Photo by Shellia Dee Bailey
Arts and Entertainment - Staff Picks
Published: July 13, 2011
Best free, jam-packed creative lineup
The schedule for this sprawling arts festival, wrangled each February by United Arts of Central Florida, is almost overwhelming in scope. More than 200 events, spread across 80 or so venues, cover every imaginable artistic discipline: full-stage theater productions, choreographed performances by dance companies, fine-art exhibits, live orchestras, performance art, hands-on activities for kids, you name it. And it’s completely free. All month long.
Best new geek hangout
The Geek Easy at A Comic Shop
114 S. Semoran Blvd., Winter Park; 407-332-9636; acomicshop.com
It’s not like the guys (and gals) at A Comic Shop didn’t have enough geeky customers before they stumbled upon the brilliant idea to open a geek haven beside the shop’s endless aisles of comic paraphernalia. They had so many fans that they felt the need to give them a space to meet, to mingle and to indulge in their obsession for comics – reading, writing, drawing, you name it – with one another. The Geek Easy hosts weekly and monthly groups like the Fangirls Comics Club, Drink and Draw and Geekgasm. The lounge’s walls have seen the likes of Marvel editor Lauren Sankovitch, DC writer Mark Waid and Image Comics’ Joe Eisma and Nick Spencer. They’ve got the goods. They’ve got the geeks. They’ve got the pros.
Best place to be challenged by art
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, 407-646-2526; rollins.edu/cfam
Don’t let anyone tell you Orlando’s museum scene is dull or predicable. Just point them to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the campus of Rollins College and tell them to take a look at what’s hanging on the walls – doesn’t really matter whether you know what, exactly, they have up or not. The curation here is consistently good, and the shows – ranging from abstract photography to contemporary poster art to the works of Italian masters to those of forward-thinking architects – are never pedantic or unimaginative. Sure, a lot of the shows that come through are national touring exhibits that are probably abbreviated to fit the small space, but many of them are paired with curator or artist talks that explain the theory behind the works hanging on the wall. Sometimes we want to just go look at art we like, and there are plenty of places for that in town; but when we want art that pushes the boundaries and makes us think, we usually find it at the Cornell.
Best arts identity crisis
The rebranding of Maitland’s art and history museums
When the boards of the Maitland Historical Society and the Maitland Art Center merged back in May 2010 with the blessing of Maitland city officials, there was some public squabbling over its undemocratic execution, but at least it had a sensible name: the Maitland Art and History Association. Perhaps the resulting acronym, MAHA, seemed too much like a vindictive “gotcha” when read aloud, because only nine months after forming, the group changed its name to the corporatesque “Art and History Museums, Maitland,” or “The A&H.” The change came with a puke of PR tropes as a tagline: “Discover, Engage, Inspire.” Frankly, we suggest yanking the old Club Firestone motto: “Drink. Dance. Fuck. Repeat.” How better to get people to come to Maitland?
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