Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews




;;Femme, Femme, Femme Reminiscent of speakeasies and whiskey on the rocks, Cheryl Turner's paintings illustrate the decadent bar life of women in the 1930s. We dig the swank. A self-taught, Orlando-based artist, Turner uses nostalgic themes to depict her glamorized view of lesbian watering-hole culture. Femme, Femme, Femme is a solo showing from the artist's De Femmes Bar collection that opens today for a month-long run. Meet and mingle with Turner and friends at the artist's reception. (7 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the Center; free; 407-228-8272;



;;ESPN — The Weekend ESPN brings the play-by-plays from the tube to the "happiest place on earth" for three days at Disney-MGM Studios. Squeeze into that team jersey and round up the family for a weekend jam-packed with games, sports celebs and live tapings of your favorite ESPN shows. While the kids mingle with their favorite Disney characters, you can attend Q&A sessions with sports heavy hitters Ben Roethlisberger, Jim Palmer, David Robinson and Michelle Kwan, just to name a few. Know your sports factoids? This outing is an opportunity to stick it to the Schwab — sports aficionado Howie Schwab — in an all-out trivia battle. And if you think you look good doing color commentary from your La-Z-Boy at home, check out ESPN's Dream Job, where you'll see what it's really like to audition for a seat at the news desk. (9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday; Disney-MGM Studios, Walt Disney World; $64.22; 407-939-1289;


;BikeWeek BikeWeek is much more than just a week, since March 2-11 is actually 9 days. Furthermore, bikes and leather jackets are only part of the event. Yeah, there might be almost a half-million people there, and, yeah, many of them might ride motorcycles and wear leather jackets to the beach, but this year's BikeWeek caters to a progressive biker, one who brings a Blackberry to use with Daytona's public WiFi. This is an entirely new biker that requires Miss BikeWeek entrants to "wear bikini and (preferably) high heels for the contest," but prohibits their nudity in the next sentence of the entry form. Yes, the 2007 BikeWeek biker likes to eat a little hummus with the nachos as he watches the pudding-covered ladies wrestle. (March 2-11 at various locations in Daytona Beach; free, with some ticketed events;


;Chef's Gala Finally, an excuse to bring your silver spoon. If you're interested in a little hobnobbery on the second, head to Epcot's 15th annual Chef's Gala. For $175 per ticket, attendees gain entry to a lush banquet of food tastings and wine pairings from 20 well-known local chefs. (If you choke at the price, you're not the deep-pocketed epicurean they are looking to seduce.) Listen to smooth jazz (what else?) while you nosh, and bid at the silent auction on items like spa packages and golf vacations. They hope to raise more than $100,000 to benefit the Heart of Florida United Way and are sponsored by such bigwigs as Bank of America, Progress Energy and the University of Central Florida. (6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. at Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World; $175; 407-835-0900 ext. 330)



;;Mardi Gras Spectacular Leave it to the fashionably late queer brigade to scoot the obscene revelry of Mardi Gras back a few weeks into the typically chaste Lent period. (Ashes on any of these heads last Wednesday were likely from menthol cigarettes, anyway.) This year promises "over 10 floats," which probably means 11, each boasting its own overdressed theme: voodoo, disco, fairy tale (or fairy tail). Also present: "big-tittied girls" with beads to throw, Miss Parliament House, Deloris VanCartier (insert gratuitous Whoopi Sister Act joke here) and Mardi Gras king Nick Gray. The drag shows will come out of the Footlight closet and onto the pool stage, with the parade kicking off at exactly 11:30 p.m. Which means 1 a.m., probably. And you'll probably get drunk and have sex with somebody you'll never speak to again. Throw me something, mister. (parade 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Parliament House; $10; 407-425-7571;


;The Music Man: A Semi-Staged Musical The characters of the irrepressible Harold Hill (played by Roy Alan) and enigmatic Marian the Librarian (Laura Hodos) dominate the stage of the Carr Performing Arts Centre for two shows in one day of Meredith Wilson's time-honored The Music Man. Mad Cow Theatre, the Orlando Chorale and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra collaborate to bring together 19 costumed cast members performing standards from this energetic musical. Remember "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Till There Was You" and "Shipoopi"? The outing is "semi-staged," so it won't be a full production but there will be enough music to satisfy the orchestra geek, the chorus goody-goody and the theater nerd. (2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Carr Performing Arts Centre; $13-$61; 407-849-2020;


;;Great Duck Derby Explore your inner child by playing with bathtub-variety rubber ducks while raising dough for renovations at Mead Garden. Who could resist reliving childhood by racing those bright-yellow ducks in a body of water much larger than your bathtub? (Oh, and your kids might enjoy it too.) Friends of Mead Garden and the city of Winter Park are putting on the first-ever Great Duck Derby. Buy a duck for $5 to compete at the family races at noon and 1 p.m. Watch the biggie-size sponsored ducks race at 11 a.m., or participate in other activities, including a scavenger hunt, animal encounters, live music and painting, a plant sale, hayrides and "Duck-o-Ration" duck-painting for children. (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Mead Garden, Winter Park; free to spectators, ducks $5; 407-647-5321;



;;Phagwah Festival Waxing to the max Saturday night, the full moon signals the ripe time for the springtime Hindu celebration of Phagwah, also known as Holi. Singing, dancing and feasting in traditional garb are typical, as is a free-for-all throwing about of colored powder on anything and anyone; hence the translated name, Festival of Colors. The powders are supposed to be made of neem, kumkum, haldi, bilva and other Ayurvedic medicinal herbs, because spring triggers viral fevers, allergies and asthma. (Western medicine takes an opposing viewpoint of all the particles blowing around.) Still, there are two festivals to choose from for rejoicing in the spirit of renewal. (Noon-6 p.m. at Central Florida Fairgrounds; free; 407-578-1810 or 407-401-2329; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium; free; 407-814-7501)



;;Dragonforce We understand that Dragonforce is ridiculous. A six-piece monstrosity of outsized talents, each of whom is a prodigy, Dragonforce is as unfamiliar with the concept of subtlety, and the band is shameless in proving that point at every opportunity. While some metal bands have made a conscious move away from the fantastic imagery, operatic vocals and dual-guitar histrionics that defined classic metal, Dragonforce takes those notions to a near-laughable extreme. While non-metalheads are quick to point out that this style is regressive — and a bit ridiculous — we say this group's non-ironic excesses are what metal needs more of. (with Killswitch Engage, Chimaira, He Is Legend; 6:30 p.m. at House of Blues; $23-$27; 407-934-2583;



;;Maria Taylor As half of Azure Ray and a quarter of Now It's Overhead, Maria Taylor doesn't have a lot of free time, one would assume. Yet the past two years has seen two solo albums under her name, neither of which sound like the ethereal dream pop of her other two projects. Instead, Taylor's solo work is more artfully lyrical, sonically direct and, frankly, weirder. If Lisa Germano had never had a drinking problem and hung out with Conor Oberst instead of John Mellencamp, she might sound like Taylor, but as it is, Taylor is one of a kind. (with Dirty on Purpose; 8 p.m. at the Social; $8; 407-246-1419;


; Contributors: Omar de la Rosa, Jason Ferguson, Jennifer Heimburg, Aya Kawamoto, Billy Manes, Brittany Middleton, Susie Orr, Deanna Sheffield, Lindy T. Shepherd.


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