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Fort Myers Beach
Film Festival
Celebrates 11 Years

The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival kicks off its 11th year with a public ceremony April 26 at the Beach Theater, followed by a full day of screenings at the theater. The public is invited to the opening ceremony at 2pm. The Beach Theater is located at 6425 Estero Blvd. in Fort Myers Beach.

There is a special Anniversary Celebration screening April 26, 6:30pm at the Fish Tale Marina, located at 7225 Estero Blvd.

Wednesday through Sunday, April 26-30, independent feature films, documentaries and shorts, by American and international filmmakers will be screened at the Beach Theater 3-11pm.

A discussion will be held Friday, April 28 at noon, and a workshop with visiting filmmakers will be held on Saturday, April 29, at 11am.

The Festival’s popular ‘Film on the Beach’ at the Outrigger Beach Resort is Friday evening, April 28. The outdoor screening at 7pm is free and families are welcome. The Outrigger is located at 6200 Estero Blvd.

The Film Festival ends Sunday, April 30 with an awards ceremony at 2pm at Fish Tale Marina. Immediately following the ceremony, the winning films will be rescreened at the Beach Theater, 3-9pm.

For information about Fort Myers Beach Film Festival screenings, workshops and special events, call 980-4381.


Reading Festival Returns
to Centennial Park

More than two dozen nationally acclaimed authors will meet their fans and talk about their books at the 18th annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival on Saturday, March 18, in Centennial Park in Fort Myers’ Historic River District. The largest one-day Reading Festival in Florida, it draws an average of 18,000 people annually.

The Reading Festival will be held in tents in Centennial Park, 10am-4pm. Admission is free and includes intimate author talks, book signings, the latest library technology, contests, booksellers, activities for teens and children, a free book for every child, and ‘Reading Rocks! Teen Battle of the Bands.’

The Festival starts Friday evening, March 17, at the Marina at Edison & Ford, with the ‘Evening with the Authors,’ an opportunity for fans to meet, mingle and dine with authors.

Author Kimberla Lawson Roby will be honored as the Southwest Florida Reading Festival’s Distinguished Author.

The evening features dockside cocktails at 5pm, followed by a buffet dinner and dessert reception outside in the beautiful coconut grove on the Edison Estate at sunset. Reservations are required.

Some of the adult authors appearing are Holly Brown, Nathan Hill, Gregg Hurwitz, Cassandra King, and Kimberla Lawson Roby. Teen authors appearing include Michelle Knudsen and Kami Garcia. Candace Fleming, Salina Yoon, D. Watkins, and Sara Shepard are a few of the children’s authors appearing.

Thursday evening, March 16, fans can meet author Cassandra King and hear her presentation at the Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ at 7pm. The Church is located at 8210 College Pkwy. in Fort Myers. Admission is free.

The Reading Festival, presented by the Lee County Library System is free and 100% community supported through donations, sponsorships and grants. For information, call 479-4636.


Fort Myers Film Fest
Showcases Indie Films

The 7th Fort Myers Film Festival will be held March 8-12 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Alliance for the Arts, Imaginarium, and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Opening with a Black Tie Red Carpet Gala, March 8 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, the event will begins at 5pm for drinks, music and mingling with local and international filmmakers. Film screening begins at 7pm.

The opening night film is Black Tide, a documentary film by Steven Johnson that explores the challenges those who look to maintain clean Southwest Florida waters contend with, from water mismanagement to the influence of big business and politics.

Films from the United States, France, Netherlands, South Africa, United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Canada, Australia, Iran, Hong Kong, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories, will be screened afternoons and evenings, March 9-12 at the Alliance for the Arts, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Downtown Fort Myers Library, and Bell Tower Regal Cinema.

The week-long celebration ends Sunday, March 12, with a champagne & dessert awards ceremony at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.

A few of the outstanding films to be screened include: The Lavender Scare and Battle of the Brides (USA), Winnie (France, Netherlands, South Africa), Horseshoe Theory (USA), The Islands and the Whales (United Kingdom, Denmark, USA), Hear the Silence (Germany, Poland), Love (France, Hungary), The Last Cowboy (Canada), and Pony Tale (Israel, Palestinian Territories).

