Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekend Preview March 29th - 31st, 2013: Things to Do in Orlando

We have to admit: we're pretty stoked about the options this weekend. Whether you're looking for a great Orlando art show, sexy burlesque dancers in geek-attire, vintage shopping, or a fabulous drag competition ~ you're in for a treat!


Get your eyeliner and stilettos ready for All-Star Geek Revue - A Night of the Best and Nerdiest Burlesque. Watch these sultry librarians (wild guess on what "nerdy burlesque" means) strut their stuff at Stardust Video and Coffee (1842 E Winter Park Rd) at 9:00pm. Dancers have flown in from New York, New Orleans, and Seattle to tickle your fancy! Tickets are $10 (pricier VIP seating already SOLD OUT) and if you can't make it, they're also performing at Taste Restaurant on Saturday night ($12).

Charlotte Treuse is coming all the way from New Orleans... with an Orlandoan flair!
(we were wondering where all those Winter Park peacocks went....)
If you have your little people for the day, take them to the Downtown Orlando Public Library (101 E Central Blvd) for Rainforest Adventures, Presented by The Central Florida Zoo. The presentation begins at 11:00am and includes time for the kids (ages 3-12) to meet live animals from the zoo. (Free, but event registration required!)

Our Pick
One night only! Celebrate the beginning of your weekend with a free art opening you won't want to miss. Urban ReThink (625 E Central Blvd) hosts the Panorama Photography Show this Friday, 8:00 to 10:00pm. In January, disposable cameras were left all over Orlando with instructions for the person who found it: take it for a week and photograph your life. Cameras were collected and the resulting exhibit forms a panoramic view of The City Beautiful ~ from the eyes of its locals. We couldn't be more excited about this collaborative, community project getting so much attention and press!


For the adventurous folks, don't miss Dead Animals, a taxidermy-inspired group art show at The Falcon (819 E. Washington St) at 8:00pm. *No animals were harmed in the making of this art show (claims The Falcon).

Res•ur•ect - A Vintage and Vinyl Affair: Free drinks, art, live music, and vintage shopping from local vintage shop, Retromended, at Twelve21 Gallery (1221-C N Orange Ave) from 3:00 to 7:00pm.

Check out the new monthly live auction at our favorite neighborhood brunch spot, Maxine's on Shine (337 N Shine Ave). Finds on Shine features food, live music, drink specials and funky auction items (jewelry, art, antiques, etc.) and runs from 5:30pm on.

But don't stop there, because The Parliament House's Little Miss Parliament House Talent Show (410 N Orange Blossom Trail) is one of the hottest tickets in town this weekend! The tickets are $12 in advance/$15 at the door, and it's worth it for a night of glitz and glamour and talented "seven-year-old girls." Watch out X-Factor -- this competition's going to be fierce!


For great Easter and Holi events on Sunday check out our recent post here.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter, Passover, and Holi 2013 in Orlando

Orlando is a culturally diverse city, and this weekend its citizens will be celebrating Easter, Passover, and Holi -- or all three! Check out some of these events to help you decide how you want to welcome Spring:

2013 Easter Events in Orlando

Our Pick
Be sure to start lining up at 9:30am this Saturday, because when Winter Park's 59th Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Central Park kicks off at 10:00am sharp, all hell will break loose.  Well, maybe not, but you don't want your kids to miss their chances at snatching up their share of over 10,000 eggs hidden throughout the park.  Best of all, this event is free!

If this sounds too hectic (or you want even more candy), stop by the 2013 Easter Festival hosted by the Audubon Park Covenant Church (3219 Chelsea St).  This Saturday from 10:00am to noon, come for the Easter egg hunt and door prizes and stay for the pony rides, bounce house, refreshments, games, story time and story time.  Free event!

For those looking to celebrate Easter in a slightly non-traditional fashion, Revolution Nightclub (375 S Bumby Ave) invites you to Orlando's Gayest Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday starting at 8:00pm, with drink specials and hidden surprises.

Bonus: Museum Open Houses

In recognition of Easter, two of Winter Park's popular museums will be free this weekend.  The Morse Museum of American Art will be free Friday (9:30am to 8:00pm), Saturday (9:30am to 4:00pm), and Sunday (1:00pm to 4:00pm).  The Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens are celebrating with free entry Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  

2013 Passover in Orlando

While there are no major Pesach, or Passover, events this weekend (or if we missed them, let us know!), check out some of these great restaurants serving your favorite Jewish staples:

  • Jerusalem Restaurant (2920 Vineland Rd, Kissimmee) is named after the Israli capital but serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
  • Cohen's Deli and Butcher Shop (16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd, Clermont) is a bit of a drive, but worth it for your Jewish favorites.
  • Kosher on Wheels (5447 International Dr, Orlando) is your source for Jewish and other Middle Eastern specialties, whether delivered or catered.
  • Kosher Kats (180 S Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood) is an Israeli grocery store and deli north of Orlando.

