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on the Beach
The seventh annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival returns to the island April 25-28, with screenings all day over the four-day festival at Beach Theater, a twilight sceenning on the beach, a filmmaking workshop for adults and another for children to create family films, a film industry luncheon, and a sunset cruise with filmmakers and celebrity guests.
The Film Festival begins Wednesday, April 24, with a Welcome Filmmakers Sunset Party Cruise aboard the Indian Princess Paddle Boat.
The Festival officially opens Thursday, April 25, with Ribbon Cutting at Beach Theater.
On Friday, April 26th, there will be a Twilight Film on the Beach behind the Holiday Inn.
Independent Film Industry workshops will be given on Saturday, April 27.
The Festival closes on Sunday, April 28, with an Awards Ceremony and Audience Award film screening.
The Beach Theater is located at 6425 Estero Blvd., in Fort Myers Beach. The Holiday Inn is located nearby at 6890 Estero Blvd. For more information, call 314-9234.
Step Back in Time
The Friends of the Collier County Museum and the Seminole Tribe of Florida presents the 24th annual Old Florida Festival March 8 & 9. The weekend festival is one of the largest and most popular living history gatherings in the state, featuring more than 100 historical reenactors, craftworkers, demonstrators, folk musicians, and storytellers depicting everyday life on the Southwest Florida frontier, from Calusa and Seminole Indians to World War II. This years event includes a Spanish fort and garrison, complete with mounted conquistadors, cannons, a missionary, displays and a Spanish colonial cooking demonstration.
Families can spend a day in the past with a Calusa indian, a Seminole family, a Civil War soldier, cracker cattlemen, Spanish conquistadors, and other costumed reenactors. Reenactors, living history presenters, craftworkers, artists, and musicians will educate and entertain visitors and there will be authentic military drills by soldiers from the American Revolution to World War II. And there will be a barbeque.
The Old Florida Festival will be held at the Collier County Museum, 3331 Tamiami Trail E., two miles from downtown Naples in the Collier County Government Center. For more information, please call 252-8476.
Back by popular demand, Zimsculpt, an exhibition of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, returns to the Naples Botanical Garden thru March 24. More than 100 new pieces, 3-15 feet tall, from more than 40 artists, will be installed throughout the gardens. Visitors can also meet artists Patrick Sephani and Passmore Mupindiko, who will be demonstrating the art of stone carving daily, and Curator, Vivienne Croisette will be providing tours of the installation.
Naples Botanical Garden, located at 4820 Bayshore Drive in Naples, is open daily 9am-5pm. call 643-7275 for information.
Twenty five nationally acclaimed and best-selling adult, teen and childrens authors will be appearing at the 14th annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival on March 16. The Reading Festival, in the Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park, features author presentations and book signings, programs and activities for teens and children, the latest library technology, contests, booksellers, and a free book for every child and teen. New this year is the Reading Rocks! Teen Battle of the Bands!, where three finalists perform at 12:30, 1:45 and 3:15pm.
The Festival, which draws about 18,000 people, kicks-off Friday evening, March 15, 6-9pm, with Evening with the Authors, where attendees can meet authors such as Catherine Coulter, Alex Berenson and Martin Dugard; teen authors Ellen Hopkins, and Ally Carter; and childrens authors Tedd Arnold and Kadir Nelson.
Michele Wehrwein Albion, author of The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, The Quotable Edison and The Quotable Henry Ford will be one of the authors appearing at the Festival. During the 1990s, she was the curator at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.
Other authors expected to be at the Festival are: The New York Times bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Joy Fielding and Kim Harrison, former reporter and award winning author Alex Berenson, former News-Press and USA Today reporter Deborah Sharp, Joy Castro, Catherine Coulter, Tim Dorsey, Dorothea Benton Frank, Jeaniene Frost, Jane Green, H. Terrell Griffin, and Les Standiford, as well as childrens authors Tedd Arnold, Annie Barrows, Gail Carson Levine, Kadir Nelson, Bob Shea, Mélanie Watt and teen authors Ally Carter and Ellen Hopkins.
The Reading Festival is free and is totally community supported through generous donations, sponsorships and grants.
The Festival will be open 10am-6pm. The Harborside Event Center is located at 1375 Monroe St. on the waterfron in the historic River District in downtown Fort Myers. Centennial Park is across the street on the riverfront. For more information, call 337-READ.
The Sanibel Music Festival, an island tradition for 27 years, opens March 2 with Trio Cavatina, one of three ensembles new to the Festival. Others performing for the first time at the Festival are the Arabesque Winds with Cherry Tsang on piano and the Ariel Quartet. In addition, four returning favorites include the Gould Trio with Robert Plane on clarinet, David Finckel with Wu Han and Philip Setzer, Pacifica Quartet with Wu Han on piano, and the Opera Theater of Connecticut.
