SHOW-STOPPING: NORMA KAMALI
Designer Norma Kamali is a living legend. The overall arc of her career has been to thrive in the brutal world of fashion fickleness on her own terms. Creating great clothes is important, but Kamali has created trends over the years. A 1980 collection based on a sweatshirt was way outside the fashion box. It was a smash hit and was one of the leading examples of the trend to more casual dressing. Her bathing suits have been worn by celebrities through the decades, from Farrah Fawcett in that famous red number in the 1970s to Beyoncé today. Her contributions have been honored many times, most recently by the CFDA, the preeminent fashion industry association, with a lifetime achievement award.
A fashion exhibition now open at the Tampa Museum of Art showcases her career with some of her most famous looks over the years. It's more than a fashion show, though. Along with the clothes on view through Sept. 25 are sketches, video excerpts and other elements that tell her story.
The museum, 120 W Gasparilla Place, Tampa, is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $15; $7.50 seniors, Florida educators and active military; and $5 students. (813) 274-8130. tampamuseum.com.
LEEPA-RATTNER MUSEUM: PINBALL WIZARDS
What a long, strange ride the pinball machine has had. Its origins go back further, but the game as we know it began in the 1930s with electrified versions. Pinball machines were once considered such a corrupting moral influence that they were banned by many cities. The final bans were lifted only in the late 1970s. Those are a few among the many fun facts you will learn in "Youth Gone Wild: The History and Art of Pinball" at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. It has on view an early example and continues into the golden days of pinball, before the rise of video games. Remember Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (thank you, Elton John) from 1971?
It can't be all fun, so there is also a scientific component explaining the physics of their operation. But fun is important, so the museum has an interactive gallery with machines you can play.
The museum, 600 Klosterman Road on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College, is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. Free for students with ID, active military and youths 17 and younger. Admission by donation Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. (727) 712-5762. leeparattnermuseum.com.
GET YOUR SHINE: CALL FOR ARTISTS
I hope you remember the fabulous SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival in 2015. It's coming back in all of its glorious colors Sept. 1-10 in the city's downtown with a few new components to complement the expected wall murals.
One for interested artists is an open call to apply for one of those walls. (There will be only one winner, alas, though it may be a team.) The design is important, as is experience creating large-scale art. Age is important, too: You must be 18 or older. Deadline is July 11 and notification is in August. The winner will receive $1,000 and approved supplies and expenses. shineonstpete.com/opencall.
RINGLING MUSEUM: FEEL THE AURA
The word "aura" is interesting. It's associated with a glow of light as a physical symptom with migraines and with the paranormal and some religions as a perception. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is associating it with art. "Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art" is an exhibition of paintings, photographs, video, sculpture and installations that "considers the relationship between mind, body and spirit," according to the museum. Seeing a selection of images sent to me, the show seems to be mostly about art's ability to elicit compassion and understanding.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours to 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $25, $20 seniors, and $5 students with ID and youths 6 to 17. It includes the art museum, circus museum and Ca d'Zan, the Ringlings' historic mansion. Admission to the art museum only is free every Monday. (941) 359-5700. ringling,org.