Planet Picks

click to enlarge The Biscuit Burners, Skipper's Smokehouse - Pepi Acebo
Pepi Acebo
The Biscuit Burners, Skipper's Smokehouse

June 2 - Thursday

Welcome to the Machine Jobsite Theater continues its 2004-05 season with Machinal, a 20th-century feminist drama by Sophie Treadwell loosely based on the 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder (the first woman to die in the electric chair), and set against an industrialized landscape. The play follows a young woman through the major points of her miserable adult life, which comprise the romantic pursuit of her middle-aged boss, their grotesque wedding night, the birth of their daughter, her affair with a cosmopolitan lover and her eventual decision to end her loveless marriage through extreme action. According to Treadwell, "It's all in the title, Machine-al, machine like. A young woman ready, eager for life - for love - but deadened, squeezed, crushed by the machine-like quality of life surrounding her." Jobsite Theater brings a film-noir feel to this early example of experimental theater; Chris Holcom directs. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun., June 2-19. $16.50-$21.50. Shimberg Playhouse, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 813-229-7827.

June 3 - Friday

One Taste at a Time A culinary festival works as both an introduction to fare served by restaurants and as an advertisement for those who already have a loyal following. It's also a pressure-free dining experience - attendees can sample dishes without having to commit to a complete meal, and business owners can acquire useful feedback without the fear of displeased patrons. Not that any of the restaurants represented at the three-day Taste of Pinellas festival have cause to worry. If it were otherwise, the fest probably wouldn't be celebrating 20 years as one of the area's best culinary events. This year's lineup features eats by Bistro 111, Crabby Bill's, Wild Florida Shrimp, Rib City, Red Mesa, The Wine Cellar, Hook's Sushi Bar, Le Cheesecake and many others. New to the fest is the Kash n' Karry and AngusPride Beef Cooking Theater, where local and nationally recognized chefs demonstrate their exceptional kitchen skills and share cooking tips and recipes. Activities for children abound and mainstage concerts include performances by KC and the Sunshine Band, .38 Special and Eddie Money. All Children's Hospital benefits. 5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat., and noon-7 p.m. Sun., June 3-5. Free admission; samples cost between 50 cents and $3 each. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. N.E., St. Petersburg, 727-823-8534.

June 4 - Saturday

Comedy on Its Toes A departure from the weighty, dramatic ballets of its day, Coppelia became a Romantic-era success with its clever humor, storybook charm and giddy high spirits. It was also considered to be the last triumph of Paris before that city lost its prized title of "the leading city of dance." The lively comedy is about an eccentric toy maker, Dr. Coppelius; and a love triangle between feisty village girl Swanilda, her fiancee Frantz, and Coppelia, a very lifelike doll. America's Ballet School stages two performances of the full-length show in Tampa this weekend, pairing its talented ballet students with some of the area's most prestigious professional dancers, including Mary Carmen Catoya, a principal performer from the Miami City Ballet; and Willman Gamero, a former dancer of Orlando Ballet and Deutcher Oper Am Reich. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 813-558-0800. 6 p.m. Sat. and 3 p.m. Sun., June 4-5. $20 adults/$15 ages 12 and younger. USF-Tampa, College of Visual and Performing Arts Theater 1, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.

Homeward bound With a name inspired by everybody's favorite stereotypical lawn ornament, the Second Annual Pink Flamingo Home Tour kicks off today, showcasing nearly a dozen historic, Mediterranean revival-style homes in the neighborhood surrounding Stetson University. Interested parties can take a self-guided walking tour or hop aboard the city's colorful trolley, which runs on a continuous loop through the tour's neighborhood and, for those interested in a little shopping and dining, into the heart of Gulfport's historic district. Included in the tour price is a collectible guidebook consisting of photos, descriptions and historical information about each structure. Participating properties, of course, are marked by a pink flamingo. In addition to the featured residences on the stroll, tourgoers can enjoy a guided tour through the historic Stetson University College of Law buildings that once served as the distinguished Hotel Rolyat in the mid 1920s. For more information, call 727-344-3711 or visit 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available in the central courtyard of Stetson University, 1401 61st St. S., Gulfport.

June 5 - Sunday

blazing Bluegrass Young, freewheeling newgrass hotshots The Biscuit Burners roll into town to perform a show at Skipper's Smokehouse this afternoon. Barely two years old, the North Carolina quartet has been making waves all over the scene; their first album, Fiery Mountain Music, was recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Top Ten Bluegrass Albums of 2004, and they recently won third place in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition. The Biscuit Burners create music that combines traditional, mountain-style bluegrass with an old-time country sensibility and sweetly melodious dual vocals by banjoist Shannon Whitworth (the band's principle songwriter), and acoustic upright bass player Mary Lucey. The standard bluegrass fiddle is replaced with the unique timbre of a dobro guitar, played by Bill Cardine, who also contributes vocal harmonies to the mix. Pennsylvania native Dan Bletz (acoustic guitar) joined the band last year, adding just the right dimension to the original Biscuit Burner material. If you're a bluegrass fan or even a casual follower and missed out on their Tropical Heatwave set, don't pass up this Sunday afternoon performance. 5 p.m. $7. 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, 813-971-0666.

The Heat is On Seeing a man dressed in drag is one of life's many pleasures (for some of us, anyway). Seeing Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon dressed in drag is high comedy, not to mention classic cinema. Some Like It Hot has the duo portraying unemployed jazz musicians who, after witnessing a massacre in Prohibition-era Chicago, disguise themselves as women and flee the mob by joining an all-female band bound for the sandy shores of Florida. "Daphne" and "Josephine" try their best to keep their secret, but unavoidable distractions appear in the form of a sexy ukulele player (Marilyn Monroe) and a doddering, doting millionaire (Joe E. Brown). Director-producer Billy Wilder challenged golden-era values with this gender-bending, risque comedy, which is packed with sly sexual innuendo and not-so-subtle spoofs of sexual stereotypes. Some Like It Hot is a gem from start to finish, and you can see it today as part of Tampa Theatre's Summer Classic Movie Series. Dress up as your favorite character or dress in drag and show up early to participate in the pre-movie Audience Costume Parade. 3 p.m. $7 per person. 711 Franklin St., Tampa, 813-274-8286.

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