The weekend Do This round-up — fringe performance blowouts, big races and more

It's an exciting time for spectators of all kinds.

Posted by Julie Garisto on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 12:22 PM

VRROOOOOM! The Firestone Grand Prix racing weekend officially begins today. - FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX
  • VRROOOOOM! The Firestone Grand Prix racing weekend officially begins today.

With so much going on this weekend, we have multiple features online already that offer details on some of this weekend's best bets.

Read about GASP!, the inaugural Gasparilla Fringe Festival; Coco and Homo's SexXx Dreams sextravaganza tonight and tomorrow and USF's big MFA art show and celebrations this evening only.

Also, sports writer Chris Girandola gives us the lowdown on the Grand Prix in St. Pete.

The highly anticipated Grand Budapest Hotel opens this weekend. Read Joe Bardi's review here. Another movie you might not know about, now playing at Tampa Theatre: Shoot Me, an in depth look at the life and career of funny lady and die-hard performer Elaine Stritch. The documentary ties together Stritch's current work with all of the lessons of her past and features interviews with Hal Prince, George C. Wolfe, Nathan Lane, Cherry Jones, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini and John Turturro. Rare archive footage and photos from Stritch's personal collection creating a unique look and an exceptional performer. Through April 2 at Tampa Theatre, various showtimes; check

If noisy race cars aren't your thing, the 6th annual Gasparilla Criterium-Cycling Festival brings its exhilarating whoosh to downtown Tampa this Saturday with more than 500 cyclists participating in both professional and amateur races. The races of different kinds for people of all ages include the Corporate Team Charity Relay, the Kids Crit and Family Fun Ride and the 3K Beer Dash. The day-long event ends with the pro races through the Criterium Race Course through downtown Tampa, beginning with the women’s circuit at 7 p.m. and finalizing with the men’s circuit at 8 p.m. with an awards ceremony to follow. The event is free, but if you want the best view of the race and the finish line, a VIP ticket guarantees a spot there and in the hospitality tent. VIP ticket holders also enjoy other amenities including complimentary food and beverages and special perks, like autograph sessions with professional cyclists. 10 a.m., March 29, 410 Franklin St., Tampa. —Chris Girandola

If you're in St. Pete and you're in the mood for a party, whoop it up at NOVA CON When Birthdays Collide at NOVA 535. Join NOVA owner Michael Novilla, Frank Clemente and his team CONCEPTBAIT to celebrate a collective birthday celebration, along with good friend Mario DeFreitas. NOVA turns 6, Novilla turn 46 and Frank and Mario are finally old enough to have a drink, they say. Features a DJ for dancing, appetizers, a full cash bar, free valet parking plus several live performances throughout the evening, 7-11 p.m. tonight 535 Ninth St., St. Petersburg.

See a staged reading of Wonder of the World. A Simple Theatre reading showcases David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy about a woman in search of herself among the quirky denizens of Niagara Falls. Saturday night at 8 p.m., Bininger Theatre, Eckerd College, $10.

It's the final weekend to see a premiere hit at freeFall Theatre Company, co-presented by Westbound Productions. American Monkey, Mihkel Raud’s dark comedy, satirizes reality television and all its barbaric absurdity by likening it to the lion-feeding spectacles of the Roman Colosseum. Its plot centers on a TV talent show called American Superstar. Another added twist: freeFall audience members will get a chance to participate by singing for the play’s panel of judges. Those interested will be screened beforehand by theater staff members. Directed by Eric Davis, the cast of American Monkey features Broadway star Patrick Ryan Sullivan (Beauty and the Beast, 42nd Street), Chris Jackson, Stefanie Clouse and John Lombardi. Starts March 15 and runs through March 30. 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg., 727-498-5205.

The Pub Bike Ride is this Sunday. The monthly event starts at The Hub in downtown Tampa and then heads off to Ducky’s, the Outpost and Pizza Fusion. 6:30-9 p.m. Free to participate.

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