Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews




Summer Shorts It sometimes gets lost in the shuffle that Playwrights' Round Table isn't just an aggregation designed to further the careers of area scribes. Actually, the group has made it an integral part of its mission to seek out and stage new plays by talents from every corner of the nation. Witness the inclusion of "Prized Begonias," a piece by New Yorker Bara Swain, in this year's Summer Shorts, PRT's annual compendium of original one-acts. Swain's playlet — described as poignant and twist-laden by Round Table producer/artistic director Chuck Dent — is part of a 2006 program whose subtitle, "Laugh 'Til It Hurts," denotes a specific emphasis on dark comedy. In addition to Swain's contribution, the event schedule also includes pieces by hometown stalwarts like John Goring, Larry Stallings, Nicole Carson, (Orlando Weekly theater critic) Al Pergande and David Almeida — whose "Nicoteam," Dent says, turns on the idea that getting rid of one addiction can merely open the door to another. Light 'em up! (8 p.m. at Black Box Theater, Valencia Community College East Campus; also 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $12-$15; 407-788-8468)


We Jam Econo We already rhapsodized once about this great movie, when it played at DMAC a year ago, but that's not going to stop us from doing it again. The Minutemen were one of the most interesting and inspiring elements of the early-'80s U.S. underground rock movement, and We Jam Econo tells their road-weary, moving tale via a combination of interviews with the two surviving members (Mike Watt and George Hurley), the omnipresent ghost of the dearly departed third (D. Boon) and a battery of live footage that is, some 20-plus years later, still jaw-dropping. It's a tale of resilience and independence and, not incidentally, the beginnings of the entire "alternative rock" network that still exists today. (8 p.m. at Redlight Redlight; free;

Anime Festival Orlando 7 If you don't know who Goku or Alphonse are, this annual anime and comic book convention is not for you. The AFO Fan Film Contest and the resulting AFOscars and afterparty, the video game tournaments, the Cosplay Costume Contest ("Project Cosplay") and Anime Name That Tune promise to be the event's biggest draws. Myriad dealers will be on hand with rare and imported merchandise for sale all weekend, and special celebrity guests like voice-over actor Vic Mignogna are scheduled to appear. (Noon-2 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Wyndham Orlando Resort; $20-$30;


Renewable Energy Expo So you've seen An Inconvenient Truth and were impressed with Al Gore's solution to solve global warming. We already have the technology, he says. We could make great strides today. All we have to do is get started. Here's a step in the positive direction: the first Renewable Energy Expo hosted by UCF and the Florida Renewable Energy Association to learn more about issues, technology and organizations. Lectures range from an overview of RE systems to the current tax incentives and rebate programs. A heady panel discussion about "Sustainable Energy for Florida's Future" is stacked with politicians (Sen. Lee Constantine), scholars (Frank Leslie, Florida Institute of Technology; Jim Fenton, Florida Solar Energy Center; Corbett Kroehler, Central Florida Sierra Club) and businessmen (John Masiello, Progress Energy). For show-and-tell, the indoor-outdoor market will feature demonstrations of solar hot water heaters, photovoltaic systems, an RE-powered disaster relief trailer, hybrid vehicles and a prototype for a hydrogen fuel-cell car. Don't wait for the Bush administration to get a clue; climate-friendly solutions are here. (9 a.m.-7 p.m. at Visual Arts Building, University of Central Florida; free; 321-217-8235)

Slide or Die! As if all of the riced-out cars on the road after The Fast and the Furious weren't enough, the third film in the series has unleashed a new brand of car enthusiasts: drifters. The Drift and Gymkhana Trials Association gives drivers the chance to either drift (around a set course, which involves lots of use of the emergency brake) or participate in the gymkhana course, which is similar to an autocross event with added obstacle and skill requirements. If you can pull off a 360-degree pivot around a traffic cone, it's not too late to enter. Though pre-registration is closed, drivers can arrive at the convention center between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to sign up for the event. These drivers need an audience, so go watch the madness — from a safe distance — for only five bucks. (9 a.m. at the Orange County Convention Center; admission $5, registration $120;


Drip Drip, drip, drip … to most of us, it's nothing but a late-night annoyance reminding us we have to call a plumber. But the art world was changed immeasurably when Jackson Pollock realized that letting paint fall onto a canvas a globule or more at a time could be the height of abstract expressionism. In tribute to Pollock's pioneering efforts, artists Brian Demchak and Amy Wick will be exhibiting more than 30 new pieces influenced by his revolutionary style. Meanwhile, spoken-word poetry will be performed, DJ music will be spun and film clips will be shown, all to demonstrate that Pollock's "action painting" ethos has the potential to cut across any media. If you just can't wait for this experiment in messy homage (concocted by V-Groove's Victor Perez, Apartment E and Takedown Mag), set your browser to and move your mouse around; what looks like a blank screen will quickly become festooned with very familiar-looking splotches. Be sure to click early and often to change colors. See? You're making like Ed Harris already! (5 p.m. at Screamers; $5; 407-420-2059;

Watch Me Disappear With a flurry of recent local performances and a live session at WPRK, this post-hardcore group's visibility (ahem) is on the rise. Featuring previous members of the Florida Arson Project and Songs of Kerman, WMD has been crafting their unique brand of cathartic rock since 2003, when they started playing out as a trio. The recent addition of vocalist/trumpeter Shawn McNulty has moved the band's sound away from the easy Fugazi comparisons they once received. The result of their efforts is a chaotic musical collage with deliberate intent. Strident guitar tones set a template for lyrics that, according to guitarist/vocalist Keith Mercer, "describe characters backed into corners, winning back lives lost to compromise." (with the Heathens, Hurrah, the Punching Contest; 9 p.m. at Will's Pub; $5; 407-898-5070)


Os Mutantes So, yeah, we're kinda nutty tropicália fans, and considering that Os Mutantes were the freakiest pop group to come out of that 1960s Brazilian psychedelic-socialist-new-folk-for-the-future movement, we peed ourselves a little when we found out about this show. It's only 60 percent of the original lineup — Sérgio Dias, Arnaldo Baptista, Dinho Leme — fleshed out with the Rita Lee-replacing Zélia Duncan and a half-dozen other musicians, but we wouldn't miss it for the world. This reunion tour, their first live performances since the '70s, is only hitting seven U.S. cities, and one of them (Miami) is within driving distance, meaning nobody with a modicum of musical taste has an excuse for missing this performance. Seriously. (8 p.m. at Artime Theater, Miami; $35-$40; 305-672-5202)

Contributors: Jason Ferguson, Amber Foster, Jeff Johnson, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.