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Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Monday Movie Review
WANZIE:
Ok, now I’m going to sound like Doug; this is a great film for 13 year-old girls. And that’s all that needs be said. If you are a young teen with a vagina, this movie was created just for you. If you are anything other than a young teenage girl – preferably the parochial type – then stay away from IF I STAY.

1 ½ PINK TRINANGLES

DOUG:
Did not see this movie.

Move Over Disney – There’s A Major Contender On The Block!
THERE HAS BEEN A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE
By contributing WANZeGRAM staff member
– Gary Bungart
gbungart@gmail.com

In the not so distant past when Universal Florida came up with a new attraction, there was always the obligatory comparison to Walt Disney World.

I say…No More!

After having spent Sunday morning in Universal Studios Florida enjoying their new Diagon Alley, the reviewers from this point forward should call attention to how much like a Universal attraction new Disney endeavors should be.  Universal has set a new standard for immersive entertainment. They don’t just put that verbage in their press releases…they build it.

I do not want to give away any of the wonderment the first time theme park visitors will have when they stumble into Diagon Alley, so I intend to write this with the utmost care to let you experience it firsthand.

It was so very smart and daring of the Universal design team to not call attention to their new area with intrusive signage leading park guests by the hand into the area. Part of the fun is finding it, discovering something on your own, and being overwhelmed by the details just behind the portal.

The details, scope, and whimsy in the entire area are enough in themselves; however, Universal didn’t stop there. They didn’t just build a restaurant, put some rocks over it, add a small cake topper castle to it, and call it a major expansion (nor did they take over four years to build it.) Jaws closed in January 2012. They built an entirely new and highly detailed area, plus two state of the art attractions using ride systems that create a totally new experience.  As with Spiderman which opened to rave reviews in 1999, Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express both are totally new ride systems, never before seen in a theme park, to the best of my knowledge.

It was so much fun watching park guests of all ages trying to make their wands work to make the interactive windows and displays magically animate.

The shops where filled with unique merchandise, most of which were entirely devoted to Harry Potter. I didn’t see a Woody Woodpecker souvenir anywhere in Diagon Alley. It’s refreshing when theme parks remember their own theming when stocking their shops.

As we were walking out of the area and back into America, we heard one exasperated lady pushing a stroller say to anyone who would listen, “Just where is this damn new ride anyway?” I just kept walking. As I said earlier, part of the fun is finding it for yourself.

Universal has proven itself to be a leader in immersive entertainment.

Universal has proven itself to be willing to spend the money to build, in a timely fashion, truly unique experiences for their guests.

Universal has proven they no longer should be compared to Walt Disney World. They are a leader in Central Florida.

Universal has raised the bar. The question now is who else will be able to reach it, let alone raise it higher.

Gary Bungart is the former creator and editor of ThemeParks.com.  He currently serves as editor of The WANZeGRAM while maintaining thousands of computers at Hagerty High School.   Gary resides in Lake Mary, Florida, with wife Val and “The Puppy Girls Three.”


Animate photo showing Jaws and Diagon Alley

Picture(s) Of The Week

Diagon Alley


Someone deserves an award for hiring this guy. Excellent casting!


Wonder where this goes...looks like a restroom


Made me wonder if Catherine Goodison can now add Owl poop to her wide array of faux painting


Ceiling inside a shop in Diagon Alley...Amazing


Overflow queue area for those oh so pleasent Spring and Christmas breaks

Click Here

Wanzie going through the brick wall portal to platform 9 ¾ in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida

On Sale In Our Box Office

NOW PLAYING

A One-Man Multimedia Safari Into The Gay Community! – Loud, irreverent, and hilarious, Logan Donahoo lovingly guides you through this off-kilter world of slang, history, drag queens, bears and MORE! Like stealing hot-pink fire from Mt. Olympus, you too can now learn the answers to all those questions about the queer culture that you were too afraid to ask. – DO NOT MISS IT!

Select – A- Seat Now

The Orlando PRIDE Edition Of

The Biggest Little Pageant Ever!