2013 Holi / Phagwah Events in Orlando

This Sunday is Holi, also known as Phagwah or the Festival of Colors, an Indian festival commemorating the beginning of Spring.  From 11:00am to 7:00pm, come to the Citrus Bowl (1610 W Church St) for this free event featuring dance performances, singing, fashion shows, and plenty of food and drink vendors.

One of the reason Holi is known as the Festival of Colors is because attendees throw masses of colored powder at each other.  It's customary to wear white (think: color run), but whatever you wear, just make sure you don't mind getting colorful!

What are you celebrating this weekend and where?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Release Party and Interview with Burrow Press Editor Ryan Rivas

This Thursday, March 28th, stop by Urban ReThink (625 E Central Blvd) for the Burrow Press 15 Views Volume II: Corridor Book Release Party.  This free event runs from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and includes readings by three of the book's authors, and an original art exhibit by Volume II's illustrator, Lesley Silvia.

Be sure to pre-order your book now for event pick-up at a special price of $15.98.  The book includes 30 short stories ("That's only 50 cents a short story!") that loosely tie into one another, spanning diverse settings from Orlando to Tampa.

Below, Burrow Press editor and publisher Ryan Rivas gives us some insight into how the series came to be and about running a small independent press in Orlando.

Let's start with a bit of history: How did Burrow Press come into existence and why do you think it's an important asset to Orlando?

Burrow Press happened when Jana Waring and I decided it might be a good idea to have some kind of hub for fiction writers. There's a lot of open mic poetry and slam poetry in Orlando, but we're fiction and creative nonfiction writers, and mainly wanted to reach further out into the writing community and find some like-minded people. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of talented writers living in town. I think BP is an asset because, even though not everything we publish is locally focused, we dedicate a lot of time to trying to make Orlando more of a literary city, celebrating the talented writers here, and trying to encourage collaboration among all our city's literary institutions––Rollins, UCF, Valencia, Kerouac House, Atlantic Center, and tons of unaffiliated writers.

What's your selection process or criteria for choosing written pieces? 

Our online literary journal, Burrow Press Review, publishes short stories, flash fiction and creative nonfiction once a week, and we have open submissions year-round for that via Submittable. We look for excellent, character-driven work (not so much genre stuff, like horror, romance, sci-fi), but we're pretty diverse in our tastes, and have published a wide-range of writers, some who've had work in The New Yorker and some who are publishing for the first time.

We've got so much stuff already in the pipeline that our print submissions (for novels, short story collections, etc.) are currently closed.

How did the original idea for 15 View of Orlando come about?

That would be the work of the series editor Nathan Holic. He was a student of the late Jeanne Leiby, an amazing a writer, professor, and editor, who spent some time here in Orlando out at UCF. In her workshops, she'd do an activity where her students would create a city and write stories about it. Nathan does this in his classes now, too.

At some point after we met, Nathan proposed using this framework for a book about Orlando, but rather than invent a city, we'd use Orlando because it already has sort of an image problem. By giving literary writers who live (and have lived) in Orlando an opportunity to represent our city in fiction, we knew it would be a much more nuanced place. Each writer has to pick a different Metro Orlando location, and we added the condition that each writer after the first has to pull some kind of element (be it a character or a metaphor or an object) from a previous story, so the result is a sprawling, loosely linked, kinda messy, never completely finished, but ultimately honest portrait of the city.

What made you want to add the Tampa Bay area as a second location in Volume II?

Imperial hubris? No. I was thrilled to discover people outside Orlando were interested in this type of project. Orlando isn't the only Florida city that suffers from stereotypes and misconceptions, and creating alternative visions of Florida cities has really become the mission of the 15 Views series. So John Henry Fleming, a great writer who lives and teaches in Tampa, reached out and broached the topic of expanding the series, and for me it was a no brainer. It just so happens that Tampa also has a ton of amazing, established writers living across the Bay Area. In this volume we decided to put Orlando and Tampa back-to-back in one book because we're kind of rival cities, and the subtitle of the book "Corridor" references that fabulous stretch of hell that connects us. I am stunned and honored still by the authors who agreed to participate, and did such a great job playing our little game. Stay tuned for even further expansion: 15 Views of Miami drops November of this year.

