click to enlarge Lee Bains III & the Glory Fire

Photo by Wes Frazer

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fire

Selections: Our picks for the best things to do in Orlando this week 

Thursday, Oct. 26

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires


Alabama's Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires are one of the most fiery and relevant Southern rock bands alive right now. But even though they've ripped out great records this decade on a dream list of indie labels including Alive Naturalsound, Sub Pop and now Don Giovanni, still not enough people realize it. Their sound has all the soul and splendor you'd expect from classic Southern rock, only edged with brains and juiced with the fried sonic overdrive of garage punk. The result not just pumps new blood into old glory but powers it to new thrills altogether. The Glory Fires absolutely tore it up during their Orlando debut in 2015 and now they're back with the fresh heat of a new, ambitious and overflowing album (Youth Detention), their first in three years. Go get scorched. – Bao Le-Huu

with Walter Etc., Rebuilder, Curtains, High, Uncomfortable Dave | 7 p.m. | Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | | $8-$10

Friday, Oct. 27

Howl O' Woof


Halloween offers the best excuse to dress your pets up and this year Mennello Museum hosts a new outing that'll give you incentive to go all out. The venue is holding its first Howl O' Woof event, allowing you to take your dapper dogs for a stroll through their sculpture garden. The top three dogs get their pick of a gift basket courtesy of  Woof Gang Bakery. Snap a selfie with your furry pal, take in the Halloween-themed art or watch the dogs "bob for apples" in pet pools. Local vendors Lulu's Pet Salon and Spaw, Rick's Dog Deli, Pookie's Pet Nutrition & Bow Wow Bakery, Popular Pup, and Woof! Orlando provide complimentary treats for canine attendees. Human companions should come prepared with cash to order refreshments from Shakers Bar Catering. Consider becoming a Pet Member so you and your four-legged friend can get access to the sculpture garden all year long and get into this Halloween event for free. – Nicole Dudenhoefer

6 p.m. | Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 E. Princeton St. | 407-246-4278 | | $10

Friday-Sunday, Oct. 27-29

Spooky Empire


Forget the abandoned mansions – horror is coming to the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This weekend, the actors, artists and authors of fright are setting up shop for the 15th annual rock & roll, horror, Halloween and tattoo festival that is Spooky Empire. Big pulls this year include John Cusack of 1408 and The Raven, Richard Dreyfuss of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Molly Ringwald of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, and the kids of 2017's IT. Find them and other creators in the autograph room for a bit of horror-ble memorabilia, or tip-toe intrepidly through Spooky Empire's other attractions, including movies, music, live performances, special effects demos, tattoo artists, and, of course, all the merch you can shake a dusty bone at. Costumes are encouraged. Dress well enough and you just might win Sunday's costume contest. – Brian Leng

1 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday | Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Drive | | $30-$225

Friday-Sunday, Oct. 27-29

Orlando Ballet: Swan Lake


Not that we're saying pop culture should be a motivational/educational force for the fine arts, but more often than not, it's the case. A lot of people heard their first aria from Bugs Bunny's cartoon mouth, and a lot went to their first ballet after seeing Darren Aronofsky's creepy, Oscar-winning Black Swan. Aronofsky's shadow-self struggle story does have its origins in the classic ballet Swan Lake, although the ballet is lacking in overt blood, broken glass and alcohol abuse ... but hey, subtext. The clash between good and evil is integral to the ballet, too; it's just slightly less violent. Artistic director Robert Hill tells us he's compressed and reimagined the traditional choreography and eliminated a whole act, making this a sleeker, swifter Swan altogether. Live performance of the Tchaikovsky score by Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra makes this a performance not to miss. – Jessica Bryce Young

8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday | Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. | | $19-$99

Saturday, Oct. 28

Central Florida Veg Fest


Celebrate Central Florida's 12th year of vegan and vegetarian living at Veg Fest, where veggie lovers of all ages can visit eco-friendly vendors and exhibitors while watching music performances on the lawn. Learn how to make Persian potato salad or vegan sushi rolls at one of the food prep demonstrations, or brush up on your drum circle skills with Ibex Puppetry. Of course, what's a vegetarian festival without dog and cat adoptions? (Pug lovers can delight in the pug rescue and pug kissing booth.) A veggie kids zone will host activities like kids yoga and educational, interactive games about environmental ethics and animal protection. Don't shy away from participating if you aren't a vegetarian; the festival is packed with activities for everyone. If the festivities have you jumping on the veggie bandwagon, then drop by the Ask-a-Vegan booth to satiate your plant-based queries. – Hind Berji

10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St. | | free

Monday, Oct. 30

Michael Bisio


Cutting-edge jazz bassist Michael Bisio - best known for his telepathic collaborative work with improv firebrands Matthew Shipp and Joe McPhee – is currently a visiting Master Artist as part of New Smyrna's Atlantic Center for the Arts' artist residency programs. So while he is creating on his own and working with small groups of students at the Atlantic Center directly, local music heads are benefitting from the residency in the form of this one-off "outreach" show that is part and parcel of the program. The BBC has hailed Bisio as "fleet-fingered and pitch-perfect," and his various projects with Shipp and Charles Gayle and solo works are required listening for fans of avant-garde jazz. On Monday, Bislo will be performing a series of solo bass workouts at the Timucua White House (and nowhere else!), so consider this a way to dull the pain of a Monday. – Matthew Moyer

7:30 p.m. | Timucua White House, 2000 S. Summerlin Ave. | | donations encouraged

Tuesday, Oct. 31

Total Punk Turnbuckle Tuesday Halloween Hellfire Monster Smash


Given that so much of Total Punk's aesthetic draws as much from the golden age of B-grade monster movies and the subversive, campy banter of late-night horror hosts as it does from trashy Southern wrestling, it makes perfect sense to commemorate the season with a smash (see also, mash) of horrifying proportions. Hence the Halloween Hellfire Monster Smash will award its costume contest winner with a title belt and the promise of hefty bragging rights in perpetuity. Not only that, Nashville's angular garage rockers Date Night and beyond-primitive scuzz-punks Spodee Boy will be swooping down to play spine-chilling sets. Ask, nay, demand a cover of "Human Fly." – MM

with Date Night, Spodee Boy | 9 p.m. | Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | | free

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