Headdress Ball 2003: Society events of any real merit are hard to come by in these parts. Face it, the moths are more likely to hit your cummerbund or spaghetti strap pressed up in the cobweb corner of your closet than you are. But the annual Headdress Ball is coming, and certainly worthy of your dress-up interest, not to mention your best pair of tacky Manolo ruby slippers.
For 14 years, the philanthropies of local AIDS angels, Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, have been buoyed by this, their signature event. While pricey -- standard tickets go for $175, with sponsorships that run up to and beyond $3000 for a table of 10 -- the proceeds (including those from a silent auction) make their way through a mouthful of programs, such as case management, testing, counseling, education, prevention case management, the food pantry, outreach, transportation and peer support. Effectively, there really isn't anything else like it. Last year's festivities garnered a net sum of $210,000.
This year's theme -- something bordering on "red-light district risque," including the naughtiest and bawdiest permutations a headdress and a thong can imply -- should bring even more. The real selling point this time around, though, comes in form of a $1 million bejeweled mask designed by Henri Unay to raise cash for the cause. Participants will be allowed to have their picture taken with it (it's been worn by Liz Taylor and Tom Cruise, mind you) and then never wash again. Plus, you can expect performances from rival news anchors, Jackie London and Wendy Chioji, who in the spirit of being fabulous and philanthropic, will join in some sort of Clash of the (minor) Titans, hopefully in tutus. (VIP reception 5:30 p.m., doors open 7 p.m., Oct. 4, Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando; $175 and up;
407-645-2577, Ext. 113; www.hopeandhelp.org)
Oct. 6, Oct. 10 and Oct. 11
Bogosian trilogy: It's been 19 years since theater maverick Eric Bogosian premiered "Talk Radio," his pressure-cooker inquiry into the politics of gab. And in that time, the proliferation of nattering nabobs up and down the radio dial has only lent weight to the challenges posed by the piece: What's the price of protected speech, anyway? Where does discourse end and demagoguery begin? And how much of our vaunted intellectual freedom merely amounts to listening to ourselves talk?
An Oct. 11 screening (at Enzian Theater;
407-629-1088; www.enzian.org) of the 1989 film version allows us to ask those questions all over again -- and this time to take them to the source. As part of Enzian's "Meet the Filmmaker" series, Bogosian himself will be on hand for the unspooling of the Oliver Stone-directed adaptation, then take the stage to answer queries posed by the audience. It's a case of double duty for Bogosian, who'll be in the area performing master-artist-in-residence duties at New Smyrna's Atlantic Center for the Arts (386-427-6975; www.atlanticcenterforthearts.org). His residency, which runs Oct. 6-26, will see him mentoring and collaborating with a handpicked group of "associate-artist" actors and playwrights -- including Orlando's Rob Anderson, artistic director of the recently launched Invictus T.C. theater company.
And in a wholly coincidental bit of scheduling, the Enzian event will take place one day after the premiere of a new production of Talk Radio (the play) at Temenos Ensemble Theater (Oct. 10-Nov. 1; 300 W. Church St., Orlando;
407-246-4590; www.temenostheater.com). At press time, Temenos cofounder Christian Kelty was seeking permission to make certain modifications to the text -- including adding in-house phone banks that would permit audience members to spontaneously interact with Barry Champlain, the play's motormouthed D.J. character. Now that's something to talk about. (www.ericbogosian.com)
Southeast Regional Conference of the Society for Photographic
Education: That's a mouthful of words for the much more visual annual event, hosted this year by the Crealdé School of Art. A couple hundred photographers, teachers and students will bond over the long weekend, sharing the visions and experiences of celebrated experts. It's a coup for Crealdé, a little-gallery-that-could organization; as director of photography Rick Lang says, It's the kind of place where a people can see an idea come to fruition without a lot of financial resources but with a lot of shared energy.
The open-to-the-public lineup kicks off Friday at the Orlando Museum of Art, with a lecture by renowned documentary photographer David Scheinbaum (7 p.m. Oct. 24; $5; 407-896-4231; www.omart.org), who worked for Eliot Porter, the subject of OMA's current The Color of Wildness exhibit (continues through Nov. 2). There's also a lecture by Tom Rankin of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12; Bush Auditorium, Rollins College; free), as well as a forum (10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26; Crealdé Executive Center, 600 St. Andrews Blvd., Winter Park; free) with Orlando anthropologist Dr. Ron Habin, UCF folklorist Kristin Congdon and Lang.
