Things To Do
Best Bets: Fun stuff to do this week
Can't decide what to do this week? Don't worry, we've got it figured out for you. Here are our editors' picks, from "The Music of Michael Jackson" to Sky Blue at Amphitheatre. KING OF POPS (Friday) The Florida Orchestra and singer James Delisco celebrate the gloved one with "The Music of Michael Jackson," a tribute concert covering the late singer's 40-year career, from "ABC" to "The Way You Make Me Feel." Tickets are $35 to $75.MERCHANT OF SONG (Friday) Singer Natalie Merchant takes the stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall with a full symphony to perform a mix of old hits, new songs off her upcoming album and cuts from her 2010 collection of classic poetry adapted to music, "Leave Your Sleep." Tickets are $35, $50, and $75. RELEASE PARTY (Friday) Wale, the rapper who was recently nominated for a Grammy for "Lotus Flower Bomb," is playing The Kennedy to celebrate the release of his new mixtape "Folarin." Tickets are $20. FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (Friday and Saturday) "Weeds" and "Saturday Night Live" alum Kevin Nealon returns to Ybor City on the heels of his latest standup comedy special "Whelmed, But Not Overly." Tickets to see Nealon at the Tampa Improv are $25 and $28. FAMILY FRIENDLY PIRATES (Saturday) The annual Gasparilla Children's Extravaganza along Bayshore Boulevard features a bike rodeo, an air invasion by the U.S. Special Ops parachute jump team, a parade, fireworks, and of course, lots of beads. The parade starts at 3:30 p.m. DATE WITH DESTRUCTION (Saturday) Grave Digger. Stone Crusher. Iron Man. Need we say more? Watch the greats flatten and smash everything in their path at Monster Jam at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. Tickets range from $15 to $35. DON'T FEEL BLU (Saturday) LMFAO may have broken up but that doesn't mean the party is stopping for Sky Blu, one half of the outlandish pop duo that made "Party Rock Anthem." He'll be in Ybor City hosting and playing music at the "Who Came to Party?" party at Amphitheatre. Tickets are $15. CHOCOLATE-Y GOODNESS (Saturday through Monday) Watch your New Year's resolution fall flat on its face at MOSI's Festival of Chocolate which includes a range of sweet activities from a truffle-making demo and an attempt to make the world's largest cup of hot chocolate. Admission to MOSI and the festival is $25.50 for adults, $17.50 for children. DREAM ON (Saturday-Monday) Tampa, Plant City and St. Petersburg celebrate the legacy of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with parades and other activities, including the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Saturday. Admission to the festival is free. MUSIC IN THE SUN (Sunday) Some of the biggest blues musicians on the planet will be at Vinoy Park in St. Pete for the inaugural daylong festival, headlined by the Tedeshi Trucks Band. Dr. John, Water Trout and the The Wood Brothers are among the others performing. Tickets are $49.50. LOVE AND MARRIAGE (Thursday) Follow Mike Birbiglia's one-man theatrical journey through the perils of dating, being dumped and getting hitched in "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" playing at the Straz Center. Tickets start at $25.50. ON THE CHEAP Guided nature walk: Explore the Oxbow nature trail with a ranger-led hike; 10 a.m. Saturday; $5 parking for 2-8 people, $4 for single occupant vehicle; Little Manatee River State Park, 215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma; (813) 671-5005 Kayak demo: Come try out a variety of kayak types and designs; 10 a.m. Saturday; free, parking $8 per vehicle; Honeymoon Island State Park, One Causeway Blvd., Dunedin; (727) 469-5942 Kite festival: Join competitive flyers and those who fly just for fun and see kites from around the world. Food and kite vendors will be on-site; 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; free; Treasure Island Beach, 77th Avenue and W. Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island.