July 11, 2011

The Circus in Florida

Allegria, Russian Bars. Photo credit: Daniel Desmarais

There are a number of circus shows coming to Florida these upcoming months.

Allegria
Sunrise 7/20/11 – 7/31/11 – BankAtlantic Center
Estero 8/10/11 – 8/14//11 – Germain Arena

Allegria, which means jubilation in Spanish, is a play about power, evolution and age. Colorful characters mix with dazzling acts, such as contortion, fire-knife dancing, hand balancing, trapeze and more, to create a amazingly visual performance. For more information, visit its website.

Dralion
Orlando 9/21/11 – 9/25/11 – UCF Arena
Tallahassee 9/28/11 – 10/02/11 – Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center
Gainesville 10/11/11 – 10/13/11 – Stephen C. O’Connell Center

Utilizing a 3,000 year-old Chinese acrobatic tradition, Dralion focuses on finding a harmony between humans and nature. The name comes from the shows two primary creatures: the dragon and the lion. Acts include juggling, balancing, trampoline and aerial silks and hoops. For more information, visit its website.

To purchase tickets for either show, visit Cirque du Soleil’s official website or any of the arena’s box offices.

Cirque Eloize ID, Skipping Rope, Photo Copyright 2010 Theatre T & Cie, Valerie Remise

Cirque Eloize iD
Miami 7/26/11 – 9/4/11 – Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center
Combine hip-hop, graffiti and high-energy acrobatics to get Cirque Eloize iD. While not a Cirque du Soleil production, it is a collaboration, and was inspired by the award-winning theatrical group, and contains many of the same elements, including live music, stunning costumes, and amazing acrobatics. The show, reminiscent of West Side Story, was inspired to Calle Ocho, the Port of Miami. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit its website.

July 8, 2011

Food Friday: Eggplant Rollatini

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Administrator @ 9:31 am

EGGPLANT ROLLATINI

Ingredients
2 medium Florida eggplants
Homemade tomato sauce (or premade)
8 oz ricotta cheese
½ oz prosciutto ham, diced
2 oz grated parmesan
3 oz shredded mozzarella
Olive oil
1 pinch nutmeg, to taste
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions
Slice eggplant lengthwise (approximately ½-inch thick). Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake eggplant on a cookie sheet in a 375-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until almost tender and brown on top. Let cool. Mix all ingredients (except the eggplant) in a bowl until they are completely combined. Place approximately 1 oz. of filling on each slice of eggplant and roll lengthwise. Secure with toothpick, if desired. Place rolls in a baking dish and top with sauce. Bake completed dish in oven for about 10 minutes, or until heated through. Serve warm with extra grated cheese on top.

For more Florida recipes, visit the recipe section of our website.

July 6, 2011

National Recreation and Park Month

Filed under: Around Florida, Events — Tags: — Administrator @ 9:58 am

July is National Recreation and Park Month, so why not celebrate by visiting any of Florida’s 160 state parks? Each has a range of activities, as well as enchanting natural beauty. Along with a proclamation by Governor Rick Scott, the Department of Environmental Protection will celebrate with free day-use entry into all state parks on Sunday, July 17, 2011 (except Skyway Fishing Pier).

“DEP and the Florida Park Service are always looking for ways to provide fun, safe, family-friendly and economically-accessible opportunities for Floridians and visitors,” said DEP Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Recreation and Parks Month is a great time to get out and explore new adventures in Florida’s great state parks!”

Utilizing the theme “Family. Friends. Fun.,” the parks will host a variety of events throughout the month for guests of all ages. One such event is the Outdoor Challenge, which challenges children and families to read a book at a state park, and then complete five or more of the 20 activities listed on the guide. Those who complete challenges and send in photos can win a free pass to enjoy the parks again. More information can be found on the Outdoor Challenge here.

For a list of Florida State Park activities and events, click here.

Fun fact: During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, more than 20.1 million people visited Florida’s 160 state parks

July 5, 2011

Florida Forever Artwork

Filed under: Around Florida, Events — Tags: , , , — Administrator @ 9:42 am

Artisans on Fifth, the cooperative art gallery in downtown Mount Dora, is opening a new exhibit entitled “Florida Forever.” The artwork, done by Floridian artists, represents a range of art, from pottery to fiber art, photography to watercolors, acrylics to jewelry. Each piece is based on, and inspired by, the state of Florida.

