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Take time out for a tale

By AMY ABBOTT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 12, 2002

Tall tales and short stories will abound this weekend as the 22nd annual Tampa-Hillsborough Storytelling Festival alights on Tampa soil.

Saturday, hundreds of local storytellers, many between the ages of 5 and 18, get a chance to show and tell their stuff.

It's no fireside chat. Tales are told in African, American Indian and French. They're told through dance, song and puppetry.

The weekend kicks off at 7 tonight with renowned Appalachian storyteller Donald Davis opening for the salsa/meringue band Infinidad at the Lowry Park Bandshell at the corner of Sligh Avenue and North Boulevard.

Saturday's festival takes place at Hillsborough High School, where, at 12:15 p.m., characters from well-known storybooks go on parade amid a full day of storytelling. The school is at 5000 Central Ave. The day also includes workshops led by professional storytellers to help readers hone their verbal images.

Davis will also lead a free storytelling workshop Sunday, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the John F. Germany Library Auditorium, 900 N Ashley St. "WATCH OUT! The Dangers and Pitfalls of Telling Personal Stories" is aimed at older children and adults.

7 p.m. Fri.; 10:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Sat.; 1:30 p.m. Sun. For complete schedule, visit the festival's Internet site: For more information, call 931-2106.

12 -- TODAY

RED ELVISES. The evolution of "Siberian Surf Rock" goes like this: Three guys from Siberia are drawn together in Santa Monica by their mutual weakness for Elvis. Surf capital Santa Monica adds edgy surf rock to an ethnic Russian/Elvis groove. Don't even ask how to dance to it. Skinny McGee & His Mayhem Makers open with a blend of rockabilly and hillbilly bop. 8 p.m., $12-$15. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road. Call 971-0666.

DAVID BRENNER. Most people wouldn't elect a West Philadelphia gang leader as class president but Brenner's high school class did just that. Since then, he has written, produced and directed 115 documentaries, won an Emmy Award, had a best seller and became the No. 1 guest on television. 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat; 8:30 p.m. Sun.; $5-$14; Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Hwy. Call 960-1197.

KEVIN POLLACK. A dual-stage entertainer, Pollack is an accomplished attorney in A Few Good Men, lovable son in Grumpy Old Men and a creepy sociopath in The Usual Suspects. On the other stage, he perfects a conversational style of comedy. 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun., $18-$22; Improv, 1600 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Call 864-4000.

RAGTIME. First a novel, now a four-time Tony Award winning musical about three families whose lives become like a box of chocolates when intertwined with the likes of historical characters such as Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Harry Houdini and Booker T. Washington. 8 p.m.; $35, $40, $45; Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Call (727) 791-7400.

HYDE PARK FINE ARTS. Two-woman gallery showing of florals and landscapes by Joyce Lazzara and surreal yet organized portraits of women by Margarite Sicard. 7-9 p.m.; Hyde Park Fine Arts, 937 S Howard Ave. Call 258-8883. ICE HOCKEY: NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING. 7:30 p.m.; $8-$80; Ice Palace. Call 301-2500.

BASEBALL: CHARLOTTE RANGERS AT TAMPA YANKEES. 7 p.m.; $3-$5; Legends Field. Call 879-2244.

BASEBALL: TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS VS TORONTO BLUE JAYS. 7:15 p.m.; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 825-3250.


RALPH NADER. Who better to fight the power than attention-grabbing rockers Patti Smith and Jello Biafra? Who better than introspective country-folk singer Iris DeMent? How about all of the above, plus Mr. Green Party himself, Ralph Nader, who will be master of ceremonies at this grassroots rally. 7 p.m., $10-$15. USF Sun Dome. Call 232-5300.

FIESTA ITALIANA. Always enter a traditional Italian household hungry. Refusing to eat could get you a tongue-lashing. Same goes at this festival celebrating the Italian immigrants who came to Ybor at the turn of the last century. Feast on food from Bernini's, Cafe Paradiso, Columbia Restaurant and more. Street performers, a petting zoo and live music keep the party going. 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Centennial Park, between 18th and 19th streets, Ybor City. Call 931-2121.

BOUNCING SOULS W/HOT WATER MUSIC, THE PIETASTERS WITH THREE BAD JACKS IN SOLARIUM. Fast beat, scream along music with an emotional twist, hard-core Gainesville rock, ska revival and rockabilly fill the playbill respectively. 7 p.m.; $12; Masquerade, 1503 E Seventh Ave. Call 247-2518.

SWIFT CREEK & RIVER COVE RAMBLERS. It used to just be bluegrass music. With a Mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass, these two bands turn it into Dewgrass, Newgrass, Jazzgrass, doggrass, Phatgrass and acegrass. The high-energy result is never green. 8 p.m.; $3; Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road. Call 971-0666.

SLAYER. Yes, this is the same thrash metal band from the day of big hair and torn jeans. Expect an assault on your ears almost as intense as the subjects in their lyrics. 10 p.m.; $5; Masquerade, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Call 247-2518.

