Top Picks

Taylor Swift

Photo Courtesy of Orlando Venues

March 5 At 20, Taylor Swift has accomplished more than most of us will in a lifetime. She’s a successful singer and a songwriter, as well as an actor, a philanthropist and a poet. She has hosted Saturday Night Live, has won multiple Country Music Association awards, was voted favorite female artist at the People’s Choice awards and, just last month, won four Grammys, including album of the year. (She also won at the MTV awards, as you may just possibly recall.) Swift brings her Fearless 2010 show to the Amway Arena, with some special guests: American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler and the country music group Gloriana. 7 p.m. $25-$59.50. Amway Arena. 1-800-745-3000.


He’s the Host With the Most—Flakiness, That Is

The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson brings his unapologetically silly style to Hard Rock Live. By Jay Boyar

Like snowflakes and comb-overs, the hosts of late-night talk shows tend to be one of a kind. But even amid these antic individualists, Craig Ferguson stands out.

For one thing, he’s Scottish—or, rather, Scottish-American. A couple of years ago Ferguson became a U.S. citizen and has since made the catchphrase “It’s a great day for America” a regular part of his nightly monologue.

But if the comedian’s distinctive burr and immigrant’s frame of reference help to set him apart from Dave, Jay and the rest of the after-hours funnymen, there’s more to it than that. Where the others (especially Conan) are all flakes to some degree, Ferguson absolutely glories in flakiness—and the cheesier the better.

A large drinking cup in the shape of a coiled snake is a constant fixture on his desk on The Late Late Show. And recently, he’s taken to using a sort of air gun to blow miniature marshmallows at audience members and camera operators.

Then there’s the matter of the hand puppets, which he frequently employs: For his 1,000th episode, for example, he used a puppet to deliver his monologue and interview guests.

Ferguson is such a flake, in fact, that he sometimes seems in danger of spinning completely off the planet. It’s only his odd and furtive intelligence that keeps him tethered.

On March 15, beginning at 8 p.m., he’ll be tethered to the stage at Hard Rock Live. Tickets are $30-$45.

If your taste runs more toward politically charged humor, Lewis Black will bring his Let Them Eat Cake tour to the same venue on March 26, also at 8 p.m., with tickets priced at $35-$55. Black is perhaps best known for his percussive appearances on The Daily Show. Come to think of it, he can be pretty flaky, too.

Hard Rock Live. Universal Studios CityWalk, 6050 Universal Blvd. 407-351-5483.


Sweet Science

March 6-7 Budding scientists can learn about the properties, history, production and tradition of chocolate at the Orlando Science Center’s Festival of Chocolate. It’s not all science, though. Chocoholics get to eat, drink and otherwise experience chocolate: truffles, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pastry, crepes, chocolate drinks and even chocolate spa treatments will be available. Kids can design artistic edible masterpieces in the chocolate crafts area. Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $17 for adults, $12 for kids (ages 3-11).



When Feiffer Meets Norman

March 25-26 Two Pulitzer-Prize winners discuss their careers and lives at several free events at Rollins College: Thursday at 7 p.m., in Bush Auditorium, cartoonist, playwright and screenwriter Jules Feiffer chats about his career as a cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Village Voice, Playboy, The New Yorker, Esquire and The Nation. Friday at 10 a.m., at the Annie Russell Theatre, playwright Marsha Norman, who wrote night, Mother and the book for such musicals as The Secret Garden, The Red Shoes and The Color Purple, discusses life as a writer in the theater. Friday at 2 p.m. at Annie Russell, Feiffer talks about his career writing plays and screenplays, including the screenplays for Carnal Knowledge and Popeye. The finale is on Friday at 7 p.m. at Annie Russell, when Feiffer, Norman and moderator Billy Collins, former U.S. poet laureate, join forces for a discussion of the role of the artist in critiquing, shaping and creating contemporary culture. 407-691-1995.


Troubadour on Tour

March 10 Grammy winner and international pop star Michael Bublé kicks off his Crazy Love Tour at the Amway Arena. The Canadian crooner cut his teeth on swing music, and has been singing romantic songs since his teens. Bublé paid his dues during a decade of performing at conventions, on cruise ships, at corporate gigs and in malls, hotel lounges, clubs and theaters. An invitation to sing at the wedding of the former Canadian prime minister’s daughter came as he was about to give up. He was signed to Warner Brothers Records soon after and his star began to rise. In Orlando, Bublé will perform romantic standards along with his hits, such as “Home,” “Everything” and “Haven’t Met You Yet,” in addition to the song that named the tour. 8 p.m. $49.50-$89.50. Amway Arena. 1-800-745-3000.

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