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Josh Garrick: Culture Worthy of Your Calendar

Josh Garrick

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A cultural treasure

I’ve just returned from the performance by the China National Symphony in its American debut tour as presented by the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. I wrote about it for two weeks prior – saying ahead of time that I knew it would be a great performance, and I am writing now to tell you that it was one of the great orchestral performances I’ve ever experienced. Add that to the American debut performance of the Cuban National Symphony just a few months ago, and you understand why I am taking this time to congratulate and thank the Daytona Beach Symphony Society for bringing greatness to Central Florida and for making all of our lives better. Please take note of their remaining season. They present performances that will live with you forever. I know; I was there.

Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 – The Starlite Film Festival

Beginning Jan. 31 with a kickoff reception, the three-day Starlite Film Festival will feature hand-selected, micro-budget, feature-length films that have been produced, shot, and completed for a total budget of less than $200,000. The movies include presentations from Canada, California, Mexico and Florida. Free workshops will include Social Media Marketing, Equipment, and How to Shoot a Million Dollar Movie for $200,000. For movie tickets, All-Access Passes, and the complete festival schedule, visit starlitefilmfest.com or call 407-877-4736.

Feb. 1 – FAVO gallery’s grand opening

Faith Arts Village (FAVO) celebrates local artists with unique opportunities to exhibit – and sell – their work. On Feb. 1, FAVO’s artist spaces – in former motel rooms – will be open to the public featuring artists Henry Sinn, Pedro Brull, Robin Pedrero and Berto Ortega, along with other artists providing an eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures. Also featured will be the FAVO gallery grand opening, a gallery currently presenting donated art from local artists with proceeds going to the renovations of the FAVO property. This free event is family-friendly. Visit faithartsvillage.com

Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 through April 28 – The Mennello Museum’s Black History Month

The Mennello Museum (in Orlando) is one of only seven venues chosen to host the new “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond” exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit is a priceless collection of 100 paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs by 43 black artists who explored the African-American experience. The exhibit opens Feb. 1, with a free open house on Feb. 3 from noon to 4:30 p.m. Visitors may visit mennellomuseum.com to print a free admission coupon throughout the month of February. Call 407-246-4278.

Feb. 2 to April 28 – American paintings from the Phillips Collection

Beginning Feb. 2, the Tampa Museum of Art will present 107 important American paintings from the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. The Phillips Collection, founded in 1921 as America’s first museum of modern art, is renowned for its collection of masterpieces. Selected works from the 1850s through the 1960s feature American painters Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Grandma Moses, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. “To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection” makes its final stop at the Tampa Museum of Art after exhibiting in Madrid, Tokyo and Italy. Visit tampamuseum.org

Feb. 6 to March 17 – ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and Shakespeare

Affairs of the heart take center stage in Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” in this new adaption by Jon Jory. A lack of luck leads to difficult marriage prospects, which in turn leads the Dashwood sisters to scandalous secrets, betrayals, and unexpected twists of fate – all for the sake of true love. Directed by Mark Routhier, “Sense and Sensibility” begins previews Feb. 6. Visit Orlandoshakes.org or call 407-447-1700.

Feb. 7 to Feb. 28 – Writers at Rollins

Rollins College brings contemporary literature to the community as the 2013 Winter With the Writers Festival of the Literary Arts features Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday (Feb. 7); Azar Nafisi, author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran” (Feb 28); Pulitzer Prize nominee Karen Russell (Feb. 14); and African-Puerto Rican author Mayra Santos-Febres and Cuban-American poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa (Feb. 21). Afternoon master classes and evening readings will take place on the campus of Rollins College for four Thursdays beginning Feb. 7. The events are free to the public. Visit rollins.edu/winterwiththewriters

Feb. 7 – 1st Thursday at the Orlando Museum of Art

Orlando’s original art party is the award-winning 1st Thursdays presented by OMA’s committed volunteer group. From 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, OMA showcases themed art by local artists, live music, cash bars and café offerings from area restaurants. On Feb. 7, the theme is “Impressions: The Printmaker’s Art.” Entrance includes access to the OMA's featured exhibition “Contemporary Glass.” Call 407-896-4231, extension 260, or visit omart.org

