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RumFest Brings Tropical Spirit to Orlando By Sandra Carr

The rain couldn’t keep revelers away as they quenched their tropical thirst during the 14th Annual RumFest at the Wall Street Plaza last Saturday.

The festival featured more than 20 different rums, live music by local reggae band Hor!zen and DJ RED i spinning the island beats. Attendees sipped concoctions, played with beach balls and had a passport stamped by the rum company representatives for a chance at winning a year’s supply of rum during a drawing.

VIP ticket holders experienced the Red Stripe Terrace at the Monkey Bar, which included complimentary Red Stripe beer, select rum cocktails and Caribbean-style snacks along with RumFest sampling.

RumFest 2018 Flyer

My husband Dan and I have been attending RumFest since the very beginning and look forward to our rum rendezvous every year!

Dan and Sandra at RumFest

Dan and I are striking a pose during the 14th Annual RumFest at the Wall Street Plaza.

The first stop was one of our faves Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. The retro-inspired rum brand served its Cherry Jerry and handed out buttons and koozies. The delicious cocktail tasted like a cherry-flavored drink and was mixed just right with rum, pineapple juice and grenadine ingredients.

Sailor Jerry Cherry Jerry

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum’s Cherry Jerry cocktail.

Sailor Jerry Cherry Jerry Recipe

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum’s Cherry Jerry recipe.

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum poured its Cephalopunch, which features the same ingredients as Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum’s Cherry Jerry, but with less grenadine. For those of you who aren’t anatomy aficionados, the drink’s name refers to a human’s head.

The tasty concoction made me want to sit back and relax while enjoying the tiki vibes. Create your own cocktail with this rum recipe.

Kraken Cephalo Punch

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum’s Cephalopunch.

RumChata never disappoints with its Dirty Banana. The creamy and tasty cocktail is always popular during RumFest and worth the wait. Ingredients include two parts RumChata and one part banana liqueur shaken and poured over ice.

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RumChata’s Dirty Banana cocktail.

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RumChata girls served the Dirty Banana cocktail.

The Dos Maderas’ Pineapple Smash didn’t make a big splash. The cocktail tasted watered down with hardly any rum.

Dos Maderas Pineapple Smash

Dos Maderas’ Pineapple Smash cocktail.

The rum excursion continued with Bayou Rum. The Louisiana rum company presented its Gator Bite during the festival. This flavorful and perfectly blended cocktail contained its silver, spiced and satsuma rums mixed with pineapple, orange, cranberry and lime juices. If there was a rum concoction competition during the festival, then this drink would have won hands down. Create your own Gator Bite with Bayou Rum’s recipe.

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Bayou Rum’s Gator Bite cocktail.

Bacardi, one of the RumFest sponsors, had not one, but three cocktails this year. The options included the Coconut Colada, Limonade and Rum Punch. Dan and I sampled the Coconut Colada, which was a refreshing cocktail that urged me to hang out in a beach cabana. The ingredients included Bacardi coconut rum mixed with pineapple juice and served over ice.

Bacardi Coconut Colada, Limonade and Rum Punch

Barcardi’s Coconut Colada, Limonade and Rum Punch cocktails.

Captain Morgan has provided festivalgoers with unique cocktails in the past, but decided to keep it simple with just Captain and Coke this year.

Captain Morgan Captain and Coke

Captain Morgan’s Captain and Coke cocktail.

Country musician Kenny Chesney wanted to give back to his island adventures by launching Blue Chair Bay Rum five years ago. The Caribbean rum presented its Pineapple Paradise during the festival. The concoction was creamy like RumChata’s Dirty Banana, but didn’t make its mark since you couldn’t taste the pineapple or any other tropical ingredients. However, I was impressed that the rum company’s representatives provided attendees with mini Caribbean cocktail recipe books, so they can create their own drinks at home.

Blue Chair Bay Pineapple Paradise

Blue Chair Bay Rum’s Pineapple Paradise cocktail.

Blue Chair Bay Cocktail Recipes

Blue Chair Bay Rum’s Caribbean cocktail recipes.

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Blue Chair Bay Rum’s Caribbean cocktail recipes.

Bounty Saint Lucia Rum’s Spirit of Saint Lucia and Don Q’s Pina Fizz cocktails were uber popular during the festival because both rum companies ran out of their mixtures before Dan and I could sample their cocktails.

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Bounty Saint Lucia Rum’s Spirit of Saint Lucia cocktail.

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Don Q’s Pina Fizz cocktail.

RumFest is a wonderful opportunity to sample new rum brands and cocktails and experience the Caribbean in the heart of downtown Orlando. The annual rum festival occurs in June or July, so add the event to your summer calendar next year.

