Latest Area News
FORT WALTON BEACH â The Arts & Design Societyâs members host their annual Christmas Art Market from Nov. 25 through Dec. 21, featuring an assortment of special artistry, including jewelry, paintings, clay works, decorations, photo-graphs, and note cards, all created by the members.
Works are all under $200, with most considerably less. These are avail-able in the gallery, whenever the Art Center is open: Tuesday - Friday, noon- 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1-4 p.m.
The gallery will be closed Thanksgiving Day but open the following Friday and Saturday. The gallery and Art Center are at 17 First St. S.E. Call 244-1271.
FORT WALTON BEACHâ On Nov. 22, 105.5 The Wolf/WYZB will host a Friday Night FUN-draiser at Howl at the Moon to benefit St. Jude Childrenâs Research Hospital.
For a $10 donation receive admission, a free sponsor beverage and three free prize tickets.
Those who purchase tickets in advance will receive a free St. Jude T-shirt. Advance tickets are available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.â5 p.m. at 105.5 The Wolf, 225 NW Hollywood Blvd.
On the night of the show, tickets may be pur-chased between 7 and 8 p.m. at the door. Call 244-1055.
CRESTVIEW â 1st Holiday Harvest Festival benefitting the Toys for Tots Foundation will be held 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Crestview Community Center.
New, unwrapped toys will be collected for children in need. Fun activities for children and adults.
Vendors are needed. Crafters and businesses alike are welcome. Call 585-0030 or 307-7260.
FORT WALTON BEACH â The 24th Annual Chocoholic Frenzy with market and silent auction is a chocolate-tasting fundraiser presented by GFWC Fort Walton Beach Womanâs Club.
For a donation of $10, patrons will enjoy a buffet of homemade chocolate treats. The Frenzy will take place 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Atrium of Westwood Retirement Resort, 1001 Mar-Walt Drive.
Tickets are available at P.S. Gifts in Fort Walton Beach, Connect with Flowers in Shalimar, Bayou Books in Niceville.
FORT WALTON BEACH â âBoeing Boeing,â the fanciful French farce set in Paris during the sexy, sassy â60s by Marc Camoletti, is the season opener for the Fort Walton Beach High School Theatre Department.
Produced most recently on Broadway in the 2008 season, this latest edition of a play named for an aircraft is propelled by the same gusty spirit that animated the silent films of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd. It won the 2009 Tony for Best Revival of a Play.
The three performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium.
Bernard (Alex Cairns), an American businessman living in Paris, is juggling love affairs with three air hostesses (as they were called back in the day), who touch down briefly but lovingly in his apartment between flights.
Thereâs Gloria (Madelynn Robichaux), the American; Gabriella (Lauren Abel), the Italian; and Gretchen (Paris Martineau), the German.
Thanks to Bernardâs keen study of flight schedules and the efficiency of his grumbling housekeeper, Berthe (Lana Harley), his three mistresses have no inkling of one anotherâs existence.
But collision is clearly in the cards. And on hand, to survey and sink into the resulting complications, is the unworldly Robert (Patton Markland), Bernardâs boyhood friend, ânewly arrived from Wisconsin and as green as a Granny Smith apple.â
General admission tickets are $7 and are available at the school office at 400 Hollywood Boulevard and at the door before the performance, and at Shangri-La Vintage Boutique in downtown Fort Walton Beach.
For more information, call Christa Whittaker, director, at 850-833-3300, ext. 1819.
This hidden gem of a restaurant just opened its third location in the Sundestin condominium in Destin. Its other locations are in the lobby of the Ariel Dunes condo in Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach and also at Hurricane Lanes in Destin.
The menu at Cabana CafĂ© is diverse with seafood, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas and pizza. What set their food apart was its obvious freshness and quality.
We started our meal with an order of fried pickle chips and sweet potato fries. The pickles were served with ranch, while the fries came with a cilantro dip.
These came out quickly and were so good we almost ate the two heaping platefuls, leaving little space for our main courses, but we soldiered on.
Diners can choose from a list of toppings which range from the usual bacon and mushroom to something a little different such as avocado and prosciutto. I ordered a burger with Swiss cheese, mushrooms and grilled onions.
I asked our waitress if the burgers were made fresh, in-house. She replied that they were hand-pattied each morning, and they also baked their own buns each day.