Tell us about the artwork by Lesley Silvia and why you chose to illustrate this edition.

Lesley is a friend and just such a talented artist. One of her go-to mediums is papercutting. It happens that there are various regional roots to the medium of papercutting, and I thought, after the fact, that it was a perfect match for the type of regional project we've got in 15 Views. But really the idea of having silhouette-like illustrations to go along with each 15 Views story just sort of popped in my head, and I thought of Lesley Silvia, and I was like, "Hey, Lesley, will you strangle me if I ask you to make 30 papercuts and a book cover for the next book?" Luckily she is always hard at work on something, a true artist, and she said yes. She doesn't mess around, and she produced 30 (31 technically) amazing pieces that capture the essence of each story. Not to mention the best book cover I've ever seen. All the papercuts from the book will be on display at the book release, as well some of Lesley's other, more detailed work. And she'll be selling posters of that sexy book cover, so I encourage you to come out and support not just Burrow, but Lesley.

What are your hopes for the future of Orlando's literary community?

I hope that the excitement of what's going on in Orlando's lit community eventually spreads to more and more readers (or non-writers). I want Orlando to be considered a literate, well-read, if not literary, city. There are so many smart and creative people, so many great writers, and I think eventually we'll be recognized for that. The Enzian does it for film. Snap! does it for photography. Soon enough this city will jump on the book train.

I'd also love to see more readings and lit events and, like, an independent bookstore or two would be nice. It's things like bookstores and readers that strengthen the fabric that holds all this lit stuff together. Most writers around here are awesome people, and they support one another, but it'd be great to see more outside support. And for that to happen, it's important that the average reader/book nerd/curious person feels comfortable coming out to these events and being a part of the community. So let me say right now: we're not stuffy elitists writing irrelevant, inaccessible crap! Plus many of us like to drink. Come out to an event and say hi!

In four words, describe what people can expect from 15 View Volume II.

A pretty good read.

Ryan Rivas is the Publisher of Burrow Press (which publishes fiction and creative nonfiction in print and online) and the Programs Director of Page 15 (which provides free tutoring and creative writing programs to Orlando kids). Both are programs of the Urban Think! Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. His writing has appeared in the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012, Annalemma, Prick of the Spindle, and elsewhere.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekend Preview March 22nd - 24th, 2013: Things to Do in Orlando

This weekend's events in Central Florida really show the diversity of activities our cities have to offer.  Keep reading for events from dancing and eating to art and sports!


Help out a charity by dancing?  If this tickles your fancy, come out to MOVE Philanthropic Dance Party Friday from 9:00pm to 1:00am at Hog Eat Hog (678 Cherry St, Winter Park).  Tickets are $10 at the door and drinks can be purchased inside.  Money raised will go to Florida Abolitionists against human trafficking in Central Florida.

Tonight, it's time again for the Sandford 4th Friday Art Walk, happening tonight from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Stop by seven different galleries along historic 1st Street, see some great art, and maybe collect some free drinks.


This Saturday, come to Winter Garden for their annual Evening at the Pops.  Starting with kids' activities at 4:30pm and food trucks at 5:30pm, the evening culminates with a performance by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $5 / free under 18, and remember to bring cash!

The 2nd Annual Broomstick Pony Derby is May 4th, so get your ride ready by participating in the Pony Making Workshop from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Urban ReThink (625 E Central Blvd). 

The Big Bang Bazaar features indie art, nerdy crafts, and vintage goods.  Come to the Maitland Civic Center (641 S Maitland Ave) this Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00pm to shop at over 70 different vendors.  Tickets are $5.


Catch the Orlando Solar Bears play the Cincinnati Cyclones at the Amway Center this Sunday at 3:00pm. Tickets start at $12.25.  

Have you been to the Waterhouse Residence Museum in Maitland? Visit the historic home and the Carpentry Shop Museum from noon to 4:00pm.  Tickets are $3 / $2 for children and seniors.  Check out the whole range of Maitland museums here.

If you didn't make it to Sandford's art walk on Friday, check out The Alley's free weekly event at 5:00pm, Blues & BBQ Jam.


Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards is hosting its 5th Annual Wine & Seafood Festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm in Clermont. Tickets are $2 for live music, local artists, and, of course, plenty of drinks and food.

With Spring officially begun, the Central Florida Home & Garden Show is your chance to explore the latest trends and innovations for in and around your home.  The event takes place at the Orange County Convention Center (9800 International Dr) Friday through Sunday from 10:00am to 9:00pm.  Tickets are $10. 

