What to do today
An evening with E.L. Doctorow Widely regarded as one of America's pre-eminent novelists (The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Billy Bathgate) Doctorow's work uses historical and quasi-historical figures to explore contemporary issues. Expect lots of opinions on the state of world from a man who is on President-elect Barack Obama's list of favorite authors. 7 p.m. Marshall Center at USF, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Free.
Aquabats The catchy, ska-punk band from Orange County, Calif., is best known for its catchy hooks and masked superhero costumes. They celebrate their (and their fans') geekiness and, frankly, make rock 'n' roll fun again. With Surburban Legends and Johnny Unite Us. All ages. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16-$18. (727) 895-3045. theaquabats.com.
Creative Catalysts Tbt* has gathered the brightest Rising Stars in Tampa Bay for an evening of diverse and dynamic young people coming together as catalysts of a creative movement. Climb up on the roof-top deck for a sunset view and live music. 6 to 8 p.m. Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $50. (813) 251-3329. creativetampabay.com/catalysts.
Parts and Labor This alt-rock band hails from uber-hip Brooklyn and looks and sounds every bit the part. Screaming guitars topped with soft melodies, their sound just hovers on the outside edge of indie. In the spirit of their experimental nature, they've asked fans to call their toll-free number 1-888-317-5596 and leave messages that the group will incorporate into its live show. That's a step up from U2's text message display. With Flexxehawk and Lush Progress. 18 and older show. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600. partsandlabor.net.
— Adam Newman email@example.com