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CONTENTS WINTER 2018
FEATURES 44 | WELL VERSED Tugging heartstrings and tickling funnybones, Billy Collins has become America’s most popular poet. By Randy Noles, illustration by Pablo Loboto 54 | TOM THE ACTOR If you’ve watched TV or gone to a movie in the last 40 years, you know him. Maybe you even saw him wrestle. By Randy Noles, photographs by Rafael Tongol 64 | ON THE AVENUE Winter Park’s iconic dining district is wonderful in wintertime. Photographs by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab
DEPARTMENTS ORGANIZATIONS 12 | FEATHERED FRIENDS As the 20th century dawned, the Audubon Society’s crusade to stop the plumage trade found its wings with Maitland volunteers. By Leslie K. Poole, illustrations by John Costin
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PHILANTHROPY 31 | A KEEN EAR FOR GENIUS Steve Goldman’s mission to find and nurture young composers has a new partner in UCF. Expect them to make beautiful music together. By Michael McLeod, photographs by Rafael Tongol and Martin Schiff Q&A 38 | SURPRISING HISTORY A new book by Jack C. Lane, professor emeritus of history at Rollins College, reveals how the institution persevered. By Randy Noles, lead photograph by Mitchell Lane Thomas DINING 70 | GLASS KNIFE IS CUTTING EDGE Winter Park’s new bakery/café is both homey and sophisticated, offering baked goods and meals with flair, flavor and Southern hospitality. By Rona Gindin, photographs by Rafael Tongol
IN EVERY ISSUE
8 | FIRST WORD 30 | COVER ARTIST 78 | EVENTS 104 | ARTSBEAT
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‘MOM, CHILD DIE FOR THEIR PUPPY’
n “Cemetery Ride,” Billy Collins writes about bicycling through Winter Park’s Palm Cemetery, offering howdy-dos to the permanent residents. It’s a delightful poem, and celebrates a local site of historic significance. Naturally, I couldn’t resist running it in this issue, which includes a major feature story on the former two-time U.S. poet laureate. In fact, Billy’s poem inspired me to visit the tranquil expanse of markers and mausoleums, where just about everybody who was anybody in our fair city lies resting beneath the oaks. Their slumber is disturbed only by golfers from the adjacent municipal course, who sometimes hit errant shots onto their plots. Loring Chase — who co-founded the Winter Park Company with Oliver Chapman — deeded the lush, 17-acre tract to the city in 1906. That happened to be the same year he died and was buried there. Chapman had moved to Massachusetts decades earlier — for his health, he said — and lived until 1936. But I digress. I was hunting the grave of Ann Derflinger, the no-nonsense Winter Park High drama teacher for whom the school’s auditorium is named. She died in 1983, just 44 years old, of breast cancer. Derf’s name had come up during an interview with actor Tom Nowicki, who’s also featured in this issue. Tom and I — both members of the WPHS Class of ’73 — were simultaneously terrorized and inspired by this 5-foot-tall force of nature. Of course, I couldn’t find her. Yes, I know this is 2017. I know the cemetery has an app that enables visitors to easily locate graves. But I was
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baffled trying to use it, and the administrative office was locked. I’d have to catch Derf later. On the way back to my car, though, I stopped abruptly and looked down. There was a marker indicating that an older woman and a younger girl — a mother (or a grandmother) and a daughter, perhaps — had died on the same day in 1950. Stunningly vivid, hand-colored cameos of their faces — smiling, rosy faces — beckoned from sleek and shiny black marble. What could possibly have happened? A car accident? I had a hunch — more precisely, an inexplicable spell of foreboding — that it was something far more bizarre. I jotted down the names and decided to find out what sort of misfortune had befallen Edna Yorton, 52, and Isabelle Yorton, 6. Here’s what I could piece together from newspaper accounts. On Wednesday, March 22, 1950, a truck struck an electrical pole, downing a 4,800-volt high-tension power line. The line, fully charged, snaked across a dirt road in Leonard’s Corner — a neighborhood I had never heard of, but later learned was in the Clarcona area. (Note to self: Find out whatever happened to Leonard’s Corner.) The live wire lay just 36 yards from the trailer home of William Yorton and his family. The Yortons, who hailed from Fairport, New York, had wintered in Florida for the past decade, and were planning to build a permanent home somewhere nearby. It was reported that they made and sold paper flowers for a living. Hearing her puppy howl after stepping on the wire, 6-year-old Isabelle ran to its aid and was electrocuted. Edna, her mother, met the same fate when she tried to pull Isabelle to safety. Their severely burned bodies were found near that of the puppy. That much wasn’t hard to find. The tragic tale, not unexpectedly, was picked up by the Associated Press and made the front pages in major dailies across the U.S. One newspaper headline blared: “Florida Mom, Child Die for Their Puppy.” Well, that was accurate enough, I suppose. But there was more to the story. Some of it I gleaned from newspaper accounts; some of it remains a mystery. With burial scheduled for Monday, William Yorton, the bereaved husband and father, was
PLEASE STOP BY Winter Park Publishing Company has moved to the heart of Winter Park, at 201 West Canton Avenue, Suite 125B. It’s the corner of Canton and New York Avenue, near the post office. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and say hello — and relax in the lovely zen garden outside our front door.
scrambling to cover expenses. A story in the Saturday edition of the Orlando Evening Star detailed the family’s plight. (It’s unclear from news accounts who the other survivors were, but I gather that there were siblings.) In the Sunday edition, though, I could find nothing about the Yortons. In fact, they aren’t mentioned at all in the coming days. Their deaths had been front-page, above-the-fold fodder just days before. What happened? Somehow, this extraordinarily ill-fated mother and daughter, who lived in a trailer in rural Leonard’s Corner and made paper flowers, ended up in Palm Cemetery, resting beneath a lovely — and undoubtedly expensive — tombstone. There’s no apparent connection between the Yortons and Winter Park. My guess is, some generous locals read about Edna and Isabelle, and quietly took care of matters. If so, they sought no publicity for this act of compassion. So, here they are: Edna and Isabelle, victims of a horrific freak accident. A mother and daughter who died trying to save a puppy, and whose family appeared unable to afford a decent burial — much less a prime plot with a black marble marker in Palm Cemetery. There are about 1,100 stories in Palm Cemetery. I’ll bet none of them are this strange.
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Lavishly plumed headwear worn by Marie Antoinette set the stage for what would become a frenzy for feathers in 19th century America. Wanton destruction of bird species prompted the organization of Florida’s first Audubon Society in Maitland.
FEATHERED FRIENDS As the 20th century dawned, the Audubon Society’s crusade to stop the plumage trade found its wings with Maitland volunteers. BY LESLIE KEMP POOLE
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n a warm spring morning in 1900, an influential group of 15 Central Florida women and men gathered at a lakeside Maitland estate to grapple with a troubling issue — the wanton destruction of the state’s beautiful birds. The smell of orange blossoms likely wafted through open windows and birds chirped nearby as the concerned group of 15 formed the Florida Audubon Society. Today, Maitland’s original Florida Audubon Society has morphed into Audubon Florida, with a policy office in Tallahassee and an administrative office in Miami. Audubon Florida also operates the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland (see pages 22-23). There are 44 local Audubon chapters statewide, encompassing more than 61,300 members. The Orange Audubon Society, which usually meets monthly in Leu Gardens, is the closest local chapter. There’s also a Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society in Osceola County. But it all started 118 years ago with a handful of natureloving locals appalled at the fact that birds were being killed by the hundreds of thousands to supply plumes and bodies to decorate popular ladies’ hats. FAS founders were attracted to subtropical Florida in part for its weather and in part for its beauty. Some visited simply to escape harsh Northern winters, while others pondered development schemes or cultivated orange groves. All shared a deep affection for birds, and were enchanted at the variety of bird life they could view literally in their own backyards. They strolled along lakes to seek colorful Carolina parakeets, and watched in wonder as graceful egrets stalked fish in shallow waters. But the birds were in serious trouble; indeed, the last Carolina parakeet would die in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918. It was time to act — and act quickly. Summoned by Clara Dommerich on March 2 to her winter home, known as Hiawatha Grove, the group agreed that its first course of business was to create FAS — and begin a public education program to “arouse as much interest as possible in the work of protecting our feathered friends.” Clara and her husband, Louis, both German immigrants, were New York City residents who wintered in Maitland. They grew citrus on their 400-acre tract — now the sprawling Dommerich Estates subdivision — where they enjoyed wild birds such as cranes, owl, quail, doves and turkey. Every morning, Louis would fill bird-feeding stations on his porch — then whistle to summon eager cardinals, blue jays and juncos. The first FAS president, the Rt. Rev. Henry B. Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, was also an avid birder. “No state or territory in our country has been so richly endowed in plumage and song birds as this state,” he wrote, recalling the creation of FAS.
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“At my first visit to Florida, 50 years ago, I saw at almost every turn on the St. Johns River, the pink and white curlews, and scores of other brilliantly plumaged birds. Within the past 20 years I saw, on one occasion, in the woods bordering Lake Jessup, not less than 2,000 paroquets (parakeets).” But by 1900, Whipple sadly recounted, “Many of these beautiful creatures are no longer to be found, unless in the Everglades. The murderous work of extermination has been carried on by vandals, incited by the cupidity of traders who minister to the pride of thoughtless people.” It was that familiarity with Florida’s natural richness and knowledge of the perils it faced, mostly from the national and international millinery industry, that spurred the FAS founders. Men and women had long been adorning their headwear — military for men, and everyday clothing and hats for women — with feathers, and even the bodies of birds. In the 18th century, Marie Antoinette, nicknamed “featherhead” by her brother, set the trend in court for women to wear feathers in their elaborate hairstyles. Bird wear was revived in the late 19th century, and endorsed by fashion houses, celebrities and national magazines. Bird plumes, especially showy “aigrettes” that wading birds displayed during mating season, were extremely valuable. Hunters living hardscrabble lives in Florida wetlands and coastal marshes could make a living by shooting birds that congregated in nesting rookeries, then stripping off the birds’ valuable plumes and leaving the carcasses — and babies and eggs — behind. Feathers and bird parts were shipped to northern markets in a $17-million-a-year industry that employed an estimated 83,000 people in 1900. One London firm reported that 1.5 tons of aigrettes passed through its sales room one year — the equivalent of almost 200,000 birds. In 1886, according to one anecdote, ornithologist Frank Chapman — curator of the American Museum of Natural History — spent two afternoons prowling New York City shopping areas, observing birds on women’s hats. Three-quarters of the 700 hats he counted were decorated with feathers plucked from 40 different kinds of birds — including sparrows and warblers. This was big business, and Florida was ground zero for much of the destruction. By 1900, several Audubon societies had sprung up in 20 states to fight this senseless destruction. The fathers and mothers of FAS, much like their counterparts elsewhere, were influential community members who sought to gain local, state and national attention for their cause.
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In 1903, Clara Dommerich convened a meeting at her winter home, known as Hiawatha Grove, for the purpose of forming a Florida Audubon Society. The attendees — concerned about depletion of the state’s bird life due to the plumage trade — included a number of historically important figures in Maitland and Winter Park. Today, the Audubon Society is still thriving. Meanwhile, Hiawatha Grove is the site of Dommerich Estates, one of the area’s largest subdivisions.
They would be described 25 years later as “a little group of people who had a vision for the future.” They were passionate, wealthy, driven by their concerns about dwindling bird populations — and well-connected enough to make an impact. Whipple was likely the most influential of all. In the 1870s, the aging bishop built a home in Maitland as a winter respite. In 1883, he founded the Church of the Good Shepherd — which still stands on Lake Avenue — in memory of his son. Always an activist, Whipple had pushed for reforms in U.S. relations with the native Indians. He had corresponded with 11 presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, and his work is considered to have preserved the people and culture of the Dakota and Chippewa tribes, who called him “Straight Tongue” because he kept his word. Whipple wrote eloquent letters and articles on
behalf of FAS, but always credited Clara Dommerich — the first FAS secretary-treasurer, who died just eight months after its formation — as the driving force behind the movement. At the FAS 25th anniversary commemoration, President Hiram Byrd noted that Clara was “probably the leading spirit in the movement, but as so frequently happens in this world of affairs, the hand that presses the button is not seen.” The founders included others who might have comprised a Who’s Who of the Maitland-Winter Park area. They included Dr. G. M. Ward, president of Rollins College, and his wife, Emma; Harriet Vanderpool, wife of Isaac Vanderpool, a local citrus grower and Maitland founder; W. C. Comstock, a Winter Park businessman and civic leader; Lida Peck Bronson, wife of Sherman Bronson, a businessman and former Maitland mayor; Laura Norcross Marrs and her husband, Kingsmill, a wealthy Massachusetts couple who wintered in Maitland; and Evangeline Marrs Whipple, wife of the bishop and Kingsmill’s sister. Perhaps no other FAS member made more of an impact on the national Audubon movement than Laura Marrs. A member of Massachusetts Audubon — the first Audubon group in the U.S. — and the daughter of a former Boston mayor, Marrs chaired the FAS executive committee until her death in 1926. There she oversaw much of the organization’s work, wrote annual reports for Bird-Lore — the national Audubon publication — penned leaflets and helped fund the group. In 1902, Marrs was instrumental in the hiring of Guy Bradley to serve as a game warden in the Florida Keys, and in 1905 helped to form the National Association of Audubon Societies for the Protection of Wild Birds and Animals — later the name was shortened — uniting dozens of state societies under one organization that wielded considerable clout. When Bradley was murdered three years later by plume hunters, Marrs wrote that his death “fills not only our Society in Florida, but the people of the United States, with horror. A brave man shot at his post, defending the helpless against brutality, and all for what? A feather, to adorn the head of some woman!!” The Marrs family connected other people to the FAS cause. Rose Cleveland, a close friend of Evangeline Whipple, linked the group to her brother, President Grover Cleveland, persuading him to serve as an honorary vice president. Many early FAS leaders were involved with Rollins. Ward, then president of the college, at-
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tended the FAS founding meeting. His Rollins successor, Dr. William Fremont Blackman, served as FAS president for 10 years, while his accomplished wife, Lucy Worthington Blackman, wrote a history of the organization. William Fremont Blackman traveled around the state and lectured about Audubon issues, penning several newspaper articles and pamphlets to further the cause. Louis Dommerich, who succeeded Whipple as FAS president, was a Rollins trustee, along with W. C. Temple, a businessman and citrus grower — for whom the Temple orange was named — and W. C. Comstock, a wealthy grain merchant. FAS wisely claimed many of these influencers as their own through growing lists of honorary and regular vice presidents, who may not have been active, but whose prominence lent credibility to the cause. These included Theodore Roosevelt, governor of New York, who was associated with national conservation and bird protection during the Progressive Era. In 1903, during his first term as U.S. president, Roosevelt, in response to reports about Florida plume hunters, created a national bird refuge at Pelican Island on Florida’s east coast — the first federal wildlife refuge in history. By the time he left office, Roosevelt had preserved 230 million acres of land for bird and wildlife refuges, parks and forests. Four years earlier he had written: “I do not understand how any man or woman who really loves nature can fail to try to exert all influence in support of such objects as those of the Audubon Society.” Another notable supporter was Mary Barr Munroe, of Coconut Grove, described as one of the most “militant” powers of FAS. She was known for cornering anyone she found wearing aigrettes and eloquently telling the story of how the plumes were obtained. “It was not unusual for women to be reduced to tears, whether of anger or humiliation or repentance, and several were known to have taken off their hats and destroyed their aigrettes” after such an encounter, according to Audubon historian Lucy Worthington Blackman. Public condemnation of the plumed-hat trade combined with protective laws had an effect, as did an eventual change in fashion spurred by the fact that prostitutes began to wear feathered hats. In addition, large hats were impractical in modern cars. FAS had some early successes. In 1901, the organization persuaded the Florida legislature to join other states in passing the Audubon Model Law, which prohibited the killing of all but game birds.
Lucy Worthington Blackman noted, however, that the legislature left hawks, crows, owls, shorebirds, ducks, pigeons, butcherbirds, meadowlarks and robins unprotected. “Faulty as the law was,” she noted, “it was a beginning, and greatly encouraged the bird lovers of the state.” In the meantime, FAS created educational programs, published multiple brochures and news articles, and gained protection for specific bird species, including the robin. In 1905, the Orange County Board of Education set aside a half-hour per week for bird study. Because of the expanding influence of FAS, Florida’s birds revived their numbers until midcentury, when new problems such as pollution and habitat loss arose. Florida Audubon was there, and remains a leader in the fight to save Florida’s birds. “The women that started that battle … thought that by ending the plume trade, they were done, but history has shown us we are never done,” says Dykes Everett of Winter Park, who serves on Florida Audubon’s board. Today there are “different villains but the same old fight.” Everett noted that in the generations since the FAS founding “we’ve accomplished so much in terms of conservation and species recovery … but unfortunately, we’re still fighting some of the same battles for species survival and habitats that they were fighting. You have to continually stay engaged. There’s always a new threat.” In the last century, Audubon advocates have turned their attention to not just saving birds, but also the delicate ecosystems upon which they rely. That means understanding habitats and any threats to them — an issue that has human implications. “If you save the water, you save the fish,” Everett said. “If you save the fish, you save the birds. If you save the birds, you save the planet. And if you save the planet you save the people.” Although none of the FAS founders lived to witness the scope of what their nascent organization would become, the legacy of that March morning is enormous. Adds Everett: “I think they would be unbelievably gratified to see their legacy.” For more information about joining Audubon Florida, visit fl.audubon.org. Dues for the statewide organization are $20 per year, while local chapters have separate dues. Leslie Kemp Poole, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Rollins College. She’s also the co-author of Saving Florida: Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century (University Press of Florida, 2015).
