Tag Archives: summer

Seminole Towne Center hosts Summer Camp Expo March 4th

More than 40 companies representing unique classes, outdoor adventure programs, sports leagues, and family-friendly destinations and attractions throughout Central Florida will showcase unique summer camp and adventure program opportunities for your family March 4, 2017 from 10am – 4pm at Seminole Towne Center Mall.

This free expo will feature exhibitors from more than 40 companies representing unique classes, outdoor adventure programs, sports leagues, special needs providers and family-friendly destinations and attractions throughout Central Florida. During the expo, attendees will:

  • Receive exclusive camp discounts and travel deals
  • Learn about unique destinations and experiences for all ages
  • Interact one-on-one with camp counselors and destination representatives
  • Enjoy live entertainment and kids’ activities
  • Have fun while looking for summer camps for teens and make plans for your family.

We are excited to offer families the opportunity to explore unique destinations and experiences for children age three to 18, all under one roof,” says Sarah Bain, Orlando Sentinel Media Group events manager. “Expo guests will also find exclusive discounts, giveaways and travel deals while they enjoy live entertainment and kid-friendly activities like doing roofing maintenance with residential roofing peabody ma. It’s truly the fastest and easiest way to choose the best summer options for your family.

SeaWorld Summer Camp 2016. That’s SeaWorld Mommy’s smiling camper!

While looking over the list of camp options available, I saw some favorites (like SeaWorld that my son LOVED last year), and some that I didn’t know about. Attending: Another family fave— Skeletons. My son was wide-eyed for the osteology class we took there not too long ago.

While some may be partial to experiences involving animals and science (like my family!), there are lots of choices for whatever your kids are into. Parents and families will find sports activities, theater, music, filmmaking, just to name a few. Special Needs families will find camps that their kids will enjoy, too. There’s never been an easier way to compare summer camps in the Orlando area.

Come on out Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10am – 4pm at Seminole Towne Center Mall, 200 Towne Center Circle, Sanford, FL. It’s located right off of I-4 Exit 101C, please be sure that all of you buckle up and drive safe, and to contact this Philly car injuries lawyer  if any of you experience an automobile accident.

Insider tip: Get there early! The first 50 families* will receive two tickets
to Medieval Times! Read full details on the Orlando Sentinel website.

Check out the full list of camps and read more at www.orlandosentinel.com/summercampexpo.

*After 10 am ET on 3/4/17 at the Orlando Sentinel Information Booth at the Summer Camp & Adventure Expo at Seminole Towne Center Mall. Full details here.

How I survived a film shoot in the dead of summer with Portacool

Summer may be on its way out but, does it ever really leave? Not here!

For the past seven years I’ve also asked this question; Why does the 48 Hour Film Project Orlando have to take place in August? It’s in the dead of summer, humidity’s at it’s highest. In case your aircon is not working and it’s summer time, read the blog about tips to stay cool when the AC breaks here advancedhc.com. Even when properly hydrated (it’s IMPORTANT, folks!), it’s an absolutely miserable time to spend extended time outdoors.

Portacool on set 3

Director TL Westgate with some familiar faces; Actor Nando Luis Torres and camera op Jay De Los Santos on set of our short film, “Resolution.”

On film shoots, days are long. Depending on the setting and length of your script, you can spend anywhere from eight to sixteen hours on set. When shooting a scene set in the outdoors (aka: an exterior), it can be particularly brutal in the summertime. Here in Central Florida, we don’t have the privilege of the wondrous phenomenon known as “seasons,” like most of you see. Aside from rainy days, we enjoy “Hot” and “Not as Hot” changes in weather. This Central Florida summer was particularly sweltering until mid-August, where I pulled out what will become a dedicated friend for years to come.

Enter Portacool’s Cyclone 3200.

Portacool on set 2

Calm, cool and collected: Portacool’s Cyclone 3200

You ask, “What’s a Portacool?” It’s pretty AWESOME, that’s what it is! And huge thanks to Lee Allport from mysentimentexactlee.com for introducing to me this technology! (She used a bunch of these units to keep her wedding vow renewal party cool.)

Ever hear of evaporative cooling? It’s a concept where air is cooled by added water vapor, unlike an air conditioner which alters the temperature of a space, basically, by refrigerating it in cycles. Confusing?

