Tag Archives: Orlando Florida

Everything is Terrible! Legends Tour at Will’s Pub

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What do Jerry Maguire, fire safety PSAs, and sexually suggestive children’s shows all have in common?  Nothing.  But the gang at Everything is Terrible! figured out how to make them work together to help the audience at Will’s Pub take charge of their own destiny and climb to the top of the EIT Pyramid.

Everything is Terrible! is a website dedicated to scraping the bottom of the barrel for lost and forgotten VHS tapes, ripping them apart, and stitching them back together again in wonderfully insane ways.  They’re currently traveling the country with their Legends Tour which is advertised as a “Best of” show of their first seven years.  But for this tour they’ve mixed it up even more and turned it into a Choose Your Own Adventure style show, letting the audience dictate what they see next.

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The show opened with our hosts telling the audience that they’re about to climb the  EIT pyramid on their path to enlightenment.  After we finish watching each new video mash-up, our masked hosts proclaim that we’ve climbed one more level.  They presented us with choices, like “Kids or Animals” or “Sex or Violence” and we’d get to see whichever option got the most reaction. At one level they asked us to either pray for one choice or tweet at them for the other.

For the first level our audience chose “Kids” and the selection was a mixture of forgotten children’s shows, horrifying mascots, and cheesy PSAs.  One highlight was an anti-bullying ad from the 90’s where the bully gets run over by a car while Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” plays over it.  When we selected the “Sex” category, our video featured things like abstinence PSAs, a man demonstrating a penis pump, and Sinbad dressed as a condom.

Everything is Terrible! is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced.  And while I had a blast, it certainly isn’t for everyone.  One moment you’ll be laughing hysterically, next you’ll be getting fuel for your nightmares, and then finally you’ll end up questioning what you’re doing with your life.  But by the end of the show it won’t matter because you’ll have made it to the top of the EIT Pyramid!

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To check out Everything is Terrible! you can find them here.

To learn more about Will’s Pub and their upcoming events you can find that here.

Top 5 | Magical Dining Dishes of 2014

By Lisa Wilk

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is wrapping up and I enjoyed dining at restaurants far and wide to seek out delicious meals. Here are five dishes that left a wonderful impression and have me planning to return to each restaurant to enjoy again.

Kasa Corn Magical Dining 2014

Kasa Corn: Roasted corn with miso lime aioli, Togarashi spices, Manchego cheese and queso fresco elevating the flavors of Mexican street corn with Manchego cheese and a fusion of Japanese flavors. Kasa Restaurant & Bar is located in downtown Orlando and Kasa Corn is available on their regular menu.

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Bourbon Glazed Salmon with Sweet Corn and Bourbon Saute had so much flavor in every component, a delightful and unique preparation of a premium Norwegian Salmon. (And Bacon!) This delicious dish featured on Eleven at the Reunion Resort’s current menu, enjoy.

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Grilled New York Strip Steak topped with bone marrow gremolata butter, served with pan seared baby summer squash ragout on the side. From Siro Urban Italian Kitchen in the Marriott World Center was cooked to ordered temperature and the flavorful dish received plenty of happy nods. Enjoy on the current Siro menu.

Hemingways Crab Cakes Magical Dining

“Cayo Hueso” crab cakes from Hemingway’s in the The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, a generous portion of blue crab with little filler, made this entree a winner for me. Happily, this signature dish is available year round at Hemingway’s.

Bananas Foster flambéed tableside over brown butter cake, served with butter pecan ice cream. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood offered Magical Dining guests a wonderful meal, interactive flaming dessert and a spectacular lakeside view.

Magical Dining Month dining ends with dinner service on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 and will return again next September. Over 70 restaurants participated in Visit Orlando’s the 2014 Magical Dining Month and preview week, with $1 from each meal served being donated to charity. I’m already looking forward to the creative offerings for next year’s Magical Dining Menu. For updates and future details on this annual event, check back here at CentralFloridaTop5.com.

New Orlando Hashtag! Meet and share #Orlandoing

We love our #Orlando #SocialMedia hashtags!

First it was #WhyOrlando and a few others came along like #Oyes

Now meet  #Orlandoing

Jon Busdeker, of the Orlando Sentinel, asks, “Where is your favorite Orlando sign?” (you better tweet him too @jonbusdeker )

#Orlandoing is easy,  just find your favorite sign that says Orlando and take a selfie with you pointing at it.  Make sure to tag it #Orlandoing and tag @JonBusdeker  in it.  He’s planning to make a video with the best pics later on!

#Orlandoing: City Beautiful’s newest social media trend

Below are a few of our favorites thus far:

And this one that includes another trend, Vadering

 

Orlando’s Café Tu Tu Tango Birthday Party this Weekend

Cafe Tu Tu Tango Turns 20 with a Birthday Celebration

CAFÉ TU TU TANGO, the iconic Orlando eatery, invites all artists, foodies and friends to come celebrate 20 years of sharing food, drink and the bohemian philosophy.

Raise a paintbrush with them as they create a community mural, cheers a free beer or whiskey with them from breweries and distillers such as Breckenridge, Big Storm and Winter Park Distilling Company.

Live music featuring local band, WAS (showing 3-6PM) will serenade the evening atmosphere as belly dancers and salsa dancers welcome you to perform in their traditions. Painters, writers and sculptors exhibit their work while the culinary team grills, braises and sautés flavors from around the world.

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Interview | Bridgette Pirtle – Former Senior Killer Whale Trainer at SeaWorld

Guest post By: Kaylin Williams be sure to follow her on Instagram: @Blessedbytheorcas

Hey there everyone! I recently spoke with Bridgette Pirtle/Davis, former SeaWorld San Antonio’s Senior Killer Whale Trainer who was even involved with the ‘Blackfish’ campaign, and asked her a few questions about her work with SeaWorld and other animal welfare topics. Here’s what she had to say. 

KW- At what age did you want to be a SeaWorld trainer?

BP- “I was three years old when I decided I was born to be a “whale rider.” My family had taken our first big, getaway vacation together to Orlando and that was the first time I saw killer whales. The first interaction I experienced was a simple learning session in between shows. Standing in the empty stadium, I watched the trainer feed Namu, Shamu and Baby Shamu. That moment shaped my dreams and aspirations for decades to come. Everything I did revolved around my love for the animals, my passion for the job and my dream of becoming a SeaWorld killer whale trainer. Just fifteen years following that first interaction, I would be living my dream of being a SeaWorld animal trainer.”

KW- How would you describe the care and research SeaWorld applies toward their killer whales?

BP- “SeaWorldʼs care and research is the pinnacle of the industry. I was fortunate to be a part of several different research projects throughout my ten years there. From visual acuity to respiratory capacity, there was ample opportunity to add to our knowledge of killer whales through the research projects made possible by facilities like SeaWorld. Since I was young, the most impressive contributions to our understandings of the cetaceans all came from zoological facilities like SeaWorld. One of my favorite revelations is one that came recently from a SeaWorld park. Because of their dedication to research, we now know that killer whales are capable of learning different dialects of communication. That’s unbelievable.”

She also commented on SeaWorld’s Killer Whale care,“As far as care, you will never meet anyone more dedicated to their job than the trainers and zookeepers of SeaWorld. Each and every day centers on providing the very best for the animals in their care. It is a responsibility that, as a trainer, you take to heart. There is not a moment in your life that you are not prepared to drop anything you are doing to answer to the needs of your animals. The passion and love for the animals fuels a trainer’s drive to do the best and give everything they can to the animals each time they step poolside.”BridgettePirtle

KW- What is your view on ‘Blackfish’ and the effect it had on the public?

