Bravo’s Top Chef, Viviani at Einstein on Food & Wine

Einstein on Food & Wine 2013 is a celebration of the senses that will showcase the delicious and diverse cuisine of TampaBay alongside the palate pleasers of winemakers from around the country.

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, this 18thannual bon vivant festival will be held in the home of the A-HA moment, where all of your senses are titillated, the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL.  Whether you enjoy your science with a twist, shaken or stirred, you don’t want to miss The 2013 Einstein on Food & Wine.
This year’s event will feature a tremendous variety of wine, a beer garden, celebration of the senses throughout the science center, samplings from top local restaurants, restaurant competition, live entertainment, and a charity auction all for a significant cause, the education programs at MOSI.

MOSI’s core ideology is to make a difference in people’s lives by making science real for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Einstein on Food & Wine has provided $1.9 million of funding to MOSI for science education programs and community scholarships.

Einstein on Food & Wine 2013 has a variety of ways to get involved from sponsorship, to silent auction items and restaurant participation to volunteering. Get involved today!


The 2013 Inaugural Annus Mirabilis

The Museum of Science & Industry cordially requests the pleasure of your company for the Einstein on Food & Wine inaugural Annus Mirabilis* dinner on Friday, February 1, at 7 p.m. in a private home on beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. This incredible evening of fine dining, free-flowing wine and fascinating conversation benefits the education programs at MOSI.

The highlight of the evening will be special guest Fabio Viviani of Bravo’s Top Chef, who will create the menu and provide culinary demonstrations.

Italian chef Fabio Viviani was born on October 10, 1978 in Florence. After the need to help out the family and get a job presented itself at the young age of 11, Fabio applied to work in a bakery where first he was told he was too young and then later invited to work nights so that no one would know.

Fabio is perhaps best known in America for appearing on season 5 of Bravo’s reality series Top Chef and earning the Fan Favorite title. Fabio returned to Bravo in 2010 to compete in their Top Chef All Stars edition and his reality show “Life after Top Chef” will air in late 2012. He is also the host of the Award winning series “Chow Ciao!” on Yahoo.

For more information about Annus Mirabilis or to purchase tickets please contact Jason Champion at or call 813-987-6030.

The Festival of Chocolate at MOSI

Honoring a three-year sweet tradition, MOSI brings back The Festival of Chocolate, Florida’s largest all-chocolate themed event, Jan. 19 – 21. With memorable experiences including a Cocoa Couture Fashion Show on the Yumway, Live Chef Competitions and a Guinness Book of World Record attempt. The Festival of Chocolate boasts more chocolate-topped features that ever before.

The Festival of Chocolate will showcase a variety of the area’s best chocolate and confection companies selling tastes and treats of everything chocolate from truffles, cakes and cupcakes to cookies, brownies and ice creams. Chocolate savory items, including chocolate BBQ sauce, balsamic vinegars, and meat rubs, will be available for those looking for savories and sides. For the littlest chocoholics, Kids-4-Chocolate is the perfect place for children to create, launch, play, adventure and spin — all in the name of chocolate. And, of course, education is key at MOSI, so Tampa Bay area families can learn about the Health, History and Science of Chocolate.

Award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers will host interactive demonstrations, sharing techniques and tricks of the trade, and a live wedding cake competition will give breathtaking artistic sculptures a tasty twist. Chocoholics of all ages will love making chocolate lip balm and the more adventurous can try their hand (or armpit) at creating armpit fudge. There is something for every type of chocoholic – chocolate wrapper fashion for the couture crowd, a chocolate Game Show Stage for the competition junkies and some Chocolate 101 for those looking to take home a pinch of chocolate wisdom. Other favorites at the event will include Chocolate University, taught by Chocolate Masters; Chocolate and Wine Pairings; Chocolate Brain Games; the Chocolate Check-Up; cookie stacking contests; and a complimentary chocolate raffle.

Entrance into The Festival of Chocolate is included when you purchase MOSI admission (Adults: $21.95; Children: $17.95). Each adult advance purchase ticket will receive two dollars in chocolate coins to spend at The Festival of Chocolate. MOSI Members receive discounted entry pricing at only $10 a ticket for adults and member children 12 and under can attend for FREE. Advanced ticket purchases are available at For more information, visit or call 813-438-4066.


Stay Over In Comfort

Surround yourself in the endless activities that make North Tampa a favorite destination for you and your families during The Festival of Chocolate at MOSI.

Hyatt Place Tampa/Busch Gardens • 11408 N. 30th Street, Tampa, FL 33612
BOOK NOW or call 813-979-1922 and mention The Festival of Chocolate.


Springhill Suites by Marriott Tampa North/Tampa Palms •  5396 Primrose Lake Circle Tampa, FL 33647
BOOK NOW or call 813-558-0300 and mention The Festival of Chocolate.


Incursion Exhibition Opening

A Fantastical Collection of Artwork

Orlando, Fl, January, 17, 2013:  Local Curator Jean Valentin host Incursion City Arts Factory’s first illustration show of the year. Incursion meaning an entering into an unknown space is a group show centered on the many facets of illustration in Central Florida; Incursion will features over twenty emerging artist of various stylistic influences. The event will take place on Thursday, the 17th of January at 6:30 p.m. at City Arts Factory at 29 South Orange Avenue Orlando, FL 32801. It is a free, non-profit art event open to the public that aims to enlighten the community on the illustrator’s presence in Central Florida.

For more information, contact Jean Valentin the curator at 321-437-4565.



Jamaican Cultural Exchange in Miami

Performers of the Jamaican Folk Review

Hundreds of festival-goers enjoyed, The Fifth Annual Downtown Miami Riverwalk Festival and Boat Parade- featuring, this year, a Jamaican Folk Festival that took place in Downtown/Brickell on November 10, 2012, from 10:00AM- 4:00 PM.

“This special multicultural event allows our local residents and visitors to explore and interact among the local arts and culture vendors, while also showcasing the unique surroundings at the mouth of the Miami River.” Says David Brown, festival organizer.

The opening ceremony featured Randy Corinthian on sax Soliel Rowe singing the national anthem. City was represented by LT. I. Carroll of the Fire Dept and Officer Fundora of the police Dept. The event was produced by Mr. David Brown of Lumana Global Corp. in collaboration with the presenting sponsor, the Jamaican Tourist Board, and numerous other sponsors including Sandals, Jerk Machine and Ocean Bank, in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica and the Jamaican Consulate in Miami. Dignitaries in attendance include Jamaican Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, and Miss Universe Jamaica- Miss Chantal Zaky who came from Jamaica to attend the event.

Funds were raised for this year’s featured non-profit: Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist’s Church Youth Group. The Boat parade with watercraft from local government agencies along with the Coast Guard Auxillary took place after the opening ceremony on the beautiful Miami River.

The Parade of Pageantry included Miss Universe Jamaica, Miss Jamaica Florida Pageant, Florida Miss Miami Tropic, Miss Miami-Dade- Broward Carnival Queen, Miss Runway Florida Competition Free Characateurs by Kyle Kolebrook of MLK Art Center. Over 75 Nice Give-a ways and Raffle Prizes from Macys, WLRN, Lost and Found Saloon, Electric Avenue and many more.

Authentic Jamaican Folk Music by Drumming Fingers, Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church Youth Group, Tallawah Mento Band, Soliel Rowe, Nugent “Bunny” Wince Hewett ( came from Jaamica), Jamaican Carnival Band, Sons of Mystro and Randy Corinthian. Staff of Jungle Island strolled the Riverwalk with a friendly, photogenic Macaw. In the Rum cake competition, four judges named winners including: Aymer Caswell for Vegan Rum Cake, Jackie Douglas for dark Rum Cake, Jean Lindo for Light Rum Cake.


About the Organizer

David C. Brown, M.A. Director of the Urban Tour Host and Sustain-a-Village is also the producer of the Downtown Miami Riverwalk Festival and Boat Parade.The festival features a different country each year- This year guests enjoyed an authentic “Jamaican Fok Festival” in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Jamaica.  Previous years featured the countries of Haiti and the Bahamas.

David is also an author, of The Story of Little Haiti featuring its Pioneers published in 2006. He has provided ” Miami’s Cultural Community Tours” of Miami’s historic neighborhoods since 2000.  By now he is considered somewhat of an “Urban Anthroplogist”. All of David’s work serves to promote multiculturalism.  I like to share the “pure” culture of a country with others in my events and my neighborhood tours of Miami. I hope that cross- cultural experiences will foster greater global awareness and understanding, and therefore, will bring our society closer together” says David.

David is also a specialist in the Ecology of Florida, providing guests and locals eco-tours to gain awareness and appreciation for Florida’s unique natural resources.

