Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cirque Dreams Holidaze


On December 27th through January 1st CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE will light up the holiday season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The stage will be transformed into a wonderland of fantasy and disbelief for 8 glorious holiday performances presented by Broadway Across America – Fort Lauderdale.

Renowned director Neil Goldberg, creator of the ground breaking Broadway hit CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY, re-imagines the holiday season with CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE. An international cast of over 30 multi-talented and brilliantly costumed artists come to life and perform astonishing feats of disbelief. Experience gingerbread men fl ipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, snowmen daringly balancing, icemen powerfully sculpting, penguins spinning, puppets dancing and reindeer soaring high above a landscape of holiday wonderment. An original music score and some seasonal favorites accompany hundreds of astonishing costumes and holiday dreams in a setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering soldiers creating a wonderland of spectacle.

In a newly forged partnership with Armed Forces Entertainment, the Department of
Defense program chartered to bring free, live, quality entertainment to U.S. military members and their families overseas. Cirque Dreams will now share its creations with U.S. Troops at home and abroad. Military discounts will be available for all U.S. performances of Cirque Dreams Holidaze. In January 2012, sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, the creation of the fi rst ever Cirque Dreams World Tour will begin performing at military bases throughout 10 countries. Says U.S. Air Force Col. Kathleen Weatherspoon, Chief
of Armed Forces Entertainment, “I had the opportunity to experience fi rsthand the Cirque Dreams Holidaze performance at the Kennedy Center and see the tremendous impact … the pledge of support Cirque Dreams is making to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines as a way to say. ‘Thank you for your service.’ is awesome.”

Performances at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts will be held December 27, 2011 through January 1, 2012 with evening performances Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 7pm. Matinee performances on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are affordably priced starting at $29.50 and are available at the Broward Center Box Office, online at or via phone at 954.462.0222. Group discounts are available by calling 954.626.7814 or 954.462.0222. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located at 201 SW 5th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale 33312.

SoBe Arts

For six extraordinary days, internationally acclaimed Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer John Corigliano (The Red Violin) will join fellow international classical music superstars, cellist Matt Haimovitz, violist Kim Kashkashian, violinists Anastasia Khitruk and Lara St. John in the inaugural SoBe Arts American Masterworks String Festival to be presented Monday, December 5 through Saturday, December 10 at SoBe Institute of the Arts in Miami Beach.

Most festival events will take place on the SoBe Arts campus, 2100 Washington Avenue. The irresistible combination of accessibility to outstanding performers and music, the perfect post-Art Basel Miami winter weather, the beautiful setting and excellent acoustics of this intimate venue all promise to make the festival a rare experience for contemporary and classical music lovers. Daily performances and demonstrations will be open to the general public for free or low-cost admission.

The Festival will conclude on Saturday evening, December 10th at the Colony Theater, Lincoln Road, with a pre-concert talk by Corigliano and a Festival Finale Concert with all the guest artists performing. The complete schedule, individual ticket and festival pass information for all events are available online here.

“To bring SoBe Arts into national prominence has been my vision since we opened
our doors six years ago,” says Dr. Carson Kievman, Executive Artistic Director. “The passion, artistry and distinctive sound of these truly exceptional musicians playing vibrant American repertoire will be a once-in a lifetime experience for our audiences. With Corigliano as composer-in-residence along with such brilliant performing artists as Haimovitz, Kashkashian, Khitruk and St. John on campus, rarely will our community be offered the opportunity to hear such incredible musicians in performance in addition to participating in one-on-one lecture demonstrations and master classes."

Sunfish Grill

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306
2775 East Oakland Park Blvd.

Open 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tues - Sat
(Closed Sunday and Monday)
“Lite Bites” Happy Hour menu
available from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale’s Sunfish Grill serves up creative cuisine that crisscrosses so many cultures it can only be labeled “contemporary American ” in style. Executive chef Bill Bruening and general manager/ pastry chef Erika DiBattista make a point to emphasize the use of indigenous and seasonal ingredients in their constantly-evolving menu featuring fresh fish, meats and pasta dishes, along with sophisticated salads and inspired desserts.   

The Sunfish atmosphere is perfect for romantic dates, family gatherings, or quick happy-hour noshes. Warm earthy hues, dark wood accents, and billowy white ceiling drapes set the tone in the dining room, which is further enhanced by candlelight and enticing scents of seafood emanating from the kitchen. A glass-encased wine room, housing a vast selection of domestic and imported varieties, is in full view of the dining area, adding elegance to the environment.

Sunfish offers exciting options for demanding diners in any kind of mood. Soups change daily, and I was fortunate to try the smooth and creamy shrimp bisque, marked by undertones of sweet sherry that elicited memories of New Orleans’ best. Asian pear salad is terrific in taste and spectacular in size, but there won’t be any left on your plate. Matched with arugula and endive, apples, grapes, spicy pecans, creamy Gorgonzola cheese, crunchy potato sticks and truffle oil vinaigrette, the pear is the shining star, augmented by a perfectly picked supporting cast of flavors and punctuated by a pristine plate presentation.

