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JUNE 09 THURSDAY

NEIL SIMON'S MEMOIRS St. Petersburg Little Theatre closes its 80th season with Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, the first in a series of semi-autobiographical tales about an irrepressible Jewish adolescent growing up in Depression-era Brooklyn. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome shares a tiny house with his ailing father, his sharp-witted mother, his older and vastly more experienced brother, his widowed aunt and her two young daughters. As war looms over Europe the Jeromes fight their own battles, and in the midst of their woes - Aunt Blanche can't find the right man, Dad's sick and unable to work, and Mom is forever trapped in the kitchen - Eugene fantasizes about playing baseball with the New York Yankees and ponders the mysterious appeal of the opposite sex. Critics consider this comedy-drama to be one of Simon's best. This production is directed by Christine White.

8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., and 2 p.m. Sun., June 9-26. $15 general/$8 students with I.D. St. Petersburg Little Theatre, 4025 31st St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-866-1973.

JUNE 10 FRIDAY

NEEDLE INGENUITY A quilt is a colorful collection of experiences and memories: a swath of crimson silk from your first prom dress; faded navy scraps from the blanket you used to take everywhere; a fuzzy square of green tartan from Dad's old work shirt. Some quilts are created to be passed down to future generations while others, like those you'll find in two colorful exhibits opening this weekend at Dunedin Fine Art Center, are created in friendly competition and for love of the art. Seven Sisters: New Quilts from an Old Favorite 2005 features creations by quilt makers challenged to take the long-established Seven Sisters pattern and imaginatively modify it using the skills and techniques of today. In Oriental Express: Rosella's Challenge, area members of the Quilters' Crossing organization present works created in honor of Rosella Smith Inman, an artist and craftswoman celebrated for innovative use of silk ties in her "crazy" quilts, and for fine hand-appliqué technique. A reception for both exhibits occurs from 6 to 8 p.m. this evening.

DFAC hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat., and 1-4 p.m. Sun.; the quilts are on display through Aug. 7. 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin, 727-298-3322.

ON THE LAUGH TRACK Before he landed a steady role as television's funniest delivery man on The King of Queens, Kevin James was just like any other hard-working comedian-turned-sitcom star, cultivating a stand-up career at nightclubs and festivals around the country. His comedic awakening came after a three-year stint at New York's Cortland University, when he swapped an education in sports management for a career of making jokes onstage. Following in the footsteps of his brother, comic Gary Valentine, James spent several years touring the laugh circuit and his efforts paid off in 1996, when he was discovered at the 1996 Montreal Comedy Festival. Shortly after, he signed a development deal to create his own show. Today, the Long Island native is a bona fide star, and while he's undoubtedly enjoying the security that comes with a generous income, he still occasionally pursues his first love: stand-up comedy. He performs at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center tonight.

8 p.m. $35-$55. Carol Morsani Hall, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 813-229-7827.

PETTY MEMORIES It's 1986 and I'm riding with my dad across a long bridge, perhaps the Howard Frankland or maybe the Gandy - I don't take note because I'm 6 and details like that are unimportant. The windows are rolled all the way down, my wild, stringy hair is everywhere, and on the radio, Tom Petty's throaty vocals soar through "American Girl." I'm car dancing the way only the very young can - effortlessly, free of ego, singing along when I know the words, humming when I don't. Dad's surprised I know the song; he's not a huge Petty fan but he's diggin' on it, too, taking pleasure in my pleasure, making me feel almost adult in my musical enjoyment and fostering in me a long-lasting love of an artist who's been creating rock anthems since before I was born. You can see him tear it up with The Heartbreakers tonight at the Ford Amphitheatre. The Black Crowes open.

7 p.m. $29-$59. 4802 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, 813-287-8844.

JUNE 11 SATURDAY

CARNIVAL OF TROPICAL TREATS As the summer months approach and the wealth of activities diminish, the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival emerges in all its sun-drenched, island-flavored glory. Celebrating 12 years as one of the Bay area's most popular cultural events, the carnival is renowned for its diverse lineup of music that ranges from soca (a mix of Trinidad's calypso music with Indian melodies and rhythms) to compa (Haiti's national dance music), and reggae to samba. Headliners at this event include the much-loved Mexican-American rock quintet Los Lobos (7:45 p.m. Saturday; see Eric Snider's Music column); and Bahamian, get-your-booty-shakin' music-makers the Baha Men (7 p.m. Sunday). The carnival also offers an art fair boasting a diverse assortment of goods; vendors offer a variety of tasty Caribbean dishes; and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, carnival attendees can watch the Mas Costume Parade make its way along the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. For more information, call 727-327-1269; for a complete schedule of events, go to www.tampacarnival.com.

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat., and noon-8:30 p.m. Sun., June 11-12. $10 per single-day ticket/$15 per two-day ticket (kids 12 and younger enter free with paying adult). Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Avenue N.E., St. Petersburg.

WATCH YOUR SHINS Shin Do Kumaté, "The Way of the Fighting Spirit," is a new international competition founded and organized by Master Mehrdad Khan Moayedi, a martial arts veteran with over 30 years of experience. The aggressive, full-contact martial arts sport features combatants dodging knockout punches, shin-splintering kicks, knee maneuvers to the head and body, spinning roundhouse kicks and more in a competition that draws from such disciplines as kung-fu, karate, tae kwon do, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), kickboxing and a few others. Kumaté fighters wear no padding (just gloves) and bouts consist of four three-minute rounds. Tonight's event - Shin Do Kumaté VII: The Quest for the Greatest Martial Arts Warrior - features 10 bouts with professional male and female fighters.

7:30 p.m. $25-$65 (USF students receive a $10 discount). Phyllis P. Marshall Center, USF-Tampa, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-974-3180.

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