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Lion’s Pride and Soccer are a Perfect Match By Sandra Carr

Gather your purple-pride posse before or after an Orlando City Soccer Club match and dine in style at the Lion’s Pride Soccer Pub & Grill in downtown Orlando’s Church Street district.

I experienced a filling, five-course foodie feast served by attentive staff during the restaurant’s media tasting event last week. The sports-dining destination, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary in May, serves delicious and moderately-priced dishes created by executive chef Scott Phillips.

I was welcomed with a glass of bubbly and presented with the first course, featuring peppered tuna with sweet Thai chili sauce drizzled on top, avocado relish and cilantro lime slaw paired with a mini Blue Moon draft and fresh orange wedge. The sweetness complemented the fresh and healthy sides and beer sample, which is my favorite, go-to wheat beer.

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Peppered tuna with sweet Thai chili sauce, avocado relish and cilantro lime slaw.

The starter course continued and included two petite brisket soft tacos with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, queso blanco and chipotle aioli paired with a Samuel Adams Winter Lager. The small but mighty duo was delicious and coupled with the brew. The brisket was tender and blended well with the fresh ingredients. The mixture didn’t fall out of the soft taco shells, which was a plus.

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Two petite brisket soft tacos with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, queso blanco and chipotle aioli.

Round two featured a caprese salad with good-sized red and yellow vine-ripe tomato slices and round chunks of buffalo mozzarella garnished with basil oil and balsamic glaze and paired with a glass of Terra d’Oro 2015 blended Chenin Blanc. The elegant salad’s veggies were deliciously compatible with the rich, buffalo mozzarella and basil oil and balsamic glaze. The glass of wine complemented the flavors even more with each sip.

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Caprese salad paired with a glass of Terra d’Oro 2015 blended Chenin Blanc.

Next was a shrimp and lobster risotto with creamy Parmesan cheese and parsley sprinkles paired with a Lion’s Pride signature, hand-muddled lime margarita. This was the creamiest risotto I have ever eaten, and was my favorite dish during the tasting. The medium-sized shrimp and lobster pieces were mixed smoothly with the Parmesan cheese and gave comfort food a whole new meaning with its refreshing margarita counterpart. More, please!

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Shrimp and lobster risotto with creamy Parmesan cheese.

The fourth dish, a blue cheese filet with garlic boursin mash potatoes and red wine demi-glaze with two generous-sized asparagus and a carrot paired with a glass of Emmolo 2015 Merlot from the Napa Valley was a hearty meal. The medium-cooked, juicy and tender filet with melted blue cheese was oh so good! The fresh-out-of-the-garden vegetables and the dollop of garlic boursin mashed potatoes made the meal even more satisfying with the glass of Merlot.

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Blue cheese filet with garlic boursin mash potatoes, red wine demi-glaze, asparagus and carrot.

Two desserts provided a sweet ending to the tasting. The thick, chocolate mousse with whipped cream paired with a Lion’s Pride whiskey-based red sangria adorned with a fruit skewer balanced the rich and sweetness nicely. The Romeo and Juliet, a guava-filled Phyllo dough pastry with white cheese queso blanco, was complemented with a glass of passion fruit pureed champagne and took an edge off of the sweet journey. The Romeo and Juliet is ideal for folks who like a light baked good as a snack or after dinner.

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Chocolate mousse with whipped cream paired with a Lion’s Pride whiskey-based red sangria and the Romeo and Juliet complemented with a glass of passion fruit pureed champagne.

Phillips was a Tribeca neighborhood chef in New York City for many years. His goal was to create a menu with an array of selections for everyone’s taste.

“The menu features a variety of different kinds of cuisine,” he said. “I didn’t want to stick to a typical sports-bar food menu. I wanted it to be a bit upscale.”

Besides the menu, I was impressed with the building’s transformation. The restaurant was formerly Bliss Ultra Lounge and Phineas Phogg’s, which was renowned for its nickel beer every Wednesday night back in the day. The décor features a casual-style design with warm, natural tones and a comfy ambiance that makes you feel right at home while watching a soccer match on the pub’s flat-screen TVs. I’m happy to report that some of the original brick panels were saved during the renovation.

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Lion’s Pride Soccer Pub & Grill

On the second level, soccer fans can score a VIP experience with Church Street views, a gold-tone leather sectional sofa with a glass soccer ball-shaped coffee table, purple leather stadium seats, tables with purple chairs, a mural of the Orlando City Soccer Club’s mascot Kingston, a long bar with a marble top and a private party room.

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An upstairs wall features a mural of Orlando City Soccer Club’s mascot Kingston.

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I’m posing on the gold-tone leather sectional sofa on the second level of the Lion’s Pride Soccer Pub & Grill.