The tuna bolognaise was an unexpected surprise bringing comfort food to a higher plateau, and I’ve been craving more ever since my first bite. Chunks of tender tuna atop a bed of rustic spaghetti with red sauce permeated with the soul of toasted garlic works much better than traditional ground beef, for an oceanic improvement upon a rustic Italian classic. If you’re looking for something more modern, try the grilled swordfish and asparagus spears over red wine-and-cremini mushroom risotto and you’ll be one happy eater.

Save room for one of Erika’s “not the usual” key lime pies topped with with burnt meringue, or a seasonal pumpkin pie creme brulee with pie crust and fresh berry garnish to end your meal experience right.

Erik Mathes is a personal chef, in home cooking instructor, culinary mentor and food blogger. He has transformed countless rookie cooks into Kitchen All Stars and has cooked for South Florida’s elite. To learn more about Erik and his company, check out and read his blog, “Rantings of a Chef,” at

Meet the Artist: Jay Bellicchi

Jay Bellicchi, a Boston native, moved to Miami in 2000. Shortly thereafter he started “FIFTYTHREE”, a limited edition apparel line. Since then Jay has adopted the name “FIFTYTHREE” as his creative identity, painting and designing under that moniker”. “FIFTYTHREE” has been featured in local Miami publications such as the Miami Herald, New Times and 944 Magazine as well as a feature in the Erotic Signatures book “World’s Greatest Erotic Art of Today” Volume 3. In 2007 Bellicchi founded and co-managed AltSpace Art Gallery in Coconut Grove. In the spring of 2009 Jay founded GRAFFTOYZ a graffiti toy company. GRAFFTOYZ creates interactive toys and art objects inspired by graffiti art.

Do you hold a formal degree in the arts?
I went to school three separate times for art and design. I first went to MASS ART in Boston right after high school, then dropped out after six months. After some years of traveling, painting and snowboarding I went back to school for graphic design in Tempe AZ at Collins School of Design. Lastly I went to school here in FL for web design and multimedia at The Art Institute. I learned the most about ART in design school; however, I feel my most valuable lessons and influences have come through my life experiences traveling and the people I met along the way.

What careers besides Art have you had?
In the past ten years I’ve founded and co-managed AltSpace Art Gallery in Coconut Grove. I then started GRAFFTOYZ, a graffiti toy company. GRAFFTOYZ creates interactive toys and art objects inspired by graffiti art ( ). All the while doing graphic and web design as well as mural painting for various clients.

Some of your paintings are “stream of consciousness” in their style….how do you achieve this?
My work is not planned out. The act of painting for me is an organic spontaneous process that is directly influenced by my mental and spiritual state at the time. I use many different mediums: latex and acrylic paint, all types of aerosol paint, paint markers, graffiti remover, goo gone, sand paper, razor blades – the list goes on. I mainly paint on wood panels. This allows me to fully manipulate the surface and achieve the desired effect.

When beginning a painting…what inspires you?
To me, each of my paintings represents a story within a dream or a meditative state of mind. The work is open to interpretation, of course. My goal, however, is to evoke positive dynamic emotions within my viewers.

In your own words…share with AT readers something unique about you personally?
“I create abstract reflections of urban decay. The process that graffiti goes through as time progresses involves things getting erased, gone over, crossed out, etc. This process creates an aesthetic that speaks to me, one that I find beautiful. I achieve this aesthetic one way or another in each of my paintings….

Zoo Lights

This holiday season Zoo Miami is hosting a myriad of exciting and fun activities for the entire family. Guests can enjoy beautiful animal-shaped lights as they stroll zoo walkways during the 8 nights of Zoo Lights, have Dinner with Santa, and watch the animals open their specially-prepared gifts during Holiday Gifts for the Animals.

The zoo’s glorious grounds come to light for 8 brilliant nights during Zoo Lights, December 16 – 23 from 7 – 10 p.m. (ticket booths close at 9:30 p.m.). Guests can enjoy dozens of bright animal-shaped lights along our walkways, listen to wonderful holiday music, sip hot chocolate, “ice-skate”, and take a ride on a camel, the wildlife carousel or the hippo slide (the world’s largest inflatable slide).  Included with admission is a pair of 3D glasses, which will make the Zoo Lights experience even more engaging and amusing. General admission is only $5 per personvplus tax. Food, beverages, “iceskating”, camel rides, carousel and hippo slide are all available at additional costs.

Dinner with Santa will take place on December 17, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Bring the kids to meet him before he has to rush back to the North Pole! Eat a delicious holiday dinner complete with roasted turkey and baked ham and enjoy Zoo Lights. Each child will receive a holiday plush and they’ll also get to make their own holiday ornaments!

Adults are $39.95 and children are $33.95. Zoo Members save $3 each. To make a reservation or for more details, please call 305-251-0400 and ask for Group Sales.

Another fun family activity is Holiday Gifts for the Animals! Every weekend in December, including Christmas Day, watch the animals joyfully open holiday gifts prepared by zookeepers and volunteers. The animals enjoy opening up their enriching gifts and you’ll be entertained watching them.

Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 Street, Miami, FL 33177. General zoo admission is $15.95/adult and $11.95/child (3 -12) plus tax. Children under three, Zoo members and parking are free. Zoo Lights and Dinner with Santa have separate admission prices. Save time – buy your tickets online at www.zoomiami. org. Zoo Miami’s regular hours are 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; ticket booths close at 4:00 p.m.