Shawn Mendes. Photo: Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons

dR Daily 7/25-28: Your Weekend Top 10

You got heartthrobs old and young, inspiring artists and DIY art projects, must-see musicals, an award-winning novelist — and beer! Can it get any better?

  1. Colson Whitehead. His 2016 novel The Underground Railroad was harrowing, fanciful and unforgettable. And it won the Pulitzer Prize. Now he’s out with a new novel, The Nickel Boys, that has a local connection — it was inspired by the real-life horrors of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, first reported on in 2009 by the Tampa Bay Times‘s Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore. Whitehead’s an engaging speaker, and his reading and talk tonight at the Tampa Theatre, sponsored by the Oxford Exchange, is a must. Thurs., 7/25, 7:30 p.m., tampatheatre.org.
  2. Shawn Mendes. Ever since breaking through in 2013, there’s been nothing holding him back. The Canadian singer/songwriter/heartthrob brings his tour to the Amalie Arena, with special guest Alessia Cara. Screaming may ensue. Sat., 7/27, 7:30 p.m., amaliearena.com.
  3. Lionel Richie. Well, “Hello!” From the Commodores to the Oscars to the Kennedy Center Honors, from “Three Times a Lady” to “Endless Love” to, yes, “Hello,” Lionel Richie has been writing hits and epitomizing smooth for decades with no signs of letting up. He’s hitting the Amalie on a tour in support of his new Live from Las Vegas album. Sun., 7/28, 7:30 p.m., amaliearena.com
  4. Transformations. A free concert at the Straz in celebration of the 29th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Artists with mixed abilities are the stars, including musicians, singers and spoken word performers. Fri., 7/26, 6-8 p.m., Straz Center’s Riverwalk Tent, strazcenter.org.
  5. William Pachner: Loss and Affirmation. One of the most important artists to emerge in Tampa Bay in the post-WWII era, Pachner, who died in 2017 at the age of 102, came to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1939. Learning after the war that his parents and brother had been murdered by the Nazis, he began creating powerful paintings and drawings that addressed man’s inhumanity to man, later turning to a focus on human connection. His children donated this collection of illustrations and drawings to St. Petersburg’s Florida Holocaust Museum. Opening Sat., 7/27, flholocaustmuseum.org.
  6. 1,000 Paper Cranes Folding Party. Want to learn how to create beautifully simple origami birds and support the cause of world peace at the same time? Head to St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, where students from Takamatsu, Japan will lead museum visitors in folding paper cranes to be sent to the Children’s Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. According to Japanese tradition, anyone who makes 1,000 paper cranes may be granted their deepest wish. Go for it (or at least help the museum make it to the 1,000 mark). Sat. 7/27, 10 a.m-12 noon instruction, mfastpete.org.
  7. See a Recommended play! Theatre Tampa Bay judges see everything, and they — along with critics — are recommending freeFall’s production of Pippin, Jobsite’s Constellations, and American Stage’s Fun Home. See if you agree! freefalltheatre.com, jobsitetheater.org, americanstage.org.
  8. 5th Annual 4×6 Fest. A bunch of crazy-talented people gather at St. Pete’s ArtsXchange to write, produce and perform eight brand new plays they create within 24 hours. Then the public gets to see what they came up with, and awards (often hilarious) are handed out. Trust me — it’s a blast! Sun., 7/28, 8 p.m., 4x6fest.com. 
  9. Ferris Brewer’s Day Off Beerfest. The annual movie-themed beerfest for the benefit of historic Tampa Theatre is a good excuse to play hooky (though it is on a Saturday). Sat., 7/27, 8-10 p.m., tampatheatre.org.
  10. Rollin’ Oats 25th Anniversary. Celebrate everything crunchy, healthy and tasty at the St. Pete outpost of Tampa Bay’s favorite health foods emporium. Backyard BBQ, food and wine tastings, live music, kids’ activities, giveaways and more. Sat., 7/27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., rollinoats.com