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Selections: Our picks for the best things to do in Orlando this week

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Wednesday, June 28
More Q Than A: Stalker
FILM

Andrei Tarkovsky is one of those Big Deal Filmmakers that inspires endless debates among film students, an artist that if you aren't familiar with his work, you can't truly call yourself a cinephile. This is the kind of thing that can scare off a casual viewer, but rest easy, you can enjoy Stalker. Well – not easy, exactly; this film is pretty scary on its face, and terrifying when you transpose its speculations to our own current reality. Stalker, made in 1979, is based on the Russian novel Roadside Picnic, a straightforward sci-fi tale based around a mysteriously contaminated and off-limits Zone. (And it's pre-Chernobyl, pre-Southern Reach trilogy.) It's a beautiful film in a newly restored print with brighter color transfer; the Zone is lush and green and threatening, full of overgrown forests, waterfalls, abandoned train tracks and stray animals. The subtle sense of menace swells after you emerge from the visual spell, though, and stop to consider the implications for our world, the real world, where the threats of climate change and energy deregulation can stand in for alien invasion with the same toxic results. – Jessica Bryce Young

7 p.m. | The Gallery at Avalon Island, 39 S. Magnolia Ave. | avalongallery.org | $5-$7

Thursday, June 29
Velvet Sessions: Lita Ford
MUSIC

Guitarist and glam/punk/metal pioneer Lita Ford has yet to receive the full historical reappraisal that she so richly deserves. How does Thursday work for you? A shredder from the word "go," Ford got her start with no less than Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in 1975 as guitarist and founding member of the Runaways, a vicious, leather-encased group of teenage delinquents that cut eternal side after eternal side – think "Cherry Bomb" or "Queens of Noise." When the volatile chemistry of the Runaways caused the project's implosion, Ford bided her time for a bit and then just burst onto the radio heavy metal scene with a new metal-queen image and her debut album, Out for Blood. Which, really, was her mission statement at the time – gone was the Ramones-y primitivism of the Runaways, here to stay was a slick, sleek metal sound that was ALL Ford, and she fucking killed. Ford was a fixture on rock radio for about a decade, with singles like "Kiss Me Deadly" and the wrenching Ozzy Osbourne duet "Close My Eyes Forever" (which became her sonic calling card). Ford took a about a decade off starting in 1996 to focus on her family, but she's staged a forceful return as an undiminished player and vocalist. Lita Ford deserves a second look beyond the heavy metal nostalgia circuit. – Matthew Moyer

6:30 p.m. | Hard Rock Hotel, 5800 Universal Blvd. | hardrock.com | $32-$60

Thursday, June 29
Lil Tracy
MUSIC

From the murkier and more anarchic corners of Soundcloud comes Lil Tracy, a distinctly 21st-century MC who is a living riot of outer limits pop-culture signs and signifiers, but, crucially, has the delivery to back up his visual sensory overload. The rapper formerly known as Yung Bruh, Toreshi Minaj, and Yunng Karma first turned heads on collaborative tracks with fellow GBCer Lil Peep, but came into his own with last year's "Pictures," a song that garnered him over a half-million SC plays. Lil Tracy's sound is a potent mix of in-the-now pop music – Autotune-drenched vocals comparable to a shoegaze band's reverb worship, bleeding-edge production from the likes of BigHead and Cash Money AP – and no hesitation to delve deep into personal vulnerabilities in his lyrics. But it's as much Lil Tracy's distinctive image that gets him that crucial second look from an increasingly numbed online audience, a head-on collision of gothic chic, gold fangs, trap vogue and heavy nods to anime excess. Lil Tracy sends out alien transmissions from the new now – and his messages are finally being received, loud and clear. – MM

7 p.m. | Backbooth, 37 W. Pine St. | 407-999-2570 | backbooth.com | $20-$50

Friday, June 30
Taste of Summer
EVENTS

Maybe it's due to the fact that so many culinary staples are in season, or maybe it's because it's too hot to do much else, but food season kicks into high gear in the summer and doesn't really stop for ... well, ever, really. This week, three local food and drink purveyors team up in that spirit for a collaborative dinner. La Femme du Fromage and Swine & Sons Provisions craft a four-course meal featuring dishes like Cajun prawns with feta and charred corn salsa, or smoked pork belly with red-eye braised greens and peanut-cocoa nib agradolce, then pair those courses with beers from DeBary's Central 28 Beer Co. Summer's here, and – to paraphrase David Bowie and Mick Jagger's bastardization of "Dancing in the Street" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas – "It's an invitation, across the nation, a chance for folks to eat." – Thaddeus McCollum

