St. Pete's streets flood with crafts
Fine crafts, already brimming in the newly expanded gallery at Florida CraftArt (formerly Florida Craftsmen Gallery), spill into the adjacent streets for the CraftArt Festival, the annual outdoor festival in downtown St. Petersburg. Held Saturday and Sunday, it features both Florida craftsmen and those from around the United States. Unlike other such events that take place in park settings, this festival has an urban feel, set up on a closed-off city block at Central Avenue and Fifth Street, surrounded by restaurants, galleries and shops up and down Central Avenue. It's also different because the wares in the 100-plus white-tented booths are strictly crafts — no paintings, for example — and most fit into the broad definition of utilitarianism associated with crafts. That said, much of the ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry metal, wood and mix-media items are elevated to a level at which they can be appreciated as artistic or decorative more than useful. Because this is a festival, there's a lot more: food trucks and craft beer (of course), demonstrations, and make-and-take activities. The festival is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. You probably don't need this reminder but Christmas is just about five weeks away, Hanukkah only about four. Happy shopping! — Lennie Bennett
Creative Welding This one-day workshop led by Connor Walker teaches welding techniques and manipulation of steel. Plus, take home the metal art you create. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. $197, $185 members. Rustic Steel Creations, 3919 N Highland Ave., Tampa. (813) 222-0016.
See. Hear. Feel. This multi-media art gallery-style show features visual arts, poetry and music working together to tell the story of memories lost to Alzheimer's Disease. $15, $10 seniors/students. Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620. 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.
More Wire ... and more: Opening Reception The opening reception for wire and mixed-media sculpture by Judy Vienneau. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Remains on display through Dec. 13. Free. St. Pete Artworks, 635 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 738-8010.
Sarasota Fall Fine Art Festival An "outdoor art gallery" created from handmade works of more than 110 artists from across America. Select from paintings, photography, sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and more, plus meet the artist who created the piece. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Free admission and parking. Downtown Sarasota, Gulfstream Avenue and Main Street. (941) 487-8061.
American Stage's season was already in place when Sid Caesar died in February, but one play on the lineup unknowingly sat waiting in tribute. The St. Petersburg theater presents Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's time as a writer on Caesar's Your Show of Shows. In the play directed by David Russell, writers try to outwit each other while vying for attention from Max Prince, modeled after Caesar. Watch out for send-ups of famous folks including Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner from the ensemble cast of Chris Jackson, John Lombardi, Joseph Parra, Brian Webb Russell, Larry Alexander, Lauren Wood, Kristian Truelsen, Molly Leigh Healy and Glenn Gover. The show opens Friday and runs through Dec. 14 at American Stage, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. Friday's opening night is $59 and includes a pre-show reception. Regular shows are $39-$49. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org. — Stephanie Hayes
Florida Orchestra Conductor Matt Catingub leads "Vegas and the Rat Pack Friday" through Sunday. Singer Anita Hall joins the musicians on big band favorites including What Kind of Fool Am I, Everybody Loves Somebody and I've Got the World on a String. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. Call (727) 892-3337 or visit floridaorchestra.org.
Goin' Nuts! Collective Soles Arts Group invites you to experience the Nutcracker in a new way: The holiday ballet is turned into a present day extravaganza with the music of Duke Ellington and sarcasm. 3 p.m. Saturday. $25, $20 students/seniors. University of South Florida Theater 1, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 979-2222. collectivesoles.org.
Les Miserables University of Tampa students present the musical about Jean Valjean, imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread, breaks his parole and starts a new life only to be dogged by police inspector Javert and swept up in a rebellion. $15, $10 students/seniors, free UT staff and students. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Falk Theatre, 428 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 253-6243. ut.edu.
Out of the Box A cabaret-style show by USF students presents musical theater highlights. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $12-$15; $8-$10 students/seniors. University of South Florida Theatre 2, 3829 USF W Holly Drive, Tampa. arts.usf.edu.
The Scott & Patti Show: Thanks for the Mammaries In a special Thanksgiving show, Matthew McGee and Scott Daniel bring glitz and glamor with an outrageous "mother and son" act "giving thanks" with glittering costumes, production numbers and special guests. 8 p.m. Monday. $18 advance, $20 day of. American Stage, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529. stageworkstheatre.org.
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom This campy treat from Jobsite Theater is the saga of the bitter rivalry between two fatally seductive vampiresses whose paths collide in ancient Sodom. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. $28. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
Dame Edna Vocalist and actor Michael Walters is America's longest-running Dame Edna impersonator. The homage to Dame Edna's original Broadway shows is an evening of glamor, laughter and glittering gowns. 3 p.m. Sunday. $30. Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. (727) 863-7949. showpalace.net.
Fall Dance Concert Hillsborough Community College presents its annual concert with the HCC Dance Ensemble performing works by faculty and guest choreographers. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $10; free HCC faculty, students and staff. Hillsborough Community College Ybor City Campus Art Gallery and Mainstage Theatre, 14th Street and Palm Avenue, Tampa. hccfl.edu.
Let the games begin!
Two days after a solo show at the Improv, stoner comic Doug Benson brings his popular film-fan podcast Doug Loves Movies to the club at 4:20 p.m. Saturday. The podcast features a row of comic guests — which can range from local radio DJs to touring comics to movie stars like Seth Rogen, Simon Pegg and John Lithgow — talking about movies and playing movie-related games. The centerpiece of each episode is the Leonard Maltin Game, sort of a spin on "Name That Tune" using a film's cast list instead of a song's musical notes. It's named for its source material, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide — and yes, the famed film critic himself is a regular Doug Loves Movies guest. Benson doesn't announce each episode's guests in advance, but whoever they are, they'll be bringing prizes for at least one lucky audience member. If you're hoping it might be you, be sure to bring a movie-themed name tag or sign. Tickets to the show are $18. The Improv is located at 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Tickets are $18. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com. — Jay Cridlin
Mike Birbiglia His one-man show Sleepwalk With Me opened off-Broadway to stellar reviews, and awards and now he has a new show Thank God For Jokes about how jokes can get you in trouble. Time called him the "master of the personal, embarrassing tale." 8 p.m. Friday. $37.50-$57.50. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.
Sebastian Maniscalco His new Showtime special Aren't You Embarrassed premiered last week, and NBC has bought a comedy script based loosely on the comedian's blue-collar roots. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday. $20-$25. Side Splitters Comedy Club, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960-1197. sidesplitterscomedy.com.
Terry Fator The Season 2 winner of America's Got Talent. 7 p.m. Sunday. $49.50-$79.50. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Pete. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.
Owen Benjamin The series regular on TBS' Sullivan & Son also has had roles in The House Bunny and Jack and Jill. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. $15-$17. Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.
Maryellen Hooper 8 p.m. Wednesday. $15-$17. Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.
The Shabaang! The PDC Jam Band opens the long form improv show by three different house teams. 7:30 p.m. Friday. $3. Tampa Pitcher Show, 14416 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 963-0578.
A Six Pack of Laughter The Antics Comedy club's debut show includes Mike Rivera, Steve Arik, William Sloan, Catherine Maloney, Murv Seymour and Chris Gorges. 8:30 p.m. Saturday. $10 advance, $12 at the door. Holiday Inn Select, 3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. (727) 577-9100. antcomedy.com.
Carl Faulkenberry 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $18-$20. Coconuts Comedy Club at MJ's, 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 360-5653. tampabaycomedy.com.