Creative City Project to Bring Downtown Orlando Alive with Free Art and Music October 17, 2015

Reason #1436 why I love living in Orlando: Creative City Project, which returns to bring downtown Orlando alive with free art and music Saturday, October 17.

Creative City Project Orlando

For one night, Orange Ave will be filled with art being brought to life before your very eyes and ears. There will be marching bands and orchestras. There will be aerial acrobatics and dancing. There will be visual artists creating as you watch.

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Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Announces Phase 2 Philanthropy Update

This week, Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts announced two major corporate gifts towards the completion of Phase 2 of the venue.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tupperware Brands and Ravago Americas are both contributing $1 million on top of previous gifts.  Naming rights were given to both companies with their initial gifts, The Tupperware Brands Lobby is situated at the stage door lobby that welcomes artists, students and people doing business at the arts center.  The Ravago Terrace Bar on Tier Three features a view of the Seneff Arts Plaza and the DeVos Family Room.

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Out and About: CFAMily Day at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum was Fun for the Whole Family #cfamrollins

CFAMily Day at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum

On Friday, June 20, we were invited to the CFAMily Day event at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) on the Rollins College campus.

This was the first time that we had been there, and other than a short time being lost, we found it. I blame me for that, not them. If I had paid closer attention to the signs, we would have found it quicker.

During the event, which was free to everyone, the kids drew faces, went on a scavenger hunt, and helped to create a mural of their body outlines (which they painted in). They even made handprint art inspired by Andy Warhol.

CFAMily Day at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum

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Wide Variety of Films Showcased at the 2013 Florida Film Festival Now Through April 14

The 2013 Florida Film Festival is in full swing, but there are still plenty of films, documentaries, and shorts to check out before the fest closes on April 14.

floridafilmfestposter2013Here are a few that we recommend:

Be Good – April 11 at Regal Winter Park Village
Todd Looby’s autobiographically-inspired tale is an evocative portrait of the pressures and rewards of modern parenthood. Amy Seimetz, one of Indiewire’s “Top 25 actors of 2011,” plays a mom who returns to work, leaving her struggling filmmaker hubby (Thomas Madden of Looby’s last film Lefty) in charge of their adorable baby while he tries to bang out a screenplay. The film speaks intimately about fatherhood, dreams put on hold, the bond of mother to child, and the ever-shifting parameters for child rearing.

British Shorts Now! – April 13 at Regal Winter Park Village and April 14 at Enzian
Running 97 minutes, this collection of British short films features the talents of Dame Judi Dench and Michael Fassbender, among others. Tales range from using social media to date to a day in the life of a Northern London pub to a son who tries to deal with the death of his mother only to discover she’s spending her “afterlife” in London.

Broken – April 13 at Regal Winter Park Village
Skunk (newcomer Eloise Laurence) is an eleven year-old diabetic girl who lives with her lawyer-father Archie (Tim Roth) and her older brother Jed. Though their family has been broken apart by divorce, they lead a regular life and share a residence in what seems like a normal British suburb. She hangs out with her brother and au pair Kasia, whose boyfriend Mike (Cillian Murphy), Skunk has a crush on. But when she witnesses one of her neighbors, a mentally disturbed young man named Rick, get beaten up for something he didn’t do by bitter and angry older neighbor Mr. Oswald (Rory Kinnear), things begin to change.

Free Samples – April 12 at Enzian
Jillian (Jess Weixler), a hung over, acerbic law school drop-out who is holding out for the return of her boyfriend, has been roped into dispensing free samples of ice cream from her friend’s food truck. She has not had her morning coffee, wishes she were dead, and manages to alienate nearly everyone in a day that will finally bring her to terms with herself and her life. Supporting cast includes Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Ritter.

The Hunt – April 13 & 14 at Regal Winter Park Village
Mads Mikkelsen, winner of the Best Actor prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, stars as Lucas, a school teacher in a small, close knit Scandinavian town. He limps through an ugly custody battle over his son, only to have the promise of that situation’s resolution ruined by the accusation of his being a child molester. The investigation that follows is nothing compared to the nightmare Lucas finds himself plunged into by the social leprosy of his suspected pedophilia.