What are you doing this weekend? 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Orlando's FREE College-Sponsored Events- March 2013

No scan-trons or tests required.

Few of us remember that another benefit of being surrounded by higher ed institutions is the free programming that every school builds for the community. Having spent a few more years in higher ed than my degrees warrant (judgement-free zone), allow me to guide you through the many free events that only students get to hear about:

University of Central Florida

Residing near the 2nd largest college in the States has its benefits! The college is able to pull in speakers, artists, and events that we locals would otherwise have to pay to attend.

'Banning Landmines' Free Forum
Check out UCF's events calendar for daily, weekly, and monthly events. Here are just a few FREE gems this week (locations vary):

This office is where I've seen Nobel Peace Prize laureates, former Presidents and world leaders, fantastic global activists, authors, journalists, etc. It's worth stalking students for a parking spot to catch one of these speakers. Get on their newsletter for upcoming events.

Rollins College

On the smaller side, Rollins College is the educational anchor of beautiful Winter Park. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and history (Rollins is the oldest recognized college in Florida), wealthy donors, and a sizable endowment. For our purposes, this means guest speakers (um, Maya Angelou! Robert F. Kennedy, Jr!! Jane Goodall!!!) and free events with food.

Head over to the Rollins calendar of events for free events sprinkled throughout the student events. Here are a small sampling of FREE highlights coming up in the calendar:

The institute organizes public lectures and readings, symposiums, seminars, master classes, interviews, and special-interest sessions -- all for the community at large. They were responsible for bringing Jane Goodall last year just as Disney's Chimpanzee was coming out.

Valencia College

Valencia Brazilian Film Festival
Last Year's Poster (2013 TBA)

Valencia has multiple campuses and that means multiple places to catch free events.

Another great events calendar to keep bookmarked. Here are a small sampling of FREE events coming up in the calendar:

Seminole State College

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekend Preview March 15th - 17th, 2013: Things to Do in Orlando

Wee little note: You may notice that this week's Weekend Preview is ignoring a bunch of big St. Patrick's day events. Rest assured, we are not hating on the Irish! We made a special post focusing only on that green-loving', cabbage eatin', Guinness guzzlin' holiday. Check it out here. Now back to business:


I have to start with a killer local event: the 2013 Springtime Swap & Shop (1300 Brookhaven Dr), where the mission is to reduce your fashion footprint while rummaging through your trendy friend's closet. This event (for guys too, btw) runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm and tickets are $12 when you drop your items off by the night of. What takes this great Ivanhoe event over the edge is that a perecentage of everything sold will be given to charity: water and any left over clothes will go to Dress for Success Greater Orlando, Beta Center, and local Homeless Ministries. Guilt-free shopping on so many levels...

But he's a part of the family!
But before you head to the Swap, you absolutely have to take a stroll down Park Ave for the 54th Annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The festival runs Friday and Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Great art, tasty food, terrific weather, and, best of all, Winter Park people-watching! (They say that pets aren't allowed, but does a lap dog in a baby stroller count?)

If the fancy Winter Park people get you feeling like you need to reconnect with the every-man, hit up a great local tradition- the Ocoee Bluegrass Jam (State Rd 50 & Maguire), whose original flier put a call out for anyone who wanted to play to show up at the Piggly Wiggly. 22 years later, the banjos, guitars and fiddles play on. Forget the trendy bluegrass nights at local bars- come experience some of the best authentic bluegrass music that Central Florida has to offer. Just remember: if you've passed the Twistee Treat, you've gone too far.
American Gothic- Ocoee Style
(Photo credit: Rob Bartlett, Orlando Weekly)


Hope you got your tickets for The Downtown Brew, Church Street District's beer and food event featuring unlimited craft beer and food samples from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of.

It's the day you've been waiting for: the Leu Gardens Annual Plant Sale (1920 N Forest Ave). The gardens are free on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Don't forget to bring your wagon for this great sale and learning opportunity (there will be no shortage of experts ready to dole out gardening advice!).
If you're on the lookout for Orlando-area preschools, then be sure to stop by the Orlando Public Library's (101 E Central Blvd) Preschool Fair, going on Saturday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.


Remember to check out our special St. Patrick's Day post for all themed goings-on!

Here's a great, FREE arts event: The Young composers Challenge, where composers aged 13 to 18 have their compositions played for the first time on stage by the Orlando Philharmonic.  The show is from 2:00 to 5:30pm and encourages casual attire and an atmosphere open to the whole family.  Head over to the Bob Carr (401 W Livingston St) to check out these sickeningly talented young people.

