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Emerging Artist Exhibition 2018

The Best Thing You Can Do This Weekend: Enjoy dance, theater, improv, pop-ups and more at SPF18

The sun shines so bright on the St. Pete arts scene that it needs an umbrella — hence the fourth annual St. Petersburg Festival of the Arts, aka SPF18, a celebration of the area’s performing arts. Spearheaded by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the festival has been going on since Oct. 18, but this weekend is the one I’ve been looking forward to most. 

Tonight, I’m excited to revisit Air-Earth-Fire-Water, a theater/dance hybrid that made a splash outside the Tampa Museum of Art in March and is being restaged  for two free performances at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. outside the Museum of Fine Arts. (A-E-F-W has a special place in my heart because I commissioned the work last year for GASP!, Creative Loafing’s multi-disciplinary performance event at the TMA.) A wacky, beautiful mix of movement, scientific musings and a giant parachute, it’s the work of a mega-talented collaborative team: playwright Sheila Cowley, choreographers Helen Hansen French and Paula Kramer, dancers Alex Jones, Brian Fidalgo and Samantha Miller, actors Eugenie Bondurant and Ned Averill-Snell, and violist A.J. Vaughan.

Paul Wilborn.

Later tonight, catch a match made in cabaret heaven: suave piano man Paul Wilborn doing a tribute to the suavest of song-and-dance men in Cheek to Cheek: The Songs of Fred Astaire, with his ensemble, Blue Roses (Bondurant, Matt Cowley and Frank Bowman) in the downstairs boîte at the Iberian Rooster. (8 p.m., $25)

Starting tomorrow: Get your beach chairs and blankets together and picnic with Shakespeare when The Studio@620 presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Williams Park (preview tonight, opening tomorrow, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.; also Sun., Oct. 28, at 7:30).  And don’t be surprised if during the weekend a jazz singer, an opera diva, a musical comedy virtuoso or the Mobile Itinerant Funk Unit serenade you when you least expect it: SPF18’s Randi Hillesø has organized a full complement of  pop-up performances throughout St. Pete. More on SPF18 weekend events in tomorrow’s dR Daily; for the full schedule of events (including improv, music, opera, film and culinary arts), go to 

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