Planet Picks

click to enlarge "The Capture," Jacob Lawrence, Museum of Fine Arts - 169;2005 The Estate of Gwendolyn Knight
169;2005 The Estate of Gwendolyn Knight
"The Capture," Jacob Lawrence, Museum of Fine Arts

MAY 5 THURSDAY

CINCO CINCO CINCO! It's the fifth of May and you know what that means - it's time to crack open an ice cold Corona, toss back a shot of Tequila and chow down on some tasty tostadas at your nearest Mexican restaurant. The Planet recommends Miguel's Mexican Cafe (3035 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa), Estela's Mexican Restaurant (209 E. Davis Blvd., Tampa; 4015 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa; and 312 E. Brandon Blvd., Brandon) and Red Mesa (4912 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg), all of which offer a menu of Cinco de Mayo specialties. If you're feeling charitable, the $10 cover at Tio's Latin Café benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Sarasota/Tampa Bay and includes live music and various drink specials (5 p.m. 238 Davis Blvd., Davis Islands). The Lobby celebrates Cinco de Mayo with live Latin music by Grupo Raiices, and Merengue and Cha Cha lessons by Mama Rumba (9:30 p.m. $10. 217 Central Ave., downtown St. Petersburg, 727-528-3204). The chief area event, however, is Casa Tina's 14th Annual Cinco de Mayo Street Festival in downtown Dunedin, which features live music by Orchestra Infinida, a 10-piece salsa band, as well as magic and illusions by Cesar Domico, free salsa and merengue lessons by the Rungo Academy and, of course, delicious eats courtesy of Casa Tina's (5-11 p.m., Main Street, Dunedin).

MAY 6 FRIDAY

THE DARK SIDE Sam Henderson is a photographer who unwittingly returns from a trip abroad with a doll packed full of heroin. Well, he isn't entirely unwitting since the doll was given to him by a woman at the airport. (He missed the bulletin about taking toys from strangers.) But he didn't know there were drugs involved. Really. And he still doesn't know, because as soon as he returns home to his recently blinded wife, Susy, he's off again, leaving her to fend for herself against a gang of cons who are very interested in the doll and more specifically, its contents. Frederick Knott's thriller, Wait Until Dark, draws much of its impact from well-placed moments of complete darkness that send chills through both characters and audience - becase imagining violence is always more terrifying than seeing it. (Unless, of course, you have no imagination.) The local production is presented by Eight O' Clock Theatre and directed by Linda Woodruff Weir. 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., May 6-15. $15.50 general/$10 students. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo, 727-587-6793.

FILMS ON THE WALL On any given weekend, the Salvador Dali Museum is possibly one of the coolest places in town to hang out. Aside from carrying one of the largest collections of Dali's work in the world, the museum also exhibits surrealist works by contemporary artists and hosts loads of music, poetry and film-related events. The Off the Wall film series presents the public with a selection of exhibit-related films that are free and projected onto the outside wall of the museum at dusk. Currently, the films tie in with the four themes of the current exhibit, Dali Revealed: Land, Myth, Perception and God. The series began with Hayao Miyazaki's animated masterpiece, Spirited Away (mythology), and last week's feature was Babe, Pig in the City (landscape). This week, the theme is perception; Yellow Submarine, the 1968 animated classic, combines psychedelic imagery with the music of The Beatles. The final film in the series, Groundhog Day is presented on May 13; the museum sees a moral redemption theme but you can just go for Bill Murray. As an added bonus, attendees who show up between 5 and 8 p.m. can visit the museum for only $5. 8 p.m. 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-823-3767.

MAY 7 SATURDAY

EXHIBITING LIBERTY Jacob Lawrence was a figurative painter with an almost unsurpassed gift for storytelling. His visual dramatizations of the black American experience range from contemporary genre scenes set in Harlem to chronicles of heroic figures who symbolize the struggle for emancipation and equality. Among these are John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former Haitian slave who liberated his island-nation from French rule in 1795. The Toussaint L'Ouverture series comprises 41 paintings that were completed in the late 1930s, images he later reworked into a sequence of 15 silkscreen prints. The Museum of Fine Arts displays this entire portfolio of prints beginning today, an inspired commentary on the meaning and value of freedom. Also opening: Connoisseurs of Clay: Collecting Contemporary Ceramics, an exhibit of 70 works offering a broad perspective on the potential of clay. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri., and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.; Toussaint L'Ouverture and Connoisseurs of Clay are on display through July 24. $12 adults/$10 seniors/$10 students with I.D./$5 ages 7-18. 255 Beach Dr. N.E., St. Petersburg, 727-896-2667, www.fine-arts.org.

MAY 8 SUNDAY

SUSTAINABLE CLAY Today, Elliot Gallery opens Toward Sustainable Living, a ceramics invitational exhibit and sale. Sustainable living is probably best defined as a lifestyle that could, theoretically, be sustained unchanged for many generations without exhausting any natural resources. The art of ceramics has a strong connection to the spirit and purposes of sustainable development; the ceramist transforms a literal piece of earth into a work that is often functional, almost always attractive, and forever a reflection of humanity's ability to create resources from nature without destroying it. Artists on display include Patrick Henry, Kathryn Howd, Lin Jorgensen, Jason Snelson and Heather Tinnaro. An opening reception occurs from 3 to 5 p.m. tonight, and a gallery talk begins at 3 p.m. Wed., May 11. Proceeds from the sale benefit nonprofit organizations that promote sustainable development. For more information, call 727-864-7979. The gallery is open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri. The exhibit runs through May 20. Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, 727-864-8297, www.eckerd.edu.

MAY 11 WEDNESDAY

MULTICULTURAL COMEDY The demand for Steve Solomon's My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy was so great that Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center committed to hosting an additional performance, which opens this evening in Jaeb Theater. A former Brooklynite, Solomon was in his 50s when he decided to quit his job as an assistant superintendent of schools to pursue a career as a comic. After a few years of touring, Solomon had enough material to pen a one-man play and took his show on the road to critical acclaim. My Mother's Italian includes plenty of anecdotes about his family; impersonations of relatives, friends and acquaintances; a humorous analysis of the adventures he's had while touring; and musical interludes with songs and classical piano selections that pay special tribute to Victor Borge. And even though Solomon designed the show specifically for audiences between the ages of 40 and 85, his witty observations on the human condition could and should be appreciated by all. 8 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat., and 2 and 7 p.m. Sun., May 11-15. $29.50. 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 813-229-7827.