I really wasnât expecting that level of quality at a tiny little place on the ground floor of a condo, but my expectations were shattered again when my friendâs chicken parmesan dinner arrived with an overflowing house salad.
The chicken sat atop a bed of fettucini and was topped with marinara and mozzarella. My friend asked me to try the dish, saying it had a different sort of sweetness to it. After tasting the sauce, I decided that the pasta was probably made fresh, and this was confirmed by the waitress.
My friend and I both left pleasantly surprised by our visit to Cabana CafĂ©. Neither of our expectations would have produced fresh, homemade ingredients.
Iâm looking forward to trying Cabana CafĂ© again and hope to sample their pizza. They have their own specialties including Greek, Italian, chicken Florentine, cordon bleu, Buffalo chicken, the meat, the veggie and the Woody, which combines the meat and veggie.
Besides chicken Parmesan, other pasta dishes include fettucini Alfredo, shrimp scampi, chicken Marsala and crawfish and andouille sausage.
Dinner entrees include a fried shrimp or oyster basket, chicken tender basket, mahi mahi basket and a French cut pork loin.
Sandwich lovers can look forward to the mahi mahi sandwich, a fish taco wrap, shrimp or oyster po boy, chicken sandwich, fried green BLT, a Caesar wrap and French dip.
Cabana CafĂ© at Sundestin is a small space with nice, vibrant colors and a small bar. In warmer weather, Cabana CafĂ© has a tiki bar and provides beach service.
Our waitress was very knowledgable about the menu and preparation of the food. Our drinks were quickly refilled, and she brought us plenty of to-go boxes.
A final taste
Donât let this little secret pass you by. We had no problem parking at Sundestin, and the restaurant is just inside the lobby.
Cabana CafĂ© at Sundestin
1040 U.S. 98 E., Destin, FL 32541
In the lobby of Sundestin condo
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Starting at $9
$10.95 to $24
The Northwest Florida Ballet will bring visions of dancing sugar plums, graceful snow flurries, and magical dolls to the stage in its 33nd annual presentation of âThe Nutcracker.â
Two performances will be held at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available for purchase online at nfballet.org or by calling 664-7787.
The Mattie Kelly Arts Center is on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd. East.
âThe Nutcrackerâ has been an annual favorite for thousands of families all over the world.
Although it was first performed to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovskyâs captivating score in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, the first American production of the ballet wasnât introduced until 1944 when Willem Christensen staged it for the San Francisco Ballet.
Ten years later George Balanchine immortalized âThe Nutcrackerâ with his famous production at the New York City Ballet which featured an immense Christmas tree magically rising from the stage during the first act. Since that time, âThe Nutcrackerâ has become the most widely attended ballet in America.
So why do families keep coming back to see âThe Nutcrackerâ year after year?
âThere is really nothing like it to give you the holiday spirit and to make unique memories that will last forever,â says Todd Allen, Northwest Florida Balletâs artistic director/CEO and choreographer. âEvery year we see generations of families that come to share the experience with each other.
âItâs a celebration of childhood fantasy and the power of human imagination and that is something everyone can relate to.â
The production has a cast of more than 100 dancers which includes many local children, NFB Company members and an array of international guest artists.
The role of Clara will be danced by Miya Mobley, and Avery Jarrard will play the part of the high-spirited Fritz.
NFB Company member Max Murdock will perform the role of the Harlequin Doll, and Ellie Borick will perform the role of the Columbine Doll.
NFB Principal Dancer Katia Garza will dance the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy with Andres Estevez of Ballet Met, Columbus, Ohio, dancing the role of her Prince.
Sarah Comstock Goud will perform the roles of Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy; Carlos Madera, J Ryan Carroll and Billy Blanken will round out the cast of international guest artists with their portrayals of The Nutcracker Prince, Snow King, Spanish, Russian, and Arabian dancers.
âThe Nutcrackerâ performances are sponsored by Vie Magazine, Bit Wizards, the Howard Group/Silver Sands Outlet Center, and the St. Joe Community Foundation.
In addition to its two public performances, NFB will also present two performances for area school children and special needs groups. These performances are part of NFBâs Education and Outreach services and will be held at 10 a.m. today and Friday. Call NFB at 664-7787 for more details.
The Northwest Florida Ballet celebrates its 44th year as a regionally recognized semi-professional ballet company and school.
NFB has developed the nationally acclaimed NFB AcadĂ©mie â an integrated academic and dance education program serving 144 students from the third to eighth grade.
