TOP PICKS for SWFL arts & entertainment enthusiasts Sept. 25-October 6, 2015

Posted on September 25, 2015

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I’ve really enjoyed many of the songwriters that have come through town recently, they have penned the hits that are more familiar. We’ve also seen a lot of support for local music during this festival and I’m really glad it has come to SWFL. There are a lot of great events this coming week from John Cleese and Eric Idle’s new show to Florida Rep’s season opener. Keeping busy in the realms of arts and entertainment is easy to do in season. Here are a couple of pics coming up this week. —Cheers, E

12000847_10204170338490023_5400308831042916143_oChloe Friedman (Local)Friday, September 25, 2015
Songwriter festival features Gabrielle Macafee, Chloe Friedman & other local songwriters 
So if you don’t know much about the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival it essentially brings in dozens of songwriters who wrote songs that you have heard. Friday check out local songwriters and musicians Gabrielle Macafee and Chloe Friedman down by the Fort Myers Beach pier at 7 p.m. For a full list of artists playing through Sept. 27 head to http://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/island-hopper/schedules/. For a great writeup by Nancy Stetson in Florida Weekly head to http://fortmyers.floridaweekly.com/news/2015-09-09/Arts_%28and%29_Entertainment_News/They_wrote_the_songs.html

rakSaturday, September 26 & 27, 2015
Learn to dance like a pro—from a pro
Rachelle Rak, the Broadway star who has appeared in such shows as “Catch Me If You Can,” “Fosse,” “The Look of Love,” “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels,” “Thou Shalt Not,” “Oklahoma” and “Cats,” is coming to Fort Myers to teach dance September 26 & 27. For more information head to thedancewarehouse.org.

11013065_1002309363124287_2607018924962949952_oA fundraiser worth attending with food, party and drinks for a great cause—the ARTS
The Alliance for the Arts presents its annual fundraising extravaganza, “ABSTRACTION” to celebrate the abstract movement and help support the Alliance’s new effort to recreate its 10-acre campus as a true cultural hub. The evening will be filled with interactive art, music and intriguing installations. Unique tapas will be provided by Southwest Florida’s finest chefs. Explore and engage your artistic nature and the abstract movement during this art party and celebration. The evening begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 and are available at ArtInLee.org/abstraction or at the Alliance. Event proceeds will go to matching the $50,000 Rauschenberg Foundation Challenge Grant supporting the new Alliance Campus Enrichment Plan. Details on the grant and the plan are available at artinlee.org/rauschenberg-challenge-grant/.

CPRPJ3XVAAAu5LQGet fresh
Join the Alliance for the Arts 10-acre campus every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to find an exclusive selection of locally grown, caught and cultivated foods and other products available to sample and purchase. Enjoy live entertainment by local musicians and fun activities for kids, gardening classes, free yoga and live cooking by local chefs. Be sure to check out Gina’s authentic Mexican cuisine. Her tamales are unbelievable and her barbacoa, left, is out of this world. The event is free. The tamales are only $3. More information is available at www.artinlee.org The Alliance is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

SEE Press 4Dinner and an enchanting Broadway show
Head to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre to enjoy Broadway Palm’s opening its 23rd Season with Some Enchanted Evening playing August 27 through September 26, 2015. Rediscover the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein in this delightful musical revue. Broadway Palm is offering a “Season Opener Special” and all tickets are just $45 for dinner and the show. They can be reserved by calling 239.278.4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

11119639_10155705532830565_6028868855573272019_oSunday, September 27, 2015
Start your Sunday a bit slower—and sweeter
Looking for the best coffee spot & doughnut spot in town to ease into your Sunday? Try Bennett’s Fresh Roast. Alton Brown bragged “Bennett’s Fresh Roast has the Ft. Myers doughnut market cornered…and with good reason.” Their donuts are heaven. It is also right down the street from Centennial Park and Edison & Ford Winter Estates so go for it—you know you deserve it. Bennett’s Fresh Roast is located at 2011 Bayside Pkwy in Fort Myers.

TVawardMonday, September 28, 2015
Get twisted
Mondays usually are a great day to work. Be sure to pick up happy hour at Twisted Vine, which become the go to restaurant when it comes to the most delicious, locally grown, eclectic cuisine, prepared delicately for the most wonderful culinary delights. They were just recently awarded with a Wine Spectator recognition, the only one in Fort Myers with such a distinction. Twisted Vine is located at 2214 Bay St., Fort Myers. Call them at 239.226.1687 or head to www.twistedvinebistro.com for more information. You will see me there!

