Arts & entertainment enthusiasts top picks for things to do in #SWFL March 9-15, 2013

Posted on March 9, 2013


Southwest Florida is better than some of the bigger cities with arts and entertainment options during season. This week is no exception. Be sure to get a big tall glass of what there is offer. Here is a day by day of my top picks and save the dates!

For starters, this weekend there will be talent crawling all over downtown Fort Myers. From recognizable rock legends to up-and-comers:

SFTT_Flyer_Main_EventSaturday, March 9
South Florida’s Top Talent
You can probably guess what is going on here —(*full disclosure I am judging this)—and that is that local singers really do have some talent in SWFL. This is the final night and promises to be very entertaining. If you like American Idol, X-Factor, The Voice and America’s Got Talent this is the show for you. The show starts at 6 p.m. at the #1 SWFL destination—The Shell Factory located at 2787 N Tamiami Trail. Tickets are $5 and there is a full bar and delicious appetizers for you to monch on as you watch some try and die while others take off and fly!

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Rick Derringer, Fran Sheehan formerly of Boston, and Skunk Baxter formerly of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers

All-Star Jam Returns to the River District
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center will present the second annual All Star Jam, an outdoor concert bringing talented rock legends to Fort Myers. Artists scheduled to appear include Rick Derringer; Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, formerly of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan; Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan, former members of Boston; Mousey Thompson of the James Brown Band; Leroy Romans from the Wailers; Doug Bell from The Bellevue Cadillacs; Chaz Trippy from the Allman Brothers; Slim Jim Phantom, formerly of The Stray Cats; Danny Biessel; and others. New artists opening the show include The Barefoot Movement, a talented quartet that melds bluegrass with acoustic modern rock and jazz; Sound Parlor; the Steve Tucci Band; the Matt Facciola Band; and Cameron Rafati. Join the Facebook event page here.

Tickets to the All Star Jam are $29 in advance or $35 day of the show. For tickets, visit or just head down to 2301 First Street, in the downtown Fort Myers River District. Florida Weekly did a nice write up here—read for more info here.

295589_10152085635923029_1380777088_nSunday, March 10
Sound of Music—Do-Re-Mi-Gotta-Go
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical about a nun hired as governess for the von Trapp children is spectacularly performed at the Broadway Palm Theatre. You will arrive humming the familiar music and leave singing it. The production is spectacular. Tickets start at $27 but you should stay for the dinner for $55. Call 239-278-4422 or head to 1380 Colonial Boulevard or online sales at now. Naples News & News-Press reviews are raving. Special shout to SWFL powerhouse up-and-comer talent Carley Levy who plays one of the nuns!

Ya man—Reggae Concert at the Alliance
Join  the 2013 Bruce T. Gora Sunday Sunset Concert Series at 4:00 p.m. with your lawn chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and coolers. Emerging from the vibrant beach town of Deerfield Beach, The Resolvers have quickly become the Premier Alt. Reggae Act of the South Florida Music Scene. They capture the essence of the Classic Reggae Sound: natural acoustic percussion, deep bass grooves, worldly drum rhythms, tasty vintage keyboards, bluesy guitar licks and multi-part vocal harmonies…then blend it with modern songwriting craftsmanship to create their own familiar-yet-purely-original take on World Music.

resolvers Bruce T. Gora Sunset Concert SeriesEach of the individuals in the Resolvers contributes to a greater sum. Brother and sister Ojay & Sahara Smith are the vocal engines of the band with Reggae Music flowing through their veins. They are the siblings Jamaican Singer/Songwriter – Ernie Smith. Dean Fishback – seen as a mentor of the band, is a veteran keyboards master in the reggae scene and is highly sought-after by reggae stars touring the area, including Inner Circle, Sugar Minot, and Mikey Dread. Ron Eisner (Guitars) is a prolific songwriter of Israeli up-bringing who runs the behind-the-scenes operation. Steave Nieratka puts his mad-scientist persona into his Bass lines to create sophisticated outer-galactic grooves. Nate Largent is a modern-day shaman with a drumming range as wide as the cultural pallet of our world. The bonding elements that hold it all together comprise of a passion for “back-to-the-basics” approach to the creation of great music, an urge to spread an honest and positive message, and a belief that every single person on earth should be free to pursue his/her dreams.

Tickets are $20 and available at or at the doors at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

535654_10200192127077337_1093503451_nMonday, March 11
VIP Mike is Back at Blue Martini
There is one guy in town that knows how to make you feel taken care of while you club. That is VIP MIKE. He seems to be bringing back the crowds. Get in on one of his parties at Blue Martini this Monday, March 11. Join the Facebook event here. 


Take him up on this offer. You will not have a better time partying all week!

155672_175574922455782_3719666_nTuesday, March 12
Les Miserables—Dream the Dream at Barbara B. Mann
Hand me tissues. I’m not the only one who claims this to be their favorite musical production of all time. This 25th anniversary will be a sellout show at BBMANN so get your tickets ASAP. The show plays through March 17. Tickets start at $55 and are available at the box office located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers by calling (239) 489-303 or online at

Cameron Mackintosh presents a brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil & Schönberg’s legendary musical, LES MISÉRABLES, with glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new production has been acclaimed by critics, fans and new audiences and is breaking box office records wherever it goes. The New York Times calls this LES MISÉRABLES “an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish.”  The London Times hails the new show “a five star hit, astonishingly powerful.”

7huTwfMQWednesday, March 13
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
SWFL is all a buzz with Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox spring training games all March long. Pick a game—any game—and enjoy our weather while kicking back and watching a couple dozen guys run fly balls down and bat homers out of the park. The Twins play at Hammond Stadium and play the Orioles Wednesday, March 13 at 7:05 p.m. Tickets start at $16 and can be purchased at the stadium located at 14400 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, by calling (239) 768-4210 or by heading online to

31437_10152600077770007_125022739_nThursday, March 14
Judas on Trial at Lab Theater
Bring together Judas, Saint Monica, Satan, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud, Pontius Pilate and Mary Magdalene, add the premise that Judas gets a trial, add outrageous comedy, offensive twists and some adult language and you can imagine the kind of fun you will have. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot plays at the Laboratory Theater of Florida through March 23. Tickets are $20 for Adults and $18.50 Seniors (Thursdays Only) and $12 for Students. For a nice writeup in Florida Weekly click here.

Connecting SWFL Businesses
563525_10200347887876278_37872615_nExpand your business and personal relationships in this encouraging and positive networking group. Melissa DeHaven, host of People & Places Today and co-host of the popular TGIM rounds up the businesses for ‘Guest Speakers, Raffle prizes, Drinks, Food, Music, and Networking Fun!!’ This Thursday meet Bob Beamon: Olympian and Director at Art of the Olympians and Jim Wallert: President of Team-Right Business Solutions, Speaking on: Goal Setting, your GPS for life” Join the Facebook event page here for updates. Connect Networking Mixers take place the 2nd Thursday of every month and take place from 5:30pm-7:30pm. There is a $5 admission. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at 2301 First Street, Fort Myers.

Looking for more?
If you want to peruse great local suggestions I suggest you pick up a Florida Weekly. They are definitely in the know. Here is there most recent Destinations Guide.

Here for the first time? Here are some must tries
 Lush French Bakery  offers freshly baked pastries, baguette, croissant and breads still filling the room with the warm scent of baked goods hot from the oven. Looking for the best coffee spot & donut spot in town. Bennett’s Fresh Roast. Their donuts are heaven.

The Beaches of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva are implied options.

537594_231236543676481_1652394212_nFirestone’s grand view
The grand owner of The Edison Restaurant and Ford’s Garage has completed the holy trinity of Uncommon Friends with The Firestone – Grille, Martini Bar & Sky Lounge. The genius gentlemen who once spent their inventive time here could not have imagined the delicious trifecta of restaurants bearing their names coming to fruition. Not to mention the fantastic view. Or could they?  Thank Daniel Kearns with a slap on the back for infusing Downtown Fort Myers with another out-of-the-park place to wine, dine, drink and party in the ever burgeoning River District—and right in front of the recently opened basin walk. The Firestone – Grille, Martini Bar & Sky Lounge is located at 2224 Bay Street, Fort Myers. For more information call 239.337.3473.

FMffcardTWISTEDSTUFFERfrontBest Food Downtown—Hands Down
Twisted Vine has become the go to restaurant when it comes to the most delicious, locally grown, eclectic cuisine, prepared delicately for the most wonderful culinary delights. Be sure to go here while you are in town. Twisted Vine is located at 2214 Bay St., Fort Myers, right next to the recently opened basin walk. Call them at 226-1687 or head to for more information. You will see me there!

FMffcardTWISTEDSTUFFEbackSave the date— March 21-24
Fort Myers Film Festival
It is official. Tickets to the Fort Myers Film Festival’s opening night gala at the Barbara B. Mann Thursday, March 21 are ON SALE NOW! Tickets for the red carpet roll out and opening night film & party with filmmakers are only $19! Be sure to tell a friend. Go VIP that night for only $99! The opening night film has been selected and it is “When I Walk” which has only played at Sundance at this point—and now Fort Myers! Tickets are on sale at or go to the Facebook event update page at

How will you walk the red carpet at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival?

The Fort Myers Film Festival’s 3rd annual festival will be held March 21-24, 2013 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Alliance for the Arts, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre with parties and afterparties all over town.