Afternoons and evenings, March 9-12, film screenings and panel discussions will be at the Alliance for the Arts, 11am-5pm; at Davis Art Center, 11am-11pm; and at Regal Cinema, Bell Tower Shops, 5-11pm.

The Barbara B. Mann Hall is located at 13350 Edison Pkwy. in Fort Myers; Broadway Palm Theatre is located at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers; Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers; Davis Art Center is located at 2301 1st St. in Fort Myers’ River District; the owntown Fort Myers County Library is located at 2450 1st St.; Regal Cinema is located in the Bell Tower Shops, 13499 Bell Tower Dr. in Fort Myers.

For information about the Fort Myers Film Festival, call 810-6323.


‘Ding’ Darling Refuge to
Host Audubon-Inspired
Art Exhibition

From March 1-April 30, a group of local artists will display their works at the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge Visitor & Education Center on Sanibel Island. The Audubon Inspiration exhibit is curated by Cello Bennett, widow of the late artist Gale Bennett, along with artists Marcy Calkins and Jane Hudson.

Before his death in 2008, Gale Bennett, a local artist with an international reputation, taught for 40 years at art centers throughout the area. He was planning a series of paintings inspired by the works of famed bird artist John James Audubon. “Unfortunately Gale did not live long enough to do this project,” said his wife. “Almost all of the painters preparing the works for the Audubon exhibit were students of his.” Artists with works on display include Marcy Calkins, Pat Dunn, Jane Gezonime, Marilyn Hedlund, Sheila Hoen, Hudson, Teri Mills, Caroline Nuckolls, and Alicia Schmidt.

“The idea was to use Audubon’s masterpieces as a jumping-off point for original new works depicting birds of North America,” adds Bennett. “I am confident Gale would have been thrilled to see his idea carried out by such an accomplished group of artists.”

Audubon Inspirations is on view in the Refuge Visitor & Education Center auditorium every day, 9am-4pm. The ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located at 1 Wildlife Dr. on Sanibel. Call 472-1100 for information.


Tim Berens Performs
with SWFL Symphony

Cincinnati Pops guitarist, Tim Berens performs Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Southwest Florida Symphony as part of its ‘Small Stage Symphonies’ series. In addition, the concert features performances of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony 101, The Clock and Mater by contemporary Italian composer, Cristian Cararra. Concerts are scheduled for BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island on March 8, at Shell Point Village Church on March 9, and at the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center on March 10. All concerts start at 7:30pm.

Small Stage Symphonies are chamber orchestra concerts that take place at smaller venues throughout Lee County in order to provide patrons with a more intimate concert experience and an opportunity to sample an even broader variety of classical repertoire.

BIG ARTS is located at 900 Dunlop Rd. on Sanibel, Shell Point Village Church is located at 15100 Shell Pt. Blvd. in Fort Myers, and the Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center is located at 11515 Bonita Beach Rd. in Bonita Springs.

Southwest Florida Symphony is the only professional orchestra in Lee County and one of the oldest on Florida’s Gulf Coast, celebrating its 56th season this year. For information, call 418-1500.


Hard Rock Music Festival
Returns to JetBlue Park

A lineup featuring some of hard rock’s biggest artists will be performing at the fifth annual Monster Energy Fort Rock on Saturday & Sunday, April 29 & 30 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. Def Leppard are the headliners of Saturday’s concert and Soundgarden headline the concert on Sunday. South Florida’s biggest rock festival will feature performances from more than 25 bands on two stages,

Scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 29 is Def Leppard, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Alter Bridge, Seether, Three Days Grace, In This Moment, Motionless in White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Cover Our Tracks.

Sunday, April 30, the concert features Soundgarden, A Perfect Circle, The Offspring, Mastadon, Highly Suspect, The Pretty Reckless, In Flames, Eagles of Death Metal, All That Remains, Starset, I Prevail, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Goodbye June.

Music starts each day at 12 noon and continues until 12 midnight.

Weekend, single day and VIP tickets are available. VIP tickets include a VIP entrance to JetBlue Park, access to a VIP lounge area with a dedicated bar, beverage and food service, views of the main stage, shaded seated area, and private restroom facilities.

JetBlue Park is located at 11581 Daniels Pkwy. in Fort Myers. For information, visit FortRockFestival.com.