NOW ON SALE

Select – A- Seat Now

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Short Takes

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Albus Dumbledore

My Two Cents

RICK SCOTT - NO BEDFELLOW TO TRUTH
By Mike Dorman

In the current Florida gubernatorial race, current governor Rick Scott is running a campaign ad blaming former governor Charlie Crist for "losing over 800,000 jobs" between taking office in 2007 and leaving office in 2011. Per Scott, this is apparently all due to something (Scott never names or describes it) that Crist did to torpedo the state's economy. Of course any sentient human being knows that Crist took office just as the nation's economy nosedived and the unemployment result in Florida was mirrored nationwide. Every governor in every state in the union was witness to the same things that happened in Florida, happening in their own state. Of course one of the first casualties of a nationwide recession is a sharp decline in tourism, which (surprise!) is a double whammy for Florida, a tourist Mecca. If this ad truly reflects Scott's reasoning power, he's too stupid to breathe without instructions.  

As an adjunct to "blame Charlie," Scott has consistently crowed that he has, in recent years, cut taxes, saying "it's your money" in campaign ads featuring Scott in some sort of warehouse with a crowd of apparent working class persons holding signs lauding him…The truth (remember that?) is that the vast bulk of the tax reductions under Scott were either already in place from prior administrations (sales tax holidays, done since 1998) or were tax breaks for businesses which actually put no money back in the working man's pocket, as Scott specifically alleges. Add to this the sharp increases in state university tuitions, and a 50% reduction in one of Florida's brightest and best ideas - the Bright Futures Scholarship program, and in actuality, Governor Scott has hit working class families hard, indeed.  One of the few actual legislative acts Scott has signed is the rollback of planned increases in vehicle registration.  To get a sense of how this largess will actually benefit Floridians, know this: it won't even go into effect until 2015, so no one has seen a dime of it yet. Secondarily, for comparison, the cuts to Bright Futures will cost some Florida families thousands, and will, in some cases, place college out of reach for students who would formerly have been able to go tuition free.

Finally, Scott crows about "creating" almost 700,000 jobs.  Closer analysis shows that 96% of those jobs are rehires in industries directly or indirectly related to tourism. They are the result of the nationwide recovery from recession, and have nothing to do with Scott’s gubernatorial skills. Of the 4% of actual new jobs, one must ask, "At what cost?"  The answer is a complex group of tax cuts, or more correctly, tax exclusions to businesses, which may or may not have moved to Florida anyway. They certainly put zero dollars into the pockets of the taxpaying base as a whole.

Rick Scott apparently believes that we Floridians are apparently a bit slow, and he's right to this extent - if you like Rick Scott because you believe a single word of his "I cut taxes and put money in your pocket" scam, you should keep your seat on the short bus.  In a state where sales tax, tourist taxes, and property taxes constitute the vast bulk of state revenue, just ask yourself these questions: "Has sales tax decreased?" "Has my property tax decreased?" "Have any of my licensing or user fees decreased?"  I didn't think so. 

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?
By all means, share it with your subscriber friends right here in your WANZeGRAM. Submit your 350-words-or-less opinion piece, rant, rave, or observations to Email your submission to wanziemichael@gmail.com

Now Playing

TONIGHT – Wednesday September 17
WANZIE & FRIENDS WIGGIN OUT WEDNESDAY

Happy Hour / Music & Trivia hosted by Wanzie

The Abbey – 5PM till ?
No Cover
Discounts for WANZeGRAM Subscribers
Scroll down to A NOTE FROM WANZIE for complete details

www.AbbeyOrlando.com

Monday September 22
JESSICA HOEHN’s debut Cabaret

DEBUTANTE GAL


You loved her as Judy Garland. Now see her as the sensationally-voiced persona that is herself. Jessica sings! And she sings damn well! (Soprano no less!)

The Abbey
$10
www.AbbeyOrlando.com

Saturdays through September 20
Logan Donahoo’s
FIELD GUIDE TO THE GAYS
Footlight Theatre

$10
http://wanzie.com/boxoffice/

Through September 21
THE LETTERS
Mad Cow

$33.75
Buy Tickets

Through October 3
SYLVIA
Theatre Downtown

$22 Adult/$18 Students & Seniors
407.841.0083

Through October 4
THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG
The Winter Park Playhouse

$38 evenings / $35 Senior Evenings / $28 matinees
$25 Third Thursday evening / $20 industry & Students
Student rush "$10@10"
407.645.0145
www.winterparkplayhouse.org

Through October 10
LES MISERABLES
Orlando Shakes

$20 - $55
407.447.1700 Ext. 1
www.orlandoshakes.org
 

THEATER – THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG
The Winter Park Playhouse presents the award-winning Broadway musical comedy that boasts a book by the legendary American playwright Neil Simon, musical score by Tony-Award winning composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Carole Bayer Sager. This funny, romantic musical was inspired by the real-life relationship of Hamlisch and Sager and tells the story of an established composer and his relationship with an aspiring, free-spirited female lyricist.