Soccer fans can hang out with a brew or cocktail while seated at tables that can accommodate large groups, be mesmerized by a vintage World Cup soccer ball collection and purchase Orlando City Soccer Club and Pride merchandise on the first floor.

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View a vintage World Cup soccer ball collection on the first floor of the Lion’s Pride Soccer Pub & Grill.

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Purchase Orlando City Soccer Club and Pride merchandise on the first level of the Lion’s Pride Soccer Pub & Grill.

Watch the Orlando City Soccer Club and Pride’s home or away soccer matches, World Cup soccer matches from June 14 through July 15, 2018 and any sporting event while chowing down at this lion’s lair.

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Actress Pam Grier Chats Candidly about her Career at Florida Film Festival By Sandra Carr

During her 50-year career, actress Pam Grier has portrayed powerful women and is the queen of 1970s blaxploitation films, including Coffy, Foxy Brown and Sheba, Baby.

Foxy Brown

Grier discussed her film career during a question-and-answer session with Rollins College history professor Julian Chambliss and fans after the Jackie Brown screening during the Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater.

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She portrayed the title character in the crime thriller Jackie Brown, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, which he wrote for Grier and is a love letter to her career. The film is about a sexy flight attendant who orchestrates a scheme to keep smuggled cash from an arms dealer. The movie pays homage to blaxploitation films and is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch.

Jackie Brown Movie Poster

When Grier first met Tarantino, she noticed his office walls were decorated with five framed posters of her films.

“These were original posters that are worth thousands of dollars,” she said. “It was humbling and made my heart race knowing that someone really liked my work. It was that moment of reality for someone who is an artist.”

Grier informed the audience that if you don’t rehearse, then you don’t get to work with Tarantino. She said she was always ready, knew her lines and credited her theater background for preparing her for the role. Grier also said she cooked meals for the cast and crew who sang and danced to tunes since Tarantino played music on the set.

Pam Grier and Quentin Tarantino

I had an opportunity to ask Grier about her chemistry with the film’s cast. She provided a hilarious assumption about Brown and Ordell Robbie’s past.

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“Quentin, why would this man (Robbie who was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson) walk into my apartment and turn out my lights? Did we have sex before? He feels like he can walk into my apartment and turn off the lights. Does he pay the power bill? Did we have a relationship before? I think we tried it one night and it didn’t work. We were awkward. I felt that. We became friends after that and we didn’t talk about him not being able to get it up. Maybe my nipples didn’t get hard. I don’t know! You all have been there before! I thought it was going to be hot, but it wasn’t. If we’re going to have sex, then don’t put a ring on your gotee! That’s going to hurt and cause blisters!”

Jackie Brown and Ordell Robbie

Grier also came up with the line “Booya! With a cherry on top!” during the scene where Brown leaves a shopping bag filled with cash underneath a fitting room door for Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) to pick up.

In the action film Above the Law, she portrayed Chicago Police Department narcotics detective Nico Toscani’s (Steven Seagal) friend and partner Delores ‘Jacks’ Jackson. Grier was diagnosed with cervical cancer the same year the film was released and is in remission.

Above the Law

She enjoyed filming Bad Grandmas with actress Florence Henderson. She said Henderson was very funny and didn’t act like she was in her 80s. The movie was Henderson’s last before she passed away in Nov. 2016.

Bad Grandmas

Grier also portrayed Lily in Rose, a film about a woman who finds love while soul searching throughout the southwest during her final days. The movie also stars Cybill Shepherd and James Brolin.

Rose

Besides films, Grier has appeared on TV sitcoms, including Miami Vice as Valerie Gordon, a New York Police Department detective who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) and The L Word as Kit Porter.

Miami Vice

The L Word2

She shared some funny anecdotes during her Q&A, including hanging out with John Lennon and Harry Nilsson during a Smothers Brothers concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood, Calif back in March of 1974. Lennon started singing a song and asked Grier if she knew it. The song was I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles. Grier sang the song and Lennon hit the table like he was playing the drums. Lennon got everyone to sing while harmonizing and becoming intoxicated.

When the Smothers Brothers came on stage, Lennon thought they were boring and wanted to continue singing the song with Grier. The Troubadour’s manager asked him to be quiet. That didn’t last very long. He started singing again and the manager attempted to remove him by grabbing his collar and pulling him over the table. A fight broke out between Lennon, Nilsson and the manager. The group, including Grier, were tossed out of the club and sat on the curve while providing the Los Angeles Police Department with their accounts of the incident. Afterwards, Lennon sent Grier flowers and thanked her for not hitting him.

John Lennon Note

John Lennon’s apology letter to Pam Grier.

Grier was raped by two boys when she was 6 years old and again as a teenager. She said the incidences have affected her during her acting career. She recalled having a flashback of being raped when her and Thomas were filming a romantic scene for Miami Vice. She needed an hour to compose herself along with talking to Thomas about interacting with her differently during the scene.