NATURE'S GARDENING SECRETS. Learn what the stuff is made of that makes your vegetables and then makes you. Besides info on top soil, learn to make a butterfly buffet. 10 a.m.-noon.; $10-$12; MOSI, 4801 E. Fowler Ave. Call 987-6300.

NEW WRITERS NIGHT. 6-8 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 122 Brandon Town Center Drive, Brandon. Call 661-8883.

14 -- SUNDAY

ISLANDS' FEST 2002. Davis Islands residents convert the eastern link of Davis Boulevard into a neighborhood block party. Look for art, food, kids activities, a pet parade and a classic car show. Noon to 5 p.m. Call 254-5746.

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG. The crew is back together to promote its first studio release in more than a decade "Looking Forward." Fans of the original will be pleased; it's no New Coke. 8 p.m.; $39.50-$150; Ice Palace. Call 301-2500.

YOUNG KING ARTHUR. Birmingham Children's Theater brings the audience into a time when birthright was the only prerequisite to rule a nation. King Arthur has that right stolen from him by a political mastermind but triumphs over the fiend and proves his worth as the rightful King of England. 2 p.m.; $5.50-$10.50; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Ferguson Hall. Call 229-7892

FLORIDA ORCHESTRA: ELMAR OLIVEIRA. Expect a night of crescendos when Dmitry Sitkovetsky guest conducts, with Elmar Oliveira on violin, the works of Dukas, Saint-Saens and Ravel. 7:30 p.m.; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Call (813) 229-7892.

RALPH NADER BOOK SIGNING. Before he heads off to continue his grassroots crusade, Nader stops in to discuss his latest book, Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run For President. 3:30 p.m.; Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia. Call 253-2638.

THE SHOW. Local music maven Maggie Council brings together Handshake Squad, the Pagan Saints and Corey Jane Holt. 5 p.m.; $5; Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road. Call 971-0666.

BASEBALL: CHARLOTTE RANGERS AT TAMPA YANKEES. 7 p.m.; $3-$5; Legends Field. Call 879-2244.


WRITING 101. 7 p.m.; Barnes & Noble, 122 Brandon Town Center Drive, Brandon. Call 661-8883 .


DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL. Acoustic alternative emo-rock from Boca Raton. 6:30 p.m.; $12.50-$14; Masquerade, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Call 247-2518.

DIANE FORD. She's the Susan Lucci of comedy with seven nominations for "Best Female Stand-Up" by the American Comedy Awards. 8:30 p.m. Tues.-Thur., Sun.; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. $5-$14. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway. Call 960-1197. BARRY MANILOW. Oh, Barry. You came and gave with out taking. Except, of course, for the $59, $69 and $100 limited VIP ticket prices. 8 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Call (727) 791-7400.


ART OF COCKTAILS. No secret here, it's all about boozing and schmoozing. And a little art by hip artists Kate Cummins and Charlie Kelley. 5:30-8 p.m., $5. Mise en Place, 442 W Kennedy. Call 254-5373.


CASSANDRA WILSON. Though her history is solid and steeped in jazz staples with stints in New Orleans, New York and a singing career as far back as the age of 9, it makes no difference; her voice says it all. She comes to promote her latest release, Belly of the Sun. 7:30 p.m.; $34.50; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Ferguson Hall. Call 229-7892.

SOUND SCULPTURE WITH FRED JOHNSON. The dude with the grooves from Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center puts on a show of music movement and art. Even though this is a groovy dude, the main focus is socializing and discussion. 5-8 p.m.; $2; Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N Ashley Dr. Call 274-8698.

DONALD MORRILL BOOK SIGNING. University of Tampa professor signs and discusses his book, Sounding for Cool, about working with homeless men placed in a Transitional Living Program facility and how his experience relates to the past and what makes a person a "normal" functioning adult male. 7 p.m. Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave. Call 253-2638.


  • Jimmy Thackery: April 19, Skipper's Smokehouse.
  • Florida Orchestra: April in Paris: April 19, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Lyle Lovett: April 20, Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  • Outside the Box: April 20, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Ricochet: April 20, Borderline.
  • Antique Evaluation Saturday: April 20, University of Tampa.
  • Tap Kids: April 21, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation Opening. April 21, Tampa Museum of Art.
  • Pollock. April 21, Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N Ashley Dr. Call 274-8130.
  • Body and Soul Dance Theatre. April 21, University Area Community Center Complex.
  • USF Student Brass Quintets: April 21, USF Music Recital Hall.


  • Symphonic Orchestra: April 24, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Sycom: April 25, USF Theatre 2.
  • Mike Watt: April 26, Orpheum.
  • David Ball: April 27, Borderline.
  • The Best of Tampa Bay: April 27, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Maria Muldaur: April 28, Skipper's Smokehouse.
  • Florida Orchestra: Mahler's 3rd: April 28, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • Mamma Mia: April 30, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

-- Want to send out an RSVP to the Tampa area? Fax press releases at least 10 days before publication to Amy Abbott at 226-3381, or mail to 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602. Amy's phone number is 226-3374 and e-mail is

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