Wow! Or maybe that should that be WAW! (What A Weekend!) What’s particularly special is that it’s full of opportunities to show your generosity to those most affected by the pandemic, from struggling families to artists and arts organizations.
Clays for Kids! A unique event for novice and expert shooters alike — and a chance to make a difference in the lives of children and families battling pediatric cancer by raising funds for the Children’s Cancer Center. (Watch my interview with CCC’s terrific Executive Director, Patty O’Leary, here.) Register here for a day of clay shooting, food, beverages, a silent auction, competitions and more. Thurs. Oct. 8, Noon-5 p.m., Tampa Bay Sporting Clays & Archery, 10514 Ehren Cutoff, Land O’Lakes, Clays4Kids.com.
Calling All Angels! Theater fans, don’t miss this one: The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America is a free one-hour virtual reimagining of Tony Kushner’s pivotal Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the age of AIDS, contextualized with our current cultural moment. And check out this cast: Glenn Close, Patti LuPone, Laura Linney, Paul Dano, Andrew Rannells and S. Epatha Merkerson, just to name a few, with special appearances by Alan Cumming, Jake Gyllenhaal and Whoopi Goldberg. It’s free, but all donations will benefit research being done through amfAR’s Fund to Fight COVID-19. Thurs. Oct. 8, 8:30 p.m., Broadway.com YouTube channel.
Use Your Re-Imagination! American Stage is known for throwing great parties, but this year, for obvious reasons, their season-opening celebration is going virtual. It’s a first for the company, right in line with their 2020-2021 theme, “REIMAGINE, a season of hope, innovation and inspiration.” Presented as a live stream from the theater’s Virtual Stage (where they’ve already presented a slew of excellent online content), the event will be accessible to all, and tickets are free. It’s a fundraiser, though, so expect to be offered multiple opportunities to support the company and its mission during the gala. Fri. Oct. 9, 7 p.m., americanstage.org or YouTube.com/americanstage.
The Phantom of the Opera is HERE! The original and still the most terrifying version of the tale that inspired the hit musical, the 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera gets the full live-stream treatment on Friday from Tampa Theatre, complete with live accompaniment by nationally renowned theater organist Steven Ball. An over-the-shoulder camera will capture Ball’s wizardry on the Mighty Wurlitzer, plus there’s…. popcorn! Fri. Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. (popcorn pickup 4-7 p.m.), tampatheatre.org. Pre-order at eventive.
Help hungry families! The St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s HungerFree event is usually a big, informative luncheon gathering at St. Pete’s Coliseum, but for HungerFree 2020, SPFC has pivoted to a COVID-friendly food and donations drive-thru to help food-insecure families in Pinellas and the programs that support them at the Clinic. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $200,000 by the Loving Friends of Sister Margaret Freeman fund. Sat. 10/10, 9 a.m.-Noon, Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank, 3115 44th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, hungerfree2020.com.
Second Saturday Art Walk — for reals! There won’t be a trolley, but 25 galleries and studios in downtown St. Pete and environs will be open this weekend for the first Second Saturday ArtWalk in months that’s not mostly virtual. Visit the venues in person (hours vary), but be prepared to follow the COVID guidelines required by each. One show that looks like a must-see: Soft Water Studios’ “2020 Vision,” an exhibition of Jim Swallow’s 3D “stereographs” of 20 distinguished artists at work. “2020 Vision” opens Sat. Oct. 10, 5-8 p.m. at Soft Water Studios, 515 22nd St. S. Hours for other Second Saturday ArtWalk participating galleries vary.
Stand up and laugh! Stand-up comedy returns to The Palladium’s Hough Hall Saturday night with Ward Smith and Friends, bringing back three favorites from the venue’s Side Door Cabaret — Helen Keaney, Lou Angelwolf and Tim The Dairy Farmer — along with funnyman and host, the consummate actor/comedian Ward Smith. Sat. Oct. 10, 8 p.m., The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg, mypalladium.org.
See the Chihuly with Ms. Bak Lava! The Chihuly Collection is throwing a party on Saturday which promises a tour of the gallery’s glass wonders as you’ve never experienced them before, led by the delicious drag performer Ms. Bak Lava. You can enjoy the tour virtually, which includes a party in a box that will arrive on your doorstep, complete with cocktail mixers, fabulous accessories, private Zoom passcode and more, or opt for the VIP experience: 10 premium rate tickets to experience Ms. Bak Lava and the collection in person for the live tour, plus light snacks and beverages. Proceeds benefit the Morean Arts Center and Metro Inclusive Wellness. Sat., Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m., ticket information here.
Applause, applause! Though the 2019-20 professional theater season suffered from a severe case of Theatricus Interruptus, Theatre Tampa Bay is soldiering on to honor the shows that did make it onto the boards. An independent panel of judges saw 25 plays and 5 musicals in all, and the results of the judgin’ will be revealed Sunday in a virtual gala event that will allow real-time interaction among attendees. The 2020 Theatre Tampa Bay Awards Gala, Sun. Oct. 11, 6-9 p.m. Free admission for current TTB members, $5.00 for non-members. (100 guest maximum), theatretampabay.org, click here to register.
Last chance! This is the final weekend to see Creative Pinellas’s 2020 Emerging Artists exhibition in person. CP awards its Emerging Artists grants each year based on artists’ recognized and proven promise, history of success, strength of portfolio, and vision for their future. This year’s awardees are Patricia Kluwe Derderian, Lynn Foskett, Steph Hargrove, Mark Mitchell, Zoe Papas, Gianna Pergamo, Kodi Thompson, Judy Vienneau and Angela Warren. And while you’ll still be able to see their work virtually after this weekend, there’s nothing like seeing it up close and personal in the gallery setting. Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 8-11, Noon-5 p.m., The Gallery at Creative Pinellas, 12211 Walsingham Rd., Largo, creativepinellas.org.