Veteran Actor/Director Michael Edwards returns to The Playhouse to direct and Christopher Leavy will music direct. The professional cast will include real-life couple and Playhouse founders, Roy Alan and Heather Alexander in the lead roles, and Kevin Kelly, Josh Roth, Brian Wettstein, Gabi Guinta, Kayla Kelsay and Jill Vanderoef in supporting roles. The Playhouse trio will accompany the cast with Christopher Leavy on keyboard, Sam Forrest on percussion and Ned Wilkinson on multiple instruments. 

THEY’RE PLAYING
OUR SONG

September 12 – October 4, 2014

THE WINTER PARK PLAYHOUSE
711 Orange Avenue Suite C
Winter Park, FL 32789

$38 evenings / $35 Senior Evenings / $28 matinees
$25 Third Thursday evening / $20 industry & Students

Student rush "$10@10" offers $10 tickets (for students 25 years and under) 10 minutes prior to a performance when seats are available.

407.645.0145

www.winterparkplayhouse.org

DANCE – THE SHIFT CALM & CHAOS
SEE 8 DIFFERENT DANCE COMPANINES PERFORM UNDER ONE ROOF IN ONE PROGRAM; Emotions Dance is teaming up with Orlando’s best in modern, improv, and contemporary dance to engage and enlighten audiences with new, experimental, and in-progress works all under one roof.

A one-of-a-kind annual event hosted by Emotions Dance Company, The Shift: Calm & Chaos focuses primarily on shifting our perception of movement, dance, and art while allowing companies to grow and change as artists.

Companies participating this year include: Emotions Dance Company, Voci Dance, Yow Dance, Dawn Branch Works, Canvas Creative Coalition, Red Right Return Dance Company, Mary Love Dance Projects, Coby Dance Project and a special opening number by students from Turning Pointe- A Dance Studio!

THE SHIFT CALM & CHAOS

Friday September 19 & Saturday Sept 20, 2014

8PM

LOWNDES SHAKEPEARE CENTER
Mandell Theatre
Loch Haven Cultural Park
812 E Rollins St. Orlando




Tickets available from presenting companies and at the door

CABARET – LET ME BE FRANK
Journey with Veteran entertainer Frank Siano Frank as he takes us on a trip from his early days in a Hoboken speakeasy to his brush with Stephen Sondheim and the show tunes he has lived and loved. 

Along with his New York credits, Frank has worked alongside Broadway legend Charles Busch at the Goodspeed Opera House, also at Papermill Playhouse, Northshore Music Theatre and The Cape Playhouse, to name a few. 

Don't miss the unique chance to see this experienced performer in an up close and personal setting! Frank's versatile talent and one-of-a-kind story makes it a sure bet for a great evening out.

Frank Siano

LET ME BE FRANK

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 18

7:30PM

THE WINTER PARK PLAYHOUSE
711 Orange Avenue Suite C
Winter Park, FL 32789

$18

Plus a one drink minimum
Limited standing room - $10

407.645-0145
www.winterparkplayhouse.org

Coming Attractions

IT ‘S OFFICIAL!

 

WANZIE WILL BE POPPING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE ENGAGING PARTY GOERS IN DISNEY TRIVIA ALL NIGHT LONG AT THIS FABULOUS DEBUT PH PARTY

In this section you will find opening dates for future attractions so you may plan ahead. Emboldened listings indicate events added as of this edition of your GRAM.

September 19 INTERNATIOANL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL EPCOT
September 22 Jessica Hoehn's Debutante Ball: Better Late Than Never Cabaret at The Abbey
September 24 SWEENY TODD The Garden Theatre

