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Selections: Our picks of the week's best events, Feb.15-21

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Wednesday, 15

Richard Thompson

MUSIC

Whereas the words "solo acoustic show" and "Rolling Stone's Top 20 Guitarists of All Time" would normally fill us with varying degrees of cold dread, Richard Thompson is one of the few so-called "guitar heroes" you can actually enjoy. Despite the heavy baggage of pyrotechnics and puffy shirts that immediately spring to mind, Thompson is more in the school of Neil Young, Bert Jansch and John Fahey, where the song is favored over the technique. It's a through-line that applies to all of Thompson's work, from his beginnings in English psych-folk legend Fairport Convention, through his duo work with then-wife Linda Thompson, and all of his hefty solo discography. And if you're still on the fence, Richard Thompson gifted us with one of the single greatest self-loathing breakup albums of all time, the monolithically bleak Shoot Out the Lights (1982), wherein he and Linda held up the tatters of their marriage to the cold, unforgiving light of day. Expect a career-spanning survey of solo work and perhaps even some Fairport Convention nuggets. – Matthew Moyer

7 p.m. | The Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave. | 407-228-1220 | plazaliveorlando.com | $39.50-$69.50

Wednesday, 15

Loudar

MUSIC

Say you forgot about Valentine's Day, or maybe you and your sweetie's schedules just didn't allow for a romantic night out. You could do worse than catching Loudar to make up for it. A project that tends to only happen whenever French poet Patrick Sacleux is in town, Loudar started out as just readings of poetry from Sacleux, accompanied by his son, Pascal, on guitar. The musical portion has grown with repeat performances and now incorporates Sacleux fils on guitar, Phil Longo on bass, Shae Charles MacPherson on drums and Joseph Davoli on trumpet. The atmospheric backgrounds produced are largely improvised, providing a stirring soundtrack to Sacleux père's bilingual (French and English) wordplay. – Thaddeus McCollum

8 p.m. | Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts, 1905 Kentucky Ave., Winter Park | 407-636-9951 | bluebambooartcenter.com | $10

Thursday, 16

F.L.A.M.E.

ART

Nobody doesn't love a good art party, and F.L.A.M.E. promises to fit into the

mold Orlando has come to enjoy: cool space, cool artists, free entry but plenty of cool stuff to buy, plus the satisfaction of ephemerality – if you miss it, you missed out. F.L.A.M.E. also promises to break out of that mold a bit, though, in a fittingly one-off manner: not only will there be local goods for sale, an exhibition by a respected local artist (Lesley Silvia) and an artist creating work on the spot (19-year-old New Yorker Goyart, who's as influenced by Walt Disney as he is by Basquiat), there'll also be one-off fashion created on the spot by Fire the Help. Organizer Winston Taitt says, "It's so cool to me that kids want to be creative, instead of being herded by commercialism. Instead of the latest Gucci/Prada/Hermes, they want these one-of-ones." Get fired up and satisfy your desire for distinction with a jacket or shirt from Fire the Help, minis from Political Sculptor, pins and patches from Secret Society, and a plethora of beverage choices: cocktails by Will's Pub, fizzy probiotics from Orlando City Kombucha, caffeine by Vita Luna, and beer from Ten10 and MIA Brewing. – Jessica Bryce Young

6-9 p.m. | Orange Studio, 1121 N. Mills Ave. | free

Thursday, 16

Makk Day

MUSIC

We don't need to rehash how bad 2016 was for musician deaths, but it's important to recognize that the bizarre wave of death that swept the globe touched down locally too. Big Makk (neé Samisoni Koroitamudu), known for curating the tropical booty-thumping Shake N Bass night at Backbooth, died in a car crash in August. He was only 22 years old, but had released tracks on respected labels like Dim Mak and Mad Decent. Tonight, Backbooth pays tribute to the beloved DJ with a party in his honor. DJ Craze, a three-time DMC world champion with major old-school turntablism skills, headlines. But the night is all about Makk, with all proceeds going to the Big Makk Foundation, which provides scholarships for young adults who want to pursue careers in the music industry, ensuring that Big Makk's name lives on. – TM

with DJ Craze, K1K0, Ivarr, Ma-Less, Mezmriz, OG Nacho | 11:30 p.m. | Backbooth, 37 W. Pine St. | 407-999-2570 | backbooth.com | $10