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Maitland’s Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, one of the region’s best-kept secrets, focuses on the rescue, medical treatment, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors. The center, which is open to the public, offers educational opportunities for all ages — as well as up-close encounters with its feathered patients. It is operated by Audubon Florida, and is one of several Audubon-related centers and sanctuaries statewide. You’ll see bald eagles, ospreys, kites, owls — they are particularly adorable — and falcons. Visitors can wander along a pathway to Disney’s Magic of Flight Barn, which houses birds currently under rehabilitation, and contemplate a manmade wetland over which a gazebo stretches. It’s a place only Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t love. Activities include on- and off-site programs, special events, volunteer opportunities and a program called “Eagle Eyes on the Environment,” which uses technology, among other methods, to describe eagle conservation. The center, which treats about 800 raptors per year, is located at 1101 Audubon Way in Maitland, just off Lake Avenue. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Mondays. Call 407-644-0190 or visit fl.audubon.org for more information.
PHOTOS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Rollins College professor and environmental activist Leslie Kemp Poole (left) visits Maitland’s Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, where you’ll see (below, left to right) bald eagles, ospreys and burrowing owls, among dozens of other recuperating raptors.
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BIRDS OF PARADISE: JOHN COSTIN JUST WINGS IT WITH HIS ETCHINGS
If you attended the 2016 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, you saw John Costin’s extraordinarily detailed and vibrant work. His snowy egret was selected as the poster image for the event. At Winter Park Magazine, we were so impressed with Costin’s meticulous etchings that we requested another bird image for the cover of our spring 2016 issue. The Ybor City-based artist supplied an image of a red-shouldered hawk, a bird that particularly enjoys the environs of Mead Garden. We’ve been seeking an excuse to showcase Costin’s work again — and Leslie K. Poole finally gave us one with her story about the Audubon Society of Florida’s beginnings in Maitland. So, accompanying the story are more of Costin’s birds, some species of which can be seen in Mead Botanical Garden and other locations in bird-friendly Winter Park. Etching, by the way, is a complex process in which the image is etched by hand on a polished plate of copper, which takes about six to eight weeks. Then the plate is wiped down with ink and printed on high-quality rag paper. Afterward, the printed image is painted with watercolors, making each piece unique. Visit costingraphics.com for more information about Costin and his art. W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Caribbean Flamingo Four-plate, hand-colored etching
Snowy Egret Four-plate, hand-colored etching
Roseate Spoonbill Four-plate, hand-colored etching
Great Egret Four-plate, hand-colored etching
Glossy Ibis Four-plate, hand-colored etching
Red-shouldered Hawk Four-plate, hand-colored etching
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STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES STACY BARTER’S LOCAL LANDSCAPES ARE ALWAYS LUMINOUS.
tacy Barter, whose work is familiar to most art-loving Winter Parkers, loves to work from life — whether it’s plein air landscapes or in-studio still lifes. The cover of this issue of Winter Park Magazine is Barter’s depiction of the rose garden and portico between Knowles Memorial Chapel and the Annie Russell Theatre on the campus of Rollins College. It was created during the 2013 Winter Park Paint Out, hosted annually by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Barter is a Paint Out mainstay. Her works are always among the most coveted by buyers during the weeklong event, when 25 carefully selected artists roam the city, documenting what they see with oils, watercolors and pastels. “I paint exclusively in oils,” says Barter, who’s also part of the senior faculty at the Crealdé School of Art. “I love the fluid feel of wet on wet painting. It is so challenging to try and capture the light as it changes and effects everything I see. The warms
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and cools that occur in full sunlight fascinate and challenge me.” Barter, a UCF graduate with a B.A. in art, later attended the Parsons School of Design in New York’s Greenwich Village before embarking on a professional career in fine art that has now spanned more than 20 years. She’s a member of the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast, Oil Painters of America, the Portrait Society of America, the Impressionists Society of America and the National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Society. Barter has exhibited her work across the U.S., and has won multiple awards — including an array of Best in Show recognitions. She’ll be participating in Paint Out again this year, so be sure to check out her new paintings — before they’re even dry — between April 22 and 28. To see more, visit stacybarter.com. To find out more about Paint Out, visit polasek.org. — Randy Noles
From his Winter Park home, which is adorned with Chihuly glass, Steve Goldman directs several philanthropic efforts, including the National Young Composer’s Challenge.
A KEEN EAR FOR GENIUS Steve Goldman’s mission to find and nurture young composers has a new partner in UCF. Expect them to make beautiful music together. BY MICHAEL MCLEOD PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL AND MARTIN SCHIFF
few weeks ago, an audience of about 500 people gathered at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to watch miracles materialize on the stage of the Walt Disney Theater. It wasn’t a magic show, a motivational seminar or a spiritual gathering, though it had something in common with all three. The annual event, dubbed the Composium, is the capstone of the National Young Composer’s Challenge, conceived by Winter Park inventor/philanthropist Steve Goldman to discover and nurture budding musical genius. Every year, in what amounts to a classical-music version of a fantasy baseball camp, Goldman brings a half-dozen brilliant teenaged NYCC winners to Orlando, where they hear their five-minute compositions rehearsed, performed and recorded by professional musicians. This year marked the return of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra to the event, along with chamber ensemble musicians from the University of Central Florida faculty. Both groups were under the baton of Christopher Wilkins, the Phil’s former music director and an NYCC mainstay. Most of the players were at least twice the age of the young composers, several of whom started creating music on their own in grade school. While the youngsters may have been regarded as anomalies among classmates, teachers and parents, they found themselves among kindred spirits at the Composium. And it’s hard to say who enjoyed the situation more — pros or protégés. W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Christopher Wilkins, former director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, conducts compositions by winners Harrison Collins (top left) and Elise Arancio (bottom left). The young musicians get to sit onstage, among the musicians, as their winning works are performed live.
“They’re the miracles of our time,” said violist Melissa Swedberg, one of the Phil musicians who shared the stage with the six selectees. “Their amazing creativity, the sophistication of their music — where does that come from?” Added Goldman: “These kids are one in a million. More like one in 10 million. A lot of them are already writing at the level of the most advanced adult composers I know of. The level of emotion, the sense of beauty you see from these hyper-talented musicians — it’s something that seems to peak at a young age.” So, apparently, does a disarming inventiveness. It’s unlikely that a mature composer would have requested the simple but ingenious sound effect prescribed in Paper Man, a winning orchestral score submitted by 17-year-old Harrison Collins of Little Elm, Texas: It called for musicians to hold a sheet of paper in the air and rattle it. Like the other winners, Collins, a gangly, bespectacled youth with a wild nimbus of reddish hair, sat on stage in front of the orchestra as his composition was rehearsed, bit by bit, and then played all the way through. Perched on a tall stool just a bow’s length from the cellos, Collins called to mind a child in the middle of a thrumming model-train layout as he swiveled his head — sometimes literally elevating off his seat — to watch his melody wind its way through the sections of the orchestra. Up until that moment, like most other winners, he had heard the composition only in his head, or as played by a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), which uses a sound-sample library to approximate various instruments. The MIDI’s tinny, music-box tones are, to a full-fledged orchestral rendition, as a pineapple Life Saver is to the fruit off the tree. But then, flesh-and-blood musicians have their own limitations. Breathing, for example. Young composers — natives of a digital, video-game universe — don’t always take that fact into account. NYCC winners occasionally request Olympiclevel gymnastics from the string section, or appear to presume that wind-instrument players have dirigibles for lungs. “We can cheat a little, but not that much,” advised a smiling, slightly breathless tuba player in mid-rehearsal. Other young-composer misadventures include
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the occasional idiosyncratic twist on musical notation — those traditional, “expressive” scoring asides such as allegro, andante and largo that are meant to give players a sense of tempo, volume and overall mood. This year, 17-year-old winner Elise Arancio, from Tucker, Georgia, submitted an ethereal ensemble piece called Kuma Lisa, the name of a mischievous fox in a Bulgarian folk tale whose personality she hoped to evoke. Members of the UCF chamber ensemble tasked with playing Kuma Lisa were charmed by Arancio’s ability to create a wispy, fairy-tale atmosphere — and amused by her notations advising them to play “devilishly,” “cheekily,” “naively” and in a “snarky” fashion. All of which begs the question: How does a 17-year-old from Tucker, Georgia, wind up being inspired by a Bulgarian folk tale? Arancio’s mother, Anne, appeared to have wondered the same thing. From her seat a few rows away from the stage, she could only extend her palms and shrug. “I just have no idea,” she offered. “She reads a lot.” Others in the audience could relate to such
parental bewilderment. Stuart Malina, conductor of the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Symphony Orchestra, was part of an entourage that had travelled to Orlando with another winner — his son, Zev, a slightly built youth who all but disappeared into a dark suit on stage. Zev was 14 when he wrote his winning orchestral submission, Dreamscape. By then, he’d been composing for several years. His father’s first clue that his son could write music came when he heard a beautiful waltz being played on the piano in their home. “Who wrote that?” the father asked. “I did,” replied the son, as casually as if he’d just been crayoning. Music’s ability to shelter and sooth the adolescent soul has played out among many NYCC contestants. Take 18-year-old Daniel Zarb-Cousin, a winner for the second consecutive year. His Fantasy for Orchestra was an homage to the modern romanticism of Gustav Mahler. Zarb-Cousin is old enough to see why his selfguided progression through the canon of composers eventually led him to his favorite: the revolu-
tionary Austrian composer Anton Bruckner. “I had a lot of instability and chaos in my life,” he said, taking a break from a photo session with the winners in the arts center’s lobby. “I think that’s why I wound up idolizing Bruckner. He’s very ordered, very rigid. That’s why I’m drawn to him. I have a need for structure.” By validating their efforts with a heady artistic adventure and cash prizes — which range from $500 each for chamber pieces and $1,000 each for orchestral pieces — the NYCC often marks a turning point for its participants. Zarb-Cousin, for example, was admitted to the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music partly because he listed the award on his resumé. This year, the NYCC itself reached a turning point. The program has, up to now, depended almost entirely upon Goldman’s hands-on participation and funding through his charitable foundation. Such an undertaking isn’t cheap; Goldman estimates that hard costs topped $60,000 this year. Fortunately, for the first time since the NYCC debuted in 2005, UCF emerged as a partner,
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Stuart Malina (top left) and Daniel Zarb-Cousin (bottom left) listen intently as their music is played by seasoned pros. Before the Composium, many winners had only heard their compositions through MIDI devices, which electronically simulate the sound of instruments.
covering roughly half that amount by providing the chamber ensemble, paying for the Phil’s appearance and arranging for use of the Walt Disney Theater at no cost to the program. Because the arts center was built with the help of a state grant, UCF, as a state institution, has an annual allotment of free performance dates at the downtown Orlando venue. This year, the university donated one of those designated dates to the Composium. The NYCC’s expenses would also be much higher were it not for key, unpaid volunteers who’ve been with Goldman from the beginning. Those volunteers include Wilkins, who not only serves as the Composium’s conductor but also acts as an insightful and amusing emcee. Indeed, one of the subplots of this year’s event was an emotional reunion between Wilkins and the Phil, which he directed until 2014. He’s currently music director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. Three other key volunteers work with Goldman as judges, listening to more than 100 submissions every year and sending a taped, detailed critique to each contestant: Dan Crozier, professor of theory and composition at Rollins College; Keith Lay, chair of Music Industry Studies at Full Sail University; and Jeff Rupert, director of Jazz Studies at UCF. Adding another educational component to the NYCC, this year music departments at UCF, Rollins and Full Sail assigned their students to study the winning compositions, and to attend the Composium. Goldman, 66, doesn’t plan on scaling back his commitment to the program he created anytime soon. But he’s hopeful that the blossoming partnership with UCF will ensure the NYCC’s continuance for decades to come. That’s also the hope of Jeff Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at UCF. Moore is convinced that Orlando, with its alreadydiverse arts community, is poised to become a hotbed of musical composition. He sees the university’s involvement with the NYCC as a major first step toward a future in which UCF — where there’s an up-and-coming music composition program — will become a steward of the program.
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“This can be a great tool for recruitment to UCF,” said Goldman. “I can see it helping to bring top-level composition students to the university from all over the country. There’s no reason that can’t happen here. And it needs to go on without me, some day. These kids are a national resource. We need them.” Goldman’s crusade is rooted in his own teenage years, when he was a student at Maitland Junior High School and Winter Park High School. He began composing music for a full orchestra — an activity that didn’t do much for his social standing. “I was pretty much of a lone ranger,” he recalled. Goldman went on to graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in physics. (While in Gainesville, he also played in a rock ‘n’ roll band during an era when a promising, longhaired guitarist named Tom Petty was also making the rounds of local rock venues. After college, Goldman enjoyed a lucrative stint as a tech entrepreneur. The company he founded, Distributed Processing Technology, pioneered computer disk caching technology and
what came to be called RAID: Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. The world as we know it now revolves around such computer storage technology: People who understand how computers work — and what RAID and caching did to enhance them — have been known to ask Goldman for his autograph. In 2000, Goldman sold Distributed Processing Technology so he could devote himself entirely to philanthropy, much as his parents did when they helped to fund construction of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Loch Haven Park, where one of the venues in the complex is named for them. Apart from the NYCC, Goldman has designed and operated an internet-based science-education initiative: Why U. Through the nonprofit program, whimsical animated videos — written by Goldman and animated by Tampa-based artist Mark Rodriguez — augment STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) in the K-12 and college levels. Why U offers free access to its videos through
its website, whyu.org, and its YouTube channel. The offbeat-but-effective tutorials have been used by at least 8 million people worldwide. “What I realized is, there’s a lot of attention in the educational system that goes out to kids that are struggling,” Goldman said. “And that’s important, no question. But no one was addressing the need at the other end of the spectrum with these high-functioning but isolated kids.” That sentiment is shared by NYCC donor Alan Ginsburg, who was part of the Composium audience watching this season’s batch of musical miracles unfold. Ginsburg, an Orlando real estate developer by vocation but a stand-up comedian at heart, knows a good performance when he sees one. During intermission, he strolled up to the apron of the stage to congratulate his friend and fellow philanthropist, for another successful year. “It’s just great what he’s doing for all these geniuses,” Ginsburg said. “That one kid — how old is he? 14? When I was 14, I couldn’t even ride a bike.”
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SURPRISING HISTORY PROFESSOR’S NEW BOOK REVEALS HOW ROLLINS PERSEVERED.
By Randy Noles
PHOTO BY MITCHELL LANE THOMAS
“It dawned on me that the college community was in danger of losing its institutional memory — and I felt a strong obligation to make sure that didn’t happen. That sense of responsibility overrode any other considerations.” — Jack Lane
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ew cities and colleges have origins as intertwined as those of Winter to tell it like it really was: “The Struggle for Survival,” “The Search for Stability” Park and Rollins College. But, until now, there had been no compreand “The College in Crisis,” to name just a few. Often, money — or lack hensive history of the state’s oldest institution of higher learning. At thereof — was the problem. Other times, imperious administrators and peleast, not one in print. culiar professors wreaked havoc. (See the chapters on President Paul Wagner The Rollins centennial celebration in 1985 seemed an ideal opportunity and Professor John Rice.) to tell the college’s entire story, from its founding by enBut by 1985, when Lane completed his manuscript, terprising town boosters in 1885 through its emergence the charismatic Seymour had righted the ship. Today, as one of the most respected small liberal arts colleges Rollins enjoys lofty national academic rankings and is in the U.S. bolstered by a healthy endowment of more than $370 Enter Jack C. Lane, then a professor of history and million. now a professor emeritus and college historian, who was No one was better suited to write this roller-coaster asked by then-President Thaddeus Seymour to write a of a history than Lane, who had at the time taught at book marking the anniversary. the college for more than 20 years, serving on an array Lane was at first reluctant, fearing that an instituof committees and logging a stint as chairman of the tional history would invariably be a dry tome that history department in the 1970s. would generate little interest beyond administrators When he retired in 1999, Lane received the William and a handful of alumni. Freemont Blackman Medal — named, appropriately, in But he quickly realized that the story of Rollins was honor of his favorite past Rollins president — for distinjam-packed with eccentric characters, near-disasters, guished service. Six years later, at the 2006 commencedaring innovations and heady achievements. He quickment exercises, Rollins awarded him an honorary Doctor ly embraced the project, combining a storyteller’s zeal of Humane Letters degree. and a historian’s rigor. In addition to Rollins College Centennial History, Yet the completed manuscript — fascinating and revealLane has published three books and numerous articles ing as it was — gathered dust for more than three decades. on American military history, foreign relations and the Lane posted it online, and in recent years some of the Lane’s fascinating new book was originally history of education. In recent years, however, he turned more colorful chapters were expanded and excerpted in written to commemorate the college’s 125th his scholarly attention to the history of Florida. Winter Park Magazine. Those excerpts always generated anniversary in 1985. It wasn’t published at the In 1991, he and another Rollins history professor, significant reader interest — and prompted questions time, but a revised version was released in Maurice “Socky” O’Sullivan, compiled a collection of November of 2017. about when the book would become available. Florida writing ranging from folk tales and Spanish Finally, though, it’s been published. Rollins College myths to Florida-related work by writers such as Ralph Centennial History: A Story of Perseverance, 1885-1985 (Story Farm Inc.) is a Waldo Emerson, John James Audubon, Zora Neale Hurston, Zane Grey, handsome hardback available for $21.95 from the usual online booksellers Wallace Stevens, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Jose Yglesias, and Harry Crews. and at the Rollins College Bookstore. Visions of Paradise: From 1530 to the Present (Pineapple Press) won the Florida But don’t expect a typical self-congratulatory coffee-table book filled with Historical Society’s Tebeau Award as the year’s best book on Florida history. pretty pictures and effusive promotional copy. Lane’s work is, instead, a In addition to writing, during his retirement Lane has conducted historimeticulously researched, warts-and-all look at the college’s ups and downs cal tours of the campus, assisted as guest lecturer in several classes and served through a century of tumult and triumph. on the boards of Casa Feliz and the Winter Park Institute. The chapter headers offer confirmation that Lane was granted carte blanche Winter Park Magazine sat down with Lane to discuss his lively new book.
book is subtitled Centennial His: Your Q tory, so obviously it was written to be published in 1985. What was the origin of the book, and why was it not published at the time?
