Too much to do

Plan your weekend with this helpful guide


Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
In those sticky days of July and August, even the most ambitious culture hounds can be left singing the what-is-there-to-do blues on weekends in Gainesville.
This weekend, however, will require time warps and calendar stretchers just to sample the highlights.
Symphonic movie music, big band, African gospel, hip-hop, nostalgic rock, multiple doses of tuneful satire, knights in shining armor, comedy, drama, sports and a heaping helping of the blues will all be squeezed vice-tight into today, Saturday and Sunday.
At the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, there's the Soweto Gospel Choir tonight, the British Invasion celebration and the concert by The Beatles tribute band Fab Four on Saturday, and quicker than theatergoers can say abracadabra, magic man David Copperfield appears for two performances on Sunday.
Halfway across the University of Florida campus, there's "Never Enough," a contemporary dance program at the Constans Pavilion Black Box Theatre today. Then on Sunday the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra offers its salute to movie music and the annual walk through the orchestra for children and anyone else who wishes to partake in an afternoon concert at University Auditorium.
Also Sunday, trombonist Larry O'Brien puts the Glenn Miller Orchestra through its paces at the Performing Arts Center at P.K. Yonge.
"I'd rather our community have too many choices than too few," says Michael Blachly, UF's performing arts director.
What especially impresses Blachly is not so much the number of events as the diversity.
"That really reaches as many segments of our total community as possible. Everybody has a choice," Blachly says. "It proves what a rich environment Gainesville is, and what a wonderful place Gainesville is to live."
The fun of days of old beckons crowds to the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire at the Alachua County Fairgrounds. Those looking for a way to do their bit for the environment can answer the call of the Great Air Potato Round-Up on Saturday at Morningside Nature Center.
If sports gets your blood pumping, there's a full weekend of tennis, swimming, diving, basketball and gymnastics at UF.
Anyone looking for stage drama and comedy can sample a different show each day and still have leftovers for next weekend. The homegrown musical satire "Really Leary" debuts at Santa Fe Community College. Gainesville Community Playhouse offers the Bard for laughs as "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" opens today. At the Hippodrome, "2 Pianos, 4 Hands" has been held over through Feb. 6.
For a weekend of funk and hip-hop, there's the Soul Cypher series that starts with break dance battles today at SFCC.
Those who need a blues fix can hook up with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets on Saturday at Side Bar.
If folk-flavored female pickin' and fiddlin' gets your heart racing and toes tapping, there's Patchwork on Sunday evening at the Thomas Center.
Or for a bit of satire, Dave Lippman and his alter-ego, "Singing CIA Agent George Shrub," entertain Saturday downtown at the Matheson Museum. Across town, the sweet young voices of the Gainesville Youth Chorus serve up "A Sweet Taste of Broadway" at the Glen Springs Elementary Auditorium.
Those wanting some culture and a bit of exercise can try this evening's Gainesville Art Walk and mosey through 13 downtown art galleries and art spaces.
Taken collectively, the weekend is enough to put anyone into scheduling overload. Roland Loog, director of the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau, says a visitor from Philadelphia stopped by the office this week to see what was happening in little ol' Gainesville.
"I can't believe there's all this much to do," Loog says was her surprise reaction, one he's getting used to.
"I think they're always amazed," Loog says. "They can't believe it. They're really excited."
Gary Kirkland can be reached at 338-3104 or kirklag@ gvillesun.com.

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