She discussed her relationships with comedian Richard Pryor, actor Freddie Prinze and retired NFL basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and why they didn’t work out.

“These stars were reaching their pinnacle and becoming very powerful,” she said. “I was the target of possibly being their mate, wife and mother of their children. It was blocking my trajectory of being an independent woman. I didn’t want to thrive in their spotlight and lose my identity.  I loved them dearly, but I chose myself more and it was my time. I disbanded the relationships because I really wanted to be on my own.”

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Pam Grier and Richard Pryor

Pam Grier and Freddie Prinze

Pam Grier and Freddie Prinze

Pam Grier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Pam Grier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Grier talked about Pryor and shared a humorous and almost tragic moment that occurred with the stand-up comic’s miniature horse.

“Richard’s dogs attacked his miniature horse Ginger, which was a gift from Burt Sugarman and the name is based on the Mudbone folklore (Mudbone was a recurring character in Richard Pryor’s stand-up comedy act),” she said. “I put the miniature horse in the back of my four-door Jaguar and we took it to the vet. We’re rolling down the 405 with the miniature horse’s head hanging out the window and Richard is in his bathrobe crying about what happened. We saved the miniature horse’s life and got it home. Richard then found out that I loved horses and thought he could lure me with horses. I knew if the miniature horse had died, then he would have fallen off of the wagon. Richard’s wife Jennifer Lee said in his Showtime documentary that I was the one person who had a positive effect on his life. I realized that he would fall and I didn’t want him to take me down with him. I’m a great nurse and caregiver, but you have to meet me half way. I can only carry you so far before my back breaks.”

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Pam Grier and Richard Pryor

Her grandfather Daddy Ray was the first feminist in her life and taught her how to hunt, fish and shoot guns. She brought those experiences with her while portraying different characters throughout her acting career.

Grier also said young people introduce her to their dads and uncles. The men ask her if she shoots all of the guns in her movies. Grier lets them know that she has a gun collection, including hunting rifles from her grandfather, a gun that Steven Seagal gave her after filming Above the Law and another gun from Miami Vice.

She’s comical in her response to the men’s inquiries about her firearms.

“Their eyes get big and I tell them not to worry about my guns,” she said. “You just need to worry about my Sears Craftsman chainsaw! If I smell cologne or see lipstick when you come in, then you’re in trouble!”

Coffy

Pam Grier portrays Coffy.

She published her memoir Foxy: My Life in Three Acts eight years ago. Grier said a biopic is in the works for her story to appear on the big screen. Actor and former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah has been selected to portray Pryor in the film so far.

Pam Grier's Book

Grier provided film students with advice and emphasized to the audience that we’re all brands.

“I started creating a brand by showing different types of women and not just the sexy and pretty ones,” she said. “I don’t want to fall behind the comfort. I want to be the antagonist and crazy person. There are so many roles that I want to do. I want to play my age, but a lot of it isn’t seen. Film festivals and schools are inspiring all of these new narratives and stories. The inspiration is during the film festivals across the country because they keep developing and sustaining the brands of the actors, producers and directors.”

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Learn more about Grier’s career on imdb.com.

 

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‘The Godfathers of Hardcore’ Film Embraces Agnostic Front’s Drive and Passion By Sandra Carr

Hardcore pioneers, Agnostic Front, have always been true to their music and fans. The documentary The Godfathers of Hardcore, directed by Ian McFarland and appearing at the Florida Film Festival, chronicles Agnostic Front’s history and provides fans with a raw view into the band’s career and lives on and off the road.

The Godfathers of Hardcore Movie Poster

Hardcore is a rebellious form of punk-rock music with hard, fast, in-your-face, thrash rhythms. Agnostic Front has inspired numerous bands by taking the genre to a whole new level and extreme.

The group is still experiencing the rock ‘n’ roll dream after living and playing in New York City’s dark and seedy Lower East Side nearly 40 years ago. Agnostic Front’s musical mantra hasn’t changed as they continue to question authority and society and seek the truth.

The Godfathers of Hardcore Film

Agnostic Front in concert. Image courtesy of the Florida Film Festival

The film illustrates the chemistry and brotherly bond between Agnostic Front’s founder and lead guitarist Vinnie Stigma and lead vocalist Roger Miret.

There are many heartfelt occurrences with Miret and his family and laugh-out-loud moments with Stigma throughout the movie. Stigma is the real deal and a trip! He could easily have his own stand-up comedy act! I have visited New York City in the past, but Stigma is the person who I would love to provide me with an underground tour.

The documentary also discusses the turmoil, trials and tribulations Miret and Stigma dealt with growing up and how the hardcore scene saved their lives and became their family.

