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“EXPLORING THE LIFESTYLE AND GENEROSITY OF TAMPA BAY”

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Are you ready for some football? How about some puppies? A donut dog? The glories of Bernini and the glorious sound of Audra McDonald? You’ve got it all this weekend.

SUPER BOWL LVI / PUPPY BOWL XVIII

Maisie in the middle. (Compassion Kind Foundation)

I’m rooting for the Bengals, but if I were a betting man I’d go with the Rams. And I’m really hoping for a win by Maisie in the Puppy Bowl. As Gabrielle Calise reported in the Tampa Bay Times this week, Maisie is one of three area pups in the Bowl (pictured above) who were rescued by the Compassion Kind Foundation. They’re all adorable, but I have a soft spot for terriers like Maisie, who was rescued from a trailer park in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida (and was adopted thereafter by a family in New York). Super Bowl, 6:30 p.m., NBC & Peacock; Puppy Bowl, 2 p.m., Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.

FLORIDA STATE FAIR 

Florida State Fair image.

Speaking of dogs, how ‘bout a hot dog inside a donut? Yep, the Donut Dog is just one of the outlandish concoctions on the menu at this year’s Florida State Fair, which for some gourmands are the chief reason to attend. But there’s much more, of course, including North America’s largest portable Ferris wheel, an animal Mooternity Ward, freestyle jet-ski demos, racing pigs, cowboy stunts, circus acts, fire juggling, a cappella singing, ‘50s rock ‘n roll, and… well, it’s a lot! Through Feb. 21, floridastatefair.com

AUDRA McDONALD at Van Wezel 

The supremely talented Audra could be deemed a diva, I guess, because of her extraordinary vocal range and her record-breaking six Tony awards (plus a few Grammys and Emmys, too). But “diva” suggests a persona far removed from the warmth, wit and empathy McDonald exudes on stage and off, whether on Twitter, on stage, on TV series or in her now-legendary, possibly drunken, delivery of “The Ladies Who Lunch” with Christine Baranski and Meryl Streep in a Zoom tribute to Stephen Sondheim. In an illuminating preview in Watermark recently, she talked about the joy she gets from “concertizing.” As someone who has seen her before at the Van Wezel, I can vouch that, for audiences, the joy is mutual. Fri. Feb. 11, 8 p.m., vanwezel.org.

BERNINI and THE BAROQUE at the MFA

Carlo Maratti and Mario Nuzzi, The Summer, 1658-59, oil on canvas, Palazzo Chigi, Ariccia.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts is opening a gorgeous show that’s rich in sensual pleasures, featuring works from the collection of the princely Chigi family that celebrates the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and the brilliance of the Roman Baroque period (c. 1600-1700). Artists of the Baroque aimed for realism, both psychological and physical, but it’s a super-charged, highly dramatized kind of realism. After you drink in the exquisite color and detail of the paintings, be sure to read the wall cards, which reveal new dimensions in works like Giacinto Brandi’s Lot and his Daughters; Ferdinand Voet’s portraits of a Roman princess and a fine lady sporting the latest “disheveled” hairstyle; and Voet’s painting of a brooding Cardinal Flavio Chigi, who, “though forbidden to marry, was captivated by beautiful noblewomen,” and assembled a famous Gallery of Beauties in his palazzo. And do look up: The detail in the three bronze cherubs on a Bernini hanging lamp is amazing. Feb. 12-May 8, Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, mfastpete.org.

INTERGLACIAL at HCC Ybor

Photo by Peter Yesley.

Interglacial is a new multidisciplinary dance work through which NYC-based dance artist Laura Peterson explores the topic of climate change, inspired by minimalist geometric art and Land Art of the 1960s and ’70s. In the piece, four dancers manipulate a set made entirely of paper, transforming an icy landscape into enormous sculptures, and become a tsunami that overtakes the stage. Sat., Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m., HCC Ybor City Campus, Mainstage Theatre, hccfl.edu.

MAYDAY at Studio Grand Central 

Michael Horn as Capt. John Lerro.

One of the most harrowing incidents in St. Petersburg history — the day 41 years ago when a ship struck the western span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, taking the lives of 35 people — has been transformed into a one-man play written and directed by Bill DeYoung. Known for his indispensable arts reporting at St. Pete Catalyst, DeYoung has also had a longtime interest in the Skyway tragedy and the harbor pilot who was in control of the ship, Capt. John Lerro. He’s traced that history in a book, Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down, and now in a play, Mayday, starring Michael Horn as Capt. Lerro. Through Feb. 27, Studio Grand Central, 2260 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg, studiograndcentral.com.

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES at Powerstories Theatre

Powerstories resumes live performance with this production of Josefina López’s crowd-pleasing comedy, which examines the bond between five headstrong and determined Latinx women in a small sewing factory in East Los Angeles. The opening, which had been scheduled for Feb. 3, was postponed to Feb. 10. The run will now extend to Feb. 27. Powerstories Theatre, 2105 W. Kennedy Blvd, powerstories.com.

TALES OF HOFFMAN at Opera Tampa 

In this Opera Tampa premiere, poet E.T.A. Hoffmann tells of his three great loves: a mechanical doll, a young singer with a weak heart, and a courtesan. With each tale becoming more fantastic than the last, is it possible to believe these three women are real, or are they the delusions of an inebriated poet? Give in to the fantasy of Offenbach’s final masterpiece featuring some of opera’s most beautiful music. Fri., Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 13 at 2 p.m., Straz Center, Tampa, strazcenter.org.

Suzanne Williamson: The Language of Light at FMoPA

Suzanne Williamson, Sunshift Yellow Blue Yellow, 2020.

Williamson, an exquisitely talented photographer, presents an exhibition of images made while tracing the shoreline of Tampa Bay in the hours before and at sunrise. By vertically stacking and combining images, she aims to reveal how the expanding light speaks, creating narratives in color-washed photographs as it falls on its surroundings. Through April 3, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N. Ashley Drive, Cube 200, Tampa, fmopa.org.

SHAKESPEARE AND LOVE at Opera Central

Wikimedia Commons

Words of love — who other than Mama Cass can speak them more eloquently than William Shakespeare? Sara Munson Deats, Distinguished University Professor of English and Co-Director of the Center of Applied Humanities at USF, is a Shakespearean scholar who will discuss the Bard’s insights into love and romance as part of the annual St. Petersburg Celebration of the Arts. Sat., Feb. 12, 4:30 p.m., Pries Hall, Opera Central, 2145 First Avenue S. Free admission.

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