Latest Area News

Theatre Company presents 'Art,' a Tony-award winning comedy

MIRAMAR BEACH - Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC), a not-for-profit professional theater company, continues its 2015 season by staging the Northwest Florida debut of “Art,” a comedy by French playwright Yasmina Reza.

The English translation of ‘Art’ debuted on London’s West End in 1996 and opened on Broadway two years later winning both the Tony Award and New York Drama Critics’ Circle for Best Play. It also received rave reviews when it debuted in New York including the New York Post, which described it as “wildly funny and naughtily provocative".

Newsweek also lauded “Art” saying “Reza is a fiendishly clever writer and likening the comedy as “ a marriage of Molière and Woody Allen.”

Set in modern day Paris, the story revolves around three friends — Serge, Marc and Yvan — who find their previously solid15-year friendship on shaky ground when Serge buys an expensive abstract painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship suffers considerable strain as a result of their differing opinions about what constitutes “art.” Yvan is caught in the middle of the conflict and tries to please and mollify both of them.

Directed by ECTC artistic producer Nathanael Fisher, “Art” will be staged two weekends, March 6-8 and March 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. in suite 15 at the Market Shops, located at 9375 US Highway 98, near the entrance to Sandestin and Hilton resorts in Miramar Beach.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. with an art gallery preview featuring local Northwest Florida including Andy Saczynski, Mary Hong, Velia Lala, Lori Drew and others prior to each show starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We are fortunate to have a thriving visual art scene here on the Emerald Coast and so it makes sense that we place a high value on it. For this production, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with several of our talented local artists to create a special cultural evening that I hope will resonate with everyone,” said ECTC producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher.

The three-member cast includes Don Goodrum (Serge), Jason Hedden (Yvan) and Allen Walker (Marc).

Don Goodrum, an actor, director and playwright that has more than 40 years experience. Since moving to Florida in 1999, he has played roles as challenging and diverse as Henry II in “The Lion in Winter,” Max Bialystock in “The Producers” Ebenezar Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” and the Devil in “The Devil and Daniel Webster.”

Jason Hedden is an actor, director and teacher based in Panama City Beach. He is currently an associate professor of theater at Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) where he is directing the world premiere of “Miracle of the White Leaves: The Musical.” Hedden holds an MFA in acting and devised theater from The Ohio State University and undergraduate theatre degrees from The University of South Florida and GCSC. Professional credits include roles with Seattle Shakespeare Company and Book-It Repertory Theatre. Hedden was last seen on stage in his original solo show, “Resurrecting van Gogh,” produced by ECTC in 2014.

Allen Walker is a local actor from Panama City who teaches Latin at Arnold High School. He was last seen as Scrooge in ECTC's debut of “A Dickens Christmas.” Other favorite roles include Furtwangler in “Taking Sides,” the title role in Pericles, and Einstein in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Allen is also a company actor with the Seaside Repertory Theatre, where he will soon be seen as Arlequin in “Com'media Robin Hood.”

Tickets are $20 per person. Due to language, the play is recommended for adult audiences. Seats are limited, advance purchase is recommended. To purchase tickets, visit emeraldcoasttheatre.org or call (850) 687-1637.

 

5 things to do this week (Feb.15-21)

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 10:15am

Not sure what activities to plan for this week?

Check out the five things we think you should consider.

1. Dance the night away: Live music form the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's will be pumping from the Emerald Coast Convention Center Feb. 21 from 6 p.m. until midnight at the Island Dance Party. There will be a cash bar and food samples from Helen Back Cafe and Pandora's Steak House. Tickets are $10 each. If you buy four tickets, the fifth will be free.

2. Enjoy music from the Swing era: "In the Mood" will be in full swing Friday at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. The musical revue will feature the classic hits of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, The Andrews Sisters and more. Tickets are $35 each. There is a group discount of $30 each for 10 or more tickets. Tickets are on sale at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office at 850-729-6000 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday or online at www.MattieKellyArtsCenter. Call toll free at 1-888-838-ARTS (2787).

3. Pardi away: Fat Tuesday will be celebrated Feb. 17 from 5-8 p.m. at the HarborWalk Village. You can enjoy the evening at one of the local bars or restaurants or with a free bowl of red beans and rice from Jackacudas Seafood and Sushi. The Village of Baytowne Wharf will also hold their own celebration and parade at 5 p.m.

4. Enjoy a free wine and food pairing: Try four wines from Destin importer and distributor Zimmerman's International Wine Imports on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. at Camille's, located at 2931 Scenic Highway 98 in Destin. The wines will be available at reduced pricing.

5. Get crafty: The spring craft show will be held at the Destin Community Center, located at 101 Stahlman Ave., Feb. 20, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Feb. 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
 

Stewart: I'm ready to take helm of 'The Daily Show'

Editor’s note: In 1999, the Daily News was offered an interview with Jon Stewart, who was about to take the helm of the “The Daily Show.” This week he announced he will be leaving that position later this year. Here is our story, originally published Jan. 8, 1999.

Is Jon Stewart ready to take over Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?" You'd better believe it.

"I've been to talk-show camp this summer," Stewart said in telephone interview, later adding, "I'm often compared to Oprah."

And with that ammunition, mainly his quick wit and sarcasm, he takes over the show which properly describes itself as "a reality-based look at news, trends, pop culture, current events, politics, sports and entertainment with an alternative point of view," or in the words of rock musician Bonnie Raitt while on the show, "truly twisted."

Stewart is replacing Craig Kilborn who is leaving "The Daily Show" for his own talk show after "Late Night with David Letterman."

But taking over a show is nothing new for Stewart, who seems to be best known as "that replacement guy."
After Stewart's own talk show on MTV failed, he bounced around for a few years, most notably filling in for Tom Snyder on CBS' "Late Late Show" and for Gary Shandling on HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show."
But Stewart has kept himself busy, and not just as the replacement guy.

This past fall Stewart made his literary debut with "Naked Pictures of Famous People," a collection of short stories.

He also took the leap onto the big screen with the current sci-fi/horror movie "The Faculty," where he plays a science teacher and will soon be seen in "Playing by Heart," with Gillian Anderson and Sean Connery. He just finished working on a new Adam Sandler film called "Big Daddy."

When asked if he considers himself an actor, he manages to get a "no" in over his own laughter. "I can be in 20 movies, and I'm still not Rip Torn," he said.

And although it seems he's doing a lot, "they're all of the same weave," he said. "I like to be not good at anything, so I try desperately to hop around."

However, he still considers his "trade" to be stand-up comedy.

Stewart began his career after he graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in 1984 with a degree in psychology and saw it wasn't what he wanted to be doing.

"If I knew myself better, I could have saved myself some time and expense," he said.

It wasn't until 1987 that he finally pursued stand-up comedy.

"You can only play with that hairbrush in the basement for so long," Stewart said. "You do what you have to do that one night to get up on stage and then keep it going."

And now as he takes over "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" he adds another entry to his resume. Stewart will not only host the show, but also will serve as the show's co-executive producer and work as a writer.

"I anticipate it to be hard and a grind," Stewart said, "and that is what I really look forward to."

He said he doesn't expect to see many changes in the show when he takes over. "I'll spend the first two or three months of the show playing catch up. I'm going to get in rhythm."

But the change that most fans want to know about is will he keep the "five questions" segment at the end of each celebrity interview, and he swears that he doesn't know the answer, saying that it's Comedy Central's decision.

What he does hope to do with the show is to focus it more on the actual news.

"I'd love, at some point, to bring on a newsmaker or something relevant to the top news story of the day instead of always a celebrity," he said. "What I like about the show is that it's not pure celebrity. It depends on the fodder of the news."

Stewart will take over "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Monday. The show airs Sunday through Thursday at 10 p.m. and is repeated Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.

"The Daily Show" premiered in July 1996 and has such recurring segments as "God Stuff," a montage of clips from television ministries, "Out at the Movies," a gay perspective of current box office movies, "Back in Black," a ranting and raving of each week's news events and "A moment of Zen," a video clip that ends each show with very un-zen-like images from around the world.

Stewart is confident going into the show. "It's a situation that I'm going into prepared for from my previous things," he said.

But in his own immortal words, "You've got to fill the entertainment slot with something, whether it's a shiny light or Baywatch.'"
 

State director tours local parks

Northwest Florida Daily News - Outdoors - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 3:04pm
State parks director Donald V. Forgione was in town this week to tour local parks and sat down with the Daily News on Thursday for a brief chat.

'Drive Thru Renew' on Valentine's Day

CRESTVIEW – Radio Station WYZB/NASH FM105.5 wants couples from across the Emerald Coast to celebrate Valentine’s Day by unofficially renewing their wedding vows during The NASH FM 105.5 “Drive Thru Renew.”

Everyone knows Las Vegas is known for their little wedding chapels and drive-through weddings, therefore NASH FM 105.5 is using Feb. 14 as a modified version of the Vegas-style wedding. “Drive Thru Renew” is a fun and unique Valentine’s Day ceremony to re-unite couples…with one couple actually winning a grand prize package including overnight accommodations at Four Points By Sheraton/Destin-Fort Walton Beach and a new mattress from Jazzi Rae’s in Crestview.

On Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. until noon, NASH FM 105.5 will be at Lewis Diamond Gallery, 3670 South Ferdon Blvd. in Crestview. WYZB’s Midday Host, Skip Davis, will serve as the Non-Pastor and administer the special-edition renewing of vows.

Couples will receive flowers, wedding cupcakes, a special certificate commemorating the ceremony, and more.

For more information about the “Drive Thru Renew,” please contact WYZB at 850-243-7676.

 

Buzzworthy events for Feb. 13-19

Want a few suggestions for what to do, where to go and who to see? You’ll find them here each week. Look for details and more ideas throughout Showcase.

Friday
Mardi Gras Parade: Enjoy an evening full of Mardi Gras fun at Destin Commons with a parade 6-8 p.m. Feb. 13 including a line-up of over 30 floats and marching groups. Lively entertainment will be provided by Jones & Company, DJ Mack and Pittman Magic.

Saturday
Gumbo Festival: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort will host the 26th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. Kick-off is at 4 p.m. Feb. 13 at Fat Tuesday with a Baytowne Seafood Boil. On Feb. 14, from noon to 4 p.m., guests will enjoy live Zydeco music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, family activities and a gumbo cook-off. Tickets are $20 in advance online at sandestingumbofestival.com.

Sunday
Tour of Homes: The annual Valentine Tour of Homes presented by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County will open seven special South Walton homes to participants 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 14 and noon-4 p.m. Feb. 15. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Purchase online at culturalartsalliance.com.

Monday
Troop fundraiser: American Legion Post 296, 311 Main St., Destin, is holding a fundraiser 2-7 p.m. Feb. 16 to support our troops and veterans. Kevin Black will perform. Cost: donation, $5 raffle ticket for Clint Black signed guitar.

Tuesday
Rick Bragg: WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, will launch a new speakers series with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author Rick Bragg on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the station’s Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio in Pensacola. The speaking engagements will be open to the public; admission is free.

Wednesday
Stories of Slave Trade: Destin Library will host a traveling exhibit on the Transatlantic Slave Trade through Feb. 27. This Pop-Up Museum for Florida Communities was created by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West Florida. Cal l837-8572.
 

Music lineup for Sandestin Wine Festival announced

Miramar Beach, Fla.  – Sandestin event organizers announced the music lineup for the 29th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival April 16-19, 2015 - the premier and longest –running wine event on the Emerald Coast. This year’s festival will highlight new musical styles featuring special regional artists. 

The Friday night Grand Wine Tasting will showcase local group Free Monica as well as Nashville up and comer Maggie Chapman. Saturday afternoon will feature musicians from the Chris Alvarado Trio, followed by former The Voice sweethearts Elenowen. Elenowen and Maggie Chapman will also perform an intimate songwriter’s round at the exclusive Saturday VIP party.

“We are excited to welcome two Nashville rising and buzz-worthy stars, as well as keep the local feel in place with South Walton musicians, in an effort to continuously add to the mystique of this event as the ‘Kentucky Derby of wine festivals’,” said special event manager Julie Stuckey. “I know the Sandestin Wine Festival patrons will be impressed with the songwriting talent and charisma of these extremely talented performers. If they aren’t already household names, they will be.”

Most fans of Elenowen fell in love with the duo during their appearances on the inaugural season of NBC’s The Voice, and have stayed true to their characteristic tender melodies, lyrical motifs and incandescent acoustic work. Rolling Stone says their sophomore album, For The Taking, “bridges the gap between seventies folk and rock, modern America.” Elenowen also had success with their single "Honey Come Home" which reached #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts.
Fresh off her brand new placement on Pretty Little Liars with “It Should’ve Been You”, Maggie Chapman returns to the Village of Baytowne Wharf for an encore performance from her fall debut on the Emerald Coast. Undoubtedly, when it comes to crafting lyrical brilliance and unforgettable melodies, the Florida native is in no short supply. Her debut album, Vignette garnered attention with placements on RollingStone.com, USA Today and American Songwriter. Outlets including Teen Vogue and Kings of A&R echoed their enthusiasm for Maggie, with similar ‘Artist to Watch For’ praises in the recent months.

Local singer-songwriters Kyle LaMonica and Ben Freidman will kick off Friday night with their duo “Free Monica.” LaMonica was nominated for 30A Hotspot Awards “Hottest Local Musicians/Bands” category, 2012 Beachcomber Musician of the Year nominee and a 2013 Beachcomber nominee for the Best Solo Artist. The other half of the duo – Ben Freidman –works as a solo artist and on projects such as Von Brain, plus records and produces in his spare time. Chris Alvarado, who also calls Santa Rosa Beach his home and was named a finalist in the Nashville Music City Songwriting Competition, the 2014 American Songwriting Awards and semi-finalist in the Unsigned Only Music Competition.

For more information about the Sandestin Wine Festival, visit www.SandestinWineFestival.com. Packages combining discounted accommodations and tickets are also available with savings up to 25% off (code: WINE15), call 866.91.BEACH.
 

14 ways to your valentine’s heart

Out of ideas for this Valentine’s weekend? No worries, we have 14 of them!

We tried to look for date ideas for a range of price points and location. Whether you’re on a “groceries and gas only” budget or can afford a bit more, you should find some inspiration below.

For you single folk, most of these ideas are perfect for a group outing of friends or family as well.

1. Staycation
Never knock the power of a cozy staycation. We’re on the go so much that relaxing at home can be luxurious.

Be a kid again and build a fort. Have a movie or TV marathon. Make a meal while experiencing a YouTube cooking lesson.

2. Bust out of there.
On the flip side, if you’re just tired of the same old vantage point, there are plenty of places to escape to in the Emerald Coast.

Rent a hotel room or bed and breakfast. How about Navarre for unencumbered, pristine views of the Gulf? Or along 30A for access to wonderful shops and restaurants? You could even reserve a cabin at Grayton Beach State Park.

3. Send a singing Valentine.
If you’re not a crooner, the Emerald Coast Chorus will deliver a Singing Valentine anywhere in the greater Fort Walton Beach area for $45.

The treat includes two songs, chocolates and a rose. Reservations are being taken, select the day, time and place by calling 1-844-4SINGERS (1-844-474-6437) or visit emeraldcoastchorus.com for more details.

4. Make your own bar crawl.
As much fun as it can be to hole up in your favorite bar, discover a new pub.

Stroll around the Village of Baytowne Wharf, Destin Commons, Downtown Fort Walton Beach, HarborWalk, or a similar entertainment area and try something new ... or grab an old favorite as well.

5. Taste test some gumbo.

The 26th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival is taking place Feb. 13-14 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Kick-off Feb. 13 at Fat Tuesday with a Baytowne Seafood Boil starting at 4 p.m. On Feb. 14, from noon to 4 p.m., guests will enjoy live Zy-deco music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, family activities and a gumbo cook-off.

Festival guests can vote for “The People’s Choice” awards in gumbo and become eligible for raffle items from the participating restaurants.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 on event day and are now available for purchase online at sandestingumbofestival.com as well as at Graffiti & the Funky Blues Shack, Aloha Surf Company and the Sandestin Welcome Center’s front desk.

6. Watch a movie at a local cinema ... while eating dinner.

Is there anything more satisfying? Don't answer that.

Carmike Cinemas Boulevard 10 in Miramar Beach offers the Ovation Dining Club, a theater that sports cozy chairs, a selection of beer and wine, and upscale appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Downtown Cinema Plus in Fort Walton Beach offers a more budget friendly version of this.

7. Watch a murder mystery unfold with Act4Murder.

The local professional comedy troupe will perform their newest show, “Death by Cupcake,” at several locations this Valentine's Day weekend: Feb. 12, BBQ in Defuniak Springs, $39.95, 6:30 seating; Feb. 13, Crab Island Cantina in Destin, $49.95 , 7 seating; Feb. 14 Foxwood Country Club in Crestview, $35, 6:15 seating. All prices include dinner, show, tax and tip. For all shows, reservations can be made by calling Act4Murder at 862-285 or online at www.act4murder.com.

8. Take tea the “old fashioned” way.

Munch on some homemade refreshments as you learn the etiquette and customs of taking tea in Victorian England at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, located at 115 Westview Ave. in Niceville.

Guests can make their own Victorian note cards, learn facts about the history of Valentine’s Day and see an exhibit of unique Victorian artifacts.

The event is on Saturday at 2 p.m. It's for ages 6 years and up. It costs $15 per person and $12 for museum members. Call 678-2615 to make the required reservation.

9. Be one with nature.
Visit the critters at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park in Crestview, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Okaloosa Island or the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

If you’d rather see creatures in their more native habitat, shell out the $5-$6 entry fee and explore our state parks.

Do you and your honey love reptiles? “ReptiDay” — a reptile and exotic pet expo — will be at the Navarre Conference Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is at 8700 Navarre Parkway. Admission is $5 for children ages 5-12 and $10 for adults. Learn more at reptiday.com.

10. Enjoy live music.
Take a look at our live music listings and see if there are any local shows that appeal to your valentine.

11. Chow down on a prixe fixe menu.
A number of local restaurants have taken the guesswork out of the Valentine’s Day meal.

Call up your favorite restaurant or take a look at our own list of places in the Daily News food page or online that will offer something special this weekend.

12. Get edified.
Restaurants may be packed for this particular holiday, but not (considerably cheaper) museums. Check out one of our local museums and learn a thing or two.

Here are some open Saturday: Carver-Hill Museum in Crestview, Air Force Armament Museum in Eglin Air Force Base, Heritage Park & Cultural Center in Fort Walton Beach, Destin History & Fishing Museum in Destin, Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso, the Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach (which will have a special program on how the heart works on Saturday) and the Walton County Heritage Museum in DeFuniak Springs.

13. Get your Mardi Gras on.
Watch over 30 floats and people on parade at the Destin Commons while treasures, trinkets and beads rain down on you Friday at 6 p.m. There will be live music by Jones & Company and an authentic Mardi Gras street brass band playing throughout the center.

Dog lovers can also enjoy a doggie parade at the Village of Baytowne Wharf at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

14. Hunt for your own art treasures.
Artists will line HarborWalk Village in Destin with their work at ArtWalk on the Harbor on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 

Bonefish Grill earns its wonderful reputation (PHOTOS)

DESTIN — How can a chain restaurant known for its seafood survive in a town that’s known for its seafood?

If the number of cars in the parking lot of Bonefish Grill on any given day is any indication — very well.

See more photos of her meal at Bonefish Grill. >>

The food
Once our drink orders were taken, we were brought a board of hot, crusty-on-the-outside, soft- on-the-inside bread along with a small bowl of pesto that we enjoyed while waiting for our appetizer.

My favorite appetizer at Bonefish is the Bang Bang Shrimp.

Medium-size shrimp with a light, crunchy coating are tossed with a wonderful creamy, spicy chili sauce and piled high on a bed of lettuce.

One order of this delicious shrimp is enough for two to share.

Other appetizers include ceviche, sashimi, edamane, calamari, coconut shrimp and crab cakes.

My guest ordered a cup of corn chowder with lump crab meat while I ordered the Bonefish house salad.

The chowder was thick and creamy and the salad, leaf lettuce with hearts of palm, Kalamata olives and tomatoes with alight citrus herb vinaigrette, were both excellent.

If you would like a salad entrée, Bonefish offers either the house or classic Caesar salads with fish, shrimp, steak or chicken.

Other salads include a wedge, Cobb or shrimp salad.

Bonefish offers what they call “hand helds.” The offerings include burgers, tacos and grilled cheese.

They also offer bowls of spicy tuna, teriyaki, shrimp pad Thai and basil fettuccine.

My guest chose the sea scallops with shrimp for his entrée with the herb pesto.

This entrée was from the wood-grilled fish menu which is served with seasonal vegetable and a choice of side. It is also served with your choice of signature sauces: lime tomato garlic, mango salsa, herb pesto, pan Asian sauce or lemon butter, or just fresh lemon.

The scallops and shrimp were fresh and perfectly cooked.

Bonefish offers a long list of seafood to choose from, some local and some not.

My choice was the Tilapia Imperial.

A nice size filet was stuffed with shrimp, scallops, crab meat and served with a lemon caper butter.

It was one of the best fish dishes I have had in quite a while. The fish was excellent, perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Other grilled and baked items include chicken, filet mignon, 6-ounce sirloin and a boneless pork chop.

The sides include garlic whipped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, steamed broccoli and jasmine rice.

Both my guest and I chose the steamed broccoli and were surprised to see a side of spaghetti squash as well.

Bonefish is open for dinner each day and offers lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The menus do vary.

Desserts include macadamia nut brownie, crème brulee and Key lime pie with a roasted pecan crust.

We opted to share a brownie, and it was more than enough. A warm, flourless brownie is topped with raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with macadamia nuts — amazingly good.

The atmosphere
Bonefish is composed of two dining areas. One has booths, elevated tables and a long bar.

The other is a bit more formal with booths surrounding the perimeter of the room and tables in the center.

The service
Everyone was very friendly at Bonefish.

There was a misstep or two with the service, but the issues were quickly remedied.

A final taste
Now I know why there are always so many cars in the parking lot.

Bonefish Grill offers delicious food, generous portions and good value. These are all excellent reasons for this chain restaurant to do so well in Destin.

Location: 4447 Commons Drive, East in Destin

Phone: 650-3161

Hours: Monday through Thursday 4-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 4-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Reservations: Not necessary

Handicap accessibility: Good

Children's menu: Yes

Price range:
Appetizers $9 - $15
Soup $6 - $8
Salad $6 - $16
Entrees $17 - $26
Dessert $6.50

Payment: Credit cards accepted


 

Historical Florida images for sale; Cavett to speak at Pensacola brunch

With Okaloosa County celebrating its centennial this year, history is a hot local topic lately.

The past, however, always holds a certain allure, and now the State Library and Archives of Florida is offering a new way to indulge the love of history.

A new online shopping cart feature on its popular FloridaMemory.com website allows visitors to purchase any of nearly 200,000 historical Florida images including maps, photographs and postcards. Reproductions may be ordered in a variety of print sizes or as high-resolution digital images.

“The addition of this feature exemplifies the Department of State’s commitment to providing high-quality customer service and further demonstrates Florida Memory’s role in providing public access to historically significant records,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner in a press release.

For more details and to see the shopping cart in action, visit the website.

Florida Memory provides free online access to more than 1.5 million items including significant photographs, films, sound recordings, and original documents from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida.

***

Three-time Emmy win-ner Dick Cavett is coming to Pensacola on March 4.

The mild-mannered talk show host will appear at the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild’s 29th annual Magnolias & White Linen Jazz Brunch at New World Landing.

Cavett will speak about his life and his latest book, “Brief Encounters: Con-versations, Magic Mo-ments and Assorted Hi-jinks.”

Even if you’re too young to have seen Cavett’s show, which aired until 1982, you probably have run across YouTube videos of some of his interviews with such legends as Jimi Hendrix, Groucho Marx, John Lennon and many others.

The Hendrix interview is classic Cavett.

Tickets are $50 by call-ing 465-3484 or email bo-andsue@bellsouth.net.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Brunch is at 11:30. A book-signing with Cavett will follow.

***

Jim Norton, founder of Gulf Breeze Cinema 4 movie theater, is starting a new venture as consultant for Pensacola Cinema Art, a new movie theater that opened in downtown Pen-sacola last weekend.

It’s in the former Beacon Building, 117 E. Government St., across from Seville Quarter.

“We will offer art and independent films to the public on a regular basis,” Norton said in an email. “We will also be the main venue for the Pensacola Film Festival,” which is scheduled for March 6 and 7.

According to the website, pensacolacine-maart.com, upcoming films will include “Cake,” starring Jennifer Aniston; “A Most Violent Year” with Oscar Isaac and the Oscar-nominated short films.

Showtimes and days are limited — certain Fridays and Saturdays for now — and the theater accepts only cash.

Call 863-446-7300 or email jpncinema@gmail.com.

***

Finally today, a quick reminder that the Soundsations Showchoir’s annual Snowbird Concert is at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.

It was part of our Winter at the Arts Center spread a couple of weeks ago.

The Soundsations will be joined by the college's Belle Voci women's ensemble and the NWFSC Madrigal Singers for a portion of the program, as well as by college Dance Ensemble students and instrumentalists.

Tickets are $10 each and all proceeds benefit the Showchoir, which will travel to perform in France this summer through the Sister City program.

All tickets are general admission seating. Contact the box office at 729-6000 or mattiekellyartscenter.org.

MOVIE FACEOFF: Mladen and Del review 'Jupiter Ascending'

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:54pm

“Jupiter Ascending” Starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, and Tuppence Middleton. Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski. 127 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Mladen’s take

Ignore the critics – except me and Del, if he agrees with me – on this one. “Jupiter Ascending” is a good movie. You just have to be patient.

Like another solid film, “Cloverfield,” with a crappy beginning, “JA” starts poorly, but makes up for its first 15 minutes with good acting and spectacular, if sometimes overwhelming, visual effects for the duration.

The plot: Housekeeper Jupiter Jones, portrayed by Mila Kunis, becomes a pawn in a power struggle between three well-heeled siblings. Rather than agreeing to share, each sibling maneuvers to gain legal ownership of Earth. Why is Earth important? Us. Mankind is valuable to the feuding House of Abrasax because we’re the essential ingredient of Fountain of Youth baths that the siblings, and others who can afford the gene-repairing topical, use to live forever. Each sibling wants Earth to himself, or herself, to harvest Homo sapiens for a profit. The problem? Jupiter, a “recurrence,” is technically Earth’s owner. She has to sign over the rights before anyone can start distilling people for their life forces. Add Caine Wise, played by Channing Tatum, as Jupiter’s guardian and, eventually, main squeeze, and you’ve the ingredients for a raucous, FTL-traveling, city-busting movie that hits the Bull’s Eye more often than it misses.

“JA” owns its watchability to Kunis. She’s wonderful. Along with a pretty face and lovely voice, her acting renders the movie’s silliness and science implausibilities perfectly acceptable.

When Wise explains to Jupiter how his airskates work, she retorts with a straight face that all she heard was “gravity” and “surf,” or something to that effect. With a throaty giggle, Jupiter wonders at the beauty of a swarm of bees becoming an extension of her arms so that they look like wings. Her ability to playful neutralize an event’s absurdness comes into play throughout the film and it works every time.

The film’s principal weakness, one shared today by all movies of the sci-fi kind, is its CGI battles. So much happens so fast and each component of the battle rendered in such fine detail that the contrast between elements of the fight disappears. Sound effects, however, are superb. Also helpful would have been a battle between capital ships, but that ain’t a big flaw.

I found it goofy that the Wachowskis decided to keep Wise’s shirt off as he fought mercenaries on Earth, traveled through space in a dimension-busting vessel’s cargo hold or something like that, and then fought a squad of palace guardians on another planet. He’s buff, but come on. In the name of gender equality, the script writers could have devised a reason to put Jupiter in a bikini for 20 or 30 minutes.

Finally, I wasn’t entirely enamored with the film’s fusion of sci-fi with mythology-like creatures. It was sort of Thor-ish and Lord of the Ring-esque. The movie also had bits of “Brazil,” lots of machines shape-shifting Transformer-like and a couple of other movies that slip my mind.

“Jupiter Ascending” is frenetic and worth seeing. It’s been unfairly, and spitefully, panned like one of the Wachowski’s other good films, “Speed Racer.” “JA” is an epic for the big screen, but I plan to add it to my Blu-Ray library. I imagine I’ll find something fresh every time I watch it, which is typical of Wachowski productions. The grade? B for Better than Bargained for.

Del’s take

They hate Channing Tatum’s eyeliner.

The plot, they say, is too complex.

One of them called the movie a “hot mess.”

Another suggested the Wachowskis should be banned from moviemakers.

Bottom line? As usual, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The folks who write reviews on Airbooks as they sip Merlot from soap bubble-thin crystal fairy goblets are having a hard time embracing “Jupiter Ascending,” the raucous actionfest engineered by the Wachowskis. That suits me fine. Sometimes you just want to be entertained, not edified. That’s the kind of movie the Wachowskis have given us.

Mladen summed up the plot nicely. You do have to wade through some explanation before things kick into gear, but so what? Are we no longer capable of embracing complexity? I do every time I sign into my phone.

“Jupiter Ascending” is gorgeous to look at. Virtually every frame is a visual extravaganza that will leave you swooning amid its depth and color. In terms of its visual composition I’d compare it to “Casshern,” another beautiful movie.

And it continues the Wachowskis’ assault on the oppressive, soul-smothering system they believe enslaves us all, a theme they explored in the “Matrix” movies, “V for Vendetta” and “Cloud Atlas” (which, by the way, was another criminally underrated Wachowski project). Jupiter is an individual trapped between forces much larger and stronger than her own puny self. She fights back with pluck and virtue, and in the Wachowskis’ universe there can be only one outcome.

Mark your calendars, folks, because on this date Mladen and I agree: “Jupiter Ascending” is well worth seeing in the theater, then owning once the DVD is released. Everyone in our group enthusiastically embraced the movie, the fairy cup sippers notwithstanding.

I too give it a solid B, maybe a B+, for sheer entertainment value.

Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical editor. Del Stone Jr. is a journalist and author.

YouTube link: http://youtu.be/TLyk00gFPdQ

Lawmen get pepper spray, bean bag ammo to deal with bears

Northwest Florida Daily News - Outdoors - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 11:21am
The Humane Society of the United States has donated 24 bear hazing kits to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be used to adversely “condition” bears with nuisance behaviors.

Review: Fifty Shades of dissatisfaction

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 10:15am

Curious? The posters for "Fifty Shades of Grey" coyly ask.

Whether or not you're one of the 100 million who bought, and presumably read, E L James' kinky book, the buzz alone surrounding this "Twilight" fan fiction turned international phenomenon is enough to pique the interest of a rock. "Fifty Shades of Grey" is inherently spectacle.

With all that irresistible anticipation, how could a movie about BDSM be so run of the mill? The short answer: fear and money. It's one thing to read about the bondage-enabled sexual awakening of a virgin. It's quite another to see it depicted on screen.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson had an impossible mission on her hands to meld the tawdry with the conventional. It's like trying to mash up the sensibilities of Lars von Trier with Nancy Meyers to create an end product that will be appealing on a mass scale. In trying to please everyone, though, "Fifty Shades of Grey" has stripped away the fun and settled on palatable. There have been perfume commercials with more depth and story arc.

For the uninitiated, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is about lit student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her torrid affair with 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). They meet on a lark, when her aspiring journalist roommate gets ill and Anastasia agrees to help out by subbing in to interview the handsome mogul.

The two are made to look as mismatched as possible. She's a clumsy innocent with a childish ponytail in tights and a cardigan, he looks like he's just stepped out of an ad for bespoke suits and new money pretention. We're supposed to believe that sparks fly immediately, but this first meeting conjures up the dynamic of a predator and a scared feral animal more than anything else.

Still, something snaps in Christian and he decides he must have her as his own. He starts popping up everywhere, from the hardware store where she works to the college bar where she's had a bit too much to drink to save her from a handsy friend.

Soon he's whisking Ana (Ms. Steele as he calls her) away on his helicopter to a garish bachelor's pad/penthouse apartment, wooing her with white wine (but not too much, as he constantly reminds her), domineering gazes, and antiquated formalities. Laughable sexual innuendo peppers all their conversations.

But instead of the will-they-won't-they tension that even the silliest sitcom can pull off effectively, the unfortunate consequence is that the nearly 40 minutes that it takes for Christian and Ana to go under the sheets almost seem more gratuitous than anything that happens in the Red Room of Pain. Also, after the sex starts, so do the exhaustive and dull contract negotiations.

The chemistry between Johnson and Dornan is decent, even if they do seem to be acting in different movies. Dornan's Christian is a humorless caricature, while Johnson's Ana is actually quite likable, funny and strong-willed. In a film full of flaws, Johnson is an undeniable bright spot.

A lot has been made about what the popularity of James's book says about American women and their sexual fantasies. On screen, that conversation makes even less sense. Fans hungering for less conventional depictions of sex haven't been looking hard enough — non-pornographic sex is not unchartered territory in cinema, or even television for that matter. There is more scintillating material in a premium HBO show than in this version of E L James's book.

"Fifty Shades of Grey," had an opportunity here to do something different — to give a mass audience something worthy of all the hype.

We may have all been curious going in, but by the time the credits roll, there's another question that springs to mind: Is that all there is?

"Fifty Shades of Grey," a Universal Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America "for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language." Running time: 125 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

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MPAA definition of R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr 

Local restaurants offer Valentine’s Day weekend specials

We’ve gathered information on some of the prix-fixe menus and specials local restaurants are offering for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Opting for dinner at home? Check out our recipes. >>

Need dessert? Here's a Black and White Angel Food Cake recipe. >>

Destin
- Wine and dine your significant other Friday, Saturday or Sunday at Marina Cafe, 404 Harbor Blvd.

- Enjoy a Valentine’s Dinner for two Friday and Saturday at Cuvee Bistro, 36120 Emerald Coast Parkway. Make a reservation at 650-8900.

- Relish a six-course meal Saturday at Beach Walk Cafe at Henderson Park Inn, 2700 Scenic Highway 98. The meal costs $99 a person. Make a reservation at 650-7100.

- A special Valentine’s Day menu will be offered Saturday along with the regular menu at The Surf Hut. The menu includes a house salad and entree for $19.99. The Surf Hut is at 551 Scenic Gulf Drive. 

Fort Walton Beach
- A three-course meal will be served on Saturday at Caffe Italia One89, 189 Brooks St. The menu costs $45 a person. Make a reservation at 664-0035.

- The Crab Trap will offer a special two-course Valentine’s Day meal in addition to their regular menu on Saturday. The menu costs $39.99 per couple and includes a complimentary glass of champagne. The restaurant is at 1450 Miracle Strip Parkway.

Twin Cities (Niceville and Valparaiso)
- Enjoy homemade refreshments as you learn the etiquette and customs of taking tea in Victorian England at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, 115 Westview Ave. Guests can create their own Victorian note cards, learn facts about the history of Valentine’s Day and see an exhibit of unique Victorian artifacts. The experience is for ages 6 years and up and is $15 per person; $12 for museum members. Reservations are required. Call 678-2615.

- LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant, located at 290 Yacht Club Drive, will feature a dinner special on Saturday of Parmesan Crusted Cobia with lump crabmeat and a fresh basil Charon sauce $28.95, special dessert of Chocolate Swirl cheesecake with raspberry sauce $3.95, 10 percent off all bottles of wine and live music in the oyster bar with Ronny Dean Garrett 7-11 p.m.

South Walton
- Set sail on a three-hour cruise with three-course seated dinner, live entertainment and premium champagne packages either 7-10 p.m. Friday or 5:15-8:15 p.m. Saturday. SunQuest’s Solaris leaves from Sandestin’s Baytowne Marina. Make a reservation at www.SunQuestCruises.com or call 650-2519.

- Have a Valentine’s Day with a “Vue” Saturday at Vue on 30A. The four-course meal costs $120 a couple. Make a reservation at 267-2305.

- Sit down to a Valentine’s dinner for two with a salad, entree, sides and bottle of wine Saturday at Marlin Grill in the Village of Baytowne Wharf. The meal costs $200 per couple. Call 850-351-1990 to make a reservation.

- Enjoy a four-course meal Saturday at The Bowery on Thirty-A, 2052 W. County 30A. The meal costs $55 per person. Call 622-1136 to make a reservation.
 

5 things to do this week (Feb. 8-14)

Not sure what to do for fun this week?

We have some suggestions for you:

1. Check out some reptiles: ReptiDay Navarre will have vendors with reptile pets, supplies, and more plus live animal seminars and free raffles. It will be held Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Navarre Conference Center, located at 8700 Navarre Park-way. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 5 to 12, and free for kids under 5 years old. To learn more, visit www.reptiday.com/pensacola.html


2. Window shop some amazing homes: The Valentine Tour of Homes showcases "stunning interiors, architecturally acclaimed homes and picturesque settings bringing inspiration to tour goers’ winter weekend at the beach," according to a news release from the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Seven South Walton homes will be open to the public Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Feb. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event and are valid for the weekend with one entry per house. Tickets can be purchased online at culturalartsalliance.com or at Smith’s Antiques in Destin, Fusion Art Glass in Grand Boulevard, the Bayou Arts Center in Santa Rosa Beach, Sundog Books in Seaside, and Hidden Lantern Gallery in Rosemary Beach.

3. Grab a brewski: Wine Worlds all over the Emerald Coast hold beer tastings at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11.

4. Let the good times roll: A line up of over 30 floats and group will be parading through Destin Commons Feb. 13 in celebration of Mardi Gras. There will be live entertainment from Jones & Company, DJ Mack and Pittman Magic. World of Beer will host an Abita party to sample New Orleans beers. Kids can create their own Mardi Gras accessories and enjoy face painting. Party from 6-8 p.m.

5. Chow down on gumbo: The 26th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival will pit local restaurant's "roux" against each other this Feb. 14 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. In addition to the gumbo, Kick-off the weekend Feb. 13 at Fat Tuesday with a seafood boil starting at 4 p.m. On Feb. 14, from noon to 4 p.m., guests will enjoy live Zydeco music from Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, family activities and the best gumbo cook-off on the Gulf Coast. Festival guests can vote for “The People’s Choice” awards in gumbo. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 on event day and are now available for purchase online at sandestin-gumbofestival.com as well as Graffiti & the Funky Blues Shack, Aloha Surf Company and the Sandestin Welcome Center’s front desk.
 

Movie Review: 'Jupiter Ascending' a soupy cosmic fairy tale

Within the warped wardrobe of the Wachowskis latest sci-fi extravaganza, "Jupiter Ascending," there are some fantastical feasts of intergalactic ridiculousness. Channing Tatum as a combination elf and speed skater. Space dinosaurs in leather jackets. A robed Eddie Redmayne as the universe's overload, who so gravely whispers his lines that you fear he is, for the length of the movie, being castrated just off camera. That, at least, would explain his sporadic shrieking.

Redmayne, who may be on the cusp of an Oscar for his more earthbound performance as Stephen Hawking, is the best and worst thing in a movie that rides the campy line of simultaneously great and terrible with intermittent success. For more than a decade now, writer-directors Lana and Andy Wachowski have capitalized on their "Matrix" fame to conjure up mystical blockbusters of grandiose, garish style ("Cloud Atlas"), luring moviegoers who like bananas with their popcorn. Did I mention the space dinosaurs in leather jackets?

"Jupiter Ascending" begins with the birth of a girl, Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), to Russian immigrants while midway across the Atlantic. Looking back from later on, she narrates that she was born an illegal alien, betwixt worlds. As the film stretches out into the cosmos, it fills its adventure with mutants and "splices" who have genes of mixed species.

Tatum's Caine Wise is one such fusion. He's an elite soldier whose (literal) wings were clipped for a mysterious past incident. Made with part wolf blood, he has pointed ears and a blond goatee, neither of which makes him particularly easy to take seriously as a hero. Oh, and he has jet-propelled boots that he skates through the sky with: an extraterrestrial Apolo Ohno.

Jupiter lives as a cleaning lady with her humble family in Chicago, a regular existence shattered when spindly aliens show up and try to kill her. Caine comes to the rescue, an unfortunately repetitive occurrence in "Jupiter Ascending," in which Kunis' character is always in need of being swooped out of danger by her hulking werewolf man. And after a lengthy chase above the Chicago skyline, she's introduced to a wider universe ruled by the Abrasax dynasty and teaming with sci-fi tropes.

The full picture of the plot of "Jupiter Ascending" takes a long time to clear up, as it flashes between different worlds, space ships fly this way and that, and various bounty hunters (Sean Bean is one) cloud the allegiances. Character and story get washed out in the relentlessly ornate 3-D imagery, a blend of grandiose space-scapes and gaudy metallic machinery.

Though why isn't quite evident, Jupiter turns out to be a galactic queen (the Wachowskis love their messiahs) fiercely sought by the ruling royalty. The Abrasax family (not to be confused with Santana's "Abraxas," even though they share something of its flamboyant album cover) are led by a trio of handsome Brits: Balem (Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) and Titus (Douglas Booth), who, we learn, use planets like Earth to harvest human DNA to create youth-preserving gels. Somewhere here is a capitalism critique.

Though she has more space opera swirling around her than any actor could possible hold together, Kunis does an admirable job even if never given much of a chance to be the prime mover in her fairy tale. Tatum, as game as they come, is understandably undone by his get-up; pointed ears and flying boots will do that. But no one fares as poorly as Redmayne, who quivers with such hushed ferocity that he wins the most giggles in a blatantly silly movie.

"Jupiter Ascending" unfolds as a mostly entertaining mess, a cosmic soup of baroque grandeur that the Wachowskis swim happily through, even if few others will. They seem increasingly adrift in their own sci-fi seas, a quixotic plight that would be more admirable if the waters weren't so familiar.

"Jupiter Ascending," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 for "some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity." Running time: 127 minutes. Two stars out of four. 

Buzzworthy events for Feb. 6-12

Want a few suggestions for what to do, where to go and who to see? You’ll find them here each week. Look for details and more ideas throughout Showcase.

Friday
Pardi in Paradise: The 7th annual Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration will take place at HarborWalk Village in Destin. Events include: Feb. 6, Mardi Gras Pub Crawl; Feb. 7 at 2 p.m., Mardi Gras Parade. Visit HarborWalkDestin.com for more details.

Stars of Tomorrow: The virtuosity of youth winners in the 28th Annual Concerto Competition will be a central part of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra’s popular Stars of Tomorrow concert on Feb. 6 at the Mainstage Theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville. Call 729-6000 for tickets.

Saturday
Krewe of Jesters: The Navarre Krewe of Jesters will present a Mardi Gras Parade at 1 p.m. Feb. 7 with the theme Mardi Gras Around the World on Navarre Beach. Visit www.nkoj.org.

Learn about the stars: The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, 4956 State Road 20 East in Freeport, offers a Astronomy for Kids program 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 7. Explore the galaxy without blasting into space in an inflatable planetarium. Check for times at front desk. Regular admission applies.

Sunday
Beaux Arts Exhibition: The Arts and Design Society presents the 56th Annual Beaux Arts Exhibition in the Westwood atrium Feb. 6-8. A free reception and silent auction will be held 2-4 p.m. Sunday. The Meridian at Westwood is at 1001 Mar Walt Drive in Fort Walton Beach. Call 582-1329.

Philharmonic: A free concert on Feb. 8 features the Philharmonic and Chorus led by David Ott performing the Mass in G of Schubert. Sacred selections and Valentine love songs round out this special performance at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 480 North County Highway 393 (5 miles east of Sacred Heart Hospital) in Santa Rosa Beach.

Monday
ADSO Window Gallery: To showcase the work of local artists, the Arts and Design Society presents month-long exhibits in their studio windows, facing First Street in Fort Walton Beach. In February , the art of versatile artist Pat Roberts will be displayed. The Art Center Gallery is at 17 First St. S.E.

Tuesday
Centennial exhibit: To celebrate Okaloosa’s 100th anniversary in 2015, the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will open a new exhibit, “Pieces of the Past – Okaloosa’s Centennial” at 10 a.m. Feb. 10. The museum is on Westview Avenue in Valparaiso. Call 678-2615.

Wednesday
Emerald Coast Carvers: Emerald Coast Carvers is a snowbird activity club that meets at Village Baptist Church on Matthew Boulevard in Destin twice a week starting with the first Monday in January and ending the last Wednesday in March. Call Ray Matheson at 989-305-1445 or Ken Jennings at-654-1425.
 

Emerald Coast lingo: A language of our own

Step outside the Emerald Coast and you may not be understood.

A bit of an exaggeration, but there are certain words used in our neck of the woods that have a completely different definition elsewhere.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at our list!

Bruno’s still serving good food in new location

WATERSOUND BEACH – Bruno’s, the popular pizza place serving South Walton for more than two decades, moved from its long-time location in Seagrove Beach in late 2013.

It found a new home in the Watersound Beach community where loyal followers immediately flocked.

The food
Bruno’s is — above everything else — a pizza place, often being voted best pizza on 30A in various polls. Those accolades are for good reason. Bruno’s serves excellent pizza. The dough and sauces are made each day, and good variety in toppings and sauces keeps things interesting.

Each pizza (and calzone) begins with pizza dough that develops a good crust and has a nice chewiness while doing its job of cor-ralling the sauces and toppings. Sauces include a tangy red, pesto, olive oil, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and garlic butter.

Bruno’s has at least 30 toppings so you can create your own pizza. All the expected toppings are offered, but I often lean toward some of the specialty toppings. Those include barbecue chicken, meat balls, shaved ham, artichoke hearts, spinach, Feta and Kalamata olives.

If you need inspirations, just look to the list of specialty pizzas. The Supreme is covered with meats and vegetables, while the Ul-tra Veggie goes a long way to meeting daily vegetable serving recommendations.

Hawaiian includes Canadian bacon and pineapple, and the 4 Alarm Fire is pepper intense (green, banana, pepperoncini, jalapeno and crushed red). A Philly pizza is like a big round open face sandwich (with ranch dressing instead of red sauce), and the Mexican pizza is like a taco salad on a thin crust.

Calzones start with pizza dough, and are filled with Feta, Monterey jack, Cheddar, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. Pizza toppings can be added for an additional cost. Each is served with red sauce and garlic butter on the side.

Our calzone, filled with artichoke hearts and chicken, was good. But the same toppings on one of Bruno’s pizzas is a better bet because the cheese gets more melted and the crust cooks to an even golden brown.

For those who don’t want to share a pizza, Bruno’s has pizzas for one, and also has half a dozen oven-baked subs on the menu. They include veggie, meatball, ham, and Philly subs.

Meal-size salads include a Greek salad with Feta and Kalamata olives, and a Chef’s salad with chicken, ham, bacon, and cheese. Salads feature crisp Romaine and spring mix lettuces.

The BBQ Salad was the only item we tried that I can’t recommend because the meat did not meet the standards Bruno’s sets with its pizzas.

Appetizers include wings (plain, barbecue, or hot), garlic knots and cheese bread (made from pizza crust). Dessert is also pizza related. Cinnamon knots are dough coated in butter cinnamon sugar and icing.

Easily the most popular thing at Bruno’s is the lunch buffet. Locals taking a quick lunch break and visitors alike go to Bruno’s seven days a week for all you can eat pizza, salad and beverages (tea and soft drinks).

The array of pizza on the buffet is constantly changing throughout lunchtime. A bin of cinnamon knots is also on the buffet to provide a little something sweet.

Beverages at Bruno’s include iced tea (sweet tea only) and soft drinks, as well as cold beer.

The atmosphere
Bruno’s new location is nestled in the Watersound Gatehouse building on County Road 30A. The new space seats more people than its former space, and has plenty of parking (a real bonus along 30A). Outside seating behind the restaurant is also available. An open kitchen puts food preparation in full view.

The service
Bruno’s is a counter service restaurant. Place your order at the register. Then either help yourself to the buffet, or wait for the food to be delivered to the table. The staff was friendly, and handled an issue we had with one of our meals promptly.

A final taste
Bruno’s is a little farther down the road, but has a larger space to handle its busy lunch crowds. And while the menu offers some-thing other than pizza, the best thing to do is order what Bruno’s does best.

QuickBites
Location: 6652 E. County Road 30A, Watersound Beach

Telephone: 231-1452

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Buffet, every day 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Handicap accessibility: good

Children’s menu: yes

Reservations: not accepted

Price range
Buffet, $7.94
Starters, $4.99 - $9.99
Salads, $5.95 - $8.95
Sandwiches, $8.99
Pizza and Calzones, $10.99 - $27.95
Payment: major credit cards
 

Mardi Gras Emerald Coast Style

Northwest Florida Daily News - Entertainment - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 10:00am

Mardi Gras parties, festivals and parades are popping up all over our area.

Here are a few of them:

Mardi Gras Pub Crawl at the Destin Harbor Boardwalk
When: Feb. 6.

Cost: Purchase the $10 armband the day of the event or on www.EventBrite.com

Schedule:
- 8-8:30 p.m.: Fishheads, Pre-Party Kick Off

- 8:30-9:30 p.m.: Margaritaville, Destin/Fish Tales

- 9:30-10:30 p.m.: Crab Island Cantina/ Jesters/ La Famiglia On the Harbor

- 10:30-11:30 p.m.: Jackacudas Seafood & Sushi

- 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: Harry T’s Lighthouse

- 12:30 a.m.-whenever: Coyote Ugly Saloon, Destin

Drink Specials:
- Fishheads: All beers $3, New Orleans Buck Cocktail $4, Mango Margarita Jell-O Shot $3 or 2/$5

- Margaritaville, Destin: $3 Bud light, $4 Wells, $5 house wine, $6 Who’s to Blame Margarita

- Fish Tales: $5 24 oz, 2/$7 16 oz.

- Crab Island Cantina: $5 Margarita, $4 well drinks, $4 Casa Noble shots, $6 Moonshine Margarita

- Jesters: $1 extra shot with daiquiri purchase, $1 off pizza slice, $2 off daiquiri, $2 any 16 oz draft, 2 for $3 Jell-O shots

- La Famiglia On the Harbor: $5 Martini & Margarita, $3 wine

- Jackacudas Seafood & Sushi: $5 Hurricane, $5 Sake Bomb, $5 Fireball Shot

- Harry T’s Lighthouse: $2 “Imbibery Shot”

- Coyote Ugly Saloon- Destin: $2 domestic, $4 wells, $3 shot special

Mardi Gras Parade at HarborWalk Village in Destin
When: Feb. 7 at 2 p.m.

What: “Enjoy dazzling floats, colorful costumes, street performers and float riders tossing handfuls of beads. After the parade, enjoy live music on the Main Stage. Proceeds from entry fees and donations will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs.”

Time to Pardi Gras Pub Crawl in Pensacola
When: Feb. 7 2-6 p.m.

Where: Meet at Pensacola Bay Brewery.

What: Enjoying raffle prizes, giveaways, a best-dressed contest and food and drink specials as you crawl from Pensacola Bay Brewery, to O’Riley’s Irish Pub, Play and World of Beer.

Cost: 10 percent of ticket sales will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the door. To register, visit www.kaboomssc.com/events.

Destin Commons Mardi Gras Masquerade
When: Feb. 13 6-8 p.m.

What: A parade made up of more than 30 floats. Enjoy live music from Jones & Company as well as an authentic Mardi Gras street brass band. Kids can make their own Mardi Gras accessories and face-painting.

12th Annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade in the Village of Baytowne Wharf
When: Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.

What: Register your dog by Feb. 6. A form can be found on www.baytownewharf.com. This year’s theme is “Woofstock.”

13th Annual Mardis Gras Fat Tuesday Parade
When: Feb. 17 at 5 p.m.

Where: The Village of Baytowne Wharf. 

What: “Yell, ‘Throw me something, mister!’ as unique and colorful floats, golf carts, and pick-up trucks roll down the streets and marchers dressed up in all their Mardi Gras best shower parade-goers with a barrage of beads, moon pies, and other trinkets.”

Fat Tuesday Celebration at HarborWalk Village in Destin
When: Feb. 17 at 5 p.m.

What: “Celebrate Mardi Gras at one of the many HarborWalk Village venues! Enjoy free red beans and rice compliments of Jackacudas Seafood and Sushi.”

The Solaris Fat Tuesday Party Cruise
When: Feb. 17 from 7 to 10 p.m.

What: A three-hour cruise with authentic Cajun food, hurricanes and live entertainment by the CrawDadz. Guests will be greeted with a Hurricane to toast with as they embark on the yacht. The meal includes a Muffuletta Pasta Salad paired with French bread and infused oil; entree choices include Louisiana Red Beans and Rice with pecan-smoked Andouille sausage, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya or Blackened Gulf Fish; and the dessert is a Solaris King Cake – whomever finds the hidden plastic baby wins a dinner cruise for two. 

Make a reservation: Visit www.SunQuestCruises.com or call 850-650-2519. 

Where: The yacht is docked at Sandestin’s Baytowne Marina.

 

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