Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews

A World of Dance, Cheap Trick, Bugfest, Gogo Airheart, Buckethead and more


Friday • 10

NHRA FLORIDA NATIONALS Might want to grab some earplugs on the way to this event, as they'll be useful both for dulling the collective roar of dozens of stock car engines and for muting the classic rock soundtrack that will undoubtedly be blaring in between time trials (not to mention booming from every 4-wheel-drive truck, El Camino and Camaro in the parking lot). Either way, be sure to listen responsibly while satisfying your need for speed at the NHRA Florida Nationals. Watch stock car drivers compete in time trials, and find out who will qualify in the "Top Sportsman" rounds. If you go all weekend, you'll get to see the tournament-style elimination rounds. This is some good ol' middle-America fun: fast cars, loud music, cold beer; but please, have someone sober drive you home. (9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Speed World Dragway; $20; also 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; $25; and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; $25; three-day pass $50; 407-568-2717;

A WORLD OF DANCE The passing of artistic director Fernando Bujones continues to haunt Orlando Ballet. Just look at the company's "A World of Dance" repertory program, and the attendant PR that guest choreographer Diana Farias accepted a commission to contribute an original piece "because of her relationship with Maria and Fernando Bujones." Bittersweet, then, must be the unveiling of Farias' Mexican-themed "Huapango," which is said to salute the unique attributes of women from different parts of that country. The other premiere on the program, Salim Gauwloos' "I Breathe You In," likewise has ties to the Ballet's past: It's actually an expanded version of a piece Gauwloos contributed to last December's "Holiday Triple Treat Rocks." Rounding out the schedule are favorite pieces (especially Bujones' take on Borodin's "Polovitzian Dances") that mark a crucial crossroads in the company's development – a time when looking back is as essential an activity as stepping out. (8 p.m. at Carr Performing Arts Centre; also Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$65; 407-426-1739)

Saturday • 11

CHEAP TRICK The close of Bike Week makes for strange bedfellows, and so does the winding-down stage of a band's career. Known to an entire generation as stalwarts of the state-fair circuit, Cheap Trick are that rare classic-rock act that should still be commanding a ticket price steeper than "free." Unlike the schmaltzified REOs and commodified BTOs of the world, they're power pop with an emphasis on the power – an eternally cool amalgam of Yardbirds riffs and teen-dream melodies. Which means that they deserve better from their sunset years than having to cop opening slots with Aerosmith and piggyback concerts onto established lifestyle conclaves like Bike Week. That said, there's a certain absurdist value in having the Dream Police play out this year's big hog-a-palooza, especially when one conjures up the mental image of a bunch of Harley-ridin' rebels rubbing greasy elbows with Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander – who, we have it on good authority, has to shop in the children's department to clothe his tiny body. Animals, meet Garanimal. (with Bughead; noon at Orlando Harley Davidson; free; 407-423-0346)

LANGERADO Coming back full swing, as it has every March for the past three years, Langerado has considerably expanded its jam-rock template with the inclusion of acts like the Flaming Lips, Wilco, The Secret Machines and indie-rock darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, along with more jam-friendly acts like Mofro, Ben Harper and the Black Crowes. Quality hip-hop is also well-represented by RJD2, Lyrics Born and Kid Koala. Orlando's own Legendary JC's were one of eight acts chosen to perform on the Florida Native Stage alongside The Spam Allstars and Crazy Fingers. Definitely worth the drive. (11 a.m-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Markham Park, 16001 West State Road 84, Sunrise; $65 each day or $119.50 two-day pass;

Sunday • 12

BUGFEST The Giant Praying Mantis patiently waits for the children to move closer and closer before he leaps at them … to give them a gift. He joins the Lady Bug and Mother Nature every Sunday this month at Old Town's Third Annual Bugfest. Experts will be on hand identifying bugs and talking about butterflies and worm farms. If you want to recreate that scene from Magnolia, stop by at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. for the confetti butterfly and bug showers. (2 p.m. at Old Town, Kissimmee; free; 407-396-4888)

27TH ANNUAL ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE AND CELEBRATION Don't take this green gem for granted. Even though it's been rolling down Park Avenue in Winter Park since 1979, the parade's half-dozen volunteer organizers have kept the formula sweet and simple. That's why when you see the community groups on the march, dressed in assorted homages to Ireland, it brings a tear to your eye – it's the real deal. Allen Shaw is one of mainstays of the parade, having been onboard the organizing committee since 1980. He says that the Winter Park parade is rated among the top five St. Patty's Day celebrations in the country, and that's because of its size – 67 to 72 units this year – and its quality. Shaw (of German, English, French and Irish heritage) and his wife, Hilda (of German heritage), are two of the judges watching from the grandstand. Still, while Irish charm is the theme, the heart of the event is as green as grass roots. Shaw says that no fees are charged of those who participate, and the only requirement is to have an "an Irish-themed unit and have the community spirit at heart." After the festivities have quieted, you're likely to find Shaw and his wife at Fiddler's Green, taking in some Irish coffee and dessert. (parade starts 2 p.m. from the north end of Park Avenue and continues down to City Hall; Irish music and dance continues in Central Park after the parade; free; 407-916-8490)

Monday • 13

GOGOGO AIRHEART In a recent conversation with a local punk band, one of us came to the realization that "the kids these days" are growing up on some pretty bizarre punk rock. You couldn't tell from the never-ending tours by legacy acts, nor from the utter creative bankruptcy of all those Victory bands – and let's not even discuss the whole Good Charlotte thing, OK? – yet, thanks to some Southern California freaks who probably like Frank Zappa as much as they like Black Flag, an entire subgenre of spazz-punk, replete with digital manipulations, exploding time signatures and ferocious delivery, has managed to worm its way into the ears of the youth of today. There are kids, in other words, who think that the frenetic avant-violence of Gogogo Airheart is punk rock, just like we thought Suicidal Tendencies was punk rock. Coming to that realization, we smiled, because although it's unlikely that these guys will ever have the opportunity to ruin their legacy in the same way that ST did, we endlessly applaud their efforts to get the blood flowing in the stiffening corpse of punk rock. (with The Jai Alai, Subtitle; 8 p.m. at Will's Pub; $8; 407-898-5070)

BUCKETHEAD What a strange Monday in Orlando. With Gogogo Airheart over at Will's and this outlandish freak onstage at The Social, we know where all the socially challenged music aficionados in town will be tonight. Buckethead's performance at the Anti-Pop Music Festival was an unexpected highlight for two reasons: One, it sold out; two, everyone stayed for his whole set. Thirty minutes of Buckethead's cosmic guitar-shredding is too much for most folks to handle, regardless of the strength of their Irony Armor. Yet, Orlando – sweet, dear, parochial Orlando – is home to enough weirdos to have kept The Social packed for what seemed like nine hours (it was closer to three, but still). Not being able to see the guy's face makes his arpeggiating that much more disturbing, but the funk-laced jam-rock tangents he went off on were thrilling. (with Pnuma Trio; 8 p.m. at The Social; $15; 407-246-1419)

Contributors: Jason Ferguson, Amber Foster, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd, Nada Taha, Avery Wood

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