David helped in the coordination of Haitian voodoo ceremony for The Bizarre World of Andrew Zimmern, featured in American Way inflight magazine.

Truly a renaissance man, David’s unique background and experience features a hoistic approach highlighting the culture, history and ecology in all of his work. ”  I have been a resource to so many people, students and adults alike” says David. ” I enjoy presenting information to people that helps enhance their experience in a destination.”

To learn more about Miami private cultural tours by David Brown, visit: The Urban Tour Host

Kooza by Cirque du Soleil in St. Petersburg

Cirque du Soleil Kooza St. Petersburg

Cirque du Soleil puts on many astonishing shows under its banner, and Kazoo is no exception. Premiering in Montreal on April 19, 2007, the show gets its name from a Sanskrit word that means “magical container.” The Kooza show centers on this container called a “bataclan,” a large traveling tower on the stage that moves over the course of the show and alters the stage for dramatic effect. Come see this cast of incredibly talented performers as they unleash the magic container of Kooza.

St. Petersburg Tropicana Field Tickets

Although Cirque du Soleil Kooza will be performing at Tropicana Field for a good run, these tickets are highly coveted and will sell quickly. Don’t miss your chance to see what so many have described as the most breathtaking performance of their lives. Kooza is an electrifying show that introduces audiences to a world of wonder and imagination. Be part of the experience. Get your Cirque du Soleil Kooza theater tickets today!


Stay Over In Comfort

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, featuring a newly renovated lounge-like lobby, library, café, resort shop and expanded Promenade bar, is the only luxury hotel on the West Coast of Florida with the combination of a private marina, 18-hole golf course & 12-court tennis complex.  Book Your Stay Now!

Art Basel Miami Beach

From December 6 through 9, Miami Beach, Florida, will host the 11th edition of Art Basel, the most prestigious art show in the Americas. More than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa will take part, showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The exhibiting galleries are among the world’s most respected art dealers, offering exceptional pieces by both renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers. Special exhibition sections feature young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art. The show will be a vital source for art lovers, allowing them to both discover new developments in contemporary art and experience rare museum-caliber artworks.

Top-quality exhibitions in the museums of South Florida and special programs for art collectors and curators also help make the event a special time for encountering art. And every year, a greater number of art collectors, artists, dealers, curators, critics and art enthusiasts from around the world participate in Art Basel – the favorite winter meeting place for the international art world.


Directors. Annette Schönholzer and Marc Spiegler


Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day / Sept. 29th

The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum, Fort East Martello, Harry S. Truman Little White House and Audubon House & Tropical Gardens are to participate in the eighth annual Museum Day, presented by Smithsonian magazine.  Doors will be open free of charge to Smithsonian magazine readers and visitors for an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in history.  Visit website for free admission tickets and details. Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Contact: 305-294-0012


Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens
Winter Park

 Art & History Museums – Maitland

 Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

 Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
Key West

 Bass Museum of Art
Miami Beach

 Boca Raton Museum of Art
Boca Raton

 Bok Tower Gardens
Lake Wales

 Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum

 Cason Cottage Historic House Museum
Delray Beach

 City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center
Fort Walton Beach

 Coral Springs Museum of Art
Coral Springs

 Cracker Country

 Destination Archaeology Resource Center

 Explorations V Children’s Museum

 Florida Agricultural Museum
Palm Coast

 Florida Air Museum

 Florida Craftsmen, Inc.
Saint Petersburg

 Florida Holocaust Museum
St. Petersburg

 Florida Museum for Women Artists

 Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

 Fort East Martello
 Key West

Gillespie Museum of Minerals at Stetson University

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Goldenrod Historical Museum
Winter Park

Harry S Truman Little White House SHL
Key West

Henry B. Plant Museum

Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida

Historic Spanish Point


Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center

About Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, who offer free admission everyday, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket…for free.

Florida at the Southernmost of the United States and Closest to the Caribbean

When Spanish seafarers returned from their voyages of exploration, they reported to the most secret room in Seville. There, 500 years ago, contours of a New World appeared on vellum and linen. In el Padrón Real (the Royal Register), a map of the known world unfurled.

A spit of land north of Cuba first appeared. In time, the map revealed that La Florida was no mere island but an appendage of a great continent. Just where does Florida belong? Florida has since served as BOTH America’s southernmost state AND the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean: a bridge and bateway to North America. Depending upon one’s vantage point – Tallahassee or Miami – Florida is state of minds and contrasts.