Bike over to one of the great farmers markets today ~ including the ever-popular Orlando Farmers Market at Lake Eola and the up-and-coming College Park Sunday Brunch Market, outside of Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Dr).

And, finally, if your weekend has been jam-packed up until this point, make sure you stop by the aforementioned Leu Gardens Annual Plant Sale and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, both of which run through Sunday.

What are you doing this weekend?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Outing: A Taste of India in Orlando

Central Florida has certainly been recognized for its diversity: Little Vietnam and Orlando's southeast Asian community in Mills50 have been mentioned by the New York Times article 36 Hours in Orlando.  Eatonville is the oldest incorporated African American settlement in the United States and known for its yearly Zora! Festival.  Latin American culture, especially of Puerto Rican heritage, comes alive in Kissimmee.  But there's one group that's present in Orlando but usually missing from these lists ~ Indian Americans.

Florida is the 6th most popular state among Asian Indians and Orlando has the 16th largest Indian community of any city in the US.  It should come to no surprise then, that with a little searching you can find a lot businesses catering to Indian needs -- from restaurants and grocery stores to clothing shops and dance lessons.  Orlando also celebrates yearly Indian festivals, including Holi (Festival of Colors) in the Spring and Diwali (Festival of Lights) in the Fall.

Food  Even if you've been to Indian restaurants before, something you may not have tried is chaat.  Sold on city streets in India, chaats are varied snack-sized finger foods.  Stop by Bombay CafĂ©, located in the Laxmi Plaza (1137 Doss Ave), and try some sev puri chaat ($3.95) or the  batata wada chaat ($3.95).

Other popular Orlando hotspots for Indian food include:

Dessert  For dessert, my favorite is the mango lassi ($2.50), a flavored yogurt drink.  Otherwise, when you leave Bombay Cafe, take a minute to check out some stores in the little mall.  For example, stop by House of Spices where you just might find a delicious Indian dessert.

Fun  Because of the large Indian community in south Orlando, the local Touchstar Cinemas (12441 S Orange Blossom Tr) shows current Bollywood movies for around $5.  Visit the theater's website to see what's playing now or go to Eknazar to see previews for upcoming movies.

Not to be missed is the Enzian Theater's annual South Asian Film Festival, which showcases Indian and Pakistani movies, held every October.

Total Price for a some authentic chaat, a dessert, and a movie: $12.00 per person.

Monday, March 11, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013 Events in Orlando, Florida

St. Patrick's Day is this Sunday, March 17th, so get your green food dye and borderline-offensive Irish accent ready for a week of events in honor of the Irish patron saint.

St. Patrick's Weekend Crawls

Our Pick
Thornton Park District's 2nd Thursday Wine + Art Crawl goes green this week for a special edition St. Patrick's day art walk.  The $10 wristband and wine glass (pick-up is at HUE Restaurant, 629 E Central Blvd) gets you drinks at over a dozen different bars and galleries. *Caution- you get a complimentary pour of wine at each joint... We suggest you write your liver an apology letter in advance.

To continue your warm-up for the actual day, Orlando Pub Crawl is hosting The St. Practice Day Pub Crawl on Friday, March 15th.  Meet at Lizzy McCormack's (55 N Orange Ave) at 8:00pm and be sure to get your tickets before Thursday for $12 vs. $15 at the door.  Admission includes one free drink and specials all night.

Downtown Orlando's The Harp & Celt takes the eager drinker on three different pub tours around Downtown this weekend.  Green Kegs and Hammered tickets are $5 on Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $10 on Sunday -- or save and get a three-day pass for $15.

Sunday is the 5th Annual St. Patrick's Day Sunday Funday Scoot.  Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door and include four free drinks -- the best deal after Thursday's Art Crawl. It ends at Lizzy McCormack's Block Party.

Lastly, stop by Ember Bar & Restaurant (42 W Central Blvd) this Sunday at 4:00pm to join in The Clover Crawl, Orlando's first LGBT and straight-friendly St. Patrick's day pub tour.  The event benefits AIDS Walk Orlando and ends at Parliament House.  Donations accepted.

Block Parties

Our Pick
A downtown Irish favorite, The Harp & Celt, will celebrate this weekend with The Great St. Patrick's Day Party Trilogy.  Come Friday for beer, fish and chips, and "Irish fun" (curious to see what that's about).  Saturday, the outdoor beer garden will be open with live music.  Sunday, come for the all-day party with traditional cuisine, beers, whiskeys, music, and more.

