YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: Sand mandala
After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the sand mandala under construction this week and next by Losang Samten is just the stress reliever we've been looking for. Enter the sunny lobby of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and in the back on an elevated stand covered in a cobalt blue cloth is one of the greatest living practitioners of sand mandalas, meticulously laying down grains of colored sand. Soft Tibetan flute music plays and no one speaks a word. Samten is a scholar who was a Buddhist monk who served as the Dalai Lama's personal attendant. He has created mandalas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harvard University, among many others. And now he is here, working from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. every day except Monday. You can meet him at 2 p.m. on Saturday when he will be signing his book, Ancient Teachings in Modern Times. There will be a dismantling ceremony at noon on Jan. 16.
You can stop in any time for a free look at the work in progress in the conservatory. But do make a point of checking out the museum's exhibits, especially the Asian Gallery with its collection of Buddha sculptures. Museum admission is $17 adults; $15 seniors and military; $10 college students with ID and youths 7 to 18. Children younger than 6 are free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday with extended hours to 8 p.m. Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at 255 Beach Drive NE. And if you are interested in creating your own moment of Zen, the music you'll hear playing is from the CD Losang Samten: Chants, available at the museum store.
OSCAR TIME: See the Best Picture winners
As awards season heats up, the historic Tampa Theatre movie palace this week starts an all-new Best Picture Classics Series of seven iconic Academy Award Best Picture winners that span 10 decades of movie-making, with show times at 3 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21. Mark your calendars for Feb. 28, when Tampa Theatre hosts a ritzy watch party for the live telecast of the 88th Academy Awards on the big screen. Tickets are $20.
The classic movie series kicks off this week with All About Eve, the often-quoted 1950 hit starring Bette Davis as an aging Broadway star ("Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night.") and Anne Baxter as ambitious striver Eve Harrington. And it features one of Marilyn Monroe's earliest film roles. It received a record-breaking 14 Oscar nominations and won six awards including Best Picture.
The rest of series includes:
• Jan. 17 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
• Jan. 24 My Fair Lady (1964)
• Jan. 31 The Artist (2011)
• Feb. 7 Amadeus (1984)
• Feb. 14 Shakespeare in Love (1998)
• Feb. 21 Wings (1927), the very first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the only fully silent film ever to do so. Accompanied by Steven Ball on Tampa Theatre's 1926 Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
$10, $8 members. $12, $10 members for the silent movie. 711 Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8982. tampatheatre.org.
KITE DAY: Indian festival of Uttarayan
Bring a kite or buy one on site and join Tampa Bay's Indian community in celebrating the northward movement of the sun on the celestial sphere. The Kite Festival, created by non-profit organization Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, is modeled after Uttarayan, a festival of the beginning of the harvest. About 1,200 people participated in the festivities last year, which included flying patang, or small paper kites, connected to manja, a long spool of thread. The patang and manja sold at the event are imported from Gujarat, a state in India famous for its kite festival. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $15, $10 seniors, students and children.