CORNERSTONE FESTIVAL, PELICAN, TASTE OF MAITLAND, AND MORE 


;Thursday•11

;;XPOSED Design for (making a) living: The line between art and design gets blurrier every day; working designers like Chip Kidd have raised book cover design to sublime heights, while fine art museums across the country are devoting gallery space to motorcycles and tableware. The take-home point is that everything looks better these days — because somewhere, someone's thinking hard about how to make it look better. In a well-deserved moment of self-celebration, Florida members of the professional organization for creatives, AIGA, have banded together to show off some of their best work in a statewide design showcase. Designers and illustrators from Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando entered 500 pieces in the juried competition, and the winning 78 are in Orlando for one night only. Among the four schools and 14 artists/studios whose work is included are hometown heavyweights Lure Design, Eye Noise and Juicy Temples. Represent! (5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. at Orlando Regional History Center; $15-$25; 407-895-5360)

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;School Daze How long has People's Theatre been promising a live version of Spike Lee's screen musical School Daze? Well, an initial reading was performed at the inaugural PlayFest new-play festival two and a half years ago, and planning began well before that. "I feel like I've been pregnant for about five years," laughs director Canara Price, "but it's going to be a beautiful delivery, I promise you." The original adaptation, generated by a writing staff of eight, includes a full five musical numbers and some scenes that were written by Lee but cut from the finished film. Bringing the story of undergraduate misadventures to life will be a cast of 40 actors (all new to the People's fold), augmented by "guest appearances" by fraternity members from the University of Central Florida and Bethune-Cookman College. The show runs for one weekend only — it's the luck of the draw for Price's crew, who have to take performance space when and where they can get it. So grab a seat now, before these Daze are gone. (8 p.m. at Orlando Repertory Theatre; also 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; $10-$21; 407-426-0545)

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;Florida's First Coast Birding and Nature Festival This joyous celebration of feathered wonders occurs right at the peak of the migratory season for this region. Over the four-day event, nearly 100 "field trips, boating excursions, workshops, seminars and special events" will be launched from the headquarters at St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Go in search of the painted bunting in the Timucuan Preserve. Or try the Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve to look for shorebirds. There's a photography contest, a butterfly garden and kayaking at sunset. (times and prices vary for activities Thursday-Sunday at St. Augustine Amphitheatre; 800-653-2489)

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;;Friday•12

;;Dance It Up! Orlando Ballet is selling its drastically reworked season finale as representing a year of unexpected change. The death of artistic director Fernando Bujones is commemorated by the third act of Raymonda (a work once choreographed by Bujones for the Boston Ballet and originally earmarked as Orlando Ballet's 2005-2006 closer), while his successor, Bruce Marks, contributes "Lark Ascending," a 1979 Ballet West artifact set to the music of Ralph Vaughn Williams. The pas de deux from Don Quixote and the contemporary/classical hybrid "Going for Baroque" will help hold fans over until October, when the company's first totally Bujones-less season gets underway with a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. And the feet go on .... (8 p.m. at Carr Performing Arts Centre; also 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$65; 407-426-1739)

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;;Saturday•13

;;La Secta Allstar To hear some folks talk, the only hit music you're likely to hear on Spanish-language radio is either reggaeton or salsa, with perhaps a Shakira or Juanes tune thrown in for good measure. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly some stations have put too many of their eggs in Daddy Yankee's soon-to-be-irrelevant basket, but the vast majority of outlets (especially our own city's WNUE-FM, 98.1) function as huge catch-alls for the many wide variations in contemporary Hispanic pop. Though the pop-rock melodicism of Puerto Rico's La Secta Allstar has little to do with Victor Manuelle's swinging salsa or Shakira's hips beyond a shared language, such diversity makes for some pretty good radio. A group like La Secta — winners of multiple Latin Grammys and Billboard Latin Music Awards, consistently sold-out concerts — may not be as fashionably sexy as Tito El Bambino, but they're a whole lot more substantial. (with Milka; 8 p.m. at House of Blues; $35-$45; 407-934-2583)