Plays and Playwrights
Featured in Florida Rep’s
PlayLab Festival

Florida Repertory Theatre's 2017 PlayLab Festival of new plays and emerging voices will feature six new play readings, two world premiere productions, including last year's festival winner, Doublewide, and a keynote address from National New Play Network Executive Director, Nan Barnett.

The PlayLab Festival runs April 27-30 in both of Florida Rep's venues, and includes works by noted playwrights, Mark Brown (Around the World in 80 Days), Mark St. Germain (Best of Enemies), and Daryl Lisa Fazio, whose play, Split in Three, had its world premiere at Florida Rep in 2015 after winning the inaugural PlayLab Festival.

The 4th Annual PlayLab will feature Love, the Cracksman by Mark Brown, SMOKE by Gloria Bond Clunie, The Flower Room by Daryl Lisa Fazio, Damascus by Bennett Fisher, We Will Not be Silent by David Meyers, and George Washington's Teeth by Mark St. Germain. All performances are in the Historic Arcade Theatre.

As part of the 2017 festival, audiences will have the opportunity to see Florida Rep's National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere production of Doublewide by Stephen Spotswood. The play was read in the 2016 festival. Doublewide will be playing in the ArtStage Studio Theatre April 11-May 14.

A keynote address and playwright panel discussion will be held following the 8pm performance on Saturday, April 29.

Commissioned by Florida Rep and read as part of last year's PlayLab Festival, the world premiere production of A Dream Within a Dream: the Spirit of Poe by Christopher T. Parks, currently touring area schools, will be performed as part of the festival on Sunday, April 30 at 11am. The haunting look at the life of Edgar Allan Poe is appropriate for grades 6 and up.

PlayLab Festival
Apr 27 : Love, The Cracksman 8pm
Apr 28 : The Flower Room 2pm
Apr 28 : Smoke 8pm
Apr 29 : Damascus 1pm
Apr 29 : Keynote Address & playwrights panel 8pm
Apr 30 : A Dream Within a Dream 11am
Apr 30 : We Will Not Be Silent 2pm
Apr 30 : George Washington's Teeth 5pm

Florida Repertory Theater’s Arcade Theatre is located at 2267 1st St. in Fort Myers. Call 332-4488 for information.


Weekend of Blues
in Riverside Park

The 11th annual Bonita Blues Festival returns to Bonita Springs’ Riverside Park on Friday, March 10 & Saturday, March 11. Gates open at 1pm March 10 and 11am on March 11. Both days will feature award-winning blues music from around the country and a variety of foods and beverages. Music will be performed 1-9pm Friday and 11am-8pm Saturday.

The artists performing include Studebaker John and the Hawks with special guest Rick Kreher, Phantom Blues Band, Samantha Fish, Albert Castiglia, Dennis Jones Band, Cedric Burnside Project, Idlewild South, Zora Young with Little Mike and the Tornadoes, Vanessa Collier Band, Jeff Jensen Band, Brian James and the Revival, and Hector Anchondo Band.

Friday, March 10

1:30-2:30pm : Brian James & the Revivals
3-4pm : Vanessa Collier
4:30-5:30pm : Idlewild South
6-7:15pm : Dennis Jones Band
7:45-9pm : Studebaker John & the Hawks with Rick Kreher
After Party tba : Tommy Z Band

Saturday, March 11
11:30-12:30pm : Hector Anchondo
1-2pm : Jeff Jensen
2:30-3:45pm : Zora Young & Little Mike & the Tornadoes
4-5:30pm : Cedric Burnside Project
6-7:15pm : Samantha Fish Band with Albert Castiglia
7:45-9pm : Phantom Blues Band
After Party : Albert Castiglia Band

Proceeds of the Bonita Blues Festival will benefit the Bonita Springs Assistance Office Music for Minors Foundation, providing musical instruments to local youth and The Music Therapy Program at the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The Bonita Blues Festival will be held rain or shine. Blankets and lawn/deck chairs are suggested. Coolers and pets are not allowed. Riverside Park is located on Old US 41 in downtown Bonita Springs.

For information, call 898-2939.