September 26

THE WIZARD OF OZ Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center
September 27 TRAGIC KINGDOM PARTY Parliament House
September 29 Andrea Canny (untitled as of now) Cabaret at The Abbey
October 5 MARC ANTHONY Bob Carr PAC
October 6 LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS The Abbey
October 7 SESAME STREET LIVE! MAKE A NEW FRIEND CFE Arena at UCF
October 8 PINK COLLAR COMEDY SHOW Orlando Improv Comedy Club
October 12 LITTLE MISS PARLIAMENT HOUSE Footlight Theatre
October 13 John Ryan & Eddie Cooper (untitled as of now) Cabaret at The Abbey
October 17 Killer Joe Theatre Downtown
October 19 ELAINE BOOSLER Plaza Live Orlando
October 21 ENRIQUE INGLESIAS & PITBULL Amway Center
October 22 RINGO STARR and his All Star Band King Center
November 2 SUSAN BOYLE in Concert King Center
November 7 BEATNIK 2 The Venue
A Note from Wanzie

Calling all performers who have ever appeared in a WANZE PRESENTS Production or a Wanzie Pressents / D Squared production! It’s a reunion of sorts –

Calling all my personal friends! – come hang with me and Kenny and other friends and acquaintances at this one time only affair -

Calling all WANZeGRAM subscribers! Subscribers get benefits-

Calling all fans of Wanzie Presents / D Squared Productions shows! Let’s get together even though there’s not a theater festival on the boards –

Come. Visit. Talk. Sing. Dance. Play. WIN!

TONIGHT – Wednesday, September 17, in the year of our lord 2014, I am the guest host of “Wiggin Out Wednesday” Happy Hour at The Abbey, and that means my friends and WANZeGRAM subscribers get special treatment and perks and discounts!

If you wear your “I’M A FRIEND OF WANZIE” Badge into the Abbey you’ll get $1–OFF ALL YOUR DRINKS ALL NIGHT LONG! And as always, there’s no cover charge for this event.

The Abbey usually gives away a door prize twice during the event but tonight they will be giving away great prizes every hour on the hour! Additionally I am going to have my very own drawing for fabulous prizes I myself will be providing for my friends from a separate drawing bucket that only persons wearing an “I’M A FRIEND OF WANZIE” Badge may drop their names into.

Among the door prizes will be selected tickets to some of the upcoming Cabarets at The Abbey which include JESSICA HOEHN, ANDREA CANNEY, EDDIE COOPER & JOHN RYAN, and KEVIN KELLY.

And best of all you are invited to play WANZIE POP TRIVIA! Intermittently, all throughout the evening, I’ll be posing Trivia questions that will enable you win even more prizes! The Trivia will be in one of three categories:

80’s Pop Culture

The 80’s on Broadway

And WANZIE trivia. (Just how well do you think you know me, or things related to my 40 years of performing in Orlando?)

You’ll earn a chip for every correct answer you score and whenever you decide to leave you may spend your chips at the prize redemption table. Answering even just one question correctly will net you prize from a glorious selection comprised mostly of stuff I need to get rid of, including old show posters and left over prizes from previous events along with duplicate Broadway playbills I have in my personal collection and a pair of tickets to my upcoming WANZIE’S ORANGE BLOSSOM TRAIL “LIVING NATIVITY” CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR!

All of this is in addition to the great music videos by VJ Chris Yakubchic and just for the hell of it, I think I’m going make a batch of “li’l smokies in a blanket” just for the occasion.

What more could you possibly ask for to get you over the hump in your week?

I owe a great deal to The Abbey for their professional production of my LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS and the upcoming sequel, which they have also booked from me. If you haven’t been to The Abbey it’s a very unique and beautiful venue; a gothic abbey motif with multiple HD monitors, cushy conversation areas with sofas and comfortable chairs, a long bar, hi-top tables, a dance floor, a stage, and great sound and lights. It’s new. It’s spotlessly clean. And the bartenders are the best. The place has a great downtown vibe with absolutely none of the attitude.

So how do you get your FRIENDS Badge?

It’s easy; just copy and paste the following words into a document and print them out and pin them to you shirt or blouse or dress –

I’M A
FRIEND OF
WANZIE

Or, just take a sharpie and write the above words on a file label and stick on your person.

OR

Just come up to me and say you need a badge, and, while supplies last, I’ll give you one.

Please consider coming out tonight for the WANZIE & FRIENDS edition of WIGGIN OUT WEDNESDAY Happy Hour beginning at 5PM this very day at The Abbey situated on Pine Street at N. Eola in the Thornton Park/Downtown Orlando area.

Check it out:  www.AbbeyOrlando.com

Come party and paly trivia with me tonight at The Abbey!

I’m WANZIE and That’s All I Wrote!

 Wanzie Signature Photo

email me

 

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