Think of when you sweat and drink a cold glass of water. Yeah, it’s gross and our involuntary brand of sweat is always unwelcome, but it serves a purpose. The cold water keeps you hydrated and your sweat cools your body. This is kind of how Portacool’s products work except the unit doesn’t ‘sweat’ like your skin. In fact, there’s no liquid mist expelled at all. Just cool air, and enough to cool a 700 square foot area!

Portacool on set 1

Instead of changing his shirt (again), Jay stepped in front of the Cyclone 3200 instead!

Since we were run and gun the weekend of The 48, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to or between setups. We shot in a park, in a parking lot and inside a private residence, and we only had the bulk of Saturday to complete principle photography (aka: get everything shot).

When we landed at our ‘home’ location, I quickly set up the Cyclone in the garage which served as our holding area for actors, crew, craft service (aka: food, drink), babies, etc. I locked the castor wheels, threw on a stinger (extension cord) and the nearest water hose and let the 3200 fill up a bit. Here’s where it got interesting…

Our camera operator (and Central Florida Top 5 contributor) Jay was in direct sunlight most of the shoot, had already drenched one t-shirt and was sweating profusely. According to my smartphone’s thermometer, the temperature got as high as 112 degrees with the Heat Index and humidity this particular location. We took a small break to step into the garage that we luckily had just fixed by http://365GarageDoorRepair.com, and the temperature change was remarkable.

Where the temperature was well over 100 degrees, within a minute of stepping into our Portacooled ‘trailer,’ if you will, the temperature had immediately dropped to the 90s. By the end of the video above, the temperature dropped to a much cooler 85 degrees! That’s a pretty huge difference, and by the end of the break, Jay’s shirt was nearly dry!

Also in the video above, I mention sound. Of course on set during a take, no one talks, so of course it’s probably not best to run the unit then. However, I stood directly in front of the Cyclone 3200 on its higher fan setting and could be heard in the same area just fine by the crew. So for instance, at a pool party or get together, your guests will be louder – guaranteed!

Conclusion: I love this unit!!! For our outdoor filmmaking purposes, Portacool’s Cyclone 3200 was a WONDERFUL addition to our shoot! Setup was a breeze – pun intended. Cooling down an area took very little time, especially in a time crunch. The unit itself weights about 100 pounds (empty) and fit snugly into the back hatch of my mid-sized SUV with room to spare on the left and right sides. I will say though, more side grips are needed. Ideally you’d want two sets of hands to load and unload this into a vehicle. It gets a little tricky solo, especially with my short arms and small hands.

Top 5 reasons to check out Portacool’s Cyclone 3200:

  1. Unit is relatively lightweight and portable
  2. Cools up to 700 sq ft of outdoor space by 30 degrees
  3. No moving parts or special electrical hookups, uses tap water
  4. Castor wheels lock unit in place
  5. Locally available at Home Depot

Get more specs and product line info at Port-a-cool.com or on their social media accounts:





The ‘cool’ kids over at Portacool provided me one of their Cyclone 3200 for this post. All opinions expressed in this post were written by me and are of my own, semi-conscious mind. Thank you Portacool!


“The Flick” Director Kenny Howard Answers 5 Questions

This week Gen Y Productions brings a 4 week engagement of Annie Baker’s “The Flick” to the stage at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This marks the Florida premiere of the play which earned the 2013 Obie Award for Playwriting and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  “The Flick” runs June 17 through July 12.

Central Florida Theatre in Process’ John DiDonna asked the show’s director Kenny Howard to answer five questions:

Kenny Howard, director of "The Flick" playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts June 17-July 12

Kenny Howard, director of “The Flick” playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts June 17-July 12

JD: The production team you were part of is both Tony winning and Grammy nominated. Why the return to producing in Central Florida?

KH: For me it was about artistic vision and community. I went up for an AD job off-Broadway and to further my career as a director, yet ended up a managing member of a Tony Award-winning Broadway Producing company and a record label for Original Broadway Cast and Broadway artists’ cabaret albums.   Every moment was an amazing experience, but I needed to regroup and focus on what I actually wanted. That ended up being expression as an artist and a sense of community; both of which were things I had always felt I had here, so I came back for that purpose, as well as I just missed my family here in Central Florida. It was 17 years in the theatre community when I made the move to NYC, and I missed it horribly.  


