Lowbrow artists to roast the mouse at Fort Myers gallery

Some of the top artists in the world of pop surrealism and lowbrow art pay homage to the world’s most famous mouse in a group show coming to Fort Myers this summer.

Howl Art Gallery and Tattoo Studio

The Greedy Mouse Group Show honors Disney’s icon in a way not imagined by Walt or his Imagineers. Among the artists taking Mickey down to their level is a who’s who of lowbrow: Derek Hess, Bask, Skot Olsen, Pooch, Scott Scheidly, Andrew Spear, Todd Nolan, N! Satterfield, Rodney Jackson, James “Jimmy Utah” Peterson, Clay McCay, Matt Lackey, Andy Howl, Raymond Hernandez, Mark Stewart, Scott Snyder, Stephen Hayford, Mark Cranford, Mandalin Paul, David Acevedo, Christina Penuel, and Cesar Aguilera.

The show kicks off with an opening reception at Howl Art Gallery and Tattoo Studio in Downtown Fort Myers from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 6. It continues through July 31. The gallery is at 1514 Broadway #101. Call (239) 332-0161 or visit HowlGallery.com.

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Bartenders throw Tiki bash on St. Pete Beach on June 10

With rare exceptions, most bars don’t have the proper set-up to mass-produce great Tiki cocktails. The Left Coast Bartenders’ Guild in Florida’s Tampa Bay area recognizes this problem and has come up with a great solution. They’re throwing a gigantic Tiki party at a vintage beachside hotel, complete with live bands, artists and vendors, Polynesian dancers, and of course plenty of vintage cocktails.

Sunset Tiki Party II

Sunset Tiki Party II will invade the Post Card Inn on St. Pete Beach on Sunday, June 10, from 6 to 10 p.m. The mixologists promise an event filled with the best of Tiki culture from the 1930s to 1950s. One of their esteemed brethren, Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, will present a seminar on the significance of rum in this retro scene.

Rum, of course, will take center stage. Bartenders from around Tampa Bay will be pouring classic drinks featuring major rum brands on what’s being called a “soon-to-be world famous 26-foot-long bar.”

Live music will be provided by three of the state’s premiere purveyors of Tiki party tunes. The Intoxicators (Tallahassee), The Crazed Mugs (Tampa), and The Stolen Idols (Tampa) are all veterans of The Hukilau and other major events. It’s an eclectic mix that includes surf, exotica and tropical/Hawaiian styles.

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Festival features Florida’s funky art and culture

Floridiana – A term referring to artifacts relating to Florida history, geography, folklore, and cultural heritage.

Florida is a curious state. To outsiders, it may seem kitschy, exotic and just plain weird. To some of us residents, it’s an odd cultural and artistic melting pot that way too often is bulldozed for the sake of progress.

Floridiana Festival & Highwaymen Artist Show

But many natives and longtime Floridians appreciate our quirky history and think it’s something worth preserving. From time to time, shows and exhibits pop up that deserve attention and attendance. Once such event honoring vintage Floridiana, including the legendary Florida Highwaymen artists, will be held Sunday, Jan. 29, in downtown St. Petersburg.

The Floridiana Festival & Highwaymen Artist Show is held at least once a year in the Tampa Bay area, organized by the fine folks from Hula Hula Productions. Billed as the Sunshine State’s longest-running show and sale of vintage Floridiana, the event also gives attendees the unique opportunity to meet and mingle with many of the original Florida Highwaymen artists.

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The Mai-Kai thanks its customers for 55 years with party on Wednesday, Dec. 28

Behind the magic: A backstage tour of The Mai-Kai’s mysterious bars and kitchen NEW
Related sites: Facebook event | MaiKai.com | Flickr group
Recent posts: Take 5: Mai-Kai General Manager Kern Mattei | Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

The venerable Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale will give back to its local clientele next Wednesday with a special party featuring extended happy hour prices and complimentary buffet.

Mai-Kai anniversary party

In addition, DJ Mike “The Jetsetter” Jones will be playing some of eclectic “retro-active” tunes plus old Mai-Kai favorites. The bash starts at 5 p.m. in The Molokai bar and half-price food and drink prices last until 9, maybe later.

Drop by to see old friends, make new ones, and marvel at the perfectly preserved mid-century Tiki temple. Management will also bring out the old scrapbooks for those who enjoy Mai-Kai memorabilia and want to take a trip back in time.

