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College Park JazzFest

Such a great, fun local neighborhood event. We’ve talked about it here before, and have attended in the past. Unfortunately we won’t be able to make it this weekend, which is a big bummer because we’ll be missing TIFFANY! Yes – the one and only 90s pop icon. Not quite sure why this hasn’t been promoted more or she’s not getting higher billing…there’s also nothing about the appearance on her official website.

2014_CPJazzFest_FlierFor all complete info on this event check out the College Park Jazz Fest website.

Do you usually hit-up this local neighborhood festivity? We’d love to know what your favorite thing about it is.

Orlando Airboat Tours

Aren’t you guys always looking for new and exciting things to do in Central Florida? Perhaps a little excursion an hour or two away, a little adventure? Me, too. Enter Orlando Airboat Tours located in the Kissimmee area. Now, candidly I don’t venture out to that part of Central Florida too terribly often. We were recently invited*, though, to come enjoy this outdoor adventure–which, oddly, has been on my “to do” list for months-and-months–and did a friend and I did so a couple of weeks ago.

First off, my adventure companion and I headed over to the Orlando Airboat Tours headquarters (address below) to check in, and then quickly zipped over to the boat boarding site, which is actually just down the street from the headquarters base. And it went something like this:

photo (39)

Our Chariot.

The boat (helmed by Captain Bill on this day) typically seats up to six people. We were joined by two other folks so ours only had a total of four.

photo (43)

Getting started.

I was a little bit nervous about the weather as we started out…really even before I left my house in downtown Orlando. But the sky eventually opened up and the afternoon turned out to be quite beautiful. So we hopped on our boat and started our journey down a very, very long waterway. This afforded us the opportunity to pick up some speed and build anxiety for all of the wild creatures we were praying not to…err, hoping to encounter.


Now, we didn’t quite get to see all of the wild animals (i.e., alligators) we were hoping to. We later learned from Captain Bill that this is alligator season, so most of them were hiding out…with good reason. But we did have a few chance encounters with some baby gators, and then this happened:

photo (38)
Beyond breathtaking, and for me personally, the highlight of the tour. Stunning, right? Obviously there are no guarantees for a replication of this for every adventure, but here’s what most visitors can expect:

“As these airboat tours are in a natural, living environment (Central Florida’s subtropical climate promotes the growth of lush vegetation providing natural habitats for a variety of species) taking you through the swamp marsh and wet prairie they are not only educational, but fun and enjoyable.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to spend a Saturday afternoon this way?

Location deets:

Orlando Airboat Tours
4275 Neptune Road
St. Cloud, FL 34769

OrlandoAirboatTours

Here’s a fun hyperlapse video we captured on our excursion:

* Full disclosure: Pulse of Central Florida was provided two (2) complimentary tickets to experience Orlando Boat Tours. Big thanks to the team!

The Thirsty Topher in Ivanhoe Village

This might possibly be one of my new favorite places to grab a drink in Orlando. The Thirsty Topher isn’t technically that new, I suppose – it’s actually been open for about a year – but I’m just now getting around to giving it a look-see.

I popped in with a friend not too terribly long ago after a show at The Venue. The location, nestled in the Ivanhoe Village just a few blocks north of Virginia Avenue, is almost a word-of-mouth find for locals. Walking up, the bar is quite welcome, tucked behind a wall of foliage yet an open concept once you pass by it.

One of the best things about The Thirsty Topher is, of course, their drinks. A huge offering of craft beers (including one of my new obsessions), it’s easy to get lost in the variety of the delicious menu. The ambience is also extremely conducive to chatting with whomever you might’ve shown up with…or perhaps the stranger sitting next to you. Low lights when it’s dark outside and high ceilings. I do recall music playing, but not overwhelmingly loud like many places around town. I’m actually really looking forward to spending some time here in the fall, when we hopefully start to experience some cooler temperatures here in Central Florida.

If you haven’t been yet here’s a little of what you can expect:

Location deets:
The Thirsty Topher
1609 Alden Rd
Orlando, FL 32803

Haven’t had a chance to check out The Thirsty Topher yet and want some other opinions? See what local residents are saying on Yelp.

