Photo by Shellia Dee Bailey
Arts and Entertainment - Staff Picks
Published: July 13, 2011
Best cringe TV
Mall at Millenia flash mob
Oh, it’s so painfully awesome. If Orlando’s good at anything, it’s taking a national meme and beating it six feet into the ground. And Commissioner Linda Stewart’s citywide “flash mob,” coming months and months (and months) after Seattle’s Glee-inspired phenomenon, did just that. Held at the upscale and utterly edgeless Mall at Millenia, and overproduced to some tourism committee-approved Mickey Mouse Club megamix, Stewart et al. managed to drain the joyful spontaneity seen in malls and Modern Family and Glee of both joy and spontaneity. Kudos.
Best public brainstorming
625 E. Central Blvd., 407-704-6895; urbanrethink.com
All original indications pointed to Urban ReThink growing into something that was designed to be detested: A floundering economy and lack of interest in print product shuts down another brick-and-mortar independent bookstore (Urban Think), a sneaky marketing campaign solicits opinions on what to do with the space, and then it opens up with promises of rental “co-working” space for the fictitious urban-minded intelligentsia of Orlando. Pah. But what really happened is something to embrace. Developer Craig Ustler has wisely allowed Urban ReThink to develop into whatever it damn well pleases, with spoken word, film or music events filling the calendar nearly every night. It’s a bit like Starbucks with wine during the day – all laptops and smart whispers of creative commerce underscored by hiccups – but in becoming a sparse gathering space for the perpetually ambitious, Urban ReThink may have just become the best thing going in Thornton Park.
Best new art gallery
Redefine Gallery at the CityArts Factory
29 S. Orange Ave., 407-480-1148; redefinegallery.com
What is it about this space in the CityArts Factory that makes it really stand out as a contender in the gallery scene? It could be that it’s true to what it wants to be: a gallery devoted to vibrant urban, street and emerging art. It could be that it’s a tiny but lively space, the kind of gallery that’s ubiquitous in larger cities but oh-so-rare in downtown Orlando. It could be that it’s managed by artists, not realtors or bankers or businesspeople who have a passing interest in art. It’s probably a combination of all of those things and more. Whenever we head downtown for a Third Thursday Gallery Hop, it’s the one space we make it a point to hit because, even when the show features artists we’ve seen lots of times in other venues around the city, somehow the presentation and the energy of the space make us feel like we’re seeing something completely fresh and new.
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