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THE CHEAT SHEET

JUMP-START YOUR WEEKEND WITH OUR TOP PICKS, NEWSY TIDBITS AND WEB EXTRAS.

DEEP THOUGHTS: ON 'STAR TREK'

Looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe? Tampa Theatre is a good place to start tonight at 7:30 p.m., with another edition of the Science of Screen series pairing popular movies with expert lecturers.

Tonight's lesson plan includes 1996's Star Trek: First Contact, in which Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) leads the crew of the Starship Enterprise back in time to prevent the malevolent Borg from initiating relations with alien life forms. Trekkers know that wouldn't work out well for humanity.

Before the film, Doug Gobeille, professor of astrophysics at the University of South Florida, offers a brief presentation on exoplanetology and the Drake equation, described on the theater's website as "a mathematical equation used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy." Sounds like Gobeille and Mr. Spock would have a lot to chat about.

Tickets are $10, with $2 discounts for children, seniors, military personnel and Tampa Theatre members. We suggest that Klingons should pay double.

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

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FEELING JOLLY? PARTY TIME!

MARTINI FEST

At this party you must be merry. With good-natured singer-songwriter Andy Grammer, the guy behind contemporary soul-pop hit Keep Your Head Up, everyone will be smiling. No? Then have a martini. See, you're feeling merry already. It all starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at lovely Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa, presented by Mix 100.7. $50 advance, $60 day of event. ticketmaster.com.

CHILLOUNGE NIGHT

Easy date night. Just pick someone you want to cozy up to in the chic, South Beach-style furniture under the twinkle lights in Straub Park, along the St. Petersburg waterfront. The party starts at 6 p.m. Saturday with food vendors and cash bars, a Brazilian samba parade, fashion show, Cleopatra parade on daybeds, jazz and fireworks. $25 advance, $35 at the gate, $80 VIP. Toll-free 1-888-695-0888.

GET ROASTED

This annual Thanksgiving Eve bash thrown by the party-loving 13 Ugly Men lets you get saucy before you get stuffed. With Grey Goose as a sponsor, they promise special vodka drinks, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $15. (813) 259-9669.

THANKSGIVING EVE PARTY

Ages 21 and older can go to the pool deck at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and dance off a few calories to music by DJ Ekin of WPOI-FM 101.5 starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Stick around for the afterparty when DJ 5 joins Ekin. The fun runs to 4 a.m. - just in time to get the turkey in the oven. Free before 11:30 p.m.; $5 women, $10 men after. (813) 627-7625.

Edited by Kelly Smith, Times staff writer

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DOWNTOWN ON ICE

When the outdoor ice rink in Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park opens Friday, it won't exactly be like skating in Rockefeller Center with the iconic Christmas tree swathed in 30,000 lights and a Swarovski star (which will be lit Wednesday). But consider: On Friday it will be in the mid 40s in New York City; in Tampa, it will be in the mid 70s. So why doesn't the ice melt here? It's a Christmas miracle! Or a super-duper, high-tech chiller set to 5 degrees. Give it a try for $10 for 90 minutes, including skate rental. The rink is open through Jan. 5. Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. (813) 966-5505.

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