And here are some other local articles:

Enzian Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

Enzian Theater dropped an email to subscribers this past week announcing a month-long tribute to the late Robin Williams during December. Highlighting such classic pieces like “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” and “Good Morning Vietnam.” Personally, one of my favorites is “Mrs. Doubtfire” but it’s not on the schedule. Out of those being featured I have to say “Dead Poets Society” is the one I’m most eager to see.

For more info on this and other special programs and showings visit Enzian’s website.

Which Robin Williams movie are you looking forward to seeing?

The Enzian Theater is located at:

1300 South Orlando Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751

Enzian.org

#supportlocal

Terror on Church Street Comes Back To Life…Sort Of

Who remembers Terror on Church Street?! I’m takin’ it waaaaay back right now. I recall visiting Orlando when I was younger and always wanting to visit this used-to-be-downtown-staple Of course, now we get our fights from events such as Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream.

Well, some of the original folks behind Terror on Church Street are bringing it back to life, so to speak, with a new haunted experience that will live at The Majestic located on North John Young Parkway. It’s a little bit of an odd location – ok, A LOT a bit – but I’m sure there’s a very logical reason for it ($$$). Currently raising money for the project, Nightmares at The Majestic will offer to scare its visitors 24 dates during the month of October. You can read more about it in an article recently published on OrlandoWeekly.com.

Nightmares at the Majestic

What do you think? We’ll you be checking this out during the Halloween season? Or are there too many other events going on?

Strike Outs Bowling at Fashion Square Mall

Fashion Square Mall is really, really trying to step up its game. And quite honestly I’m really happy to see it (the whole area could use a breath of fresh air) – although I still question what the end result will be. We already know there are plans for an Element by Westin hotel to be added into the mix of shopping and dining, and now Strike Outs–a bowling and game facility–has just opened. Check out their Facebook Page:

Not personally my cup of tea but 1) I wouldn’t mind checking things out at some point and 2) I imagine this bowling/movie package would be quite appealing to a family looking to do something fun together one evening or on the weekend.

Fashion Square bowling

You can keep up with future developments on the Fashion Square Mall website or by Liking them on Facebook.

What do you think? Excited about all of the new development in this part of Central Florida?

Jazz Tastings in Maitland

Tucked on the side of a little plaza near Lake Lily in Maitland is the unassuming restaurant/bar Jazz Tastings. I heard about it from a few friends who wanted to check it out, but none had ever been.

Not knowing really what to expect, we opted not to eat dinner there, even though I read on Yelp and their site that they offer a number of delicious food options. Instead, we decided to head there for a few drinks. Jazz Tastings is an intimate space and not at all what I was expecting. It was every bit the sophisticated, relaxing atmosphere they promote it to be.

The room is long and narrow, but has a good amount of seating and a small L-shaped bar near the kitchen. While the smaller size of the place might seem like a negative, it’s truly the opposite because you’re that much closer to the stage.

jazztastings

Speaking of the stage, the whole point of the bar is to showcase phenomenal Jazz talent, and boy have they succeeded. We were there on a Friday night and the performers were ridiculously good. I was really blown away by the vibe of the place, how into it the audience was and just how well it all just “worked.”

Jazz Tastings is open six days a week, so you have no excuse not to check it out!

The Lucky Lure in Ivanhoe Village

I’ve been driving by The Lucky Lure for the almost year it’s been around in Ivanhoe Village, which is just north of downtown Orlando if you’re not familiar. I finally got an opportunity the opportunity to pop-in this past rain-drenched weekend. Gotta say I am not a fan.

I can see where this dive would appeal to a particular niche (think PBR, Natty Lite, and Coors Lite), but there’s nothing from my recent visit that connected me to it or left me wanting to go back again. I’d much rather head down the street to Imperial down the street and hang out there (with the domestic beer and wine crowd).

The Lucky Lure II

Occupy your time with pool and foosball.

The Lucky Lure I

The Bar Area

The Lucky Lure is co-owned by Amy Smith (AKA Lounge, 57 West) and Mike Blaise (Go Lounge), so there’s definitely some bar/nightlife experience behind the establishment. It also runs some pretty great happy hour deals, if that’s something you typically look for when deciding on a bar to go to.

