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Missing the 1980s? Here are 15 totally rad events in Tampa Bay

Here in Tampa Bay, the '80s never ended. Or maybe it just seems that way.

We do tend to love entertainment of nostalgia, which might be why so many Reagan-era acts and artists pack thousands into Ribfest, Ruth Eckerd Hall or the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre year after year after year.

Plenty of '80s-tastic concerts, films, parties and special events are coming to Tampa Bay this fall, including totally tubular stars such as Molly Ringwald, Billy Idol and Boy George.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of Stuck in the '80s, a podcast and blog helmed by Tampa Bay Times correspondent Steve Spears, here are the 10 — eh, make it 15! — raddest '80s entertainments on the horizon. Time to gas up the DeLorean!

'Weird Al' Yankovic

Getty Images/Times files (1987)

Browsing archive photos tells us Weird Al may actually have gotten less weird over the years.

Getty Images/Times files (1987)

Browsing archive photos tells us Weird Al may actually have gotten less weird over the years.

Every new "Weird Al" Yankovic track brings a new cycle of "'Weird Al' is back!"-type headlines. Last year's Mandatory Fun, which parodied Iggy Azalea, Pharrell Williams and Lorde, was no exception. But the truth is Al never left in the first place. More than 35 years after My Bologna and Another One Rides the Bus, Yankovic is greeted with giddy, childlike glee almost everywhere he goes — and that includes massive music festivals like Bonnaroo and New York's Governors Ball. His concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall will feature plenty of '90s and 21st century classics (Smells Like Nirvana, White & Nerdy, Amish Paradise), but you can count on Al to drop in '80s faves like Fat and Like a Surgeon, too. It's sold out, but search for spare seats at rutheckerdhall.com.

'Straight Outta Compton'

Universal/Times files

If the "new" Ice Cube looks a little familiar, that's because he's the real Ice Cube's son.

Universal/Times files

If the "new" Ice Cube looks a little familiar, that's because he's the real Ice Cube's son.

Grab your Raiders cap and Starter jacket and dive into the history of gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. with this late-'80s biopic starring Ice Cube's son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., as his father, which opens Friday. Click here for a full reviw of the movie.

Associated Press/Times files (1984)

Boy George has reunited with Culture Club for a tour this year, hilarious baseball uniforms likely not included.

Associated Press/Times files (1984)

Boy George has reunited with Culture Club for a tour this year, hilarious baseball uniforms likely not included.

One of the year's most head-scratching concerts might turn out to be one of its biggest. Boy George and the original lineup to Culture Club (Karma Chameleon, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me) have reunited for their first tour in 15 years, and it's coming to a relatively untested venue, ROC Park in Madeira Beach. The waterfront park, which has been under construction for months, has hosted two other concerts this summer with mixed success. But promoter Harry Tiyler says more than 4,000 tickets have already been sold for this one. The lineup to the show, dubbed Unity Fest 2015, also includes Howard Jones, Soft Cell singer Marc Almond, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, C+C Music Factory and Book of Love, making this a can't-miss experiment for '80s nostalgists. The show starts at 3 p.m. Saturday at 200 Rex Place, Madeira Beach; parking and shuttles are available off-site. Tickets are $30 and up via Ticketmaster or unityfest.us.

'The Unauthorized Full House Story'

Lifetime/Times files (1988)

The cast of Unauthorized Full House Story looks hilariously terrible compared to the real deal.

Lifetime/Times files (1988)

The cast of Unauthorized Full House Story looks hilariously terrible compared to the real deal.

Set your DVRs and prepare for the televised train wreck of a lifetime (or should that be Lifetime?) for this behind-the-scenes TV movie, premiering at 8 p.m. Aug. 22. Consider this your homework for Fuller House, the 30-years-later reincarnation coming to Netflix in 2016.

Van Halen

Associated Press (2014)/Times files (1980)

Wow, have singer David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen changed their fashion sense or what?

Associated Press (2014)/Times files (1980)

Wow, have singer David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen changed their fashion sense or what?

The Halen will forever be associated with '70s excess on the Sunset Strip, but they became rock gods in the '80s thanks to ridiculous hits like Panama, Hot for Teacher and Jump. Original frontman David Lee Roth is fronting the band these days, meaning their Sept. 13 concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre won't feature Van Hagar classics like Right Now or Dreams. But as long as Ed's still on the axe, no one will complain. $35 and up at LiveNation.com.

Super Freestyle Explosion

Associated Press/Times (1988)

Taylor Dayne, among the acts at Super Freestyle Explosion, has certainly deflated her hair these days.

Associated Press/Times (1988)

Taylor Dayne, among the acts at Super Freestyle Explosion, has certainly deflated her hair these days.

Taylor Dayne! Stevie B! Lisa Lisa! JJ Fad! No, you didn't suddenly wake up in your teenage body; this isn't 17 Again. It's the second Super Freestyle Explosion, Sept. 19 at Amalie Arena, featuring nearly a dozen dance-pop artists from the '80s and early '90s performing their biggest hits. The rest of the bill includes the Original Cover Girls, Freestyle, Debbie Deb, Johnny O, Cynthia, Lil Suzy and Lisette Melendez. $34.50 and up at amaliearena.com.

Billy Idol

Times files (2013)/Times files (1987)

Billy Idol, same as ever.

Times files (2013)/Times files (1987)

Billy Idol, same as ever.

Even punk icons age. But few do it as gloriously as Idol, who continues to pack houses around the world, performing hits like Rebel Yell and Dancing With Myself with snotty, shirtless, spectacular energy. Only recently has the rest of the world caught up to what Adam Sandler was telling us all in The Wedding Singer: Idol's still got it in spades. He performs Sept. 24 at Ruth Eckerd Hall. $53.25 and up at rutheckerdhall.com.