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;;Cornerstone Festival Looking to get into the right mindset for this weekend's Cornerstone Festival, we watched the just-released-on-DVD documentary Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Alternating between footage culled from the other Cornerstone (in Bushnell, Ill.) and sporadically entertaining talking heads, the film establishes Christian-rock festivals as simultaneously inspiring (the resonant Zao singalong stokes expectations for Saturday's Underoath and The Chariot sets) and kinda creepy (Detholz! frontman Jim Cooper describes the hardcore tent as "like a Hitler youth rally.") Living Sacrifice singer Bruce Fitzhugh generates the comic highlight (he asks his cherubic daughter Zoe to "sing like Daddy," at which she fire-belches "Jesus," without breaking her smile), while Cool Hand Luke's Mark Nicks provides the most maudlin moment, pausing mid-set to admonish the insufficiently evangelical audience. "There's so much about this festival that isn't about Jesus, and I really believe it's breaking his heart," a sobbing Nicks proclaims. Cool Hand Luke plays here Saturday, so prepare to be ostentatiously pious or risk making the sensitive singer — not to mention his lord and savior — burst into tears. We're not ashamed to spread the good word about acts such as Discover America and Haste the Day, but after seeing the film's band-initiated outbursts of Pentecostal flailing and closed-eyed chanting, we'll keep moving during any calls for group prayer. (gates 1 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday at the Central Florida Fairgrounds; $30-$50 with group/family discounts available; 773-989-2087; www.cornerstoneflorida.com)

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;Muddy Buddy It's a messy sign when a sports competition includes a "mud pit finale!" — and a Disney mud pit, to boot. Competitors form two-person teams; one hits the six-mile course on a bike and the other on foot. There are 5 "legs" along the way, each with its own obstacle (e.g., cargo net crawl, monkey bars, hay bale). After each obstacle, the players switch between running and biking. Before crossing the finish line together, the duo must survive the mud pit. There are age categories, including one for people aged 70 to 94, and a "Beast" division for teams that weigh in at more than 400 pounds. The unofficial motto for Muddy Buddy enthusiasts is — what else? — "Get dirty." (times vary at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex; $125 per team, free to spectators; 818-707-8867, www.muddybuddy.com)

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;World Fair Trade Festival If the protests at the World Trade Organization meetings a few years ago or the idea of hemp pants makes you scratch your head, now's the time to figure out what it's all about. Dandelion Communitea Café, Orlando's newest vegan-friendly hot spot, is hosting the event along with its grand opening celebration. Eco-friendly vendors will supply information, goods and healthy food throughout the day. Local acts The Heathens, Hakim Tafari, Q-Burns Abstract Message, Holly Riggs, Kysmet, Brownsville and The Universal Broadcast System perform until the Full Moon drum circle begins at 10 p.m. (noon at Dandelion Communitea Café; free; 407-362-1864)

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;Monday•15

;;Taste of Maitland Ease into the work week with a Monday-night feeding frenzy. More than 25 Maitland-area restaurants and vendors, including Shipyard Brewing, the Enzian, Athena Roasted Chicken and Krispy Kreme, will provide samples of their most palate-pleasing creations. Adrian "Spex" Blades will also be on hand to show off his steel drum skills with some island-inspired tunes. (5:30 p.m. at Lake Lily; $12-$15; 407-664-0741)

;;Wednesday•17

;;Pelican We're digging Pelican's new disc — The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw — but we've got to say that nothing on it has had the singularly mind-altering effect that "Nightendday" — an 11-minute thud-prog opus that opened their debut full-length, Australasia — still has on us. We're pretty sure that "Nightendday," despite its prodigious length, hasn't left our five-star iPod playlist since it came out, giving us the fix of epic riffage and complex metallic arrangements that we need to make it through the grinding misery that is our daily existence. It's like an opera for smart heshers. But with no words. And with really loud guitars. Though Fire is filled with its share of expansive heaviness (seven songs in just under an hour; you do the math) and, truth be told, is probably a better album than the tightly wound Australasia, the peculiar perfection of "Nightendday" is still not just a high point for this band, but also for heavy music in general. (with Mono, The Life and Times; 8 p.m. at The Social; $12-$14; 407-246-1419)


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