JD: How does it feel being one of the first long-run shows in the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts? What are the risks? What are the benefits? (Okay, it is three parts but still one question!)

KH: Great question(s)! I had made a play to use the Pugh previously. I wanted in that space.

It is a gorgeous space that reminds me of the Jewel Box at the Signature Theatre in NYC.   Being a resident of Orlando almost 22 years, I was aware of the Pugh as the theater “for all lives,” (or whatever phrase they finally settled on), and I wanted to take them up on that.   I can’t tell you how it really feels until we load in on Sat (Note: June 13)., but I am a huge fan of the space and I’m excited as hell. The risks are many. Although not as expensive as first thought, it is still the most expensive venue of its kind in Central Florida, which requires a certain amount of attendance to be truly successful financially. AND, although not a producer for this production, I cannot help with my years of experience as a producer concern myself with that reality.

We are very fortunate to have a producer who not only rises to the challenge, but chose a play that challenges me, the cast, and crew, as well as the audiences. The benefits are that we are doing another production there in August. It is a musical that is over four times the size in cast and we have the benefit of acclimating ourselves to the space. Also, I believe in the vision of the Pugh that was first presented, and I hope that working with DPC for this project makes them amenable to doing the same for many local theatre companies. We are blessed to have a thriving theatrical community and I would like to see theatre companies follow suit and have more local productions take place there.


JD: Tell us about “The Flick”! What about this show will pull people into a live theatrical experience this summer?

KH: I can honestly say that personally I have never seen a show quite like “The Flick.” The setting of the play is inside an old movie house, that uses an old 35mm projector, and much like the theatre, the lives of the three lead characters are stuck in a rut. It is a story of the human spirit, change, heartache, yet very funny and extremely poignant. The audience is the screen and we watch the lives of 3 everyday people that we would normally pass in the theatre or on the street without a second glance. But in the movie house named “The Flick” we find ourselves immersed in three people doing their job and examining their lives and the need for connection. It is falls into a category of complete realism so these characters are not “performed,” as much as lived in by the fantastic cast.


JD: What is it like collaborating with the team of “The Flick”?

KH: This team is fantastic. Gen Y’s Managing Member Aaron Safer is amazing when it comes to artistic freedom, and he is a champion of the show, and can hustle. Chris Yakubchik as AD is another who provides great insight to the text. The cast collectively is so strong. Anastasia Kurtiak is a dream stage manager who keeps us all on track. Marcellis is a reserved man, but is bringing Avery to life in a beautiful way. Jessie Grossman is the bomb! She is a consummate professional and her Rose is truly lovely to watch. And then Daniel Cooksley is someone I have admired on the stage for years and the audience and we are extremely fortunate to have him breathe life into Sam. Coletyn is young, but he is bright and funny, and we are lucky to have him. Bonnie Sprung is our set designer and has out done herself for this one, and lastly Roy Brown, who I have used for most of my lighting design needs who in each instance has not only succeeded but gone above and beyond expectations. So as far as collaborating with this team…I’m very fortunate. J


JD: What is coming up next for Kenny Howard? Projects? Vacation?

KH: Next up in July is “Wanzie’s Court Ordered Therapy: Ladies of Eola Heights-Continued” at The Abbey which reunites Chris and I with Beth Marshall, Peg O’Keefe, Blue Star, Sam Singhaus and our newest cast member of the Locksdale tribe…Kevin Kelly. Then in August “Heathers: The Musical” we are back in the Pugh Theatre at DPC. In September I have BMP’s Play-in-a-Day, and the reboot of The Abbey’s Monday Night Cabaret Series, then in October “Bat Boy” at The Abbey. I do have another project in both the spring and summer of 2016, but it has not been announced yet. Vacation? What’s that? I will get to NYC whenever I can, and I will get to KY to visit my parents.

But mostly….”I can’t – I’m in rehearsal.”


Tickets range from $35 to $60 for the hilarious and heartrending “The Flick,” and are on sale now at DrPhillipsCenter.org.


– Interview and post courtesy of guest blogger John DiDonna of Central Florida Theatre in Process