7-10 p.m. | Swine & Sons, 595 W. Fairbanks Ave. | 407-636-7601 | swineandsons.com | $65

Friday-Saturday, June 30-July 1
Shawn Wayans
COMEDY

Rising from the talented Wayans family of actors and comedians, Shawn Wayans found fame first on his family's groundbreaking In Living Color sketch comedy show in the '90s, then went on to appear in the screwball sendups of genre films like Scary Movie and Dance Flick. His most successful outing was probably the instantly dated 2004 comedy White Chicks with his brother Marlon. In recent years, however, Shawn has refocused his career toward stand-up – a format that allows for more of his individual sense of humor to shine. Expect some of the signature Wayans Family broad-stroke physicality, sure, but Wayans tempers that with his own perspective on both coming from a large, talented family and being a father to three children himself. – TM

6:30 & 9:45 p.m. Friday, 6 & 9:30 p.m. Saturday | Orlando Improv, 9101 International Drive | 407-480-5233 | theimprovorlando.com | $30

Saturday, July 1
Kaboom!
LEARNING

The ingredients in fireworks are pretty basic – just a mix of mostly black gunpowder and combinations of metal salts that give these star-like explosions their fabulous colors. But that simple, combustible fusion can make any event feel more romantic, exciting or in the case of this Independence Day, much more Amurrican. If you want to learn more about how these detonations work before they come to a local park near you, this weekend's Kaboom! Show at the Orlando Science Center is the perfect place. OSC scientists put on a 25-minute fireworks show in the Digital Adventure Theater with latex balloons and some loud explosions. If you go, prepare for screaming children, because the "kaboom" part is in the title for a reason. Instead of the standard burgers and beer, get your Fourth of July started this weekend with a little more pow. – Monivette Cordeiro

1:15 p.m. | Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St. | 407-514-2000 | osc.org | $20.95

Saturday, July 1
Morbid Saint
MUSIC

Incontrovertible fact: If you have the first word "Morbid" in your band's name, you are destined for underground greatness. To wit: Morbid, Morbid Opera, Morbid Angel – and belatedly joining those ranks is Morbid Saint. But don't call it a comeback; Morbid Saint have been here for years. Since 1982, in fact, when the band missed the memo that you can't rock in Sheboygan and began pounding out hyperspeed proto-thrash and became favorites of the tape-trading underground with the Spectrum of Death release in 1988. They recorded a follow-up demo, but broke up in 1993. But one thing you can always count on is the voraciousness of cult metal fans, and renewed interest in those little-noticed recordings blew up into a full reunion of the band in 2010 and the obligatory deluxe reissue. Guitarist Jay Visser recently reflected to Iron Fist about the reunion in that lovable way that metal musicians who aren't Gene Simmons or Lars Ulrich do: "We never played or wrote these songs with the intent that 25-plus years later we'd still be playing them. ... We were just a bunch of kids hanging out that sucked at playing our instruments, without any direction or too much thought about what we were doing other than we were having a lot of fun doing it." Here's to kids not knowing what they're doing. – MM

with Dawn Patrol, Moat Cobra | 8 p.m. | Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $8-$10

Tuesday, July 4
Fireworks at the Fountain
HOLIDAY

No matter how many fireworks shows we’ve seen, there’s something about them that always leaves us in awe. Every Independence Day for the last 40 years, Lake Eola has transformed into a celebration of red, white and blue. By 9:10 p.m., the festivities will reach their peak – in the sky. Spend the day by the lake with family and friends, and close out the night with an explosion of lights. Of course, food and drink vendors will be around, too, so you can munch on hot dogs and hamburgers and crack open some cold ones. – Kristin James

4-10 p.m. | Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St. | cityoforlando.net | free

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