;;Psycho Beach Party Like a bracing slap from a freak wave, inside of which hides a shark carrying a grudge over bad PR, the slasher surf spoof Psycho Beach Party will be chillingly served like the summer theater refreshment that it is, starting this weekend. Written by Charles Busch (Lesbian Vampires of Sodom), PBP pays a sideways tribute to both the gushy Gidget-and-Moondoggie film romps that delighted moviegoers in the '60s and that generation's nascent horror genre. The originals were scarily clichéd enough, but this script (later made into a film) turns those clichés into bloody fun. This is the best kind of camp: the kind that doesn't require bug spray. (8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through July 8 at Theatre Downtown; $18; 407-841-0083)
;;Orlando Blues Dance Extravaganza We think that there are a great many souls who're laughing from the great beyond at the call for a blues "extravaganza." The words just don't mix. Maybe a blues "stir" or blues "bender." But we're word snobs, and the UCF Swing Knights are just dancing fools. And that's what this weekend is about — losing yourself in the joy of dancing the blues, with workshops by day ("Rhythm in Blues: Using the Floor and Feeling the Pulse" and "Fish-Tails and Other Hip Stuff") and dance socials at night (set to grooving by the Solomon Douglas Trio and the Smokin' Torpedoes), all centered on learning how to move your feet to the feel of the American-made blues and its spinoffs. The guest teachers for the event are Noni May Clarke from Melbourne, Australia — in this crazy world you gotta love that an Aussie would be a blues specialist — and her partner Solomon Douglas from Sacramento, Calif., who also performs with his jazz trio during the event. The workshops are filling up ($60-$80), but the evening free-for-alls (well, they're not free but they are inexpensive, $5-$10) are welcome to both experienced lovers of dance and those who wanna be broken in. (Friday-Sunday at the Multipurpose Room, Education building, University of Central Florida; www.orlandoblues.org);;
;;Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Really, what's left to say about Sgt. Pepper's that hasn't been said a million times already? Here's the deal, though: The Classic Albums Live crew is amazing at what they do, and with the assistance of the Orlando Philharmonic, this ambitious run-through of a well-trod classic will be their shining moment. (7:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Live; all ages; $40; 407-351-5483);
;SAK Improv Classes In a world that requires us to make so many important decisions on the spot, what better way is there to spend a summer than by enrolling in improv classes at the esteemed SAK Comedy Lab? A few of the intermediate-level courses are already full and/or underway, but there's still some room for beginners and advanced students to get in on the life-enriching fun. And we couldn't recommend it more highly. A SAK education, see, is more than a license to play the fool in public; it's a personal growth program that helps you accomplish things you never thought possible. How? By teaching you to simultaneously play well with others and rely on yourself, trusting that everything you need to succeed in a given situation — from a short scene to a business presentation to, heck, a relationship — is already inside of you and merely waiting to be brought out. Hope we didn't just reveal any proprietary information, there, SAK people. ("Improv Games" 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 5, $200; "Improv I" 12 p.m.-2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 13, $200; "Improv IV" 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Mondays through Aug. 7, $250 at SAK Comedy Lab; 407-648-0001; www.sak.com);
;;The Art of the Congo Slightly less than a quarter of the size of the U.S., the Democratic Republic of Congo sits in the central region of the African continent. Declaring its independence only in 1960, the country has been embroiled in political controversy ever since; most of us are familiar with the 32-year brutal reign of self-declared president Mobuto, who changed the name of the country to Zaire. We'll be hearing more about it soon, as it's changed its name back under the rule of Joseph Kabila, who will oversee a series of elections this year. Meanwhile, AIDS and war have wreaked devastation on the people whose history is founded in the flow of the Congo River. These "Selections and Gifts from the Norma Canelas and William D. Roth Collection" will be on display for a year at the Orlando Museum of Art, starting this weekend, succeeding the Ndebele art of South Africa from the same collectors that has been on display for the last year. The new collection comprises 70 pieces — headdresses and personal adornments — of the Luba, Lega, Tabwa, Ngese and Kuba cultures. The museum's press release explains, "The art of these cultures is made to define leadership or power roles, to control mystical powers, and for funerary purposes … made from shells, beads, elephant hair, animal skins, pangolins, metal, buttons and fiber." All of which will give the current headlines some historical texture. (opening day 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Orlando Museum of Art; through June 10, 2007; $8; 407-896-4231);
;;Whirlwind Heat A while back, we figured these Detroit freaks would be the Next Next Somewhat Big Thing. Maybe not as big as their biggest champion — Jack White — but perhaps as big as their biggest influence — Brainiac. Sadly, the Whirlwind Heat trio has let us down, both in their output (all of which has been wrapped up in various conceptual mumbo-jumbos that left us cold) and in their inability to find an audience for their freakiness. Heavy-duty punk-synth (not synth-punk; there's a difference) delivered viciously and with a hefty dose of insanity should be just the cure for eyelinered pogo-dance parties, but nobody seems to be biting. Whatever. This ferocious night of play by the band — on tour after Types of Wood — will rip the face off the people who are smart enough to show up for it. (with the Sisters Seven; 8 p.m. at The Social; all ages; $10; 407-246-1419);
;;Echo and the Bunnymen That Siberia, Echo and the Bunnymen's triumphant recent long-player, appears to have gone the way of its title commercially shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone involved. Even in their heyday, when "Lips Like Sugar" and "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo" propped up 120 Minutes on MTV, Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch seemed more comfortable behind their fluffy egg-white bangs than on top of the charts. And though their swampy psychedelia may have fermented into a more immediate directness on their recent reunion efforts, the mystery still remains intact via cryptic repetition ("Broken frozen equal parts/Broken hearts breaking free," anyone?) and an entrenched, trench-coated fan base that will never go away. Do you remember writing "Echo" on your shoe, frowning and feeling like it meant something? We do too. (with Boy Kill Boy; 7:30 p.m. at House of Blues; all ages; $19.50-$45; 407-934-2583);;
;Dave Chappelle Yeah, yeah, we know — "if he shows up." Dave Chappelle's infamous (and still inadequately explained) flight to Africa is probably always going to be an albatross around his neck. But there's a difference between an albatross and a career-killer, which is why those who think that Chappelle committed professional suicide by bailing on his TV series at the height of his earning power should ask themselves where their concert movie and arena tour are. With Comedy Central rerunning the "lost episodes" of Chappelle's Show that he so wanted them not to, gigs like this one are prime opportunities for the comic to demonstrate that, erratic behavior or no, the Dave Chappelle of today is artistically superior to the one of yesterday. (8 p.m. at TD Waterhouse Centre; $44-$59.50; 407-849-2020);
; Contributors: Jason Ferguson, Billy Manes, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd
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