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Out and About: Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Madama Butterfly Opera April 3, 2013

Butterfly and Pinkerton
Butterfly and Pinkerton

The Orlando Philharmonic‘s production of the classic Pucinni opera Madama Butterfly will be performed for audiences this weekend on April 5 & 7, but CitySurfing Orlando was invited to attend the final dress rehearsal last night at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center.

The story follows Cio-Cio-San (aka Madama Butterfly), a beautiful young geisha, who sacrifices her family, her religion, and even her life, for new husband, American naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton.

WIth minimal sets, including a virtual backdrop, this production of the opera was very well done. The cast and the orchestra also put in excellent performances.

I must mention strong vocals from leads Shu-Ying Li as Butterfly and Brian Jagde as Pinkerton, really made this production a joy to listen to. In fact, Jagde completely stood out for me with his amazing vocals.

And if the Italian lyrics were hard to follow, one only had to look to the top of the stage for an electronic translation to English of everything that was sung. A very nice touch to make the opera more accessible to the audience.

My photographer and I really enjoyed this production of Madama Butterfly, and I would suggest checking out one of the two performances this weekend.

Here are some additional pictures from the sneak preview:

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2013 Florida Film Festival Takes Place April 5-14 in Orlando

floridafilmfestposter2013This week, the annual Florida Film Festival starts in Orlando, and it has quite a line-up this year.

Running from April 5 – 14, 2013, the FFF takes place mostly at the Enzian theater in Maitland, with some films showing at the Regal Winter Park.

Highlights of this year’s fest will be several celebrity-attended screenings.

On Friday, April 12, spend An Evening with actress Tippi Hendren, as the FFF shows the classic Hitchcock film The Birds, in which she starred.

On Saturday, April 13, the FFF will host An Afternoon with Zoe Bell, with a screening of her Quentin Tarantino-directed film, Death Proof. Bell is well-respected actress and stuntwoman, so this should be a fun event. Tickets are still available for only $20.

The FFF wraps up with A Brunch with Cary Elwes, featuring a screening of his classic film, The Princess Bride. As you wish, indeed.

And of course, there are the films – nine days worth of indie films, documentaries, and cult classics. There are several music documentary films worth checking out, including AKA Doc Pomus, Bad Brains: A Band in DC, and Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Midnight Movies is another popular category at the Florida Film Festival. This is where you’ll find the controversial movies, raunchy comedies, and not-for-the-squeamish horror flicks. This year, highlights of Midnight Movies includes the cult biography, I Am Divine, and V/H/S/2, a sequel to the highly-rated horror anthology V/H/S.

You can view the full list of films playing the festival online.

Tickets to most movies range from $9-$11, but you can buy ticket packages that will save you money. A 5-pack is $50, a 10-pack is $95, and a 20-pack is $180. Matinee passes provide unlimited movies before 5pm for $99, and a Cinephile pass provides admission to all films, plus the Opening Night film, for $450. There are also Platinum passes for $750, and Movie Star passes for $1000, both of which include film admissions, as well as parties and other benefits.

For more information, or to purchase tickets and passes, visit

Orlando Philharmonic and Orlando Repertory Theatre to Perform Free Concert on October 20

The Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Orlando Philharmonic are joining forces to celebrate their 10th and 20th seasons on Saturday, October 20, 2012, in a patriotic outdoor event.

The Star Spangled Birthday Concert” will take place at Loch Haven Park (on Princeton Ave, near Hwy 17-92) from 5pm to 9pm.


There will be pre-concert entertainment by Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds at 6pm, followed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring The REP Power Chords, at 7pm.

There will also be food trucks providing eats and drinks, and an instrument petting zoo.

“The Star Spangled Birthday Concert” is an alcohol-free event, suitable for the whole family. Attendees may bring their own picnics and seating, and pets are allowed if on a leash.

Free parking will be available in the Florida Hospital parking garage on Alden Road, near the intersection of Alden and Fairbanks. There are other pay garage locations near the park.

In the case of rain, call the Orlando Philharmonic Box Office at 407-770-0071 to confirm the concert will take place as scheduled.

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