Planet Picks

May 27 Friday

Earth-Friendly Fest Well, despite all of our wasteful tendencies, we haven't completely destroyed the environment yet, nor have we managed to use up all of the world's natural resources. That's cause for a little celebrating, and Efest 2005 is a good starting point. This eco-friendly community festival is dedicated to demonstrating ideas and technologies that promote earth stewardship, and it emphasizes the many E's intertwined with our daily lives (energy, economy, environment, ecology, education, excellence, etc.). Tonight's opening festivities feature keynote speaker Ray Anderson, who's been nicknamed the "greenest chief executive in America" for being the first corporate CEO selected by the National Academy of Sciences to receive a sustainable development award. Also scheduled is a screening of a documentary highlighting Sarasota's commitment to building a sustainable community. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend Saturday's festival, which includes hands-on activities, interactive exhibits, demonstrations, live entertainment, educational programs, natural refreshments and more.
The opening festivities begin tonight at 7 p.m.; tickets cost $22-$52. The festival occurs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat., May 28 (tomorrow); admission is free. Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-953-3366.

God's Students Grade school is difficult enough without the psychological effects of having to worry about punishment from a looming, wrathful God (or from an intolerant old crone wearing a habit). This and other related issues are explored in Casey Kurtti's Catholic School Girls, a comedy that chronicles the lives of four girls as they embark on their spiritual and intellectual education at St. George's Catholic School during the 1960s. The setting is Yonkers, N.Y., and the entire play takes place inside the halls and classrooms of the school, where the girls - played by actresses who also double as the play's nuns - experience the trials and tribulations of growing up while being subjected to the uncompromising dogma of the Catholic Church. Along the way, the girls form various alliances and rivalries, deal with troublesome home lives, come to grips with their burgeoning womanhood while discovering the appeal of the opposite sex, and reveal just how confusing religion can be for the young. Pam Yado directs the local production of Catholic School Girls, which kicks off this evening at Carrollwood Playhouse.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., May 27-June 18. $12 general/$10 students and seniors. 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa, 813-265-4000.

Stompin' Ground Drummers march side by side with over a dozen gold-dusted elephants in Kerala, India; a flamenco dancer stamps out a captivating tune in Granada, Spain; urban marching drum corps parade across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City; and a group of bushmen sing, drum and clap in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. You can see all this and more in a high-energy, IMAX Dome film produced by STOMP masterminds Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey takes audiences on a journey through the universal language of rhythm, and explores the global beat via the sights and sounds of cultures spanning five continents. This isn't a documentary and none of the performances are spontaneous; the artists are members of formally established groups who preserve and share the rhythmic traditions of their cultures. The staged nature of the segments doesn't make them any less beautiful or powerful, and the large-screen format is ideal for the scenic vistas on which these performances occur. Today and tomorrow, the museum welcomes special guest and STOMP performer Keith Middleton, who also appears in the film - call for additional information and show times.
Regular museum admission includes one IMAX screening ($15.95 adults, $13.95 seniors, $11.95 children 2-12); otherwise, IMAX tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children 2-12. Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-987-6100.

Worth a Thousand Words The Arts Center opens a handful of new exhibits this weekend showcasing a range of contemporary photography and film-based art. Leading the roster of talent is two-time Mainsail Best of Show winner Nancy Cervenka, whose latest film-reel sculptures - molded vessels, airy hanging pieces and installations - are featured in Coming into Focus. In Love: Lost and Found, Barb Oosting playfully examines her past and present via a series of dioramic-style Polaroids depicting the treasured "lost and found box" of her life. Documentary photography team Peter Schreyer and Rick Lang capture the everyday happenings of Florida's small towns and the folks who call them home in Where Two Roads Meet. And finally, Ric Savid's Portraits is a series of images inspired by his monastic spiritual teachings, which he honed years ago as a young idealist living in a grass hut in the Philippines. Meet the artists and study their works at the opening reception, which occurs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this evening.
The Arts Center is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., and noon-4 p.m. Sun.; the exhibits are on display through July 9. 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872.

May 28 Saturday

Lessons in Soup If you're looking for a fun way to pass some quality time with your young 'un, Eckerd Theater Company stages its popular production of Stone Soup & Dragon Dumplings this weekend at Ruth Eckerd Hall. An interactive musical adaptation of the classic fable about selflessness, Stone Soup tells the story of Scorch, an ill-tempered young dragon who's not so keen on sharing. When a hungry stranger comes to town, he convinces Scorch and the townspeople that he can make a rich, hearty soup from a stone - and all he needs is one small ingredient from each of them. According to artistic director and Stone Soup creator Julia Flood, the musical is about sharing what you have, no matter what it is, and trusting it will make a difference. With this in mind, the actors share spirited songs, fancy costumes and colorful puppets, and maybe a little enlightenment. Presented in Murray Studio Theater.
11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Sat.-Sun., May 28 and 29. $5. 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, 727-791-7400.

May 30 Monday

Supernatural Talents Carlos Santana creates music that comes straight from the heart - rich and fluid and free of the egotism you find in artists with similar experience. For over three decades, his distinctive, high-pitched guitar tone, poignant melodies and brilliant songwriting skills have provided inspiration to numerous aspiring musicians. The lucky ones build on their natural talents sufficiently enough to attract his notice, while others are so good that he can't help but invite them on tour. His latest fascination is Texas rock trio and family band Los Lonely Boys. The Garza brothers - guitarist Henry, bassist JoJo and drummer Ringo - have been playing together since they were little boys, and the music that they write and play showcases their varied influences, which include Tex-Mex, country, blues and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. You've probably heard their poppy hit single, "Heaven," but that's only a small representation of their capabilities, and one that doesn't demonstrate the smooth Latin rhythms and first-rate guitar playing for which they are known. See them play live tonight as they open for Carlos Santana at the Ford Amphitheatre.
7 p.m. $35-$53.50. 4802 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, 813-287-8844.

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