Feb. 7, 8 and 9 – Tables Extra Extraordinaire

Decorators, brides-to-be, wedding planners and interior design professionals need to book a visit to the Holy Trinity Conference Center in Maitland for Tables Extraordinaire. This fun, inspiring and unique fundraiser showcases 30 lavishly decorated theme tables. From tours of the tablescapes to a luncheon or dinner reminiscent of a trip to the Greek isles, the three-day event ends on Saturday evening (Feb. 9) with a gala banquet prepared by Chef George Paterakis and his Team Culinaire. Stop by the Mediterranean Marketplace for your favorite Greek pastries and coffees — this year offering take-out for lunch and dinner. Visit htgocorlando.org or visit Tables Extraordinaire on Facebook, or call 407-333-3895 or 407-774-2744.

Feb. 8 to March 3 – The ‘World’s Oldest Profession’ at Mad Cow

In the classic George Bernard Shaw play – “Mrs. Warren's Profession” – the irascible playwright tells the story of Kitty Warren, a mother who makes a terrible sacrifice for her daughter’s independence. Daughter Vivie is an optimistic young lady working toward a successful career when she makes the discovery that her comfortable upbringing and expensive education were bankrolled by her mother Kitty's unorthodox profession. The clash of these two strong-willed women ignites the ironic wit in one of Shaw’s greatest plays. The play will run Feb. 8 to March 3 in Mad Cow Theatre’s new space on the second floor at 54 W. Church St. Visit madcowtheatre.org or call 407-297-8788.

Feb. 8 – Artist Victor Bokas at Culture & Cocktails

Among the influences in the work of artist Victor Bokas, one immediately sees references to his Greek heritage as well as Florida’s tourists, beaches, flea markets and pop culture. His paintings will be featured at the Art & History Museums – Maitland’s (A&H) Culture & Cocktails event on Feb. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. A native Floridian, Bokas grew up among palm trees, fish and other tropical images. In addition to the art, guests will enjoy music by Gypsy Bluez, literary readings and food truck fare. Guests are also invited to the opening reception for a new exhibition titled “Anna Tomczak: Animalia.” Call 407-539-2181 or visit ArtandHistory.org

Feb. 8 to 24 – ‘Biloxi Blues’ (complete with laughs) in Winter Garden

“Biloxi Blues” is the second play of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical trilogy that began with “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” In “Biloxi Blues” we again meet Eugene Jerome, fresh from his adolescence in 1930s Brooklyn. In this play Eugene is a young army recruit during World War II, suddenly learning some comic and some harsh lessons about life and love while stationed at a boot camp in Biloxi, Miss. Produced by Beth Marshall and recommended for ages 12 and older, “Biloxi Blues” will be presented at the Garden Theatre at 160 W. Plant St. in Winter Garden. Visit gardentheatre.org or call 407-877-4736.

Feb. 9 – Glass-making with Duncan McClellan

The Orlando Museum of Art’s beautiful exhibit “Contemporary Glass Sculpture” celebrates the 50th anniversary of studio glass while featuring 60 glass sculptures. On Feb. 9 at 1 p.m., the brilliant Tampa-based glass artist Duncan McClellan will lead a fused glass jewelry workshop in which participants create a unique piece of art-glass jewelry. The workshop cost is $50 to OMA members and $60 to non-members. The OMA is located in Orlando’s Loch Haven Park. Parking is free. Call 407-896-4231 or visit omart.org

Feb. 9 – ‘My Funny Valentine’ with the Orlando Philharmonic

Backed by both the Orlando Philharmonic and his own band Swingerhead, Orlando’s most famous entertainer Michael Andrew will sing romantic tunes in celebration of Valentine’s Day in two performances on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For two years, Michael Andrew was the headline singer at the world famous Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York City. Now residing happily in Orlando, this consummate entertainer shares his amazing talent and his favorite love-songs with us at the Bob Carr PAC. Call 407-770-0071 or visit Orlandophil.org

Josh Garrick is a writer, photographer, educator, and fine art curator. He is a member of the Curatorial Council for the Museum of Florida Art. Garrick can be reached at joshgarrick9@gmail.com or 407-522-3906.