Planet Picks

click to enlarge Oliver!, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center - Kathleen Cei
Kathleen Cei
Oliver!, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center

February 24 Thursday

MEETING OF THE MINDS Two dead physicists involved in the development of the atom bomb reminisce about their friendship, their science, and the political implications of their discoveries in Gorilla Theatre's latest production, Copenhagen. Set in Germany during World War II, Michael Frayn's drama is based on a true-life meeting between German physicist Werner Heisenberg and his former mentor, Danish physicist Niels Bohr. No one really knows what topics were discussed during this mysterious encounter, but Frayn's script is an exploration of the possibilities. Director Nancy Cole says that history buffs and anyone who ponders moral responsibility are in for a treat. If you count yourself among this bunch, this is the show for you. 7 p.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., and 3 p.m. Sun., Feb. 24-March 13. $25 general/$20 seniors, students and military. Gorilla Theatre, 4419 N. Hubert Ave., 813-879-2914.

UNACCOMPANIED MELODIES Tonight, you can experience the powerful, a cappella harmonies of Sweet Honey in the Rock. This all-female, African-American ensemble produces music rooted in the sacred spirituals, hymns and gospel of the black church, with an unmistakable jazz and blues influence. Founded in 1973 by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (who retired last February), Sweet Honey in the Rock uses voices and hand percussion instruments to create a blend of lyrics, movement and narrative that recounts history, points a finger at injustice, encourages activism, and sings praises of love. Described as "soulful, spirited, sumptuous and stirring" by The Washington Post, this uplifting performance should not be missed (sure, the group comes around often, but that's no excuse). 8 p.m. $25. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-864-8894.

February 25 Friday

EVEL DOINGS Cultural icon and legendary daredevil Evel Knievel (yes, he is still alive) rides into town for a Weekend of Pure Evel muscular dystrophy benefit. From 2 to 4 p.m. today, and from noon to 2 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 26), Knievel appears at Fletcher's Harley-Davidson to meet fans, sign autographs and display an assortment of memorabilia, including his Sky Cycle and other famous toys. On Sun., Feb. 27, Knievel leads a motorcycle ride from Fletcher's to Quaker Steak & Lube (10400 49th St. N., Clearwater). All fees collected for the ride - $25 per rider and $10 per passenger - will be donated to the local Muscular Dystrophy Association, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Harley-Davidson's national support of MDA. Interested parties can pre-register for the ride during Knievel's appearances at Fletcher's; Sunday registration begins at 9 a.m. and the procession heads out at noon. Fletcher's, 17129 U.S. 19 N., Clearwater, 727-535-1844.

IMAGINE THAT Josephine Wall has been nicknamed "The Artist of the Imagination" for her vibrant and detailed fantasy paintings. The Dorset, England, native has said that while she strives to impart a message in her scenes, she also hopes to inspire in her audience "a personal journey into the magical world of their own imagination." Wall has an amazing eye for light, color and visual storytelling; her creations are so intricate and intertwined that even after many viewings, you'll continue discovering hidden images, one of her many inventive trademarks. Although Wall is one of Wallbound Fine Art's regularly displayed artists, this exhibit features her works in a more exclusive setting. Fans will also have the rare opportunity to meet Wall, who attends an opening reception tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. Wallbound Fine Art, 1413 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-258-9030.

February 26 Saturday

FLAN FIXATION Flan is a dessert that many have come to love for its lightweight fattiness, smooth, creamy texture and deliciously subtle flavor (and don't forget the drizzle of caramel glaze on top). The Ben Stiller/Jack Black disaster Envy unsuccessfully attempted to test out the treat's comedic limits. There's even a website by a girl who is, quite amazingly, more flan-obsessed than I am ( However, I digress. The actual reason for this flan tangent is the Second Annual Flan Fest, which occurs as part of Fiesta Day at the Ybor City Fresh Market. Here, visitors can enjoy flan-related sampling, contests and activities, demonstrations, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and complimentary samples of Cuban bread, Spanish bean soup and cafe con leche (beginning at noon). Don't miss out. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Centennial Park, Eighth Avenue and 19th Street, Ybor City, 813-248-0721.

SEEING RED Sip crimson cocktails and Red Bull brews, peruse custom steel artwork and spend some time schmoozing with the Tampa Museum of Art's young professionals group, Avant Garde, at its latest art affair, The Red Party. Rustic Steel Creations co-hosts this sculpture and metal-molding event with a display of works by Rustic Steel artists, who produce everything from large, detailed steel gates and graceful railings to custom mirrors, wine racks and unique steel sculptures. One of these artists presents a live steel sculpture demonstration, with the finished piece to be auctioned off at its completion. Revelers can snack on light fare while moving to the music of Souldown DJs Anthony Silvestri and Joshua Wilkins, who spin a diverse mix of funk, soul, hip-hop, house, nu-jazz and more. The Tampa Museum of Art benefits. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $35 (price includes food and alcohol). Rustic Steel Creations, 114 S. 12th St., Channelside, 813-222-0016,

March 2 Tuesday

STILL WANTING MORE Orphans in theater and movies are especially compelling characters, lonely outcasts representing the neglect that we've all experienced at some time or another. At the same time, these characters give us hope because they have the ability to reinvent themselves. If a wretched orphan can succeed against enormous odds, then so can we. Charles Dickens' most beloved orphan is brought to life in Lionel Bart's touring adaptation of Oliver!, which sojourns in Tampa for one week only. The musical, about Oliver Twist and his various adventures in 19th-century London, includes such memorable songs as "Food, Glorious Food," "You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two," and "Oom Pah Pah." Directed by Graham Gill. 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sun., March 1-6. $30.50-$66.50. Carol Morsani Hall, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 813-229-7827,

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