Branchaud Brings
to DAAS Gallery

Last year, artist Danielle Branchaud debuted a surprising new series of work exploring psycho-spiritual themes and archetypes, particularly those coined by Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. The series of paintings, called Psychopomp, will reach its conclusion with ‘Synchronicity,’ an exhibition at DAAS Co-Op Art Gallery & Gifts opening March 11 during SoCo’s regular Second Saturday event.

The exhibition will feature new works, delving not only into new archetypes but the unseen connections among individuals. Synchronicity is defined by the occurrence of events appearing to happen by chance; however not as coincidence but in a meaningful way. Branchaud’s paintings explore this notion, among others, in a style combining vivid colorful expressionism and traditional figurative art.

Danielle Branchaud is a local painter specializing in surrealism and portraiture in acrylics. She has exhibited in Southwest Florida for ten years. This solo exhibition is a follow-up to the Psychopomp premiere at Howl Gallery in April 2016.

‘Synchronicity’ will feature new acrylic paintings on canvas and an interactive installation that invites the audience to contribute to its message.

SoCo Second Saturday is a regular event held the second Saturday of each month, 5-10pm, at various venues in SoCo, an art district in Fort Myers that runs from Colonial Blvd. down to McGregor Blvd. to Royal Palm Blvd. and over to Summerlin Rd. and back up to Colonial Blvd. and McGregor Blvd.

The opening reception, March 11, 5-10pm, is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on view, March 11-April 1 at the DAAS Co-Op Gallery, located at 1400 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. Call 590-8645 for information.


Alliance for the Arts Presents
‘Art Beyond Boundaries’

The Alliance for the Arts main gallery show, ‘Art Beyond Boundaries’ will exhibit from March 3 until March 25 with an opening reception on Sunday, March 5 from 6-8 p.m. Meet artists during a conversational gallery walk and talk on March 11 at 10 a.m.

‘Art Beyond Boundaries,’ a collection of 50 works created by artists from Israel and the United States (eight of the participating artists are from Lee County), will be on view at the Alliance for the Arts, thru March 25. For the exhibition, an artist from Israel was paired with an artist from the United States to create two separate pieces of work based upon a psalm. The exhibition presents the Book of Psalms as a source of inspiration and empowerment unbounded by limitations of location or language. The show’s original opening was in Israel and is currently traveling through the southeast United States.

Toni Ferrell Sutton’s art is on display thru March 25 in the Theatre Gallery. Works by The Fort Myers Eight, local artists Carolyn Gora, Gale Shamblott, Celeste Borah, Juli Bobman, Shirley Litman, Elsie Gold Sewell, Herbert H. Sklar, and Janice Heligman, will be in the Member Gallery thru March 25.

The Alliance for the Arts, located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. In Fort Myers, is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm. For more information, please call 939-2787.


Naples Festival Makes Us
Want to Stay in May

The Stay in May Festival features 40 events over three weeks at various venues throughout the Naples area, from theaters, concert halls, museums, and galleries to schools, churches and libraries.

The arts festival opens April 25 with a reception 6pm at the Naples Art Association’s von Liebig Art Center for ‘From Shanghai to Naples; The Art of Deen Gu.’

Shangri-La Springs hosts the first of three lectures about Mindfulness on April 26 at 10am. Another lecture will be held at 2pm. The third lecture is May 10, 7pm in the East Clubhouse of Bentley Village.

Pianist Gulsin Onay performs ‘More Than a Little Night Music’ on April 26, 2pm, at the Naples Art Association, located at 585 Park St. in downtown Naples. Other concerts scheduled for 2pm at the Naples Art Association are Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz’s Fusion Enchantment, May 2, and pianist Ilya Itin performing Two Monumental Sonatas, May 3; Latin jazz legend, Arturo Sandoval’s concert May 9, and pianist Kevin Kenner’s concert, All Chopin in the Afternoon on May 11.

Bluegrass band, The Depue Brothers perform in concert April 26, 7pm at the Hilton Hotel.

Vocalist Steffanie Pearce performs Journey Through American Song on April 27 at the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, 1225 Piper Blvd.

Pianist Dick Hyman performs Hit Tunes from the 30s at 2pm at the Naples Art Association.

The 10th Anniversary Dixieland Celebration for Norris Gardens, featuring the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band, is April 29, 4pm at Norris Gardens at Palm Cottage, 137 12th Ave. S.