The movie features classic footage and photos from the band’s heyday, including performances at CBGB, the birthplace of punk-rock music, and by other bands like Murphy’s Law.

McFarland captured Agnostic Front’s essence, heart and soul in his film especially, with shots that showcased Miret and Stigma’s personalities and honesty. Four of my favorite scenes featured Miret opening a trunk and looking at a time capsule of band memories and sitting in a chair reflecting on his life at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. along with Stigma standing on the rooftop of his apartment building with a spectacular view of New York City and having his hairstylist create his mohawk.

Miret and McFarland made an appearance and participated in a question-and-answer-session after the first film screening at the Winter Park Regal Cinema last Saturday night. The documentary touched Miret.

“I was teary-eyed and blown away while experiencing an emotional roller coaster ride when I saw the film for the first time,” said Miret. “The film is in a league of its own. I’m proud and honored and think Ian did a great job.”

I asked Miret about how the documentary will leave Agnostic Front’s musical footprint.

“The film really shows the band as human beings and not as mythical creatures,” he exclaimed. “I think that connects more with people because our whole intention from day one was being genuine and real to people. We never called them fans. We called them friends.”

Sandra and Roger Miret

Agnostic Front’s lead vocalist Roger Miret signed his book “My Riot: Agnostic Front Grit, Guts & Glory” and posed for a photo after the film screening.

I also asked McFarland if he faced any challenges while making the movie.

“I think the biggest challenge for me was telling a band and family’s story and doing it in a way where they can sit back in the theater and watch it,” he said. “It was really tough getting through a film like this for the past three years. I not only directed the film, but edited it, which is a very tough thing to do and destroys you mentally and physically. I sacrificed a lot of time away from my family and work. It was very tough to do it, but luckily I had a support system.”

Agnostic Front fan and filmmaker McFarland put his blood, sweat and tears into creating a masterpiece that’s a must-see for other fans and music enthusiasts. His film tells a story that has never been told about this legendary band and will continue to rock for years to come.

The Godfathers of Hardcore screens again on Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Regal Cinema. Tickets are $11. Click here for more information about the film and to purchase tickets.

Help the documentary receive a mainstream release at theaters nationwide by writing an Internet Movie Database (IMDB) review.

The Godfathers of Hardcore

 

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Moviegoers Embark on a Story-Gazing Journey during the Florida Film Festival By Sandra Carr

Films tell tales about personal triumph, deception, challenges, heroes and hilarity. This year’s Florida Film Festival, now in its 27th year, doesn’t disappoint and invites moviegoers to go story gazing while watching 183 films representing 38 countries.

The juried flick fete also features 152 films with premiere status, including 23 world premieres along with celebrity guest appearances, forums and parties at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Fla. and Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater in Winter Park, Fla. from April 6-15, 2018.

FFF Story Gazing

The 27th Annual Florida Film Festival is April 6-15, 2018.

The Florida Film Festival is accredited as a qualifying festival for the Oscars in the live action short, documentary short and animated short film categories. The winner of the grand jury award in each of these categories will automatically qualify to enter during next year’s Academy Awards.

Oscars

The opening-night film and party is happening on Friday, April 6 at the Enzian Theater and features American Animals, a true story and dramedy about four young men who attempt to steal priceless Audubon publications and rare books from the Transylvania University’s special collections library. The movie stars Blake Jenner who portrays Chas Allen. He also portrayed Ryder Lynn in Glee and Jake in Everybody Wants Some!! Jenner will be making an appearance and discussing American Animals following the screening.

American Animals

Blake Jenner

Actor Blake Jenner will be making an appearance during the Florida Film Festival’s opening-night party.

Clink glasses and say cheers during a champagne reception at 6 p.m. American Animals begins at 7 p.m. and the party follows at 8:30 p.m. The cinematic celebration will include cuisine, cake and craft cocktail and brew samples provided by Eden BarFirefly Kitchen and Bar, Hourglass BrewingNothing Bundt Cakes, Roque PubTen10 Brewing Company and other local bars and restaurants. The film and party admission is $140 and the party only ticket cost $125.

Opening Night Party

Hang out with moviegoers during the Festival Block Party on Saturday, April 7 from 3-5 p.m. at the Winter Park Village’s fountain across from the Regal Cinema. The festivities include free drinks and appetizers from select Winter Park Village restaurants and live entertainment. The free event is for Florida Film Festival ticket and pass holders only. Space is limited.

Florida Film Festival Block Party

Festival Block Party

Indulge yourself in a film and farm-to-table feast during Locally Fresh! on Sunday, April 8 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Enzian Theater. The foodie function will include cooking demonstrations and scrumptious samples. Admission is $12. Afterwards, shop for fresh-from-the-field produce and products during a free Farmer’s Market from noon-2:30 p.m. on the lawn next to Eden Bar.