Saturday, 18

Janine Klein: The Diva's Diva

THEATER

Assisting a drag queen: It isn't all bonbons and marabou mules, brushing out wigs and playing rounds of Name That Barbara Stanwyck Quote. In fact, if you work for Ginger Minj (who said, "I like to describe myself as a glamour-toad" in her premiere episode of RuPaul's Drag Race) as Janine Klein did, it sounds more like a cross between It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Poseidon Adventure. This show, subtitled "Tales of a Drag Queen's Assistant," follows Klein as she fills in as factotum to her BFF, a self-described "overweight, asthmatic, chain-smoking crossdresser from Orlando, Florida" on a tour from Dublin to ... Peoria. Sounds scintillating, no? Well, no – except when Klein, who's got more than a dash of diva herself, tells it. Grab three cocktails and fasten your seatbelts for this one, it's going to be a lumpy night. – JBY

8 p.m. | also Feb. 25 | Parliament House, 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail | 407-425-7571 | parliamenthouse.com | $15

Saturday, 18

Retro Modern Home Tour

EVENTS

Sometimes we grow weary of our own surroundings and long for something greater – namely, other people's much nicer homes. Audubon Park Garden District's Retro Modern Homes Tour is the perfect excuse to explore interior design ranging from vaguely unaffordable to Zooey Deschanel-level quirky while staring longingly at top-shelf liquor collections resting atop a Mad Men-era bookshelf. But what is a retro modern home? How do you know if you're in one right now? Mid-century modern architecture is noteworthy for its post-and-beam construction, which replaced the controversial blanket fort construction that Americans relied on to keep monsters out for decades prior. The style takes cues from Scandinavian design (aka furniture that looks really uncomfortable but is completely fine if you're a thin blonde woman who doesn't need much back support anyway), wide-open interiors to physically manifest the emotional distance you've achieved with your spouse, and lines so simple even an alternative-facts guru could follow them straight out the door and into our terrifying hellscape of a country. But while we're inside the homes, we're back in the middle of the 20th century, enjoying a welcome respite from the bizarre plot twists of our current century. – Abby Stassen

1-7:30 p.m. | Audubon Park Garden District, East Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive | audubonparkgardens.com | $35

Saturday, 18

Northwestern Mutual Orlando Chili Cook-Off

EVENTS

Orlando is bringing the heat this weekend at the 8th Annual Northwestern Mutual Chili Cook-Off. This isn't your grandma's watered-down, lumpy stew either: We're talking over 80 different chili samples, each with its own unique meaty, spicy bite. While you're enjoying unlimited tastes of chili goodness, stop by the World Chili Eating Challenge, where 10 major league eaters will have only six minutes to shovel as much con carne as they can down their throats. And if that doesn't sound like a good time to you, just remember that proceeds from this event will go to Alex's Lemonade Stand, an organization fighting to find cures for children battling cancer. – Deanna Ferrante

noon-6 p.m. | Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St. | orlandochilicookoff.com | $15-$50

Sunday, 19

Arab Fest

EVENTS

If you're reading this at 4 a.m. under a blanket doing your early-morning Twitter check to make sure the world hasn't totally fallen off the rails, maybe it's time to get back to a slight sense of normality. Take this weekend to reconnect with what's still good in America at downtown Orlando's 2017 Arab American Cultural Festival. Get some quality falafel, watch a live performance of folk dances like the dabke, and explore traditional arts and crafts at this free fest organized by the Arab American Community Center of Florida. Chances are you'll have a good time and learn a little more about the inner lives of our Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Sudanese, Somalian, Libyan and Yemeni neighbors. – Monivette Cordeiro

11 a.m.-7 p.m. | Lake Eola Park, 195 N. Rosalind Ave. | aaccflorida.org | free

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