Downtown Disney's Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant (1640 Buena Vista Dr) will host the four-day St. Patrick's Week Mighty Festival.  Events include everything from live music and dance performances to drinks and authentic cuisine.  Weekdays are free; Saturday's cover is $5 and Sunday's cover is $10 for people over 12.  Arrive early or make a reservation!

Downtown Orlando's Wall Street Plaza hosts St. Patrick's Day Block Party this Saturday (5:00pm) and Sunday (noon) with live music and plenty of drink specials.  This one's sure to bring out the college-aged crowd (in other words, steer clear if this scene is likely to bring out the Fighting Irish in you). But, we say, it's never too late to act like you're 21 again!

Check out College Park this Saturday and Sunday for Ollie's 1st Annual Shamrockin' Party (3400 Edgewater Dr).  Come for the Irish food and drink specials and stay for the dancing and bag pipe performances.

Noteworthy Pubs

  • Fiddler's Green (544 W Fairbanks Ave) - Live music, food, and drinks all weekend.
  • The Hammered Lamb (1235 N Orange Ave) - Drink specials this Sunday.
  • Kitty O'Sheas Irish Pub (8470 Palm Pkwy) - Live music, food, and drinks all weekend; $5-10 cover.
  • Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery (UCF, I-Drive, Lake Mary) - Live music, food, and drinks.
  • Will's Pub (1042 N Mills Ave) - Sunday: live music and drinks; $10 cover includes corned beef and cabbage dinner at 6:00pm.

Other Events

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekend Preview: Things to Do in Orlando for March 8th - 10th, 2013


Tonight from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, Quantum Leap Winery (1312 Wilfred Dr) will host its monthly Wine Down, including live music.  (This is also a great place to take a break when you're pedaling down the Orlando Urban Trail!)

Later on, head downtown to Wall Street Plaza's weekly Friday Night Block Party, where one admission gives you access to all eight bars.


Saturday night at 7:30pm, join the possibly-soon-to-be-MLS Orlando City Soccer Club for a match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.  Tickets start at $15.

If you're an early riser and fancy yourself a painter, come to the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (1111 N Orange Ave) this Saturday at 8:30am for the 2nd Annual Refresh Orlando.  If you'd like to help renovate the home of the Orlando Ballet and Central Florida Community Arts, then be sure to register!

This Saturday, from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, the City of Orlando invites you to the Seventh Annual Blues B-Q.  This free event takes place in front of the Orange County Courthouse (at Orange Ave & Livingston) and features two stages with live music and a variety of BBQ vendors.

Up in Casselberry, the city is hosting the Casselberry Jazz, Art, and Golf Weekend, a free event highlighted with a performance by chart-topping Eugene Groove.


A great way to start your Sunday is to grab some food at your local farmers market.  Usually the College Park Sunday Brunch Market is at Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Dr), but this week's market takes place at Dartmouth Park from noon to 5:00pm.

Another great way to enjoy Sunday's beautiful weather is to visit the Downtown Orlando Farmers Market, from noon to 4:00pm.

Then head over to the Enzian to watch this month's Film Slam '13 at 1:00pm. $5 gets you in to Orlando's best local indie film showcase where you vote for each month's winners. Winners go on to show at Enzian's Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase in November.

Enzian's Film Slam- Orlando's local indie film showcase
This Sunday, BART supports Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls by hosting an all-ages event that includes a silent auction, door prizes, food trucks, and, of course, video games and beer.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Outing: History on Foot

"History" isn't a word most people associate with Orlando.  However, despite the city becoming famous for Disney World in the 1970s and experiencing tremendous growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, Orlando's original business strips and neighborhoods are thriving.  Home to diverse historic districts, the city boasts a collection of beautiful buildings ranging from the 1880s to the 1920s. 

Fun  The City of Orlando has put together a self-guided walking tour that explains many of the important buildings that shaped a young city.  There are two options for the guided walking tour through historic downtown Orlando.  The east loop (red) takes you through the central business district, highlighting some of the oldest business buildings.  The west loop (orange) takes you into Parramore and showcases some important buildings that represent Orlando's African American heritage.  Optionally, the green loop takes you through trendy Thornton Park along brick streets lined with hundred-year-old houses and even older oaks.  Each route is about 1.3 miles.

Option:  For those who want a heavier dose of Central Florida history should stop at the Orange County Regional History Center (free to $12, find out how to save) and see their permanent and traveling exhibits.

