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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, May 26, 2016 4 years ago

Josh Garrick: Culture for your Calendar

In honor of National Brisket Day, Chef John is throwing a Red, White and Brisket Party at 4 Rivers Smokehouse's flagship Winter Park store.
by: Josh Garrick Columnist

Now through summer – The Puzzling Mindbender Mansion at Orlando Science Center

Visitors to the Mindbender Mansion at the Orlando Science Center are greeted by Mr. E., Master Brainteaser, who explains how to gather hidden clues and secret passwords. Perfect for the whole family, visitors find tabletop brainteasers they can solve on their own and larger group challenges including the Feeding Frenzy-Kitchen, a Flying Machine, Spelling-Hopscotch (with letter squares that light up), and the Amazing Maze. There are 40 brainteasers and five full-body-and-mind activities in the exhibit. Complete the tasks and your young ones can add their portraits to the “Wall of Fame.” Visit

Now to Aug. 14 – ‘Pop Art Prints’ at Mennello Museum of American Art

In 1962 New York Art dealer Leo Castelli first showed pop art in his gallery, and it was immediately embraced by the audience who responded to its bright colors and commentaries made on the culture of the time. Printmaking was an ideal medium for the pop artists, with the benefit that print editions made the work affordable to a larger audience. “Pop Art Prints” at the Mennello presents 37 prints from the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection with works primarily from the 1960s. The Mennello Museum is at 900 E. Princeton St. in Orlando. Call 407-246-4278 or visit

Now to Sept. 25 – ‘Naked Before the Lens’ at the Ringling Museum

An exhibit that exposes the way in which photographers have used the naked body in their work opened this week at the always-impressive Ringling Museum in Sarasota. While the human body has always played an important (and mostly idealized) role in Western Art, this exhibit focuses on the 20th and 21st century’s unique abilities of the camera to capture detail, connecting us to the relationship between photographer and model. This sometimes prurient view uses photography’s unique qualities to explore desire, vulnerability, and nudity, allowing the viewer to determine whether it is art or pornography. Visit

May 26 to 29 – MegaCon at the Orange County Convention Center

MegaCon’s four-day comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in Orlando is packed with activities, celebrity guests and super-fans in costume. The pop culture extravaganza is host to thousands at the Orange County Convention Center, this year offering a world premiere screening of “Star Trek Continues,” a real wedding, celebrity photo and autograph sessions, Q&A’s, Artist Alley, tattoo pavilion, costume contest, kid’s zone, and over 650,000 square feet of celebrity spotting and shopping madness. Visit

May 26 to 29 – The Jacksonville Jazz Festival

What began three decades ago as the Mayport Jazz Festival is now one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country. Boasting an all-¬star lineup, this year the festival returns to downtown Jacksonville for an epic street party filled with great food and plenty of free entertainment. The festival boasts three outdoor stages with state¬ of ¬the¬ art light and sound spread across 15 city blocks. New this year is the Jazz Marketplace and Jazz Eats and Drinks, the city’s best al fresco dining options, along with signature events including the Piano Competition, Jazz Jam, Sacred Jazz Brunch and more. Also new are improved VIP packages for 2016. Visit

May 27, June 24, July 15 & 29, and Aug. 26 – Free MoviEola Film Series

The free outdoor movie series in Orlando’s Lake Eola Park has returned for 2016, beginning each evening at 6 p.m. with activities and music from Mix 105.1. Bring blankets, chairs, snacks and the whole family to enjoy this year’s movies including “Goosebumps” on May 27; “Cinderella” on June 24; “Inside Out” on July 15; “Jurassic World” on July 29; and “Minions” on Aug. 26. You’ll want to arrive early to secure your spot and enjoy some of the pre-movie activities. The movies begin promptly at 8:15 p.m. Call 407-246-4484 or visit

May 28 – Celebrate Brisket Day with the master – John Rivers

OK – I’ll buy it. May 28 is National Brisket Day, so long as I can celebrate it with Florida’s founding father of barbecue, John Rivers. In honor of the occasion, Chef John is throwing a Red, White and Brisket Party at 4 Rivers Smokehouse’s flagship Winter Park store, with live music, craft brews and a special that’s too good to miss! On May 28, for one day only, 4 Rivers will serve its signature 18-hour, smoked Angus brisket in a chili cheese brisket burger – along with cheese fries at this inaugural celebration. Call 407-474-8377 or visit

May 30 – Memorial Day – Remember them all

To repeat the words – courage, sacrifice, and selfless devotion – is not enough. Americans who died in combat did so because they knew they were making America a safer place for all of us. To truly honor them, we need to do our part to create the America they defended. There are many ways to make our community a better place – offer time and skills to a local charity, tutor a child or adult with reading comprehension, donate blood, help or advise a veteran to find a job, coach a sport, serve dinner at a shelter, entertain at a retirement home. Words are not enough; it is our actions that honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

