The 13th annual Much Ado About Art event on Friday is a live auction of art benefiting American Stage's Shakespeare in the Park and participating artists. It's a generous exception to many charity auctions that ask artists to donate their work. (Many in this event do, but if they need the money - and who doesn't? - they have the option of sharing the proceeds.) In some instances, the art is matched with a quote from the bard, such is Betsy Orbe Lester's Trippin' the Light, which references a line from Shakespeare: "There was a star danced and under that I was born."
Like last year's auction, it takes place in the Sunset Ballroom of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 600 Snell Isle Blvd., St. Petersburg. The theater's board president and longtime auctioneer, Al Karnavicius, will be joined by Andy Maass, executive director of the Florida Holocaust Museum. I confess to missing the old days when it was a more raucous affair, held at Salt Creek Artworks with Tom Pritchard of Salt Rock Grill flipping crabcakes, slicing slivers of rare tuna (and, for a favored few, serving shots of fine tequila). The hors d'oeuvres uptown remain elegant; decorum forbids the rampant cutting in line for them I recall from earlier years.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, with a cash bar. Preview at 6 p.m., auction at 7. (727) 823-1600, ext. 201.