All concerts will be performed Tuesday and Saturdays at 8pm at the Sanibel Congregational Church on Sanibel.
Sat, March 2 : Trio Cavatina
Tue, March 5 : Gould Trio with Robert Plane, clarinet
Sat, March 9 : Arabesque Winds with Cherry Tsang, piano
Tue, March 12 : Ariel Quartet
Sat, March 16 : David Finckel with Wu Han and Philip Setzer
Tue, March 19 : Pacifica Quartet with Wu Han
Sat, March 24 : Opera Theater of Connecticut Viva Verdi!
Sanibel Congregational Church is located at 2050 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel. For information, call 344-7025.
Cuban Coffee Paintings
As part of its year-long Viva Florida 500 celebration, Collier County Museums hosts The Spirit of the Coffee Bean, Cuban Espresso Coffee paintings by Reynier Llanes, March 1-April 25 at the Naples Depot Museum in downtown Naples. An opening reception for the artist will be held March 1, 6-8pm.
Unable to obtain the necessary paints and art supplies in his native Cuba, Llanes mastered the art of using coladito, or espresso coffee, as an essential and aromatic ingredient to create his art. His painting process is similar to watercolor. He prepares his palette by roasting different kinds of Cuban coffee. The various shades of brown depend on the color of the bean and how much water is used to brew the pot. With these, Llanes composes his nostalgic scenes of family and rural life in Cuba to celebrate the islands long cultural connection with Southwest Florida.
The Naples Depot Museum is located at 1051 Fifth Ave. S. Admission is free. For information, call 252-6525.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida unveils its newly renovated Nature Center during a two-day Grand Reopening Weekend Festival, April 20 & 21. The new Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center is designed to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the water, land, and wildlife in the region.
The Grand Reopening celebration will allow people to experience the new Nature Center and enjoy other eco-friendly activities and events. Weekend festivities include special exhibits and educational programs and speakers, including renowned oceanographer and keynote speaker, Dr. Sylvia Earle from National Geographic, as well as music, entertainment, films, live aninal presentations, arts & crafts, games, puppet show, book signings, special activities for children, and guided eco-cruises.
The first 50 attendees each day receive a free Grand Reopening Weekend Festival commemorative t-shirt.
The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region with a mission to protect the regions water, land and wildlife through environmental education, science, policy, and wildlife rehabilitation. The von Arx Wildlife Hospital treats more than 3,200 injured, sick and orphaned animals each year and releases about half of them back into their native habitats.
For more information about the Conservancys Weekend Festival, April 20 & 21, 10am-4pm, call the Grand Reopening Hotline at 430-2466.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida is located at 1450 Merrihue Dr., off Goodlette-Frank Rd. at 14th Ave. N. in Naples. The new Nature Center entrance is located on Smith Preserve Way, off of Goodlette-Frank Rd. in Naples, just south of the Naples Zoo. The Conservancy is open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm. For information, call 262-0304.
Unit A, Marcus Jansen's open studio headquarters, will celebrate its one year anniversary on April 5, during downtown Fort Myers Art Walk, with a reception and anniversary party that will include a DJ and a special guest artist appearance.
Unit A opened in March 2012, after internationally renown artist and Fort Myers resident Marcus Jansen decided to transform his studio building from a forgotten church into the largest private art space of it's kind in Southwest Florida. Its the first space to open in what some are calling the emerging Warehouse Art District in downtown Fort Myers. Leaders of the local art community have already held meetings about possible artists lofts and non-profit warehouse space for arts organizations having a place in that region using Unit A as a catalyst to do so.
"The space is here because our members believed in the mission and committed to the cause and stick to it, says Jansen. With the anniversary we celebrate our members behind the scene that don't make headline news.
The name Unit A does not just refer to it's location, but also represents our small unit of individuals that believe in our mission," he continues.
Members working behind the scene include Chrisitine Gruber, Tonda Soisson Lawson & Nick Soisson, Lelia & Ray Soission as well as Amanda Plummer, Bob Encarnacion, Michi's Arts & Craft, and Laszlo Hagymasi, from Budapest, Hungary, who has worked with Jansen for almost fifteen years and will be part of the Unit's continuing operations.
Unit A will also introduce its new members at the anniversary party: Lia Martino, who worked closely with Giorgio Armani, is now Jansen's Artist Liaison; and artist Jonas Stirner, who assisted Robert Rauschenberg for many years.
Lia brings an extensive amount of experience and information from fashion and arts with her and is very passionate about the Units mission," said Jansen.
From digital imaging to fabrication, Stirner has knowledge of all phases of fine art production. He will be collaborating with Jansen on projects and events. "Although we typically do not represent artists at Unit A, Jonas will also be showing his sculptures at the opening anniversary celebration as a special guest, explains Jansen. We are very excited to have his involvement and his artwork is a great asset to our team."