It was here, historian Michael Gannon reminds us, that America’s first churches, missions, seminaries, schools, banks, hospitals, cattle ranches, citrus groves and public markets appeared.

The most momentous event in the history of Florida occurred in 1513. It likely involved a Spanish sailor or Franciscan friar wading ashore to encounter a Timucua warrior or Tequesta shaman. The significance of 1513 lies not in the so-called “discovery” – after all, natives had resided on this peninsula for 10,000 years. The significance of 1513 lies in the interaction that followed. The New and Old Worlds came together, in what historians call “the Columbian Exchange.” Any discovery was mutual.

From Europe and Africa came peoples, but also new plants and animals: horses, cows, pigs and chickens, as well as wheat, rice, sugarcane and orange trees. And catastrophic diseases for which the natives had no immunity.

The Americas introduced potatoes and tomatoes, peanuts and peppers, maize, tobacco and chocolate into a new stock pot that revolutionized the modern global diet.

Globalization did not begin in the 1980s or 1990s; rather, the phenomenon appeared in the 16th century. Failed wheat harvest in Castile, a devastating hurricane in Hispaniola and the price of tanned leather in Córdoba affected lives of distant floridanos. In Pensacola and St. Augustine, royal officials ate off Chinese porcelain, clutched Florentine rosaries, drank from Bavarian stoneware mugs, read books printed in Amsterdam and fired Swedish cannons. Spanish soldiers typically ate off Guale Indian pottery prepared by Apalachee or Timucua wives.

Florida became an incubator and cradle for institution building.

It was here, historian Michael Gannon reminds us, that America’s first churches, missions, seminaries, schools, banks, hospitals, cattle ranches, citrus groves and public markets appeared. It was also here that slavery took hold, as well as the emergence of America’s first free black community, Fort Mose.

When Bob Martinez took office as governor 25 years ago, pundits hailed Florida’s first Hispanic governor. Historians quickly noted that Martinez was the 50th such Hispanic governor! Governor Martinez understood the historic responses his predecessors had given to superiors in faraway places: “Obedezco pero no cumplo!” (I obey but do not comply!).

How ironic that Ponce de León’s mythical Fountain of Youth is now reality as millions of Kalamazoo and Kokomo retirees have moved to places like Pembroke Pines and Cape Coral in quest of second chances and youthful restoration, or at least a better February. A beacon of freedom and opportunity, Florida remains a haven for Central and South Americans lured by the American and Florida Dreams.

How fitting that a place first called la Florida in 1513 – a colony, territory and state shaped by Spanish-speaking floridanos – has become a lodestar for Hispanic life at the beginning of a new millennium.

May Florida’s future be as bright and dynamic as its extraordinary past.

Visual Brilliance and Acoustic Excellence at Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre

The historic venue, one of the state’s few remaining ‘atmospheric’ theaters, has endured the Great Depression and Elvis Presley’s rolling hips.

By real estate standards, it’s an old, high-maintenance building that would benefit from a better location. And it may be haunted.

But when measured by historic standards, the Florida Theatre is priceless. Since 1927, the atmospheric theater has swept more than 4 million guests on a journey from Jacksonville to the Mediterranean. The venue’s visual brilliance is mirrored by an acoustic excellence so true that performers can (and do) serenade the audience sotto voce.

It is, observes director of development Angela Gieras, “A most magnificent place.”

The Rise and Fall… and Rise

In the 1920s while making movies for the masses, Paramount Pictures’ Adolph Zukor was simultaneously building the Publix Theatres Corp., a nationwide chain of movie theaters. In 1927, an elaborate link in this chain opened just in time on East Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville. Soon after, the reality of the Great Depression erased the corporation and future fantasy-inspired theaters.

In a setting as fantastic as a palace, yet as intimate as a living room, it was the ultimate roots music performance as a sole singer serenaded an attentive audience.

Yet even though the Florida Theatre survived and thrived for more than a half-century, changing tastes, urban blight and B-movies couldn’t rustle up an audience, and the curtains came down in 1980. Most accepted its doors would be closed forever before cultural and civic organizations and business and political leaders remembered an old axiom: “The show must go on.”

By 1983, individual donations and government and corporate grants resurrected the Florida in an ambitious floor-to-ceiling renovation. In its transformation into a performing arts center, preservationists kept the masterpiece nearly intact, saving the theater’s original doors, box office, Spanish tile, plasterwork and wrought iron. Rescued from the trash and again clinging to columns were hand-blown glass grapes and artificial vines.

