Planet Picks

MARCH 24 THURSDAY

A DRAMATIC STROLL For the past seven years, Three Muses & a Fool has managed to charm thousands of area folks with its annual Theatre Walk, an event that begins in Gulfport's Art Village Courtyard and continues along the streets of the city's Art District. A prince with a rather large chip on his shoulder and a whimsical violinist in lighted duds and feathered frills serve as escorts at the eighth annual Theatre Walk, Potentates & Sovereigns, which opens this evening. A cast of professional actors from across the country journeyed to Gulfport specifically to take part in this unique theater happening, and they appear in six short pieces (each around 10 minutes long) by playwrights that include Nina Shengold, Christopher Buehlman and Jason Daniel Malloy. For more information, call 727-321-1786. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., March 24-26, and 8 p.m. Thurs. and Sat., March 31 and April 2. $13 general admission. Art Village Courtyard, 2800 Beach Blvd., Gulfport.

MARCH 25 FRIDAY

EASTER FOR THE APES One Easter, my almost-brother-in-law got piss drunk and decided that because we were celebrating Christ's resurrection, the holiday should really be deemed "Zombie Day." (You can imagine the displeasure of his Catholic parents, who heard this striking realization reiterated over and over again until he passed out.) Zombies notwithstanding, if you've found yourself wondering about the peculiarities of Easter (Christ, bunnies, eggs and candy?), Lowry Park Zoo's Annual Orangutan Egg Hunt could be right up your alley. The primate department decorates eggs and hides them throughout the orangutan exhibit area. Then, at 11 a.m., the park's orangutan family - Rango, Dee Dee, Josie, Dasa, Berani and Ruby - are set loose to embark on the hunt. After you've had your fill of watching animals search for eggs, spend the day exploring the park and its latest additions: the Rhino Reserve, which features five white rhinos from South Africa; and Treetop Skyfari, a 45-foot-high aerial ride that travels over several acres of the animal habitats. $14.95 adults/$13.95 seniors/$10.50 ages 3-11/ages 2 and under enter free. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552.

JUMPIN' SHIP Last April, Skip Volkle organized a three-week run of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial to raise money for the SS American Victory, the American Victory Mariners Memorial and Museum ship. The play was presented on board the ship and the turnout was so great that Volkle decided to do it again. This year, the newly formed Victory Theater Company stages Mr. Roberts, a Tony Award-winning play set on a Navy cargo vessel during World War II. A crew of American sailors suffers from the everyday tedium that is part of war, and no one detests it more than their leader, Mr. Roberts, who requests a transfer to combat duty every week and is consistently denied. The production occurs in a cargo hold that was converted into a theater; with the cargo hatch open, audiences can enjoy a "theater under the stars" experience. The SS American Victory Museum benefits. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., through April 2. $25 general admission; "Dinner and a Show" packages are available at Stumps Supper Club ($30) and The Signature Grill ($50). 705 Channelside Drive Tampa, 813-228-8766.

MARCH 27 SUNDAY

TRIBE OF FIVE Experimental groove machine Sound Tribe Sector 9 stops in Tampa to perform a show of melodic, jam-centric electronica on the main stage at Masquerade. The Northern California-based quintet has acquired numerous devotees from the jam band scene due to its ability to layer drum and bass elements with jazz-inspired improvisation. However, if you ask me, the music is more comparable to the layered soundscapes of post-rock, except that you can actually dance to it. Furthermore, like many bands of the jam genre, STS9 can only be fully appreciated when witnessed live; the band's sound is augmented with dazzling lights and various multimedia elements, which transform the traditional concert environment into a complete, multi-sensory experience. Tonight's show features guests Collective Efforts and Science-Non-Fiction. 8 p.m. $18. The Masquerade, 1503 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City, 813-247-3319.

MARCH 28 MONDAY

CATCH THIS At last year's Festival of the Moving Image at HCC, favorite local artist Jeff Whipple screened several video works in addition to setting up an installation at Ybor Square. In conjunction with this year's film festival, Whipple opens Moving Pitchers, an exhibit of videos and images presented in the HCC-Ybor Art Gallery. According to Whipple, the title isn't just a pun, but also references the nature of visual art. He says that all photographs, paintings and videos pitch ideas, emotions or inarticulate expressions. "The images in my show are all pitching something to the viewer, who can choose to engage and take a swing or step out of the box and let it go by." The opening reception occurs from 5 to 9 p.m. Thurs., March 31. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon., noon-8 p.m. Tues., and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Fri., through April 15. Performing Arts Building, 1000 15th St., Ybor City, 813-253-7674.

MARCH 29 TUESDAY

WATCHING THEIR FIGURES Certain men in my life think I have an unhealthy fascination with figure skating. To which I respond, "What about your noxious love of [insert testosterone-fueled recreational activity here]"; I mean, how can anyone not enjoy a sport where the players dress up in sequined Lycra and balance on thin blades while executing complicated maneuvers amidst a dance routine set to music? If you're equally awed by such a display, you may want to snag tickets to the 2005 Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge, which features some of the best skaters in the country competing head-to-head for a crack at $200,000 worth of prize money, part of a $600,000 pot up for grabs at three linked events throughout the 2004-05 season. Competing in the event are nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan; 2004's World silver medalist, Sasha Cohen; and two-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir. Also appearing are U.S. pairs champions Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash, and U.S. ice dancing champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. Both teams perform an exhibition in between the men's and ladies' competitions. 7:30 p.m. $26.75-$61.75. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813-223-1000.

STACKHOUSE OF THE SOUTH Robert Stackhouse is one of the South's leading contemporary artists. He explores archetypal subjects such as viking ships or A-frame houses to address the themes of passage, transition and spirituality, creating large-scale architectural paintings and sculptures that appear ancient and modern all at once. Wife and collaborator Carol Mickett is a videographer, poet and writer who first teamed with Stackhouse in 1999, when she produced and directed the documentary Robert Stackhouse: an Artist at Work. Discover more about Stackhouse's influence on our local arts scene, and gain further insight into his current collaborations with Mickett, during "Serpents, Ships and A-Frames: The Art of Robert Stackhouse," a lecture presented by Southern art expert Dr. J. Richard Gruber of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Noon-1:30 p.m. $25 (includes lunch). St. Pete Times Auditorium, 490 First Ave S., St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872.

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