Florida Culture for the Week of February 13 by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Feb 13, 2012 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the Week of February 13 by Josh Garrick

Feb 16 – The Ambassador of LOVE …

While there’s a touch of whimsy in Donna Dowless’ honorary title, Orlando has an official Ambassador of Love, as proclaimed by Mayor Buddy Dyer.  Ms. Dowless received her honorific title thanks to the subject matter in her paintings – the heart, which in the hands of Donna Dowless, is presented in an infinite variety of fine art works. The former Exec Director of Ticketmaster-Florida encountered many artists who helped stir her desire to create. While working a concert in the 1970’s, an encounter with Andy Warhol left her with these words of wisdom, “If you are an Artist in your heart, so be it.”  You may fill your own heart with the work of Donna Dowless at the exhibit Heart and Soul 9, featuring Ms. Dowless and fellow Artist Audrey Phillips at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Gallery in Downtown Orlando opening February 16 (with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 pm) and running through April 30. Call 407.581.4801


Donna Dowless



Feb 16 – Watercolor Society Annual Show

The Central Florida Watercolor Society (CFWS) will present its annual exhibit at the Gallery at Avalon Island opening February 16th and running through March 9. The opening (from 6 to 9 pm) will include an awards ceremony with works juried from the organization’s 145 members. A broad range of themes portraying the fluidity of watercolor will be represented. The gallery is located at 39 South Magnolia Avenue in Orlando. The opening is free. Visit centralfloridawatercolor.com or call 407-312-0708


Ralph Dunagin - Crab Shack

Ralph Dunagin - Crab Shack



Feb 18 – Mayor’s Dyer’s BBQ Invite

Mayor Buddy Dyer invites Central Florida residents to the 6th annual Blues B-Q, a FREE Blues Festival featuring headliners Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and The Lee Boys. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have continued to grow their fan base since the release of their Grammy-nominated debut album, “BACKATOWN,” in 2010. Local talent includes The Kevin Maines Band, CeCe Teneal and the BB King All Star Band. BBQ from Bubbalou’s Boadacious and Porkies Original will be available for purchase. The date is Saturday, February 18 from 3 pm to 10 pm at the Church Street Plaza in front of Amway Center at 400 West Church Street. For parking information visit cityoforlando.net/parking


Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty



The Lee Boys

The Lee Boys



Feb 17 to Mar 12 – A 1950’s Experience at EGAD! Art Lab

Shaken, Not Stirred is an Art Exhibit inspired by the Cocktail Party era of the late 1950's presented by the always inventive EGAD! Art Lab, Out'A Space Furniture and Matt's Casbah. The opening is Friday, February 17, from 6 to 11 pm. Co-curators Derek Gores and Nicole Meyers promise, "It’s all about style, Dahling! Expect colors, themes and clever styling of the period. Step into the relaxed glamour of the era with flowing music, libations by Matt's Casbah, and of course, dazzling art."  Guests are encouraged to dress the part. The exhibit runs through March 12 at EGAD Art Lab at 1405 Highland Avenue in the Eau Gallie Arts District. Visit EGADartlab.com


Shaken not stirred



Feb 17, 18 and 19 – Let There Be Light

Light bulb inventor Thomas Alva Edison earned global respect for his 1000-plus inventions. In 1885, Fort Myers became the beloved winter home for the inventor, and throughout the 50 years Edison wintered in Fort Myers, he supported local charities. In 1938, the Edison Festival of Light became the premiere winter event to celebrate his life. For generations, the Edison Festival of Light has brought the people of Fort Myers together for funding-raising, media support and volunteerism. The event includes a 100-Artist Arts & Crafts show, a 5-K Run, a ‘Grand Parade’ (and Party) among the many events. (Parade is Free).  Visit edisonfestival.org


Thomas Alva Edison


Edison Fest




Feb 18 – Breakfast Time at the Zoo

Get up early (7:30 am to 9 am) on February 18, and you can have Breakfast with the Animals at the Central Florida Zoo. Open to the public with the regular entrance fee, guests will enjoy info-chats, bird demonstrations, an animal weight contest, and – for the first time ever – guests will view a cheetah lure demonstration. Following the Breakfast, the Zoo will host Cooney World Adventures Day, featuring the Cooney family who have traveled the world and will share their experiences. The Zoo is located on I-4 Exit 104 in Sanford. Visit centralfloridazoo.org or call 407.323.4450.