BP- “‘Blackfish’ is very selfish and misinformative. It’s an egocentric, misguided representation of what a few mislead individuals feel would be best for the animals they used to care for. As a whole, the film manipulates its viewers through craftily edited footage that is mostly outdated. Quick cuts from out-of-context show clips from decades ago mislead an audience to believe aggressions occurred, when the reality of the situation, no aggression took place. It’s deceiving enough to fool even experienced former trainers like myself. Even I fell victim to its message initially. I was grateful that I learned to ask the right questions and that is when the truth was revealed to me. These former trainers were mostly inexperienced and outdated. Their limited perspectives from their minimal time working at SeaWorld were misrepresented.

As far as their contribution to understanding modern day safety protocols in killer whale training, their contribution is absolutely irrelevant. To have anyone argue that what they experienced decades ago is relevant now is arrogant and quite ignorant as well. On top of having a very limited understanding of killer whale training, you have a manipulative representation of killer whale researchers who are more accurately “activists masquerading as scientists.” (I’d like to give the credit to Eric Davis of Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast for that description. It’s very appropriate and very accurate.) Longevity estimates are manipulated. Contradictions are prevalent throughout the film. All of these faults are disguised within clever edits and a beautiful soundtrack. At its very core, the film was exploitive. In pursuit of superficial Hollywood success, ‘Blackfish’ further exploited the lives of Dawn, Keltie and Alexis all to perpetuate a radical activist agenda that would spawn a movement that supports actions that represent a death sentence to animals.

Overall, it’s scary to see so many people look to ‘Blackfish’ as factual. It’s anything but a fact-based documentary. It’s opinion-driven, fueled by outdated experiences and contrived scientific studies. Events recalled by former trainers are exaggerated or, even worse, fabricated. It is a tool of animal activist propaganda that takes advantage of a mainstream audience that lacks the knowledge of a more appropriate and current depiction of animal training and zoological facilities operating today. This, in turn, encourages those within its gullible audience to leap for the “‘Blackfish’ bandwagon” before they truly have a well-grounded, accurately depicted understanding of the issues at hand. ‘Blackfish’ is misleading in that it takes you on this journey that focuses on Dawn, how she was an inspiration in so many ways throughout her life, and you are lead to believe that now, this anti-SeaWorld, anti-captivity spin zone that has materialized in the weeks following the films’ release is a part of Dawn’s story. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The film exploited the positive impact and the lasting impression Dawn had on the lives of so many animals and people by twisting it into an egocentric, self-serving purpose of promoting the activists’ disorganized and irrational ideas of rehabilitating the animals. It’s important to approach such discussions as captivity pragmatically.

I truly believe that once the audience lifts the wool from over their eyes and begin to take responsibility of their knowledge and understanding of the issues and ask questions that reveal the truth stripped by the emotional ploys of the film, they will realize again, like the sad saga of Keiko, that Blackfish is yet another manipulative tactic by animal activists attempting to gain mainstream support for their poorly-founded, extremist ideas that serve to spell a huge setback in the area of animal welfare.”

KW- What changes do you think SeaWorld needs to apply to the care and display of their animals, if any?

BP- “My favorite thing from my years of being an animal trainer was enrichment. Playtimes and relationship sessions were integral to establishing strong relationships with your animals. I’ve recently seen and heard of some of the amazing additions to the areas that really serve to show a dedication SeaWorld has for giving the animals the very best. Animals are enriched with sessions that involve touchscreen interactions that serve to provide an even deeper understanding of the mental capacity of these creatures. The facilities are continuing to evolve to provide cutting edge safety for both the trainers and the animals.

The most impressive part of these recent additions is that they are being incorporated into the animals’ areas in a way that also provides environmental enrichment. Fast-rising false bottom floors not only allow trainers and killer whales to interact safely, but the floors itself can be used as environmental stimulation that adds a valuable layer of enrichment for the animals. The actions I’ve seen SeaWorld take are amazing. They truly do have the animals’ and trainers’ care and safety forefront in their minds.”

KW- What are you doing currently to get the truth out about SeaWorld?

