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on the gulf

NEWS & PREVIEWS

ArtFest Returns

to Fort Myers

Riverfront

 

   ArtFest Fort Myers, Southwest Florida’s premier art festival, returns to Centennial Park on Fort Myers’ Historic River District waterfront, February 2-34, with works by more than 200 artists on display and for sale, as well as a variety of children’s activities, live entertainment and food trucks.

   The free art fair is open 10am-5pm on Saturday, February 3 and 10am-4pm on Sunday, February 4, with an opening night, Friday, 6-9pm. Gulf Coast Symphony performs a free concert, Symphony on the Sound, at 7pm at the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater across the street from the Luminary Hotel. Seats are limited. Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed.

   Guest can also meet some of the artists Friday night in a VIP tent, with food and drinks available.

   Publix Art Yard and Art for All offer hands-on activities of young children, where they can create their own art and enter a Hula Hoop competition.

Art Under 20 is an art exhibition and competition for high school students. Chalk Block showcases art by high school students and professional chalk artists.

   Although entrance to ArtFest and all of its events and activities are free, paid VIP memberships are available. Memberships include reserved seats for the Symphony on the Sound concert, free food and drinks at the Opening Night party, reserved parking, free food, wine and beer all weekend, and shaded rest area on the Caloosa Sound Convention Center terraces overlooking the festival.

   The entrance to ArtFest is at Centennial Park at 1375 Monroe St. Parking is free on city streets Friday after 5pm and all weekend. Parking garages are located nearby. The LeeTran Downtown Trolley will be running from parking garages on Saturday. For information, call 768-3602.

Circus Sarasota

Features New Acts

 

   Circus Arts Conservatory presents an all new Circus Sarasota, February 16-March 10 on Regatta Island at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. International acts ranging from contortion, diabolo (juggling) and clowning to the flying trapeze and the Double Wheel of Destiny, perform in a one-ring traditional circus setting. 

   The lineup for this year’s Circus Sarasota includes:

   Joseph Bauer Jr. (ringmaster): 15th generation member of one of Switzerland’s oldest circus families.

   The Bello Sisters (acrobatic hand balancing): One of the most requested halftime-show performers for the NBA and NCAA Basketball, they made it into the Top 10 on America’s Got Talent.

   Caleb Carinci (horseback riding): Featured in The Big Apple Circus and had a role in the film, The Greatest Showman. 

   Duo Minasov (quick change artistry): Married couple Elena and Victor Minasov combine stunning costume changes with dance, illusion and magic. 

   Elan España (diabolo Juggling): Has traveled the world juggling up to four diabolos (two-headed top caught with a string stretched between two sticks or batons at one time, including a performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

   Noe España & Marcos Ponce Lopez (Double Wheel of Destiny): Has performed with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s U.S. and Japan tours.

   Noemi España (contortion and hand balancing): Has performed her hula hoop act in Spain, Australia, Italy, Panama, Canada and the U.S, and can shoot a bow and arrow with her feet.

   Flying Tabares (flying trapeze): Elite group of aerialists recently won the Silver Medal win at the International Circus Festival of Italy.

   Jimmy Folco (clown): With more than 30 years of experience, his work has been influenced by the artistry and physical comedy of Buster Keaton.

   Anton Monastyrsky (hula hoop artistry): Featuring difficult tricks and stylish choreography, he has performed in many of the top circuses in the world, from Cirque du Soleil to Circus Krone.

Caleb Carinci, the Flying Tabares and Anton Monastyrsky are making their Circus Sarasota debuts.

   Showtimes are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 & 7pm, Fridays at 7pm, and Sundays at 1 & 5pm. Performances take place at the Ulla Searing Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park, located at 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle in Sarasota. Call 941-355-9335 for information.

Patti Smith Returns

to Marie Selby

Gardens

 

   Patti Smith, Marie Selby Garden’s Artist-in-Residence, returns to Sarasota February 15 for a special encore performance, An Encore with Patti Smith Dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe. The performance commemorates Selby Gardens’ 2024 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe, on view February 11- June 30.