Good question, and one that many others, I imagine, have been asking. Well, the road to publication was a bit circuitous. In 1984, President Thaddeus Seymour, with the college’s 100th anniversary imminent, called to ask if I would be interested in writing Rollins’ centennial history. I was a little hesitant about accepting, because I was involved in writing another book that would have to be postponed. But later I thought: I’ve
been at the college for more than 20 years, and I know almost nothing about its history. It dawned on me that the college community was in danger of losing its institutional memory — and I felt a strong obligation to make sure that didn’t happen. That sense of responsibility overrode any other considerations. Besides, the president offered to appoint me college historian, and allow me a year off from teaching to complete the project. So, I said yes. I completed a first draft at the end of the year, after which I returned to full-time teaching, leaving me little time to revise and rewrite. Plus, the administration had published a pictorial history that I had put together during my research. It
was difficult, I was told, to find funding to publish the historical narrative. So, I put the manuscript aside. I turned to other scholarly endeavors, and the whole project sort of went dormant.
what was the impetus to publish it Q: So, now, more than 30 years later? A:
The impetus came from the college’s new president, Grant Cornwell. Shortly after he arrived, I approached him at a social gathering to ask him about his recent trip to India. “Funny you should ask,” he said. “On the W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Rollins was founded in 1885 by the Florida Congregational Association and members of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, which, according to Lane, “had either the audacity or the foolhardiness to start a college in the Florida wilderness, in a village that had only about 150 souls.”
plane on the way home, I read your centennial history manuscript, and I think we should publish it, if you’re willing to work on it some more.” He couldn’t have surprised me more. It had been more than 30 years since I’d even looked at the manuscript. To tell you the truth, I could remember little of what I’d written, or what the quality of my research and writing had been. But the president caught me at a moment in my retirement when I had little in the way of scholarly activity going on. I said yes, but added that it would have to remain a centennial history. Frankly, I just didn’t have the energy to conduct the research required to write about the years since 1985. He agreed. If I might add something here — for several reasons, the gap between writing, rewriting and publication proved to be fortuitous. That 30 years gave me the perspective to make revisions and additions that, I think, greatly improved the original manuscript. And my writing style, I hope, had much improved. I spent a year rewriting virtually the entire book. Finally, given the transformations taking place today in higher education — and particularly in
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liberal education — it seemed to be a propitious time to make public the richness and significance of the Rollins story. And more importantly, it seemed to be an equally propitious time to remind the present campus community of the significance of institutional memory.
facet of the college’s history surQ: What prised you the most? A:
Well, as I mentioned before, there was very little that I did know of Rollins’ past, so I had many surprises. Part of my reluctance at first to undertake this project was the idea of doing an institutional history — that it would be dull. But was I wrong. Not only was it not dull, but as I began to dig into the material in the archives, I quickly found the story fascinating. What human drama here! A group of intrepid Congregationalists (Rollins was founded by the Florida Congregational Association and members of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park) had either the audacity or the foolhardiness to start a college in
the Florida wilderness, in a village that had only about 150 souls. What’s more, they installed a course of study that required extensive preparation in classical languages and literature. For heaven’s sake, there weren’t even any secondary schools in Florida at that time. How the college survived — through depleted finances, epidemics, freezes, internal conflicts and the effort of heroic individuals — was a story that captivated my interest from the very beginning. And then I found that the college’s history was populated by engaging and brilliant personalities — some of whom did the college no favors, and others of whom were instrumental in pulling the institution through its adversities.
would you rank as the top five most : Who Q important figures in Rollins’ history, and briefly why?
Well, at the top of the list would be the obvious one, Hamilton Holt (president from 1925 to 1945). Holt is such an iconic figure — not only at Rollins but in the larger community
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— that it’s difficult to come up with new accolades to express his impact on the college. Under Holt’s leadership, Rollins was transformed both educationally and physically. He established its identity as a proponent of innovative, experimental teaching and learning. His leadership made it a nationally recognized institution of higher education. Moreover, he transformed the campus with more than 30 buildings constructed in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style. That’s one reason that Rollins is routinely recognized as having the nation’s most beautiful campus. What other figures? Well, two at the turn of the century: the almost-regal George Morgan Ward (president from 1896 to 1902, and acting president on two subsequent occasions), who gave the college stability and daringly abandoned the classical curriculum. Then there was William Freemont Blackman (president from 1903 to 1915), who brought the college back to its liberal education roots when it was tending to drift toward vocational or professional education. By the way, seven decades later, President Seymour did the same thing. Also, I’d include the Blackman family, including President Blackman’s wife, Lucy, and their three children. They were by far away the most delightful and entertaining presidential family. The chapter on Blackman was fun to write. Prophetically, I was presented the Blackman Medal at my retirement. Still, I think the unsung heroes have been the generations of trustees, faculty and students — particularly those who stuck with the college in times of serious adversity. They never lost the faith when many wanted to throw in the towel. I spend some time revealing their tireless efforts.
was the most difficult period for : What Q the college? Did it ever seem as though it might not survive?
I’ve chosen the theme of “perseverance” because there were so many periods when it seemed the college wouldn’t survive. But rather than damaging the college, the struggle gave it strength to weather storms of adversity at times when countless other colleges facing similar problems went under. But to answer your question about a specific period: I would say the immediate years after World War I. The conflict had almost denuded the college of its male students, and depleted its finances. It emerged from the war deeply in debt.
Many wanted to give up the struggle as a lost cause. That’s when Hamilton Holt came to the rescue — the college’s knight in shining armor, if you will.
writing the book give you a greater Q: Did appreciation for Rollins? In what way? A:
Oh my, yes. For so many reasons. Because I knew so little of the college’s past, I had countless “ah ha” moments during my research. I realized that many of the things we were doing academically had been passed down to us from previous generations of leaders. For example, from my earliest days at Rollins, I sensed that I was expected to be innovative in my teaching, to experiment with new ideas and to create innovative educational programs. These were time-honored Rollins traditions — but I didn’t know that at the time. Also, I was surprised to learn how long Rollins had been so renowned. It had, all along, attracted brilliant professors and highly regarded figures. I made two major discoveries in this realm. First, I learned that Zora Neale Hurston was deeply connected to the college, and that two Rollins professors had jump-started her fabulous career. Second, I learned that Rollins was the seedbed for the founding of Black Mountain College, probably the nation’s most celebrated experimental institution. Former Rollins professors started the school in North Carolina. Let me just add here what I see as an important insight that came to me as I researched the college’s past. As I mentioned earlier, the college community was in danger of losing its institutional memory. I had that fact reinforced to me time and time again. As I had been reminding my history students, ignorance of our past can be seriously damaging. For a college, that can mean dangerously wandering into ways that seriously impair its historic mission. Forgive me if I include a quote from President Cornwall’s forward to the book: “In this time of rapidly shifting changes, one that requires (re)envisioning the role of liberal education in a global context, it is critical that present and future Rollins generations embrace the distinctive character that previous generations strove to build.” My hope is the Rollins College Centennial History provides assurance that we will never forget this college’s past — and particularly how previous generations doggedly kept alive the commitment of liberal education. That’s one of the meanings of the motto, “Fiat Lux.”
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VERSED TUGGING HEARTSTRINGS AND TICKLING FUNNYBONES, BILLY COLLINS HAS BECOME AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR POET. BY RANDY NOLES
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ILLUSTRATION BY PABLO LOBOTO
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JANUARY IN FLORIDA
The weather here does not feel like the actual weather around me. It seems more like the weather someone would describe to me over the phone while I sat in a chair by a window as the snow piled up against the trees. Yet here I am, barefoot on a dock, lily pads and reeds in the foreground, the sparkling lake beyond, cypress and palm on the far shore, and above it all, a soft blue empty sky. The radio mentioned a high of 80, but no matter how the day improves, I will not pick up the phone and call my friend in northern Minnesota then listen patiently to his recent woes— the thing with his secretary, and the arrest of a nephew— while I observe a pair of wading egrets or the splashy landing of a pair of ducks. Nor will I dangle my feet in the water as I wait for as long as it takes for him to get to that inescapable topic that surely cannot be avoided much longer.
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illy Collins is known for writing about everyday life with quirky sincerity. So, assuming “January in Florida” accurately reflects his state of mind, then the former two-term U.S. poet laureate — a much-traveled native New Yorker — seems to have adapted well to life in lush and laid-back Winter Park. Collins — who is droll and self-deprecating — doesn’t take himself nearly as seriously as one might expect, given his stature as a literary icon. Or perhaps he does. “It’s mildly ironic,” he says. “The writer not taking himself that seriously distracts the reader from how seriously he takes himself.” One thing, though, is certain. Even the most serious poets usually labor in obscurity, while the sometimes not-so-serious Collins churns out bestsellers and packs venues around the world. He has been adopted by locals as their favorite resident celebrity — no offense to Carrot Top — and the most important writer to have a Winter Park address since novelist Irving Bacheller (Eben Holden: A Tale from the North Country) lived here before World War II. Poet Robert Frost, who, like Collins, enjoyed enormous popularity during his lifetime, once said: “There is a kind of success called ‘of esteem,’ and it butters no parsnips.” Collins would undoubtedly agree. He counts among his biggest boosters people who don’t otherwise care for poetry, but are engaged by the humor and poignance that emanate from his comfortably hospitable verses. Such universal appeal is, in large part, why Collins always has plenty of butter for his parsnips. “Billy is truly a national treasure, even an international one, and we are extraordinarily lucky he has landed with us,” says Gail Sinclair, executive director of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. “What a gift we’ve had, having him here.” Sinclair often asks Collins, who holds the lofty title of senior distinguished fellow at the institute, “to consult his Rolodex, or whatever the electronic equivalent of that is,” and call upon friends to be part of the popular speaker series that she manages from offices in historic Osceola Lodge, once the seasonal home of Winter Park benefactor Charles Hosmer Morse. Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Garrison Keillor — now an unexpectedly controversial figure due to a sexual harassment allegation — have been among those who’ve happily obliged. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer, playwright Marsha Norman and TV journalist Jane Pauley also came to Winter Park at Collins’ behest. “These days, I basically run the Billy Collins business,” says the 76-yearold poet, a wiry man with a balding pate and an on-again, off-again goatee. Business is booming; Collins’ books — including last year’s The Rain in Portugal — typically land on the New York Times bestseller list, which is an anomaly for collections of poetry. Consequently, nearly every week finds Collins standing behind a lectern somewhere, reading his work and meeting his fans. “I answer mail, respond speaking invitations, that sort of thing. But because I’m a writer, I make spare time in the morning to write. I sit in the same chair — sometimes with an encyclopedia — and read poems to get in the proper state of mind. Something usually results.” Collins writes only in Fabio Ricci notebooks using Palomino Blackwing pencils — preferably the pearl edition. The lined notebook pages are filled with poems in various stages of completion, the scribbled words adorned with arrows and strikethroughs. “I’ve never worked on a computer,” he says. “This way, I can make a mess on the page. Plus, I can leave behind a diagram of how the poem came together.” One work in progress involves novelist Charlotte Bronte and naturalist John Muir — who share an April 21 birthday, but otherwise appear to have had little in common. That is, until now.
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Collins, shown here on the front porch of Osceola Lodge, home to the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College, thinks of his “writing self” as an altogether different person. That self, he notes, is “monastic, detached, doesn’t have a job — he drinks tea and I drink coffee.”
West. He propped the book open on the steering while navigating pre-interstate two-land roads. His first classroom post was as a teaching assistant at San Bernadino Community College. Then it was back to New York and Lehman College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), where he taught English and composition. (Although he stopped teaching seven years ago, Collins remained affiliated with CUNY for a halfcentury, retiring last year as poet in residence.) Teaching provided a steady paycheck, but Collins, from the time he was in high school, always thought of himself as first and foremost a poet. He assigned his students the task of memorizing a poem of their choosing, hoping that the work would remain with them for life.
EXPECT TO BE DELIGHTED
The Billy Collins business is booming. His books — including last year’s The Rain in Portugal — typically land on the New York Times bestseller list, which is an anomaly for collections of poetry.
A POET’S PROGRESS
Collins was born in Manhattan and grew up in Queens and White Plains, New York. His father, William (Bill), worked for an insurance agency, while his mother, Katherine (Kay), was a nurse who quit her job to raise the couple’s only child. Bill — a dapper extrovert who called his son “Champ” — brought home editions of Poetry magazine, which made an impression on the writerly youngster. “Being a poet requires that you have a deep and sustaining interest in yourself,” says Collins, who remembers writing his first poem — it was about a sailboat he saw traversing the Hudson River — at about age 10. “So being an only child is perfect preparation for a career in poetry.” After graduating from Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, Collins attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, earning a B.A. in English. He then enrolled at the University of California, Riverside, earning an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Romantic poetry. Collins, who had never been west of the Mississippi River, recalls driving cross-country to California in a Sunbeam Alpine convertible while reading Miss Lonelyhearts, a black comedy by Nathaniel
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Collins’ first book of poetry, The Apple That Astonished Paris, was published in 1988. The collection included some of his most anthologized poems, including “Introduction to Poetry,” “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” and “Advice to Writers.” He also published poems in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Poetry Magazine, refining along the way a witty and at times sentimental poetic persona that Collins refers to as his “writing self.” That self, Collins notes, is “monastic, detached, doesn’t have a job — he drinks tea and I drink coffee.” In any case, Collins the writer has thus far produced 13 volumes of published poetry, while Collins the personality has appeared regularly on A Prairie Home Companion — the first time in 1998, after which his book sales skyrocketed — and on other NPR programs, including Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The TED Talk in which he recites two poems about the inner thoughts of dogs has garnered nearly 1.6 million views. In some academic circles, being popular means being dismissed. Collins, though, makes no apologies for writing poetry that people from all walks of life can enjoy. Not long ago, at his annual standing-room-only public reading at Rollins, he summed up his philosophy — and revealed his worldview — when answering an audience member’s question about his approach to writing. “Some people expect to be disappointed by life,” he said. “I expect to be delighted.” The crowd at Knowles Memorial Chapel was, well, delighted. “If you break away from the pack and attract a broader audience, sometimes you’re derided by the very people who complain about a lack of readers for poetry,” Collins notes. “If being accessible means it’s easier to get into the poem, then I’d compare that to an accessible building.
It’s easier to get into — but once you’re inside, all sorts of interesting things can happen.” Says Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn: “We seem to always know where we are in a Billy Collins poem, but not necessarily where he’s going. He doesn’t hide things from us, as I think lesser poets do. He allows us to overhear, clearly, what he himself has discovered.” A typical Collins poem opens unambiguously enough. Take the one at the top of this story. Just don’t take it for granted. The scene may be a placid lake but, as usual, there’s something underneath the surface. In this case, it’s a contradiction — one that’s never resolved: The speaker feels both perfectly at home and somehow out of place. Perhaps a bit like Collins himself. He’s thrilled to be in Winter Park, of course, but you get the impression that he’d sooner give up the lofty titles that have come his way than give up the 914 prefix — Westchester County, in the Hudson Valley — still on his cell phone.