The NFB Pre-Professional Program, which serves high school students who wish to pursue dance professionally, is also thriving.
The NFB is funded in part by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
On Wednesday, I attended the last meeting of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture for this year.
It was a teleconference/webinar/email meeting, so I wasnât actually in Tallahassee this time. We had plenty of work to accomplish, including voting on the nominees for the 2014 Florida Artists Hall of Fame.
After a brief presentation about the 12 nominees and comments by their supporters, we voted to submit artist Bruce Helander and musician Tom Petty for final consideration to Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
Last Thursday, Secretary Detzner announced the 2014-16 State Touring Program Florida Arts on Tour roster.
According to the release, the State Touring Program provides fee support to Florida non-profit organizations and entities of city, county or state government â such as school boards â for bringing professional performing artists to their areas.
Performers for the Florida Arts on Tour roster come from a peer-review panel and are recommended by the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The council voted on the roster during our October meeting.
There are 31 performers on the roster, so Iâm not going to name all of them. They are divided into dance, music and storytelling/theater categories.
The full roster is available on the Division of Cultural Affairsâ website at florida-arts.org/roster, which also includes descriptions, fees and contact information for each artist.
The release goes on to say the Florida Arts on Tour program has served more than 3.5 million audience members, most of them K-12 students, since its inception in 1979.
Any non-profit organization can apply for fee support to host artists on the roster. For more information, contact Dr. Gaylen Phillips by email at email@example.com or call 245-6482.
Also announced last week, the first Florida Country Superfest will be held June 14 and 15 at Jacksonvilleâs EverBank Field.
Tickets go on sale today for the event that will feature some of the biggest names in country music.
Scheduled June 14 are Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Big & Rich plus Cowboy Troy and Colt Ford.
Scheduled June 15 are Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Easton Corbin and Joe Nichols.
Two-day festival packages are available through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.
This is a reserved-seating event, so the press release encourages fans to buy tickets early for the best seats. Prices range from $80 to $500.
Also, last Friday, Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam announced the 2014 event will take place Aug. 29-31, 2014, which is Labor Day weekend.
Although this is new weekend for the festival, the venue will remain the main stage at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach.
No artists were unveiled but one of the organizers promised the second annual jam âwill come back bigger and better.â
This yearâs artists included Toby Keith and Trace Adkins.
Tickets and condo package on-sale dates will be announced later. Get the latest details online at gulfcoastjam.com.
Producing a Broadway show requires a tremendous amount of effort and coordination even in the comfort of the same theater every night. Taking it on the road for months at a time â often for only one night in each venue â raises the task to a Herculean level.
Actress Sally Struthers stars in the current touring Broadway production of âHello, Dolly!â and she is the first to say the real heroes of the show are the crew.
âThe biggest challenge is for our beloved crew,â Struthers said in a Nov. 1 telephone interview. âTheir job is to tear down and pack up the entire set, load it into four huge trucks, get to the next town and put it all back together again. Sometimes they are there until 3 in the morning.
âWe (actors) all get to go back to our hotel room and take a bubble bath. Then the next show, we just waltz out onto the stage where everything is familiar to us because itâs the set weâre used to. The crew has done all of the hard work, working with the wonderful local theaters we play in.â
Struthers and her crew will bring âHello, Dolly!â to the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25.
The two-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner stars as the vivacious matchmaker, Dolly Gallagher Levi, who goes to Yonkers, N.Y., to find a match for the âwell-known unmarried half-a-millionaire,â Horace Vandergelder.
The popular musical score features such classic songs as âIt Only Takes a Moment,â âBefore the Parade Passes Byâ and, of course, âHello, Dolly!â
Best known for her role as Gloria in the television series âAll in the Familyâ and as Babette on âGilmore Girls,â Struthersâ four-decade career also includes such films as âFive Easy Piecesâ and âThe Getawayâ; featured roles in Broadway productions of âGreaseâ and âAnnie,â where she played Miss Hannigan; many television movies and voice work in animated series.
âIâm so lucky,â she said. âIâve never stopped working. I guess it might be because I became part of everyoneâs family on television. People just welcome me into their lives.â
Struthersâ effervescent personality radiates through occasional static of the call she is making on a bus heading from Appleton, Wis., to Milwaukee, where âHello, Dolly!â was scheduled for two nights.