   This is Smith’s fourth visit to Selby Gardens. Her visits have combined public activities such as readings and performances with private time drawing creative inspiration from the organization’s two bayfront campuses and world-renowned collections. In addition, Smith’s iconic voice can be heard at the new Welcome Center, where she narrates a visitor orientation video in the new Theater. 

   Smith’s relationship with Selby Gardens stems from the Gardens’ 2022 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry, and Light. 

   Smith first visited Selby Gardens in February 2022 to tour the exhibition and perform songs and readings she selected to complement the exhibition. Smith returned in April 2022 for a second live performance, at which the new residency was announced. In November 2023, Smith returned with An Evening with Patti Smith Dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe, as a prelude to the Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe.

Smith’s performance on February 15 starts at 7pm

   Marie Selby Botanical Gardens downtown Sarasota Campus is located at 1534 Mound St. in Sarasota. For information, call 941-366-5731.

Jewish Film Festival

at Bell Tower

Cinemas

 

   Celebrating its 28th year, the Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida presents a diverse selection of outstanding Jewish films from several countries that examine Jewish history, heritage, and culture. Eleven films will be screened on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 & 7pm, throughout February.

SCREENING SCHEDULE

   • Feb 1: Dead Sea Guardian. Documentary about the lowest place on earth. 7pm. 

   • Feb 4: Remembering Gene Wilder. Documentary of legendary actor and comedian. 3pm. 

   • Feb 6: Children of Nobody. Drama, in Hebrew with subtitles. True story of troubled boys uniting to protect a shelter for at-risk youth. 7pm. 

   • Feb 8: The Jews & The Blues. Documentary explores blues influences in various Israeli cultures. 7pm. 

   • Feb 13: Lost Transport. Historical drama with subtitles. Story of unexpected friendships as train deporting Jewish prisoners is stranded in small German village occupied by the Red Army. 7pm.

   • Feb 15: Israel Swings for Gold. Story of Israeli’s baseball team competing in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. 7pm. 

   • Feb 20: Matchmaking. Romantic comedy gives twist on Romeo and Juliet. In Hebrew. 7pm. 

   • Feb 22: Farewell Mr Haffmann. French with subtitles. Drama about a Jewish tailor forging identities and documents to help others escape Nazi-occupied France. 7pm. 

   • Feb 25: Imordecai. Comedy-drama about Holocaust survivor adapting to the modern world and an iPhone. 3pm. 

   • Feb 27: The Shadow of the Day. Italian and French with subtitles. Story of Fascist-abiding restaurateur and girl with dangerous secret who starts working for him. 7pm. 

   • Feb 29: The Catskills. Documentary explores the storied mountain bungalow getaway north of New York City and its vibrant Jewish life. 3p. 

   The Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida screenings are at the Regal Bell Tower Stadium 20 Theaters, located at 13499 Bell Tower Dr. in Fort Myers. Call 481-4449 for information.

Opera Under the Stars in Naples

 

   Opera Naples’ annual Festival Under the Stars returns to Cambier Park in downtown Naples. The festival takes place on the park’s softball field, with an elevated stage, reserved seating, and VIP tables. 

   The festival includes two evenings with the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation, personally hosted by Nicoletta Pavarotti, which celebrate the legacy of Luciano Pavarotti. 

   The concerts feature world-renowned opera artists, such as Marcelo Álvarez, Gregory Kunde, Jennifer Rowley in Madama Butterfly, and local favorite Jeanette Donatti. 

   A concert by pianist Konstantin Soukhovetskl is presented in collaboration with Grand Piano Serie. 

   Opera Naples pays tribute to the great Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini on the 100th anniversary of his passing with our fully staged Madama Butterfly.

   Several performances will have a Latin flair as part of the ¡Arte Viva! Festival Celebration of Hispanic Arts & Culture, including the ballet Carmen, a collaboration with Gulfshore Ballet, as well as an evening of Zarzuela and Flamenco dancing. 

   The 2024 Festival Under the Stars will include a free Family & Community Day, featuring a performance of 'Stop, Bully!' by the Opera Naples Resident Artists, the Opera Naples Youth Company, and a variety of activities to educate and inspire the children in our community. 

