DIAMOND IS A BOY'S BEST FRIEND Neil Diamond brings his world tour to the St. Pete Times Forum in support of his newest album, 12 Songs. As the son of Neil Diamond devotees, I'm a fan by proxy. We drove to school listening to "Love On the Rocks" and drove home to "I Am...I Said." The detritus of a Diamond shrine clung to the wall of our living room: records, box sets, concert memorabilia. For those who weren't exposed to Neil Diamond mythology during their formative years, watch the 1980 film The Jazz Singer, in which he stars. It outlines the basics: Jewish boy plays guitar; Jewish boy becomes rock star; Jewish boy buys sparkly shirt. In his early career, Diamond was known as the Jewish Elvis. Diamond fans loathe the comparison, although, like Presley, Diamond went the way of overblown, Vegas-style performances in his later career. At his last Forum concert, he performed on a rotating, turntable-like stage, played "Cherry Cherry" twice, and when he sang about unfurling American flags during "America," giant flags really did unfurl (it's been part of his stage show since as far back as the '80s). I also seem to recall a projection of green laser doves as Diamond elevated from a hatch on stage. Elvis never had green laser doves. 8 p.m. $42.50-$75. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813-301-2500, www.stpetetimesforum.com.
BURIED ALIVE For those of us who spent many of our school years reading and analyzing the classics (voluntarily or otherwise), the subject matter addressed in Sophocles' Antigone is comfortably familiar. A new (and frankly, more comprehensible) version by Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney is performed this weekend in Gulfport. Like Antigone, The Burial at Thebes takes place in war-ravaged Thebes where Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, is determined to honor the gods and give her brother a proper burial. Her proud uncle Creon, new ruler of the fragile state, has decreed that said brother is a traitor and promises death to anyone honoring his passing. Not merely a philosophical meditation nor a story about the conflict between two strong-willed members of a very troubled family, the play touches upon social customs, gender roles, familial duty and the relationship that exists between the individual and governmental authority. Presented by City of Imagination and performed by the Cruciverbalist Collective; Susan Demers directs. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 20-29. $10. Art Village Courtyard, 2900-2914 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport, 727-896-1982.
OCTOBER 21 FRIDAY
UNMASKING BEAUTY Most societies have used masks at one point or another for ritual, social and religious purposes, although nowadays, mask-making is almost an entirely artistic medium. The elaborate wood masks created by the Boruca Indians of Costa Rica are hand-carved using centuries-old traditions, and the sale of these stunning artworks has become vital to the economic stability of the Borucan people. This weekend, Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center opens Rainforest Masks of the Borucan Indians of Costa Rica, an exhibit featuring work by five Borucan master carvers and 12 master weavers. Meet two of them and enjoy snacks and refreshments at the opening reception, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight. Lauren Jawer of Mariposa Indigenous Art presents a lecture about Borucan Culture from 2 to 3 p.m. Sun., Oct. 23. And for the first 10 days of the exhibit, Borucan artists present demonstrations and offer mask-painting classes for $75 (includes lunch and supplies); call for more information or to register. The center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun.; the masks are on display through Dec. 18. Free admission. 1800 Weedon Drive N.E., St. Petersburg, 727-453-6500 www.weedonislandcenter.org.
GODDESS OF THE GALAXY We here at the Weekly Planet have a rock-solid editorial policy: whenever someone who's been on Hollywood Squares comes to town, he or she is an automatic Planet Pick. If said star has ever been the center square (gasp!), we're talking special issue, folks. Sadly, Judy Tenuta never made it to that storied center realm. She does, however, play a bitchin' accordion and can break out the raunch with the best of them. She's hosted a handful of television specials, and she's even got a photo with Andy Dick on her website. No wonder she dubs herself "the most famous person that ever lived." Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Oct. 23, with additional 9:45 p.m. shows tonight and Oct. 22. McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 3333 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 925-3869 or www.mccurdyscomedy.com. Tickets are $15, $18 or $21.
Cooper Lane Baker
OCTOBER 22 SATURDAY
WELCOME TO THE MACHINE Last year's Industrial Carnival was a distinctively bizarre multimedia spectacle complete with sideshow characters, corroded machinery, rowdy snake-oil barkers and a variety of interrelated installations and creative performances, all organized by then-USF student Jeff Stover and the late, great USF art professor/esteemed sculptor Richard Beckman. The Post-Industrial Carnival is a continuation of the original event — the idea being that the carnival is a space where individual experiences can intersect. Dedicated to Beckman and following his credo, "Change is good," participating artists explore themes that include spectacle entertainment and commodity culture; surveillance and compliance; technoculture and media; and globalization, global economies and displacement. The Industrial Carnival received a "Best Art Happening" award in our 2004 Best of the Bay issue; don't miss this year's exciting follow-up. The opening reception is 6-11 p.m. tonight; hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The works created for the Carnival are on display through Oct. 30. Free admission. Flight 19, Union Station Baggage Building, 601 Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-238-5910, www.experimentalskeleton.com.
PIROUETTING TO THE VERY END The Haunted Ballroom is a chilling ballet about a royal Scottish family and its male heirs, who are doomed by the ghosts of their former womenfolk to dance themselves to death in a gloomy castle ballroom. Because the choreography of creator Dame Ninette de Valvois survives only in tantalizing fragments, anyone interested in producing The Haunted Ballroom has to arrange virtually all of the dance sequences, a fact that impresario/artistic director Andrew Guilfoil realized soon after deciding to stage the ballet. His revival — adapted from the memories of several dancers who'd performed in it or seen it performed previously; set to music from the original score; and embellished with modern stylings, lavish costumes and a new set design — will be performed by students and veteran dancers of the Guilfoil Ballet Company beginning this weekend, a welcome treat that arrives just in time for Halloween. 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 22-23 and 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29. $12 general/$10 seniors/$6 ages 16 and younger. Guilfoil Ballet Theater, 1238 Cleveland St., Clearwater, 727-442-9394.
OCTOBER 24 MONDAY
CREATIVE OBSERVANCE As Events Editor for the Weekly Planet, it's my responsibility to notify the public about all the best stuff that's going on in the greater Tampa Bay area. Unfortunately, I've discovered that persuading locals to support the arts is like persuading my dad to watch the presidential address without screaming obscenities. In other words, it's not easy, and recognizing this sad truth, Americans for the Arts — a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of culture in America — has initiated National Arts and Humanities Month. The October observance is an acknowledgment and celebration of the positive influences that the arts bring to our schools and communities. If you're an arts professional or a champion of culture, the City of Clearwater invites you to come out and discuss challenges you've faced, share cultural experiences, and brainstorm on how to connect with the greater arts community at tonight's Emerging Arts Leaders creative conversation, which is coordinated by Americans for the Arts and hosted by the Gulf Coast Museum of Art. For more information or to register, visit www.AmericansForTheArts.org. 7 p.m. Free admission. 12211 Walsingham Road, Pinewood Cultural Park, Largo, 727-518-6833, www.gulfcoastmuseum.org.