AN UNANTICIPATED ELEGY
Collins was still teaching at Lehman College in 2001 when he was asked by Librarian of Congress James Billingham to serve as the country’s poet laureate. “Such a thing never occurred to me,” he says. “I didn’t think I was serious enough.” The primary duty of a poet laureate, according to the Library of Congress, is to deliver a couple of lectures and “to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.” However, most poet laureates use their bully pulpits to launch poetry-related initiatives of their own creation. For Collins, it was “Poetry 180,” for which he selected 180 poems — one for each day of the school year — to be read and discussed in high schools. But after September 11, 2001, the largely honorary post gained unanticipated gravity. As the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks approached, Collins was asked to write a poem commemorating the victims — and to read it before a joint session of Congress held in New York City. “I didn’t think I was up to it,” he recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t think I can. I write poems about walking the dog.’ But I promised that I would show up and read something. It was my sense of Catholic responsibility.” Collins — in his usual gentle, comforting tone — delivered a masterful elegy called “The Names,” which alphabetically incorporated the surnames of those who had been killed. As cameras scanned the audience of lawmakers, it was clear that many were holding back tears. The poem concludes with a heart-wrenching finale:
Collins’ stature has helped to draw A-list celebrities and even a living legend or two to the Rollins campus for performances, lectures, readings and discussions. Among them have been Paul McCartney (top left), Paul Simon (center left) and Jane Pauley (bottom left).
Alphabet of names in a green field. Names in the small tracks of birds. Names lifted from a hat. Or balanced on the tip of the tongue. Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory. So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart. Collins, not wishing to appear exploitative, initially refused to include “The Names” in any of his books. It first appeared in The Poets Laureate Anthology, released by the Library of Congress in 2010. It was finally published in a Collins anthology when Aimless Love was released in 2013.
WHAT HE DID FOR LOVE
Winter Park wasn’t on Collins’ radar until 2002, when he did a reading at Valencia College — then Valencia Community College — and met attorney Susannah Gilman, who had previously written him a fan letter. Well, a fan email to be more precise. In the book-signing line, when Gilman’s turn came, she reminded Collins about the correspondence. Then, much to her amazement, the poet pulled a printed copy out of his jacket pocket. At the time, both were near the end of troubled first marriages. They struck up a friendship that became a romance — at first, a long-distance one. “I kept reminding Billy that he could live anywhere he wanted,” says Gilman, a writer of poetry, essays and fiction who blogs on a site called The Gloria Siren (a play on the name Gloria Steinem). “He had this idea of Central Florida being all about Disney. So, I took him to Winter Park and it reminded him of the villages he knew in upstate New York.” Everything fell into place in 2008, when Collins accepted the position of senior distinguished fellow at the fledgling Winter Park Institute. His affiliation gave the institute instant credibility. And his celebrity status attracted — and still attracts — big-name guest speakers. Collins and Gilman spend their days bicycling, reading, writing and golfing. Gilman, who no longer practices law so she can accompany Collins to his far-flung speaking engagements, admits that it isn’t easy writing poetry when you’re living with a poet laureate.
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But the two critique one another’s work, and Gilman describes Collins as “tough, but very encouraging.” When Collins isn’t writing or traveling, he enjoys the company of friends — some famous, some not. He looks forward to a longstanding annual golf getaway in Arizona with comedy writer Brian Doyle Murray, literary agent Chris Callahan and poker writer John Stravinsky, grandson of the legendary composer. He enjoys jazz — no surprise there — but also listens to bluegrass and classic country music, favoring Hank Williams, Buck Owens and the harmonies of the Everly Brothers.
LION IN THE SUBTROPICS
Prestigious organizations are always bestowing upon Collins awards of one kind or another, which indicates that his work — appealing to novices though it may be — is held in equally high esteem by most credentialed arbiters of what’s truly worthy. Accolades include the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry — he was the inaugural recipient — as well as fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion.” Last year, Collins was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists,
composers and writers. Founding members included William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox, Daniel Chester French, Childe Hassam, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Vedder and Woodrow Wilson. More frequently these days, Winter Park settings are appearing in Collins’ work. “Cemetery Ride,” which was published in the Atlantic and later included in Aimless Love, is about a bicycle excursion through the city’s historic Palm Cemetery, during which the poet greets many of the permanent occupants by name and speculates about their lives. My new copper-colored bicycle is looking pretty fine under a blue sky as I pedal along a sandy path in the Palm Cemetery here in Florida, wheeling past the headstones of the Lyons, the Campbells, the Vesers, and the Davenports, Arthur and Ethel, who outlived him by eleven years I slow down even more to notice, but not so much as to fall sideways on the ground. And here’s a guy named Happy Grant next to his wife Jean in their endless bed. Annie Sue Simms is right there and sounds a lot more fun than Theodosia S. Hawley. And good afternoon, Emily Polasek, and to you too, George and Jane Cooper, facing each other in profile, two sides of a coin.
UNDERGROUND POET A New Yorker to the core, Billy Collins is especially quite proud of a poem that will never make it into one of his books: Called “Subway,” it was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority though its “Poetry in Motion” program to mark the opening of the new Second Avenue subway line on the Upper East Side. The poem — an ode to the workers who labored to build the city’s mindboggling subway system — was reproduced on a commemorative poster designed by graphic artist Sarah Sze. If you’re lucky, you might’ve gotten a signed poster from Collins himself — who’s a past New York State poet laureate. Earlier this year, he was in the Big Apple distributing them out to surprised commuters. Otherwise, you can find the bright blue posters decorating subway cars throughout the busiest underground transit system in the Western Hemisphere. “We invited Billy Collins to write a poem since his way with words speaks to all New Yorkers, with a purity of thought that gets to the meaning in a way we all understand,” says Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts & Design, which runs the Poetry in Motion program. “And he does it with a lyrical brilliance.”
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I wish I could take you all for a ride in my wire basket on this glorious April day, not a thing as simple as your name, Bill Smith, even trickier than Clarence Augustus Coddington. Then how about just you, Bernice Owens? Would you gather up your voluminous skirts then ride sidesaddle on the crossbar and tell me what happened between 1863 and 1931? I’ll even let you ring the silver bell. But if you’re not ready, I can always ask Amanda Collier to rise from her long sleep beneath the swaying gray beards of Spanish moss and ride with me along these sandy paths so I can listen to her strange laughter as some crows flap in the blue overhead and the spokes of my wheels catch the dazzling sun. Gilman agrees that Collins has public and private personalities. The private version, she insists, is even more endearing than the charmingly rumpled figure who disarms audiences with his wit and warmth. “When I go to Billy’s readings, I’m never nervous for him,” she says. “He’s a pro. He can read the audience. And after it’s over, I can say, ‘I get to go home with that guy.’” “Home,” in this case, being Winter Park. Lucky for her. Lucky for us.
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Busy actor Tom Nowicki has steadfastly remained in Winter Park, even though most of his film and TV roles take him elsewhere. “It’s great to be able to work and then come back to a place I can call home,” he says. “It’s so easy to live here. It’s friendly and accessible and green.”
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TOM THE ACTOR
If You’ve Watched TV or Gone to a Movie in the Last 40 Years, You Know Him. Maybe You Even Saw Him Wrestle. By Randy Noles
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When he isn’t on location, you can usually find Nowicki and his friend, Kristina Lake Latimer, at Lake Baldwin Park surrounded by furry friends. Nowicki helped lobby the city to designate an off-leash oasis where dogs can romp.
A PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
ctor Tom Nowicki is often recognized. Sometimes, he’s recognized as Kris Kristofferson, with whom he appeared in 2011’s Dolphin Tale, a hit family drama that also starred Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Nowicki and Kristofferson bear a passing resemblance to one another, particularly when Nowicki’s reddish hair — lightened to white from exposure to swimming-pool chlorine — is worn shoulder-length. But more often these days he’s recognized as himself, from featured roles in dozens of films and television programs spanning a career that’s approaching the 40-year mark. “Hey, look,” says a woman at sipping a latte at the Park Avenue Starbucks. “That’s Tom, the actor.” More precisely, that’s Tom, our actor. Amanda Bearse (Married with Children), Davis Gaines (Phantom of the Opera) and Billy Gardell (Mike and Molly) — all of whom boast deep Winter Park roots — are more widely known. But none is as prolific. And only Nowicki has continued living locally — despite professional pressure to move someplace else. Nowicki admits that having a New York or a Los Angeles address would be advantageous in his line of work. But perhaps not as advantageous as it once was. Most films these days are made in Canada, Georgia, North Carolina and other places where, unlike Florida, filmmakers are offered significant incentives. He’d be racking up frequent-flyer miles regardless.
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“It’s great to be able to work and then come back to a place I can call home,” says Nowicki, 61, whose family moved to Winter Park from Detroit in 1968. “It’s so easy to live here. It’s friendly and accessible and green.” Then he adds, only partially in jest: “Lake Baldwin Park is great; maybe that’s really the reason I stay here.” The park is a 23-acre waterfront expanse, 11 acres of which are dedicated to off-leash dogs.
‘I KNOW THAT FACE’
Nowicki has been in so many television programs — more than 100 credits and counting — that a dedicated couch surfer might see him portraying a hapless prosecutor on rerun of Matlock, and then, with the click
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Nowicki is still frequently recognized for his role in 2009’s Oscar-winning theatrical film The Blind Side (top left) with Sandra Bullock. More recently, he landed a recurring role in a Discovery Channel miniseries called Manhunt: Unabomber (bottom left), in which he plays a dogged FBI agent who tracks Ted Kaczynski into the Montana wilderness.
of a button, see him again, this time portraying a Russian spy on a rerun of Burn Notice. He’s also been in at least 50 feature films, covering an array of genres — comedy, drama, action, science fiction and horror. But perhaps his most high-profile role in recent years was in the biographical sports drama The Blind Side (2009), starring Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her role as Leigh Ann Tohey. Tohey, you’ll recall, is a successful interior designer who becomes the adoptive mother of a promising football prospect, Michael Oher (Quinten Aaron). Nowicki portrays the uncompromising literature teacher whose class Oher must pass to become eligible for a college scholarship. Later that year, the character was later parodied by Seth Myers during the 2009 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance) Awards, broadcast on ABC. Oher was played by Peyton Manning. “That was quite a moment, seeing your role become part of a comedy skit,” says Nowicki. “Seth was great, but they could have called me
and had the real guy.” (Spoiler alert: Oher goes on to become an All-American at Old Miss, and plays for eight seasons in the NFL.) But for every Blind Side-style blockbuster — which Nowicki says pays the bills — there’ve been meatier roles in edgy independent productions, stints on network and cable television programs and even stretches as a pro wrestling heel and a caddish roller-derby mogul. More recently, Nowicki landed a recurring role on Manhunt: Unabomber, a Discovery Channel miniseries in which he portrayed dogged FBI agent Tom McDaniel, who tracked Ted Kaczynski into the Montana wilderness. He now has a recurring role in Mr. Mercedes, a television adaptation of Stephen King’s hardboiled detective novel of the same name. The show airs on Audience TV, a streaming service available through AT&T U-verse or DirecTV. Coming up, Nowicki will portray a French mesmerist in The Path, a Hulu original series, and has several theatrical films and a new TV series — Lodge 49, produced by Academy Award-nominated actor
Paul Giamatti — in post-production. Nowicki has done voiceover work, produced several art-house films and appeared in countless plays, tackling roles that range from Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire to a gay concentration-camp prisoner in Martin Sherman’s Bent. Once a regional theater regular, Nowicki is more selective about his stage work these days. The money isn’t very good, for starters. And it can be tough to sell an agent on the idea of a longterm theater commitment if a much more lucrative gig in a film or a television program might be just around the corner. Still, Nowicki says the gig he enjoyed the most was at the American Stage Theater Company in St. Petersburg. He portrayed the mysterious Mr. Lockhart — actually, the devil himself — in a 2010 production of The Seafarer, playwright Conor McPherson’s dark and drunken Christmas-themed comedy. “I was asked to do the show, and at first thought I was a terrible choice for the role,” he recalls. “But
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In the �80s, on a lark, Nowicki became a theater critic for the Winter Park Outlook, a weekly newspaper. He wrote under a pseudonym, Rupert Birkin, whose reviews were incisive and, to some, insufferable. Birkin is a character from D.H. Lawrence’s 1920 novel Women in Love. Nowicki even used a photo of Lawrence (left) atop his column — but no one made the connection.
it all came together in a magical way. It was eight shows a week in a three-week run — and I never got tired of going to work. That’s the best gauge I can give you for how much I enjoyed it.” A true actor’s actor whom casting directors know will wring the most from any role he tackles, Nowicki has never wanted for steady work. He typically stays busy at least 30 weeks a year, and — despite the usual ups and downs — has never experienced a truly alarming dry spell. Major star stature has seemed tantalizingly within reach several times. For example, in 2000 Nowicki beat out Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law, Psych) for a leading role in L.A. Confidential, a television pilot based on the Academy Awardwinning 1997 film. The pilot starred Kiefer Sutherland, who at 24 was already an established film star. It was praised by Entertainment Weekly as “the show to watch” for the coming season. “I felt like that was where my entire career was leading,” Nowicki recalls. “I thought it was my time and my moment.” However, the networks — perhaps daunted by the expense of shooting a series set in 1950s Los Angeles — passed on the project. Sutherland went on the following spring to star in the Fox espionage thriller 24. Nowicki, who had figured L.A. Confidential would run for five or six seasons — went back to Winter Park. He was discouraged — as all actors have been — but undaunted. He continued to audition, and to approach every role offered to him with undiminished seriousness and professionalism.
Nowicki’s prodigious work ethic was the result of training by Ann Derflinger, the legendary drama teacher at Winter Park High School who in-
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spired him, encouraged him — and terrified him. The formidable Derflinger, who died of cancer in 1984 — and for whom the school’s auditorium is today named — influenced hundreds of Winter Park High School graduates, whether they pursued acting as a career or not. “I was scared of her at first,” recalls Nowicki of the 5-foot-tall dynamo who exerted — and still exerts — an outsized influence in his life. “I think I’d be a little scared of her now. She believed in the theater. When you got praise from her — which was rare — it was exhilarating. It was as though she, and she alone, spoke for the theater gods. Her approval meant everything.” Derflinger, who had graduated from Rollins College and enjoyed a brief career as a stage actress before deciding to teach, was a meticulously stylish woman known to favor strong perfume. That scent, plus the rapid-fire clip-clop of her high heels, warned backstage slackers of her approach. “I can even still smell her,” says Nowicki, who adds that Derflinger’s insistence that nothing less than 100 percent commitment was acceptable — even in high school productions — continues to guide him. “She knew how much it meant. That’s stayed with me.” Nowicki, who keeps Derflinger’s professional head shot by his bed, counts his best-actor “Derfie” award — which was given annually at the school for outstanding achievement in student plays — among his most cherished possessions. His first Winter Park High School role was as Reverend Hale in a 1972 production of The Crucible. He had never acted before — his career goal was to be a doctor — and had only auditioned because doing so, he was told, would earn him an extra credit in his literature class. “The experience was an utter shock,” Nowicki recalls. “Standing in the wings, waiting to go, was electric and relaxing at the same time. I knew I’d found what I had to do for the rest of my life.” His lead role as Richard, the errant son in Eugene O’Neil’s Ah! Wilderness, earned him his coveted Derfie. Derflinger, who was also known to idolize actor Paul Newman, encouraged Nowicki to study drama at Yale University, at least in part because Newman had studied there. What Derflinger apparently didn’t realize — nor did Nowicki, until he arrived in New Haven as a freshman — was that Yale had recently dropped its undergraduate theater program. There were student productions — Nowicki directed two of them — and the chance to audit classes at the renowned Yale School of Drama.
But that was exclusively a graduate program. “So, I found myself in the classics department, studying in Greek,” Nowicki says. “The classes were tiny, and the faculty members were ridiculously brilliant. I’d learn as more having dinner at their homes than I’s learn in a classroom.”