âMy mother would always say, âSally was born with funny,â and Iâve always had a lot of energy,â she said. âIâm 66 years old and touring with a bunch of 20-year-olds who have to run to keep up with me!â
While the iconic character of Dolly has been portrayed by such actresses as Ginger Rogers, Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey and Ethel Merman on stage, Struthers doesnât worry too much about her predecessors.
âI adore Carol Channing, but I would never dream of trying to do an impression of her as Dolly,â she said. âThe wonderful thing about Dolly is that sheâs kind of actress proof. You can be tall or short or whatever.
âI canât help it being my own character because itâs my voice, my comic timing. I do me playing Dolly Gallagher Levi.â
Struthers has high praise for the entire cast saying she is surrounded by âtriple threats, who can sing, dance and act.â
Because 2014 is the 50th anniversary of when âHello, Dolly!â made its multi-Tony Award-winning premiere on Broadway in 1964, Struthers said the cast and crew âfeel duty bound to make it as wonderful a show as we can.â
âWe want it to be an homage to Thornton Wilder, who wrote the play âThe Matchmakerâ that âHello, Dolly!â is based on and to Jerry Herman, who wrote the music and lyrics to turn it into a musical.â
Struthersâ favorite musical numbers in the show include:
âIt Only Takes a Momentâ â âIâm not even in that one, but when Cornelius and Mrs. Molloy sing to each other, itâs so beautiful.â
âSo Long Dearieâ â âI do it with a straw hat and cane. Itâs a razzamatazz number thatâs just so much fun!â
And, of course, the title song âHello, Dolly!â â âWhen I re-enter the restaurant and every man is looking up at me, I can see the adoration in their eyes. Itâs so emotional that I sometimes tear up. It makes me feel like a school girl.â
Tickets for this timeless masterpiece are on sale for $45 each or $40 for groups of 10 or more tickets. Tickets are available online at mattiekellyartscenter.org or in-person or by phone from the box office at 729-6000.
Box office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 6-7:30 p.m. the day of the show. At-the-door seats are the same price as advance tickets. There is a $2 per ticket processing fee on all ticket sales.
The center is on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College at 100 College Blvd.
DESTIN â Capriccio CafĂ© is in Shoreline Village Mall. Although the address is U.S. Highway 98, the cafĂ© actually faces Gulf Shore Drive.
Capriccio CafĂ© is primarily a coffee bar that also offers specialty salads, sandwiches and desserts.
They open each morning at 7 a.m., 8 a.m. on Sunday, with a selection of delicious coffees.
Flavors for drinks include vanilla, hazelnut, almond, caramel, peppermint, dark and white chocolate and chai. Sugar-free options are also available.
I highly recommend the sugar-free white chocolate mocha latte. It was amazingly delicious!
Capriccio CafĂ© also offers tea, including chai.
Hot chocolate is on the menu along with mocha, caramel and vanilla frappes and strawberry, mango and wildberry smoothies.
My guest opted for the strawberry smoothie, which she declared was very good.
Want to try something different? How about a shakerato â a shot of espresso poured over ice and shaken.
And while you are there, make sure you sample some of Capriccio CafĂ©âs delicious pastries.
The day of our visit, they offered pumpkin bread as well as large chocolate ganache and raspberry filled muffins.
I opted to take one of each to enjoy later, and they were moist and flavorful.
CafĂ© Capriccio also offers Nutella or fruit preserve crepes.
At mealtime, the cafĂ© offers salads and sandwiches that combine a taste of both Italy and Destin.
My choice was the Destin salad.
Grilled scallops and shrimp were served with fresh orange slices and toasted pecans over baby spinach and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
The scallops and shrimp were large, sweet and perfectly cooked. The balsamic vinaigrette really tied all of the flavors together.
Other salads include a sliced Italian cured beef, prosciutto and melon, grilled salmon and tuna as well as a chicken Caesar.
My guest chose the grilled salmon sandwich, which includes greens of the day, Roma tomatoes and a house tartar sauce served on either a white or wheat Italian hoagie roll.
She said the sandwich delicious.
The salmon was moist and perfectly grilled. She said she particularly enjoyed the fact that the bread was toasted perfectly.
Other sandwiches include grilled tuna, Mortadella (sausage), Marsala chicken, Parmacotto (ham) and cheese, Prosciutto di Parma (air-cured ham) with cheese and grilled vegetable with cheese.
We both chose to have tiramisu for dessert, and it was an excellent choice.
Capriccio CafĂ© also offers cheesecake.
Capriccio Cafe is a warm and inviting place where you can linger over your coffee, whether reading the newspaper or taking advantage of their free wi-fi.
The staff is friendly and very willing to help you decide what you would like.
You place your order at the counter, but are served at your table.
Takeout is also available.
A final taste
Whether youâre looking for a quick morning coffee or a meal, stop by Capriccio CafĂ©. You wonât be disappointed.
810 U.S. Highway 98 East
7 a.m. â 6 p.m. Monday - Saturday
8 a.m. â 4 p.m. Sunday
Salads $8 â $11
Sandwiches $7 â $10
Desserts $2.50 â $4.50
Drinks $1.50 â $5
Credit cards accepted
Stage Crafters 2014 season;
Pyramid calendars; public art
I hope hundreds of you have experienced the âMiracle in Bedford Fallsâ production by Stage Crafters Community Theatre Inc. now playing at the Fort Walton Beach Municipal Auditorium.
You still have three chances remaining to see the heart-warming musical based on the movie âItâs a Wonderful Life.â Look for details in the Stage briefs elsewhere in Showcase today.
Stage Crafters has already announced plans for what will be the groupâs 42nd season! And there is a twist in the offing for 2014.
Stage Crafters President Pamela J. Strecker explains in a letter included in the âMiracleâ program:
âThis year the executive board and the directorâs committee have been working very hard to answer the request of you, the patrons. We have been working to come up with a way to bring you the shows you want to see while keeping the organization in the black.
âIt is with great enthusiasm that we announce we have made significant changes to our format and we are going to bring you a big season, two big musicals and one fabulous comedy. Thatâs right, three shows next year (instead of the usual four).
âSince large musicals cost us $30,000 to $40,000 to produce, season ticket prices will remain the same. As we move into our 42nd season, we are looking forward to a stellar season which will usher us into 42 more.â
Are you as stunned as I was at those cost figures? I knew it was expensive and, after my work with the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, I have learned a lot about the finances involved to keep arts groups thriving but, still, wow!
The shows they are planning are âThe Sound of Musicâ to start the season in March 2014, âThe Odd Coupleâ (female version) to make us laugh mid-season and âGuys and Dollsâ to finish the season on a high note in November.
Bravo to Stage Crafters for its creative solution.
Many folks have already started searching for the perfect gifts to give their friends and family this holiday season, and Pyramid Inc. might help you check off a few names with its 2014 Pyramid Art Calendar.
A press release explains the calendar is an important fundraiser for Pyramid. Each of its six centers, of which there is one in Fort Walton Beach, receives a substantial part of the purchase price for use at the local level. It goes on to say that the artists whose images are used in the calendar also receive a commission.
Suggestions include giving them as office and hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. âThe calendars also provide a year-long reminder that people with disabilities are talented, creative and contributing members of our community,â the release says.
The calendars cost $12 each. To purchase one, or more, call the Fort Walton Beach office at 862-7139, the Pensacola office at 453-3341 or the Panama City office at 872-8105.
To learn more about Pyramid Inc., visit the website pyramidinc.org.
In more art news, Andy Saczynski, who designed the poster for the recent Festival of the Arts in Destin and who is 2013 South Walton Artist of the Year, has transformed a blank wall at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida Stage College into a beautiful bouquet.
He donated his time, talent and materials to create this public work of art featured on the Native Plant Demonstration Garden & Trail at the college. A press release explains the trail is designed as an outdoor learning site and is a collaborative effort of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Walton County Master Gardeners, Northwest Florida State College and AmeriCorps.
The garden and trail are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk at 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, just north of the intersection of U.S. Highways 98 and 331. For more information, visit the website at basinalliance.org.
Every year the City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center offers its Haunted History Tours of Downtown Fort Walton Beach. This year Haunted History has been nominated for a Florida Municipal Achievement Award in the Florida League of Cities award program. The award lets municipalities receive recognition for their efforts in celebrating their history and honoring the heritage, people and historical events that make each city unique. The 7th Annual Haunted History was held in October and participants were guided on a 90-minute walking tour of downtown Fort Walton Beach where guests met characters from the cityâs past and visited several historic sites and buildings. Pictured is the cast Haunted History 2013. There were ghosts and soldiers, Native Americans and Hollywood starlets, and even a spooky Billy Bowlegs. Winners of the award will be announced in December 2013 so keep your fingers crossed!