The exhibit opens on Friday, July 8, from 5-7 PM. It coincides with Mount Dora’s quarterly art stroll. Both the stroll and exhibit opening are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit www.artisansonfifth.com

July 1, 2011

Food Friday: Florida Orange Glazed Shrimp

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Administrator @ 9:28 am

FLORIDA ORANGE GLAZED SHRIMP

Ingredients
2 cups Florida orange juice
2 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
1½ pounds Florida shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. chopped hot pepper

Directions
Cook orange juice and triple sec in a large skillet until liquid has reduced to a very thick, honey-like consistency. Add shrimp and oil. Cook approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque in the center and liquid thickens again. Add soy sauce and chopped pepper. Mix well. Serve immediately. Yields: 4 servings.

Per serving: calories 211, calories from fat 21, fat total 2g, saturated fat 0g, cholesterol 261mg, total carbohydrates 5g, protein 35g.

June 27, 2011

2011 Summer Literacy Adventure

Filed under: Around Florida, Events — Tags: , , , — Administrator @ 10:38 am

School is out. Kids are at home. What’s a parent to do? The Florida Department of Education and Florida’s First Lady Ann Scott have a simple solution: Just Read, Florida! They’re encouraging children to participate in a fun summer adventure program that encourages reading during the long summer months.

To participate, all students are encouraged to take a reading pledge, found on the 2011 Summer Literacy Adventure website. Students should fill in their name, the name of their school, and the number of books they plan to read. The schools with the largest percentage of students participating will be recognized during the 2011-2012 school year. At the winning school, each student will receive a one-day pass to any Florida State Park. Each pass is good for one vehicle, up to eight people.

How can parents get involved in this adventure? Here are some suggestions, as provided by the Department of Education:

  • Parents can incorporate reading in day to day activities, including pointing to billboards during drives, bringing along magazines or books to appointments and encouraging children to read while they wait. Planning a family picnic outdoors or bringing along a book that can be read aloud is a great family activity.
  • Encourage your children to go online to use the Find a Book tool to locate a book that meets their interests and reading level.
  • Visit the public library to find your favorite books and participate in fun summer reading activities for people of all ages.
  • Visit a local bookstore to buy the books you love.
  • Start up a summer book club among neighborhood kids. Be willing to host a book reading event to discuss the book and share their insights with others on how they liked the book.

Visit the 2011 Summer Literacy Adventure website to access the summer recommended reading list, organized by grade, as well as the Find a Book tool.

In addition, check out the Literacy League on iTunes U. This podcast project makes reading interactive and fun for Florida’s middle school students. It’s open to grades 6-8 and encourages a love of reading by letting students interact with their favorite authors. Each month a new author is selected by the Department of Education. Students participating in the club can submit questions about the featured book, and have their questions answered by the author. The author’s Q&A can be downloaded for free through iTunes. So far, Florida authors Patrick Smith, Adrian Fogelin, Laurel Snyder, Julianna Baggott and Edward Bloor have participated.

There are plenty of ways to have fun this summer – why not try it with a book? Just Read, Florida! You’ll be happy you did.

June 24, 2011

Food Friday: Tropical Mango Sorbet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Administrator @ 1:59 pm

Here’s a nice refreshing recipe for those hot, summer days.

Tropical Mango Sorbet

Ingredients
4 ripe Florida mangos
1 cup simple syrup
3 Tbsp. Florida lime juice

Directions
Wash and dry mangoes. Using a paring knife, remove the two flat sides of each mango, cutting lengthwise alongside the pit and cutting as close to the pit as possible so that the mango flesh is in two large pieces. With a spoon, gently scoop flesh from the mango sides into a blender, leaving the skins intact. With a knife, trim the remaining flesh from the pit and add it to the blender. Combine the syrup with lime juice and add to the blender; purée until smooth. Put mango skins on a baking sheet and freeze while making the sorbet.

Freeze the mango purée in an ice-cream maker. Scoop the sorbet into frozen martini glass; garnish with fresh mint, mango skins and sliced strawberries. Frozen sorbets in glasses may be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and kept in the freezer for one week.

Makes 6 servings

Simple Syrup
This recipe is used to prepare almost any kind of sorbet

Ingredients
3 cups sugar
3 cups water

(To flavor with lemongrass, add 1 cup of smashed and chopped lemongrass )

Directions
In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, (add lemongrass) stirring continuously. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any debris. Cool the syrup completely. Syrup may be made one week ahead, left chilled and covered.