But Nowicki was frustrated by the lack of an undergraduate theater program. So, in 1977 he took a year off and returned to Winter Park, where he began appearing in plays at Rollins, which sometimes used non-student actors in its productions. There, he fell under the influence of another memorable character, theater director Robert Jurgens, who cast him The Runner Stumbles, The Norman Conquest and One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest at the Annie Russell Theater. “Dr. Jurgens was really cunning about his process,” says Nowicki. “He pretended to be this gruff, no-navel-gazing kind of guy. But his work was as deep as anybody’s. And he taught young, self-absorbed actors a critical lesson: The real craft of acting, along with honesty and passion, is being loud and clear enough that the audience can recognize all the clever things you’re doing.” Nowicki graduated from Yale in 1978 with a degree in English literature — Greek had simply become too difficult, he says — then was off to London, where he studied Shakespearean and classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. “I loved London so much that I begged every female classmate to marry me, so I could get a visa and stay,” Nowicki says. “But despite what you might hear about British schoolgirls, they’re not easily fooled.” He returned to Winter Park to plot his next move. While appearing in local plays, he began a just-for-fun stint as theater critic for the Winter Park Outlook, a weekly newspaper. He wrote under a pseudonym, Rupert Birkin, and his reviews were incisive and, to some in the local theater community, insufferable. For example, Birkin was banned from Once Upon a Stage Dinner Theater in College Park after he penned a review comparing the flag-waving patriotism of 1776, the theater’s current offering, to “a Marxist pageant.” The long-defunct venue’s owner told the newspaper’s editor that Birkin was “a pompous jerk.” Birkin is, in fact, a character in D.H. Lawrence’s 1920 novel Women in Love. Nowicki even selected a drawing of Lawrence to accompany his column, assuming that some savvy reader would make the
Nowicki keeps two photographs from his time at Winter Park High School. One is of the school’s formidable drama teacher, the late Ann Derflinger (above left). The other is from the school’s 1973 production of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah! Wilderness, in which he starred as angsty teen Richard Miller. Nowicki counts Derflinger as one of the most influential people in his life.
connection. None did — and the wickedly witty Birkin became a minor local celebrity before mysteriously resigning his post at what he termed “the drama desk.” “I knew I couldn’t write under my own name,” says Nowicki. “I was acting with some of these people around town, and anything I had to say, good or bad, would make things tricky. It was a good choice, as it happened, since I discovered that I had a fairly profound mean streak — at least while posing as a critic.” Still, Nowicki adds, it was interesting to write character as Birkin, whom he describes as “this overwrought, braying jackass who spared no one. And I did try to even things up with the loftiest praise, where it was deserved — although I may have failed in that regard.” Nowicki then began auditioning for plays statewide. There were, at the time, 30 professional theaters “that paid enough for a 24-year-old.” He got his Actors’ Equity card in 1980, which he marks as the beginning of his professional career. Nowicki’s first film role was in 1984’s Harry & Son, which starred Paul Newman and Robbie Benson. The film was directed by Newman, whom Nowicki remembers as gracious and surprisingly tolerant of the nervous rookie who accidentally backed a Corvette into a bank of lights. Recalls Nowicki: “I was sure I was going to be whipped or fired — or both.” In fact, Nowicki became friendly with Newman, and told him about Derflinger, who was by now gravely ill: “Paul said, ‘Tom, have got a script?’ I got
my script and took it to his trailer. On it he wrote a long, personal note to Miss Derflinger, thanking her for the work she’d done inspiring young actors. He even signed a photograph — something he almost never did — and me to give it to her.” Back in Winter Park, Nowicki presented the script and picture to Derflinger, who was hospitalized. “That was the first time I’d ever seen her not entirely poised,” he says. Derflinger died just months later, at just 44, and was buried in Winter Park’s Palm Cemetery.
DIALOGUE AND DROP-KICKS
Nowicki’s early career was a heady time, when some community leaders were touting Orlando as “Hollywood East.” A handful of films were shot here — none of them very distinguished — and Nowicki was in most of them: from Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) with Jim Varney to The Waterboy (1998) with Adam Sandler. His role in Parenthood, the 1989 family comedy starring Steve Martin, didn’t make the final cut. But Nowicki’s most interesting work, at the time, wasn’t in television or film: it was in the “squared circle,” as the late Gordon Solie, the dean of professional wrestling announcers, described the enclosure in which musclebound behemoths enact carefully scripted — but often bloody — matches that featured body slams, arm locks, drop kicks, sleeper holds and figure-four leglocks. In 1987, Nowicki noticed a classified ad for a “wrestling school.” He was intrigued — it was not then widely known just how choreographed
professional wrestling was — and enrolled. After all, wrestling was nothing if not theatrical. The game 165-pound actor was taught the tricks of the trade by Rocky Montana, a grizzled heel (villain, in wrestling parlance) whose smalltime Dixie Wrestling Alliance staged matches in local armories and high school gyms. The seemingly mismatched pair became close, and Nowicki was welcomed into the carny culture that wrestling exemplifies. “I just thought [wrestling] would be fun to go and do, and write about,” says Nowicki, who at the time contributed freelance stories about topics that interested him to local magazines. “And it was.” The tale of Nowicki’s association with the Dixie Wrestling Alliance became a hilarious — and at times poignant — magazine piece that described his rough-and-tumble training regimen. But it also sympathetically explored the sometimes-desperate dreams of grappling glory harbored by about a dozen other students, all of whom grew up idolizing the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Rick Flair. The piece, which ran in the Orlando Sentinel’s Sunday magazine section, described the reaction Nowicki received when he announced his intention to pursue wrestling: “When I confided this new inspiration to family and friends, the response was a near-unanimous sneer. One or two worried about my health, primarily physical. Only my mother was unconcerned: She understood me to say I was going to ‘resting’ school, which she thought redundant W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Nowicki’s New York agent, Justin Busch of Clear Talent Group, calls Nowicki “a really transformative character actor. He can play an upscale CEO, or a blue-collar, down-on-his-luck guy. Not everyone can pull off that dichotomy.” Known as an actor’s actor, Nowicki has never suffered through a serious career drought.
in my case, but at least indicated I wanted to do something well.” He did do well, although not as a wrestler. He obviously didn’t have the size to credibly match up against a would-be Hulk Hogan. But his acting chops served him well as a manager — the character who ostensibly guides the careers of other wrestlers, usually heels, and routinely interferes in their matches. And so it was that the pompous “Lord Larry Oliver” became a fixture at Dixie Wrestling Alliance matches, shouting insults at jeering crowds — using a condescending British accent, of course — and employing foreign objects to gore the opponents of his evil minions. Nowicki quickly recognized that wrestling could appeal to playgoers with a sense of humor. He persuaded Montana to stage a program of matches at Theater Downtown, an Orlando performance venue frequented by arts-loving hipsters. A full house enjoyed the no-holds-barred evening, which presaged by a decade the wholesale melding of wrestling and show business by Vince MacMahon Jr. and the World Wrestling Federation. Sadly — or perhaps fortunately, at least for him — Nowicki’s wrestling career was ended by injuries he sustained during a Battle Royale, in which a cadre of wrestlers attempt to toss one another over the top rope. The last man standing is declared the winner — but that man was not Lord Larry Oliver, who suffered several broken ribs as the result of a hard fall. Later, from 1999 to 2001, Nowicki’s wrestling background informed his portrayal of the disreputable Kenneth Loge III on Spike TV’s RollerJam, a glitzy revival of the down-and-dirty roller derby programs that were popular in the 1950s. The self-righteous Loge — billed as “the most
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hated man in sports” — was “commissioner” of the World Skating League, and one of three triplets fighting for control of the league. Nowicki also played brothers Benny and Lenny as well as their mother, Drucilla. The show, which borrowed many familiar wrestling tropes, was filmed at Universal Studios Florida. Even Sen. John McCain wanted in on the fun. During the 2000 presidential primaries, McCain’s campaign contacted producers to ask if Loge would appear alongside the eventual GOP nominee at a rally in Florida. Why anyone believed that this pairing would bolster McCain’s chances remains a mystery. “We told them that [Loge] had already endorsed Pat Buchanan,” says Nowicki, who figured that the irascible right-wing windbag would be precisely the sort of character that the overbearing roller derby mogul would have supported for the presidency.
AN ACTOR’S ACTOR
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nowicki had recurring roles in The New Leave it to Beaver, Superboy and Swamp Thing, all of which were shot in Orlando. He later played a Russian astronaut in The Cape, a series filmed in and around Cape Canaveral in Brevard County. There was also a slew of made-for-television movies, and longish stints on NBC’s Matlock and the USA Network’s Necessary Roughness. Nowicki’s big-budget theatrical credits included Remember the Titans (2000), a feel-good football flick starring Denzel Washington, and The Punisher (2004), a vigilante action thriller based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. In The Punisher, Nowicki played a machinegun toting bad guy who gets his comeuppance. In fact, his character’s brutal onscreen slaying was ranked by Fangora magazine as among the “Top 10 Deaths in Film History.” Since then, it’s been an unbroken string of indie movies and television appearances. In fact, between his recent projects and reruns, Nowicki has become almost ubiquitous on television. “There aren’t too many actors in Florida who can say they make a living doing nothing other than acting,” says Traci Danielle, president of Orlando-based Brevard Talent Group, one of the agencies that represents Nowicki. “I like to work with actors who have that chameleon-like quality, and Tom does,” adds Danielle, whose roster includes about 75 clients. “He can play anything. He’s part of my A-team — which means he can consistently close the deal.”
Nowicki’s New York agent, Justin Busch of Clear Talent Group, agrees: “Tom is a really transformative character actor,” Busch says. “He can play an upscale CEO, or a blue-collar, down-on-his-luck guy. Not everyone can pull off that dichotomy.” It’s Nowicki’s personal qualities make him an even better actor, Danielle says: “Tom’s such a great human being. He’s so humble, and he has real empathy. He’s the type of guy who, if he had just had a dollar, would give it to somebody else who he thought needed it more.” Or, he might use it to help aging or injured animals. In 2001 Nowicki co-founded — with his friend, Winter Park resident Kristina Lake Latimer — a business called Hip Dog Canine Hydrotherapy & Fitness, which offers swim therapy for dogs that have mobility issues as a result of conditions such as arthritis and amputation. In 2011, the pair turned the operation — which did too much pro bono work to ever be profitable — over to Beverly and Peter McCartt, who expanded its services to include conditioning and weight-loss programs for dogs. “I found out I was the world’s worst businessman,” says Nowicki, who still swims with the company’s furry clients when he’s in town. “Beverly and Peter have done so much more with it; they’ve turned it from something aspirational to something truly real.” When Nowicki isn’t traveling, he can usually be found at Lake Baldwin Park accompanied by Dexter, his one-eyed springer spaniel. “Having dogs has changed my life in profound ways,” says Nowicki, who adopted his first dog, a sainted Labrador retriever mix whom he named Shea, in 1994. Shea, in fact, provided the impetus for Nowicki — and like-minded locals with dogs who liked to romp — to successfully lobby the city for creation of an off-leash park in the little-used tract then known as Fleet Peeples Park. They formed a nonprofit, now known the Friends of Lake Baldwin Park, to protect and enhance the wooded waterfront space. In Shea’s day, dogs weren’t welcomed on most sets. Now, though, Nowicki is able to take Dexter with him on some dog-friendly shoots. What does the future hold for Winter Park’s most visible resident actor? All Nowicki can say for certain is that he’ll continue to perform. “I’ve never had another serious job, besides acting,” he notes. “And I’ve never wavered or had any thought of finding something else to do. I’m at the stage of my career where I still have a chance to be a big dog — and if not, at least I can provide support to a different big dog.”
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Joy wears a black tulle skirt by Kiriki ($125) and a black studded leather jacket by Rebecca Minkoff ($648), both from Tuni on Park Avenue. She also wears a navy and blue tweed top by Julie Brown ($198) from The Grove on Welbourne Avenue. Her black and gray suede over-the-knee boots by Marc Fisher ($249) are from Tuni on Park Avenue, while her navy-blue round mirrored sunglasses ($99) are by SEE on Park Avenue. Her silver cuff bracelets by Gemara ($38 each), her silver bead bracelet with black rock detail by Nikki B ($74), and her three-strand silver cuff by Zzan ($124) are all from Tuni on Park Avenue. Accessories include a black chunky bead necklace by Fairchild-Baldwin ($375) from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. Location: With Herman Baker of Baker Shoe Shine Service on Park Avenue.
ON THE AVENUE WINTER PARK’S ICONIC DINING DISTRICT IS WONDERFUL IN WINTERTIME.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL TONGOL | STYLING BY MARIANNE ILUNGA MAKEUP AND HAIR BY ELSIE KNAB | MODEL: JOY HARRIS FROM MODELSCOUT/REPREZZENT SPECIAL THANKS TO THE WINTER PARK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOR HOSTING THIS SHOOT AND PROVIDING A STAGING AREA. W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Joy wears a black glitter fringed top ($98) and a pair of tassel detail flared pants ($94), both by Gracia and both from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. Her karma-bead bracelets with gold tone details by Nicole Stewart ($65-$100) are from Clean Beauty Bar on Morse Boulevard. Her gold tone cuff bracelet with labradorite stone by Elyssa Bass Designs ($146), gold tone cuff bracelet by Marcia Moran ($250), snakeskin print cuff bracelets by Chemistry ($50 each), statement gold ring by Elise M ($58), and gunmetal gray tassel earrings by Harper Made ($78) are all from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. She also wears gray velvet lace-up heels by Kat Maconie ($228) from Tuni on Park Avenue. Location: Clean Beauty Bar on Morse Boulevard.
Joy wears a black and white striped turtleneck by Joie ($198) and a faux leather fringed black miniskirt by B.B. Dakota ($55), both from Violet Clover on Park Avenue. Her black tassel earrings ($25), multilayered necklace, ($30), and half-moon necklace ($28) are all by Golden Stella, and all from Violet Clover on Park Avenue. She also wears a gold tone ring by Julie Vos ($68) and a statement ring by Betty Carré ($70), both from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. Location: Croissant Gourmet on Morse Boulevard.
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Joy wears a bronze silk skirt ($196), a navy silk camisole with lace detail ($153), both by Cami, and a bomber jacket with metallic floral details by Trina Turk ($398), all from Tuni on Park Avenue. She also wears a pair of rectangular gold tone drop earrings by B Stellar ($198), and a statement necklace by Zzan ($168), both from Tuni on Park Avenue. Her brass statement ring by Lenab ($60) and suede navy boots by Lola Cruz ($240) are both from Tuni on Park Avenue. Location: The Hidden Gardens on Park Avenue.
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Joy wears a one-shoulder plaid dress with ruffle details by Sugar and Lips ($76) and pink pompom earrings by Sugar ($80), both from The Grove on Welbourne Avenue. Her metallic backpack by Urban Expressions ($88) is from Tuni on Park Avenue, while the black suede pumps and metallic socks are the stylist’s own. Location: The Hidden Gardens on Park Avenue.
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Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield prepares a berry bacon spinach salad, one of the lunch items available at The Glass Knife. There are also sandwiches (roasted turkey club, egg salad and pimento cheese) as well as soup and a couple of shared plates.
GLASS KNIFE IS CUTTING EDGE Winter Park’s new bakery/café is both homey and sophisticated, offering baked goods and meals with flair, flavor and Southern hospitality. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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he Glass Knife, which opened recently in that modern pink and black building on Orlando Avenue, is not, like many independently owned bakery/cafés, the love-child of some passionate pastry chef scraping by on a shoestring budget. In this case, the creator is Winter Park resident Steve Brown, founder and CEO of accesso, a global technology company that serves the leisure industry. (Brown insists on the lowercase “a,” despite protests from persnickety copy editors.) It’s not that Brown doesn’t love The Glass Knife just as he’d love a flesh-and-blood offspring. It’s just that most restaurant owners aren’t also successful tech entrepreneurs. “We worked with no budget. How about that?” he says of his investment without offering a specific number. Answering to no one freed Brown and his team to design what made sense to them. And Brown’s business background facilitated the use of state-of-the-art technology to make customer transactions easier. The Glass Knife has a cash-free policy, for example. First, Brown says, overnight workers are safer if the coffers are perpetually empty, so there’s nothing to rob. Second, cash slows down service, since touching money would require counter workers to replace their gloves after every transaction. Brown and his executive chef, Stuart Whitfield, are Disney World veterans, so they’re well-versed in streamlining. “I bleed Disney,” Brown says with a laugh. With all its high-tech and low-tech quirks, The Glass Knife is still, is essence, a neighborhood bakery/café — albeit a sophisticated (yet welcoming) one. It’s named for pastel glass knives from the ’30s and ’40s that Brown’s mother collected in the family’s Lakeland home. Several vintage knives are displayed under glass in a communal solid walnut table in the dining room. A flower design on one knife was recreated on the 3,278-square-foot building’s exterior. A star design encompassing three pastel colors adorns the restaurant’s terrazzo floor. Pieces of the Brown family’s heirloom collection of pastel Depression glass are embedded in those stars. “We have such a small floor, we don’t want to waste it,” Brown says. Elsewhere, the dining room — modern yet feminine — boasts contemporary clean lines and light woods contrasting with blush pink and a bit of tufted velour fabric. It’s all reminiscent of an old-school pastry box. Near the coffee station, there’s a replica of the patent drawing for what might be the first glass knife, filed by a man named John Didio from Buffalo, New York, in 1938. Guests order at a counter, then have their purchases delivered to a long communal table, cozy booths, rounded banquettes or a spacious outdoor patio where the translucent roof lets in light while keeping inclement weather at bay. To the right of the counter, a window to the kitchen allows visitors to watch as bakers ice cakes. Indeed, bakeries have an
The stylish eatery is attracting the most attention for its creative baked goods, including its beautiful strawberry cake. Itâ€™s layered with house-made jam and topped with strawberry icing, fresh strawberries, a dusting of rose gold luster and a chocolate curl.
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Guests order at a counter, then have their purchases delivered to a long communal table, cozy booths, rounded banquettes or a spacious outdoor patio where the translucent roof lets in light while keeping inclement weather at bay.
