A STAR AMONG US Who knew Robert Redford was an environmental activist? I sure didn't, although after a little research, I found that it's pretty much common knowledge. Redford is the founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and continues as a member of its board of trustees. He currently works to educate the public and government officials about local and national environmental issues, and current Congressional proposals to weaken environmental laws. This evening, he speaks in Clearwater about how the Bush administration's policies have had a negative impact on our quality of life in Florida, and to remind people how important it is to keep abreast of topics concerning the environment. Carol Browner, a Floridian who worked under President Clinton as the secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also speaks, and live reggae music is provided by Van Bertie. For more information, please call 727-822-7700. 5:30-6:30 p.m. Free. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. If it rains, the lecture will be moved to the Harborview Center (300 Cleveland St., Clearwater.)
Jazz-Flavored Funk Karl Denson's Tiny Universe generated quite a buzz after playing the Newport Jazz Festival in 2000. However, it was 2002's inaugural Bonnaroo Music Festival that ultimately sealed their fate as part of the jam band community, introducing them to an enthusiastically open-minded audience notorious for embracing quality musicians who've had little or no commercial success. The band rolls into town for a show at Jannus Landing this evening and if you're having doubts about checking out a group you've never heard of, here's a little info to persuade you: Karl Denson has played sax for Lenny Kravitz; collaborated with trombone legend Funky Fred Wesley and Wesley's comrades, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker; jazzed up audiences in The Greyboy Allstars; and in the midst of it all, he managed to produce four solo albums. In 1998, he formed Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, an energized groove machine that expertly fuses funk, jazz and soul to create music that will make you dance your ass off (or at least shave off an inch or two). 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. 727-896-1244.
Here, Kitty Kitty Big Cat Rescue is the world's largest sanctuary for exotic cats (i.e., lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, leopards, etc.) that have been abandoned, abused and/or retired from performing. Of course, Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit organization, and maintaining 42 acres of land specifically set up as habitats for the 150 cats that reside there costs a lot of money. While resources earned from tours of the facility cover some of its funding, a huge portion is raised at the annual Fur Ball, which begins tonight at 7:30 and lasts until midnight. This gala features live entertainment by the Urban Gypsies, a drum circle led by Jana Broder, an assortment of yummy foods and wines, hourly drawings, and live and silent auctions. The attire is "Safari Costume Formal," and the most original, imaginative "costume" is awarded a special prize. Tickets: $50 general admission/$75 V.I.P. (includes an automatic entry into the grand prize drawing and a special tour of Big Cat Rescue). A La Carte Event Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa. 813-831-5390.
Tumbling Through Tampa I made a conscious effort not to watch the 2004 Summer Olympics. I avoided NBC like the plague and evaded any news stories related to the events until about a week in, when I suddenly found myself watching the women's gymnastics. From then on, I was sucked into the games all the way through the closing ceremonies. The U.S. gymnastics teams brought home nine medals, and many of these competitors perform tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum as part of the TJ Maxx Tour of Gymnastic Champions. The athletes confirmed to appear at the event include Carly Patterson (winner of the gold medal in the women's all-around competition and silver in the women's balance beam event), silver medalists Annia Hatch (the vault) and Terin Humphrey (uneven bars), and select members from the men's silver-medal gymnastics team (Jason Gatson, Brett McClure and Guard Young). For more information or to order tickets, go to www.stpetetimesforum.com. 7:30 p.m. $19.25-$76.75. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-223-1000.
Lewinsky Not Included Kate Clinton is a lesbian comic edgier than Ellen DeGeneres and less irritating than Rosie O'Donnell. Perhaps this is because she's been practicing her craft for 23 years. Or maybe it's her ability to draw from a varied background, and offer comedy that's political as well as wickedly clever. Either way, she's darn good and you can discover why by checking out her act in Sarasota this evening. If you're expecting a 90-minute routine about the gay experience, you may be disappointed. Of course, I can't deny it — she does look at society with a lesbian-skewed perspective. But she's just as well versed when it comes to media, sports, family relations and religion, and she continues to produce laughs and gain fans with her sharp outlook. Clinton has released seven comedy albums, a book (Don't Even Get Me Started), and continues to write regular columns for two national publications, The Progressive and The Advocate. A portion of the proceeds from her performance benefit ALSO Out Youth, a regional organization that offers counseling to and promotes the health and safety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning youth. 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets ($32 general/$50 reserved), call 941-951-2576. The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 941-365-2494.
Right Angle Art The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art presents two exhibits that focus on French painter Auguste Herbin: Auguste Herbin: A Retrospective and Homage to Herbin: A Selection of Contemporary Geometric Artists. The first exhibit includes a retrospective of 20 Herbin works created between 1918 and 1949. The second features geometric works by six contemporary European artists influenced by Herbin. These artists are Nicholas Bodde, Jean Dubreuil, Renaud Jacquier-Stajnowicz, Jean Legros, Yves Popet and André Stempfel. Both exhibits come from Galerie Lahumiere, a private Parisian gallery owned by Madame Anne Lahumiere, who is currently the largest collector of Herbin's works. An opening reception takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. this evening, which is free for museum members and $10 for all others. Regular admission prices are $5 general, $4 for seniors, and free to children and students. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (open until 9 p.m. on Thu.) and 1-5 p.m. on Sun. Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, St. Petersburg College — Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road, Palm Harbor. 727-712-5762.