Selections: Our picks of the week's best events, Jan.11-Jan.17 

click to enlarge The Neon Icon aka Peach Panther aka Riff Raff

The Neon Icon aka Peach Panther aka Riff Raff

Thursday, 12

Nerd Nite Orlando: Space Nite

LEARNING

Nerd Nite – the nomadic monthly low-key lecture series that invites experts to put an entertaining spin on esoteric science topics – joins forces with representatives from Seminole State College's Buehler Planetarium for a special space-themed night this week. The speakers include Seth Mayo, the curator of astronomy at Daytona's Museum of Arts & Sciences, along with Michael McConville and Derek Demeter of the Buehler Planetarium. And in keeping with Nerd Nite's focus on accessibility for the laypeople, the titles of the presentations should pique the interest of non-doctoral science enthusiasts: "Comets and Alcohol and Spaghettification, Oh My!: A Hands-On Guide to the Oddities of the Universe" from Mayo; "Death by Snu-Snu, or All the Ways Space Will Kill You" from McConville; and "The Top Ten Things About the Universe That Will Blow Your Mind!" from Demeter. After you get both entertained and educated, you can get a quick hands-on lesson on telescopes from Seminole College and see some heavenly bodies for yourself. – Thaddeus McCollum

6 p.m. | The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive | orlando.nerdnite.com | $10 suggested donation

Friday, 13

Migos

MUSIC

Gwinnett County, Georgia's young hip-hop hitmakers Migos – that's Quavo, Takeoff and Offset to the uninitiated – had one hell of a 2016. The highly buzzed-about trio signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label pre-West's breakdown and Trump photo op; they finally cut through record label red tape to get a release date for their long-delayed second album, Culture; and they collaborated with a plethora of likeminded artists – including West, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, Niykee Heaton and Gucci Mane – while holding their own against these often varied sonic presences. Migos are best known for bringing dabbing to the masses with their 2015 anthem "Look at My Dab," and are thus indirectly responsible for the beyond surreal sight of Paul Ryan upbraiding the son of Rep. Roger Marshall for continuously dabbing during Marshall's swearing-in ceremony mere days ago. As Aleister Crowley once predicted, when nothing is true, everything is permitted. The word is that this show is poised to sell out, so get your tickets now. – Matthew Moyer

8 p.m. | Venue 578, 578 N. Orange Ave. | 407-883-9033 | venue578.com | $45-$65

Friday, 13

Riff Raff

MUSIC

So, you think rap artist Riff Raff's Internet-famous star is starting to fade, eh? Well, get ready for this – despite all of the OMG-look-at-this-freak-is-he-for-real interviews with hipster blogs (and even some mainstream pubs that deign to pay attention, like Rolling Stone), the husky-and-neon-loving artist also known as Jody Highroller (or Joey Butane or Sharky McStevenson) not only dropped a new album this year, he's also declared that he's releasing a movie by the same name: Peach Panther. The album, he's told a few hip-hop blogs, basically adds up to a 12-track trailer for the movie, which seems to be a cheeseball take on a shoot-em-up gangster piece inspired in equal parts by The Sopranos and Quentin Tarantino starring Riff Raff, Tommy Chong, Sid from Slipknot, Internet gossip columnist Perez Hilton and others. Intriguing as this all may be, it says nothing at all about the quality of Riff Raff's sound lately, but you don't really need us to tell you about that – the whole Peach Panther album is out there in the open, on the wilds of YouTube. You'll either be offended or intrigued, but despite your feelings, you'll probably regret missing this show because how often do you get to see a Neon Icon in person? Almost never, really. Need even more incentive? If you visit Jody Highroller's website, it looks like there are still some VIP Aquaberry Experience packages left, which will let you hang out backstage, meet and greet the man himself (no idea if Jody Husky will be on premises) and get a T-shirt. You could be the man. You could be the boss. – Erin Sullivan

with Dolla Bill Gates, Owey | 6:30 p.m. | Backbooth, 37 W. Pine St. | 407-999-2570 | backbooth.com | $20

Saturday, 14

Lewis Black

COMEDY

Lewis Black has made a career out of being an angry, outspoken, take-no-shit liberal, which means that a week before the inauguration of Donald Trump might be the best time to see him. The cantankerous comedian has been skewering Trump in his material since the so-called successful businessman had to get a bailout loan back in 1990. Trump even tried to call Black to admonish him after a Daily Show segment in 2011 in which Black satirically advocated for Trump to become America's version of a banana republic dictator. But don't think that the president-elect will be the only target on Saturday. Black has a history of holding the establishment's feet to the fire, regardless of party, so we expect some tough truths to be told about the state of the American left as well. – TM