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emotional pull for Brown, 49, as cakes were an integral part of his world as a child. His mother created weddings cakes from the family’s home, and his aunt was a home economics teacher. So, food — especially confections — was always at the forefront. For 16 years, Brown worked in finance for Disney. After starting accesso, he traveled the world to bring his queueing technology and point-of-sale services to foreign countries. All the while, he was percolating the bakery/café idea in his head. Taking a break from meetings, he’d visit bake shops wherever he happened to be, taking note of what he might do, and what he might not do, if —more accurately, when — he opened an eatery of his own. By the time he was ready to break ground on The
Glass Knife, Brown had a solid vision: “I wanted an approachable version of a European bakery. In Paris, the baked goods are beautiful, but they don’t always taste good. I wanted to blend that European flair with sensible Southern hospitality.” That’s why customers might order a lacy pink cake or a sophisticated “entremet” (a single-serving dessert with sponge cake and mousse; the Florida orange version tastes like a Creamsicle). But they also might chow down on an oversized cookie. At mealtime, they might enjoy a nostalgic taste of home with a pimento cheese sandwich or a chicken pot pie. “Around the world, I never saw a bakery mix rustic products with fancy ones,” Brown observes. “I built a place where you can get a freshly made version of a Twinkie or Ring Ding, or just drink a
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For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the Old South biscuit sandwich (left), while lunch includes a variety of salads (top). What’s for dinner? Try the chicken pot pie (bottom).
cup of coffee. Plus, you can celebrate a special occasion with champagne and an elegant cake.” On-tap wine and beer are available. The Glass Knife also offers breakfast, including such items as avocado and egg toast (a poached egg, sliced avocado, house-made tomato confit, arugula and pickled red onion garnished with lemon crème fraiche and pomegranate seeds on toasted sourdough bread). You can also enjoy an Old South biscuit sandwich (an egg soufflé topped with bacon jam, Applewood-smoked bacon and aged cheddar cheese on a house-made cheddar biscuit) as well as waffles topped with apple compote and toasted pecans, and rolled oats topped with dried blueberries, fresh banana slices and house-made granola. Lunch items include sandwiches (roasted turkey club, egg salad, and pimiento cheese) as well as salads and soups and an array of shared plates including meat and cheese and an artisanal pretzel
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served with honey cup mustard, beer cheese dipping sauce and pimento cheese spread. Chicken pot pie is the evening feature. Baked goods change daily, but may include brownies, cakes, croissants, cookies, donuts, pastries, pies, scones and tarts. You never know what you’re going to find in the bakery case, except that it’ll be delicious. Since Brown was thinking big during development, he hired an executive who knows all about volume. Whitfield worked as a member of Disney’s culinary team for some time after stints at prestigious restaurants along the east coast. “At Disney, every single item must be as great for the first customer as for the 20 millionth customer,” Brown notes. “Stuart thought of that in recipe development. ‘How can we produce a premium product that can be made in volume?’” That quest for Disneyesque perfection extends to the coffee service. The Glass Knife uses sustainably
sourced, “farm-to-cup” Onyx Coffee Lab beans, and the baristas work with Modbar equipment hidden beneath the counter, allowing face-to-face interaction with guests ordering lattes and espressos. The duo’s desire to streamline operations came in handy on the restaurant’s first Saturday, its second day in business: Customers ordered 300 slices of cake. “The cakes were fully decorated with multiple fillings and then sliced,” Brown points out. That big start encourages Brown to believe that he’ll meet his goal: “I want The Glass Knife to be a place where people will sit a spell, maybe stop in for a cup of coffee, maybe have a cookie with it and maybe not; I don’t care. We want to fill that gap.” How is it going so far? Piece of cake. THE GLASS KNIFE 276 South Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 407-500-CAKE (2253) • theglassknife.com
“Vanilla vanilla” petite cake consists of layers of rich yellow cake filled and topped with house-made buttercream and finished with a delicate blush-colored sugar dogwood flower.
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KEEPING WINTER PARK SPECIAL FOR TODAY’S RESIDENTS AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
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“I have been fortunate to work with many great individuals on projects such as the Winter Park Golf Course and Showalter Field renovations, the acquisition of the 55-acre Howell Branch Preserve, electric undergrounding improvements, our new fiber optic network, historic-preservation incentives and many others. I hope that you’ll continue to work with me to keep our hometown a special place.” — Steve Leary, Mayor, City of Winter Park
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* U.S. News & World Report, 2017-18 Best Hospitals. ** Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Fall 2017. Leapfrog Top Hospital award, 2017.
EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
Honoring Two Arts Icons Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean are remembered today as iconic Central Floridians whose egalitarian philanthropy made it possible for Winter Park to live up to its motto: The City of Culture and Heritage. He was an art professor and then president of Rollins College from 1951 to 1969; she was a gallery owner, an interior designer and the granddaughter of Charles Hosmer Morse, the enlightened industrialist who helped to shape modern-day Winter Park in the early 1900s. The story of how the McKeans rescued truckloads of now-priceless Louis Comfort Tiffany creations from the artist’s ruined Long Island estate and brought it all back to Winter Park has been well told. Today, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, founded by the couple, displays much of that extraordinary collection. Because the McKeans were so many things to so many people, they’re not as well known for being accomplished artists in their own right. Crealdé School of Art hopes to change that with a major exhibition of paintings by Hugh (1908-1995) and Jeannette (1909-1989). Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean runs from February 2 to May 19. On top of everything else, the McKeans were indeed serious artists who painted throughout the course of their lives. They produced strong bodies of work that reflect their training and their individuality. Many of the exhibition’s paintings are undated, but the earliest piece by Hugh is from 1923, while the most recent is thought to be from 1977. Jeannette’s paintings range from the 1940s to the 1960s. Barbara Tiffany, curator of exhibitions and painting and drawing manager at Crealdé, who made the selections from the Morse Museum’s archives, says the exhibition offers a cohesive look at the work the McKeans produced. “The two were obviously influenced by each other,” Tiffany says. “They clearly had a respect and regard for each other’s work. They spoke the same language.” At first glance — even though they worked in different styles — it’s sometimes unclear who painted what, she notes, adding that it’s easy to imagine the couple critiquing works in progress, perhaps in Hugh’s “scriptorium” — a second-floor studio on Park Avenue.
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Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean were known for their philanthropy, but both were accomplished artists.
“Even when looking at his portraits and her abstracts, there’s still a clarity of color and design that they share, in addition to their obvious knowledge, passion and humor,” adds Tiffany. Hugh graduated from Orlando High School in 1926 before enrolling at Rollins, where he majored in English and creative writing. His father had insisted that he earn an undergraduate degree in a subject other than art.
That same year, McKean met a young woman who would become his lifelong creative and intellectual soulmate: 17-year-old Jeannette Morse Genius, a Chicago resident who had vacationed in Winter Park since childhood and was now taking summer classes at Rollins. Jeannette — who would become a Rollins trustee at age 27 — had attended exclusive private schools and, like her future husband, would later study in New
Hugh McKean Man Looking Over Wall Oil on canvas Date unknown
York at the Grand Central School of Art and the Art Students League. Not surprisingly, these two kindred spirits — who would individually and separately dedicate their talent and treasure to energizing Winter Park’s cultural life — struck up a romance that blossomed like a Tiffany daffodil. As part of its mission to preserve culture through visual art, Crealdé has a long tradition of showcasing important contributors to Winter Park’s stature as the region’s artistic and intellectual hub. “The McKeans’ imprint is interwoven into Winter Park’s cultural fabric, from the peacocks they raised that have become the city’s iconic symbol to the Morse Museum,” notes Schreyer. Hugh and Jeannette brought the first peacocks to Winter Park in the 1950s, and opened the grounds surrounding their sprawling estate, Wind Song, to let the public see the noisy peafowl strut and preen. Schreyer notes that Hugh, in particular, was ada-
mant in his belief that art should be accessible to people not typically inclined to seek it out. In that way, he says, Hugh’s approach parallels that of William Jenkins, who founded Crealdé in 1975 with the motto, “Art Is for Everyone.” So it’s easy to see why Crealdé is the logical organization to produce an exhibition of the McKeans’ work, says Laurence J. Ruggiero, director of the Morse. “For more than 50 years, Hugh and Jeannette actively produced paintings and drawings here, in the community they loved,” Ruggiero says. “Their work deserves to be remembered — and their example stands as an emblem for the profound and nourishing role that art plays in Winter Park, then and now.” Many of the paintings will be on display in the Alice & William Jenkins Gallery at Crealdé’s main campus at 600 St. Andrews Boulevard. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center, a Crealdé satellite museum at 642 West New England Avenue, will feature a selection of Hugh’s paintings featuring
scenes of African-American life. “In these moving paintings from the 1930s and 1940s, you’ll immediately see his compassion and reverence for the subject,” says Tiffany. Reservations are being accepted to book guided tours of both galleries. Call 407-671-1886 to schedule a date. You may also see the exhibition any time during regular hours at the two venues, where admission is free. Visit crealde.org for more information. n What:
Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean n When: February 2 to May 19 n Where: Alice & William Jenkins Gallery, Crealdé School of Art, 600 St. Andrews Boulevard; Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 West New England Boulevard. — Randy Noles W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Hugh McKean Country Church Oil on canvas Date unknown
Hugh McKeanÂ On Earth as It Is in Heaven (aka Charlie) Oil on canvas 1941
Jeannette Genius McKean Self-portrait Oil on canvas board Date unknown
Jeannette Genius McKeanÂ The Veil Oil on canvas 1961
EVENTS VISUAL ARTS
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Running through April 15 is Island Objects: Art and Adaptation in Micronesia, which draws on local anthropologist Barbara Wavell’s private collection of archaeological materials and historical items from the Pacific Islands of Micronesia (see page ???). The Polasek also offers tours of the restored Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. The historic house, built in 1885, was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Its next exhibition, Women of the Research Studio, opens January 5 and runs through February 18. It features works by two of the center’s 2017 artists-in-residence: Nikki Painter, who works in mixed media; and Elisabeth Condon, a painter who explored the iconography of center founder Smith through a contemporary lens. Next up is Art31: Fiber, featuring the work of three internationally recognized artists — Alisha McCurdy, Hye Shin and Carrie Sieh — each of whom create using materials such as cloth and paper, and techniques such as stitching and quilting. Throughout March, they’ll create new works daily, and engage attendees with a series of art happenings. The exhibition runs until April 22. Admission to the center is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children ages 4 to 18, and free for children age 3 and under. The openings of both exhibitions will be celebrated as “Culture Pop!” events, with literary readings by local writers, live music, demonstrations by artschool instructors and opportunities to meet the artists. Admission to Culture Pop events is $5. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. In March, Springtime at the Waterhouse will feature the Victorian-era home decked out for Easter. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. On
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display through January 7: Focus Exhibition: Tiffany Studios’ Daffodil Reading Lamp, and the exhibit Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Life and Art. Opening January 16 is Landscape in 19th-Century America, a new exhibition that illustrates the affinity between the French Barbizon School (French painters of nature active from 1830-1870) and American painters of the late 1800s whose works are in the museum’s permanent collection, including Otto Heinigke, William Louis Sonntag and George Inness. The exhibition, which continues through April 8, complements Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet, a concurrent exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Speaking of American landscapes, the largest known painting by American artist Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) will be on display at the Morse from February 13 through early July courtesy of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont, which owns the work. The Domes of the Yosemite, an 1867 oil painting measuring almost 10 by 15 feet, has just undergone refurbishment by conservation experts in Miami — and will be making its first appearance outside St. Johnsbury — Charles Hosmer Morse’ hometown —since 1873 (see pages 104-105). On January 26, the Morse kicks off a free, five-part film series, Portraits, as the winter installment of its Friday Brown Bag Matinee program (see “Film”). As part of the museum’s 2017 diamond anniversary, the Morse also continues to showcase the breadth of its eclectic collection with Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum, which includes portraits, landscape paintings, pottery and works on paper assembled by founders Hugh and Jeannette McKean. That exhibition continues through September 23. From January through April, admission to the museum is free on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.; otherwise, the cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children younger than age 12. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the campus facility, and at 1 p.m. on Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months (including February 15 and March 15). The museum starts the new year with three new exhibitions, all opening on January 20. The first, Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet, features 45 works from the Musée des Beaux Arts, which owns one of the largest collections of French 19th-century landscape paintings in the world. The exhibition continues through April 8. (A complementary exhibition, Landscape in 19th-Century America, is simultaneously on display at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.) The second exhibition, Picturing War,
presents an array of objects — drawn entirely from the museum’s permanent collection — created in response to U.S. involvement in global conflict from the end of World War I to the present day. It runs through May 13. The third exhibition, Ria Brodell: Devotion, features works from two series of paintings by the Boston artist: The Handsome & The Holy and Butch Heroes, all showcasing real people — some historical figures — who challenged gender norms. It also runs through May 13. Also, the museum’s ongoing Conversations exhibition features selected works from its permanent collection along with recent gifts and loans. Admission to the museum is free, courtesy of Dale Montgomery, Rollins Class of 1960. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this nonprofit arts organization offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages, taught by more than 40 working artists. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, though there are fees for art classes. Through January 13, the school’s Jenkins Gallery features The Lake: A Documentary Exploring the Land and People of Lake Apopka, in which 25 photographers, studio artists and plein air painters explore the land and people surrounding Florida’s fifth-largest lake. Through January 16, the annual exhibition Emerge: New Works by Painting and Drawing Fellowship and Studio Artists features works by emerging artists in a variety of media. Recent work from Crealdé’s faculty is on display in Director’s Choice VII, an exhibition featuring photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, glass and fiber arts. The opening reception, January 20 from 5 to 8 p.m., doubles as Night of Fire, the school’s annual winter open house. The exhibition continues through April 28. Starting February 2, a major educational exhibition takes over the Jenkins Gallery and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center’s visiting-exhibition gallery on Winter Park’s west side: Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean features works on loan from the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which the couple founded. Forty paintings by the McKeans, both of whom were formally trained artists, will be on display at both venues through May 19. A special opening February 2 begins with a 7 to 9 p.m. reception at Crealdé, and continues with live jazz performed at the Heritage Center from 8 to 10 p.m. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African-American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are together known as the Heritage Collection. From February 2 to May 19, the center’s visiting-exhibition gallery hosts, along with the Crealdé School of Art, Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean. Ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local
WINTER PARK FLORIDA WinterPark.org
W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Objects: Art and Adaptation in Micronesia showcases everything from intricately patterned fans to human statuary. There are also navigation charts and woven clothing and adornments among the variety of art objects and archeological material collected by Winter Park resident Barbara B. Wavell.
THE MAGIC OF MICRONESIA Ever been to Micronesia? We didn’t think so. But you can get a feel for the culture of the region — which encompasses thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean — by visiting Island Objects: Art and Adaptation in Micronesia at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. The exhibition, which runs through April 15, consists of art objects and archeological material collected by Winter Park resident Barbara B. Wavell, who has written three books on Micronesia. “It’s the goal of this exhibition to help dispel the general lack of knowledge of Micronesia and Micronesian art by giving the unique works of these surprising and inventive people a proper center stage,” says curator Rachel Frisby. Micronesia encompasses five independent nations, including Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Yuvulu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, as well as three U.S. territories, including include Guam, Wake Island and the Northern Mariana Islands. The objects collected by Wavell represent facets of traditional Micronesian life, such as the art of the tattoo, which can be seen on many carved figures, as well as artwork from periods of occupation by Spain, Germany, Japan and the U.S.
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“The remarkable ability of the Micronesian people to adapt to societal and environmental forces has characterized and molded their culture,” says Wavell. Originally, artisans used native materials — employing only four colors found in natural pigments on the islands — and indigenous fibers such as banana and hibiscus for weaving. The exhibition showcases such creations, from intricately patterned fans, human statuary, navigation charts and woven clothing and adornments. Micronesian artistry is apparent in every sophisticated stitch and stylized carving, Wavell adds. Of particular interest are the bold and graphic carved “storyboards” from Palau, which depict Palauan myths and stories documented by Germans during the late 19th century. Wavell plans a book-signing on Tuesday, February 27. On Sunday, March 25, there’ll be a free open house at which local Micronesians will demonstrate dances and sell crafts. Details for both events were still being finalized at presstime. Admission to the Polasek is $10 for adults, $3 for students. For more information about the current exhibition and the museum’s other programs, visit polasek.org.
EVENTS RD 83Â Â Â Â ANNUAL BACH FESTIVAL
and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
JOHN. V. SINCLAIR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR AT ROLLINS COLLEGE SINCE 1935
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FEATURING THE BACH FESTIVAL CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA
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Annie Russell Theatre. The next show at â€œThe Annie,â€? the historic jewel-box of a theater on the campus of Rollins College, is The Women of Lockerbie, the fictional account of a couple from New Jersey whoâ€™ve SPIRITUAL SPACES: come to Lockerbie, Scotland, to honor the anniverMUSICAL MEDITATIONS sary of their sonâ€™s death aboard Pan Am Flight 103, Sun, Feb 18 | 5:00 and 7:00 pm which was destroyed by a terrorist bombing in 1988. The show runs February 16 to 24. There are eight perGIL SHAHAM, VIOLIN Tues,Â FebÂ 20 | 7:30 pm formances, with most shows at 8 p.m. plus matinees at 2 or 4 p.m. Tickets start at $20. The Second Stage CONCERTOS BY CANDLELIGHT: Series, in the nearby Fred Stone Theater, features THE CLASSICAL ROMANTIC student-produced and student-directed plays. UpF ASHION C ONSULTING Fri & Sat, Feb 23 & 24 | 7:30 pm coming is Constellations, by English playwright Nick THE MAGNIFICATS: BACH AND BEYOND Payne, a love story in which science and romance colSat, Mar 3 | 7:30 pm lide across time and space. It runs February 1 to 4 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee February 4. Constellations BACH, BRAHMS, AND BRUCKNER is followed by God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza. The | 3:00 pmis a full service fashion consulting company that provides individual Sun, Mar 4 tylissima French comedy â€” intended for mature audiences personal shopping, wardrobe assessment, travel packing as well as Glam Squad or special â€” examines conflict and maturity when two couples GET TICKETS & MORE INFORMATION meet following a playground confrontation between occasion consultation. Stylissimaâ€™s goal is complete enhancement creating an empowered BACHFESTIVALFLORIDA.ORGÂ |Â 407.646.2182 their children. It runs February 8 to 11 at 8 p.m., with you inside and out with a special focus on color preferences, body shape anda 2personal style. p.m. matinee February 11. Admission to Second Stage shows is free to the public, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre.