Food  On Wall Street, a pedestrian-only strip of bars and restaurants in the heart of downtown, you'll find Waitiki Retro Tiki Lounge, a Hawaiian-themed bar/lounge/restaurant.  Sit outside and try a unique Island Burrito ($8.99), a banana flour tortilla filled with juicy chicken, sweet chili sauce, and mango.  Adventurous guests can try the Gator Bites ($8.99).

If you decide to take the green route to 903 Mills Market, you have to try the Greatful Bread, which is basically Thanksgiving on a sandwich ($6.89).  But really, any one of their sandwiches, salads, or wraps is delicious.  Plenty of vegetarian options as well.

Dessert  If you walked all the way to 903 Mills Market (and even if you drove), you deserve to enjoy a sizable slice of their cake-of-the-day ($2.99) while sitting on their patio under huge oaks with a view of the lake.  If you stayed downtown, check out one of the frozen yogurt shops and customize your own treat.

Total Cost for lunch, dessert, and a self-guided tour: around $12 per person.

For an even more in-depth look at Orlando buildings decade by decade, pick up a copy of A Guide to Historic Orlando

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Orlando Culture on a Budget and Free Museum Admission *updated*

Here are a few of the best deals in and around Orlando to get some culture on the cheap:

Museums in the Orlando Area

Cornell Museum at Rollins (1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park)
FREE admission through 2013.
FREE with any valid student ID after that.

Mennello Museum of American Art (900 E Princeton St, Orlando)
$1 with any valid student ID.
$1 for children under 18.
FREE admission every second Sunday of the month.
FREE admission for Bank of America customers the first full weekend of every month. (learn more)

Morse Museum of American Art (445 North Park Ave, Winter Park)
$1 with any valid student ID.
FREE admission for children under 12.
FREE admission Fridays between 4:00pm and 8:00pm (November through April).

Orange County Regional History Center (65 E Central Blvd, Orlando)
FREE admission for Orange County employees and teachers.
FREE admission for Bank of America customers the first full weekend of every month.

Orlando Science Center (777 E Princeton St)
FREE general day admission for Florida teachers
FREE admission for Bank of America customers the first full weekend of every month.

Orlando Museum of Art (2416 N Mills Ave)
FREE admission for Bank of America customers the first full weekend of every month.

Don't forget - art strolls are always free!


Leu Gardens (1920 North Forest Ave, Orlando)
FREE daytime admission  first Monday of every month.

Mead Garden (1500 S Denning Dr, Winter Park)


Enzian Theater (1300 South Orlando Ave,  Maitland)
FREE outdoor Popcorn Flicks every second Thursday.
FREE outdoor Wednesday Night Pitcher Show.
Second and last Tuesdays, $5 Cult Classics.

Premier 14 at Fashion Square Mall (3201 E Colonial Dr, Orlando) 
First showing of the day before 2:00pm, $4.50.

Regal at Oviedo Marketplace (1500 Oviedo Marketplace Blvd, Oviedo)
Every Tuesday all movies are $5 ($8.50 for 3D).

Colonial Promenade (4672 E Colonial Dr, Orlando)
$1 movies every Tuesday.
$2 movies every other day.

Plaza Cinema Cafe (155 S Orange Ave)
$7 student tickets every Thursday.


Mad Cow Theatre (105 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando)
All tickets $15 every Monday at 7:30pm.

Theatre Downtown (2113 N Orange Ave, Orlando)
All tickets $10 on the first Thursday after opening day.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater (812 E Rollins St)
$12 student tickets 30 minutes before the show (when available); $10 off any advanced purchase.
$10 active-military tickets.

Orlando Arts Sampler

And last, but not least, I want to mention the Orlando Arts Sampler.  A $99 subscription gets you one ticket to each of the following:
-  Orlando Museum of Art
-  Orlando Ballet
-  Broadway Across America
-  Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra
-  Festival of Orchestras
-  Orlando Shakespeare Theater
Considering some of these events cost upwards of $50, this is an amazing deal.

How do you experience culture on a dime?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Orlando's Non-Orange-Ave Bar Scene

Sometimes you just want to go to a bar where someone (might) know your name... Well at these joints it's more than likely that you'll end up on first name basis with the owners/barkeeps/regulars.

Let's take a look at some of our favorite Orlando neighborhood bars.



Stop by relative newcomer Lil' Indies (1036 N Mills Ave), next to mainstay Will's Pub (1042 N Mills Ave) this week for a variety of concerts and a great selection of beers.  Also not to be missed is one of Orlando's original dive bars, Wally's, located across the street (1001 N Mills Ave).  Just a few blocks north, you'll find BART - a bar, an arcade, and an art gallery (1205 N Mills Ave).  This bar seems to have blown up over night! A few months ago you could easily snag the coveted Ms. Pac Man on a Saturday night- now you may have to savor a beer with friends while you wait to claim your turn. But it's well worth it at this bar featuring an always-changing assortment of craft beers and wine, vintage arcade games (most of them free), and local artists' works.

