Saturday, April 21, 2018
Features and More

Plan your weekend

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).

Comedy

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.

Stage

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.

Animal magnetism

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.

Broadway

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.

Street party

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.

Comments
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

Associated PressLAYA, BhutanPrayer flags whip in the wind, flying across steep valleys and roads. Buddhist temples, stupa shrines and majestic fortresses called zhongs dot the landscape. Giant water-powered prayer wheels spin from tumbling falls. Far...
Published: 04/20/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

TAMPA — Appropriately enough, a local distillery is releasing a hemp vodka on Friday, 4/20.After more than a year of planning and research, Fat Dog Spirits — the parent company of Touch Vodka — is releasing its new Nirvana vodka.Served in 750-millile...
Published: 04/19/18
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

SPRING HILL Joe Lemieux sat on the cream sofa near several relics from another era in his life, out of place in this retiree’s pastel-tinged living room and brought into the morning light specifically for this occasion. There was a beaded nec...
Published: 04/19/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

As a person who has no intention of ever going into the bar business, I spend a good amount of time thinking about what makes bar concepts work. I think about themes, branding, menus, location and myriad other factors that ultimately play into a bar’...
Published: 04/19/18