Since its opening a year ago, Unit A has hosted several big events, including Sonic Combine, Urban Decaydence, and Jansen's Absolut Vodka signing.
Unit A works with the Alliance for the Arts, Florida Gulf Coast University, Hodges University and others, offering educational tours and artist talks.
Jansen also has a busy year ahead with exhibitions in Rome, Venice, Milan, Munich, and London. Lia Martino says, "We are looking forward to an exciting year and look forward to working closely with our gallery partners here and abroad." One of Marcus's longtime partners has been HW Gallery in Naples.
The Unit A anniversary party on April 5 is 6-10pm and is limited to 140 guests at a time. The gallery, located at 1922 Evans Ave. in Fort Myers, is open by appointment only and the first Friday of every month, 6-10pm. For more information, call 338-8449.
Jansen on Sanibel
Marcus Jansens paintings will be featured in a solo exhibt at BIG Arts on Sanibel, March 4-30. Jansen will host a BIG Arts ARTSalon lecture, titled Expressionism Today: Urban, Socio-Political Paintings, on March 15 at 4pm. There will be a free reception following the lecture, 5:30-7pm.
BIG Arts is located at 900 Dunlop Rd. on sanibel. Call 472-9700 for information.
Jansen on Campus
Jansen will also be one of th e artists with work in the exhibi, Eye of the Storm,; at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery on the campus of Edison State College March 1-April 13. The opening reception is March 1, 6-8pm, with a gallery talk with Guest Curator, D. Dominick Lombardi: at 7pm. The reception and gallery talk is free.
Other artists featured in Eye of the Storm are Isak Applin, Anita Arliss, Jonathan Beer, Susan Breen, Mia Brownell, Ernest Concepcion, Paul Gagner, Chambliss Giobbi, Richard Höglund, Shawn Huckins, Marcus Jansen, Arcady Kotler, D. Dominick Lombardi, Marci MacGuffie, Tim Merry, Arnold Mesches, Rashaad Newsome, Trong Nguyen, Leah Oates, Rebecca Reeve, Holly Sears, Karen Shaw, Patricia Smith, D. Jack Solomon, and Melanie Vote.
The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery is located on the campus of Edison State College, 8099 College Pkwy. in Fort Myers. The gallery is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 11am-3pm. Call 489-9313 for more information.
The seventh annual Bonita Blues Festival, a two-day concert event, will again be held on March 8 & 9 at Riverside Park in downtown Bonita Springs.
Gates open at 1:30pm and music starts at 2pm on Friday, March 8. Gates open at 11am and music starts at 11:30pm on Saturday, March 9. Both days will feature award-winning blues artists from around the country as well as local favorites.
Legendary bluesman Jimmy Thackery headlines the Friday concert. Also performing will be Southern Hospitality, featuring JP Soars, Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright, as well as The Reba Russell Band and local favorites Big Buck & the Biscuit Boys and The Certified Band.
Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials is the headliner closing the blues festival on Sunday night. Lil Ronnie & the Grand Dukes, Biscuit Miller & the Mix, Skyla Burrell, and local bands The Juice Blues Band, Deb & The Dynamics and the Cracker Blues Band will also play.
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 Childrens Hospital of Southwest Florida, for the benefit of the Music Therapy Program.
Riverside Park is located at 27300 Old Rd 41 & Childers St. in Bonita Springs. Call 898-2939 for information.
Conservancy of Southwest
Florida celebrates its newly
renovated Nature Center the
weekend of April 20 & 21.
The Fort Myers Beach
Film Festival hosts a
Twilight Film on the beach
behind the Holiday Inn,
Collier Museums host its
annual Old Florida Festival
March 9 & 10.
Unit A, Marcus Jansens
studio gallery headquarters,
is celebrating its first
anniversary with a party
April 5 during Art Walk.
Zimsculpt, an exhibition
of sculptures from Zimbabwe,
returns to the Naples Botanical
Garden thru March 24.
The Ariel Quartet performs
March 12 for the first time
at the Sanibel Music Festival.
Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials
perform March 9 at the
Bonita Blues Festival.
Catherine Coulter will be
appearing at Evening with
the Authors, kicking off
the Southwest Florida
Reading Festival on March 15.
Cuban painter Reynier Llanes'
paintings will be on view at
the Naples Depot Museum
in March & April.
Sarah Berry joins Marc Kudish
as special guests with the
Gulf Coast Symphony on
April 7 at the B.B. Mann
Perfroming Arts Hall.
BOSTON RED SOX
11500 Daniels Pkwy
Mar 1: vs Pittsburgh Pirates *
all games 1:30pm
14100 Six Miles Cypress Pkwy
Mar 2: vs Boston Red Sox
all games 1pm
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
14400 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy
April 4: vs Bradenton
all games 7pm