Central Florida Zoo


Breakfast with the Animals



Feb 21 – The Bard’s Board Barristers

Romeo & Juliet’s confidante (and drug-supplier) Friar Laurence will finally ‘go on trial’ for the part he played in the young lovers’ untimely deaths. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Board Barristers will present their ‘mock trial’ on Tuesday, February 21 at the Shakespeare Center. Based on the current production of Romeo and Juliet, in which Prince Escalus declares “Some shall be pardoned, and some punished” (The Prince-Dude is serious about justice). Actors from Romeo and Juliet (running thru March 17) will participate. Kimberly Ashby, a shareholder at Akerman Senterfitt, and John Hamilton, a shareholder at Foley & Lardner, will serve as advocates for the parties. The evening begins at 5:30 pm with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students) and include one drink ticket. Call 407.447.1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org


Romeo and Juliet



Feb 22 -- Ham and Jam and Spam-A-Lot

The funniest, silliest, most Vegas-like show of the season will slide into Daytona on its canned ham hiney for one-night-only on February 22nd at the Peabody Auditorium.

That show is Monty Python's Spamalot, a musical comedy based on the 1974 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and it is one of the most laugh-filled two hours I have ever spent in the theatre. Like the film, it is an irreverent parody of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights, but with a decidedly Vegas-like appreciation for scantily clad show-girls.  The Broadway production opened in 2005 and won three Tony Awards including Best Musical. I love recommending performances, and I love it even more when I am SURE that a performance is going to be “special.”  It’s only here for one night.  Don’t miss it.







Feb 23 – Chili for Charity

The Rotary Club of Winter Park is proud to present a new Winter Park tradition, Chili for Charity.  Unlike traditional chili cook-offs, this event features creative chili with a "Winter Park attitude” at the Winter Park Farmers' Market at 200 W New England Avenue, on Thursday, February 23 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Local restaurants and caterers will compete for the coveted Peoples' Choice Award and have their dishes evaluated by a panel of judges. Live entertainment, drinks, dessert and a live auction will round out the evening. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Winter Park Foundation, which provides grants to more than 30 local charities each year. Participants will include Arthur's Catering Classic Creations, Fleming's Steakhouse, Tolla's Italian Café, and Whole Foods Market among many others. Tickets – $25 in advance & $30 at the door – may be purchased from Rotary Club of Winter Park members.



Feb 24 – Sleeping Beauty
The legendary Bolshoi dancer Sergei Radchenko will bring the Moscow Festival Ballet, made up of extraordinary dancers from throughout Russia, to Daytona Beach on February 24. Staging new productions of timeless classics, they bring Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty to the Peabody Auditorium as part of a coast-to-coast tour of the United States. For one evening, we are invited to an era of grace and beauty as the dancers blend the rich traditions and classical training of Russia’s Bolshoi and Maryinsky theatres in centuries of ballet tradition. This one-night-only performance is presented by the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. Visit dbss.org    


Sleeping Beauty



Feb 24 and 25 -- The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra, comprised of professional musicians and Florida’s finest youth musicians, will present an All-American Concert – American Icons on February 24 in Vero Beach and Feb 25 on Merritt Island. Included on the program are Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland and Concerto in F by George Gershwin. Call 321.536.8580 or visit SpaceCoastSymphony.org

Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland


George Gershwin

George Gershwin



Feb 28 and 29 -- Michael Jackson – The Immortal

Consider a repertoire of the greatest ‘pop music’ of all time – created by Michael Jackson and then let your imagination fly as that music is used for Cirque du Soleil’s newest full-length evening of performance magic. The MUST-SEE ticket of the season – MJ – THE IMMORTAL – will be performed in 2-performances-only on February 28 and 29 at the Amway Center in Orlando. This life-changing production combines Michael Jackson’s music with the choreography and athleticism of Cirque du Soleil to give fans a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius who forever transformed global pop culture. Written and directed by Jamie King, who has channeled Michael’s love of music and dance, fairy tale magic, and the fragility of nature into a show featuring more than 60 dancers, musicians and acrobats. Tickets at ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000

MJ - THe Immortal


MJ - the Immortal




Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators