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Selections: Our picks of the week's best events, Feb.22-28

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Wednesday, 22

WWE NXT Live

SPORTS

We love a good slam poetry jam or modern dance performance as much as the next gal, but sometimes we want more flavor on our cultural palate, and NXT never fails to deliver. As the minor league branch of the WWE universe, NXT is where independent wrestlers hoping to be signed and make their way to superstardom start out – giving the audience a chance to see how wrestlers develop their character and storyline, as well as the fun bloopers that happen along the way. Wrestling gets a lot of flak for being "scripted" and not enough credit for the performers' athleticism and creativity – it's more accurate to think of it as professional stunt men and women working within a storyline than calling it a fake sport. The acrobatics are impressive and the crowd's energy at a live taping is contagious, but what keeps us coming back are the scenes involving the stars' management. At first we were bewildered: Why would a high-energy live performance cut away from the action for extended conversations between wrestlers and their agents? Why do 20-minute arguments over contract signings need to take place in front of an audience? Why are video feeds of backstage disagreements over the wrestler's next career move playing on a Jumbotron? Professional wrestling repeatedly body-slams an imaginary fourth wall, and if we went looking for a highbrow art event that pulls that off as well as NXT, we'd end up tapping out. – Abby Stassen

7 p.m. | CFE Arena, 12777 N. Gemini Blvd. | 407-823-6006 | cfearena.com | $20

Friday-Saturday, 24-25

Field Trip South

MUSIC

This studded garage-rock festival is the first of its kind to happen in Orlando that we know of, and it's as legitimately national as it is local. The two-day event is organized by Baltimore garage label Hidden Volume Records, which is the brainchild of former local Scott Sugiuchi of the legendary Hate Bombs. With great taste and deep scene connections, he's rustled up an extraordinary stampede of talent from coast to coast including the Woggles, the Little Richards (featuring the amazing El Vez), Southern Culture on the Skids, Subsonics, the Ar-Kaics, the Schizophonics, Midnight Larks and the Stents. Alongside will be homegrown prides like the Woolly Bushmen, the BellTowers, Tampa's Little Sheba & the Shamans and, of course, a reunion of the beloved Hate Bombs. To really blow out the festivities, there will be DJs (some from WFMU), the colorful and slightly insane Nadeem Khan as MC, and a Hidden Volume pop-up shop stocked with rarities and show-only exclusives. Expect maximum sweat and style. – Bao Le-Huu

with Southern Culture on the Skids, the Hate Bombs, the Woolly Bushmen and more | 7 p.m. | Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $20-$35

Friday, 24

Video Vengeance: The Night Brings Charlie

FILM

A sadly less-heralded visual corollary of the DIY underground music and self-publishing boomlets of the late '80s was the revolutionary freedom offered to budding and not-so-budding filmmakers by the video medium. Suddenly all manner of malcontents could plump down a nominal fee to score their own VHS camcorder and start shooting their own Citizen Kane ... or Pink Flamingos. Tampa's Video Vengeance crew celebrates what they dub the S.O.V. ("shot on video") genre, in all its gloriously amateur immediacy and flawed quality. (Reconceptualize tracking lines and tape skips as pops and crackles on an LP.) On Friday, they present a Central Florida-themed program of VHS goodness. Opening up the night is perpetual underdog wrestling promoter "Struggling Jay," screening his short promo film for wrestler Garbage Mike. The main attraction, however, is the 1990 cult slasher gem The Night Brings Charlie, by Tom Logan. Logan filmed the whole thing in the Orlando area, so keep an eye out for local landmarks while taking in the murderous Technicolor rampage of Jason-as-deranged-tree-surgeon Charlie. Celebrate our local DIY grindhouse heritage. Free Pepsi is promised. – Matthew Moyer

9:30 p.m. | Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 E. Winter Park Road | stardustie.com | free

Saturday, 25

Orlando City Stadium House Party

EVENTS

The seesaw of Orlando sports interest may see Magic fans dragging their butts in the dirt on one end, but Orlando City fans couldn't hoist their famous purple flags any higher on the other. That is, before 25,500 impassioned fans welcome (strong word) New York City FC in their brand-spanking-new soccer-specific stadium, local hype is at full mast. In case you "can't even" contain your purple pride, Orlando City's Open House stadium sneak preview offers a chance to let off some pre-season steam. The open house features locker room and premium space tours, food tastings, photo opportunities, tailgate games and player autographs. Be sure to RSVP on the team website to book your spot at the most in-demand house party in town. – Joshua Kennedy

9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Orlando City Stadium, 655 W. Church St. | 855-675-2489 | orlandocitysc.com | free

