It’s a three-day weekend for many folks — well, actually a five-day — enlivened by multiple celebrations of MLK Day. Plus: Donna Summer, Gilligan and Puddles!
1. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY CELEBRATIONS
There are observances of the Civil Rights leader’s birthday throughout the area, but the most extensive are in Tampa and St. Pete. Monday’s Tampa Dr. Martin Luther King Parade (Noon, Cuscaden Park, 2901 N. 15th St.) is preceded by the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival Music Fest on Saturday and Sunday in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. In downtown St. Pete, the MLK Dream Big Weekend includes a Music Festival & Family Fun Day on Saturday in Albert Whitted Park, a Band Showcase on Sunday in Campbell Park, and the big parade on Monday beginning at 11 a.m. along First Ave. N.
2. DUNEDIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Now in its fourth year, Dunedin’s juried film festival lives up to its “Global to Local” theme with a selection of 77 films from 16 countries, screening this weekend at the Fenway Hotel, Pisces Sushi Global, HOB Brewing, Soggy Bottom Brewing Co. and the Dunedin VFW, as well as virtually. Look for drama, romance, horror, musicals, animation and a particularly strong lineup of documentaries, including Torn, about a family confronting the death of their renowned mountain-climbing patriarch, and films about Florida’s wildlife and environment. There’ll also be workshops and panel discussions on Saturday at Sea Sea Riders starting at noon. Thurs.-Sun., Jan. 13-16, various locations, dunedinfilmfestival.org.
3. PALLADIUM JAZZ AWARDS & 50TH ANNIVERSARY of AL DOWNING JAZZ
Chosen in a 2020 Jazz Times readers poll as one of the top three jazz vocalists (along with Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter), Danny Bacher (who also plays sax) headlines the third annual Palladium Jazz Awards. This year the awards show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association, founded by another multi-faceted gentleman, the late Al Downing, who besides being a highly regarded pianist was also the first African-American commissioner of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. Also on Sunday afternoon’s bill: The Al Downing Jazz All-Stars and La Lucha. The jazz awards will be presented at intermission. Sun.. Jan. 16, 4 p.m., Hough Hall, The Palladium, 253 5th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, mypalladium.org.
4. JUDY COLLINS at The Cap
Her rendition of “Send in the Clowns” was ubiquitous following the death of Stephen Sondheim. But hasn’t it always been? The singer/songwriter/memoirist/activist may be 82 but seems ageless, her crystalline tones and gentle spirit continuing to enchant audiences. Sun., Jan. 16, 8 p.m., Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater, rutheckerdhall.com.
5. SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL at the Straz
Donna Summer was the disco diva, but so much more. Concept albums like Once Upon a Time and Bad Girls went far beyond the thump-thump monotony of the genre, and that voice, limited to a sexy whisper in “Love to Love You Baby,” could soar to exhilarating heights. There’s so much to Donna (including her gospel roots and her born-again run-in with her gay fans) that it takes three-count ‘em-three performers to play her at different stages in her life in Summer, which got mixed reviews on Broadway but had audiences singing and dancing to the disco beat. Thurs.- Sun., Jun 13-16, Straz Center, strazcenter.org.
6. THE SMUGGLER at Urbanite Theatre
Two powerhouses in the Gulf Coast theater scene join forces for this intriguing one-man play: Brendan Ragan, artistic director of Urbanite and a fine actor in his own right, directs Giles Davies (the versatile performer seen at Jobsite in roles as varied as Caliban and Dr. Jekyll) as an Irish immigrant who wants to be a writer in America but struggles to find his path — until he meets a mysterious stranger with a plan to make people “disappear and reappear.” Davies plays all 10 roles in the play, by Irish-American playwright Ronán Noone. Jan. 14-Feb. 20, Urbanite Theatre, 1487 Second St., Sarasota, Urbanitetheatre.com.
7. GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: THE MUSICAL at Gulfport Community Players
The ’60s sitcom Gilligan’s Island had one of the most ear-wormy theme songs ever — “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip…” — so it seems inevitable that the “tale” of a wacky bunch of shipwrecked passengers and crew would become a musical itself. The TV series’ creator, Sherwood Schwartz, birthed the musical in the ’90s in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law, and the resourceful folks at Gulfport Community Players chose it as their next production, opening this weekend. Jan.13-23, Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. Catherine Hickman Theater, 26th Ave. S. & Beach Blvd., Gulfport, gulfportcommunityplayers.org.
8. PUDDLES PITY PARTY at the Cap
The Cap goes from the ridiculous to the sublime this weekend. On Saturday, the night before Judy Collins’s appearance (see above), Puddles Pity Party brings his UNsequestered tour to the venue. But it’s not that much of a leap, really; both have legendary voices. PPP first introduced his rich baritone to mass audiences on America’s Got Talent in 2017, where the judges were befuddled by his sad-clown persona but blown away by his operatic rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.” He has since amassed millions of YouTube views for his versions of pop hits, including a countrified mash-up of “Pinball Wizard” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” Sat, Jan. 15, 8 p.m., Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater, rutheckerdhall.com.
9. BOSCO SODI: BÁSICO at USF Contemporary Art Museum
An exhibition of works by Mexican contemporary artist Bosco Sodi, a renowned adherent of sustainable art making. The exhibition includes a group of paintings titled “Vers l’Espagne,” whose rough surfaces recall creek beds and the footpaths trod by Mexican and Central American immigrants on their way north, as well two new series Sodi made in Mexico in 2020 during pandemic lockdown: large spherical clay sculptures he has called “perfect bodies” and a series of “Sun Paintings” on chili pepper sacks, both fashioned with materials that were readily available at his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. Fri., Jan. 14-Sat., Mar. 5. Virtual Artist’s Talk on Thurs, Jan. 13, 6 p.m. USF CAM, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. CAM101, Tampa, cam.usf.edu.
10. THE BIG BOUNCE AMERICA
Ever feel like there’s a Guinness World Record for everything? Like, did you know there’s a world record holder for World’s Largest Bounce House? Well, there is, and it’s coming to Sarasota. The Big Bounce America bills itself as “the biggest touring inflatable event in the world” and includes four massive inflatable attractions: the aforementioned giant bounce house, which offers 13,000 square feet of bouncy-bouncy; the Sport Slam customized sports arena; a 900-ft.-long obstacle course; and airSPACE, a “space-themed wonderland.” If this fills you with nightmarish visions of kids’ birthday parties gone wrong, stay away. But it does sound like it’d be kinda fun, no? Fri.-Sun., Jan. 14-16, Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, thebigbounceamerica.com.