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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news September 8-14, 2019

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These are the actors, artists, filmmakers and events who are in the news in Southwest Florida this week:

 

Broward Cultural Division seeking artist for Pine Island Pocket Park (09-14-19)

In partnership with the Highway Construction & Engineering Division, Broward Cultural Division’s Public Art & Design Program is seeking to commission one artist or artist team to design, fabricate and install a site-specific public artwork for a pocket park located along Pine Island Road, a major vehicular corridor in Davie, Florida. The artwork shall enhance the park which includes a meandering walking path, shrubbery and trees. The artwork should be visible to individuals traveling northbound, without creating any obstruction or distraction. The budget is $64,000 and the deadline for applications is September 30. To apply, please visit: http://www.broward.org/Arts/PublicArt/Pages/Calls.aspx.

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‘Motus en Tempus’ on view in Davis Art Center through September 26 (09-14-19)

Motus en Tempus is on view in the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center through September 26. Curated by Cesar Aguilera, it features large scale paintings by four Cuban-American artists, Dayron Gonzalez, Julio Figueroa Beltran, Reynier Ferrer and Reynier Llanes.

The work included in Motus en Tempus expresses the artists’ unique culture and heritage, while drawing attention to the realities of exile, immigration and assimilation into a new culture. Their subjects include a range of figures, animals, abstractions and distortions. Thematically, these motifs embrace fantasy, spirituality, history, philosophy, humor, violence, social customs, and nature. The strong use of metaphor lies in the core of this exhibition, and it is through this artistic device that viewers are able to experience and connect with each artist’s personal reflection depicted through their subjects and choice of medium, which include oil, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, coffee, and bleach.

Exiled and immigrant Cuban-born artists have settled in the United States since the revolution of 1959. The first arrivals came before the Cuban missile crisis of October, 1962. They were part of an exodus of some 215,000 people who fled the island in the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s seizure of power. Additional arrivals included the 14,000 children who formed part the Peter Pan Operation, sponsored by the Miami Catholic Archdiocese.

In 1980, the exiles from the Mariel boatlift brought another wave of Cubans and Cuban artists to Miami. Since the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union precipitated another exodus and raft people (balseros). In 1994 alone, 33,000 Cubans were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard. In response, U.S. and Cuban governments worked to establish a solution that would prevent Cubans from risking their lives at sea. The result, in 1995, came to be known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy: Any Cuban who successfully arrives on U.S. soil is accepted; those stopped at sea are repatriated. The policy remains in effect to this day.

Some Cuban-American artists came to the United States as adults. Others came as children or adolescents. And yet others have been born in this country. The relationships and interactions between these groups are complex and diverse. All are joined by their divided identity, split between their Cuban and American sides and by their experience of exile, which for many has been the defining element in their lives.

An estimated 2 million Hispanics of Cuban origin live in the United States, of which roughly 60 percent or 1.2 million were born in Cuba. While this population provides a context and an audience for Cuban-American art, works like those featured in Motus en Tempus have gained increasing interest among a wide range of collectors. Not only is Cuban-American art finding its way into an increasing number of U.S. private, corporate and museum collections, but those in Europe and Cuba itself.

Motus en Tempus still has two weeks to run. You can see it at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, which is located at 2301 First Street in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.

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Bonita Springs getting new public artwork from metal sculptor Clayton Swartz (09-14-19)

The City of Bonita Springs is getting a new public artwork. When completed, the welded aluminum free-standing sculpture will stand 14 feet tall and be painted with an array of saturated and translucent enamel based paints before being skillfully coated with a Dupont automotive finish. The piece is being made by St. Pete artist Clayton Swartz..

If the name sounds familiar that might because you’ve seen Swartz exhibiting at area art festivals like ArtFest Fort Myers or Bonita Springs National Art Festival for years.

You may have also seen his work at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Swartz started out as an abstract painter, a hobby he pursued while attending St. Petersburg College. However, after receiving his BFA in painting and sculpture from the University of South Florida, he began to transition into metal sculpture. Although he continued to paint (and even dabbled a bit in photography) during his 5-year tenure as an art teacher at St. Petersburg’s Northeast High School, he increasingly favored metal sculpture, developing a unique style that concentrated on colorful biomorphic and abstract shapes that ranged from sea life to cityscapes. He then took to the road, exhibiting at art festivals throughout the state, quickly gaining a reputation and following that has enabled him to pursue art professionally since 2005.

“My medium lends itself more to public art,” Swartz told Staff Writer Mike Brassfield in September of 2010. “It withstands the elements, and I tend to like to work big.”

He was referring at the time to an 18-foot-tall aluminum sculpture by the name of Constellation that was on display in the landscaped medians of Cleveland Street as part of Clearwater’s Sculpture 360 public art program.

In addition to Florida Gulf Coast University and Sculpture 360, Swartz’s has been included in such major public and corporate collections as the City of Pinellas Park, Pinellas Gateway Chamber of Commerce and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg (which has 20 of Swartz’s signature brightly-colored creations).

His credits include honors at the 2011 ArtFest Fort Myers (where his art was used as the design logo for the event’s T-shirts), the Award of Merit at the 34th Annual Mainsail Arts Festival in St. Petersburg in 2009 and a feature in The Tampa Tribune. Today, he showcases his work in his Pinellas Park studio, select galleries, art festivals and selected Tampa Bay charities.

“My work blends modern abstract sensibilities with formal subjects.” His current work often contains ocean life, expressing Swartz’s abiding fascination with the sea and hobbies including scuba diving, spear fishing and boating. His sculptures often incorporate hearts, which symbolize his strong connection to his family and deep respect for life. “My modern abstracts illustrate a passion for vibrant color and form.”

Swartz prefers brushed aluminum because the bright white metal shows off the layers of translucent color that he favors. “Stainless steel tends to mute the colors,” he explains. “Besides, it’s hard to transport and hang because it’s so heavy, and isn’t nearly as weather resistant as aluminum is.” Of course, aluminum is less forgiving. “Steel is more pliable and easier to weld. If you overheat aluminum, it just falls apart. But aluminum suits the bright, happy, saturated colors that I really, really like.”

Swartz uses an array of techniques and processes to create his aluminum sculptures. “My metal working process employs MIG and TIG welding, plasma cutting, and grinding. When fabrication is complete, the color process begins. Using an array of brushes, airbrushes and paint moving tools, I coat my work with a saturated translucent automotive finish. These special techniques are used to create vital effects in the work that treat each shape as its own abstract painting while simultaneously working in conjunction with the whole sculpture.”

“Because I have a specific style, when somebody sees a sculpture that I create, if they know my work, they know I did it – even if they’re driving by it at 80 miles per hour,” states the artist. “While I am continually refining my process, I stick with a specific style and color pattern so that my work continues to remain recognizable by people who are familiar with my work.” Toward that end, he steadfastly refuses to sacrifice his individual style in order to make his public artworks site specific, “something that tends to make public art feel stilted and anonymous in way too many instances.”

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Rookery Bay & Collier United Art Council issue call to artists for ‘Natural Selections’ show (09-13-19)

Friends of Rookery Bay (FORB) and the United Arts Council of Collier County (UAC) are seeking submissions for their annual painting exhibit at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center in Naples, Florida. The title of this exhibit is Natural Selections: 2019 Painting Annual, so submissions should reflect and/or express the essence of Florida’s flora and fauna.

This exhibit is open to both full-time and seasonal artists residing in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. All work must be original; no giclées are permitted. Artists may submit up to two jpeg entries by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4.

Cash awards will be given for the top three entries, as follows:

  • $750 for Best in Show,
  • $350 for Juror’s Choice Award for Excellence, and
  • $150 for the United Arts Council Merit Award.

Winners will be chosen on the day of and announced at the opening reception by Dr. Georgia Strange, who is an adjunct faculty member at Florida Gulf Coast University. She has previously served in administrative posts at University of Georgia, Indiana University and Centre College of Kentucky and on the faculty at The Ohio State University. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the College Art Association and the National Council of Arts Administrators.

Among Dr. Strange’s numerous teaching and service awards are the James P. Holland Award for Exemplary Teaching and Service to Students and the Herman Frederic Lieber Memorial Award in Recognition of Distinguished Teaching at Indiana University. At the University of Georgia Dr. Strange was a Senior Teaching Fellow and inducted into the University of Georgia’s Teaching Academy. She was also awarded the Dodd Service Award from the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Dr. Strange was awarded an Indiana Arts Commission Masters Fellowship and several competitive research grants at research universities where she taught.

Service in the Peace Corps in Liberia, West Africa, work on an archaeological excavation in Greece, study in Italy, and research travel in China continue to be important influences in her creative practice. In addition to many venues across the country, her sculptural work has been exhibited at SOHO20 Gallery in New York since 1990.

Dr. Georgia Strange earned an Ed.D. from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education. She also earned an A.B. in Biological Sciences, an M.S. in Secondary Science Education, and an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Indiana University.

Rookery Bay is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve located at 300 Tower Rd., Naples, FL 34113

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‘DC vs. AC’ opening in Edison Ford Caretaker’s House on October 4 (09-13-19)

The public is invited to an exhibit opening in the Edison Caretaker’s House at Edison and Ford Winter Estates at 6:00 p.m. on October 4. DC vs. AC: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify America explores the differences and similarities of the genius inventors, as well as the differences between alternating and direct current. Chief Curator Brent Newman will give a gallery talk on these relationships in the context of 19th century history and science.

The event coincides with the opening of The Current War, a movie about how Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla disagreed on which type of electric current was best. Edison believed his direct current was superior to Tesla’s alternating current; however, Tesla ultimately won that war, as alternating current is used around the world today.

Opening attendees to the exhibit will receive a complimentary glass of beer or champagne, light hors d’oeuvres will be provided and a pianist will play period music. A cash bar will be available. Admission is free for Edison Ford members; $10 for non-members (does not include admission to the museum, laboratory or tours of the homes).

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DAAS featuring work of visual/tattoo artist Mully in September (09-13-19)

Now through September 28, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is featuring the work of visual and tattoo artist Mully. Originally from Braintree, Massachusetts, the artist moved to Florida in 2003 to pursue his artistic career.

Mully has been producing fine art painting since 2007. He has a refined yet loose approach. His genres range from tattoo-inspired to classical portraiture and figurative work. His recognizable style features drips, a bit of chaos, or what he considers “happy little accidents” (quoting the iconic painter Bob Ross). His medium is acrylic paint, combined with a plethora of mixed media materials which give each piece its own unique contrasts and textures.

Before embracing his artistic talents, Mully studied Business Management and worked in the financial field as an accountant. He immediately recognized that the corporate world was not for him and sought the opportunity to become a tattoo artist. This led to a career that has allowed him to produce fine art and experiment with multiple mediums.

“First came wood burning and then painting with acrylics and oils,” says Mully, who finds the use of various mediums as the outlet for his creativity. “I think it is important to stay in a creative mindset and be inspired by bringing what I learn from each medium to my paintings.”

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Centers for Performing Arts to screen ‘Rocky Horror’ on October 12 (09-13-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting an interactive screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show – where people are encouraged to yell back lines at the screen, dress in costume and act out the film. Attendance includes a bag of ‘essential’ Rocky Horror viewing items! Come dressed in costume a la Rocky Horror and receive a raffle ticket to win terrific Rocky Horror memorabilia.

The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 in the Moe Auditorium at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135.

For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Florida Rep to donate $5 of every ticket sold to Red Cross for Dorian hurricane relief (09-12-19)

Florida Repertory Theatre will donate $5 from every Arcade Theatre ticket sold through September 18 to the Bahamas Red Cross to help in their relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“As Floridians, we know firsthand the devastation these storms are capable of inflicting,” said Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the natural disaster, and we want to do our part to help.”

The shows taking place in the Arcade Theatre this season include Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway, An Inspector Calls, Barefoot in the Park, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, A Doll’s House, Part 2, and Ripcord. Florida Rep encourages ticket buys who’ve not yet secured their tickets to do it while a portion of the proceeds will benefit those in need. Florida Rep encourages patrons who have already purchased all of their tickets for the 2019-2020 season to make a donation at www.bahamasredcross.org.

Tickets are available through the box office by calling 239-332-4488 or online at www.FLoridaRep.org. Box office hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Ehren Gerhard Alliance for the Arts new Exhibitions Director (09-12-19)

The Alliance for the Arts launched its 2019-2020 season at the opening reception of The Shape of Things: Carve Stone & Pat Zalisko. Among the many highlights of the evening was the introduction of the Alliance’s new Exhibitions Director Ehren F. Gerhard.

Gerhard is an experienced Exhibitions Director with a demonstrated history of working in the fine art industry. His resume demonstrates a high level of skill in art education, museum standards and practices, exhibition layout and lighting, and arts administration. He most recently served as the Arts Exhibitions Director for the Center of Visual Arts Bonita Springs and is an adjunct drawing instructor at FGCU.

As an accomplished artist himself, Ehren has been on the other side of the exhibition equation. Area art lovers may recall his 2015 group show in the FGCU ArtLab, Reunion: Baker, Gerhard & Heubeck. He has also exhibited locally in group exhibitions at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Space 39 and ArtFest Fort Myers.

His motifs and compositions reflect his extensive travels both within the United States and abroad.

“I grew up in small towns and my family moved across the country multiple times,” Ehren confides. “I see new places as exciting opportunities to discover more about unique cultures, histories and natural ecosystems. When I stop, look and enjoy my surroundings, I feel privileged to see the world as a magical place.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in 2009, Gerhard worked a series of environmentally-related jobs before marrying and moving with his bride to a small town in Spain, where he taught English, got to be an extra in a movie, had a solo show of his paintings and made a lot of connections.

Back in the States, he obtained his M.F.A. at Arizona State University, where he also taught courses in 2-D Design and Drawing from August of 2010 to May of 2013.

“During this time, I apprenticed, curated a couple of shows and made even more contacts,” Ehren relates. He also continued to work on his own artwork.

Then he returned to Spain for a year to serve as Cultural Ambassador: North American Language and Culture Assistant at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain.

His media include painting, graphite, printmaking and works in ceramics.

But it’s Ehren’s effort to translate the magical places he’s visited into whimsical landscapes that unifies his work. He describes his compositions as “wild, crazy, goofy, intense as possible, playful and psychedelic.” But he hastens to add that he doesn’t merely paint what he sees. Inspired by contemporary trends in art, his landscapes are a synthesis or amalgamation of a given spot or locale as viewed from differing perspectives.

In this, he is unique. Whereas traditional landscape painting portrays the subject from a fixed point of view, Ehren’s contribution to the motif is to depict his subject within the frame from multiple spots along the time/space continuum.

“This gives me the ability to move things around rather than paint from a single point,” Ehren explains. Of course, this shifting perspective presents myriad challenges and opportunities, like looking up at the sky and down at your feet at exactly the same moment.

Gerhard’s overarching goal is not to create just a panorama as captured by a point-and-shoot camera, but an entire visual experience that expresses his emotional reaction to a place that can be experienced on some level by his viewers. That experience will change, however, as the viewer moves toward the canvas or away from it because of the multiple layers of impasto and glazes that he employs.

“There is something of an impressionist cast to what I do,” he admits, and that includes his current practice of painting almost exclusively en plein air. “I used to take photographs and then go back into the studio, but there are too many things you don’t notice if you’re just passing through a place,” he adds, sharing the benefit of the wisdom he amassed moving and travelling from place to place throughout his life. “Those things only reveal themselves if you’re willing to stand on that site, look deep, and study what you see.”

Because of his patience, tenacity and willingness to think outside the traditional paint box, Gerhard is able to channel energy, emotion and joy into works that bend, twist and model the representational structure to which we are all accustomed in ways that pull viewers in, make them want to stay and play around awhile so they can see, explore and appreciate the multiple levels of imagery and activity that he so meticulously presents.

Ehren possesses a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Painting and Drawing from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Studio Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University, where he served as Head Gallery Assistant for a year. He is also an alum of the Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts.

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Alliance September show features Carve Stone and Pat Zalisko (09-12-19)

The Alliance for the Arts’ September exhibition is The Shape of Things: Carve Stone & Pat Zalisko. It exhibits from September 6 through September 28. This thought-provoking exhibition features contemporary art forms from intricate, color rich collages and acrylic paintings to graceful carved marble sculpture and silhouettes.

Carve Stone creates sculptures from marble, chlorite and alabaster. As a child, she collected pebbles and rocks, which was the start of her fascination with rock quarried from the earth. As a university student, the ease and passion of her stone carving grew. Her award winning body of work includes women’s high heel shoes, pointe ballet slippers, female torsos, as well as flowers, heart people and abstracts. Her stone sculptures are exhibited in museums, universities and art galleries as well as in private collections throughout North America.

Born and raised in New York City, Pat Zalisko has wonderful childhood memories of painting intricate Ukrainian eggs, pysanky, one of her first creative experiences. After retiring from a successful legal career, she renewed her passion for painting when she moved to Florida. Her body of work includes large abstract color-filled collages on canvas. Her multi-dimensional images are influenced by the color wheel and the written word using abstract shapes that beg the viewer to liken them to something in reality, yet defy definition. Over the past several years, her contemporary art has been featured in major private and public collections in the Unites States. She was one of only four artists with connections to Florida to exhibit her body of work in the Florida Contemporary exhibit at Artis Naples – Baker Museum.

The opening reception will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. this evening. The opening will feature light refreshments, beer tastings from Eight Foot Brewing and the kick-off of the Alliance’s 19-20 Season. The event is free to attend, but an RSVP is requested online at www.ArtInLee.org/Shape.

You can also meet and engage with Carve Stone and Pat Zalisko during a conversational tour through the gallery at 10:00 a.m. on September 7 during the Alliance for the Arts weekly GreenMarket.

HomeGrown and Art Lives Here will be on display in the member galleries during the month of September. The HomeGrown Exhibit features works from The Union Artist Studios. The Art Lives Here Exhibit showcases all nine original paintings that are featured on billboards throughout Lee County. The Art Lives Here Campaign is made possible by Alliance season sponsor, Carter-Pritchett Advertising.

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‘Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ returning to Alliance in October (09-12-19)

Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit is returning by popular demand to the Alliance for the Arts in October. It’s a show that will feature traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture. Artists interesting in participating in the show may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration online no later than September 20. To download the prospectus or submit artwork, please visit ArtInLee.org/SugarSkulls.

What exactly is Day of the Dead? In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

“Community participation is a powerful part of this holiday,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “That’s why we’re calling on local artists to contribute to this lively and fun exhibit.”

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 4, with awards being announced at 6:00. There will be a $250 prize for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd place and $75 for 3rd place.

For more information about this exhibit, visit ArtInLee.org/SugarSkulls or call 239-939-2787.

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Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Alliance on October 12 (09-12-19)

Guaranteed to thrill you, chill you and fulfill you, the Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to the Alliance on October 12th! Hike up your fishnets and unleash your inner Sweet Transvestite as the mother of all cult classics hits the big screen replete with audience participation and local shadow cast The Forbidden Triffids pantomiming the film (see next post).

A beloved, rowdy, nocturnal tradition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been tantalizing audiences for over 40 years. Rocky Horror is meant to be experienced: be part of a decades-long tradition of crowd participation as guests are encouraged to dance along to the Time Warp, yell obscenities, and throw props in time with the action on screen.

Compete against fellow creatures of the night in a costume contest; give yourself over to absolute pleasure with food trucks and drinks; enter a Rocky raffle; pick up your official prop bags; and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite Transylvanians.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show film is Rated R – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian, contains some adult material. This screening involves audience participation and many lines or jokes shouted by audience members or the shadow cast may be offensive beyond the film’s R rating. Viewer discretion is advised.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SHOWING IS ALREADY SOLD OUT!

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Forbidden Triffids to pantomime ‘Rocky Horror’ at Alliance’s Oct. 12 screening (09-12-19)

The Forbidden Triffids will be pantomiming the already sold-out Rocky Horror Picture Show when it returns October 12 to the Alliance for the Arts. The Forbidden Triffids is a Lee County shadow cast who help audiences relive the cult classic movie.

The troupe formed in 2013, starting as street performers after the previous Fort Myers cast split. They are notable for combining other kinds of performers with the show such as fursuiters and fire performers. At the moment they perform in the Halloween season on stage and perform at art shows off season.

In addition to the Alliance of the Arts, The Forbidden Triffids has appeared at the AMC movie theater, Red Headed Witches, Peace Day in the Park, Mystery Walk, CGA show and Zombicon.

2019 Show Cast, which may change depending on availability and understudies, consists of:

  • Dr. Frank-N-Furter (A Scientist): TBA
  • Janet Weiss (A Heroine):               Chandler Burwell
  • Brad Majors (A Hero):                    Caitlin Karcher
  • Riff Raff (A Handyman):                Takua Lockwood
  • Magenta (A Domestic):                   Kimberly Reichenbecher
  • Columbia (A Groupie):                    Kathi Reichenbecher
  • Dr. Everett V. Scott:                         Bjorn Ugland
  • Rocky Horror (A Creation):            Mike Heidenreich
  • Eddie (Ex Delivery Boy):                 Bjorn Ugland
  • The Criminologist (An Expert):     David Condoluci
  • Trixie (The Lips):                              Takua Lockwood

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Alliance announces dates for ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit (09-12-19)

Each year, the Alliance for the Arts invites 100 members to submit two original 2D or 3D artworks for exhibition in the gallery beginning with the onset of the holiday shopping season. Called Off the Wall, this non-traditional art show features works in all mediums priced at $200 or less. All sales are “cash and carry,” meaning purchasers will get to take the piece with them when they buy it, rather than waiting until the end of the exhibit.

Make supporting local arts tops on your list this year by giving a gift that gives back. Make plans to do your Christmas shopping at the Alliance for the Arts this year. Betcha there’s 100 member-artists who would be delighted to have their art under your tree.

This year’s show runs from December 6 through December 28. The opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6. For more information, please visit www.artinlee.org or telephone 239-939-2787.

 

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Through Peace Vision, filmmaker John Biffar replacing division with much-needed positive images (09-11-19)

At TGIM last night, the Fort Myers Film Festival screened a promotional video lensed by Dreamtime Entertainment to tout an inspirational new project being launched later this month by filmmaker and TGIM celebrity judge John Biffar. Called Peace Vision, it’s a media portal that seeks out the soul of nonprofits – how they got started, why they exist, and some of the critical problems they’re striving to solve.

“We intend to focus our cameras on the organizations that are standing up for and demanding a cleaner environment, the ones feeding the hungry, the ones sheltering and giving hope to the homeless,” said Biffar in the video.

Go here for the remainder of this article.

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Solo show of Jansen work on view in Paris’ Danysz Galerie through October 12 (09-11-19)

Fort Myers artist Marcus Jansen solo show Stop, Look and Listen is on view at the Danysz Galerie in Paris through October 12.

The Press Release announcing the show draws a parallel between Jansen’s formative experiences and those of Jackson Pollock. In Pollock’s case, he learned to throw sand to make pictures from the Hopi Indians. Back in New York City from Desert Storm, Jansen was influenced by the graffiti he saw on the sides of subway trains when he traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan to sell his work on Prince Street in Soho in order to survive.

Described alternately as urban expressionism and post-urban cataclysmic surrealism, his unique blend of abstract and the figurative belies the influences of the Iraqi war and the intensity of his post-conflict urban environment. He got his big break when his work drew the attention of Jerome A. Donson, who organized exhibitions of such prestigious artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline as Director of MOMA’s American Vanguard Exhibitions in Europe.

Danysz Galerie is located at 78 rue Amelot. For more information, you may email the gallery at clemence@danyszgallery.com or Unit A Space at unitaspaceinfo@gmail.com.

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Jansen’s ‘Bedroom 2’ picks up honorable mention at Art Olympia 2019 (09-11-19)

“Art Olympia” is a Bienniale international art exhibition of works from the public that aims to discover talented artists from around the world and support their activities. Based in Tokyo, the competition selects 160 artworks – 80 from Japan and 80 more worldwide. Although Marcus Jansen did not win the $120,000 first prize, his painting Bedroom #2 did receive an honorable mention from the international judging panel.

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Exhibition opening September 26 that examines aftermath of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shootings (09-11-19)

Ian Witlen was one of the photojournalists on the ground when terror struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Ian recorded the stories of over 75 students and teachers present at MSD. He has compiled the audios he collected and associated black-and-white portraits in an exhibition he calls Anguish in the Aftermath: Examining a Mass Shooting. That exhibit goes on display at the Coral Springs Museum of Art on September 26. The Coral Springs Museum of Art is located at 2855A Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065. For more information, please call 954-340-5000.

 

 

 

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FSW celebrating 40th anniversary of art gallery with ‘Rauschenberg 40’ exhibition (09-11-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery with a major solo exhibition of gallery namesake Bob Rauschenberg. Four decades since the founding of the Gallery in 1979, this celebratory show is drawn from several prominent local collections and includes a number of never-previously-exhibited original paintings from the Gluts, Urban Bourbon, Anagrams (A Pun) and Waterworks series.

Beginning chronologically with the portfolio edition of “XXXIV Drawings for Dante’s Inferno” (1965) that was illustrated on his first extended visit to the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast, Rauschenberg often joked that he had “gone through Hell to move to Florida.” Widely-acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the 20th Century, Rauschenberg is credited with pioneering the transition from European modernism to American pop art and has been the subject of recent retrospectives at the Tate Modern in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco MoMA. However, this is the first exhibition to exclusively survey works produced by the artist while living and working in Southwest Florida and to feature seldom or never-before-seen works that have remained in the community that he so proudly called home.

As RAUSCHENBERG 40: The Fortieth Anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW makes evident and Bob Rauschenberg often repeated: “Fort Myers is as small as your mind is. It can be just as large as the world is.”

When (then Edison State College) established an art gallery on its Lee campus in 1979, the school named it The Gallery of Fine Art. Over the ensuing decades, the Gallery worked closely with Rauschenberg to present world premiere exhibitions of his work, including multiple installations of the ¼ Mile or Two Furlong Piece. To commemorate its long-standing association and friendship with the artist, the College decided on June 4, 2004 to rename the gallery. The school originally proposed naming the space the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery, but the artist insisted on naming it the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery to better convey the intimate, informal relationship he maintained with both our local Southwest Florida community and FSW.

Please note that this exhibition opened to the public during regularly scheduled hours and without a preview reception. However, related lectures, performances and celebratory events are planned. Their dates and times will be announced throughout the duration of the show.

The exhibition and related events are open to the public, free of charge. Gallery Hours are Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For additional information, please call 239-489-9313 or visit www.RauschenbergGallery.com.

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‘Open to Interpretation’ on view in FGCU Wasmer Gallery through October 3 (09-11-19)

On view now through October 3 in the Wasmer Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University is Open to Interpretation: Selections from the Permanent Collection.

The FGCU Art Galleries’ Permanent Collection is an essential part of the FGCU campus’ educational resources. For many students it is their first exposure to a wide range of artists, materials and techniques. It is thanks to FGCU’s generous donors that the Permanent Collection exists and is appreciated by the campus and community. Open to Interpretation provides some insight into how the collection has been formed and is being activated.

The exhibition features three parts:

Recent Gifts features artists who have recently exhibited at FGCU. On display is also a new sculpture by Nancy Wilkins and a print by Édouard Manet from a gift by Edwin L. and Marlene Lyons to the FGCU Library Archives and Special Collections.

Three Rooms are three arrangements of artworks that mimic how art collector Robert Feir curates the works in his home. The eighteen artworks are a small selection of Feir’s bequest to the Permanent Collection.

Unexpected Forms is a selection of works from the Permanent Collection curated by FGCU Art Major and Seidler Fellow Farrah Alkhadra. This exhibition also required conservation of a number of pieces and research into display methods, which was funded by the Student/Faculty Undergraduate Scholarly Collaboration Fellowship.

[Photos 1 & 2: Mally Khorasantchi, Roots of Feeling VIII (detail), 2015, 72×48 in., Oil on canvas, Gift of Artist, and Anne Lindberg, Twilight Garden Blue (detail), 1988, Fabric and ink, 44 x 48 in, Gift of ASG Technologies.]

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ArtFest Fort Myers deadline is today (09-10-19)

Today is the deadline for applying for admission into ArtFest Fort Myers. Many artists are vying for a spot in next year’s show not only because ArtFest brings 90,000 art lovers and collectors to Southwest Florida each year, but the February show marks ArtFest’s 20th anniversary.

The festival’s popularity among both artists and viewers is attributable in large measure to the staff’s focus on the artist and the art-selling experience. Targeting art buyers throughout Southwest Florida and beyond – from Marco Island to Sarasota and east to West Palm Beach – ArtFest’s promotional campaign includes all forms of media. Judging from each year’s turn-out, they’re clearly doing something right. No other art festival in Florida comes close to pulling in the number of people or the concentration of collectors that ArtFest does.

The organizers also understand the importance of providing great artist amenities over festival weekend to ensure that its exhibitors are stress free and ready to share their work with the festival’s dedicated and enthusiastic attendees.

How are festival artists chosen?

Each October, ArtFest Fort Myers brings together a panel of professional artists who view submitted images and score each applying artist on a range of 1 – 7 points. The artists with the highest scores are then invited to participate in ArtFest.

For Artist Application information, please contact ArtFest Fort Myers at 239-768-3602, email info@ArtFestFortMyers.com or visit http://www.ArtFestFortMyers.com.

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Deadlines loom for number of Boulderbrook Southwest Florida art festivals (09-10-19)

Boulderbrook Productions hosts a number of boutique art festivals in Southwest Florida each season. It is currently accepting submissions for:

  • The Art Festival at Mercato (January 25 & 26, 2020);  application deadline now closed;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational Art Festival (November 23 & 24); application deadline now closed;
  • Sanibel Masters Art Festival (Novembe 29 & 30); application deadline now closed;
  • Art Festival at the Sanibel Shops (December 7 & 8); deadline: application deadline now closed;
  • The Sanibel SCA Art Festival (January 17 & 18, 2020); deadline: October 4;
  • Sarasota Masters Art Festival (February 1 & 2, 2020); deadline September 21;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational at The Promenade (February 15 & 16, 2020); October 1;
  • Boca Grande Art Festival (March 7 & 8, 2020); deadline: October 14;
  • Peace River National Art Festival (March 21 & 22, 2020); deadline October 1; and
  • Bonita Springs Masters Art Festival (March 28 & 29, 20209); deadline October 14.

You must apply online at  http://www.boulderbrook.net/.

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Hot Works deadline for Estero Fine Art Show is September 17 (09-10-19)

Hot Works LLC is now accepting submissions for the 23rd Estero Fine Art Show. It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020 at JetBlue Park. The show features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more.

Voted a top 100 art show four years running, the Estero Fine Art show is recognized as one of America’s highest quality and most respected art shows in the country. One of the show’s highlights is a Youth Art Competition for grades K-8 or ages 5-13.

Winter home of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park affords both exhibitors and attendees with numerous benefits, including a location that draws from and is easily accessible from everywhere in Southwest Florida, as well as plenty of convenient, on-site parking.

The application deadline is September 17, 2019. Applications can be found online at https://www.zapplication.org/event-info.php?ID=7668. For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at patty@hotworks.org or 248-684-2613.

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Hot Works accepting applications for Naples Fine Art Show through November 13 (09-10-19)

Hot Works LLC is now accepting submissions for the 3rd Naples Fine Art Show. It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 & 29, 2020 at the Naples Italian-American Foundation Club at the corner of Airport Pulling and Orange Blossom Roads. The show features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more.

The application deadline is midnight of November 13, 2019. Applications can be found online at https://www.zapplication.org/event-info.php?ID=7719. For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at patty@hotworks.org or 248-684-2613.

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Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples National Art Show through October 28 (09-10-19)

Crowd Shot BestThe Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Naples National is consistently voted among the top 25 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #24 last year. As one of the oldest festivals in Collier County, Naples National is counted by the local community as among its premiere, must–see events, thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. The show is held in scenic Cambier Park and along 8th Street South, one block from downtown Naples’ premier shopping and dining district.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the 41st Naples National Art Festival, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday & Sunday, February 22-23, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Accept 194 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $625 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/10/20; 50% refund: 01/31/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/21,
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/28/19
  • Jury Process begins: 11/01/19
  • Status Notification: 11/25/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 12/16/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 01/20/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/16/19
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2019

To improve the quality of the show and to provide more sales opportunities for our artists, NAA has reduced the number of booths available from 270 to 194. “This will allow artists greater exposure and less competition,” states NAA in its prospectus for the show. “Additionally, the park layout, will consist of one loop making it easier for customers to view all artist’s booths. However, there is a corresponding increase in booth fees.”

This is the only Naples Art Association show that offers cash awards for Best of Show, Best 2D, Best 3D and Awards of Distinction in 2D and 3D. The amounts are:

  • Best of Show – $2,000
  • Best 2D – $500
  • Best 3D – $500
  • Awards of Distinction 2D – 5 awards at $200 each
  • Awards of Distinction 3D – 5 awards at $200 each

Awards will be presented at the band shell in Cambier Park at 3:00 pm on Saturday. NAA staff or volunteers will notify an artist if they need to be present at the awards ceremony on Saturday. Awards are given based on the same criteria used for the jury process. The winning artists are invited to participate in the following year’s show and receive jury exempt status but must still pay his/her booth fee.

The mission of the Naples Art Association is to expand cultural opportunities, broaden education and enrich SWF through the visual arts. Proceeds from the Naples National Art Show support educational programming at The Naples Art Association.

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Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show through December 8 (09-10-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show, Naples National Art Festival and The Naples Downtown Art Show.

The 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts is one of the last major art festivals of the winter season and a favorite festival for artists, art enthusiasts and collectors. This festival was rated #34 by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine 2018 ARTIST 200 Best Shows in America.

If you would like to exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 21-224, 2020
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/07/20; 50% refund: 02/21/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 12/13/19
  • Status Notification: 12/27/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/20
  • Artist Info Emailed: 02/26/20
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/20
  • Application available online at http://www.zapplication.org/ beginning June 1, 2018

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Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park (09-10-19)

Art in the Park LogoAre you ready for the 2019-2020 season of Art in the Park? The Naples Art Association (NAA) proudly connects artists with art shoppers in another terrific season of Art in the Park.

Since 1957, Art in the Park has showcased paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed Art in the Park 01media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. For art lovers, it’s a casual, fun-filled venue for meeting local artists and becoming acquainted with their work. It is believed to be the first outdoor art show held in Naples. And the tradition continues for the 2019-2020 art fair and festival season.

Art in the Park 04Art in the Park is held between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month from November through April. Because of its long tradition, prestige and the interest and number of people who routinely turn out for the show, many NAA members seek admission to the show. Applicants go through a jury process.

“Art in the Park is a membership opportunity, providing artists a venue to sell and market their Art in the Park 05work while broadening their customer base,” notes the Naples Art Association in its call to artists for the 2019-2020 season. “It also provides a setting for artists to interact with other artists sharing ideas, industry changes and the camaraderie of creative people. It is an opportunity for both artists and the public to engage in enlightening conversations about art.”

Make and Take Art 01The one-day fair takes place on Park Street adjacent to The Naples Art Association in the northwest corner of Cambier Park. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine Art, Call of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art Demo Booth 01Art. The show is also just three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District. The January show is also held in conjunction with the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, which will be held next season on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020.

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TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on September 9 (09-09-19)

Delayed a week by the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the Fort Myers Film Festival returns for its 10th season on September 9 when TGIM returns to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Monday,” and symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near each season.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Meet TGIM September judge John Davis (09-09-19)

On September 9, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is WGCU radio host John Davis.

John has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition and producer and host of WGCU’s radio talk program Gulf Coast Live!

Go here for the rest of John’s profile.

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Meet TGIM September judge and accomplished filmmaker John Biffar (09-09-19)

On September 9, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is filmmaker John Biffar. Over the past two decades, John Biffar has served as a director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer and on-air talent. He has directed such notable talent as Don Shula (former coach of the Miami Dolphins), Helio Castroneves (Indy Car Champion and Dancing with the Stars Mirror Ball winner), Ernest Borgine (McHales Navy), Arte Johnson (Laugh In), Norma Miller (The Queen of Swing), Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum, Northern Exposure) Ali MacGraw (Love Story), news legend Walter Cronkite, Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill and Jacques Cousteau. And this is just a fraction of why he’ll make an excellent celebrity judge at September’s TGIM.

For more, go here.

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Meet TGIM September celebrity judge Nate Foy (09-09-19)

NBC2’s Nate Foy will be one of the celebrity judges for T.G.I.M. on September 9.

Nate joined the Waterman Broadcasting team as the Weekday Sports Anchor for ABC7 three years ago in September of 2016. Then in 2017 he was named weekend anchor for NBC2.

Prior to that, Nate was the Sports Director at KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri. In his time there, he covered the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, as well as local college and high school teams.

For more on Nate, go here.

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Jewish Federation screening ‘Surviving Lunch’ on September 22 in Sarasota (09-09-19)

Surviving Lunch is a film about bullying and school violence. As you can imagine, it resonates with people from all age, ethnic and demographic divides. It wowed local audiences during this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival, where it picked up a Best Feature Award, and it played to near sold-out audiences not once, but twice at the Sarasota Film Festival (where it was rescreened to a sold-out audience on August 24 as part of SFF’s Cinematheque series). But if you missed these local screenings, you’ll have another chance to see the film at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, September 22 in the Beatrice Friedman Theater at The Larry Greenspon Family Campus for Jewish Life at 482 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. Following the film, a panel of experts moderated by ABC7’ John Scalzi (who happens to be one of the stars of the film) will discuss key topics present in the film and answer questions from the audience. (For more information, contact Andrea Eiffert at aeiffert@fedsrq.org or 941-552-6308).

Go here for more.

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#SLUT wins Best Made in GA at Southern Shorts Film Festival (09-09-19)

#SLUT took Audience Favorite honors at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. In addition, #SLUT is the 2019 NYLA International Film Festival (LA) Best Student Film winner, 2019 Papaya Films Bursary winner, and the D Lacy Jr. Social Justice Award winner at the 2018 Studio City Int’l Film Festival. And it just won the Best Made in GA Award at the Southern Shorts Film Festival.

But there’s more.

To find out what, go here.

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‘Peggy’ just keeps rolling (09-09-19)

Peggy just keeps on rolling. In August, it screened at the TCL Chinese Theatres as a part of the HollyShorts Film Festival, the Ford Theatres at Hollywood Shorts Outdoor Summer Screen Series presented by HBO, Macon Film Festival, Salute Your Shorts Fest, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival (where it took Best Comedy honors), the Franklin International Indie Film Festival (Best Comedy as well), Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta (Best Georgia Film), Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama and Austin Revolution Film Festival. That equates to 50 official selections (in five countries and 27 states plus Washington D.C.), 41 screenings (and counting) and 18 awards. Fuck you Peggy! 

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It’s been a wild and thrilling ride for ‘Roaring Tides’ filmmaker Aly Mang (09-09-19)

It’s been a wild and thrilling ride for filmmaker Aly Mang. Her short film, Roaring Tides, was one of the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. And it has been accepted and screened into various theaters across the east coast, including AMC, Regal and, of course, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. It screened one last time in New York City in August @anthologyfilmarchives on Second Avenue.

Roaring Tides stars and was written and directed by Aly Mang, who was named Best New Director 2018 by NYC Chain Film Festival. In addition to FMff and NYC Chain, Roaring Tides was an official selection of the Chelsea Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival, Long Beach International Film Festival, NY Latin Film Festival and New Filmmakers NY Festival.

Go here for more.

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Latest on ‘The Things We Don’t Say’ and filmmaker Soleidy Mendez (09-09-19)

The Things We Don’t Say was one of the short films juried into this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. It was written, directed and produced by Soleidy Mendez, whose filmmaking credits also include Joe Nose Best (2017) and Cheesecake and Tango (2012).

The New York-based USA 2018 Nespresso Talents winner has enjoyed a busy 2019. Her current projects include roles in the short film Miles & Associates (Karmen Martinez), a modern-day urban fairy tale loosely based on Cinderella called Finding Home (Maria), a slasher short appropriately titled Buzz Kill (Jessica) and the independent Garfield Boston feature film Linea De Sangre (Ana Castilla).

You’ll find the rest of this update here.

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Latest on ‘Fly Like a Girl’ and filmmaker Katie Wiatt (09-09-19)

The documentary Fly Like a Girl screened during this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival at the IMAG History and Science Center and received the Edison Award of Innovation. More than just a film, Fly Like a Girl is a movement of young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation – a field currently dominated by men. The film also represents filmmaker Katie Wiatt’s feature-length directorial debut.

In addition to the FMff, the documentary has also been an official selection of the Yes Film Festival in Columbus, Indiana, Sunscreen Film Festival 2019, Sarasota Film Festival 2019, Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival 2019 ….

Go here for the remainder of this update.

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Latest on ‘Skindiving’ and filmmaker Victoria DeMartin (09-09-19)

Among the dozens of short films that were screened this year by the Fort Myers Film Festival was Skindiving by writer/director Victoria DeMartin.

The summary that DeMartin provides for the film is enigmatic. She calls it simply as an “observation of a woman caught between her old life and her new one as she goes about her daily routine leading up to her last night on the island.” The film stars Laura Piccoli, Montgomery Sutton, Lori Tischfield, Chinaza Uche and Maria Wolf.

Skindiving screened in February at HBO in the Filmmaker Spotlight Showcase hosted by Ghetto Film School’s Roster.

Go here for the rest of this update.

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Alliance, Broadway Palm bringing Fringe to Fort Myers (09-08-19)

In partnership with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the Alliance for the Arts will present the first ever Fringe Fort Myers Festival April 22 – 26, 2020. Festival tickets go on sale January 2020.

What’s Fringe?

Well, it all started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland as an alternative festival that played concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival. Though not invited to participate, groups of actors, musicians, and the like performed at various venues on the fringe of the EIF. In 1948, local journalist Robert Kemp gave it the name Fringe: “Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before…”

And thusly, Fringe was born.

Today, Fringe performing arts festivals can now be found all over the world, with dozens thriving in the United States including Tampa Fringe, Orlando International Fringe, Atlanta Fringe Festival, Capital Fringe, Minnesota Fringe Festival, PortFringe, Hollywood Fringe and the San Diego Fringe Festival.

The newest Fringe theatre festival in the United States, Fringe Fort Myers will maintain long-standing Fringe traditions of being 100 percent uncensored, 100 percent unjuried and 100 percent inclusive. Even better, 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to the artists.

Fringe Fort Myers kicks off on April 22, 2020 with the fun and frenetic Teaser Show. The Teaser Show is a great opportunity for audiences to learn what the shows in the festival are about. Each performance group gets 2 minutes to sell their show to the audience. How they do it is up to them – as long as they don’t go over 2 minutes.

Over the next four days, Fringe will play host to 48 performances on 4 different stages at the Alliance for the Arts and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. After the final curtain, Fringe Fort Myers will host its first Fringe awards ceremony celebrating the artists that made Fringe an incredible experience.

Florida Rep Education will also offer Kids Fringe, which will operate a family-friendly festival within Fringe Fort Myers.

“Fringe offers an incredible diversity of high quality work with the goal of being as affordable and accessible as possible to all members of the community,” says Bill Taylor, the Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. “This event will enhance our area both culturally and economically.”

Artist applications are now open at ArtInLee.org/Fringe. Applications must be submitted no later than Thursday, November 15, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at ArtInLee.org/Fringe or by contacting Jessica Wisdom at Jessica@ArtInLee.org.

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/Fringe.

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Playwright Rich Orloff to perform ‘Beautiful Wound’ at Alliance on September 23 (09-08-19)

Rich Orloff will perform It’s a Beautiful Wound at the Alliance for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on September 23. The play is the true story of Rich’s adventures in underground therapy using MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy) and psilocybin mushrooms. Based on cutting-edge experiments to help people heal from deep psychological wounds, these sessions propel Rich beyond his ego and defenses into a journey that both challenges his perceptions and reveals possibilities he never before considered. Inspired by the autobiographical monologues of Spalding Gray, It’s a Beautiful Wound takes the audience through the experience of psychedelic-assisted therapy in an honest, amusing, and deeply compelling way (in much the way that Dr. John C. Lilly took readers into the inner life of a scientist exploring inner space through LSD and other methods of mystical experience in the 1960s counterculture classic Center of the Cyclone: An Autobiography of Inner Space).

Orloff is the author of 15 award-winning full-length comedies, three comic revues, dozens of short plays (61 of which have been published by Playscripts, Inc. in eight collections), and the documentary-style play Vietnam 101: The War on Campus, which has had over 40 productions at theaters and schools around the country. His two-person comedy Romantic Fools has had 100 productions around the world and has had two productions in Madrid, where apparently they’re no better at romance than we are. His comedy Funny as a Crutch was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, a Backstage Critic’s Pick, and nytheatre.com’s Pick of the Week.

Rich’s full-length plays also include The Naked Truth (“a rare gem of a comedy” – Show Business Weekly), Big Boys (“rip-roaringly funny” – The New York Times), Someone’s Knocking (Back Stage West Critic’s Pick) and several others. They’ve been presented at such theaters as Arizona Theatre Company, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Dayton Playhouse, Florida Studio Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Phoenix Theatre Company, West Coast Ensemble, and three times at the Key West Theatre Festival. His plays have won such awards and contests as the Festival of Emerging American Theatre, the Playwrights First Award, the InterPlay International Play Festival, the Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest, the Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence and the Abeles Foundation Playwrights Award.

Rich’s short plays have received over 1800 productions on six of the seven continents (and a staged reading in Antarctica) and are particularly popular in schools and community theaters. His short comedies have been published seven times in the annual Best American Short Plays anthology series, three times in the annual Best Ten-Minute Plays series, and in The Art of the One-Act Play, Take Ten II, The Bedford Introduction to Literature and An Anthology of American Short Plays (published in China).

Orloff is a popular guest on college campuses, where he has given lectures and workshops on playwriting at New York University, Ohio State University, Oberlin College, Central Washington University, Western Michigan University, and other schools throughout America. He lives in New York City but loves getting out of town.

For more about Rich Orloff and his plays, visit www.richorloff.com.

It’s a Beautiful Wound is the tale of one person’s journey towards reconciliation with the soul… with a slight detour for an appendectomy. And, of course, his comedy Engagement Rules was the Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance New Play Contest Winner and will be performed in the Foulds Theatre beginning September 20.

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New Play Contest Winner ‘Engagement Rules’ is comedy with bite (09-08-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is bringing Engagement Rules to the stage. A comedy with bite, Engagement Rules follows the intertwined lives of two couples who advise and support each other on challenges of love, sex and the soul. The younger couple (early 30s) is recently engaged, and the older (in their 70s) has been married over fifty years.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Cantrella Canady (09-08-19)

Cantrella Canady plays Donna in Engagement Rules, the Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest winner by Rich Orloff that opens at the Alliance for the Arts on September 20. The play is billed as a comedy with bite, and comedies, of course, are Cantrella’s jam – although it’s been awhile since this talented actor has laughed and giggled this much during rehearsals. Cantrella has been in an incredible number of shows all over Southwest Florida, but Engagement Rules represents the first time she’s worked with Theatre Con Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor. For more on the girl who just likes to act, go here.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Lemec Bernard (09-08-19)

Lemec Bernard is an imposing figure. He made his presence known in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. So much so that folks in the audience were astonished to learn that the show represented Bernard’s world theater debut. “Tall and physically imposing, Bernard’s Loomis doesn’t just loom over the other actors on stage,” this reviewer wrote. “His ‘wild-eyed, mean-looking’ persona serves as catalyst for much of the action in this play and he’s the perfect antithesis to the otherworldly Bynum ….”

Bernard returns to the Foulds Theatre boards in the role of Tom in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s upcoming production of New Play Contest winner Engagement Rules, which opens September 20. Ironically, Lemec was Cantrella Canady’s on-stage husband in Joe Turner. This time his character is engaged to Ms. Trella’s. It should be intriguing to witness Bernard’s growth and development as an actor – this time under the tutelage and direction of Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Jim Yarnes (09-08-19)

Jim Yarnes was last seen on the Foulds Theatre boards in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. He’ll be returning to the Alliance for the Arts in the role of Phil in New Play Contest winner Engagement Rules, which opens September 20 for eight performances. Like Johnny Depp in the genre of film, local actor Jim Yarnes is building a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. Among his acting credits are the world’s second greatest classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Pinchwife (an abusively possessive husband who locks his young bride in a room rather than risk her seduction by a London rascal) in The Country Wife.

Go here for the rest of Jim’s credits.

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Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Carolyn England (09-08-19)

In Engagement Rules (opening September 20 at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts), Carolyn England plays Rose, a woman who’s been married to a guy named Phil (Jim Yarnes) for over half a century. Theater Conspiracy audiences wlll remember England from Murderers, a comedy in which she portrayed Lucy Stickler, the long-suffering wife of a septuagenarian with a roving eye. But that play was no laughing matter for Carolyn, who was injured in a car wreck prior to opening night. But ever the gamer, Carolyn soldiered on with a walker in order to play her part!

In addition to Murderers, Carolyn’s recent credits include Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club and Jack Neary’s The Porch, both for Cape Coral Cultural Park.

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‘Once’ at Broadway Palm through September 28 (09-08-19)

Once is now on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, the musical broke new ground on Broadway.

Once is based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film of the same name which was written and directed by John Carney and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with original music and lyrics by Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglová. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young Czech immigrant takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights – but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, Once draws you in from the very first note. It is an unforgettable story about going for your dreams… not living in fear… and the power of music to connect all of us.

Michael Zygo, who performed in the Broadway production as the Emcee, will be recreating the original staging and movement by John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett, respectively. As an original Broadway and Off-Broadway cast member, he feels a special attachment to the incredible work realized by the original cast and creative team. Mr. Zygo’s recent credits include Director of Once at Pittsburgh CLO, Music Director / Associate Choreographer of Once at The Fulton Theatre / Virginia Repertory Theatre. He was also featured on the Grammy Award winning cast album of Once. Other acting credits include Broadway: School Of Rock; Off-Broadway: Once (NYTW); Tours: Rock Of Ages – first National, The Wedding Singer, Bridges of Madison County – first National, Annie – 30th Anniversary tour, and Oklahoma! – first National.

The cast is led by Jack Gerhard as Guy and Mariah Lotz as Girl. Jack is a recent graduate of Rider University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Previous regional credits include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan.

Mariah is also a graduate of Rider University and has premiered numerous new shows in New York and was part of the Rising Star program at Fifth Avenue Theatre.

The ensemble includes Todd Aulwurm (Bank Manager/Cello/Guitar), Carrie Lyn Brandon (Swing), Carlos Castillo (Andrej/Guitar/Bass Guitar/Ukulele), Trevor Craft (Svec/Mandolin/Guitar/Drums/Banjo), Richard Daniel (Da/Mandolin), Elleon Dobias (Ex Girlfriend/ Violin), Emily Gregonis (Reza/Violin), Caleb Hartsfield (Emcee/Guitar), Jody Alan Lee (Swing), Sam Saint Ours (Swing), Jon Patrick Penick (Billy/Guitar), Marta Rymer (Swing), Matthew Staley (Eamon/Guitar/Piano/Cajon) and Tracy Thomas (Baruska/Accordian).

The production features scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (Aida, An American in Paris, Carousel, Mary Poppins) with additional designs by Southwest Florida BroadwayWorld winner Evan Adamson (Mamma Mia), lighting design by Russell A. Thompson (international tour of The Wizard of Oz, US tours Million Dollar Quartet, Fiddler on the Roof) and sound design by David Temby (Clearwing Productions/national tour of Memphis). The production also includes a pre-show onstage bar atmosphere where performers play a variety of traditional Irish and Czech tunes each night. The bar will be open prior to the performance and at intermission and theatregoers are able to go onstage and purchase beer and wine.

Once plays at Broadway Palm now through September 28, 2019 (and then begins the traveling portion of the tour at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers). Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with group prices available. There is a special and tickets for anyone 25 and under are just $25 for the meal and the show! Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

For more tour and cast information, please visit www.OncetheMusicalTour.com.

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Funny Shorts LIVE! returning to Center for Performing Arts on September 13 & 14 (09-08-19)

On September 13, the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is bringing back Funny Shorts LIVE! – the wildly successful extension of the Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival.

Now in its second year, the program is denoted by five high-quality comedic short plays from around the world. Each will be funny. Each will be short, with a run time of approximately 10-minutes. And at least one will be written by a local playwright. From witches to driving instructors, from shoe closets to speed dating for robots, there is a variety of stories from gifted storytellers.

Funny Shorts LIVE! takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13 and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center at 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Tickets are $20 General Admission (with 10% off for current CFABS members). Best of all, wearing your own funny shorts is completely optional. Encouraged, but optional. For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989.

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Future ‘Funny Shorts Live’ and related auditions (09-08-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting more Funny Shorts Live at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 13 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. Auditions for this show will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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‘Cause and Affection’ to incorporate video component into live action on stage (09-08-19)

The Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be performing the world premiere of Cause and Affection, an original multi-media comedic play.

Cause and Affection follows an aging soap star by the name of Preston whose evening plans are ruined when his elderly neighbor gets locked out of her apartment and his best friend, Barry, shows up needing marital advice. While trying to help them solve their problems, a bombshell drops, leaving Preston with a problem of his own to solve.

One of the distinguishing aspects of this production is the incorporation of three videos into the action taking place on stage. As you may suspect, the videos are episodes or outtakes from the soap opera, in which Preston stars as a handsome politician. Although CFABS cast actors especially for the soap opera videos, only the actor playing the part of Preston appears both on stage and in the soap opera videos!

Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, October 24 – 26, 2019 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27 in the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135. For more information or tickets, please call 239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Center for Performing Arts presenting staged readings of ‘Good Jews” and ‘Book Club Thief’ (09-08-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita is presenting staged readings of Good Jew and The Book Club Thief at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8. Watch the transformative power of acting as directors and actors introduce us to works that illuminate the Center’s mainstage work or introduces us to future programming possibilities. After readings, you’re invited to meet the cast and discuss the play with director and actors. This lively and informative discussion brings new insight to the art of theater.

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Upcoming staged readings & auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (09-08-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting staged readings at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020. It will conduct auditions for the November staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 and at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 and for the January staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17 and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at theaterfilm@artsbonita.org.

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Cultural Park’s creepy thriller ‘Ghost in the Meadow’ opens September 27 (09-09-19)

Do you like good old-fashioned ghost stories? Then you’re in for a treat when The Ghost in the Meadow opens at Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral on September 27. Playwright Joe Simonelli wrote this atmospheric piece just for stage … with plenty of chills coupled with a liberal dose of tension breaking comic relief.

Sprinkled with humor, this creepy thriller follows two sisters who relocate from Manhattan to an old farm house in upstate New York. They quickly realize that they may not be alone in the house. An old boyfriend drops in to visit and when the strange occurrences continue, he calls on the services of a psychic colleague to try to quell the restless spirits.

Ghost in the Meadow runs September 27-October 6. Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for seniors and $16 for students. To reserve your seats or for more information, please call 239-772-5862 or visit http://www.culturalparktheater.com.

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‘Always … Patsy Cline’ opens in ArtStage Theatre September 27 (09-09-19)

Always … Patsy Cline opens in the Florida Repertory Theatre ArtStage Studio Theatre with four nearly-sold-out discounted preview performances September 24 to 26, with the formal opening on September 27.

This heartfelt and compelling true story celebrates the most popular female country singer in recording history and is told through the eyes of her biggest fan and unlikely best friend, Louise Seger. Patsy Cline’s legendary voice and rise to stardom took America by storm, and from her early performances in dusty Texas honky-tonks to sell-out concerts at the Grand Ole Opry, Patsy’s music left an indelible mark on country music and American culture. This musical tribute features all of her most beloved songs, including “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” the number one Jukebox hit of all time, “Crazy,” and many more!

“What a delight to open our new season with a musical salute to one of the greatest female recording artists in American music history,” said Florida Rep Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “This musical premiered Off-Broadway over 30 years ago, and it remains one of the most popular and most beloved – not only because it’s packed with all of Patsy’s greatest hits, but because it is filled with humor, hope, and is a love letter to the power of friendship. We’ve also assembled an all-star cast, including one of the original cast members, Becky Barta, who’s performed both roles extensively across the country since its original New York run. You are in for a treat…if you can get a ticket.”

Always … Patsy Cline stars Becky Barta (2nd photo) as Louise Seger and Bethany Gwen Perkins (3rd photo) as Patsy Cline. Both New York actors have a history with the musical. Perkins reprises her role after a recent appearance at The Depot Theatre in Ithaca, New York, and Barta’s appearance at Florida Rep marks her 30th production of the musical. Barta has played both Patsy and Louise in productions across the country since her appearance in the original Off-Broadway production.

Florida Rep Ensemble Member Maureen Heffernan (4th photo) directs the production after recently helming Florida Rep’s The Miracle Worker, Sylvia and others. Heffernan is joined by Musical Director Alex Shields (Cabaret), Set Designer Tim Billman (Too Marvelous for Words), Costume Designer Kristina Tollefson (Florida Rep Debut), Lighting Designer Anne Carncross (Florida Rep debut), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Million Dollar Quartet), and ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari (Native Gardens).

Created and originally directed by Ted Swindley, Always … Patsy Cline is generously sponsored by Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln, Kearns Restaurant Group, Alexandra Bremner, and Martin & Mary Ann McLaughlin.

Always … Patsy Cline is already breaking box office records in the ArtStage Studio Theatre, and the run is extended to November 24 due to overwhelming demand. Tickets start at $55 for regular performances and $35 for discounted previews. For this musical, onstage cafe table seating is available for $75, and includes two drinks per person and table service. Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488.

Subscriptions are also on sale now and offer the best seats at the biggest discount. Packages for 9, 8, 7, and 6 shows are now on sale and start as low as $174 for six plays. The popular Six-Show Arcade Theatre Rush Pass is now on sale for $175 and offers the best available seats in the Historic Arcade Theatre 90-minutes before any performance. Subscriptions are available through the box office at 239-332-4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.

Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Looking at rest of Ghostbird’s 2019-2020 schedule (09-08-19)

With 3 in the books, here’s what’s on tap for the rest of Ghostbird Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season:

  • October House to be performed October 31 and November 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at the historic Langford-Kingston Home;
  • Thistletoe Cabaret, a one-night performance scheduled for December 17 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center;
  • the 24-Hour Festival on March 1 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center; and
  • Ori by Barry Cavin in April of 2020 to be performed at the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium in Fort Myers.

For the rest of this advance, go here.

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Lab making many improvements to #thisoldtheater in time for 11th season (09-08-19)

As it embarks on its 11th season, Lab Theater wants everyone to know there’s more to the theater than the magic they routinely create on stage. Maintaining a nearly-100 year-old building is more involved than meets the eye.

The first project the Lab undertook on #thisoldtheater after replacing the leaky roof was updating the exterior paint. They chose Caribbean colors in keeping with the building’s traditional Spanish architecture. The warm pink with deep green shutters and trim do justice to a building that has served the Gardner’s Park neighborhood for a century.

Following its purchase of the building, Lab was delighted to discover a third bathroom hidden underneath the stairs. But it needed some work to bring it up to standard. That work led to replacing collapsed pipes beneath the building.

The upstairs rehearsal space has new life with refinished flooring and reclaimed spaces that are utilized not only by actors preparing for their performances, but by Lab’s education department for overflow classes in playwriting and improv.

Lab’s backstage rehearsal space also received an expansion – just in time for the crew of The Legend of Georgia McBride and all of the wigs, makeup, and fabulous costumes created by Kristen Wilson and Miss Tracy actor Clayton Brown.

The stage has also been refurbished and reinforced, and thanks to a generous grant from The City of Fort Myers, Lab has been able to add a patio where it can hold outdoor performances and events. In fact, two special outdoor performances are planned for Season 11.

On top of all this work, Lab has redone the wiring, added a new and improved lighting and sound system, painted the interior and added comfy tiered theater seating.

If you haven’t see #thisoldtheater lately, you owe it to yourself to catch a show. Lab celebrates its new season and 100th production with a real gemThe Crucible by Arthur Miller, which boasts a cast of 20 actors, a crew of six and four directors! The Crucible opens September 20.

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Lab Theater’s landmark 100th production to be ‘The Crucible’ (09-08-19)

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will open the 11th season at The Laboratory Theater of Florida September 20. Not only is The Crucible the season opener, but it marks a milestone as the 100th production put on by the theater.

Things take a deadly turn when Reverend Parris finds a number of young women inappropriately dancing in the forest. To save themselves from punishment, they claim they’ve been bewitched by various townspeople. Once these girls, who have never had any voice or control, get a taste of the power that their claims wield, is there anything they won’t do to get everything they desire?

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1953, not long after the playwright had himself had been accused of un-American activities and communism by the McCarthy Commission.

Please go here for the balance of this advance.

And you’ll find The Crucible’s play dates, times and ticket info here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Steven Coe (09-08-19)

Fort Myers actor Steven Coe is so much in demand, that although he’s starring opposite Madelaine Weymouth in The Studio Players’ production of Venus in Fur, he will also appear in The Crucible, which opens September 20 at Laboratory Theater of Florida. Steven has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. Besides Venus in Fur, his evolving body of work includes starring roles as Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, as well as memorable supporting and ensemble appearances in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.

Go here to read Steven’s full profile.

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Focus on Crucible’s Imani Lee Williams (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Imani Lee Williams. Lab Theater audiences are still raving about her performance in the role of Jo in the Southwest Florida premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride. After participating in the Alliance for the Arts’ inaugural CHANGE course, she also had the distinction of performing a monologue in George Wolfe’s edgy The Color Museum. To read Imani’s full profile, go here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Paul Graffy (09-08-19)

Paul Graffy is part of the large and talented cast of The Crucible, opening September 20 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Over the past 15 years, Paul has appeared in more than 25 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater and the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Among his acting credits are General Thomas F. Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (The Naples Players), Pale in Burn This! (for The Lab), Senator Joe Cantwell in The Best Man (also for Lab), Frank Sr. in Catch Me if You Can, Johnny Lowell in Stage Kiss, Alan in God of Carnage and George in Moon Over Buffalo, both at The Naples Players in 2014. In 2011, Florida Weekly recognized his stage talent with its Best Actor award. Go here for the rest of Paul’s prodigious profile.

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Focus on Crucible’s TJ Albertson (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is TJ Albertson, fresh from his tour de force, raised fist in a sequined glove performance as Rexy Nervosa in The Legend of Georgia McBride. In addition to Georgia McBride, TJ has turned in outstanding performances in just the last year as The Soldier in Andorra, Tyler Johnes in And the Winner Is … and Timmy in Hand to God. For more on this Fairfax, Virginia transplant, go here.

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Focus on Crucible’s Todd Lyman (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Todd Lyman. Todd is a Fort Myers actor whose credits include multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., Teddy in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.

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Focus on Crucible’s Heather Johnson (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Heather McLemore Johnson. Heather is a recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi. After arriving in Southwest Florida, Heather made her Lab Theater debut as the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, followed by multiple sidesplitting roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some) and an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves. She also recently participated in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project, directing Candice Sanzari’s Critics’ Choice winner Thanksgiving is for Nutters.

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Focus on Crucible’s Art Keen (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Art Keen. Originally from Long Island, Art has come to the Southwest Florida theater community by way of retirement. A certified theater arts and social studies teacher with a B.S. in Theater Arts from SUNY Oneonta, Art’s theater resume is wide and varied. His most recent work includes portraying Jimmy Rogers in Lab Theater’s world premiere of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V. and playing Manolo Costazuela in Del Tura Repertory Company’s production of The Odd Couple: Female Version. 

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Focus on Crucible’s Tamicka Armstrong (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Tamicka Armstrong. Tamicka is a former “choir kid” and karaoke aficionado with a decade’s worth of experience in ensemble and solo work. In 2017, she relocated to Southwest Florida from Wyoming and after taking improv classes at the Alliance for the Arts, she decided to take a chance and audition at Theatre Conspiracy, landing the role of Cindy in 2017 New Play Contest winner Repossessed. The Crucible marks her Lab Theater debut.

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Focus on Crucible’s Emmie Spiller (09-08-19)

Returning to the boards at Lab Theater in The Crucible is Emmie Spiller. Emmie was last seen as the captain (#25) of the Wolves indoor soccer team in the summer intern production of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. She was previously seen as Cheryl in Lab’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical last summer.

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Focus on Crucible’s Lauren Miller (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Lauren Miller. Lab Theater audiences will remember Lauren as Kit Kat Girl Texas in Brenda Kensler’s blockbuster production of Cabaret in 2015. She is a seasoned stage performer, with appearances as Mazeppa in Gypsy, Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense, and Henrietta in All Shook Up. She also performed with The Naples Players in Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe’s Café and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

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Focus on Crucible’s Melanie Payne (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Melanie Payne. Melanie only just made her Lab Theater stage acting debut in Lab’s inaugural Festival of tens. But Lab Theater audiences are nonetheless familiar with Melanie’s work. Lab has produced a number of staged readings of Payne’s work, including Routine in 2018 and True Colors in 2016. Melanie is an investigative reporter with The News-Press/USA Today Network. In that capacity, she has exposed scams, corruption and bad deals. For more than a decade, she wrote the consumer column, Tell Mel. She has published two nonfiction books and is a nationally-ranked Scrabble player. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Melanie is a graduate of Wellesley College and has lived in Fort Myers since 2004.

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Focus on Crucible’s Mike Dinko (09-08-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Mike Dinko. Among his acting credits are Customers 1 and 8 in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V., Boberg’s Timer and Junk in the Trunk in Lab’s inaugural Festival of Tens, The Odd Couple, Female Version (one of the Castilian brothers), Zalman Velvel’s 55 and Over (landlord), Play On! (where he played a villainous actor in a very bad murder mystery), The Country Wife (Dorilant), The Best Man (where he played the role of an Army veteran who is brought to a political convention by one candidate to ruin the reputation of his adversary) and An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf (the surly French waiter, Claude).

Go here for the rest of Mike’s credits.

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Richard O’Brien’s ‘Rocky Horror Show’ coming to New Phoenix in October (09-08-19)

New Phoenix Theatre will perform Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show live in October. If you have never experienced Rocky Horror, this is yours chance. If you have, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to do the time warp again. Audience participation is encouraged, but not necessary, so feel free to dress up as your favorite character. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Performances are October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 at 8:00 p.m. and October 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 3:00 p.m.

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TNP holding open auditions for ‘She Loves Me’ holiday show (09-08-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) is holding open auditions for She Loves Me from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 at The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South.

She Loves Me is the perfect holiday musical. Based on the same storyline as the blockbuster hit film You’ve Got Mail, this story follows two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930s who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, little knowing that their respective correspondents are each other.

The Naples Players is casting 2 women (ages 20s-30s), 2 men (ages 25-30), 1 male (age 45-55), 1 male (age 55-65), and 1 boy (age 14-17) as well as the ensemble with additional dancing and non-speaking featured roles available.

Audition sides are made available two weeks before the auditions. The Naples Players auditions are open to all interested persons and walk-ins are welcome. All that is required is the desire to be involved in a production and the willingness to commit your time and effort to the project.

She Loves Me rehearsals begin Monday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. Rehearsals are typically five nights a week for five weeks before production.

Performances run Wednesdays through Sundays, November 26 through December 22 in Blackburn Hall.

There is no performance on Thanksgiving with a make-up performance on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. There is a special Sensory-Friendly Performance on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

For audition information, please call Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, (239) 434-7340 ext. 125 or email cbutcher@naplesplayers.org. All audition details and script sides for auditions are accessible on the website: https://naplesplayers.org/upcoming-auditions/.

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‘Great Gatsby’ opening at The Naples Players on October 2 with red carpet party (09-08-19)

The Naples Players is bringing The Great Gatsby to the stage. The play is a contemporary adaptation by Simon Levy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, and features much of his language along with the legendary decadence of the 1920s.

The dominant themes of love, desire, and obsession wash over Fitzgerald’s characters rich with hope and dreams positioned within an Art Deco stage design that artfully sets the stage for their decadent world in the Jazz Era.

Performances run Wednesdays – Sundays, October 2 through 27 in Blackburn Hall. A special Red Carpet Party will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2 on The Baker Stage before the 7:30 Opening Night performance with live music and complimentary refreshments. Tickets are $40 and are available to the public on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at the Box Office or NaplesPlayers.org.

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‘Venus in Fur’ closes today with 3:00 p.m matinee (09-01-19)

David Ives’ Venus in Fur starring Steven Coe and Madelaine Weymouth closes today with a 3:00 p.m. matinee. Kudoos to Scott Lilly and Director Anna Segreto for bringing such a complex, multi-tiered, thought-provoking psychodrama to the stage. This is one production that really stimulates conversation and that, after all, is one of the chief goals and benefits of live theater!

Before delving into the play itself, it’s imperative to observe from the outset that not just any actors can play the roles of Thomas Novachek and Vandy Jordan. Required is the ability to effectively convey a wide range of emotions and behavior. The male must be able to vacillate at the flip of a switch (pun intended) from haughtiness and arrogance to uncertainty and subservience. The female must be able to intertwine seduction and manipulation with sophistication on the one ungloved hand and unrefined crassness on the other. Fortunately for director Anne Segreto, Steven Coe and Madelaine Weymouth showed up at her audition.

Go here for the rest of this critique.

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‘Church & State’ fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and ‘The Twitter’ (09-08-19)

It is three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election and he’s decided to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong? Church & State is a fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and “The Twitter.” Directed by Brett Marston, it will be performed by The Studio Players October 4-20.

Keith Gahagan plays Senator Charles Whitmore, with Suzanne Sole portraying his wife, Sara Whitmore. Sharon Isern is Alex Klein and Danny Cancio tackles multiple roles, playing Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor.

Church & State playwright Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer (Brain Games). He has also received an Ovation Award nomination.

Church & State is his latest play and was originally produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at The Skylight Theatre in L.A. and JCC CenterStage in Rochester, NY.

Please go here for the remainder of this advance.

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Spotlight on actor Keith Gahagan (09-08-19)

Keith Gahagan will play the role of Senator Charles Whitmore in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Keith has performed in community theater productions in Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers since 2007. Among his stage credits are Curt in Don’t Talk to the Actors (The Studio Players) Eddie the bar owner in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Lab Theater, June 2019), Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (The Studio Players, January 2018), August Osage County, Things Being What They Are and A Clockwork Orange a decade ago. Most recently, Keith took part in Stage It Playwrights Festival in Bonita Springs, which followed his performance in  the Waverly Gallery at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita.

Go here for the rest of Keith’s profile.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Sharon Isern (09-08-19)

Sharon Isern will be playing the part of Alex Klein in The Studio Players’ October production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Sharon Isern is an actor, artist (steampunkphage.com) and recovering academic (@profpathogen) who spends her days teaching and doing virus research with undergraduate students as a Professor of Biology at FGCU. Although new to acting, Sharon has made a mark already in the Southwest Florida theater community. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.

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Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ cast member Daniel Cancio (09-08-19)

Daniel Cancio plays multiple roles (Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor) in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Church & State. An FGCU theatre grad, Daniel is an emerging talent in the local theater scene. While at FGCU, he appeared in productions of The Tempest, Mr. Perfect, 12 Angry Men and The Zoo. His credits also include Jerry in The Studio Players’ production of Don’t Talk to the Actors, Bear in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Orbs! and Laboratory Theater’ss 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews. He additionally took part in a staged reading of Robert Caisley’s The Open Hand. 

 

 

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