Friday, 24

Indie Lens Pop-up: Newtown

FILM

More than eight months ago, on June 5, 2016, we encouraged our readers to go attend a free screening of the documentary Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA, which focuses on America's culture of gun violence and the gun lobby that resists stricter regulations. In a cruel twist, Orlando became the epicenter of conversations about gun violence a week after the screening when a gunman shot and killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse. And as the months go by, we've learned how deep and lingering grief can be, even with the passage of time. The 2016 documentary Newtown explores those lasting effects as it follows the lives of several people impacted by the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adult school staffers were gunned down. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder shows the effects of gun violence are more than bullets and blood; it's a cold, haunting absence that doesn't go away when the media trucks leave. The screening of this documentary – co-sponsored by the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, WUCF and the Global Peace Film Festival – isn't about searching for peace; rather, it's about acknowledging the pain and working to change the future. – Monivette Cordeiro

6:30 p.m. Friday | Bush Auditorium, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park | 407-646-2000 | rollins.edu | free

Saturday, 25

Ladies Get (2)Lit

LITERARY

Local feminist anthology zine Tittie Thyme, already known for its raucous zine release parties, is joining up with two other DIY tomes – the stellar perzine Phosphene Girl and the singular literary/photography zine Let's Kiss – to put on an evening of readings and music billed as a celebration of "local ladies in literature." The somewhat confined and cavernous surroundings of Lil Indies are an excellent setting – not least because the intimate scale keeps the readers and readings front and center – and the curiously strong alcoholic beverages at Indies may conjure up an atmosphere far removed from more restrained and academic readings. So much the better. Confirmed performers at press time include Alexia Clarke, Karina Curto, Zoya Zafar and Kayla Gordon. It's safe to assume that new zines will be on offer, among sundry other art; a portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. – MM

7 p.m. | Lil Indies, 1036 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | free

Saturday, 25

Lemuria

MUSIC

How does time pass so quickly and haphazardly? Here it is, 10 years since angular indie-punk trio Lemuria released their seminal debut album Get Better, and now even they're having to bow to the inevitable heartstring tug of nostalgia, scheduling an extensive tour to air out that body of songs in full. The sound of Get Better is a headrush of raw feeling in line with the Breeders and Discount but with a serrated punkoid bite. Get Better expanded Lemuria's audience far outwards – beyond those underground heads already seduced by a steady stream of singles and split releases – uniting indie fans, hardcore kids and emo obsessives alike. Things have been somewhat quiet in the Lemuria camp of late, so it's gratifying to see the New Yorkers get a (better late than never) victory lap. – Matthew Moyer

with Cayetana, Mikey Erg, Teen Agers | 7 p.m. | Backbooth, 37 W. Pine St. | 407-999-2570 backbooth.com | $10

Sunday, 26

Talbert T. Gray: Breaking Barriers

LEARNING

Though certain demagogues may disagree, "the media" plays many important roles in a free and civilized society. In addition to contributing to an informed – or willfully ignorant, whatever – public, the media often reflects changing times and attitudes, particularly as it grows to include underrepresented groups and viewpoints. Talbert T. Gray filled that role in 1969 when he joined WESH-TV, becoming the first black newsman in the state of Florida. The downtown Orlando Public Library, in conjunction with the Orange County History Center, hosts Gray this week for a talk about his career, covering everything from interviewing civil rights leaders to publishing the first magazine celebrating diversity in Central Florida. It promises to be an in-depth look at an important local figure who's anything but "fake news." – Thaddeus McCollum

2 p.m. | Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd. | 407-835-7323 | ocls.info | free

Sunday, 26

Jonathan Richman

MUSIC

What to say about Jonathan Richman, the most trusted Velvet Underground camp follower ever to insist "I'm Straight"? As a straitlaced but noise-addicted youth, Richman moved to New York to crash on VU's couch and haunt their rehearsals, soaking up their sound. But when it came to his own band, the Modern Lovers, his sonic tributes were philosophical inversions. "Sister Ray," the Velvets' propulsive 1968 scuzz-hymn to shooting smack, when filtered through Richman's brain, turned into the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner": same structure, different chords; same urgency, but lyrically, a sweetly naive ode to driving around with the radio on. Despite their earnest, drug-free ethos, Modern Lovers were an early force in U.K. punk rock – the Sex Pistols recorded a demo of "Roadrunner" – but all these years later, Richman sans Lovers has shed the speed and noise to become, as so many elder statesmen do, a lovable oddball storyteller. He prophesied on that first album, "Someday I think I'll be dignified and old"; he is, and so are a lot of his listeners, who should appreciate the early-bird timing of this Sunday evening show at the Social. – Jessica Bryce Young

5:30 p.m. | The Social, 54 N. Orange Ave. | 407-246-1419 | the social.org | $15-$17

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