BP- “I’ve always been very open and honest about what I’ve experienced these past couple of years. I believe that by sharing firsthand knowledge I acquired during my brief involvement with the film will reveal a more appropriate depiction of what honestly motivated those involved in making the film and what continues to motivate them now. It’s all very self-serving. The strongest examples of animal welfare experts are those dedicating their lives to the animals each and every day. They are sweating in wetsuits, not parading on red carpets.I honestly believe that, by sharing my experiences from my ten years at SeaWorld, I can use these experiences as a way to encourage others to take the same path and dedicate their own lives to caring for animals responsibly. Being with the whales at Sea World was the best time of my life. Those pictures represent a culmination of a dream that started when I was 3 years old. I loved the whales and continue to love them. I will never be anything less than proud of my time at SeaWorld and the things I accomplished with the whales. It was a magical time that allowed me to live my dream and share it with others.

I realize I won’t please everyone, but have come to value speaking the truth in love.

I want to lay out my core beliefs in regards to animals & human life:

• Both are to be highly regarded and respected

• We are stewards of this earth & the animals left to our care

• It is possible to have animals in captivity with doing harm

• Captivity does serve a purpose in educating the public

• Waterworks is a connection between you and the animal that can only be felt when experienced

• Though my opinion may differ from others I will respect that opinion without criticism or judgment (Well, that’s my prayer with God’s help. Forgive me when I fail.) The reality is that, by sharing my story through whatever means available (whether it be social media, local newspapers or even Fox News), I can hopefully help contribute positively and constructively to a healthier and truer image of what it means to honestly and selflessly care for animals, and have their best in heart and mind as it pertains to their welfare.”

KW- What do you think it means to be a SeaWorld trainer?

BP- “It’s the culmination of a dream that began when I was three years old. It’s an honor and a privilege that very few get the opportunity to be a part of. Being a trainer is about genuine passion, selfless sacrifice, and endless dedication each and every day. I will never be anything less than proud of my time at SeaWorld and all the things I accomplished caring for the animals. Being an animal trainer, you are blessed with an opportunity to not only live out your own dream but also to share that dream with thousands of others and hopefully inspire them to pursue the same dream of devoting their best to caring for the animals.”

KW- Do you think that waterwork behaviors with killer whales should return to shows?

BP- “Simple answer to a complex question… Yes. Here’s why- I believe that maintaining a positive reinforcement history with waterwork desensitization is in the best interest for the safety of both the animals and the trainers. One of the most important concepts within behavior modification is maintaining a strong reinforcement history of a myriad of different behaviors within various contexts. This includes waterwork behaviors in a variety of different interactions, including show performances. I believe SeaWorld is doing a wonderful job in applying these behavioral principles to the best of their ability within the recent constraints given by the OSHA findings. Taking the government out of the equation, SeaWorld has always been at the top of the industry when it comes to safety within its killer whale training program. SeaWorld’s trainers literally wrote the book on the most successful and effective methods of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. That being said, I side with SeaWorld in that slowly and safely re-introducing waterwork in many different contexts, including shows, would be in the best interest of creating the safest working environment for both the animals and the trainers. By the government establishing these requirements that restrict waterwork interactions to a non-performance context, it is creating opportunities for discrimination to occur that increase risk factors rather than minimize them.

I believe that the training staff at Shamu Theater can safely and successfully re-integrate waterwork behaviors within multiple contexts that will benefit the animals by improving the quality of hands-on care that the trainers are capable of providing as well as significantly improving upon the safety of both the trainers and the animals.”

KW- Do you think moving the whales to a sea pen is a good idea?

BP- “Absolutely not. It’s more like one of the most misguided, horrible ideas ever on so many levels. These ideas being introduced haphazardly to Congress are done so on a whim to capitalize on this so-called “‘Blackfish’ effect” without thorough thought or consideration to what’s truly in the best interest of the animals. These so-called animal welfare acts are in all actuality a death sentence for the animals they involve. Bills are being presented in a way that seems more like incomplete sentences in their attempt to tell the masses that whales need to be released, even though they don’t know exactly the who, what, when, where, why or how of the situation. It’s again a very egocentric way of force-feeding their radical activist agenda to the gullible masses without any legitimate rhyme or reason. Sea pens would compromise the safety and well-being of not only the animals, but also the trainers.

