LifeTimes lists 5 events you shouldn't miss in April

1 RAYS AND COOOOL GIVEAWAYS. Grab a kid 14 or younger and get an Astro bobblehead when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Oakland Athletics at 1:40 p.m. April 21 at Tropicana Field. (Astro, David Price's French bulldog, wanders the clubhouse like he's in the starting lineup.) Or, if you can't find a kid to go with you and give up his Astro bobblehead, get your own prize, a Joe Maddon gnome (which could be weirder than last year's Zim Bear) when the Rays take on the Yankees at 7:10 p.m. April 24. Learn more at tampabay.rays.mlb.com.

2 OWLS, OWLS, OWLS! Who? Barbara Walker from the Clearwater Audubon Society will tell — who? — you all about owls in a free program that includes live animals from 10:30 a.m. to noon April 6 at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center, 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. Visit brookercreekpreserve.eventbrite.com.

3 TEARS OF A CLOWN. Smokey Robinson brings his smooth and instantly recognizable honey-coated falsetto voice — without strings, bass, guitar or drums — to Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg, at 7:30 p.m. April 10. His music is like comfort food for the soul. Tickets: $49.50 to $79.50 at themahaffey.com.

4 THE BLACK. Lewis Black is hilarious. Just ask my sons. We went to see his Black on Broadway tour about 10 years ago in Cleveland. He made us laugh till we cried — because he makes you laugh at yourself (and your fellow idiots, er, man) and he points out life's absurdities. (The man sitting next to me had his face in his lap the entire show he was laughing so hard.) Black is back with a new show, The Rant is Due, which he is bringing to the Straz on April 18. He yells a lot but he is really more irritated optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon. His insights and love-hate relationship with America provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audiences. WARNING: This show is intended for mature audiences.

What: Lewis Black

Where: Carol Morsani Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N Macinnes Place, Tampa

When: 8 p.m. April 18

How much: $39.50-$65

Info: strazcenter.org

5 THE BLUES. It's that time of year again . . . when the blues nearly rock Vinoy Park into the bay. The Tampa Bay Blues Festival is coming to the beautiful St. Petersburg downtown waterfront park April 12, 13 and 14. Some high points: Dickey Betts (former Allman Brothers Band member) and the Great Southern are the Friday night headliners. Bluesier, you say? Catch Sugar Ray and the Bluetones the afternoon of April 13. (Jonny Lang headlines that night.) But, for my money, the best day to go is the last. April 14 is a "Fabulous Day of New Orleans Blues," starting with zydeco and ending with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. In between are the Royal Southern Brotherhood (Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito) and Tab Benoit, the voice of the Wetlands who recently sold out Skipper's Smokehouse before you could blink an eye. (Can't you just taste the crawfish and gumbo?) Music until 10 p.m. each day. $40 for a single-day ticket, $150 for a single-day VIP tent with front stage seating or $350 for a three-day VIP tent pass. (Note: Cash only at the festival.) Get more info at tampabaybluesfest.com.

LifeTimes lists 5 events you shouldn't miss in April 03/26/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:46am]

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