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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly

Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival Sunday after a gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. David Becker/Getty Images, npr.org

Mass Shootings are Becoming More Deadly and More Frequent

This isn’t normal. Sunday’s horrific event in Las Vegas is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. For 16 months, Orlando was burdened with this title. Awful as it was to be at the top of of that list, it wasn’t one we wished on anyone else. If it feels like mass shootings are becoming both more deadly and more frequent, it’s because they are. They’ve become such regular occurrences – five in just the last two years – that our reactions have become formulaic. When horror strikes we fall into a predictable cycle that ultimately achieves nothing but to make us just a bit more numb. Politicians and elected officials offer “thoughts and prayers.” Anyone calling for …

Image: How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story, peacefilmfest.org

The Global Peace Film Festival

Watching movies doesn’t have to be an idle pastime. In fact, the organizers of the Global Peace Film Festival want it to be a revolutionary one. This annual festival of short films, features and documentaries hopes to inspire audiences to action, using movies as a catalyst for change. And in this, its 15th year, it feels like peaceful change is needed more than ever. Festival founder Nina Streich admits that 2017’s environmental devastation, global social inequality, and divisive politics are scary. But she’s counting on that atmosphere of heightened urgency to motivate her audience rather than turning them off. Streich says, “What’s exciting about the festival is at the end of a film, when people are kind of leaning forward …

Image: Screen shot of @MarcoRubio tweet, twitter.com

Group Demands Marco Rubio Stop Tweeting his Daily Bible Verses

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has a penchant for waking up early and tweeting a daily Bible verse to the 3 million followers of his Twitter account. But an organization devoted to the separation of church and state has asked him to stop, claiming that he’s breaking the law. Last week, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the request in a letter to Rubio’s Washington D.C. office. They cited the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in June that tweets from President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account are, in fact, official statements. “We have no issue with people reading and discussing the Bible,” says Andrew Seidel, the foundation’s director of strategic response. “But it is not for the government in our …

Image: Photo by Allen Sheffield via Flickr, orlandoweekly.com

A Farmers Market is Coming to Parramore this Fall

A federal grant awarded to the city of Orlando last year is finally coming to fruition. City officials say they are working to open a new farmers market in Parramore by October, giving residents a more convenient option to buy fresh produce. Parramore has been deemed a “food desert,” meaning at least 33 percent of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. In October 2016, the city won a USDA grant to expand healthy food options in West Orlando. The grant initiatives include creating 10 to 15 large vegetable gardens in residential front yards, based on the Fleet Farming model; teaching classes on healthy cooking in partnership with Hebni Nutrition; and establishing a …

Image: photograph from “Roadsides and Skylines” by Jenn Allen, orlandoweekly.com

Ekphrastic Floridas at the Gallery at Avalon Island

A great thing about writing for a living is that you learn new things all the time. This week I learned the word “ekphrasis,” which is a rhetorical term for vividly detailed written description. Plato first defined the form in 380 BC, but the most widely known ekphrastic poem is Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” – a work of art about a work of art so illuminating that the reader actually “sees” the Greek vase. I stumbled over the word in an invitation to an event happening next week at the Gallery at Avalon Island. Local publisher Burrow Press is teaming up with Avalon for something called “Ekphrastic Floridas,” an evening of writers reading works directly inspired by the …

Image:  Eggleston1988 Parking Lot, mennellomuseum.org

The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston

Last Friday Orlando’s Mennello Museum of American Art opened an exhibition of work by Memphis photographer William Eggleston, who’s widely acknowledged as a living national treasure. Before Eggleston’s groundbreaking 1976 show at the Museum of Modern Art, color photos were seen as lowbrow. “Real” art photographers shot in austere black and white. But naysayers were put in their place when Eggleston’s brilliant dye-transfer prints became wildly popular and influential. Their saturated intensity lends significance to their humdrum subjects – rusty gas station signs, tattered fabric on a clothesline, a parking lot by night. And seeing as he’s known for his use of color, it’s a surprise – and a delight – to find that half the show is black-and-white photos. …

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Reconciling Americans’ Opposing Desires on Gun Control

In a Gallup poll five days after the Pulse shootings, 63 percent of Americans said they thought that making it harder to buy assault weapons would prevent similar incidents. But in the same poll, 64 percent of respondents said they thought allowing more people to carry concealed weapons would prevent mass shootings. On the face of it, these seem like contradictory opinions, though statistically, some people must have agreed with both. In this year’s legislative session, Florida politicians had similarly paradoxical results on both sides of the aisle. Democratic legislators were unable to pass bills making possession of assault weapons by everyday citizens a felony, while Republican-sponsored bills to allow concealed campus carry, concealed airport carry and open carry also …

Image:Patrick Martinez, “all american class of 2016,” courtesy of the artist and Charlie James Gallery

American Memorial by Patrick Martinez

Hanging through September 10 at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is American Memorial, the first solo exhibition by young Californian artist Patrick Martinez. In this survey of his work thus far, Martinez has created relics that speak to his generation’s political anguish. Those ubiquitous plastic-backed “CHECK CASHING” neons are reconfigured to speak hip-hop lyrics. A series of sheet cake sculptures are adorned not with a smiling grad’s photo in frosting, but with portraits of survivors of street violence. On a 5-foot-tall version of the archetypal Pee-Chee folder, the drawings of idealized high-school athletes are interspersed with scenes of police brutality taken from the headlines. Martinez’s work is infused with the resistance politics of 1970s Chicano art, befitting his Los Angeles …

Image: Mike Delamon in Flori-DUH, orlandofringe.org

The 26th Orlando Fringe Festival

The 26th Orlando Fringe Festival kicked off its 14-day run this week, welcoming the public to more than 150 different shows: comedy, drama, storytelling, burlesque, puppetry and even magic shows performed by artists from all over the world. The first Orlando Fringe theatre festival was in 1992, in downtown Orlando. In 2005, Fringe moved to the Loch Haven cultural campus, and in recent years, it’s expanded its borders, both geographic and temporal. Shows are no longer confined to the Shakespeare Center and the Orlando Rep, but happen all across town, from St. Matthew’s Tavern on Mills Avenue to the Breakthrough Theatre in Winter Park to, this year, a roving cargo van offering a twisted take on carpool karaoke. And the …

Image: The Architectural Guidebook to Central Florida, aiaorlando.com

The Architectural Guidebook to Central Florida

If you’ve never considered Orlando a location for great building-spotting, there’s a new book that might make you rethink that. The Architectural Guidebook to Central Florida collects almost 300 examples of stunning structures around the region, with photographs and essays by design professionals. The guidebook includes historic downtown buildings from the early 20th century, midcentury modern residences, and Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic Florida Polytechnic University. Florida Southern College, the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world, is also here, along with Phillip Johnson and Michael Graves’s postmodern works for Disney. And there’s a building by Wright’s assistant Isabel Roberts and her partner, Ida Ryan, America’s first female architect. The 316-page book includes addresses and maps, to aid …