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Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Parkâ€™s only professional, nonprofit theater continues its 2017-18 mainstage season January 26 through February 24 with the Florida premiere of Babes in Hollywood, a musical about the legendary show business careers of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Songs include many classics, such as â€œOver the Rainbow,â€? â€œEaster Paradeâ€? F ASHION ONSULTING and â€œThatâ€™s Entertainment.â€? The nextCproduction, Nunsense A-Men!, is an off-Broadway musical comedy in which all of the characters are portrayed by men. tylissima a full service fashion company that provides individual The ispremise: When theconsulting Little Sisters of Hoboken dispersonal shopping, wardrobe assessment, travel packing as well as Glam Squad or special cover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has occasion consultation. Stylissimaâ€™s goal is complete enhancement - creating an empowered accidentally poisoned 52color of the nuns, they you inside and out with a special focus on preferences, body organize shape and personal style. a variety show to raise money for the burials. Performances are scheduled for both March 16 to 25 and Â‡ CLOSET ASSESSMENT April 5 to 21. Both musicals run Thursdays through Â‡ WARDROBE Sundays atSTYLING 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. Single tickets range from $15 for students to $42 for evening Â‡ SPECIAL OCCASION STYLING performances. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407Â‡ TRAVEL PACKING 645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.
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A MONUMENTAL LANDSCAPE The Domes of the Yosemite, the largest existing painting by renowned American landscape artist Albert Bierstadt (top right), is on vacation at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art from its permanent home at the Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The massive image has some intriguing historical Winter Park connections. It was purchased at auction by former Vermont Governor Horace Fairbanks (bottom right), a St. Johnsbury resident and father of pioneering Winter Park Civic leader Franklin Fairbanks. The younger Fairbanks first visited the fledgling resort community in 1881 accompanied by his friend — and fellow St. Johnsbury resident — Charles Hosmer Morse.
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One of the most famous paintings in all of Vermont is wintering in Florida this year. And its first vacation in nearly 150 years includes a high-profile layover in Winter Park — thanks to business and philanthropic ties dating from the Victorian era. The Domes of the Yosemite, the largest existing painting by renowned American landscape artist Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), will be on display at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on Park Avenue beginning on February 13. This monumental work — it measures almost 10 by 15 feet — will be on loan for about six months from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, a combined library and art gallery in the small Northeastern Vermont town where, not coincidentally, Charles Hosmer Morse was born in 1833. The 1867 oil-on-canvas work, which recently underwent preservation and repair work, has not been shown outside the Green Mountain State since it was first installed at the Athenaeum in 1873. “This is a virtuoso performance by one of the most beloved painters of America’s natural beauty — sweeping, sumptuous, dramatic and luminous,” says Laurence J. Ruggiero, director of the Winter Park museum for more than 25 years. “It will be an unforgettable experience for our community and our visitors.” The painting’s local debut coincides with the museum’s newest exhibition, Landscape in 19th-Century America, which opened January 16 and continues through April 8.
Morse, the industrialist/philanthropist for whom the museum is named, was a native of St. Johnsbury, and graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy in 1850. He then went to work for E. & T. Fairbanks Co., a St. Johnsbury-based company that invented the platform weighing scale. Yes, the company was owned by that Fairbanks family. Co-founder Erastus Fairbanks, a two-term governor of Vermont, had a son, Franklin, who accompanied Morse on a Winter Park sojourn in 1881. Fairbanks, like Morse, became a formidable civic leader, and was an original Rollins College trustee. Morse’s first boss, Horace Fairbanks — brother of Erastus, and also a Vermont governor — built the Athenaeum in 1871 as a public library. Two years later, he added a small art gallery just to accommodate The Domes. “Charles Morse’s connection to St. Johnsbury is the reason the Athenaeum offered the painting for temporary display at the Morse Museum,” Athenaeum Director Bob Joly says. “We’re delighted to share this national treasure with the Central Florida community, where the Morse legacy has meant so much.” Winter Park’s Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, prime supporter of the museum — which now houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany — contributed $100,000 to a capital campaign to preserve The Domes. The foundation was created in 1959 by Morse’s granddaughter, Jeannette Genius McKean, who founded the internationally renowned museum with her
husband, Hugh McKean, who served as its first director and most ardent booster. During The Domes’ five-month stay at ArtCare Conservation Studio in Miami, specialists repaired tears around the work’s perimeter, flattened distortions in the canvas and removed both surface grime and a coating of synthetic varnish applied in the 1950s. “The painting is the most important piece in the Athenaeum collection, and a major work of 19th-century landscape painting,” Joly notes. “It’s our job to preserve it for the generations to come.” Bierstadt, a German-born American artist, was lauded by contemporary critics for his grandiose landscapes, particularly those that captured the newly accessible American West. The Dunes — which depicts a mountainous region that’s now part of Yosemite National Park — has been called his crowning achievement. The breathtaking work was originally commissioned for $25,000 to hang in the Connecticut home of wealthy financier Legrand Lockwood. Five years later, Lockwood was wiped out by the Gold Crisis of 1869 and died soon thereafter, in 1872. Horace Fairbanks bought the painting at auction for just $5,000. Once in St. Johnsbury, The Domes became the visual centerpiece of the Athenaeum’s gallery addition, where it has the entire western wall to itself. A viewing balcony, built into the opposite wall about a decade later, still offers an excellent vantage from which to view Bierstadt’s composition — once it returns from its Florida vacation. W INTE R 2 0 1 8 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
EVENTS Unity Heritage Festival. Shady Park in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square is the setting for this annual, two-day event, which spans the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and promotes family history while raising funds for programs assisting economically disadvantaged youth. The January 14 to 15 festival, which runs 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, features live gospel music, dance, children’s games, food concessions, retail vendors, career booths and presentation of the annual Heritage Award. Admission is free. 721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
ARTS CELEBRATED IN WEEKEND FEST When Winter Park chose “the city of arts and culture” as its vision for future development and community growth two years ago, it hung celebratory pennants along Park Avenue; distributed brochures pinpointing museums, galleries, theaters and special events on a map; and created an online directory of local arts and cultural groups, with a master calendar of all their events. But the Arts & Culture Subcommittee of the city’s Public Art Advisory Board, an outgrowth of the visioning process, also wanted to dedicate a long weekend to the city’s plethora of arts and cultural organizations. The result? The city’s first Weekend of the Arts, slated for Friday through Monday, February 16 through 19. The four-day extravaganza offers both residents and out-of-towners the chance to enjoy more than three-dozen events, held at a variety of museums, theaters and galleries. There’ll be plays, concerts and art exhibits, along with the fourth annual “Be My Neighbor Day,” sponsored by the Winter Park History Museum. That event, slated Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. in Central Park, features a series of family-friendly activities inspired by the late Fred Rogers, the Rollins College grad who hosted the legendary PBS show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for nearly four decades. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park also kicks off its 83rd season that weekend, with a free organ recital Friday at 7:30 p.m., an orchestra concert of works by composer Paul Moravec on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a program of musical meditations with the Bach Festival Choir on Sunday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The venue for all three events is Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins campus. Also on Sunday in Central Park, the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College is holding its 10th Anniversary Celebration. The event, slated for 3 to 5 p.m., will feature speakers and musical entertainment from, among others, the Gazebros, a genre-spanning local band that plays folk, country and rock. Other organizations participating in Weekend of the Arts include the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, the Annie Russell Theater, Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts, the Casa Feliz Historic Home, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, the Crealdé School of Art, the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, the Winter Park Playhouse, and the Winter Park Public Library. The city website’s Arts & Culture section (cityofwinterpark.org/arts-culture) has the full Weekend of the Arts schedule, as well as an online copy of the city brochure. “Groups were encouraged to hold at least one event during those four days,” said Craig O’Neil, assistant director of the city’s Communications Department. “We didn’t want to create a whole new event, for Central Park or the Civic Center, and ask the arts groups to show up there. We want people to go to their facilities.”
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Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Among the oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals in the U.S., the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival celebrates its 59th year March 16 to 18. The festival, which features about 225 artists selected from more than 1,000 applicants, draws more than 300,000 visitors to Central Park on Park Avenue. Participating artists compete for dozens of awards with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money at stake. In addition to works in a variety of media — painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, fiber, leather, wood, glass and jewelry — there are kidfriendly activities in the Children’s Workshop Village and an exhibition of student art from Orange County public and private schools. There are also dozens of food and drink concessions and live entertainment. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. 407-644-7207. wpsaf.org. Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. This popular, weeklong series of events and exhibits, now in its 29th year, takes place mostly in Eatonville, where the author and folklorist spent much of her childhood. But there are also events in neighboring Winter Park and Orlando, and at the University of Central Florida’s College of Hospitality. Running January 19 to 28, the festival includes an opening gala dinner, an exhibition and reception at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, a conference at Rollins College, an education day for students, and more — all leading to the Outdoor Festival of the Arts, a three-day street party in the heart of Eatonville. Many events are free and open to the public. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum, 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3307. zorafestival.org. Improv Comedy Festival. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts hosts a weekend of improvisational comedy March 9 and 10, starting 7 p.m. both nights. Details and ticket prices weren’t available at press time. 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com.
Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $11 for regular admission; $9 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $8.50 for Enzian Film Society members. But children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month
at noon. Saturday Matinee Classics are shown the second Saturday of each month at noon. Cult Classics are shown the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the first or second Sunday at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled dates are January 14, February 11 and March 11. Music Mondays present new and classic concert-music documentaries and music-focused movies, usually on the third Monday of the month at 9:30 p.m. Midnight Movies are an ongoing series of envelope-pushing classic and cutting-edge films that start at 11:59 p.m. Enzian kicks off 2018 with a screening of the 2017 period drama Mudbound, starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, and Mary J. Blige. The film, slated for January 31 at 6:15 p.m., follows a pair of World War II veterans who return home to rural Mississippi and must cope with racism and PTSD. Following the screening, there’ll be a question-and-answer session with Hillary Jordan, author of the novel on which the film was based. Other special showings include the Reel Short Teen Film Festival Showcase (March 3, 11 a.m.), which features short films submitted by area students in grades 8 to 12. The program, in partnership with Winter Park Public Library, replaces the library’s D.I.Y. Teen Film Festival. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org.
ENGAGING EDUCATIONAL ENLIGHTENING
Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, familyfriendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are usually on the second Thursday of each month, and start whenever it gets dark — figure 7 p.m. this time of year. Upcoming films include The Bellboy (January 11, 7 p.m.), While You Were Sleeping (February 8, 7 p.m.) and True Grit (March 8, 7 p.m.). Bring a blanket or chairs and a snack. 407-629-1088. enzian.org.
through a five-part BBC series, The Face of Britain. The series kicks off January 26 with The Face of Power, followed by Faces of the People on February 2, The Face of Fame on February 9, The Look of Love on February 16 and The Face in the Mirror on February 23. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.
Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor films most months on the field at Maitland Middle School beginning at 6 or 7 p.m. Bring a blanket or chairs. The next showing is slated for March; check the city website’s special events calendar for date, time and title. 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407-539-0042. itsmymaitland.com.
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by trained docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see “Music”). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.
Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection as well as art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion, just behind the museum on Canton Avenue. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunches; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The Winter Series, titled Portraits, explores artistic representations of the human face
Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. A new exhibition, Parallel Journeys, tells the stories of six teenagers who were victims, witnesses or perpetrators of the Holocaust or other Nazi oppression during World War II. It opens on January 2 and continues through April 27. The museum’s ongoing
Life-Changing CANDY CHANG
Before I Die: A Participatory Art Installation
Farm Kid to Rocketman and Beyond: Personal Exploration, Excellence and Innovation
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 7:30 PM Tiedtke Concert Hall PRICES: $25, $15, $10
TUESDAY, MARCH 6 7:30 PM Bush Auditorium PRICES: $25, $15, $10
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR Writings on the Wall: An Evening with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4 7:30 PM Warden Arena, Alfond Sports Center PRICES: from $50 to $15
TICKETS: 407-646-2145 or WINTERPARKINSTITUTE.ORG IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Speaker Series Line-up
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EVENTS exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other artwork. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org. Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibition, Winter Park: The War Years, 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town, explores the ways in which World War II affected Winter Parkers. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city; it also sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African-American artists and is an integral part of the annual, weeklong Zora! Festival. On January 20, during the first full day of the 2018 Zora! Festival (January 19 to 28), the museum debuts a new exhibition, The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community: The Early Years, 19871997. The multimedia presentation is based on material from the community organization’s archives. A 6 to 8 p.m. opening reception, which includes a gallery talk, is free and open to the public. The exhibition continues through September. Admission to the museum at other times is also free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zorafestival.org, hurstonmuseum.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Eatonville, arguably the oldest incorporated African-American municipality in the U.S., begins its 41st annual parade on January 13 at 2 p.m. along Kennedy Boulevard, just east of Wymore Road. 407-623-8900. townofeatonville.org. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Central Florida’s only St. Patrick’s parade is always held on the first Sunday in March. This year’s parade is slated for March 4 at 2 p.m. by the Winter Park Country Club, and heads south along Park Avenue through the city’s signature shopping district to Lyman Avenue. Scores of marching units participate. The celebration also features Irish music and step-dancing on the main stage in Central Park. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org
Gladdening Light Symposium 2018. NPR host Krista Tippett, author of the bestseller Becoming Wise and host of the radio program On Being, is the featured participant at this year’s four-day symposium, organized by GladdeningLight, a Winter Parkbased nonprofit that explores the intersection of art and spirituality. Tippet will launch the January 25 to 28 event by conversing onstage with two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins in Tiedtke Concert Hall on the Rollins College campus; the next evening,
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she’ll give the keynote address and sign books at the same venue. Tippett will be joined during the weekend by A.O. Scott, movie critic for The New York Times and author of Better Living Through Criticism, and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, winner of Academy Awards for the scores of both Babel and Brokeback Mountain. Santaolalla will be interviewed on Friday afternoon by On Being Executive Producer Lily Percy; Scott will lecture on Saturday morning; and Tippett, Scott and Santaolalla will comprise a discussion panel Saturday afternoon to ponder the art of composition and criticism. Tickets range from $25 for Tippett’s Friday night address only to $280 for access to all symposium-related events. (Rollins students and staff are admitted free of charge.) A Saturday night concert by Free Planet Radio, a trio of multiinstrumentalists from Asheville, North Carolina, is free and open to the public in Tiedtke Concert Hall. Other activities take place at various locations on the Rollins campus. 407-647-3963. gladdeninglight.org. Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Each year, the institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. The fourth lecture of the 2017-18 season, on January 18, features Candy Chang, a world-renowned artist and urban designer whose Before I Die participatory art project has grown into a global phenomenon. The fifth installment, on March 6, features former NASA astronaut Story Musgrave, a veteran of six spaceflights, whose lecture is entitled From Farm Kid to Rocket Man and Beyond. Both events begin at 7:30 p.m.; Chang’s is at Tiedtke Concert Hall, while Musgrave’s is at the Bush Auditorium, both on the Rollins College Campus. Tickets for each lecture range from $10-$25. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/wpitickets. Winter with the Writers. Sponsored by the Rollins College Department of English and open to the public, this annual event dates to 1927, when it featured such luminaries as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ogden Nash and Carl Sandburg. This year’s series opens on February 1 with Hillary Jordan, author of the novel Mudbound, which was made into a film of the same name last year. (The film will be screened the prior evening at Enzian in Maitland, with Jordan taking questions from attendees afterward.) The series continues on February 8 with Ishion Hutchinson, a Jamaican-born writer with two award-winning collections of poetry: Far District and House of Lords and Commons. Next up, on February 15, are Garth Greenwell, author of the award-winning What Belongs to You and co-holder of the 2018 Irving Bacheller Chair in Creative Writing at Rollins College; and Luis Muñoz, author of five books of poetry, most recently Querido Silencio (Dear Silence). The grand finale on February 22 features two National Book Award finalists whose names had not been announced at press time. Each writer will give a master class for students at 2 or 4 p.m., followed by a public reading with an on-stage interview at 7:30 p.m. in Rollins’ Bush Auditorium. 407-646-2666. rollins.edu/winter-with-the-writers. University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among
the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, though nonmembers are asked to donate a $5 activity fee each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) Check the club’s website for the next lecture or special event. 841 North Park Avenue. 407644-6149. uclubwp.org.
Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, openair market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. itsmymaitland.com. Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot that also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org.
