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Top things to do in Tampa Bay: Jan. 6-12

The Florida Orchestra celebrates two serial collaborators, plus Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala and a Busch Gardens music series return.
Duke Ellington, left, for many years worked with pianist-composer Billy Strayhorn, right. [Sony Pictures]
Duke Ellington, left, for many years worked with pianist-composer Billy Strayhorn, right. [Sony Pictures]
Published Jan. 6
Updated Jan. 6

Lush Life: Ellington & Strayhorn: The Florida Orchestra celebrates the work of serial collaborators Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Guest Byron Stripling conducts and plays trumpet. $18 and up. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg.

Sacred Art Tour of Tibetan Monks: Watch eight Tibetan monks from India as they revisit St. Petersburg to create an intricate sand mandala. The opening ceremony is at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. Runs through Sunday. Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Ave. (727) 821-7391.

A mandala made by eight Tibetan monks using millions of grains of colored sand is on display at Florida CraftArt in St. Petersburg in 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times (2017)]

Epiphany: Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Elpidophoros, clergy, dignitaries and thousands of others line up for a procession to Spring Bayou. There, a dove is released and the Archbishop casts a white cross into the water for young men to dive for, attempting to be the first to retrieve it. Free. 10 a.m. today. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 36 N Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs. (727) 937-3540.

Real Music, Real Masters: Busch Gardens’ longest-running music series returns this week with Leonard, Coleman and Blunt, former lead singers of the Temptations, Platters and Drifters. Included with admission. Runs through March 15. 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386.


Air Supply: Celebrating 45 years, the duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock are the soft-rock balladeers known for hits Lost in Love, All Out of Love and more. $50 and up. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

Winter Jam: Christian music’s annual multi-artist showcase brings fan-favorite headliner Crowder, plus renowned worshippers Passion and acclaimed pastor Louie Giglio. $15. 6 p.m. Saturday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500. Visit for the full lineup.

We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered: Accomplished vocalist Michelle Berting Brett takes center stage, alongside her band of Nashville musicians directed by Harry Sharpe, to pay homage to the pop music phenoms who defined an era. $30 and up. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Mahaffey Theater. (727) 300-2000.

The Bronx Wanderers: The doo-wop, pop, rock 'n' rollers perform classics spanning six decades. $29 and up. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Ruth Eckerd Hall.

CBDB: This Alabama progressive rock jam-band has played major festivals across the country. They’re joined by Ella Jet and Future Soul and Row Jomah. $12 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Tampa. (813) 241-8600.

Easton Corbin: The country music singer’s self-titled debut album, released in 2010, features two No. 1 hits: A Little More Country Than That and Roll With It. $30 and up. 10 p.m. Friday. The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa. (813) 987-2855.


A Shayna Maidel: This drama from Innovocative Theatre follows Lusia, who is reunited with her sister and father in America after surviving World War II. Through a series of memories and fantasies, Lusia explores the joys and sorrows of her life before the war. Runs through Jan. 19. Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 374-2416. For showtimes, visit

Agleam Poetry: Let Your Voice Be Heard: Accompanied by a live band, award-winning national spoken word artists appear in a performance that combines poetry, hip-hop, literature, visual art and music. $21.38 and up. 4 p.m. Sunday. Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center. (813) 229-7827.

Luminaries of Glass: This group exhibition includes the work of Richard Jolley, Deanna Clayton and Lisabeth Sterling, who plan to attend the opening reception. Free. 5 p.m. Saturday. Duncan McClellan Gallery, 2342 Emerson Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 421-4141.

Andrew Schulz: The New York native was YouTube’s most viewed standup comic in 2018 and 2019, and his debut comedy album 551 was No. 1 on Billboard. $25. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave. (813) 864-4000.


Chili & Salsa Bowl: Now in its 10th year, this food competition invites you to taste chili and salsa samples, then cast your vote for the People’s Choice award. Live music, games, prizes and face painting are also planned. Benefits Humane Society of Tampa Bay. $10. 1 p.m. Saturday. Countryside Country Club, 3001 Countryside Blvd., Clearwater.

Chili samples are one highlight of the Chili & Salsa Bowl, which will take place at Clearwater's Countryside Country Club on Jan. 11. [Times (2009)]

Beach Polo Classic: Professional polo teams play three-on-three matches over two days on the sand. Seating is limited. Free, $30 and up guaranteed seat. 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Don CeSar, 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.


  1. Treasure Island will host a grand opening for its new dog park at Roselli Park on Jan. 25. [Courtesy of Tom Germond]
    Play with pups in Treasure Island or party in Kenneth City, plus get some new ideas to spruce up the house.
  2. Pompei Monster Factory will feature an "Alice in Wonderland"-themed ride during the Fourth Saturday Art Walk at the Pinellas Art Village on Jan. 25. [Courtesy of Michelle Schultz]
    Plus, a book sale at the Largo library and a shabby chic and home decor show in Wesley Chapel.
  3. Earlier today• Arts & Entertainment
    Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia Organa in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi." [LucasFilm]
    The Florida Orchestra performs as a ‘Star Wars’ film plays, NPR’s Ira Glass tells stories, an Anne Frank exhibit opens and more.
  4. Walt Disney Imagineering unveiled the Epcot Experience, which opened Oct. 1, 2019, inside Epcot at Walt Disney World. Located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion, it is the first in-depth look at the historic transformation already underway at Epcot. A 360-degree film presentation features upcoming attractions in development and projection-mapping technology highlights an artfully designed model of the park. Photo courtesy Walt Disney World (David Roark, photographer) [DAVID ROARK  |  Walt Disney World]
    Three new films debuted in Epcot on Jan. 17, marking the first of many new attractions to come.
  5. Next month the Pirate Water Taxi will debut a 100-passenger vessel and two smaller taxis as part of an expansion of the company's routes and coverage of Tampa's waterfront. (Yacht StarShip) [Yacht StarShip]
    The service, owned by the operator of Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises, is investing $1.6 million in three new vessels and adding a long-desired stop near the Florida Aquarium.
  6. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
    The Jose Gasparilla pirate ship sails toward the Tampa Convention Center during the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Hillsborough Bay sailing north to Seddon Channel on Saturday, January 26, 2019. Hundreds of boats join the flotilla. [Tampa Bay Times (2019)]
    The best parking places, bathroom stops, meeting points, after parties and places to catch beads.
  7. The crowd lining Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa celebrates during the annual Gasparilla Parade of Pirates in 2019. [Times (2019)]
    Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades lead this week’s bill of worthwhile events.
  8. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  9. Dave Bautista, shown here at his South Tampa office, has been named grand marshal of the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
    The Guardians of the Galaxy star will lead the Pirate invasion along with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus, who recently served in the Middle East.
  10. Halsey performs during the European MTV Awards in Seville, Spain, in 2019. [Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP]
    A mix of new hits and blockbuster blasts from the past.