Peer inside the mind of visionary painter Edgar Degas. Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist, a personal collection on display at the Naples Museum of Art, gives viewers a unique look into the life of the French master. The collection has 90 works, including 20 drawings, prints, photographs and etchings. The exhibit also features 17 works by artists in Degas’ circle. The show remains on display from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15; a special lecture, Chasing Degas: Reflections of a Collector In Pursuit of This Elusive Master Over Four Decades, will be given by Robert Flynn Johnson on Oct. 25. 597-1900.
Leonard Wren, who exhibits with Gardner Colby Gallery in Naples, honors the long tradition of American artists who paint in the manner of the Impressionists. In Rue de Bougainvillea he provides us with a fantastic canvas inviting us to experience all the charms of a narrow passage between two buildings. The magnificently flowering bougainvillea cascades across the picture plane. It divides the composition and draws our attention to the upper and lower quadrants. The motorcycle, parked at the end of the street, with its dab of red paint taillight helps us establish the distance to the cross street.
In his vertical composition Wren revels in putting down hundreds of small strokes of pigment as did the 19th century French Impressionists to articulate the play of light and shadow. We see a balance of reflected light on the stone and stucco of the buildings and the brilliance of the blue and white clouds in the sky. The artist’s painted riot of orange, pink, red, peach and green flecks of color animate the picture plane and keep us actively engaged in fusing a visual souvenir of the scene.
Lest we forget what october is really about—fantastic costumes and Halloween candy—the Imaginarium and the Naples Zoo offer family-friendly festivities to celebrate. At the Imaginarium’s Boo Bash, kids will be captivated watching spooky magic shows, enhance their costumes with face painting and make projects on Oct. 16. Boo at the Zoo, on Oct. 22, gives the kiddies a chance to show off their costumes—with the added benefit of a discounted admission—trick-or-treat and see the animals carve up pumpkins with claws and teeth. Take the kids to both for the ultimate in a ghoulishly good time. Imaginarium, 321-7420; Zoo, 262-5409.
For eight nights at BIG Arts’ Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater on Sanibel, the Laboratory Theater of Florida will perform Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. If you missed the company’s performance in 2010, don’t make the same mistake twice. The show runs from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. 472-6862.
Don’t Miss It!
Big broadway belter Debbie Gravitte comes to the Phil this month to perform legendary lady Judy Garland’s greatest hits. The Tony Award winner has performed major roles on the Broadway stages, such as Fantine in Les Misérables and Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago. She won her Tony for her performance in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. This month, Gravitte is partnering with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Michael Berkowitz, for Beyond the Rainbow on Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. For tickets or more information, call 597-1900.
What does it mean to you to sing the songs of Judy Garland?
She was one of the greatest entertainers of everybody’s lifetime, living or dead. To be able to sing music she was associated with—that is the pinnacle for any singer.
Do you add your own interpretation to the songs?
Of course. It’s my life in those songs; it’s not Judy Garland’s life in those songs. When I sing The Man that Got Away, it’s my interpretation of it.
What can people expect from your show?
They’re going to have the greatest time because, whether it’s the people who know me or know Judy Garland, they will know all that material. It will be revisiting it with an incredible orchestra, the Naples Phil and great orchestrations; most of them are the original orchestrations that she sang with. Everybody has certain memories of a lot of these songs. That is why music is so potent and important—we all have these memories tied to different songs, and hopefully I’m going to be stirring up a lot of memories for people.
Grab your lederhosen, or at least a large stein, for the German American Social Club of Cape Coral’s annual Oktoberfest. While the original Oktoberfest was meant to mark the wedding, and later anniversary, of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, the season is now celebrated around the world with abundant food, frivolity and (most importantly) beer. The festival runs Oct. 21–23 and Oct. 28–30. www.gasc-capecoral.com.
The Florida panther, one of the most endangered animals in the world, is finally getting its own festival on Oct. 29. The Florida Panther Festival focuses on conservation and awareness, including family games and crafts, music, trail walks and panther capture demonstrations. Hoping to see a panther in its natural habitat? The day before the festival, take a field trip to one of six panther-friendly sites. www.floridapantherfestival.com.