When Bryce “The Govna” Graves begins pounding the fencepost-size nail flush into his face, the need to witness more may overpower your urge to look away — he’s counting on it. Hellzapoppin, the premiere circus sideshow review, is bringing shock-value masochism back to Duval. Hellzapoppin began in 2008 when Graves restored a giant red prison bus — the crew tours in it — and assembled a team of performers with a macabre and specific skill set. Chelsea NoPants — one of only 15 registered female sword-swallowers in the world (wonder how many haven’t survived to even register?) — scales ladders made of machetes, stands on broken glass and serves as a human dart board. A charming half-man-half-acrobat hand-balancer, a hula-hoop performer, one French bulldog and The Govna himself perform eye-agonizing, stomach-roiling stunts and acts. 6 p.m. March 21 at Mavericks at the Landing, Downtown, $15-$20.
(DON’T) KILL YOUR MOTHER MUSIC
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
It’s an uplifting message enveloped in a genre one of our editors calls “kill your mother music.” Christian metalcore outfit The Devil Wears Prada’s fifth album, 8:18, delivers a Jesus-y message while pulling no punches in brutality. Armed with a new keyboardist, the band has retained its atmospheric sound, while introducing a doomier, heavier tone — exactly the kind of thing that always brings us closer to the Lord. 6 p.m. March 23 at Murray Hill Theatre, Murray Hill, $20.
ONE SPARK & BEYOND
As creators prepare their projects for the voting public, One Spark sets the table for a kickoff party that includes two sets by Canary in the Coalmine, news from organizers and food trucks. After you get your party on March 20, volunteer to help Downtown Vision and a host of partners as they “Green Up” Hemming Plaza in advance of the fast-approaching festival. The second phase of the “Clean Up, Green Up” includes digging, planting, mulching, live music and food trucks (they’re everywhere; somebody stop them!). Kickoff party, 5-8 p.m. March 20 at The Florida Theatre, afterparty at Dos Gatos. Green Up, 9 a.m. March 22 at Hemming Plaza, Downtown. Free, free, free.
A NIGHT FOR FILM LOVERS
When Karen Douglass Sadler begins a venture — e.g., World Arts Film Festival — people take notice. The Jacksonville Film Festival co-founder is also the entrepreneur behind ventures providing arts programming and academic initiatives serving 500,000 people for the last decade. “A Night for Film Lovers” features preview screenings of award-winning short films and details on this year’s festival (May 15-17) in Downtown’s Prohibition-style whiskey lounge, The Volstead (fancy!). The WAFF is a production of World Arts Education, a nonprofit that holds filmmaking camps for autistic children and their siblings at UNF. Your ticket to the launch party also buys a limited one-day pass to World Arts Film Festival. 7-9 p.m. March 22 at The Volstead, Downtown, $10.
Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre takes you inside the life of 20th-century abstract artist Mark Ruthko in Red, which won a 2010 Best Play Tony. Ruthko's unraveling as he struggles to accept his wealth and stay relevant plays out on a disheveled set, with paint buckets and other art implements breathing life into the production. Bill Ratliff plays the artist, creating a new painting in each show. The Adele Grage Cultural Center's gallery shows art by director David Alan Thomas and by Drew Brown, the actor who plays Ruthko’s aide. Red is staged 8 p.m. March 21 and 22 and 27-29 and 2 p.m. March 23 at Grage Cultural Center, Atlantic Beach, $15.
AWFUL & OTHERS
Artist Craig Drennen channels his fascination with an obscure Shakespearean play into his exhibit, Awful & Others. The Bard's Timon of Athens is a lesser-known tragedy that Drennen describes as “a bad play by a great writer.” Drennen creates his art (pictured) around the play’s characters through various media — paper, paintings and other objects. Drennen’s work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America and The New York Times. Opening reception is 7 p.m. March 21 at Florida Mining Gallery, Southside, free. An artist's talk is March 20; location and time TBD.
Do you really need to be sold? The Avett Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers and Donna the Buffalo are all going to be at Suwannee Springfest. Local acts stepping up are Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Whetherman, Canary in the Coalmine, JacksonVegas. It’s a short 90-minute road trip, people. Still not convinced? Take a look at the rest of lineup. (Take a breath.) Sam Bush Band, Southern Soul Assembly, Jason Isbell, Travelin’ McCoury Jam, Jim Lauderdale, Greensky Bluegrass, Willie Sugarcaps, The Duhks, Aoife O’Donovan, Floodwood, Ralph Roddenbery, The Royal Tinfoil, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Love Canon, Grant Peeples, The Stacks, Sloppy Joe, Uproot Hootenanny, Big Cosmo, Habanera Honeys, Tammerlin, The New 76ers, Quartermoon, James Justin & Co., Rosco Bandana, SOSOS, The Whiskey Gentry, Bibb City Ramblers, 2-Foot Level, Henhouse Prowlers, Come Back Alice, Gypsy Wind, Nook & Cranny, Beartoe and Mickey Abraham’s Acoustic Ensemble. March 20-23 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, $50-$300.
SCOTLAND'S BATTLEFIELD BAND
You might not understand the Gaelic song “A’Bhriogais Uallach” (the title means “The Pompous Trousers”), but Scotland’s Battlefield Band will rub you the right way. With some songs in Gaelic, some in English and some purely instrumental, SBB blends bagpipe, whistle, fiddle and electric keyboard in its latest album — Room Enough for All. SBB produces a harmony that’s upbeat yet tranquil. Those tunes coupled with their lyrics about politics, immigration, drinking, love and geography are an oddly perfect match. 7:30 p.m. March 26 at Mudville Music Room, Atlantic Blvd., $25.