Plan your weekend
Florida Orchestra: Violin wizard Simone Porter may be 19, but her performance with the Florida Orchestra this weekend shows she's already come a long way. Playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto this weekend, Porter is on the cusp of international stardom. In the last few years, she has debuted for the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and orchestras on other continents. A year ago , she was one of five musicians to win an Avery Fisher Career Grant, which recognizes great potential for solo careers. Concerts start at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45, (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
Gasparilla International Film Festival: A lineup of 115 features, documentaries and shorts range from studio slick to homegrown humble, plus a Cuban cinema sidebar more topical now than ever. The film festival runs today through Sunday at Muvico Centro Ybor and surrounding locations. Tickets are $12 for most screenings. gasparillafilmfestival.com. Among this weekend's Gasparilla highlights is Academy Award winner Rita Moreno, who'll receive a career achievement award Saturday, after a 6 p.m. screening of her cross-generational comedy Remember Me. Moreno is also slated to participate in Saturday's panel discussion of acting technique, at 12:30 p.m. on the HCC Ybor campus, a short walk away from the Centro Ybor multiplex. Admission is free. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, a former Saved By the Bell heartthrob, will join Moreno in that discussion. Oscar nominee Rosie Perez was a late addition to the Gasparilla guest list, accompanying her fashion caper comedy Puerto Ricans in Paris. Perez will appear at Saturday's 4:05 p.m. screening.
Tampa Bay Storm: Rapper Coolio will headline a free post-game concert following Friday's Tampa Bay Storm game against the Orlando Predators at Amalie Arena. It's the centerpiece of "Throwback Night," honoring the team's 1991 ArenaBowl Championship with throwback uniforms, giveaways of replica championship rings and more. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., and the concert featuring hits like Gangsta's Paradise and Fantastic Voyage will take place on the field afterward. $11.75-$122.25. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. 7 p.m. Friday.
Duran Duran: The '80s greats take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a concert that is special for all kinds of reasons — not least because it also features pop up-and-comer Shamir as well as disco-pop legend Nile Rodgers and Chic. It comes in support of their 14th studio album, Paper Gods. As a producer, Rodgers' credits with the band include smash singles The Reflex and The Wild Boys. Amazingly, this is the first time Duran Duran has actually hit the road with Rodgers. Tickets to the show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre are $29.95 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
Spring Jam The annual slow-jammapalooza returns to the USF Sun Dome on Saturday with babymaking deity Keith Sweat and (we hope) Bobby Brown. Brown didn't show for Tampa's Funk Fest in 2014, but he's on the bill for the USF Sun Dome's Spring Jam, alongside Sweat, Jagged Edge, Next, H-Town and more. Tickets are $45.50 and up for the 8 p.m. Saturday show at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 974-3004. sundomearena.com.
Take the kids
Family Extravaganza: A giant family festival Saturday combines Touch-a-Truck, the Largo Public Library Storyfest and the Playing Unplugged movement at Largo Central Park. That means the park will be filled with big trucks, boats and buses kids can climb on, as well as, mud, storytelling, train rides, rocketship car rides and a food court. Free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
PhilFest: There will be streams of colorful banners, young Filipino women in flowing dresses and lots of traditional food to celebrate PhilFest on the grounds at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center this weekend. The annual event offers an impressive glimpse of the Philippines, with dance, song, food, cultural exhibits, fashion shows and colorful parades and processions. Admission is $5 advance, $7 day of at the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex, 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, Tampa. It runs 4-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. (813) 925-1232. pcfitampa.org.
Chasco Fiesta: New Port Richey's biggest community party of the year gets under way this week when the Chasco Fiesta opens Friday through April 9 with carnival rides, boat and street parades, a steady lineup of music in Sims Park and the traditional Native American festival in downtown New Port Richey. The street parade gets rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Parris Island Marine Band leading the way with about 30 military units forming and marching behind the band. Other highlights include the three-day Native American Festival held Friday through Sunday in Sims Park with a variety of cultural presentations from 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The West Pasco Sertoma Club Barbecue, now in its 45th year, brings pulled pork and ribs on Friday and Saturday both weekends. Tickets are $10. There are loads of free activities for kids daily, and a car, truck and bike show 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Orange Lake, adjacent to Sims Park, 5547 Main St., New Port Richey. chascofiesta.com.
Dunedin Highland Games: Dunedin's Scottish traditions are pretty much unparalleled in the Tampa Bay area, with a wide range of clubs and even a high school bagpipe band, thanks to the Scottish families who settled the city in 1899 and named it after their hometown in Scotland. If you enjoy the sweet sounds of bagpipes, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dunedin Highland Games, a festival with serious, if odd, athletics like the tossing of a 100-pound, almost 19-foot-long pole called a caber that's tipped end over end. There will also be numerous bands and clans, pipe bands and Highland dancing. Epcot's popular Off Kilter band will play, as will Seven Nations, and there will be kids' activities, Scottish wares, food and drink. Tickets are $16 advance on Eventbrite, $18 at the gate, 12 and younger free at Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. (727) 465-6229. dunedinhighlandgames.com.
Tampa Bay Rays: For the Rays sold-out home opener Sunday, the street will be closed to traffic on the 1300 block of Central Avenue from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in front of Ferg's to celebrate the 2016 season. Actor George Wendy — Norm from Cheers — will throw the first pitch and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will attend. The team has added a slew of new incentives tied to weekday games this year, like $2 on Tuesdays for kids 14 and younger with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket. Hot dogs will be $2 on Wednesdays. There are price breaks for seniors on Thursdays and students on Fridays, and new perks for season ticket holders. Find information at raysbaseball.com/specials.
Kathy Griffin: Saturday's show will be Kathy Griffin's eighth stop at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall, and she once again promises to tattle on the backstage antics of celebrities and needle the city that is home to the Church of Scientology. For her 80-city comedy tour, the irrepressible comic promises two hours of new material including her recent run-ins with Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio and the GOP frontrunner for president, Donald Trump. "I have personal Donald Trump stories that are going to blow your mind," she said in a recent phone interview. The gossipy redhead gets new material every day because celebrities just can't stop doing dumb stuff. The show starts at 8 p.m. $52.50-$103.75. r utheckerdhall.com.
Gasp! Gasparilla Fringe Festival: Modeled after fringe festivals found around the globe that feature edgy, innovative, multi-disciplinary performances, this year's smorgasbord (the third) includes spoken word artist Andresia Moseley, award-winning puppeteer Zach Dorn, a mix of veteran and emerging dance companies, including the Moving Current Dance Collective and Live the Rhythm, Radio Theatre Project Live! and the poets of the Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective. The newly formed GASParet cabaret group takes a page from the first festival, which offered creative performance art. It might entail short plays, music, dance or magic, says actor, writer and director Roxanne Fay. Fellow GASParet member Becca McCoy called the group the equivalent of "cabaret tapas." Other performers in GASParet include Paul Wilborn, Eugenie Bondurant and Scott & Patti. The festival runs from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Tampa Museum of Art, 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. $25-$30; $55-$60. (813) 739-4879. gasptampa.com.
— Sharon Kennedy Wynne, [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn