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This Week

Culture worthy of your calendar

Josh Garrick

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Josh Garrick

Columnist Josh Garrick

Friday night Art Stroll

Now that our weather has returned to "Florida normalcy," and we are all seeking any reason to spend time outdoors, the Baldwin Park Merchants Association is stepping up to present the Art Stroll of Baldwin Park. The Stroll begins Friday night, April 16, on New Broad Street from 6-9 p.m. The free event features work by artists from Central Florida including painters creating artwork on the sidewalk, original art for sale and live music. The Stroll provides a great way to visit this new Orlando community while enjoying the best weather of the whole year. For more information, call curator Brad Biggs at 407-247-4552 or e-mail bbiggs214@aol.com

Two chances to meet artist Michael Whelan

Over three decades artist/illustrator Michael Whelan has created more than 350 book and album covers for authors and artists, from Isaac Asimov to Meatloaf. The renowned illustrator is scheduled to speak at the Winter Park Public Library on Saturday, April 17 at 11 a.m., while his illustrations are on display at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave. in Winter Park, just down the street from the Library. Part of the Museum's exhibit "Maidens and Monsters: the Art of Science Fiction, Adventure and Fantasy," Whelan will then be the honored guest at the Polasek Museum on Sunday, April 18 from 1-4 p.m. for the exhibit's closing reception. Since 1980, Michael Whelan has won an unprecedented 15 Hugo Awards (Science Fiction's Oscar), three World Fantasy Awards, and the SuperHugo as the Best Artist of the last 50 years. He is a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and has also won a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators, a Vargas Award and a Grumbacher gold medal. Call 407-647-6294 or visit www.polasek.org for more details.

The Orlando Ballet goes 'classical'

The Orlando Ballet, which has consistently thrilled and surprised us in its first full season with new Artistic Director Rob Hill, will end the current season by showing off their classical side with a full-length fantasy, pirate-themed adventure called "Le Corsaire." With performances April 23, 24, and 25 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, this dramatic love story has all the memorable dancing of other great classical ballets, but is rarely performed 'full-length.' Gala goers will know the "Corsaire pas de deux" and "The Kingdom of the Shades," one of the most hauntingly beautiful dances in all of ballet history. Vengeful pirates, harem girls and a kidnapped princess make for a great ballet story. Choreographed by Robert Hill, after Marius Petipa, this is also a great way for the company to show off the technical abilities of the dancers. Tickets for Friday, April 23 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 24 at 8 p.m. or Sunday, April 25 at 2 p.m. may be purchased at 407-426-1739 or visit Ticketmaster.com.

Xanadu … the heavenly musical

If one of your guilty pleasures is the cult 1980s movie Xanadu (which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly), then prepare yourself for the roller disco love fest that is Xanadu the musical. Xanadu makes its Orlando premiere at the Bob Carr on April 27 and plays through May 2. I saw it on Broadway, and the show is fall-out-of-your-chair funny. With the ingénue giving us most of her performance on roller skates, the show was called "Heaven on wheels" by The New York Times. This very funny, roller skating musical adventure is set in the year 1980. It's the story of a magical 'Greek muse,' who descends from heaven to inspire great artistic achievement and ends up giving us the roller disco! The heavenly creature then falls in (forbidden) love with a human and supreme intervention is needed. The score includes the hits, "Magic," "Xanadu," "Party All Over the World" and "I'm Alive" — all top 20 hits (in the '80s). I highly recommend this show. Tickets can be purchased at the downtown box office, Amway Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations. Call 1-800-982-2787 or visit www.OrlandoBroadway.com.