A Short Film Fest, featuring screenings of independent short films, is scheduled for April 30 and May 3 & 7. Sheffield Theatre, Moorings Park Screenings start at 7pm.

Violinist Lara St. John & the 5th Avenue Chamber Orchestra perform Mozart Violin Concerto #3 & Symphony #25 at 7pm on May 1 at the First Methodist Church, 388 1st Ave. S, Naples and at the Naples Art Association, 585 Park St, Naples. 2p.

An Organ Crawl Across Naples is May 4, including concerts at five area churches 12:30-7pm.

On May 5, ‘Rockin’ the Library’ brings big band music to South Regional Library, 8065 Lely Cultural Pkwy. at 6pm.

Dancing with the Stars, a music & dance show with Susan Clayton, will be in the JFCS Community room, 5025 Castello Dr.

Seraphic Fire Choral Concert is May 9, 7pm, at the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, 1225 Piper Blvd.
Malenda Trick paints & Steffanie Pearce sing during ‘A Night in Paris: Painting & Cabaret Classics,’ May 11, 5:30pm at Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 S Heathwood Dr.

The Stay in May Festival ends with a concert at 5:30pm by The Tokens and Rocky & The Rollers at the Naples Zoo, 1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd.

For information, call 390-2788.

Samantha Fish performs
with Albert Castiglia,
Saturday, March 11 at the
Bonita Blues Festiva in
downtown Bonita Springs’
Riverside Park.

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Cassandra King will be appearing
March 16 at the Fort Myers
Congregational United Church
as part of the Southwest Florida
Reading Festival.

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The award-winning documentary,
The Islands and The Whales is
one of the films being screened
at the Fort Myers Film Festival,
March 9-12.

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Danielle Branchaud will be
showing new paintings at the
DAAS Co-Op Gallery in
Fort Myers, March 11 -April 1,

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Tim Berens, Cincinnati Pops guitarist, performs with the
Southwest Florida Symphony,
March 8 at BIG ARTS on Sanibel,
March 9 at the Village Point Church
in Shell Point, and March 10 at the
Southwest Florida Performing Arts
Center in Bonita Springs.

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11500 Fenway South Drive
Fort Myers

Mar 2 : vs Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 5 : vs Atlanta Braves
Mar 9 : vs Team USA (wbc)
Mar 10 : vs Baltimore Orioles
Mar 11 : vs Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 14 : vs Toronto Blue Jays *
Mar 16 : vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Mar 17 : vs Houston Astros
Mar 19 : vs Minnesota Twins
Mar 20 : vs Baltimore Orioles
Mar 23 : vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Mar 25 : vs Philadelphia Phillies
Mar 29 : vs Minnesota Twins
Mar 30 : vs Washington Nationals
games start 1pm
except * 6pm

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14400 Six Mile Cypress Parkway
Fort Myers

Mar 1 : vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Mar 4 : vs Toronto Blue Jays
Mar 6 : vs St. Louis Cardinals
Mar 8 : vs Team USA (wbc)
Mar 9 : vs Team Colombia
Mar 11 : vs Boston Red Sox
Mar 12 : vs Baltimore Orioles
Mar 13 : vs Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 15 : vs St. Louis Cardinals
Mar 18 : vs Boston Red Sox
Mar 21 : vs Philadelphia Phillies
Mar 24 : vs Baltimore Orioles *
Mar 26 : vs Boston Red Sox
Mar 28 : vs Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 31 : vs Rochester Red Wings
Games start 1pm
except * 7pm

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14400 Six Mile Cypress Parkway
Fort Myers

Apr 8 : vs Jupiter Hammerheads
Apr 9 : vs Jupiter Hammerheads
Apr 17 : vs Florida Fire Frogs
Apr 18 : vs Florida Fire Frogs
Apr 19 : vs Florida Fire Frogs
Apr 20 : vs Florida Fire Frogs
Apr 25 : vs Bradenton Marauders
Apr 26 : vs Bradenton Marauders
Apr 27 : vs Bradenton Marauders
Apr 28 : vs Dunedin Blue Jays
Apr 29 : vs Dunedin Blue Jays
Apr 30 : vs Dunedin Blue Jays
Games start