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Catch some caustic humor

By SHANNON BREEN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 28, 2003

Looking for something to do? Here's a super calendar, ranging from African violets to racing lizards.

* * *

From profiling the "homicidally wacky" North Korean president to playfully labeling Senate Majority leader Bill Frist as "doctor, kitty murderer," Jon Stewart brings his caustic brand of humor to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

Stewart took over as the sardonic anchorman of Comedy Central's The Daily Show in January 1999. He brought higher ratings and opened the door for other prospects.

NBC recently signed Stewart and Daily's senior correspondent Stephen Colbert to create a sitcom. Colbert will star; Stewart writes and produces.

Prior to taking over Daily, the New Jersey native played himself on HBO's series-within-a-series, The Larry Sanders Show. He also served as a creative consultant to the series.

On the feature film front, Stewart had acting roles in such films as Big Daddy, Playing by Heart and Death to Smoochy.

He authored his debut book, Naked Pictures of Famous People, a collection of fictitious and humorous what-if essays.

Stewart hits the stage Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Carol Morsani Hall, Tampa. Cost is $29.75 to $49. For more information, call 229-7827.

TODAY

FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL: Plant City's annual festival usually pulls in nearly a million people. The 11-day event, which began Thursday, features country music, pig racing and thousands upon thousands of servings of strawberries and cream. Who, in their right mind, would pass up strawberries and pig racing? Through March 9. From 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily; Festival grounds, 2209 W Oak St., Plant City; $8. Call 754-2190.

AFRICAN VIOLET SHOW: Violets, Beauties of Nature, The Tampa African Violet Society's 27th annual show and sale, will be from noon to 7 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; Farm Bureau, 100 S Mulrennan Road, Valrico; free. Call 681-1910.

FLORIDA ORCHESTRA: Conductor Stefan Sanderling leads the orchestra through Sibelius' Symphony No. 2., 8 p.m. today; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Carol Morsani Hall, Tampa. Also at 8 p.m. Saturday, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $20-$42. Call 286-2403.

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO: All-male ensemble parodies classical ballet works. 8 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $30-$40. Call (727) 791-7400.

PICNIC: Play by William Inge was also adapted for the big screen in 1956, about an arrogant drifter who stirs the pot when he visits a quiet Kansas town. Much of the drama takes place amid the town's annual Labor Day picnic, hence the name. This version is presented on stage by the Carrollwood Players through March 8. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; Carrollwood Playhouse, 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa; $10-$12. Call 265-4000.

1 -- SATURDAY.

GASPARILLA FESTIVAL OF ARTS: Amid what is typically sleepy downtown Tampa, a sidewalk art festival transforms Franklin Street into paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photography and an array of media. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; Franklin Street and Lykes Gaslight Square Park, downtown Tampa; free. Call 876-1747 or visit www.gasparilla-arts.com.

SAVE THE GILA LIZARD RACE: As part of "Save the Gila" campaign in honor of the allegedly threatened Gila monster (largest lizards native to North America), reptiles will race down a 20-foot track. 8 p.m.; Adobe Gila's, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa; free. Call 241-8588.

TEATRO LIRICO D'EUROPA: Verdi's Il Trovatore, sung in Italian with English supertitles. 8 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $30-$39. Call (727) 791-7400.

LUXURIOUS LEISURE: The Plant and Flagler Railroad Hotels. A Florida Conversation with Dr. Susan Braden, art history professor at Auburn University, and Cynthia Gandee, executive director of the Henry B. Plant Museum. The two will explain how the grand hotels influenced Florida and its communities. 2 p.m.; Music Room at Plant Hall, University of Tampa. RSVP 228-0097.

2 -- SUNDAY.

MARCEL MARCEAU: Being a mime isn't as easy as it looks. Have you ever pretended to press on invisible glass or walk down fraudulent stairs? Marcel Marceau, the internationally known mime artist who was trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, says farewell on a tour billed as his last. 2 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $29-$40. Call (727) 791-7400.

3 -- MONDAY.

BELINDA CARLISLE: When she's not performing at local high schools, Belinda Carlisle plays for paying audiences. Expect to hear such songs as Our Lips are Sealed, Vacation, We Got the Beat, and her solo hits Mad About You, Heaven is a Place on Earth, I Get Weak. 8 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $29.75. Call (727) 791-7400.

4 -- TUESDAY.

AIDA: Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA is about a Nubian princess stolen from her country; Amneris, an Egyptian princess; and Radames, the soldier they both love. Based on Verdi's opera, AIDA's score was written by Rice and John, their first collaboration since writing the music for The Lion King. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; 8 p.m. March 7; 2 and 8 p.m. March 8; 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 9; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Carol Morsani Hall, Tampa; $24.25-$70.25. Call 229-7827.

6 -- THURSDAY.

YANNI: Cher. Madonna. Prince. And then there's Yanni, who's in town promoting his most recent album, If I Could Tell You. 7:30 p.m.; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa; $45-$75. Call 301-6500.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: He has starred in all 83 Police Academy films, Scrooged, One Crazy Summer, among others. But his real passion has always been standup. Improv Comedy Theater & Restaurant; $18-$20. Call 864-4000.

LYNYRD SKYNYRD: After performing under a variety of monikers, the group settled on Lynyrd Skynyrd, derived from the name of Leonard Skinner, a gym teacher at their high school in Jacksonville. In 1977, the band's private plane crashed in rural Mississippi, killing Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and seriously injuring other members. Though it's almost a complete turnover of original members, Lynyrd Skynyrd continues touring with old and new material. 8 p.m.; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $42.75-$75. Call 287-8844.

NEXT WEEKEND:

  • HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: March 8; 1 p.m.; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa; $12-$75. Call 287-8844.
  • LARRY GARNER: March 8; 8 p.m.; Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa; $8-$10. Call 971-0666.
  • FOSSILFEST 2003: March 8-9; Florida State Fairgrounds; $3. Call 909-9358.

COMING UP:

  • BON JOVI WITH GOO GOO DOLLS: March 15; St. Pete Times Forum.
  • INSANE CLOWN POSSE: March 28; Jannus Landing.
  • TAMPA BAY BLUES FESTIVAL: April 4-6; Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg.
  • PAUL ANKA: April 5, Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  • MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER: April 6; Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  • AL GREEN: April 7, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
  • WILLIE NELSON: April 16-17, Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  • ELLEN DEGENERES: April 21, Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  • INDIA.ARIE: May 17, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

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