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Naples zoo executive director david Tetzlaff is a self-proclaimed “blue-blood”—that is, he was born to do his job. He was ushered into a world of wild animals by his parents, who helped convert the former botanical garden into what is now an accredited member of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In his lifetime, Tetzlaff has been gored by wildebeests, wrapped by pythons, trampled by elephants, and bitten, clawed and chewed by a number of cats both big and small, but the zoo is still his home away from home.
Being the executive director, how much contact do you have with animals on a day-to-day basis?
It depends what is going on. Usually every day I’m doing something with our venomous snakes because, out of a staff of 15 keepers, only four of us are trained to work with them. It’s a break from administration, to be honest. I try to keep a very close pulse on what goes on in the zoo, so I’m very much into the operational end of it as well.
What is the most rewarding part of working with animals?
The satisfaction of taking care of animals is rewarding in its own way. Animals allow things to happen—they control any situation, and if an animal doesn’t want to cooperate, it’s just not going to happen. But the most rewarding thing for me is building relationships with them.
What new and exciting attractions are in the works?
Everything is about giraffes right now. That’s what we’re doing next. We’ve been working hard all winter building a huge holding area for them, which is almost going to be an interim exhibit on its own. It allows the people to see the animals as we continue to raise funds for this giant, new exhibit. The public will be able to see the giraffes later this summer.
The Art of Being’s fresh jumbo prawns are marinated with lemon zest, thyme and extra virgin olive oil, oven roasted to a crisp, yet juicy texture, then paired with perfectly grilled asparagus tips and market organic spaghetti squash. The prawns’ bold flavor is offset by the spaghetti squash’s mildness and string-like texture. The dish is artfully presented with the prawn’s tail up atop the spaghetti squash and finished with a roasted prawn-shell curry sauce. 8971 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. 431-6755, www.theartofbeing.us.
There were many iconic photographs taken in Paris during the 1930s. Fille de Montmartre Playing Russian Billiards by Brassaï, on view at the Naples Museum of Art through June, is one. It depicts a woman with an authoritative posture confronting Brassaï’s lens. Her piercing eyes invite the viewer’s gaze and interest. Before the development of color photography, the artist was challenged to make black-and-white work compelling. Brassaï used artificial lighting to create a strong, tonal quality. His signature was his rapport with and understanding of his subjects. This is one reason his subject matter retains an immediacy and fascination for us today. Born Gyula Halasz in 1899, he was introduced to the charms of Paris when his father, a professor of French literature, moved the family to France. After studying in Berlin, the artist made his way back to the city in 1924, and the following year changed his name to Brassaï after his native town of Brasso. Brassaï documented Montmartre, where he was immersed in a world of poets and artists. He photographed people, cafes, theaters, streets, buildings and brothels. Some of these images were shown in New York in 1932 at the Julien Levy Gallery, and others were published in 1933 in a book called Paris de Nuit.
11 If the rising temps haven’t gotten you in summer mode, the Art League of Bonita Springs’ Summer Solstice surely will. The summer-themed exhibit brings to mind sun-kissed days at the beach, stormy skies and moonlit evenings under the stars. Be there for a reception when the exhibit opens June 11 at 6 p.m., or catch it through July 15 at the Center for the Arts in Bonita. Call 495-8989 for details.
14 Kids who can’t get enough of nature and the outdoors will love the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Summer Camp 2010. The award-winning, week-long day camps offer youngsters from kindergarten through eighth grade plenty of exciting field trips; encounters with live birds of prey, reptiles and sea creatures; crafts; games; and hands-on exploration. Activities begin June 14 at the Conservancy. Call 262-0304, ext. 266, with questions or to register.
18 Those who loved last summer’s Patsy Cline show Walkin’ After Midnight at the Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral won’t want to miss the premiere of its prequel, Patsy Cline and Friends in Sweet Dreams at the Opry, which takes place a year before Patsy’s fateful plane crash. The people behind the show are North Fort Myers residents Linda Fazioli, who portrays Patsy, and Frank Fazioli, writer and director. The show runs June 18–20 and 24–27. For tickets, call 772-5862.
26 The SummerJazz on the Gulf concert series has been a mainstay in Naples for 25 years. It kicks off with nine-piece band Blue Dice June 26 at 7 p.m. on the picturesque Watkins Lawn of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. Nab free parking at Lowdermilk Park with your Naples beach sticker, and don’t forget your lawn chairs! Call 261-2222 for more information.