Locally Fresh

If you can’t wait to eat during Locally Fresh!, then enjoy a brunch buffet beforehand from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Eden Bar for $13.99 per person. The brunch will also occur during the last day of the film festival on Sunday, April 15.

Sunday Brunch Buffet

Soar into the sky and find out how a flight attendant orchestrated a scheme to keep smuggled cash from an arms dealer during the film screening of  Jackie Brown, directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Pam Grier, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster and Bridget Fonda, on Sunday, April 8 from 7-11 p.m. at the Enzian Theater. The movie is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Grier following the film screening. General admission is $50 and $125 for a backstage pass, which includes the film screening and meet and greet and photo opportunity afterwards. Please provide your own camera for the photo opportunity.

Jackie Brown Movie Poster

Take a drug-filled ride during the psychological drama Requiem for a Dream, starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans, on Friday, April 13 from 7:30-11 p.m. at the Enzian Theater. The film is based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr. with whom director Darren Aronofsky wrote the screenplay. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Burstyn after the screening. General admission is $50. Producer-pass holders will have an opportunity to meet the actress following the event.

Requiem for a Dream

Quench your thirst during the free Sip and Savor: Cocktail Tasting on Wednesday, April 11 from 6-8 p.m. at Eden Bar. Sample flavorful concoctions provided by Diageo.

Cocktail Tasting

Tennis, anyone? Watch Björn Borg versus John McEnroe at Wimbledon during the summer of 1980 in the sports drama Borg McEnroe, starring Shia LaBeouf.

Borg McEnroe Photo

Actress Charlize Theron portrays Marlo, a stay-at-home mom who is overwhelmed with taking care of her three children in Tully. Her wealthy brother gifts Marlo with a nanny who she forms a unique bond with that will change both of their lives forever. The screenplay was written by Diablo Cody who also wrote Juno and Young Adult.

Tully

A teenage boy becomes attached to a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete. He steals the horse before the owner disposes it and ends up on an unexpected adventure. The film Lean on Pete also touches on poverty and homelessness in the U.S. Actors Steve Buscemi and Charlie Plummer star in the film.

Lean on Pete

In the mystery thriller Tatterdemalion, Army veteran Fern, who is portrayed by actress Leven Rambin, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and returns home to the Ozarks where she finds an abandoned boy named Cecil in the woods. She searches for clues about the boy’s identity while discovering local folklore of a spirit who appears as a child.

Tatterdemalion

Actor and director Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old VirginWeeds) stars in Prison Logic. He portrays Tijuana Jackson, an aspiring world-renowned motivational speaker who is being followed by a documentary film crew before he’s released from prison. The movie has Florida flavor since it was filmed in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando and features Central Florida local Alkoya Brunson (AtlantaHidden Figures) who portrays Jackson’s sidekick Lil’ Eric. The ex-con’s reality-show dream has to overcome obstacles because of his court-mandated probation in the movie. Actress Regina Hall (Girls Trip, the Scary Movie franchise) portrays Jackson’s parole officer and prospective love interest and Tami Roman (Basketball Wives) rounds out the cast as Jackson’s sister Sharea.

Prison Logic

King Cohen is a documentary about legendary B-movie film producer, director and screenwriter Larry Cohen.

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Watch the RBG documentary about 84-year-old Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gender equality warrior and pop-culture icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a.k.a. Notorious RBG).

RBG

Music makes its mark during the Florida Film Festival with documentaries about new wave musician, model and actress Grace Jones (Grace Jones: Blindlight and Bami), jam band Magic Music (40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie) and the hardcore group Agnostic Front (The Godfathers of Hardcore).

Agnostic Front’s lead vocalist Roger Miret and director Ian McFarland will be making an appearance and participating in a question-and-answer session following the The Godfathers of Hardcore screening on Saturday, April 7 at 9 p.m. at the Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater.

Grace Jones Bloodlight and Bami

The Godfathers of Hardcore Movie Poster

Magic Music

Magic Music

Rollins College alumnus Fred Rogers was the host and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and worked tirelessly for more than three decades to help children understand difficult and complex situations and learn how to deal with their feelings through the use of puppetry. Rogers believed that we were all part of a global neighborhood in which everyone should be valued for being “just the way you are.” The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? pays homage to Rogers who was an advocate for children’s TV programming during most of his life.

Mister Rogers

Local radio personalities and powerhouse podcasters Tom Vann and Daniel Dennis of A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan, are featured in the Mediocre Documentary with Tom and Dan. The film takes the audience behind the scenes of the duo’s live podcast at the Hard Rock Live Orlando. Vann and Dennis will be making an appearance and participating in a question-and-answer session following the screening on Sunday, April 15 at 4:45 p.m. at the Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater. The film is on standby.