The sad reality of the situation is that this isn’t the first time that our generation has seen such a gross misrepresentation of animal welfare. Keiko is an excellent example of how attempting to release an animal at any cost causes more harm to the animal than good. I, personally, am very much looking forward to reading Mark Simmons’s book, ‘Killing Keiko’. I am certain it will provide much needed insight into what truly happened during the attempt to release the star of Free Willy once the message of the project’s activist influence took precedence over what was in the best interest of the Keiko’s well-being. With Keiko, we have a disheartening example of what extremes these self-proclaimed scientists are willing to go to, all in the arrogant pursuit of proving their point. I certainly pray that society sees through this and steps forward to prevent such a sad chapter of our history from repeating itself.”

KW- Before we go would you like to add anything else?

BP- “My first steps into Blackfish were truly honorable. At that time, I was lead to believe that this film was being created with the intentions of accomplishing a positive change for the animals I cared for during my career at SeaWorld while honoring the memory of Dawn and the powerful impact she had on the lives of the animals and so many people. Initially, I hoped to speak about opportunities to provide something even greater for the animals and how I felt SeaWorld could make a more powerful impact on the lives of both the animals and the trainers.As I started to form these connections amongst those involved with the film, I began to feel prompted to compromise my own core values that centered around my love and respect for the animals in order to fit into the agenda of Blackfish.

My conscience began to bother me as I felt a disconnect between my core beliefs and that which I was saying and doing to fit into the agenda of the film.I began to learn how to ask the right questions, and with them the inconsistencies within the stories entwined in Blackfish were revealed to me. Slowly, unsettling answers revealed that the message of Blackfish was no longer one of hope and inspiration. Instead, I felt it shift towards frivolous accusations and fabricated stories in a craftily edited attempt to paint SeaWorld as evil. My message of truth, respect and opportunity was absent as the film’s message had morphed into one that exploited two tragic losses in the interest of perpetuating an activist agenda.”

She also added,“I never intended on becoming involved with a film set on villianizing SeaWorld. Being with the whales at SeaWorld was the best time of my life. During my association with the film, I was operating in a fluid environment, filled with uncertainties and conflicting emotions and values. In the past few months, I have returned to my own core values. The relationships I had with the animals and my time at SeaWorld were integral in instilling these values of honesty and respect within myself. By no longer compromising my own experiences and beliefs, I hope to better represent a more respectful role that not only speaks out for the animals, but also those of SeaWorld being unfairly criticized as they continue dedicating so much while caring for the animals. These trainers sacrifice every day to give their best and they deserve to be viewed as compassionate heroes. The ten years I spent caring for the animals represent the culmination of a dream that started when I was 3 years old. I will never be anything less than proud of my time at SeaWorld and all the things I accomplished caring for the animals. SeaWorld blessed me with an opportunity that not only allowed me to live my dream of connecting with and caring for the killer whales but also to share that dream and inspire others to pursue the same.”

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I would like to thank Bridgette Pirtle/Davis for speaking with me about all the amazing things SeaWorld does and how ‘Blackfish’ had a misleading masquerade of fallacies to meet an activist agenda. Thank you for reading. Always remember that you can’t always see the silver lining, doing your research is a big part of learning and becoming educated on what SeaWorld really strives to do.

*Thank you to every avid SeaWorld supporter that is here to spread awareness! Please read The Truth about SeaWorld Parks, The Blackfish Backlash

Business inquiries: If there is anything you want me to be involved with, rather it be a class, workshop, internship, article or interview or anything please contact me through Instagram: @Blessedbytheorcas

Check out another article by Kaylin Williams  for Kyle Kittleson: marinemammaltrainer.com/seaworlds-history/