It’s busy as always, but for Pinellas arts watchers, one highly notable event takes place in an entirely different state. On Sunday May 21, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will perform its final show, in New York City. The circus had a profound impact on the arts in Central Florida, as co-founder John Ringling helped fund Sarasotaäó»s Ringling College of Art and Design way back in 1856. That date should also give you an idea how long the circus has been around, and how big a deal its closing is.
Here are our picks for those sticking closer to home.
Sandhill Writeräó»s Retreat äóñ Saturday, May 20
We overlooked it in our recent Literary Events roundup (whoops!), but this one-day, budget-friendly retreat looks like a great way for both serious writers and dabblers to hone their craft. Faculty include local journalist Ernest Hooper, nonfiction writer Lyn Millner, and a broad array of novelists and poets from near and far.
9 a.m.-5 p.m., $85 for most (late registration fee may apply).
St. Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
Star Wars 40th Anniversary at Emerald City Comics äóñ Saturday, May 20
The actual anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars is on May 25, but this Saturday commemoration is likely to be one of the most attended in the Bay. It features some special guests and free giveaways for the first 100 visitors.
Free, 11 a,m,-9 p.m,
Emerald City Comics, 4902 113th Ave. N., Clearwater
(Also donäó»t forget äóñ later this year the exhibit Star Wars and the Power of Costume is coming to the MFA St. Pete. Preview here.)
Tour de SHINE May Bike Mural Tour äóñ Sunday, May 21,æ
Participate in a group bike ride past downtown St. Pete’s murals. Last tour until February 2018.æA portion of tour proceeds, and all t-shirt proceeds, benefit the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival and the St. Pete Bike Co-op.
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
St. Pete Bike Co-op (at the shuffleboard club)
559 Mirror Lake Drive N., St. Petersburg
æSelwyn Birchwood CD Release äóñ Thursday, May 25
We profiled young Blues phenom Selwyn Birchwood earlier this month, and now heäó»s circling through St. Pete to promote his raw new album Pick Your Poison.
8 p.m.-11 p.m.,æfree
The Ale and the Witch, 111 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg
Idina Menzel äóñ æThursday May 25
For a while there, it seemed like Frozenäó»s äóìLet it Goäó would trigger a wave of frazzled parents to swear off music entirely äóñ or just plain go insane. But with the benefit of some distance, maybe we can rediscover our appreciation for its singer, who has also featured in incarnations of Glee, Wicked, and Rent. In short, a lock for anyone with an appreciation for musicals and good old-fashioned belters.
Ruth Eckerd Hall,æ1111 McMullen Booth Rd
For the Boys, a show of artworks by gay, trans, and queer male artists at Cider Press Cafí©, 601 Central Ave, St. Pete. Opening Reception Saturday, May 20. Info Here.
Natural Beauty: New Paintings by Elizabeth Barenis opens at St. Pete Artworks, 635 Central Ave, on Saturday, May 20,æat 6 p.m.
The Nature by the Book book club discusses The Yearling at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive St. Pete, Sunday, May 21,æat 11:30 am. Info Here.
Have Gun, Will TravelææEnjoy live music from belovedæroots rockersæin aæbeer garden; æBetter than Eve’s BBQ helps you soak up the suds. 4-8 p.m., Crooked Thumb Brewery, free.