LeakyCon 2011

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , — Administrator @ 11:34 am


Harry Potter fans have quite a bit to celebrate. With the recent announcement of the PotterMore website, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s one year anniversary, and the newest – and last – film coming out on July 15, what more could there be? How about a full-on conference celebrating the much-treasured books and films?

LeakyNews.com, part of The-Leaky-Cauldron.org, the most notable and established Harry Potter fan-site, is presenting LeakyCon 2011 July 13-17 in Orlando. A charity conference thrown by the staff of the website, it’s bringing the magic of Harry Potter to Orlando. This is the website’s second conference; the first, held in Boston in 2009, raised several thousand dollars for charity. This event will benefit The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit that educates young adults about world issues (literacy, equality, human rights) and helps empower them to make a difference, and BookAid International, a global charity that promotes literacy for disadvantaged people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The conference is described as “what happens when the best academic minds in the Harry Potter fandom and its most dedicated fans come together to create a canon-centric environment in which all of us can learn, talk, and play.” There will be a wide range of activities, including formal academic programming to information programs, to special events. There are several tracks as well – one more directed towards the younger crowd, and one for the literature crowd.

Formal programming includes panels and keynote speeches, workshops and round table discussions. The programs are based on the lessons, morals and ideas found in the Harry Potter books. Informal programming includes wizard rock concerts, podcasts, Quidditch games, movie screenings and other fun-fill activities. Lit Day, which is currently sold out, will focus on popular children’s and young adult authors. Authors in attendance include: Ally Carter, John Green, Maureen Johnson, David Levithan and Scott Westerfeld. Publishers, agents and more will also be in attendance.

Since the conference coincides with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, there will be a trip to view the movie. In addition, groups will go and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Islands of Adventure theme park. Both activities cost extra.

While it is an unofficial event, several people involved in the Harry Potter books and movies will be in attendance, including Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) and many of the young children from the films. Team StarKid, which created A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel will also make an appearance. The group includes Glee breakout star Darren Criss (Blaine). Neil Cicierega will also have a live Potter Puppet Pals act. Arthur A. Levine, American editor of the Harry Potter series, will host a keynote speech.

LeakyCon 2011 is for those aged 13 and up, with those 13-17 needing a chaperone 21 or older. There’s a special family track for children under 13, which includes safe and fun activities. Basic registration is $200 per person, and it includes access to the opening festivities, programming, wizard rock, podcasts, meetups, vendor room, galleries, the Rocking Charity Ball, the Leaving Fest and more. There are also higher level passes that include more. Chaperones can apply for a White Pass, which is free.

The event will be held July 13-17 at the Royal pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Tickets are now on sale.

For more information, visit www.leakycon.com

*Update: Tickets are currently sold out for the conference, however there is a waitlist open on the website for those still interested in attending.

June 23, 2011

Ice Age Art

Filed under: Around Florida, Looking Back — Tags: , , , , , — Administrator @ 10:21 am

Photo Credit: Chip Clark/Smithsonian

Fossil hunter James Kennedy recently discovered a bone fragment in Vero Beach that’s at least 13,000 years old. It was found near the Old Vero Site, where human bones were once discovered alongside bones of extinct Ice Age animals in an excavation between 1913 and 1916.

On the bone, Kennedy noticed an engraving of either a mammoth or mastodon. Scientists believe this may be the first example of Ice Age art found in the Americas. It’s definitely the oldest and only known example of Ice Age art depicting a proboscidean (an animal with a trunk) in the Western Hemisphere.

“This is an incredibly exciting discovery,” said Dennis Stanford, anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, in a press release. “There are hundreds of depictions of proboscideans on cave walls and carved into bones in Europe, but none from America—until now.”

After noticing the engraving, Kennedy contacted University of Florida scientists, as well as the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History.

“There was considerable skepticism expressed about the authenticity of the incising on the bone until it was examined exhaustively by archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, materials science engineers and artists,” said Barbara Purdy, professor emerita of anthropology at the University of Florida.

Indeed, researchers thoroughly examined the element, coming to the conclusion that the art is genuine. It most notably shows that humans living throughout the Ice Age created images of the animals they hunted or lived around.

The study concluded that the engraving dates back at least 13,000 years, as it was the last appearance of those animals in North America.

For those interested in seeing the engraving, a copy of the fossil is now part of an exhibit of the Florida Mammoth and Mastodons at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

The research report was published this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine (St Johns County)

Filed under: Around Florida — Tags: , , , — Administrator @ 10:00 am

Photo courtesy our asst. managing editor, Lauren

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