Go back to a time when knights had shining armor. The Lee County Medieval Faire is open Jan. 15–16 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers. For more information, call 839-8036 or visit www.medieval-faire.com.
Lynn davison’s arresting Self Portrait, completed in 2008, is part of an exhibition of her work at the Naples Museum of Art beginning Jan. 22. The artist has had a distinguished career of more than 30 years. Most who paint their own likeness consider the challenge as daunting as any other subject, perhaps more so. This seemingly monumental self-portrait is only 7 inches by 5 inches. Part of the reason it seems larger is Davison’s decision to crop her head. Her face occupies more than half the surface area of the canvas. By allowing her gaze to look beyond the picture plane, she liberates us to consider her entire visage framed by her hair. Her gaze is intense; her heavily hooded brown eyes seem engaged with something we cannot see. This creates a sense of mystery and maintains our piqued curiosity. Her self-portrait tells us Davison is not a vain person. With her brush she articulates a few wiry, gray hairs amidst her auburn locks. Davison does not fear sharing the lines on her face she has earned by living. She does not airbrush her features or her skin. In fact, she shows us a most realistic self-portrait.—Mark Ormond
Begin your year with Miromar Design Center’s Distinguished Speakers Series featuring Melissa Galt, the great-granddaughter of American architect, designer and educator Frank Lloyd Wright, discussing “How to Keep Your Spirits Up Now That the Decorations Are Down,” Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 390-8207.
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Marty becker is one of america’s best-known animal doctors. He serves as veterinary contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America and is pet expert for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). He’s also a leading proponent of animal-assisted therapy and has dedicated his life to helping people understand the human-animal bond. Becker co-wrote The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy, considered to be the bible on the subject. He will speak at the Brody Project for Animal Assisted Therapy’s annual event on Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pelican Bay Community Center in Naples.For more information or tickets, call 649-8040.
What is animal-assisted therapy?
There’s either a physical therapist, an M.D., a nurse or sometimes all of them involved. It might be to alleviate depression, block pain or to get someone to start using an arm by throwing a tennis ball for a pet. The best programs have a specific pet matched to a specific patient with a specific therapeutic goal.
What are some things animals can help heal?
It really varies. Animal-assisted therapy is a powerful adjunct to pharmaceuticals and other things we deploy on human health. But the lucky thing is there’s not a single one of us who has a dog who doesn’t benefit from animal-assisted therapy. It’s just not a formal program. When you sit down and pet your dog, within about a minute there’s this incredible surge of positive biochemicals and neurochemicals that transform you.
What is the key to the human-animal health connection?
Whether to blunt your pain, elevate your mood, or if it is animal-assisted therapy, the key is intimacy. The dog house is the human house, and once that door opened up and they were integrated, everything changed. It takes close physical contact. It takes intimacy.
Are you planning to write more books like The Healing Power of Pets?
Writing that book nearly killed me. We went on nine reporting trips to 27 states, read 53 books and 200 studies. I’d like to buy the rights back and do an updated version because now the human-animal health connection has got a third wind, and it’s like a hurricane force.—Kristie Aronow
Paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from some of Naples’ most prominent art collections are on display at The von Liebig Art Center until Jan.9. Naples Collects 2011 offers a rare view of privately held treasures. For more information, call 262-6517.
The phil brings julie Budd to the Naples stage Jan. 26–27 to belt out beautiful ballads and croon the classics. Her credits include television, film and Broadway. For more information or tickets,
The full monty shares the story of six unemployed steel workers who attempt to supplement their income by forming a dance troupe a la Chippendales. The show remains onstage through Feb. 12 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. For more information, call 278-4422.