Tom and Dan

A Mediocre Documentary with Tom and Dan

Eighteen films during this year’s fest feature LBGTQ themes, including The Feels, an amusing romp about a bachelorette party for a lesbian couple.

The Feels

Another movie, The Cakemaker, features a gay baker who is involved in an unusual love triangle with his deceased lover and his widow.

The Cakemaker

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is a documentary about former pimp to the stars Scotty Bowers, 94, who organized clandestine encounters with young men for actors Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter and Rock Hudson and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

Do I Have Boobs Now? is a documentary short about trans woman and activist Courtney Demone sharing photos of her breast development after undergoing hormone replacement therapy on social media.

Do I Have Boobs Now

TransMilitary features four U.S. transgender military members whom are married to each other and served our country. The documentary showcases their journey since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in 2011 and during the current political climate since the 2016 presidential election.

TransMilitary

Americana artist Robert Townsend is fascinated with a lady wearing cat-eye glasses in vacation photograph slides and is on a quest to learn more about this happy, mystery woman in the film My Indiana Muse.

My Indiana Muse

Bodacious New York City burlesque dancers strut their stuff in Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story.

Getting Naked A Burlesque Story

Ask the Sexpert is a documentary about 93-year-old Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a sex columnist for the Mumbai Mirror, who responds to readers sexual questions.

Ask the Sexpert

Long Time Coming hits a home run during the Florida Film Festival. The film discusses the monumental victory of the State of Florida’s 1955 Little League Championship, featuring the all-black Pensacola Jaycees versus the Orlando Kiwanis, which was one of the first racially-integrated Little League baseball games in the South. The two team captains reunite to discuss for the first time how that historic night felt for both of them more than six decades ago.

City of Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer will be joining city commissioners and the Edward E. Haddock Jr. Family Foundation to celebrate and honor the baseball teams during A Baseball & Civil Rights Reunion on Tuesday, April 10 from 10-11 a.m. at Lake Lorna Doone Park, located at 1519 W. Church St. in Orlando near the Camping World Stadium.

The documentary is directed by Jon Strong and produced by Common Pictures. The film includes Major League Baseball and civil rights icons Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Andrew Young. The Florida Film Festival will host the film’s world premiere on Monday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. with an encore screening on Tuesday, April 10 at 3:30 p.m.

Long Time Coming

Former felon turned law school grad Desmond Meade is on a mission to restore voting rights for Florida’s convicted felons who have served their time in the documentary Let My People Vote.

Let My People Vote

Soufra chronicles the culinary journey of Mariam Shaar, a Palestinian born and raised in the Burj El Barajnak refugee camp outside of Beirut, who starts her own catering and food truck business with other Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese women refugees.

Soufra

Feline films include Samantha’s Amazing Acro Cats, a documentary that follows a traveling cat circus and the animated short Catherine about a girl and her cat named Kitty.

Samantha's Amazing Acro Cats

Catherine

The Florida Film Festival closes by celebrating the 75-year anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, a film about an uncle who travels from New York to California to visit his family and is wanted for murder. The psychological thriller was Hitchcock’s favorite film, and is considered one of the King of Suspense’s most chilling movies during his career.

Shadow of a Doubt

Individual film tickets are $11, packages are $50-$180 and passes are $99-$1,500 per person.

Browse the film schedule by downloading the free Florida Film Festival app for iPhones and Android mobile devices. For more information, including the Florida Film Festival schedule, visit floridafilmfestival.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Party for a Cause with Pints and Pooches By Sandra Carr

Dressed up dogs wagging their tails in delight and more than 100 craft beer samples from local and national breweries took center stage during the Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Fest in downtown Sanford.

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The seventh annual Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Fest drew large crowds in downtown Sanford.

The annual event, hosted by the West End Trading Co. and Celery City Craft, featured emcees Tom Vann and Daniel Dennis of A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan podcast judging a dog trick contest, live music, food trucks and vendors. Proceeds benefited Dolly’s Foundation and Pet Rescue by Judy.

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Emcees Tom Vann and Daniel Dennis of “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” podcast judged the dog trick contest.

On the beer front, my husband Dan and I sampled Wop’s Hops Brewing Company’s Good Boy Dexter Australian Ale and Solstice Ginger Wheat brew selections. I’m a wheat beer girl, so I enjoyed the Solstice, which had a kick with ginger beer.

