Katherin and Antonio Amadeo of Naked Stage

It’s official – Clematis Street is fast becoming a theater row with the new addition of The Naked Stage, a company founded by Katherine Amadeo, Antonio Amadeo. This vibrant company will be catering to the Millennials and a younger Generation Y than it’s complement neighboring theater Dramaworks. The theater group has been performing at Barry University’s Pelican Theatre in Miami Shores since launching with “Romeo & Juliet” in 2007. The Amadeos — she is a Carbonell Award-nominated actress, he is a Carbonell-winning actor — have been producing some well-regarded work, including productions of “No Exit” and “The Lonesome West”, and now the company has found its own new home.
Moving forward into a former antiques store at 522 Clematis St., the couple will transform the roomy 6,500-square-foot space into a 145-seat theater. They estimate the process will take about a year, there will be a six-show season debut: four shows aimed at adult audiences, two shows for young audiences. The welcome move adds to the arts-and-nightlife youthquake vibe of Clematis Street.

Their mission statement says: “All works of art begin with an inspired vision and a blank canvas upon which the artist may create. In the cast of live theatre, the blank canvas is a bare, or naked, stage. As a novel theatre company, we hope to use the naked stage to put forth our particular vision and accomplish our mission: To challenge and stimulate audiences, in a unique and vibrant way. To intrigue the non-theatergoer into the theatre; surprise and excite the lifelong subscriber. Reinterpret the classics, bring new pieces to life, and enhance the artistic integrity of the South Florida theatre community. To create theatrical experiences that leave both audience and artist exhausted and enthralled. We invite you to join us, as we strive to create thrilling and inspired theatrical productions on our naked stage.” For more information on the company, visit wwwnakedstage.org

Manatee Mania

Manatees at the power station in the winter

Manatees may not know it, but soon they will have a fancy schmancy new viewing center, courtesy of Florida Power & Light Co., which has begun building an impressive solar powered and totally “green” wildlife two-story building just for the endearing sea cows by its new power plant in Riviera Beach. This education center and park will allow people to watch the manatees that congregate in the warm water of the plant’s discharge zone.
The center on the Lake Worth Lagoon is expected to open next winter, as building progress has been moving along faster than the manatees themselves. Admission will be free.

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The Key West-style, two-story center will have plenty of manatee viewing area along the water and from the second story porch, indoor exhibit space, interactive displays, a pavilion, some picnic areas, the obligatory gift shop, classrooms and even free parking, according to the generous folks at FPL.

Rendering of the new Manatee Observatory

Manatees are highly sensitive to the cold water, so during the winter, they stream into South Florida, and mostly congregate on the coldest days around the warm water discharge zones of the power plants.

Back in 2010, a record 800 manatees gathered at the Riviera Beach plant, said Alessandra Medri, the County’s Official Manatee Coordinator. (Now there’s a job title!) Typical winter counts are more in the 200 or 300 range.

The manatees warm up at the plant’s spa like waters and then venture out to feed on crunchy sea grass at Peanut Island and the lagoon along MacArthur Beach State Park. Then after lunch they return to the plant to warm up again. “It’s like a Jacuzzi for them,” Medri said. “They don’t do much. That’s what manatees do. They just float and eat and float and eat.” Sounds like a typical Florida vacation. The Riviera Beach plant will be the only one in FPL’s entire system with a manatee viewing area.

Eric Silagy, President and CEO of FPL added “They can’t speak for themselves to let us know what it takes to protect them, so we will help tell that important story by building a dynamic education center that engages audiences and explains the role power plants play in ensuring sea cows are part of Florida’s future.”

Stadium Art’s a Real Blessing

With a name like Blessing, it’s a home run that a sculpture artist based in Tucson, Arizona, has been selected to design and install a major public art project as part of the new spring training baseball stadium located in West Palm Beach.

Blessing Hancock is the owner of Skyrim Studio, which focuses on site specific sculpture. She synthesizes her BFA in Sculpture and MLA in Landscape Architecture to create glowing, organic and innovative works of art for public spaces. She has constructed monumental sculpture projects throughout the world and has wide-ranging experience working with city agencies, project teams and community groups.

Hancock proposal for Baseball Stadium

Hancock will have a hefty budget of $800,000 for three areas of the complex, which will be shared by both the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals starting in January 2017. A selection committee chose Hancock in late July out of a pool of 43 national artists. Hancock’s varied proposal includes stainless steel shade and shadow panels at the main stadium entrance that from a distance resemble a cluster of palm fronds. As viewers get closer, they start to see a tight grid pattern of miniature baseball players in motion, focusing on sequences of hitting, throwing and catching.

The lineup of panels will create outline shadows that reflect onto the concourse.
“These sequential chains of motion are captured in silhouette and reflected onto the surrounding surfaces and visitors to the artwork,’’ Hancock expresed in her presentation. Her proposal is multi-faceted and also calls for colorful panels above the stadium’s main concourse with photos depicting the bat grips of different pitches. On the railings of bridges that connect the stadium to the practice fields, Hancock envisions panels depicting baseball trivia and memorabilia. The Astros and Nationals will work with Hancock on the final designs, which might not be exactly the same designs that she included in her proposal. The installation is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. The $135 million stadium will be built on 160 acres south of 45th Street between Military Trail and Haverhill Road. The teams hope to break ground by mid-October.

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Sandra-Schulman Sandra Schulman is an arts writer, music and film producer. Born in Miami, her work has appeared in Billboard, Variety, Rolling Stone, Ocean Drive, Country Music Magazine, The New York Daily News, News From Indian Country, and Entertainment Weekly. She was an entertainment columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 8 years. She has authored three books on pop culture. She currently lives in West Palm Beach with her blue eyed whippet. Sandra Schulman’s column appears weekly. Contact her at sandraslink@gmail.com.