At the Florida since 2007, director of marketing Kendall Barsin remains enchanted with the stylized accents that flow from the lobby and into the Moorish courtyard, through the promenade and mezzanine and into the great hall where tapestries, starburst lights and pipe organ reeds accent a proscenium arch. Barsin’s enthusiasm is borne of the theater’s beauty and buoyed by the dedication of its staff.

“After the recession hit in 2008 and sales declined, all of us took pay cuts,” she recalls. “We were all willing to do more, to fund-raise more, to wear more hats and share the workload. We operate as a family because we’re very proud of this theater.”

This fall, when the 13-member staff and nearly 100 volunteers mark the Florida Theatre’s 85th anniversary, they’ll reflect on a show business history that, in August 1956, made American history.

The Hillbilly Cat

Elvis Presley, just 21 and fueled by high-octane talent, was booked for two days of shows at the Florida in 1956. Alerted by civic groups to Presley’s borderline burlesque, Duval County Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding summoned Elvis to his chambers, and according to a 2006 interview with Gooding’s son, Judge David Gooding, the two agreed Elvis would be allowed to wiggle from side to side – just not back and forth.

To ensure Elvis stayed true to his word, Gooding (and his three appreciative daughters) attended the shows.

Although Presley toned it down, he never forgot the experience. A dozen years later, while recording what became known as his ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis jammed with guitarist Scotty Moore and recalled, with some elaboration, “Remember Florida? The police filmed the show because they thought I was… something. So I couldn’t move. I had to stand still. The only thing I could move was my little finger – for the whole show!”

You’ve Got a Friend

Today the Florida Theatre is in esteemed company. Across the state, only a handful of atmospheric theaters remain: Lakeland’s Polk, Miami’s Olympia and the eponymous Tampa Theatre.

“It’s a fantasy-inspired theatre that puts you in an eclectic Mediterranean setting,” Barsin says. “These were movie palaces with a regal setting.”

Operating a historic theater is a challenge, and for nonprofits, the hurdles are even higher. Capital campaigns are a constant and bids on performers are largely dependent on donations and other sources of income. Barsin says offering tours of the theater introduce its beauty to newcomers, while rentals for independent productions and awards ceremonies also enhance programming. The Friends of the Florida Theatre program provides needed funds and returns dividends through advance notices and priority seating.

For the past 20 years, Eric and Cindy Norman of Brunswick, Ga., have driven the hour south to see Alice Cooper, B.B. King, Tom Jones, Foreigner, Willie Nelson and a jukebox worth of performers at the Florida.

“There’s no theater like this is in our part of Georgia,” Cindy says. “There’s not a single bad seat here. It’s like the performers are playing just for you. At every show, they’ll remind the audience how beautiful it is. And when we bring friends, we love their expression when they see the Florida for the first time. It’s awe-inspiring.”

“And the acoustics are immaculate,” adds Eric. “You think you’re listening to the world’s best stereo system.”

To generate more income, the performing arts center each summer returns to its roots as a movie palace with a series of cinema classics such as Mutiny on the Bounty, Casablanca and To Kill A Mockingbird shown from an actual film projector. Additionally, the program director has been tapping into a new generation of patrons by bringing in acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, Slash and Jane’s Addiction. For slightly older fans who recall when music was played on vinyl, the lineup features artists including the Moody Blues, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett and Gordon Lightfoot.

“Performers love it when they have the chance to play here,” explains Barsin. “Even if it’s their first time here, they’ve already heard about us and look forward to it. Weeks before Jewel appeared, she went to our website and then right to Twitter and wrote ‘I can’t wait to play this theatre! It’s beautiful!'”

From Elvis… to Elvis

More than a half-century after Elvis Presley was warned about getting too shook up, Elvis Costello was approaching the end of a three-hour performance, a musical marathon inspired, no doubt, by the splendor of the venue.

When his band disappeared into the wings, Costello, alone on the stage, stepped toward the apron. Nearly 2,000 people fell into silence as he sang “Alison” – a capella. There were no lasers, no effects, no amplification, no pyrotechnics.

In a setting as fantastic as a palace, yet as intimate as a living room, it was the ultimate roots music performance as a sole singer serenaded an attentive audience. From the stage to the spotlights, every whisper and every breath could be heard.