Hanging proud at the home gallery will be the exhibition A Shared Legacy: Documentary Photography of Florida from the 1930s and Today, which opens Sept. 26 and continues through Nov. 6. (407-719-5004; www.crealde.org)
Lindy T. Shepherd
Bob Truluck: On the surface, profanity reigns. But a gander into the mind of local author Bob Truluck and the inevitable appreciation of somebody who, well, gets it, and makes it all somehow worthwhile. Improbable as the Angela Lansbury nose-glasses sleuth, Truluck has succeeded in winning the cautious respect of the mystery publishing arena. Sure, mildly pornographic missives ferment, like the opening line of his latest novel, "Saw Red:" "The first time I laid eyes on Terry Sebring she was showing me the pussy in a hotel bar. I didn't take it personally or any other way really. I just saw it as some damned good advertising about the same old thing."
But, Truluck isn't cheaply salacious. His first novel, Street Level, saw release under the banner of St. Martins, despite editing conflicts that forced the author into thoughts of a career change. These days, he's still doing what he wants, the way he wants to do it. Blue-collar roots (he retains a construction position in the day job mode) ensure that his perspective is never contrived. He writes of difficult people leading difficult lives, toeing the lines of melodrama in a way that is responsible to the taxing melodrama of human life itself. Like a sandspur in the publishing world's freshly shined boot (he's currently on the shit list of Orlando Sentinel ubiquity Nancy Pate), Truluck soldiers on, unearthing characters distinctly influenced by the haze of Central Florida malaise.
"I'm trying to stay alive until I can quit the day job," he jokes. "You will not get a mystery out of New York that kills cats. I'm thinking of creating some kind of cat serial killer just to see what happens." Lock up your felines. Bob Truluck means what he says. (2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, Albertson Room, Orange County Library, 101 E. Central Blvd., Orlando; free; 407-835-7323; www.bobtruluck.com
Nov. 9 and Nov. 12
Stryper and Slayer: In the same way that Downtown Disney itself courts the fine line between sanctity and sin -- is it merely a nocturnal version of the parks' squeaky clean-ness or a straight-up excuse for parents to get bombed while the kids are back at the hotel? -- House of Blues stands as an even more potent lightning rod. Booking bands of all sorts has meant that the Mouse's House has been occasionally invaded by people who drink (gasp!), smoke (shock!) and enjoy casual sex (the horror!). That very dichotomy will be very much in evidence the second week in November when two rock legends perform separate shows at the venue. Standing their ground at equal and opposite ends of the biblical spectrum -- Slayer (who play Sunday, Nov. 9; doors 6:30 p.m.; $23.50) and Stryper (doors 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12; $17.50) -- aren't likely to draw too much of a crossover crowd. Nonetheless, our bets are on those yellow-and-black clad fans wreaking all sorts of Jesus-inspired havoc on vacationing families. (House of Blues; 407-934-2583; www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/orlando)
Light Up Orlando: Way back in June, a press release was sent out promising the return of "Light Up Orlando," that crowd-pleasing combination of public drinking and third-rate classic rock bands like REO Speedwagon that disappeared in 1994. A date was set (Nov. 15) and it was slated to "attract as many as 150,000 music lovers." Now, although we wouldn't consider 150,000 REO Speedwagon fans a good thing for downtown, we were all atwitter at the prospect of any event that openly dissed "the more prudish administration of Mayor Glenda Hood." Unfortunately, after that lone press release, an eerie silence followed. Yet, within the past couple of weeks, the buzz has begun again. A new date has been set, Dec. 6, and a private event promotions company headed by Joanne Grant is in the process of pulling the permits necessary to stage the affair. (Apparently, no bands have been booked yet, but we can only hope we're blessed with the likes of REO and Foghat.) Although organizers have been quoted in the Sentinel insisting that it will be "family-oriented," we say "right". Nearly a decade of pent-up frustration at draconian public drinking laws will be unleashed on that day and hell, when the skyscrapers turn on their fluorescents and the band kicks into "Ridin' The Storm Out" ... well, that's what we call a party!