Alexandra Nechita There's no sin in hating child prodigies. They're genetic and behavioral anomalies, they get as much PR as any seven adults of comparable ability, and they're walking reminders of everything you'd like to attain in life but haven't. (And, in all probability, won't.) But please maintain a reserve of untainted goodwill for Romanian-born, California-raised artist Alexandra Nechita, who at age 8 had already been tagged "The Petite Picasso" for the frighteningly mature abstract-modernist style that catapulted her work into the collections of Bill Clinton, David Letterman and other high-profile admirers. Nechita is now all grown up at age 20, which means that you can envy her prodigious talent according to ordinary, adult levels of bitterness. And as evidenced by the recent paintings, drawing and lithographs she'll show as part of her first-ever Orlando visit, she's devoted her (still young?) career to transmitting messages of peace and international understanding that put her motives — and her worthiness — beyond reproach. Oh, well; there'll always be Asian violinists to resent. (6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Wentworth Gallery; also Saturday; free; RSVP requested; 407-903-9055)

Cinedance Witness another first for our town this weekend, with the debut of the CineDance Jazz Dance troupe. "What the heck is this?" is a logical question, as "cinedance" is a relatively new genre of dance that combines the screening of film/video footage to augment the performed live choreography. Casey Saxon, who moved here from Chicago, founded the dance company (dedicated specifically to jazz dance) and recruited the eight other female dancers on its roster. As stated on, "The company's vision is to introduce Orlando to concert jazz dance in its rawest form, while bringing the cinematic experience to concert dance and the performing arts." But that's the vision for the future. For this premiere, due to the limitations of the venue, there will be no cinema, forcing an emphasis on the jazz movement. But please drop any notion of "jazz hands." Saxon says that the rhythmic essence of original jazz defines the technique, which looks more like social dancing with dramatic, staccato action. She stresses that it's not the theatrical jazz dance with which people are familiar. And the music won't be historical jazz classics but intriguing non-jazz numbers, including Johnny Cash's cover of "Personal Jesus" and Sinead O'Connor's "The Healing Room." (7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at Harwood-Watson Dance Studios; $15-$18; 407-228-0005)

JACON This will be the seventh year for the Japanese Animation Convention here in Orlando, and all jokes about geeks aside … oh, wait, it's actually a statistical impossibility to write about a Japanese Animation Convention without dredging up tired stereotypes. So, if you're the kind of guy/girl/neither who enjoys hentai more than Hustler, if you took five years of Japanese language lessons so you didn't have to read while watching Akira, if cosplay happens in your house on any day other than Oct. 31 or if you've ever contemplated plastic surgery to make your eyes as big as dinner plates, then you'll probably be at the Sheraton this weekend, playing video games, dressing up and spending your parents' hard-earned money on comic books. Sadly, though, you won't be dancing. There will be no DDR — that's Dance Dance Revolution for you gaijin — on site this year. (continues through April 30 at the Sheraton World Resort; $10-$41.20;

Col. Bruce Hampton & the Codetalkers - Codetalkers founder, friend of Phish and one-time Billy Bob Thornton co-star Col. Bruce Hampton is "known by many as the Godfather of Southern alternative music and inventor of the chazoid." Well, we know that 1971's Music To Eat is one of the weirdest records to have ever come out of the South, but we still don't know what the hell a chazoid is. No strangers to the festival circuit (an earlier Hampton band pioneered HORDE), the Codetalkers have graced the rosters of Vegoose and MagFest, and are slated to play North Carolina's Smilefest in June. Expect your ears to be appeased with a blend of jazz, funk and bluegrass that not only rocks but has a sense of humor. You might say they sound kinda like Phish — if Phish was from Memphis. (9 p.m. at the Social; $10-$12; 407-246-1419)

Monsters 9th Anniversary Show -Russ Rollins and his band of rude and crude cronies take over Hard Rock Live to celebrate their ninth anniversary with any fans willing to spend at least $20. The redneck kings of Real Radio (104.1 WTKS-FM) will be holding an audience vote on a replacement for the departed Sexy Savannah, even though Rollins has already made it clear that the ridiculously big-breasted blonde who derails the show every time she opens her mouth will win the "election." (Wow, that's strange.) Other events are on tap, including the typical array of songs and skits, near-naked women and (thank heavens) a performance by the station's most talented on-air personality: Soul Brother Kevin. What you won't see: Drew Garabo, whose war of words with Rollins got really tiresome … until somebody got hurt. (8 p.m. at Hard Rock Live; $20-$35; 407-351-5483)


Paparazzi Party - Now that Us Weekly rules the world and more money is spent on grainy photos of the TomKitten than on eradicating world hunger, we might as well admit that paparazzi are the true shapers of our culture. As evidenced by the drunken grins and unisex flashing at and, to kids who've been soaking in it for their entire lives, exposure has become the measure of success. If you, too, are ready for your 15 minutes, local "art troupe" Assembly are throwing the third in a series of well-attended art parties, this one at Will's Pub — an all-day affair kicking off with a barbecue at 4 and including performances by US, DLP, The Fashion, The Hex Tremors, Summerbirds in the Cellar, Vera Violet, The Heathens, Flashlight Party, Libyan Hit Squad and Echo Me Astronaut. At the same time, the 67-strong collective will be creating art on the spot, shooting the proceedings and encouraging others to do the same. There will be a "dress-up table"; after perfecting your look, you can shoot yourself using a camera rigged up behind the mirror. It'll be "dirty and debaucherous," forecasts Assembly co-founder Paul Geller. So is it a commentary on the ubiquity of celebrity? On the meaninglessness of capitalist-consumerist culture? Nah. "Just another art project," says Geller. The combination of loud music, long hours of drinking and cameras on the loose sounds promising to us. (4 p.m. at Will's Pub, $5;

International Folk Festival - Take a trip around the world. Well, kind of. Take a trip to Casselberry and see the world through the Rotary Club's free International Folk Festival. The purpose of the daylong event is to "share the world's culture and advance international understanding, goodwill and peace." Fifteen countries are coming to showcase their culture through their unique styles of art, music, dance and food, and the profits from the crafts and food sold during the day will go toward the building of a new children's playground in Casselberry. Don't miss out on your chance to see the world without having to fly. (10 a.m.-7p.m. at Casselberry City Hall Complex; free;

Festival of Fish and Flowers - A late-arriving press release informed us that this wonderfully odd springtime event has turned into an annual affair. Moving from the alley behind DMAC to the corner of OBT and Princeton (at the Amazon Hose and Rubber Co.), this year's soiree will again feature screenings of independent film shorts and performances by local bands (Franchise, NASA and a Fred Mullins-led agglomerate of musicians called "Sunshine Superband"). In a new twist, the release says "a bee in a wheelchair might play the sitar." We're so there. (9 p.m. at Amazon Hose and Rubber Co.; $5; [email protected])


HIM In a music business so completely ruined by its own shortsightedness, it's pleasant to find a band like HIM that's managed to parlay the three things seemingly anathema to mainstream American success — a rabid and largely European fan base, a ridiculously persistent work ethic and an unapologetically bombastic approach to rock music — into, well, some mainstream American success. Granted, this gothy metal band did it with one of the most absurdly catchy rock songs in years ("Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly" … you're singing it right now) and got dumped by their U.S. label while in the process of becoming huge, but hey, that's practically the American way, right? (with Aiden; 7 p.m. at House of Blues; $25-$55; 407-934-2583)

Contributors: Jason Ferguson, Amber Foster, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd, Nada Taha, Avery Wood, Jessica Bryce Young

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