ANIME ACTION: Metrocon
The focus of Metrocon is anime, the style of flashy Japanese animation and artwork familiar to anyone who has seen Speed Racer or Sailor Moon. Now Florida's largest anime convention, Metrocon has grow into a four-day extravaganza where more than 12,000 attendees are expected to dress in costume and do some serious shopping. There will also be artists, a video game room, comedy shows, an anime human chess match at noon Saturday and Sunday, a Fire Show on the Riverwalk at 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and lots of cosplay. Voice actors Cristina Vee and Robbie Daymond will sign autographs and talk about their experiences in creating the world of Sailor Moon Crystal. Also signing autographs: Kirby Morrow, who is best known as Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Cyclops from X-Men: Evolution and Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Tickets are only available at the door now: $10-$40 for children 12 and younger, $30-$70 for single and multi-day tickets. Schedule at metroconventions.com. It starts at noon Thursday and at 10 a.m. Friday through Sunday with events running into the wee hours at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 517-1171.
TODRICK HALL: Straight Outta Oz
Broadway actor, American Idol finalist and YouTube star Todrick Hall arrives at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre on Monday, performing his modern musical Straight Outta Oz. His musical flick of the show (with appearances by celebrity friends Wayne Brady, Jordin Sparks and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the wizard) has already drawn more than 1.3 million views on YouTube since its June release. The musical is a modern twist on the L. Frank Baum classic that tells the journey of his adventures from a small Texas town to "Oz Angeles." The family-friendly show promises 20 original songs, powerful musical numbers, innovative sets and dazzling costumes with a social message as Hall journeys to Oz in sparkly red Timberland boots. Tickets are $25-$100 at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.
JUST FRIENDS: Storm brings in Biz Markie
It's Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Storm game, and hip-hop artist Biz Markie, below, will perform a free post-game concert after the team's regular season finale against the Portland Steel. Markie's biggest hit, 1989's Just a Friend, is still a beloved oddball ode to unrequited love, earning him accolades as the clown prince of hip-hop. In 2002, Markie appeared as an alien in Men in Black II with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, essentially playing an alien parody of himself, speaking an alien tongue that sounds like beatboxing. The Storm Game will include pre- and post-game specials on food and drinks along with other special festivities around the game at 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $11.75-$122.25 at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Snooty the manatee turns 68
No doubt Snooty the manatee feels right at home among retirees near his home at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, where he holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest known manatee in captivity. He turns 68 this week, and his birthday party on Saturday will be celebrated with children's games, art activities, cookies, drinks and a display of his birthday cards for the Tampa Bay area's elder sea cow. Admission is $18, $16 seniors, $14 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W, Bradenton. (941) 746-4131. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.