The Black Tie Red Carpet Gala will be celebrated with excitement and style March 21, 2013 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at 7 p.m. The event will begin with the red carpet rolling out, paparazzi clicking and doors opening at 5 p.m. for drinks, mingling & musical entertainment with local and international filmmakers prior to the featured movie. Tickets are $19, $99 for an VIP star studded backstage afterparty with the stars of the opening night’s films, with music, dancing, open bar and chance to meet with the stars of the evening’s film, filmmakers and event VIP. The event will provide the delicious foods from La trattoria Cafe Napole, White Pear Catering in Bonita Springs, Irresistible Confections and Lush Bakery. Watch last years video here To buy tickets go to for more information go to The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.489.3033.

Then come back for all of the programming from Friday, March 22- Sunday March 24, 2013. Films are $5 through the entirety of the festival playing at the magnificent Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center located at 2301 First St., Fort Myers, FL 33901. Films selected and times playing will become available March 1, 2013. For more information go to or call 239.333.1933. For a complete list of films playing head to

A special day of film will take place at the Alliance for the Arts Saturday, March 23, 2013. Times are to be announced. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.939.2787 or head to

Join all of the local and international filmmakers as the celebrate the winners of the Fort Myers Film Festival. Finish off the weeklong celebration with champange & dessert awards ceremony which will take place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers with an afterparty to follow. A final film will be played, awards will be handed out and finalists will grace the red carpet in the newly refurbished theater. Champagne and dessert will be shared, short award winning films will be played and toasts will be deservedly pronounced. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office at 1380 Colonial Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33907, by calling 239.278.4422 or by heading to

The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. The Fort Myers Film Festival is known for world-class swagger and support of local filmmakers. The festival event offers ‘the most vibrant intellectual and edgy crowd to grace Lee County in decades.’ The inaugural event featured two dozen local filmmakers is a must attend for cineasts who love indie film and film festivals living in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. That’s right, Fort Myers has a very exciting and upcoming film festival now, so come out for the fun.

In its first two years over three dozen local filmmakers shared the spotlight with independent films playing at the Fort Myers Film Festival that spanned the globe with selections from as far as Sierra Leone, Ireland, Poland, Japan and Sweden. “We all need to support local film, local business and local filmmakers in today’s economy. Knowing our area has something viable to offer in the realms of moviemaking will contribute towards economic growth and stability.” Eric Raddatz, founder of the festival said. “This year there were particularly interesting films submitted. Our audience will be delighted with what is in store for them this year.”

Come join an edgy, professional crowd with a fine appreciation for the art of film in the quaint and newly refurbished downtown area, also known as the River District. Along with feature, documentary and shorts divisions, special categories spanning faith, diversity and strictly local will enrich the festival with vibrant intellectualism.

Indie, or independent film, is film that is produced mostly outside of a major film studio. The term also refers to art films which differ noticeably from most mass marketed films. Which means you will find interesting creations shot here, and internationally, with ideas you may never have thought of or considered before. Some address issues you may never have heard of. Others will provoke thoughtful contemplation on points of view you have currently no idea of. The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. The third annual event is a must attend for filmmakers living in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

For more information, photos, film information & videos, head to, or follow the Fort Myers Film Festival at

The Fort Myers Film Festival supports Lee County Schools filmmakers and Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital. Sponsored by Pulse Magazine, UNIT A, Florida Weekly, Garth Francis Photography, Bennett’s Fresh Roast Coffee, Twisted Vine Bistro, Patrick Buckley Law Offices, J. Bert Davis M.D., F.A.C.S, Facial Surgeon, La trattoria Cafe Napole, White Pear Catering in Bonita Springs, Irresistible Confections, REE Corporation, CONRIC PR & Marketing | Publishing, Rasmussen College, MusikBeats, Black Tie Tuxedos, Azteca America, Holiday Inn, The Resort at Marina Village, Travelodge, Twisted Vine Bistro, Douglas E. Spiegel. P.A. and Taran’s Tasty Muffins

69271_10152630435510156_993336569_nFriday, April 5
UNIT A one year Anniversary Party!
UNIT A, Marcus Jansen’s open studio Headquarters, will celebrating it’s one year anniversary during Art Walk on April 5, 2013 at its location on 1922 Evans ave, unit A, Fort Myers Fl 33901 during a public reception and extraviganza that will include DJ, a special guest artist appearance and after party during Art Walk. The Party is a public event but entry is up to 140 people at a time, so get there early. Join the Facebook event page here!

Unit A is the newest most talked about cutting edge art space in Downtown. It opened in March of 2012 after internationally renown artist and fort Myers resident Marcus Jansen decided to transform part of his studio building from a forgotten church into the largest private art space of it’s kind in SW Florida. It’s the first space to open in the now been dubbed emerging “Warehouse Art district” in Downtown Fort Myers. Local Art community leaders have already held meetings about possible artists lofts and non for profit warehouse space for the arts having a place in that region using UNIT A as a catalyst to do so.

—Eric Raddatz is occasionally surprised as to all of the cool events that are happening in #SWFL and likes to share them with you. Follow him at for more updates! When in doubt be sure to pick up a Florida Weekly while in town or head to

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