Now, while I’m obviously not personally a fan of this little bar, one of the great things about the location is the opportunity to catch an awesome Central Florida sun setting over Lake Ivanhoe across the street (the place has an open-air concept).

Location deets:

The Lucky Lure
1427 North Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804

If you wanna see what other folks are saying about their own experience at The Lucky Lure–including at least three reviews about a “rude, prick bartender”–check out Yelp.

Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center Preview

(This post is a guest post from Pulse friend Colleen Burns.)

Dr. Phillips Performing Art Center

It’s coming! Orlando, our backyard is currently being landscaped by some bad-ass people! That’s right, on Nov 6th, the ribbon cutting of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Phase 1, is when our new backyard will be unveiled and everyone can frolic and play amongst the world of arts and culture.

What does that mean? Well I was lucky enough to join the Yelp Orlando Elite Squad (http://www.yelp.com/biz/yelps-vip-dr-phillips-center-hard-hat-tour-orlando) and get a sneak peak of everything that is going on at 455 South Orange Ave, in the heart of DT Orlando.

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Now I am sure you are saying, “yeah, yeah, I have heard about it.” I get it, you can go visit the website, walk by in astonishment of the amazing architecture, and read what shows are coming to town… But, let me tell you some things you may not know yet.

- #ArtsForEveryLife (https://twitter.com/hashtag/artsforeverylife?src=hash) – check it out, that’s right, this is not just the opera and what you imagine such a high-end performing arts center to be; this is for everyone!

- No stairs walking into this glorious building – that’s right, it’s on everyone’s level. All shows ranging from Classical Opera, Ballet, to a Rock show will all enter in one door and mix and mingle before heading into the actual theaters.

- They used neutral colors all throughout because they want the people to add all of the life and color. (adore this)

- Phase 1
Walt Disney Theater (seats 2,700±)
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater (seats 300±)
– Phase 2
Acoustical Theater (seats 1,700±)

- You may enter and mix and mingle even if you do not have a ticket to a show, enjoy this amazing spot anytime you wish. The goal: come early, stay late, enjoy!

- The front is all glass so everyone driving or walking by can see in and know they are invited.

- The venue itself will include two grand performance theaters, a community theater, outdoor plaza and performance space, rehearsal rooms, banquet space, administrative offices and an educational facility.


– The community theater’s seats are all removable to accommodate various layouts for shows and so there will never be an empty seat in the house.

- The entire site is more than nine acres in size

- Glass railings all throughout so you can see what is happening all around you

- There will be a 300 ft bar on the ground ground floor

- Throughout phase 1 there is 10,000 sq feet of education space – including viewing rooms to the dressing rooms so students can get to experience and dream of their future in theater. Also, when Phase 2 is completed, another 10,000 sq feet of education space will be added, totally 20,000 sq feet of education space total.

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- The grand staircase, as you enter into the building, is actually an inverted amphitheater going up all 5 flights with brilliant acoustics

- Magnolia will be functional during the day but closed off each evening for valet services.

- From the entrance of the building all the way back to city hall, will be able to host a 20,000 person concert.

- They paid carful attention to the back of house as well so the production staff would also have a positive experience. The loading doc leads right to the back of the largest theater and easily accessible via freight elevator for the community theater.

- There is a catering and liquor license that covers the entire load in area in the back for production staff’s leisure to host BBQs etc. so they do not have to leave the premise.

I don’t know about you but all of these facts blew me away! I am most excited about the casual evenings here to just sit back and enjoy our community. What are you most excited about?

The Naked and Famous at The Beacham

Summertime always brings ’round some really great music festivals and tours. One we’re extremely looking forward to is The Naked and Famous, who’ll be coming to The Beacham next month, June 10th. The Naked and Famous have actually been around for several years but I’ve only recently discovered them. Where have I been?

This is currently one of my favorite tracks of theirs, off of their most recent album “In Rolling Waves” (which is so good).

Location deets:

The Beacham
46 North Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
TheBeacham.com

You can catch the show by purchasing tickets here (not an affiliate link).

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