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Stop, look and listen

By MIM ANNE HOUK

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 27, 2001


In the Tampa Bay area, March is always a good month for music and art, and this one is no exception. From St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and over to Tampa, unusual opportunities for good listening and looking could leave us trying to choose which ones are not to be missed.

In Tarpon Springs, the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, composed of Florida Orchestra members, will perform its usual magic on Dvorak's Piano Quintet and Brahms' Piano Trio at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Performing Arts Center on Pine Avenue. Admission is $10.

The Golden Bough, which has been captivating listeners from concert halls to festival stages, will bring its special touch to the beauty of Celtic music by singing and playing Irish harps, tin whistles, drums and guitar-like instruments. The concert, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18, also is at the Performing Arts Center. Admission is $13. For reservations and tickets, call (727) 942-5605. The University of South Florida has delightful plans for music and art lovers. For jazz fans, there are two events. The Monday Night Jazz Series takes place at 8 p.m. Monday in Theatre I on the Tampa campus. Admission is $6. The USF Jazz Ensembles perform at 7:30 p.m. March 21 in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Admission is $6. For reservations and information, call (813) 974-2323.

Graphicstudio, also on the USF Tampa campus, has a relatively new attraction for the public, a sculpture garden open Monday through Friday with no admission charge. Call (813) 974-3503.

At the Contemporary Art Museum on the campus, the William Wegman photographs of his famous Weimaraner dogs will continue through March 17. It's a fun show for the whole family, especially dog lovers. There is no admission fee. For information, call (813) 974-2849 or check the Web site at http://www.arts.usf.edu/events/.

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, has been practiced for more than 600 years. The Samurai warriors used it to compose their minds and learned to experience neither hesitation nor fear. The Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service at 12175 125th St. N in Largo (next to the new Florida Botanical Garden and Gulf Coast Museum of Art) will spend two days showcasing this fascinating concept from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, with a demonstration at 2 pm. Bonsai, a re-creation of a Japanese garden, and Japanese collectibles will be on view. There is no admission charge. For information, call (727) 595-7490. In addition to its regularly scheduled art activities, the Museum of Fine Arts on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg will celebrate the relationship between art and flowers during the week of March 17 to 24. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 18 there will be a free Sprout Festival, with families and friends looking for objects from nature to include in an installation art work. From 1 to 5 p.m. March 20 "Lifestyles in Bloom" will feature a self-guided sampling of displays and demonstrations for the home, garden and wardrobe, including floral glass hangings, gargoyles and pottery for the garden, drawings and designs -- even hair designs -- using flowers.

The Garden Club of St. Petersburg will offer several demonstrations on flower arranging. The cost is $15, plus museum admission, and includes Tea in the Garden from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Also offered that week are a luncheon-lecture by a landscape architect from Walt Disney World, an all-day bus trip to Selby Gardens in Sarasota and a Saturday garden tour highlighting gardens of Snell Island. For information, call the museum at (727) 896-2667.

For quality quiet time at home, nothing beats good videos and absorbing books. Dr. T and the Women, Robert Altman's latest movie, stars Richard Gere and a flock of adoring women -- from Helen Hunt to Farah Fawcett to Shelley Long -- in a whimsical love story about a gynecologist and the women in his life.

Meet the Parents is a crazy comedy, with Ben Stiller playing a young man on his first visit to meet his fiancee's parents and Robert de Niro playing her father, an ex-C.I.A. agent who takes an instant dislike to the insecure but hopeful future son-in-law. Two wonderful novelists have just come out with new books. Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club) has another of her absorbing stories of families and their secrets, set in a Chinese-American framework. The title alone is enough to make the reader interested: The Bonesetter's Daughter.

A.S. Byatt (Possession) has an intriguing novel, The Biographer's Tale, in which a young scholar, tired of what he feels is dead research, decides to write his own book, a biography of a biographer, a wheels within wheels story as only Byatt can construct. Here are interesting Web sites:

To get a preview of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, visit http://www.ushmm.org/. For Anglophiles, the daily responsibilities and activities of all the present royals plus a wonderful history source for past royals is available at http://www.royalinsight.gov.uk/current/front.html/.

Money magazine rates the best places to live in America, with links to how your favorite place rates, at http://www.money.com/money/depts/real_estate/bplive/.

Have a happy March and take note.

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