Second Chances 21Tuesday, September 29, 2015
A fresh, original musical by Broadway Palm founder opens
The Off Broadway Palm Theatre is premiering a new musical by PEG’s patriarch and founder Tom Prather. Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical plays now through November 7, 2015.  Ticket prices range from $33 – $53 with group discounts available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

#CoffeeDay
I have a few ideas for national coffee day that you should consider and they are in this order. 1) Go to Bennett’s Fresh Roast Coffee. They generally offer a free coffee with a doughnut on coffee day but I haven’t confirmed this. Still the best stop for coffee in town and def the best doughnuts either way. 2) Java House downtown Fort Myers is a great spot for good coffee and pastries that are all baked fresh here. Support local! 3) Wawa. They are giving away free coffee on coffee day. It’s good coffee too, you can not deny it. 4) 7-11. Don’t poke fun that I think 7-11 is better than Dunkin Donuts. Refills are only 99 cents so the price is right. 5) Dunkin Donuts. 6) Starbucks. I will note that Starbucks has really dropped on my list after all of my gold points disappear so quickly now. Service in town is not as friendly either, and they could really use a refresher course on why we customers don’t like to be treated with an attitude when they spend three times as much for the java there.

10363797_1636854543204187_3988493803123753421_nWednesday, September 30, 2015
Eat a bunch of the most delicious sushi in town
At this point you are probably aware that SWFL does not stack up well to most of the cuisine you can get in bigger cities. We do, however, live up to sushi that’s as good as you will find anywhere at Blu Sushi in downtown Fort Myers. They are a great dinner/happy hour location, we know this, with large projected walls, fresh & edgy decor and superb service. They have rolled out that the summer means they are bringing back the all you can eat sushi lunches. So for $13 you can enjoy endless sushi from the best place to get sushi around. Yeah, you cannot miss this one. For more information hit up their Facebook page here. Blu Sushi is located at 2262 First Street, Fort Myers.

396994_205317936230622_212791666_nThursday, October 1, 2015
Visit the Eric Raddatz Bridge for fresh fruit, veggies and more
Ok whatever you call the Caloosahatchee Bridge, be sure to come down from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. every Thursday year round in the Centennial Park parking lot 2000 W. First St. for great fresh market items, awesome food trucks, locally produced honey, veggies and more. Be sure to like the Eric Raddatz Bridge Facebook page here.

10-2 lab theater Calendar Girls calendar shootFriday, October 2, 2015
Watch them take it all off—for a good cause
Head to the Laboratory Theater of Florida to see a lot of old women take off their clothes. A women’s group focuses mainly on the ancient arts of jam-making, flower-pressing and crafts until one of its members loses her husband to lymphoma. The ladies have photos of themselves taken for a calendar to raise money for the local cancer ward. This charming and “cheeky” play shows slightly-prudish women doing whatever it takes to help a friend in need. “Calendar Girls” plays at 8 p.m. Oct. 2-3, 8-9, 10-11 and 15-17 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 11 and 17.  For more information head to LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com.

quartedMillion Dollar Quartet
Enjoy this Tony® Award-Winning musical is inspired by the electrifying true story when four rock ‘n’ roll icons; Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash came together as a red-hot band for one unforgettable night. Relive one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history opening October 2, 2015. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the main auditorium. Ticket prices range from $33 – $53 with group discounts available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

A01-FM-09-23Saturday, October 3, 2015
And now for something completely different
Are you a big Monty Python fan? The two living legends of comedy and co-founders of Monty Python— John Cleese and Eric Idle will perform “John Cleese & Eric Idle: Together Again At Last…For The Very First Time,” at 7:30 p.m. The show blends scripted and improvised bits with storytelling, musical numbers, exclusive footage, aquatic juggling and an extended audience Q&A. Tickets start at $59 and can be purchased at the The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.489.3033 or head to www.bbmannpah.com.

cutler-burnSunday, October 4, 2015
Forget football, try reading a book
There are too many reasons not to watch the NFL these days. Forget deflategate and all of the concussions and injuries sustained already this year. Instead try to remember that my team the Chicago Bears have the highest paid quarterback and he is terrible. Jay Cutler jerseys are being burned up at a record pace and the 0-3 record will get worse. The fact that the team tried to rebuild around such a loser is disheartening. Instead pick up an inspiring book like The Wright Brothers or Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

FMFFTGIM0105Monday, October 5, 2015
TGIM
T.G.I.M. at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center with featured judges WGCU’s John Davis, Miss DC 2015 Haely Jardas, Stephanie Davis, director Jim Griffith, with musical guest Vivace, host Eric Raddatz and co-host Melissa DeHaven. Come get a view of how we view submissions for our festival and have a say whether or not they should make final programming. There will also be representatives from a film shooting locally called Hanging Millstone looking for some extras for their film.

GF1_4952 FMFF Crowd LRThe popular T.G.I.M. film screening series will be held the first Monday of each month in downtown Fort Myers. T.G.I.M. features short indie films being considered for the sixth annual Fort Myers Film Festival. Those in attendance will have a say in the Fort Myers Film Festival’s April 7-10, 2016 programming. T.G.I.M. takes place at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers, located at 2301 First Street, Fort Myers. T.G.I.M. offers fresh films, not in distribution, local celebrities and honorary judges, indie music, conversation, drinks and more. Doors open for happy hour at 6:30 p.m. with pizza from Capone’s and coffee from Bennett’s. Films are presented at 7 p.m.

An “afterbuzz” will always be held following T.G.I.M. at the nearby Twisted Vine Bistro, 2214 Bay St., where late night happy hour prices on drinks and appetizers are offered to T.G.I.M. audience members. Twisted Vine was most recently recognized with an excellence award from Wine Spectator, the only restaurant in Fort Myers with that distinction.