Janet Jackson

Associated Press (2013)/Times (1987)

Another one of those great hair deflaters. But otherwise, Janet doesn't seem to have changed much at all.

Associated Press (2013)/Times (1987)

Another one of those great hair deflaters. But otherwise, Janet doesn't seem to have changed much at all.

Though many of Janet's biggest hits (Again, If, That's the Way Love Goes, All for You, that Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction) came in the '90s and 2000s, she was already an icon by that point thanks to her '80s output, particularly militaristic pop classics Control (1986) and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). We've always considered ourselves nasty, so we'll be there when Miss Jackson performs at Amalie Arena on Sept. 24. $46.25 and up at amaliearena.com.

Molly Ringwald and 'The Breakfast Club'

Associated Press/A&M Films

Molly Ringwald has gone blonde!

Associated Press/A&M Films

Molly Ringwald has gone blonde!

Could there be a more '80s event than a 30th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club featuring an appearance by John Hughes' princess herself, Molly Ringwald? The Brat Pack icon will engage in a talkback, Q&A and meet-and-greet Oct. 3 at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Swipe something nice from Barry Manilow's wardrobe for this one. $60 and up at atthecap.com.

Back to the '80s Prom

Times files (2014)/Movie Stills Database (1985)

You can still find powder-blue tuxes these days! But we also condone going as your favorite '80s celeb, especially if it's a prom-going '80s celeb like Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in Footloose.

Times files (2014)/Movie Stills Database (1985)

You can still find powder-blue tuxes these days! But we also condone going as your favorite '80s celeb, especially if it's a prom-going '80s celeb like Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in Footloose.

Drag out your finest ruffled dresses and powder-blue tuxes — or better yet, dress as your favorite '80s celebrity — for this party organized by the GFWC Brandon Junior Woman's Club. There will be dinner, dancing, DJs, a cash bar, a costume contest, Atari gaming and a photo booth. Not to mention, of course, a prom king and queen. Practice that Romy and Michele dance now. It's Oct. 17 at River Hills Country Club, 3943 New River Hills Parkway, Valrico. $35-$100. (813) 464-1025. gfwcbrandonjuniors.org.

UB40

Getty Images

Believe it or not, we have no good retro photos of UB40, so you'll just have to get by with this recent photo.

Getty Images

Believe it or not, we have no good retro photos of UB40, so you'll just have to get by with this recent photo.

Considering they have such a sunny reggae-pop sound, the chart-topping Brits have a surprisingly thorny history, particularly as it relates to use of the UB40 name. The version hitting the Mahaffey Theater on Oct. 23 features lead singer Ali Campbell, vocalist Astro and pianist Mickey Virtue. The rest of the band may be hired guns, but at least Campbell's nasal croon will make Red Red Wine sound as delicious as it did in 1983. $42.50 and up at themahaffey.com.

'Jem and the Holograms'

Universal Pictures/Shout! Factory product photo

The new Jem and the Holograms feels pretty cheesy, but what can we say.

Universal Pictures/Shout! Factory product photo

The new Jem and the Holograms feels pretty cheesy, but what can we say.

It was only a matter of time before this Saturday morning cartoon got the live-action, big-screen treatment. Judging from the trailer, the modernized tale of an anonymous YouTube star who goes viral might feel a little Hannah Montana-ish. But we're encouraged by the presence of none other than Molly Ringwald as Jem's (Nashville's Aubrey Peeples) caretaker aunt! The Holograms come to life Oct. 23.

Mark Knopfler

Times files (2008)/Times files (1979)

Mark Knopfler is the gone-solo guitar god formerly of Dire Straits.

Times files (2008)/Times files (1979)

Mark Knopfler is the gone-solo guitar god formerly of Dire Straits.

A progenitor of guitar-slinging dad-rockers to follow, the Dire Straits' frontman hasn't performed in these parts in years. That will change when he hits Ruth Eckerd Hall on Oct. 30. The Straits won four Grammys between 1980 and 1986, including trophies for huge hits Sultans of Swing and Money for Nothing. These tickets will cost a pretty penny, $68.50 and up at rutheckerdhall.com. Maybe we should have learned to play the guitar, too.

The Big Hair Ball

Times files

Michelle Stainton, 36, left, and her husband Chris are half of the retro band Rubix Cubed.

Times files

Michelle Stainton, 36, left, and her husband Chris are half of the retro band Rubix Cubed.

The second Big Hair Ball, billed as "a totally awesome '80s party," returns to the Ritz Ybor on Nov. 7, with tribute band Rubix Cubed, a VJ spinning '80s videos, iconic dances from the decade, era-themed cocktails and Jell-O shots, cult classic movies and, of course, a costume contest. $10 through Oct. 24, $15 afterward; $35 VIP at bighairtampa.com.

Legends of the Old School

Getty Images/Associated Press (1994)

Salt-N-Pepa are among the '80s bands coming to Legends of the Old School.

Getty Images/Associated Press (1994)

Salt-N-Pepa are among the '80s bands coming to Legends of the Old School.

This one is probably more '90s than '80s (Color Me Badd, Vanilla Ice, K7 and Naughty by Nature all on one bill? Hip-hop hooray, indeed!). But you can't dismiss the '80s contributions of Salt-N-Pepa (Push It), left, 2 Live Crew (Me So Horny) and TKA (One Way Love). Either way, you'll get more hot hits than you can handle Dec. 4 at the USF Sun Dome. $35 and up at sundomearena.com.

Contact Jay Cridlin at cridlin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.

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