It's the season to head back outdoors
By MIM ANNE HOUK
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000
November not only holds my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, but also usually means the mild days which most of us wait for. The wonderful parks, beaches and trails are out there, so don't waste a moment -- enjoy the cooler air.
Two delightful outdoor destinations for this nice weather are within easy distance of most Tampa Bay area residents. Visit the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary at 18328 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores any time from 9 a.m. to dusk daily to marvel at the rescue, repair, recuperation and release of sick and injured wild birds. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Call (727) 391-6211 for more information. Then don't overlook a nice wander-around on the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, with the authentic commercial sponging operations, shrimp boats, rental boat rides up the Anclote River, lots of varied shops and wonderful Greek restaurants. Call (727) 942-5605 for information about special events.
A nice day out for family and/or visitors is exploring the Pier in St. Petersburg, then taking in the Museum of Fine Arts, located right by the entrance to the Pier. In addition to all its regular art exhibits, the museum has a fascinating series of programs extending through April of 2001. "Art of the Spirit" brings together persons of different religions/ethnic backgrounds to discuss their spiritual beliefs, cultural traditions and the related art. On Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Irwin Sharp Fish of the Lakota Oyate people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota will compare traditional Lakota art to today's Pan-American art forms. Then on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., Eileen Stead will lead a discussion of the history and beliefs of Buddhism and a discussion of pieces in the museum's collection of Buddhist art. On Nov. 28 at 7 p.m., Abul Karim Ali of the American Muslim Center will discuss beliefs and religious practices of American Muslims and the beautiful decorative elements of prayer rugs and other pieces related to Islamic life. There's no admission charge, but reservations are suggested. Call (727) 896-2667.
For some very fine music at a very low cost, it's difficult to beat the University of South Florida, Tampa campus, music events: USF Choral Ensemble ($4) on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m.; Monday night jazz series at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6 ($10); piano and violin recital on Monday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ($6); an opera, Dido and Aeneas, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. ($6); on Monday, Nov. 20, the USF Percussion Ensemble at 8 p.m. ($4); on Monday, Nov. 27, the USF Faculty Chamber Players at 8 p.m. ($6); on Tuesday, Nov. 28, the USF Jazztet at 8 p.m. ($4); and Thursday, Nov. 30, the USF Orchestra at 8 p.m. ($4). Call (813) 974-2323 between noon and 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, for reservations and directions.
For a combination of drama, dance and music offerings, the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts and Cultural Center, 324 Pine St., presents Amadeus, the outstanding play about Mozart and Salieri, on various weekend dates in November, beginning on Friday, Nov. 3, and closing on Saturday, Dec. 2. An unforgettable piece of dramatic theatre
Dance has Carlota Santana and the Spanish Dance Company with its exciting evening of Flamenco Vivo! -- a touring company of six to nine dancers and musicians, including a singer and guitarist. There will be a full performance on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. (admission $15), preceded by a workshop on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. (admission $10) -- less in both cases for members. For chamber music lovers, there will be the Trio Luwigana from Slovenia, with awards and CDs to attest to their excellence, playing music by Beethoven, Glinka and Brahms on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. (admission $13). Call (727) 942-5605 for reservations and information.
We readers are always looking for new books by favorite writers. Two of both the most popular and the best are in bookstores and libraries now. Rosamund Pilcher has an early Christmas present for us titled Winter Solstice, with its heartwarming tale of five people brought together by circumstance to a big house in wintertime Scotland; Pilcher once again will delight all her readers, no matter what age, with this novel of the healing powers of home and family written with her special feeling for characters and places.
Margaret Atwood's Blind Assassin has been short-listed for the British Booker Literary Prize, an honor well-deserved for this complex, fascinating, surprising and brilliantly written story of a Canadian family's lives and fortunes from pre-World War I to the present -- a great book for readers who love good stories involving mystery and complexity.
Among the new videos sure to appeal to movie fans are The Green Mile, the three-hour movie from a Stephen King novel which tells of a convict on death row and how his special powers change the lives of the people he touches (literally), with Tom Hanks giving another superb performance as a sympathetic prison guard; Music of the Heart, which shows Meryl Streep's character taking her belief in the powers of music into ghetto schools to affect young children and right into the viewer's heart; and The Cider House Rules, which has a script by John Irving from his own novel and stars Michael Caine as the doctor/director of an orphanage in Maine during World War II who loves and cares for his "Princes of Maine" in some unorthodox ways. All these offer some special evenings of home entertainment.
Three good, all-purpose Web sites:
http://www.refdesk.com -- for a link to just about anything you might want to look up;
http://www.magportal.com -- for access to magazines you might never have a chance to see otherwise;
http://www.shakespeare-online.com -- for anything you might ever want to know about that writer.
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