A special podcast of attending filmmakers will be taped after each T.G.I.M. at Twisted Vine bistro. To hear that audio podcast go to https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/eric-raddatzs-podcast/id994296559

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, by going to www.sbdac.com or by calling 239.333.1933. To learn more, visit the T.G.I.M. Indie Movies Downtown Facebook page or www.fortmyersfilmfestival.com.  Facebook discounts are available at www.facebook.com/fortmyersfilmfestival and there are updates on Twitter. Sponsored by Capone’s Pizza, the best in town. Join the afterbuzz at Twisted Vine every Monday after the show for late night happy hour and appetizers.

The evening will be brought to you by FGCU’s Arts Complex. Check out “Yesterday, It Was Sunny: A Solo Exhibition of Work by T.L. Solien” curated by John Loscuito from October 8 through November 14, 2015. The FGCU Main Gallery Arts Complex at Florida Gulf Coast University is located at 10501 FGCU Blvd S in Fort Myers. For more information head to artgallery.fgcu.edu or contact Anica Sturdivant at 239-590-7199.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 3.30.31 PMTuesday, October 6, 2015
Florida Rep season opener is a mouth watering comedy
I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI by Jacques Lamarre will kick off the Florida Rep’s 2015-16 season in the ArtStage Studio Theatre from Oct. 6-Nov. 1, 2015. The Historic Arcade Theatre is located at 2267 First Street. Tickets start at $25. To purchase go to www.floridarep.org.

small roomThursday, October 8, 2015
“Yesterday, It Was Sunny: A Solo Exhibition of Work by T.L. Solien” curated by John Loscuito
Head down to FGCU’s Main Gallery in the Arts Complex and enjoy Artist Talk at 5 p.m. followed by an opening reception, until 7pm where you can meet and greet artist T.L. Solien. T.L. Solien is known for his personal, surrealist paintings combining everyday objects in haunting landscapes and interiors. For this exhibition the technique of collage features prominently in the development of his works. Solien’s freeform collages will be on display alongside his paintings and drawings, offering a unique glimpse into his narratives and working process. The exhibition runs through November 14, 2015.

The FGCU Main Gallery Arts Complex at Florida Gulf Coast University is located at 10501 FGCU Blvd S in Fort Myer. Fort more information head to artgallery.fgcu.edu  or contact Anica Sturdivant at 239-590-7199.

ZCON_1985-284x300October 17, 2015
Zombicon 9 gets freaky
Fallout :1985 a massive zombie-themed charity street fest takes place in downtown Fort Myers where you can expect over 30 live performances on five stages. The stages will showcase the eclectic blend of bands and DJs you have come to expect from Zombicon and this year we have some acts that will blow you away. The street will be lined with thousands as this is one of, if not the biggest, zombie dress up in the world. zombicon.com

October 19-20, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 4.11.28 PMNormal Miller Unplugged
Norma Miller, the Queen of Swing, and SWFL resident is one of the only acquaintances with a Wikipedia page. At 92 she is embarking on a comedy tour, being filmed by John Biffar. They are shooting at Tertini’s on 7050 Crystal Drive in Fort Myers on October 19-20 at 7 p.m. Be a part of the film by rsvping johnbiffar@dreamtimeentertainment.com. Guests are asked to dress in ‘Swing Attire.’ I’m thinking zuit suit but you never know when things might get a little freaky.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 4.13.15 PMNovember 23, 2015
Red Hot Chili Pipers
There has never been anything quite like THE RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS, the past ten years have seen them become the most famous bagpipe band on the planet – ever! Bagpipes with attitude, drums with a Scottish accent and a show so hot it carries its own health warning. The band’s achievements have reached incredible heights with their groundbreaking fusion of traditional Scottish music and Rock/Pop Anthems which they proudly call ‘Bagrock’.

The Chillis have never been more in demand for their infectious style of feel good music which appeals right across the age range to people all over the world. Go to http://www.redhotchillipipers.co.uk/

Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased at the The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.489.3033 or head to www.bbmannpah.com

Picture 8Best 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. If there is a celebration to have you will see me there. Twisted Vine is located at 2214 Bay St., Fort Myers, right next to the recently opened basin walk. Call them at 239.226.1687 or head to www.twistedvinebistro.com for more information. You will see me there!

10320291_10154734284150565_1054798492140566181_nFair trade downtown Fort Myers
Market Earth supports local artists, fair trade partners and recyclers from around the world. At their store in downtown Fort Myers you will find unique products that support a global marketplace with exceptional standards of quality and creativity. All their goods represent a philosophy of social awareness and they are proud to be a purveyor of change in the way they treat this beautiful earth and all the people, everywhere, who live on it. Check them out at www.marketearth.net

—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 www.twitter.com/ericraddatz for more updates!

When in doubt be sure to pick up a Florida Weekly while in town or head to www.floridaweekly.com. This week learn all about John Cleese and Eric Idle’s Florida tour.

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