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Wop’s Hops Brewing Company

Dan enjoyed sampling IPA and stout beers while I savored the sweeter brews. The Islamorada Beer Company’s Citrus Ale was refreshing and the perfect beer to sip on a hot, summer day. The Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale was like drinking a creamsicle with a hint of bourbon. I also liked Bugnutty Brewing Company’s Red Wheat and Blue Fruit Beer, which was flavorful, but not too sweet. For those who like Mountain Dew, then I recommend trying Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Mountain Ale.

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Islamorada Beer Company

Guinness is normally too much for my palate, but was pleasantly surprised with its smooth, Blonde American Lager. Pabst Blue Ribbon also featured its American Pale Ale during the beer festival.

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My husband Dan sampled Pabst Blue Ribbon’s American Pale Ale during the Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Fest in downtown Sanford.

Cider also made its mark. My favorite cider was 3 Daughters Brewing’s Key Lime Cider. The apple and key lime flavors blended nicely and was delicious. I also enjoyed Original Sin Hard Cider’s crisp and tasty Pear Cider.

Besides beer, Southern Comfort featured its Nola & Cola and Bourbon St. Mule concoctions and the Odd Elixir served its Abbey Normal and Charlie Chaplin mead during the festivities.

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Southern Comfort

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Odd Elixir

Nonprofit organization Pinups for Pitbulls educated the public about the history and temperament of the American pit bull terrier and pit bull-type dogs with literature and information and raised funds by selling T-shirts, pictures and dog-related items during the event. The group’s big fundraiser is their annual pinup calendar, featuring gussied-up women wearing retro attire and posing with their canine.

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Pinups for Pitbulls’ Central Florida team raised awareness about the American pit bull terrier during the Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Fest in downtown Sanford.

Pit bull advocate and Central Florida Pinups for Pitbulls’ team leader Rose Tremblay owns a three-legged pit bull named Shila. She’s passionate about pit bull education and wants to make a difference with the group.

“Pinups for Pitbulls hopes to end breed discrimination and feels the breed-specific laws aren’t making communities safer,” said Tremblay. “Breed-specific laws are being overturned because communities realize that they’re not seeing a difference in their dog bite statistics. A lot of times, dog bites are the same or higher than they were before the banning of a specific breed.”

She says events like Pints n’ Paws Craft Beer Fest provide wonderful promotional opportunities.

“Participating in an event that’s geared towards dogs, but not specifically for dogs that brings tons of people together provides us with more exposure.”

Rose and Sandra

I’m posing with Rose Tremblay of Pinups for Pitbulls.

The 2019 pinup calendar submission deadline is Tuesday, April 3, 2018. For more information about the calendar, visit: https://pinupsforpitbulls.org/model

Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar

Pinups for Pitbulls calendar.

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Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race Roars into Bike Week By Sandra Carr

History was in motion as antique motorcycles, many at least 100 years old, zoomed around around the track under clear blue skies during Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway on St. Patrick’s Day.

Sons of Speed, founded by custom-bike builder Billy Lane of Choppers Inc., is an American Flat Track motorcycle competition inspired by early 20th-century board-track races.

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Billy Lane pushes his antique Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the track before the Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway.

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I’m posing next to Billy Lane’s antique Harley-Davidson motorcycle before the race.

Besides being racing machines, the vintage bikes are works of art with fabricated handlebars, fenders, foot pegs and fuel and oil tanks.

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This antique Indian motorcycle raced around the track during Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway.

 

The second annual event during Bike Week featured 45 Shoot-Out (45 cubic-inch flathead racers), Early 61 (older and slower 61 cubic-inch board-track racers) and Hot 61 (faster 61 cubic-inch board-track racers) heats around a half-mile track.

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Antique motorcycles raced around the track during Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway.

Two of the winners were Doug Young and Matt Walksler. Other antique motorcycle racers included Lane, Moonshiner Josh Owens of the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners,” who was injured during the race, Brittney Olsen and Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe, one of the owners of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach.

Girl power prevailed during the motorcycle race with Rossmeyer-Pepe placing second during the Early 61 and still riding her antique Harley-Davidson motorcycle while using one of her hands to keep the carburetor in place and preventing her bike from stalling during the 45 Shoot-Out.

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Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe zooms down the track during the Early 61 heat at the New Smyrna Speedway.

Olsen placed second with her 1938 Indian during the 45 Shoot-Out and third place during the Hot 61. She was determined to race with an antique motorcycle.

“There is something romantic about the older bikes and I was told racing an antique motorcycle couldn’t be done,” said Olsen. “In the beginning, there were two antique board-track fast races and now we’re up to eight. There also haven’t been many women in history racing motorcycles and I feel this is the year of the woman and there’s no better time than now to race a motorcycle.”

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I’m posing with antique motorcycle racer Brittney Olsen during Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway.

Antique motorcycle racers are keeping the passion and spirit alive for years to come.

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Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Racers pose for a group photo during Bike Week at the New Smyrna Speedway.

 

 

 

 

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