Bach Festival. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park celebrates its 83rd season with another jampacked February and early March. The annual festival begins on February 16 at 7:30 p.m. with a free organ recital by Stephen Tharp, artist-in-residence at St. James’ Church Madison Avenue in New York City. On February 17 at 7:30 p.m., Tharp helps the Bach Festival Orchestra perform music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec as part of the society’s “Insights & Sounds” series, which includes Moravec’s poignant Songs of Love and War as well as his newest work, Mass in D. The Bach Festival Choir joins the orchestra on February 18 at both 5 and 7 p.m. to present Spiritual Spaces: Musical Meditations, a group of beloved pieces including Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, George Gershwin’s Lullaby and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile. On February 20 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the society’s Visiting Artists Series, Grammy Award-winning violinist Gil Shaham presents a recital that features unaccompanied works by J.S. Bach as well as other works accompanied by pianist Akira Eguchi. Four concertos — one each for trumpet, cello, viola and (two) clarinets — are on the program on February 23 and 24, when the Bach Festival Orchestra and featured soloists present Concertos by Candlelight: The Classical Romantic at 7:30 p.m. The lineup consists of Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto, the rarely heard Romanze for Viola by Bruch, the
Cello Concerto in A Minor by Saint-Saens and the world premiere of Concerto for Two Clarinets, written by Rollins College music professor Daniel Crozier. The Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, plus soloists, close out the festival on March 3 and 4 with back-toback days of great music, beginning with The Magnificats: Bach and Beyond, which features four versions of the joyful Song of Mary as interpreted by J.S. Bach, Jan Dismis Zelenka, Frantisek Ignac Tuma and John Rutter; and ending the next day with Bach, Brahms, and Bruckner, an afternoon program of rarely heard masterpieces, including J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 4, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3, and 5 and Bruckner’s Te Deum. All performances are in Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus, except the Gil Shaham recital, which is in the college’s’ Tiedtke Concert Hall. Tickets range from free to $100 each, depending upon the performance and the seating. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Bach Festival Society Visiting Artist Series. This series continues on March 18 with the Takács Quartet, one of the world’s great chamber-music ensembles, now in its 42nd season. The concert, which starts at 3 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall on the Rollins College campus, includes Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14 in G Major and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor. Tickets range from $40 to $65. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org.
THE DOMES of the Yosemite February 13 – July 8, 2018 Newly conserved in Florida, Albert Bierstadt’s monumental 1867 masterpiece of the Yosemite Valley debuts at the Morse through a special loan from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont.
www.morsemuseum.org follow us on
445 north park avenue winter park, florida 32789 (407) 645-5311 just a 5-minute walk from the sunrail station.
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue
February 2 to May 19, 2018
Honoring Two Winter Park Legends: The Paintings of Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean
Jeannette Genius McKean, House Yellow, oil on board, 1954, 16x20 inches
This project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.
Crealdé School of Art proudly presents Hugh McKean and Jeannette Genius McKean as artists in their own right in this two-gallery exhibition of rarely seen works on loan from The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Now booking guided tours — call 407.671.1886. Crealdé School of Art 600 St. Andrews Blvd. Winter Park, FL 32792 Hannibal Square Heritage Center 642 W. New England Blvd. Winter Park, FL 32789
Hugh McKean, On Earth as It Is in Heaven (aka Charlie), 1941, oil on canvas, 20x16 inches
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EVENTS is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are also on the schedule. 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com. Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents free acoustic-instrument performances on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the home’s cozy main parlor. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based nonprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts on the last Sunday of each month (except May, when the Florida Folk Festival takes center stage). The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. The next three library concerts include Roy Book Binder (January 28); Doug Spears, plus Beth McKee (February 25); and Rupert Wates, plus Barry Brogan (March 25). Shows start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org. Dexter’s of Winter Park. This well-known restaurant in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square neighborhood occasionally has live musical acts, with no cover charge. Upcoming events include Speakeasy (January 12 and March 2, 8:45 to 11:45 p.m.). 558 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-629-1150. dextersorlando.com.
JAMES TRUBY – Portraits in Oil
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Yonetani Concert. The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens’ annual chamber concert features internationally acclaimed violin/viola soloist Ayako Yonetani. This year’s performance is on February 25 at 2 p.m. in the Capen-Showalter House on the museum’s grounds. Yonetani, who holds three degrees from the Juilliard School, is a professor of violin/viola at the University of Central Florida, but also travels the world as a guest soloist. The concert, with seating limited to 45 people, is followed by a private reception. Ticket information was not available at press time. 633 Osceola Ave. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions/Vocal Competition. On January 20, as many as 40 young, classically trained singers from across Florida assemble at Trinity Preparatory School to compete for an opportunity to sing onstage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Winners of this district competition, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. Winners advance to a Region Final in New Orleans, the final step before New York. 5700 Trinity Prep Lane, Winter Park. 407-922-4688. metauditionsflorida.org.
Side by Side. For the third consecutive year, Winter Park takes a moment to pause and celebrate the community’s abundant blessings. The January 26 event, presented by First Congregational Church of
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EVENTS Winter Park and Rollins College in partnership with the City of Winter Park and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, encompasses a community gathering with musical performances in Rollins’ Knowles Memorial Chapel at 8:30 a.m., followed by refreshments outside near the rose garden at 9:30 a.m. Ovations Awards Ceremony. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Ovations Awards, a sort of “best of” celebration recognizing local businesses and organizations, January 18 at 5:30 p.m. Finalists and winners are feted during ceremonies at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments are served. Tickets for members and non-members may be purchased in advance or at the door. 1050 West Morse Boulevard. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Weekend of the Arts. This inaugural event, organized by the City of Winter Park’s Public Art Advisory Board and it Arts & Culture Subcommittee, draws on the resources of more than 20 local arts and cultural organizations to present four days of free live performances and special exhibits throughout the city. Friday through Monday, February 16-19. 407-599-3428. cityofwinterpark.org/visitors/arts-culture. Metro Cup Regatta. The oldest dual-crew meet in Florida is fueled by a crosstown rivalry between teams from the University of Central Florida and Rollins College, as well as teams from longtime scholastic foes Winter Park and Edgewater high schools. On March 3, eight- and four-rower boats race across Lake Maitland starting at 8 a.m. The competition is best viewed from the southeast shore at Kraft Azalea Garden on Alabama Drive or, of course, from a boat on Lake Maitland. The event is a fundraiser by the Rotary Club of Orange County East-Winter Park, which sells refreshments and operates a shuttle bus between the parking lot at Lakemont Elementary School and the garden’s viewing area. Admission is free, but a donation is requested. Parking is very limited near the garden. rotaryoce.org. Winter Park Sip, Shop & Stroll. Sip wine and enjoy appetizers while checking out what’s new at your favorite Park Avenue-area shops and restaurants March 1 from 5-8 p.m. Advance tickets are $25; check-in is at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard, where ticketholders receive wine glasses and “passports.” 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. Winter Park Garden Club Games Day. This organization, which offers classes on topics that include everything from arranging flowers in a teacup to growing African Violets, funds its projects with a Games Day at Mead Botanical Garden. The event, slated for February 21, offers table games, a silent auction, door prizes and, later, a luncheon at the club’s headquarters. Tickets are $25, or you can reserve a table. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com. Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights takes place every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929
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West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. The free readings are hosted by Curtis Meyer. 407-975-3364. austinscoffee.com. Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author and “book coach” Rik Feeney. Upcoming dates are January 3, February 7 and March 7. University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets the second Thursday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for speakers and discussions organized by Nylda Dieppa-Aldarondo. Upcoming dates are January 11, February 8 and March 8. Maitland Public Library, 501 Maitland Avenue South, Maitland. floridawriters.net. Nerd Nite Orlando. This monthly gathering is based on a simple premise: Learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Introduced to the Orlando area in 2013, Nerd Nites operate in more than 100 cities worldwide, offering participants an evening of entertaining yet thoughtprovoking presentations in a casual setting. The local version takes place on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Upcoming dates include January 11, February 8 and March 8. The Geek Easy, 114 South Semoran Boulevard, No. 6, Winter Park. 407- 332-9636. orlando.nerdnite.com. Playwrights Round Table. This play-reading workshop, usually held on the second Sunday of each month on the campus of Rollins College, invites area writers to bring any piece they’re working on for review and discussion. Upcoming dates include January 14 from 1 to 3 p.m., February 11 from 7 to 9 p.m., and March 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. Those planning to read their work aloud should email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time slot. It’s free, though memberships with added benefits are available. Fred Stone Theater, 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-761-2683. theprt.com. Work in Progress: A Group for Writers. This monthly discussion group is for writers in any genre who offer and receive feedback from other writers. Guest speakers are often invited. Upcoming dates include January 6, February 3 and March 3, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Those planning to read their work should register with organizer and host Gerald Schiffhorst, a University of Central Florida professor emeritus of English, by emailing email@example.com. Conference Room, Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. wppl.org. Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This writers’ group offers various free open-mic programs. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour ... or Thereabouts, a literary open-mic night, meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park. It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming meetings include January 10, February 14, and March 14. Another open-mic night, Storytelling as Bungee Jumping, gives writers of any genre the chance to try out new material, and meets the third
Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Copper Rocket Pub, 106 Lake Avenue, Maitland. Upcoming meetings include October 16, November 20 and December 18. So You Think You Can Funny, a comedy/literary/humor open-mic night, meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Stardust Video. Upcoming meetings include January 24, February 28 and March 28. meetup.com/writers-of-central-florida-or-thereabouts, stardustvideoandcoffee.wordpress.com. Parcels: MFAs in Progress. Masters of Fine Arts students and faculty from the University of Central Florida read their newest works in this monthly series, held the first or second Sunday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but a $10 donation is suggested. Upcoming events include January 14, February 11 and March 11. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts, 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. bluebambooartcenter.com, ucfcreativewritingmfa.wordpress.com. Park Avenue 5K. This fourth race in the Track Shack Running Series, slated for January 20, starts and finishes on Park Avenue. In between, it winds its way for 3.1 miles through beautiful neighborhoods surrounding downtown Winter Park. The 5K race starts at 7:30 a.m., while the Kids’ Run starts at 8:45 a.m. Runners and spectators are advised to arrive early, because race-related road closures snarl traffic near Central Park. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com. Run 4 Love 4 Mile. This February 10 run is for those in love with running or walking — or perhaps with one another. The 4-mile run starts at 7:30 a.m., followed by a Kids’ Run at 9 a.m. and a costume contest and awards presentations after that. Registration for this, the fifth race in the Track Shack Running Series, is $33 through January 27, $36-$40 after that. Showalter Field, 2525 Cady Way, Winter Park. trackshack.com. 41st Winter Park Road Race. This March 25 event, the final race of the annual Track Shack Running Series, includes a 10K (6.2-mile) race at 7:30 a.m. with a capacity of 3,600 runners, plus a 2-mile race at 7 a.m. and a Kids’ Run at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $40 through March 10, $45-$50 after that. Central Park, 251 S. Park Ave., Winter Park. trackshack.com.
Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month, upcoming dates include January 12, February 9 and March 9. Networking begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. The January program will feature a “State of the Chamber” address from President Betsy Gardner Eckbert. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this quarterly business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer ad-
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EVENTS vice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and salesand-marketing techniques. Check the chamber website for the next date and featured speaker in the series, which runs from noon to 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Membership Awards Celebration. The chamber’s annual gala, slated February 2 at 6 p.m. at the Alfond Inn, pays tribute to the members and volunteers who make the organization and the community it serves so exceptional. Reservations are required; tickets for individuals or corporate tables are available on the chamber’s website. 300 East New England Avenue. 407-6448281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for members, $50 for non-members. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
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7th Annual Chili for Charity. The Rotary Club of Winter Park’s chili cook-off, which sparks the creativity of top local caterers and restaurants, is slated February 28 from 4-10 p.m. at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. Participants in the fundraiser compete for a People’s Choice award and undergo the scrutiny of a select panel of judges. In addition to the savory chili, there are drinks, a silent auction and live music. Net proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Winter Park Foundation, which provides grants to more than 30 local charities; during the past 20 years, the total donated has exceeded $800,000. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Patron packages, which include four tickets and program recognition, are $250. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407599-3341. clubrunner.ca/winterpark.
State of the City Luncheon. Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary delivers his annual appraisal of the city’s overall well-being at this annual event, slated February 23 at the Alfond Inn. It’s co-sponsored by the City of Winter Park and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $35 for members, $40 for non-members; reservations are required. The program, which starts at 11:30 a.m., includes brief remarks from Winter Park’s city commissioners, followed by the mayor’s annual address and his presentation of the city’s Employees of the Year. 407-6448281. cityofwinterpark.org.
An extraordinary course with a delicious finish!
January 20, 2018 Park Avenue, Winter Park
Finisher’s Medal • Tech Shirt Visit the Florida Hospital Sports Wellness Pavillion
Run to TrackShack.com
Benefiting Youth Health and Fitness
After the race indulge in a slice, scoop or sample from local restaurants.
Park Ave 18 Ad - WP mag Half.indd 1
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TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
We can raise $25,000 for the Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund to support early breast cancer detection. Raise $135 and provide a mammogram for one local, uninsured woman. #FundAMammo
Virtual Race Option Tech Tee by Raw Threads Gorgeous Finisher’s Medal
Saturday, January 27, 2018 Loch Haven Park, Orlando
Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund was created to help save the lives of women who cannot afford clinical breast cancer exams and annual mammograms.
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ARTSBEAT | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
TACKY IS AS TACKY DOES
Rollins College professor Ben Hudson challenges his students’ perceptions of bad taste. Little Richard and Lawrence Welk, for example, both had their detractors — for very different reasons, of course.
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL (BEN HUDSON)
en Hudson is a newly-hired Rollins College English professor. His class is in bad taste. Not bad taste as in socks with sandals, gardens with gnomes and prison tattoos. Bad taste as a theme in his writing classes. It’s a strategy he has used since his days at the University of Georgia, where he taught undergraduates while earning his Ph.D. He starts by assigning the works of notable arbiters of taste, from ’60’s counterculture firebrand Susan Sontag to Immanel Kant, an influential 18th-century philosopher who argued that our perception of good taste is utterly illogical. In Kant’s view, when something strikes us as beautiful — a person, a painting, a gorgeous view — our response is purely emotional, so don’t bother arguing with us about it. De gustibus non est disputandum, said the Romans. Or, to quote the aphorism of another era: There’s no accounting for taste. But Hudson is a southern-boy contrarian at heart. What he really wants his students to understand is that Kant assumed that he and his homies — namely upper-class European males — considered themselves to be the sole judges of taste, good or bad. Yet, something that’s perceived as distasteful by the powers that be can, in fact, be a good thing — maybe even a revolutionary thing — and certainly something a good writer should investigate. So,
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Hudson asks students to write about something they dislike — a fad, a movie, a singer. For inspiration, he has them read essays that celebrate outliers. One example is a rave review of a kitschy Times Square eatery called “Senor Frog” by ordinarily snooty New York Times critic Pete Wells, who applauded the eatery’s artful tackiness in decking out diners in balloon-animal head gear and offering up drinks in suggestively-shaped cups. On the day I visited Hudson’s classroom, at the end of an Olin Library hallway decorated with posters offering chipper grammatical warnings (“How to Use a Semicolon: The Most Feared Punctuation on Earth!”), he was discussing one of the patron saints of bad taste: John Waters, the puckish filmmaker with a pencil-thin moustache who made underground movies celebrating bizarre behavior and outlandish characters in the early ’70s. Hudson had assigned his students to watch a somewhat tamer film Waters made later in his career: the 1988 version of Hairspray, starring Ricki Lake, Sonny Bono and Divine. The story, set in Baltimore in 1962 against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, revolves around a televised dance competition and the backlash it generates against two teenaged contestants. One is overweight, and the other is black, as are the musicians playing the songs to which all the kids — regardless of skin tone — want to dance.
It’s easy enough for anybody who came up in the ’60s to relate to the attitudes evidenced in Hairspray. But in a classroom filled with 19-year-olds who hadn’t yet been born when the movie was released — and for whom the ’60s is ancient history — Hudson’s leading questions engendered long silences and puzzled faces. So, he provided historical perspective via a blackand-white YouTube video from 1958. A familiar figure — well, familiar to me, anyway — appeared on the screen, his eyes wild, his hair in a towering Pomade pompadour. He stood at a piano, pounding a hotwire beat into its keys and howling: LUCILLLLEEEE! Please come back where you belong! I been good to ya baby, please don’t leave me alone! The flamboyant figure was, of course, Little Richard, of whom John Lennon once said: “If you don’t like rock ’n roll, blame him.” Lucillllleeee! I could hardly keep my feet still. After all these years, listening to music that once gave grownups headaches still felt like a guilty pleasure. Surely the classroom door was about to swing open and we were all going to get hauled off to detention. But then Hudson switched to another video. Same era. Way different music. It was Lawrence Welk, a wunnerful, wunnerful big-band leader with a heavy German accent whose weekly television show featured such catchy songs as “The BeerBarrel Polka.” The maestro’s music was a Saturdaynight staple in my family’s living room — and every bit as exciting as its floral wallpaper. For just a second there, during Little Richard’s romp, I had felt young again. The sensation was fleeting, thanks to one of Hudson’s students, who squinted at Welk’s image on the screen and had a flash of recognition. “I know who that is,” she said. “My grandmother still watches him.” Michael McLeod is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.
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