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What’s your preference:  

Urban rock star or Hollywood legend?

A man who’s had a profound influence on the way we think about cities or a woman who’s had a profound influence on generations of movie-goers? 

Walk or fly (albeit with the help of an umbrella)?

Tonight’s one of those nights when you realize how lucky you are to live in an urban area where the cultural options are numerous — and how tough it is sometimes to choose.

Jeff Speck, speaking tonight in a Preserve the ’Burg event at the Palladium, knows a lot about what makes an urban environment thrive. His highly acclaimed book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, is a 21st-century city-planning bible, a reminder of why we live in cities in the first place. His vision of pedestrian-friendly, human-scale downtowns is so appealing (and sensible), it prompted another well-known Jeff —  Jeff Vinik — to hire him to the planning team for Vinik’s Water Street district in downtown Tampa.

Julie Andrews — well, what is there to say about Julie Andrews other than “we are not worthy?” Turns out, there’s a lot. She’s written a new book — Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years — and she’ll be talking about it tonight in an onstage conversation with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Julie, 84, is not able to sing anymore, but as anyone who’s seen her interviewed can attest, she’s a great talker, with the effortless charm and distinct streak of mischief that shone through in her performances as Mary (Poppins), Maria (von Trapp), Eliza (Doolittle) and both Victor and Victoria.

An Evening with Jeff Speck: 6 p.m., patron reception (additional ticket required); 7 p.m., program and Q&A; 8 p.m., book signing. The Palladium, 253 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Tickets at

An Evening of Conversation with Julie Andrews: 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Rd., Clearwater,

PS: You may not have to choose if you don’t mind a drive to Sarasota. Julie will also be speaking at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall tomorrow night,


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