According to Critiki.com: “The Mai-Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when Tiki was at its peak in the late ’50s and early ’60s. That The Mai-Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for – but not take for granted.”

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Cocktails come of age at Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Previous coverage: A taste of paradise comes to Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Related: Artists shine amid copious crowds at Disney World’s birthday party

2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Through Nov. 13 at Disney World, Buena Vista, Fla. Access to the festival marketplace is free with theme park admission; food, seminars, and special events are priced individually. [Official site]

Review by Jim “Hurricane” Hayward

“Please overindulge!” This very succinct advice came from the artist and Tiki/cocktail enthusiast Shag when he signed an event poster for me at the 2010 Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale. Words to live by, to be sure, but not until this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival was I able to experience that mantra on such a grand and eclectic scale.

The new Hawaii booth. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
The new Hawaii booth. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

For 16 years, the six-week festival has served up tastes from six continents at dozens of themed booths offering tapas-sized portions of delicious regional specialties paired with an impressive selection of wines and beers. Now, finally, cocktails have truly joined the party as the art of mixology gets its due respect. The result: An opportunity to eat and drink your way around the world with a Mai Tai and Singapore Sling to compliment an amazing array of foods.

So overindulge, we did, on the opening weekend of the 2011 festival. After attending the maddeningly crowded Walt Disney World 40th anniversary party on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Magic Kingdom, my wife and I were looking forward to a leisurely food-and-drink adventure Sunday at Epcot. We were not disappointed. And in honor of Shag, whose commemorative merchandise I picked up the day before, we were on a mission to overindulge (albeit in small portions).

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Artists shine amid copious crowds at Walt Disney World’s 40th birthday party

Photos: Jump to the gallery
Previous coverage: Disney World celebrates 40 years of mid-century magic
Related: Cocktails come of age at Epcot Food and Wine Festival | More on Disney World

Masses of mouse-minded fans flocked to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, Oct. 1, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World. And while initial crowd forecasts were low, interest in the birthday bash quickly grew among the Disney faithful and resulted in a sometimes overwhelming throng even though actual celebratory festivities were modest.

The Magic Kingdom entrance and train station, as seen in December 1972 and Oct. 1, 2011. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward)
The Magic Kingdom entrance and train station, as seen in December 1972 and Oct. 1, 2011. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward)

The Oct. 1 opening date was selected in 1971 because it was considered the slow season, and it typically remains so today. But Disneyphiles came out of the woodwork for the anniversary party last week and took advantage of the late park hours at the Magic Kingdom (it was open from 9 a.m. until midnight).

My wife and I combined this event with a visit to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival on Sunday, and it’s a good thing we did. The overflowing crowd on Saturday made for a hectic day and not much time to relax and enjoy the Disney experience. That’s not to say it wasn’t memorable. Here are the highlights (and some lowlights):

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach, one of Disney’s moderate resort hotels, and were pleasantly surprised. We had previously enjoyed Port Orleans Riverside, and this was on par with that experience.

The rooms were spacious and clean (with the great details that Disney is known for), the grounds (200 acres, including the 45-acre Barefoot Bay) were huge and full of amenities (be sure to take a walk around the lake) and the theming was spot-on. It was closed when we wandered by early Sunday, but I’ve heard the pool bar makes a great Piña Colada.

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A taste of paradise comes to Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Review: Cocktails come of age at Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Official sites: International Food and Wine Festival | Epcot | Walt Disney World
Related sites: The Disney Food Blog | Facebook: Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans

One of the best times to visit Walt Disney World is during a taste-tempting six weeks every fall when the 1.2-mile promenade of World Showcase at the Epcot theme park is transformed into a foodie’s dream come true at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Already home to dozens of restaurants and bars spread throughout pavilions representing 11 countries, the picturesque promenade around the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon will be engulfed this year by 30 “international marketplaces” featuring food and beverages from six continents.

Every year, new countries and themes are added to the eclectic mix of food, wine, craft beers and cocktails. For the 16th annual event, it’s exciting to see two island locales among the three new festival marketplace booths. Say aloha to Hawaii and the Caribbean Islands. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but here’s hoping this is an outgrowth of the renewed interest in tropical and Tiki culture.

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