The Milk District

I'm not one to sit around while drinking, which makes Sportstown Billiards (2414 E Robinson St) one of my favorite places to grab a beer.  Come for the drinks and snacks (like tater tots or Funday Sunday $2 beers) and stay for the cue sports, ping-pong, darts, or my personal favorite- shuffleboard.  Many a friend has been lost to that fiercely competitive game... Once you've sufficiently exhausted your shuffleboard arm, walk next door to The Milk Bar (2424 E Robinson St) where a chill atmosphere and board games await. If you're still hankering for variety, visit one of the other near-by bars and restaurants.  And don't forget to consider walking over to Colonial Lanes for Friday night's all-you-can-bowl from 10:00pm to 1:00am and different specials throughout the week.

Andi at The Milk District's Sportstown

Audubon Park

There are a few great places to enjoy libations in the Audubon Park Garden District.  Whether you're down to visit anchors like Stardust Video & Coffee (1842 E Winter Park Rd) which has come a long way since it was packed with rows of videos and now boasts a great (albeit small) bar; Big Daddy's Roadhouse (3001 Corrine Dr) for some home-grown karaoke talent (you know the kind- they're there for their 3 minutes of glory at the mic and nothing else); or the recently relocated RedLight RedLight (2810 Corrine Dr) to hang out at one of America's best beer bars (check out their FB Page for daily beer updates)- Either way, there's always somewhere to park your bike and get a good drink (served in the requisite mason jar, or course).

Stardust Video & Coffee

There are so many different bars in and around Orlando, each with its very own personality.  We've just barely scratched the surface here (gotta leave some room for future posts!). Share your favorite local neighborhood watering hole in the comments section below.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Urban Thought at UrbanReThink

Ever wanted to get into the mind of Orlando leaders and thinkers? Then this Thursday, March 7th, be sure to come to Urban ReThink's morning meeting, Urban Thought. This month's guests are Creative Village developer Craig Ustler and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. The event begins with networking and coffee at 7:45am and discussions at 8:00am.

Tickets are $20 and benefit the Urban ReThink Foundation. Buy your tickets online or call 407.704.6895 for more information.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Hair, Same Great Personality

Alex in Orlando is now The Orlandoan.


Luckily, it's only a cosmetic change.  We'll still be bringing you the same unique and thrifty Orlando events, sites, and reviews, but with a new look and new contributors.  Stay tuned and follow us!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Things to Do in Orlando: Weekend Events Preview for March 1st - 3rd, 2013

This weekend in Orlando, you'll find a lot of art, a lot of music, and - of course - a lot of food:

Art & Food

This evening from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, enjoy free admission at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (Rollins College, Winter Park).  As part of their monthly First Fridays, they will also host gallery talks from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.  Tonight's event focuses on Women's History Month.

Also in Winter Park, the Morse Museum of American Art, known for its extensive Tiffany collections, will host its free weekly Friday Nights at the Morse tonight, starting at 4:00pm.  

Additionally, FAVO (recently redeveloped motel-turned-artist-studios Faith Arts Village Orlando, 221 E Colonial Dr) will host a free art show tonight, complete with vendors and food trucks.

Two events happening at Baldwin Park this weekend are First Friday Charity Festival & Art Stroll (tonight from 5:30pm to 9:30pm) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Food & Wine Festival (Saturday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm).

Fair & Food

From now through next week, come to the Central Florida Fairground (4603 W Colonial Dr) for the 2013 Central Florida Fair.  Online tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children.  Take a look at the schedule for a complete listing of all the events, rides, food, shows, and expos.  

Music & Fair

What happens Friday nights in a West Colonial parking lot at Maguire Road in Ocoee?  For the past 22 years, this is where you'll find some of the best Central Florida bluegrass players performing.  Read the full article by Ashley Belanger at Orlando Weekly.  

Sunday night is another installment of the popular and free WMMO 98.9 Downtown Concert Series, featuring REO Speedwagon.  Gates open at 4:00pm to explore live music, food stands, and drink vendors until the big show starts around 8:30pm.  

Beating everyone to the punch this year with St. Patrick's Day events is Winter Park's 34th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, this Sunday at 2:00pm.  This free event features a 75-unit parade with floats and live music, as well as additional performances on Central Park's main stage.