SCHEDULE

   Feb 29:Konstantin Soukhovetski 

   Mar 1: Pavarotti Forever 
   Mar 2: Family & Community Day
   Mar 2: Zarzuela & Flamenco 
   Mar 3: Jeanette Donatti 
   Mar 6: Pavarotti: His Life   
   Mar 7: Carmen with Gulfshore Ballet 
   Mar 8: Madama Butterfly 
   Mar 9: Gregory Kunde 
   Mar 10: Madama Butterfly 

   All concerts begin at 7pm. Cambier Park is located at 755 8th Ave. S. in hoistoric downtown Naples. For information, call 963-9050.

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ArtFest Fort Myers, February 2-4, showcases the work of more than 200 artists from acrosthe country.

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The Bello Sisters perform an acrobatic balancing act in Circus Sarasota, February 16-March 10 in the Ulla Searing Big Top

in Sarasota.

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The New York Times best-selling author, Susan Penner will be appearing at the SWFL Reading Festival, March 2, on the campus of the Fort Myers Regional Library  in the Historic River District.

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The Seminole Brighton Field Day Festival & Rodeo is being held February 16-18 at the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena in Okeechobee.

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May Pang’s photographs of John Lennon are on view and for sale at HW Gallery

in Naples, February 22-25.

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Patti Smith performs February 15 at Marie Selby Botanical a Gardens in Sarasota.

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The Southwest Florida Jewish Film Festival presents Remembering Gene Wilder on February 4 at the Regal Bell Tower Stadium 20 Theaters in Fort Myers.

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Phase One of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Master Plan features a new welcome center and Lily Pond Garden.

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On the Road Again: Hubcaps as Art is on display thru March 30 at Tribby Arts Center in Fort Myers

SPRING TRAINING

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JetBlue Park

1500 Fenway South Drive

Fort Myers

888-733-7696

Feb 23: vs Northeastern U Huskies 

Feb 25: vs Minnesota Twins

Feb 26: vs Philadelphia Phillies

Feb 29: vs Detroit Tigers

Mar 2: vs Washington Nationals

Mar 3: vs Toronto Blue Jays

Mar 5: vs Tampa Bay Rays

Mar 7: vs Atlanta Braves

Mar 11: vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Mar 12: vs St. Louis Cardinals

Mar 15: vs Minnesota Twins

Mar 17: vs New York Yankees

Mar 19: vs Tampa Bay Rays

Mar 21: vs Baltimore Orioles *

Mar 23: vs Minnesota Twins *

all games start at 1pm except *6pm

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Lee County Sports Complex

Hammond Stadium

14400 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy. 

Fort Myers

800-338-9467

Feb 23: vs U of MN Golden Gophers *

Feb 24: vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Feb 27: vs Philadelphia Phillies

Feb 28: vs Baltimore Orioles

Mar 1: vs Boston Red Sox

Mar 3: vs Tampa Bay Rays

Mar 4: vs Atlanta Braves

Mar 6: vs Boston Red Sox

Mar 9: vs New York Yankees

Mar 10: vs Washington Nationals

Mar 13: vs St Louis Cardinals

Mar 14: vs Toronto Blue Jays

Mar 16: vs Tampa Bay Rays

Mar 18: vs Boston Red Sox

Mar 20: vs Detroit Tigers

Mar 22: vs Atlanta Braves

Mar 24: vs Baltimore Orioles

Mar 26: vs Atlanta Braves

all games start at 1pm except *6pm

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CoolToday Park

18800 West Villages Parkway. • Venice

941-413-5000

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Charlotte Sports Park

2300 El Jobean Road • Port Charlotte

888-326-7297

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Ed Smith Stadium

2700 12th Street • Sarasota

941-893-6300

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LEECOM Park

1611 9th Street West • Bradenton

941-747-3031

Reading Festival Brings Authors

to the River District

 

   The Lee County Library System’s 25th annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival will host 30 bestselling authors for all ages on March 2 at the Fort Myers Regional Library in the downtown Historic River District. 

   The free outdoor celebration gives fans the opportunity to meet bestselling authors, get books signed, and discover the latest books and digital resources offered by the library. In addition, there will be readings, storytelling, a book giveaway for children and teens, youth writing award presentations, crafts activities for children, and food trucks. 

   Scheduled to appear at the Reading Festival are The New York Times best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrew, Cara Black, Ben Coes, Jeffrey Deaver, Heather Graham, Sarah Penner, Joe Posnanski, and Charles Todd, among others.

There will be a local authors marketplace, with representatives from the Florida Writers Association, Gulf Coast Writers Association and Southwest Florida Fiction Writers.

   There will also be crafts activities for children as well as a variety of food trucks.

   The Reading Festival is also hosting An Evening with the Authors on Friday, March 1, 5:30-8pm. This fundraising event gives attendees time to mingle with the authors while enjoying cocktails and dinner at the historic Burroughs Home & Gardens, located at 2505 First St. on the Caloosahatchee River in the Historic River District. 

   Other Meet the Author events associated with the SWFL Readings Festival include:

   • Feb 9, 2pm: Jeffrey Blount & Susan Zurenda (Lakes Library, 15290 Bass Rd. Fort Myers)

   • Feb 10, 2pm: Shelley Shepard Gray (Cape Coral - Lee County Library, 921 SW 39th St., Cape Coral)

   • Feb 22, 2pm: M.A. McLaughlin (Lakes Library, 15290 Bass Rd. Fort Myers)

   • Mar 1, 11am: Sarah Penner (South County Library, 21100 Three Oaks Pkwy., Estero)

   • Mar 1, 2pm: Jane Cleland (Bonita Springs Library, 10560 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs)

   Registration is required for all Meet the Author events.

   The Reading Festival will be held rain or shine. 

   Fort Myers Regional Library is located at 2450 First St. in Fort Myers’ Historic River District.

   Parking along downtown streets is free during weekends and the City of Fort Myers main parking garage will have a special rate the day of the festival.

   The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is free and community-supported through donations, sponsorships and grants. For information, call 533-4832. 

Seminole Tribe

Hosts Field Day

Festival & Rodeo

 

   The Seminole Tribe of Florida is hosting their 85th Annual Brighton Field Day Festival & Rodeo on February 16-18. ‘Kid’s Day’ is scheduled for Friday, February 16th, with free admission to all schools. Dustin Lynch performs in concert on February 17, at 6pm. 

   In addition to a rodeo, the Brighton Field Day will feature American Indian arts, crafts, music, dancers, authentic Seminole cuisine, alligator wresting, and cultural village. The weekend offers a hands-on and immersive experience that showcases rich Seminole culture and heritage. 

   Brighton Field Day, started in 1938, is one of the longest-running Native festivals in the United States. Initially meant to be a day of fun for the Seminole Tribal communities, it now attracts thousands of visitors to celebrate Seminole traditions and culture. 

   The Brighton Field Day Festival & Rodeo will be held February 16-18, 9a-8pm at the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena, located at 17400 Sports Complex Rd. NE, in Okeechobee. Call 863-467-6039 for information.

May Pang

Photography Show

in Naples

 

   Few people knew John Lennon as intimately as May Pang. Pang was Lennon’s lover during the infamous ‘Lost Weekend’ which lasted 18 months during late 1973-1975. During this highly creative time for Lennon, Pang took candid photos of Lennon in a comfortable, relaxed environment. A collection of these private photographs will be on display and available for purchase at HW Gallery in Naples, February 22-25. Admission is free.

   May Pang will be in attendance at HW Gallery, meeting customers and telling stories behind these amazing limited-edition photographs for sale of John Lennon. 

   During the ‘Lost Weekend,’ Lennon recorded the albums Mind Games, Walls and Bridges, and Rock and Roll, as well as collaborated with Elton John, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, and Ringo. 

   It was during this time that Pang rented a house in Santa Monica and moved in with Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Harry Nilsson. Several photos from this time appear in the exhibition. Other highlights of the exhibition include the only photograph that exists of John Lennon signing the contract to dissolve the Beatles as well as one of the last known photographs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney together (March 29, 1974). Both photographs have never been available to the public until now.

   The Lost Weekend – The Photography of May Pang exhibition will be on display during an opening reception, February 22, 5-7pm; February 23, 10am-6pm; February 24 & 25, 10am-5pm.

HW Gallery is located at 462 9th St. N, in Naples. Call 263-6640 for information.