May 30 – Bok Tower Memorial Day carillon concerts

Memorial Day at the magnificent Bok Tower Gardens will offer a musical salute of gratitude to our nation's veterans and current members of America's armed forces. Free admission is offered to active, retired and disabled veterans of all military branches with valid ID for the special Patriotic Carillon Concerts at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark offering the peace and beauty of nature along with the site’s unique carillon concerts at 1151 Tower Blvd. in Lake Wales. Call 863-676-1408 or visit

June 1 to July 3 – ‘Avenue Q’ – think Muppets with potty mouths

In 2003, a gang of wayward puppets created a worldwide phenomenon known as “Avenue Q.” Taking on the lessons of life, these colorful characters advise their friend Princeton on everything from getting a job to internet porn. With songs including “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” “If You Were Gay,” and “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?” the puppets of “Avenue Q” will have you thinking, “I said that once (or at least thought it).” Presented by the Mad Cow Theatre in their downtown Orlando complex through July 3, call 407-297-8788 or visit

June 4 from 9 am to 1 pm – Orange County Hurricane Expo 2016

Orange County, encouraging residents to be prepared for hurricane season, offers the 2016 Hurricane Expo on June 4 at the Renaissance Senior Center at South Econ Community Park at 3800 South Econlockhatchee Trail. This free event, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., offers information and free items, including weather radios and first aid kits, while supplies last. Attendees will learn to survive and deal with floods, high wind damage, and property loss. Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Call 407-836-9140 or visit [email protected]

June 4 – ‘Dream Catchers’ – Lillian Verkins & Fay Samimi art exhibit

Multiple award-winning artists and friends Lillian Verkins, painter, and Fay Samimi, ceramic sculptor, will share the Henao Contemporary Center’s Main Gallery Space with their new exhibit titled “Dream Catchers.” Their opening night is at 7 p.m. on June 4 with the exhibit running through July 17. The public is invited; please join these charming and talented ladies at the Henao Contemporary Center, located at 5601 N. Edgewater Drive in Orlando for their opening night or during the run of the exhibit. Visit

June 4, 6 & 8 – Copa America Centenario soccer tournament in Orlando

For the first time in its 100-year history, the Copa America Centenario, the oldest international soccer tournament in the world, will be staged outside of South America in 10 U.S. venues from June 3 to 26. This once-in-a-lifetime event features the top stars in the world in this 16-nation championship. The thrill of the biggest tournament in the Western Hemisphere will take place in Orlando featuring Costa Rica vs. Paraguay on June 4; Bolivia vs. Panama on June 6; and Brazil vs. Haiti on June 8. Visit or

June 5 – The Dr. Phillips Center School of the Arts 2016 Applause Awards

The Applause Awards, a program created by the Dr. Phillips Center School of the Arts, supports high schools that have their theater productions reviewed by a team of adjudicators. In June, following the model of Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Dr. Phillips Center hosts the Applause Awards to recognize the performances that demonstrate outstanding talent. From Dr. Phillips High School’s “Mary Poppins” to Boone High’s “The Addams Family” over 30 schools participated in this year’s judging. For tickets call 844-513-2014 or visit

June 5 – Maitland Symphony’s spring concert ‘The Magic of Youth’

Under batons held by Eric Mendez and Dale Burket, “The Magic of Youth” is Maitland Symphony Orchestra’s spring concert with MicheLee Puppet’s ‘Gussie’ as the master of ceremonies; Dr. Lori Lovell singing Mahler’s poignant “Kindertotenlieder No. 4,” and Maitland Middle School’s Musicale joining the orchestra. Alyssa Orantes Romanova is the guest violinist on Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto, and the whole family will enjoy “Carnival of the Animals,” “West Side Story” and “Star Wars” at this free concert at 7:30 p.m. at Maitland Presbyterian Church at 341 N. Orlando Ave. Donations are appreciated. Call 321-303-1404 or visit

And looking ahead …

June 18 – The World Ballet Competition 10th anniversary gala performance

In a not-to-be-missed performance, Orlando will host the 10th anniversary of the World Ballet Competition, the ‘Olympics of Ballet.’ Concluding with a gala performance showcasing an extraordinary evening of talent, the first half of the evening consists of the winners, ages 9 to 24, from the week of competition. The second half of the gala presents guest artists from around the world including Orlando’s own beloved ballet stars Katia Garza and Israel Rodriguez– for the first time ever – performing the Spartacus Love pas de deux. The performance is at the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. For tickets, please visit

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