Weekend Top Ten 2/27-3/1: Arts & Jazz & Opera Fests Galore… and more

It’s gonna be a cool weekend, and I’m not just talking about the weather. Chill out and enjoy the events in this weekend’s top 10 (with categories listed in alpha order as always):

Art! The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts celebrates its 50th birthday this year by moving the whole shebang across the river from Curtis Hixon to the new Julian B. Lane Waterfront Park. The new location will afford the festival more room for art, food and entertainment (plus, we’re told, more shady spaces), all part of what has become one of the premiere juried outdoor art shows in the country. Take a look at the website — there’s going to be a gorgeous variety of work on display both local and national, and this year the festival has inaugurated a Tampa Bay Local Artists Spotlight to help showcase local artists who are not part of the main festival show; three were chosen by popular vote, including Karen Schremmer (whose work is shown above). Sat. 2/29, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 3/1,  10 a.m.-5 p.m., Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 1001 N. Boulevard, Tampa, gasparillaarts.com

Dance! Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Barnes, a visionary dancer/choreographer dedicated to bringing dance to unexpected places, brings The Running Show to HCC Ybor. For this unique project, she gathers together dancers of all ages in each community she visits and helps them tell their stories through recorded interviews and movement. Among the local dancers performing: the ageless, exquisite mover Paula Kramer. Fri.-Sat. 2/28-29, 7:30 p.m., HCC Ybor Performing Arts Building, 1411 E. 11th Ave., Tampa.

Jazz! The St. Petersburg Jazz Festival continues at the Palladium with a performance tonight by The Conglomerate, an Orlando-based jazz-funk-R&B fusion ensemble; steel pan virtuoso Leon Foster Thomas on Friday; singer Alexis Cole (left) with the Helios Jazz Orchestra on Saturday; and trumpeter Jason Charo and the Booker Little Project on Sunday. 2/28-3/1, 7:30 p.m., The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Full details at mypalladium.org.

MUSE!  The MUSE Awards. This annual benefit for the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance at the Museum of Fine Arts honors a slew of local worthies this year: dance guru Suzanne Pomerantzeff, arts patrons Hal Freedman and Willi Rudowsky, Your Real Stories co-founders Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon, glassmaster Duncan McClellan and painter D. Yael Kelley. This is always a fun bash, and this year’s pARTy will feature a theatrical milieu, complete with makeup table, masks and performances, to complement the MFA’s wonderful Art of the Stage exhibition now on view. Fri. 2/28, 7 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, stpeteartsalliance.org. 

Museums! Catch these shows before they close. Two shows very much worth seeing will be closing Sunday: the Florida Holocaust Museum’s Beaches, Benches and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Baywhich sheds light on the shameful history of racial segregation in Tampa Bay during the Jim Crow era and the courageous response by civil rights activists, and Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings at the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, showcasing an artist whose intricate, geometric compositions (right) broke boundaries in Native American art. Through Sun. 3/1,  flholocaustmuseum.org, thejamesmuseum.org

Opera! Sarasota 2020 Winter Opera Festival. It’s high season for snowbirds down Sarasota way, which means the culchah is going cray-zee down in there and the Sarasota Opera Festival is in full swing. Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, Puccini’s La bohème (with Anna Mandina as Mimi, left) and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love are all on stage at the Opera House this weekend. The festival continues through Mar. 22, with La Wally also in the repertory. Romeo and Juliet: Fri. 2/28, 7:30 p.m.; La bohème: Sat. 2/29, 1:30 p.m.; The Elixir of Love: Sun. 3/1, 1:30 p.m., Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.

Pics! Thirty on Thursday: Photos from the Collection. The photographer Suzanne Williamson leads a 30-minute talk at the Tampa Museum of Art on 19th and 20th-century masters of photography, including Berenice Abbott (Zito’s Bakery, 1932, right), Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Robert Mapplethorpe and Eugène Atget — all part of the museum’s current must-see 100 Works, 100 Years anniversary show. Also worth seeing for photo aficionados: Modern Women: Modern Vision, an exhibition of work by women photographers. Thurs. 2/28, 6:30-7 p.m., Tampa Museum of Art. The museum is open till 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and admission is “pay what you wish” from 5-8. 

Plays! 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival at American Stage and Lone Star Spirits opens at freeFall. Like to be in on the beginning of something great? This weekend, American Stage gives you the chance to see five plays, selected from hundreds and hundreds of scripts, read by expert actors, often with the playwright in attendance. And the stakes are high; if a reading is successful, the play just might get picked up for a full production in a future American Stage season. (The show coming up next at the theater, The People Downstairs by local playwright Natalie Symons, was a 21st Century Voices selection.) The chatbacks after the readings are part of the fun, and the lineup this year  — five plays in four days, plus a behind-the-scenes look at The People Downstairs on Sunday at 1 p.m., looks particularly intriguing. Thurs. 2/27-Sun. 3/1, American Stage, 163 3rd St. N., St. Petersburg, americanstage.org. And over at freeFall, the comedy Lone Star Spirits opens its run on Saturday night, and I have it on authority from people who’ve seen the show, a co-production with Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre, that the play is flat-out hilarious. 2/29-3/29, freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, freefalltheatre.com.

Skyway! 3rd Annual Skyway 10K. If you decide to do a Sarasota weekend — maybe seeing those aforementioned operas or some other form of culchah — don’t try to drive north over the Sunshine Skyway on Sunday morning. It’ll be closed for the Skyway 10K, a race to benefit military families which has already raised more than $1.2 million in its first two years. [Fun fact, courtesy the race organizers: A 10K run is 10 kilometers long, which is the equivalent of 6.2 miles. The distance from the South rest area to the North rest area of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is 6.2 miles.] It’s too late to register to run in the race, but on Saturday there’s a free Pre-Race Expo with lots of family-friendly entertainment at Tropicana Field, from which runners will be bused to and from the Skyway on Sunday. Pre-Race Expo, Sat. 2/29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tropicana Field Parking Lot 7; Race Day, Sun. 3/1: Race, 6:10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; Trop vendors and beer tents close at noon.

Space! The Florida Orchestra: Out of This World. TFO rockets off into the galaxy with a program of inter-stellar music conducted by Sarah Hicks. Retired astronaut Nicole Stott comes along for the ride, which includes music from Star Trek, Holst’s The Planets, Star Wars, E.T. and more, plus space images and video. Fri. 2/28, 8 p.m., Straz Center; Sat. 2/29, 8 p.m., Mahaffey. floridaorchestra.org.