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;Thursday•13

;;Goapele For a genre which yearns so transparently for the purer side of music, where artists are judged not by the units they move but by the content of their funkiness, neo-soul has proved to be this decade's second-most explosively debated genre (sorry, but "emo" takes first prize). The moment a black, conscious, slightly bohemian singer hits the scene, his or her credibility is deconstructed and put back together again in the time it takes to say "blackness confirmed." Goapele — whose debut album, Even Closer, enjoyed moderate success and whose pop-heavy Change It All is one of this year's best — has so far passed all of her LAE exams (Lauryn/Alicia/;Erykah), and has probably faced more skepticism due to her otherworldly beauty than her heart-wrenching, emotionally true musicianship. On stage and in videos, she seems relaxed and refreshingly unaware of her own appeal, unlike some carefully constructed soul label hatchlings. On record, she is confessional, but never lingers in a dark place long enough to fall victim to the coffeehouse melodrama that dooms so many others of her ilk. Not since Sade has a female R&B singer seemed so modernly vintage or so devastatingly life-affirming. (with Noel; 9 p.m. at the Social; $13-$15; 407-246-1419)

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;;Friday•14

;;The Art of Bob Boynton Local artist Bob Boynton spent 22 years as a decorator at Walt Disney World and studied photography earlier in his career. After putting in his time for the mouse at "the Happiest Place on Earth," Boynton is taking the time to explore his artistic passions and create unique works that, in a way, go outside the normal artistic box. In this art exhibit, which runs through the end of next month, Boynton combines his hobbies of photography and painting by printing his photographs on canvas and painting the frames to continue the image. Meet the artist at the opening reception Friday and enjoy some live music in the process. (6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at Harwood-Watson Dance Studio and Art Gallery; free; exhibit continues through Aug. 31; 407-228-0005)

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;Saturday•15

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;;Girls Gone Surfing If you've seen the documentary films Riding Giants and Step Into Liquid, you know that the crippling influence of sexism extends even to the supposedly freethinking world of surfing, where women are too often relegated to the role of supportive also-rans instead of being recognized as legitimate athletes who can shoot a curl with the best of them. Doing its part to right the gender balance, surf apparel maker Billabong is taking over the space behind the Cocoa institution that is Ron Jon Surf Shop to host a half-day clinic in the fundamentals of the sport. Women and girls ages 8 and up will learn not only surfing technique, but also ocean safety, yoga and proper nutrition. The stereotype of the idle beach bunny dies in the sand; even mention the name "Gidget" and you're liable to get whacked in the head with a board. (9 a.m.-noon at Shepard Park, Cocoa Beach; $75; www.billabongcamps.com)

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;Combat Fighting Championship You've heard it time and again: The martial arts are not any kind of sadomasochistic pursuit, but rather a sensitive, responsible self-defense system based on the practitioner's advanced spiritual integration with the world around him or her. Now get ready to spiritually integrate your way into a nosebleed, because the debut Combat Fighting Championship at UCF Arena has international competitors facing off in a tournament of mixed martial arts that includes all the elements you've come to associate with Far Eastern philosophical health — you know, like a cage. And live music. And publicly touted similarities to "a Las Vegas style event." With all that bone-crunching self-knowledge going on, we'll be surprised if we can hear ourselves meditate. (7:30 p.m. at UCF Arena, University of Central Florida; $25-$75; 407-823-6006)

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;Monday•17

;;Open Mike Comedy Night Orlando's newest comedy club is all about the locals — and maybe some drunken tourists. Jay Thomas and the club's crew are still unspoiled by the big-name acts that hustle through town, and aren't above giving the little guy a chance (since they're still the little guy in town too). Whether you're the next Dane Cook or Robin Williams perfecting your latest material or just some weirdo with a couple of crude jokes, every Monday night is your shot at the big time. We aren't going to tell you to picture the audience naked if you get nervous, just to consider the two possible scenarios: Either you have a great set and the audience loves you, or you completely suck and you try again next week. Hey, at least you know your mom will love it, and you don't want to picture her naked, now, do you? (8:30 p.m. at Orlando Comedy Club and Restaurant; free; 407-226-3434)

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;Wednesday•19

;;Central Florida Accordion Club If multicultural, multiethnic music is what you're into these days, look no further than the monthly meeting of the Central Florida Accordion Club. You don't need to know how to play the squeezebox to hang out with this all-ages-, all-genre-, all-skills-welcome group of musicians and supporters, who get together to promote "the visibility and value of the accordion" in Central Florida. Here are a few little-known facts: The accordion dates back at least 2,000 years in Asian and African cultures. It's a reed instrument. Some have buttons and some do not. And just about every pun that can be made using the word "squeeze" has been appropriated by accordion clubs around the globe in the naming of their festivals and special events. For instance, the non-profit CFAC holds its annual "Big Squeeze" event in February. Other organizations have "Squeeze-ins," "Squeeze-offs," "Main Squeezes," "Squeeze Plays" and on and on. Though the word "accordion" is German in derivation, the history and music is far more worldly — or otherworldly, as some listeners would observe. (5 p.m.-9:15 p.m., followed by optional dinner buffet, at Winter Park Elks Lodge No. 1830; 407-380-2081; www.cfaccordionclub.com)

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; Contributors: Amber Foster, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd, Justin Strout

 


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