8 p.m. | Hard Rock Live, 6050 Universal Blvd. | 407-351-5483 | hardrock.com/orlando | $37-$48

Saturday, 14

Science Night Live

EVENTS

The most fun you can have at Otronicon happens Saturday at Science Night Live. Otronicon puts the spinach in the chocolate: It's a whirlwind of game demos, laser battles, fighter pilot simulations and Pokémon-themed lab experiments, but the actual purpose is to get people excited about STEM education. (Blergh! Keep your math and science out of our fun, nerds!) But Science Night Live is just pure entertainment – you don't need to understand the physics behind a Tesla coil to enjoy a stage full of them wildly sparking and thrumming along with ArcAttack's chain mail-clad guitarist and robot drummer. No one needs to know how lasers work to get sweaty and giggly playing laser tag on the Science Center rooftop terrace. And no grounding in acoustics or cymatics is necessary to marvel at Conduit, an installation by local artist Ginger Leigh (aka Synthestruct) that creates audio and visual patterns triggered by tactile interaction with water. However, if you decide you do want to know how all of those things work, you're in the right place – someone there will definitely be willing to explain it all. (To read more about the three-day Otronicon festival, check page 13.) – Jessica Bryce Young

8-11:30 p.m. | Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St. | 407-514-2000 |  osc.org/snl | $15.95

Saturday, 14

Orlando Coquito Masters Competition

EVENTS

If you've never tasted the delicious nectar that is coquito, we feel sorry for you. (It's sort of like eggnog, if eggnog put on a bikini and rollerbladed up and down South Beach until it got a date with Pitbull.) But there's hope for you yet: Attend the Orlando Coquito Masters Competition and you can taste as many as 20 different versions of the Puerto Rican beverage of the gods. Coquito is almost always based on coconut and rum, but from there it's wide open: usually cinnamon and nutmeg, maybe egg yolks, maybe condensed milk, could be banana or coffee or amaretto – everyone has a secret special recipe, and they're here to claim bragging rights. Expect a little bit of smack talk, a lot of begging for secret ingredients (which will go unsatisfied), and some very wobbly legs on the way out the door. We strongly suggest Uber or Lyft. – JBY

5:30-8:30 p.m. | Achiote Restaurant, 12325 S. Orange Blossom Trail | 407-219-4089 | facebook.com/achioterestaurant | free

Monday, 16

The In-Between Series: David Vassalotti

MUSIC

On the second Monday of each month, the Gallery at Avalon Island's In-Between Series presents a new sonic adventure. The performers selected tend toward the experimental, but no genre-based pretense governs. This month's installment brings David Vassalotti to the gallery. The longtime guitarist of 4AD recording artists Merchandise has stuffed four solo releases under his belt since 2011 in addition to Merchandise's prolific output, with each album crawling further up the East Coast's string of labels for release. Vassalotti's latest, Broken Rope, released by Brooklyn's Wharf Cat Records, was birthed early last year to a mountain of critical praise. Fear not: Vassalotti is no singer-songwriter prick with an acoustic guitar. He played every single note on Broken Rope and the suite of songs displays Vassalotti's compositional chops to stunning effect. The album plods, pops, grates and kicks. The instrumentation is minimalist but never sparse and the songs are bound by aesthetic, not pinned together by genre-fixed dogmatism. Equal parts pop sensibility and machine manipulation, Vassalotti's non-Merchandise performances are rare, so this is not to be missed. – John Welch

7 p.m. | The Gallery at Avalon Island, 39 S. Magnolia Ave. | 407-317-8367 | avalongallery.org | free

Monday, 16

Karen Meat

MUSIC

The first show of 2017 put on by upstart booking collective Ugly Orange features a performer just as off-kilter yet on-target as we've come to expect from UO. That intro out of the way, meet Karen Meat, the Des Moines-based outlet for songwriter Arin Eaton. Eaton, as Karen Meat, doesn't go for the big ballad or the big anthem or earnest hooks or riffs, and her music is all the better for it. Karen Meat melds lo-fi electro-pop with Talking Heads and Devo-level snotty pop smarts, melded with a biting lyrical aesthetic and vocal delivery that owes more to left-of-the-dial weirdos like Jad Fair and Kevin Blechdom. Dance party is imminent; freaks only. – MM

with TV Dinner, Manson Girls, Dustin Smith | 8 p.m. | Spacebar, 2428 E. Robinson St. | facebook.com/spacebarorlando | $5

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