Plan your weekend
Strike up the band
New Year's Eve shows There's a lot of good music on tap for bay area New Year's Eve parties on Monday: The Bright Light Social Hour at the Ritz Ybor ($20-$25); El DeBarge at the Sage in Clearwater ($40 and up); Donna the Buffalo at Skipper's Smokehouse ($35-$40); Less Than Jake at the State Theatre ($20-$22); and St. Petersburg's alcohol-free First Night blast with Macy Kate, DJ BabyChino, Michael Lynche, Urban Gypsies, Shana Banana and more ($10 and up).
Bobcat Goldthwait The veteran comic no longer does the manic, scratchy-voiced character that made him one of the most popular stand-ups of the '80s. Nowadays, he's made a name for himself as a successful director, with two of his films accepted into Sundance. His latest, God Bless America, is a dark comedy about a man who goes on a murder spree after watching a My Super Sweet 16-esque show. His new comedy special is called You Don't Look the Same Either. See him perform at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Monday at the Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Tickets are $20 for the Saturday-Sunday shows, $32 and up for Monday's New Year's Eve show. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.
Nutcracker This 20th anniversary production of Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker is being presented after Christmas, but it includes some tantalizing extras. For one, new Stanislav Vlasov choreography called "Dove of Peace" turns two dancers into one bird with a 20-foot wingspan. There's also a Christmas tree that grows several stories tall, falling snow and a Troika sleigh. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $32.50-$190. (727) 892-5798. mahaffeytheater.com.
Jack Hanna The thing about animals is you never know what they'll do. Live. On stage. Which is what makes Jack Hanna's Into the Wild Live show such a hoot. No, not like an owl. But he is scheduled to bring an irresistible lineup, including a cheetah, penguin, snow leopard, armadillo, sloth and warthog (all subject to change). He'll share stories from his world adventures as he introduces you to the menagerie at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Hanna will sign autographs in the lobby before the show. $22.50-$42.50. (727) 892-5798.
Take the kids
Wild Wonderland The zoo closes at 5 p.m. and reopens at 6:30 for the annual evening winter festival with twinkling holiday lights, live reindeer and penguins, visits with Santa, Frozen Forest light experience, Arctic Freeze Ice Slide, carnival games, inflatables and more. $13, $11 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 6:30 to 10 p.m. today-Sunday.
Mary Poppins The award-winning Broadway musical returns for a limited holiday engagement this week at Carol Morsani Hall at David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. It runs today through Sunday and tickets are $46.50-$81.50. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
Blast Friday This monthly block party is more like a warm-up for New Year's Eve with a free concert by Molly Hatchet and a fireworks display. The street party itself will have vendors, food, beer and wine in the 400 block of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Free.
Movie in the park
Screen on the Green See a free showing of the Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots in Curtis Hixon park at 7 p.m. Friday. Blankets, low chairs, coolers and pets on leashes are permitted. And, it's not free, but don't forget, Tampa's Downtown on Ice, the outdoor ice-skating rink, is also open until 10 p.m. and concessions will be available in the park. It's all at 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.