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CHECK IT OUT

(ran TP edition)

TODAY

Theodis Ealey in concert (9:45 p.m., Blues Ship On Top, 1910 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, $5). The singer/guitarist is also a producer for Ichiban Records. He appeared in the NBC movie A Kiss to Die For, but don't hold that against him. He has performance credits with Little Milton, B.B. King and Joey Gilmore and won San Francisco's Vocalist Top Star Award in 1996 and Atlanta's Mo' Better Blues Award in 1997. Call 248-6097.

Stageworks presents "In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe" (8 p.m., Falk Theatre, 428 W Kennedy Blvd., $14, $12 students and seniors). Eric Overmeyer's comedy probes the landscape of paranoia and hate by focusing on the Montage Agency in Manhattan, a publishing house that specializes in conspiracy theories and operates only at night. The agency's ghostwriters disappear inexplicably as chain letters inundate the mail. Directed by local veteran David O'Hara. Call 839-7089.

SATURDAY

1998 Taste of New Tampa and Business Expo (noon to 4 p.m., Arbor Greene club house, 18,000 Arbor Greene Drive, $4, $12 family of four). One of the shiny new gated communities in New Tampa is hosting this event that shows off the commercial base of New Tampa. Look for the big tent set up outside the clubhouse. The number of businesses exhibiting this year shows you the way things are going in New Tampa _ 60, compared with last year's 43. Twenty restaurants are sampling their wares, including Outback, Shells, Harris and Co. and Baci Italian Grill. Call 991-9831.

"Tales to Tell" exhibit opens (2 to 5 p.m., Children's Museum at Safety Village, 7550 N Blvd., $4, under 2 free). The Crayola people, Binney and Smith, have provided grants to local art teachers through the museum. The bounty: 75 artworks created by students from 15 bay area elementary schools. The exhibit will be on display through July 6. Call 935-8441.

Steve Forbert in concert, with Terry Garland (8 p.m., Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, $8 advance, $11 day of show). The journeyman rockin' singer/songwriter will perform without his latest band, the Rough Squirrels. But his years of seasoning _ nine albums and countless tours since 1978 _ have given him a performing reputation that should make his guitar, harmonica clip and restlessness more than sufficient. His latest CD, the live Here's Your Pizza, was recorded under a tiki hut in a Destin seaside joint. Tennessee native Terry Garland played lead guitar for renowned Richmond, Va., pop band the Offenders, but nowadays is said to play the heck out of his National steel slide for traditional Delta blues. Call 971-0666.

Versailles, Mercury Program, Lopez Jar in concert (8 p.m., 403 Chaos, 403 W Grand Central Ave., $4). Don't leap to the conclusion that this is yet another hardcore show from the small but vital record shop in the shadow of Plant Hall's minarets. As a matter of fact, co-owner Steve Heritage clarified that these bands are more on the indie rock side of things. Tampa's Versailles, he explained, are screechy yet wimpy at the same time, "like mad kids with pocket protectors." Melbourne's Mercury Program contains members of the defunct Yusef's Well. Again, they're more indie rock than punk. Cocoa Beach's Lopez Jar are friends of Versailles. Call 250-0302.

SUNDAY

Super Paella '98 (noon to 3 p.m., Centennial Park, 18th Street and Ninth Avenue, Ybor City, $8). Paella, El Rey of traditional Spanish dishes, is meant to be done on a grand scale and shared by many. How's this for grand: a 10-foot diameter pot filled with 300 pounds of rice, 450 pounds of chicken, 200 pounds of pork loin, 250 pounds of squid, 150 pounds of peeled shrimp, 100 pounds of scallops, 100 pounds of grouper, 30 pounds of mussels, 30 bags of clams, 8 gallons of white wine, a case of asparagus, 2 cases of pimientos? We could go on. Your eight bucks gets you a plate, salad, bread and drink, plus a chance to win round-trip tickets to Madrid. There will also be raffles, live entertainment and an arts and crafts show. Proceeds will benefit the Latin Initiative of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Red Cross. Call 251-0921.

Tampa Bay Children's Chorus Spring Celebration Concert (7 p.m., Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Playhouse, $8.50). All four choirs of the chorus, spanning ages 7 to 17, will assemble for this evening of traditional and multicultural music. Aside from singing two newly commissioned songs, Hold Fast Your Dreams and Grandfather, Great Spirit, the chorus will groove like they've never grooved before. Donning sashes and taking up West African percussion instruments, the chorus will be led by Canadian educator Kathy Armstrong in a Ghanian Gahu dance. Call 229-STAR.

TUESDAY

Elton John in concert (8 p.m., Ice Palace, $49.50 and $39.50). Say what you will about his tragedy-inspired Candle in the Wind retread or his occasional creative slump or his sometimes-ludicrous stage persona: The man has charted a single in the Top 40 every year from 1970 to 1997. He owns one of the fattest books of standards in popdom and has endured the personal pain of the loss of two other icon-friends _ let's not forget Gianni Versace and John Lennon _ plus the turmoil of slowly coming to terms with his own sexual identity. Operating on the old jazzers' mantra, "If you don't live it, then it ain't coming out of your horn," it's safe to assume that ol' Reg (with the help of lyricist Bernie Taupin) will deliver hits for many years to come. Call Ticketmaster at 287-8844.

THURSDAY

"Woman Behind the Sword" book signing (7 p.m., Barnes and Noble Bookstore, 213 N Dale Mabry Highway). Behind every Hagar there was a Helga. Author Bette Woodruff spent two decades researching the customs and lore of the Norse Vikings, including the salt-of-the-earth women who stayed behind while their hubbies sailed all over Europe, behaving in a generally nasty way. In her novel, the author introduces us to Drifa of the Red Pel Cloak, wife of Hjalmer Gold Tooth, a hard-working Viking wife who keeps the homestead fires burning and the fields seeded and harvested. Call 871-2228.

If it's entertainment or culturally oriented in the Tampa area, it's fair game for Check It Out. Fax press releases at least 10 days prior to publication to Michael Canning at 226-3381, or mail them to 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602.

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