Selby Gardens

Opens Phase One

of Master Plan

 

   Marie Selby Botanical Gardens celebrating its 50th anniversary, also celebrated the grand-opening of Phase One of its three-phase Master Plan for its Downtown Sarasota campus in January. 

The project adds 188,030 square feet of new facilities and amenities to Selby Gardens’ iconic campus on Sarasota Bay.

   Phase One features the following components:

   • Cutting-edge Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility, which houses parking, a garden-to-plate restaurant, a new gift shop, vertical gardens, and a nearly 50,000 square-foot solar array that will make Selby Gardens the first net-positive energy botanical garden complex in the world.

   • State-of-the-art Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center, which secures irreplaceable scientific resources in a hurricane-resilient structure and provides a window into once behind-the-scenes world-class research. The facility contains the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium & Laboratory as well as a research library, spirit laboratory, conference rooms, administrative offices, as well as a rooftop garden and solar array.

   • Open-air Jean Goldstein Welcome Center 

   • Publicly accessible multi-use recreational trail 

   • New garden and water features with more open space, including a Lily Pond Garden, Glades Garden, and the restoration of historic Palm Avenue as a pedestrian-only promenade.

   • New restaurant, The Green Orchid, the world’s first net positive energy restaurant entirely utilizing solar power, and featuring a rooftop edible garden 

   A timeline for the second and third phases of the Master Plan will be announced soon. 

   Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries including a 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. The Historic Spanish Point campus, located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay, is one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants and open to the public. 

   Marie Selby Downtown Sarasota Campus is located at 1534 Mound St. in Sarasota. The Historic Spanish Point Campus is located at 401 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey. Both campuses are open 10am-5pm daily. For information, call 941-366-5731.

Hubcaps as Art

at Tribby

Arts Center

 

   Tribby Arts Center at Shell Point hosts the exhibition, On the Road Again: The Hubcap as Art, presenting the work of 270 artists from across the United States and 35 other countries.

   The exhibition showcases works from the collection of the Pennsylvania-based Landfillart Project, which began in 2008 when Ken Marquis, owner of picture-framing shops and galleries in northeastern Pennsylvania, acquired a supply of 1,041 discarded hubcaps and asked artists to re-purpose them as art. He first approached artists in the region, then across the nation, and finally around the world. 

   The environmental message captured artists’ attentions, and in six years, all hubcaps had been transformed into artworks.

   Tribby Arts Center Curator Marge Lee explains, “Artists could use the hubcap they received from the Landfillart Project in any way they wished to create art.” 

The largest object on display, The Raven, by Pattie Young of Idaho, is nearly eight feet high and weighs more than 600 pounds. Some artworks are kinetic, feature illumination, or are interactive.    Among the latter are a kaleidoscope made of bottle caps and a three-foot wheel which, when turned, makes the sound of pelting rain. 

   Many of the artists represented in the exhibition have distinguished careers. 

   On the Road Again also incorporates hubcap artworks made by children participating in the art programs of the Heights Center of Fort Myers. 

   On the Road Again: The Hubcap as Art is on display Tuesday-Saturday thru March 30, 10am-3pm. Admission is free. Tribby Arts Center is located at 17281 On Par Blvd. within the Coastal Commons neighborhood of Shell Point. For more information, call 415-5667. 

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Hertz Arena

11000 Everblades Pkwy • Estero

948-7825

Feb 7: vs Adirondack Thunder

Feb 9: vs Adirondack Thunder

Feb 10: vs Adirondack Thunder

Feb 21: vs Worcester Railers

Feb 23: vs Worcester Railers

Feb 24: vs Worcester Railers

Mar 6: vs Jacksonville Icemen

Mar 8: vs Orlando Solar Bears

Mar 9: vs Orlando Solar Bears

Mar 20: vs Savannah Ghost Pirates

Mar 22: vs Savannah Ghost Pirates

Mar 23: vs Savannah Ghost Pirates

Mar 29: vs Jacksonville Icemen

Mar 30: vs Jacksonville Icemen

Apr 10: vs Jacksonville Icemen

Apr 12: vs Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Apr 13: vs Greenville Swamp Rabbits

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