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Hot Tickets

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000


Did you hear the one about the rabbi . . .

Maybe he's so funny because of his resemblance to comedian Steve Martin.

Bob Alper bills himself as the only rabbi in the country who regularly addresses congregations requiring a cover charge and a two-drink minimum. Alper has for years married his profession with stand-up comedy, performing on television and at temples and nightclubs around the world. All the while, he continues his religious work, still conducting services.

Alper uses both his professions this weekend at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg. Alper the rabbi will conduct services at the temple at 8 p.m. Friday and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, incorporating humor into his sermons.

Then, Alper the comedian performs Saturday night at a dinner and show at the temple, 400 Pasadena Ave. S. Cocktails and dinner begin at 6 p.m.; the show starts at 8. Tickets for the dinner and show are $36. The show alone is $18. (727) 347-6136.

Alper also performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Sinai, 1802 Kenilworth St., Sarasota. Tickets are $20 at the door. (941) 924-1802.

A Victorian Christmas

The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement takes the holidays back more than 100 years with its Victorian Christmas Jamboree Saturday.

Volunteers in period costumes will bake sugar cookies in a wood stove and serve them with hot apple cider. They also will be demonstrating 19th century crafts and chores, including cheese-making.

Lantern lights and handmade decorations will bedeck the Endicott House on site. (Activities will continue past dark by lantern and candlelight.)

Other activities include an arts and crafts show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., hay rides, petting zoo, holiday music and a visit from Santa. The jamboree is free.

The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement is at 2900 31st St. S, St. Petersburg. For information, call (727) 866-6401.

Roadhouse rock

From the Lone Star State (that would be Texas), alt-country act Slobberbone brings the sounds of roadhouse to Tampa Bay. Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today, the band's latest, rings with a beautiful raggedness that nods equally to Johnny Cash, Neil Young and the Replacements. In fact, the band delivers Placemat Blues, an ode to the legendary 1980s alt-rockers.

Lead singer Brent Best tells his gritty stories of drifters, losers and what it's like loving beauty queens named Josephine. Most poignant is Gimme Back My Dog, a tune, I think, about losing your spirit in someone else. It showcases Best's old school wisdom -- the kind found in a bourbon glass -- as well as his rough, sandpapery voice that emotes the pain of having both brains and heart.

If that all sounds too mushy, fine. Turn off your mind and rejoice in Slobberbone's sweaty, thrashing, beer-drenched live performance.

Slobberbone performs with Drive by Truckers and the Outpatients 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Club More Warehouse, 703 Franklin St., Clearwater. (727) 466-6673. Tickets are $7.

- GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic

Christmas merengue

The Queen of Puerto Rican merengue, a frenetic dance music with African and Spanish roots, Olga Tanon also dips into cumbia, salsa and ballads. She'll perform at the Ice Palace on Sunday.

Her seductively smoky voice has made her an international star -- she has seven platinum albums and a slew of awards to her credit. The Senate of Puerto Rico even declared Nov. 9 El Dia de Olga Tanon (that's "Day of Olga Tanon," for our non-Spanish speaking friends).

After huge success in the mid 1980s with the merengue acts Las Nenasde Ringo y Jossie and Chantelle, Olga decided on a solo career.

Tanon, 33, gets as much attention for her gorgeous good looks. She's been nominated twice for the "Most Beautiful Face in Puerto Rican Television."

Joing Tanon in "Al Son De Navidad," a special Christmas performance, is popular young salsa singer Jerry Rivera.

Olga Tanon and Jerry Rivera perform at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Ice Palace in Tampa. Tickets are $10. (813)-276-7378.

- GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic

Real country

Terri Clark has great hair. Of course you'd never know it because she wears that darn cowboy hat so much.

Though she hails from Canada, she's nothing like that other country Canadian, Shania Twain. Clark is known not only for her cowboy hat but also for her tomboy attitude. She's one of the only female country artists who plays guitar during live performances and prefers T-shirts and Wranglers to dresses and pearls.

The multitalented Clark has been on the country music scene since 1995. She also plays bass and drums and wrote all but one of the songs on her self-titled debut album, which contains the hit Better Things to Do. Her latest offering, Fearless, includes the new single A Little Gasoline.

Clark appears at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Round Up, 13918 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show. (813) 855-1464.

- PAMELA DAVIS, Times Staff Writer

True to the music

The early-music movement started in the 1960s when groups of players got together to perform 18th century music on instruments from the period -- woodwinds actually made of wood, gut-stringed violins and so forth. Eventually, it changed the way music is perceived and played, and for good reason. Bach, Vivaldi and Pachelbel wrote for instruments of their day, and they could not have foreseen the modern concert grand.

Baroque Southeast is made up of Florida State University music faculty members Karen Clarke, violin; George Riordan, oboe; Karyl Louwenaar Lueck, harpsichord; and Melanie Punter, bass.

The group gives a concert of works by Albinoni, Bach, Rameau, Vivaldi and Francoeur at 8 p.m. Friday at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets: $9 and $11. (727) 942-5605.

- JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic

Watts at Van Wezel

Pianist Andre Watts had the proverbial star-is-born experience.

When Watts was 16, Leonard Bernstein asked him to substitute on short notice for Glenn Gould in performances of Liszt's E-flat Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.

Today, 38 years later, the pianist has a slight correction to make when he is asked about the incident that (as he once put it) handed him his career on a plate.

"It makes a great story," he told the Seattle Times. "What most people don't mention is that Bernstein chose me because I had already auditioned for him, and played in an earlier Young People's Concert. It wasn't all that last-minute. But it did teach me that luck and chance are big factors in making a career; I never had to audition for anybody again."

Watts has a recital at 8 tonight at Van Wezel Hall. He'll play Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata plus works of Haydn, Mozart and Chopin. Tickets: $32-$40, with $10 student rush tickets on sale at 7:30 p.m. (800) 826-9303.

- JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic

Soul food

Through art, Dhiraj Choudhury reveals intense feelings about many things: freedom in his native India, the death of his grandson, the recent illness of his wife. Now visiting in Pinellas County, the retired professor of art from Delhi University is exhibiting in a show titled "Love 2000: At the Threshold of a New Millennium." It is on view from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily except Sunday evening, through Tuesday in the art gallery at Mahal Indian Cuisine, 25000 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater; (727) 723-1117.

- MARY ANN MARGER, Times art critic

'Illustrating Women'

Katy Lemay combines photography with found objects to create Transhuman, a mixed media illustration on view at Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design. Lemay is exhibiting in "Illustrating Women," which shows the success of nine female artists in a field previously considered the domain of men. Also on view is "Graciela Iturbide: Espiritu Santo," a portfolio by the Mexican photographer produced in collaboration with Graphicstudio at the University of South Florida. Selby Gallery is on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, one block east of 2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; (941) 359-7563. Both shows are on view through Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Free.

- MARY ANN MARGER, Times art critic

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