes place at 8 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Carol Morsani Hall, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, downtown Tampa (813-229-7827).

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