BUY LAWS Now that nearly everything in our society has been reduced to the status of commodity — and I'm not sparing biggies like rebellion, sex and art — days like today can be significant ways to refuse the status quo. Today is Buy Nothing Day, a worldwide annual event aimed at stepping out of the consumerist stream. Some activists encourage participants to protest or demonstrate, but if you're not up for that, just try going the whole day without spending a dime. Spend the afternoon in a park reading a book, take your dog on a long walk around your neighborhood, go visit your mom, etc. As we enter the high buying season, remember that there are ways to opt out. Today is one of them. For more information, visit www.adbusters.org.
— —Cooper Lane Baker
CHRISTMAS WITH A QUEER EYE In Joe Godfrey's A Queer Carol, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge becomes a tale of gay relationships and issues, with the penny-pinching old grump transformed into a high-profile interior designer who, in his own words, is a "foolish old queen" who spends his days beautifying the Upper East Side homes of the rich and famous. Bob Cratchit is the pleasant young assistant who endures Scrooge's verbal abuses while struggling to support his HIV-positive partner, Tim. After Scrooge thoughtlessly refuses to contribute to a charity for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a chain of ghostly visitations is set in motion, beginning with his dearly departed former partner. A cast of gay icons and stereotypes follows, including Marilyn Monroe as the Ghost of Christmas Past and a sassy drag queen as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Gypsy Productions opens A Queer Carol just in time for the start of the holiday season; Trevor Keller and Derek Baxter direct. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 1:30 p.m. Sun., Nov. 25-Dec. 18. $16. Suncoast Theatre, 3000 34th St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-456-0500, gypsyproductions.org.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS You gorged on turkey and all the trimmings, dozed lazily on the couch in a haze of tryptophan, and claimed ownership of Park Place and Broadway in a heated game of Monopoly with your siblings. Today, after rousing from a post-Thanksgiving coma and foolishly attempting to do some Black Friday shopping, you can enjoy the start of the holiday season with festivities on both sides of the Bay. St. Petersburg's Seventh Annual Snowfest Kickoff takes place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. this evening. Following a concert of holiday tunes by the St. Petersburg Community Band and Alumni Singers, the city's 40-foot tree is "turned on" at 7 p.m. and Mayor Baker flips the switch to the city's downtown waterfront holiday lights. North Straub Park, Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue N.E., St. Petersburg. And in Tampa Town, Old Hyde Park Village hosts its annual Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony, which features a reading of The Night Before Christmas, a musical program by the Florida Arts School, a holiday concert by Valerie Gillespie Quartet and horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Hyde Park neighborhoods. The celebration culminates with the arrival of Old Saint Nick, who triggers the lights on a 30-foot tree in the main fountain area. 6-8 p.m. Swann and Dakota avenues, Tampa.
RED, WHITE AND BELLBOTTOMS Few artists captured the complexities of the 1960s quite like Peter Max, who used his colorful Pop Art to explore environmental, humanitarian and universal social issues. The Arts Center presents a series of his early iconic works in The '60s and Its Music. Held in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts — which also displays a collection of Peter Max originals — the exhibit features vintage posters and several of the album covers for which he is best known, including the oft-seen portrait of Janis Joplin seated on her Harley, and a watercolor-like rendering of Crosby, Stills and Nash hanging out on a front porch. Additionally, a selection of original paintings, signed prints and posters are on display and available for purchase, with a portion of proceeds benefiting art education initiatives for children as part of the "Imagine ... For Kids" fundraising project. So head out to St. Petersburg and flash back to the psychedelic period of our history — just remember to leave the illegal substances at home. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Sat, noon-4 p.m. Sun.; the works are on display through Jan. 22. Free admission. 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872, www.theartscenter.org.
— —Adam Capparelli
A ROLLING GOOD TIME I can't specifically recall learning how to roller skate, though I'm sure the first awkward moments are tucked away somewhere, hazy memories of my stringy-haired, youthful self struggling to stay upright, knees knocking together, body jerking reflexively, arms outstretched in typical balance mode. Those initial difficulties have been outshined by my happier recollections, of which there are plenty — all involving me, a pair of ugly brown skates and my crew of day-care cohorts. I also remember the smell of old feet that always seemed to hang in the air, the clatter of wheels against polished wood, and holding hands with my best friend while circling the rink to Michael Jackson's "Beat It." I haven't practiced my skills in many years, but I can't deny the lure of Sunday Night Soul Roll, a weekly roller disco happening that actually takes place at my old stomping ground — United Skates of America — and draws attendees from as far away as Jacksonville. DJ D.O.C. of WMNF's Friday Night Soul Party spins. For additional information, visit www.getyoursk8on.com. 9 p.m.-midnight. $6 (includes skate rental, $3 more for speed skates); 18 and older with I.D. 5121 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa, 813-879-1525, www.usa-skating.com.
STILL UNUSUAL Cyndi Lauper she-bopped her way into my youth with a vibrant vehemence, tossing her wild multicolored hair, dancing in sporadic bursts of delight, singing about girls having fun and showing your true colors. I was hooked, along with the 4.5 million other fans who purchased She's So Unusual, which was the first debut album by a female artist to generate four top-five singles. While her prominence has significantly diminished since the 1980s, Lauper's continued to produce albums, some receiving good reviews, other bad, none selling enough to cause a great stir, but all with musical gems. Her most recent releases include At Last, in which she re-interprets eclectic standards by artists ranging from Edie Pilaf and Billy Holiday to Tony Bennett and Smoky Robinson; and the just-released The Body Acoustic, a reworking of some of her own standards with guests like Sarah McLachlan, Ani Di Franco and Jeff Beck. She performs in Sarasota this evening with special guest Jill Sobule of "I Kissed a Girl" fame. 8 p.m. $40 and $45. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 800-826-9303, www.vanwezel.org.
ONE DIRTY PIANIST John Valby has been spreading his own brand of noxious humor across the country since the mid-1970s, earning his "Dr. Dirty" title and a loyal, almost cult-like fan base by pairing the music of old songs, sea shanties, nursery rhymes, pop tunes and his own compositions with vulgar, irreverent lyrics. (On an ironic side note, the classically trained pianist learned his ivory-playing skills from nuns at the Catholic school he attended as a boy.) A comedian to some, a barroom philosopher to others, and in general, one of the most entertaining (and disgusting) musical parodists around, Valby appears at Side Splitters tonight. Throughout his set — which will probably include cuts from his Christmas album, Herniated Jingle Balls, and some of his "greatest tits," like "Who Gives a Fuck" and "Gangbang" — Valby yells obscenities, his audiences yell back and as a general rule, everyone has an obscenely good time. But be forewarned: this is not a show for the faint of heart. 8:30 p.m. $20 general/$25 reserved (18 and older only). 12938 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-960-1197, www.sidesplitterscomedy.com.