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Culture worthy of your calendar

Josh Garrick

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Josh Garrick

Columnist Josh Garrick

Orlando's cultural season begins

It's a fundraiser; it's an auction; it's an art show; it's a gala performance; and it's the official kick-off of Orlando's cultural season. It is the Sixth Annual Red Chair Affair and it happens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. This unique showcase of performing groups and visual artists is your preview ticket to all things cultural in the coming season. Patrons, encouraged to dress in their best red, will enjoy performances by the Bach Festival, Bay Street Players, Cirque du Soleil, Emotions Dance, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Gay Chorus, Orlando Philharmonic, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Power Chords, SAK Comedy Lab, VarieTEASE, Winter Park Playhouse and Yow Dance. Proceeds benefit the Red Chair Project, a community service working to increase participation in 360 arts and cultural organizations throughout Central Florida. For tickets, visit RedChairProject.com.

My Uzi is art!

As if to prove the point that the art season begins with the Red Chair Affair, the Neon Forest Art Gallery will hold its Fall opening from 7-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 (so that those inspired by the Red Chair can attend this opening after the Red Chair Affair ends). Called "My Uzi Weighs a Ton," this multimedia art exhibit explores our fascination with firearms in pop culture. Curator Dustin Orlando says, "Few objects inspire feelings of excitement, adoration, fear, fantasy and conflict like a gun. Showing over 30 pieces of original work, we will blanket the walls with custom-made targets … each with an image of various ethnic groups, laser scopes, toy Uzis and anything else we can come up with to make the viewer feel as if they were in a gun range overthrown by artists!" Orlando artists Sean Hartman, Scott Donald, Jeremy Lombardo, TOBAR and Decoy, along with artists from around the U.S. will exhibit at this free event. Visit myuzi.dubelyoo.net or neonforestgallery.com. Neon Forest is at 1741 S. Orange Ave. in Orlando.

Stetson overachieves

As if to make the drive unquestionably worthwhile, Stetson University, in picturesque DeLand, will open three art exhibitions on Friday, Aug. 27. The exhibits include:

-Matt Roberts: "Waves Walks", featuring real-time video performance and new media in the Duncan Gallery of Art on Stetson's Quad. The opening is from 6-8 p.m. on Aug. 27, and runs through Oct. 28.

-Oscar Bluemner: "The Vermillionaire' in Black and White", featuring paintings from Stetson's unique Bluemner Kouba Collection. This exhibit will be held in the beautiful, new Hand Art Center (also on the Quad). Bluemner (1867-1938) was a significant force in the creation of American modernism. Exhibit dates are Aug. 27 to Dec. 3.

-Selections from Stetson's Ceramics Collection (also in the Hand Art Center) will be shown from Aug. 27 to March 2011. Call 386-822-7266.

Charles Turzak, master of modernism

American Modernist Charles Turzak (1899-1986) enjoyed a long and celebrated career as a master woodblock printmaker, painter, WPA muralist, illustrator and teacher. His graphics of the skyline of Chicago and working class heroes epitomized the American Modern Art movement in the 1930s. Dynamic Art Deco lines and movement are trademarks of his style. Opening Sept. 1, that gem of a museum in Winter Park — the Albin Polasek Museum — will present "A Master of Modernism: Woodcuts and Paintings by Charles Turzak" running through Nov. 14. The works to be displayed date from the 1930s to the 1960s and include views of Chicago, historical American figures, Czechoslovakian landscapes and impressions of Orlando — the home of his retirement. Original carved maple woodblocks, linoleum blocks and printmaking tools will also be displayed. Turzak, a true artist of the people, often sketched on Chicago street corners, capturing the essence of the city and its people during the Depression. The Polasek Museum is located at 633 Osceola Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-647-6294 or visit www.polasek.org

And not to be missed…

The exhibition "Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey" at the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) shows off the deliciously malevolent illustrator whose Victorian settings and atmosphere of potential danger made 'creepiness' into fun. It's running through Halloween at the Orlando Museum of Art. Call 407-896-4231 or visit www.omart.org