The Thousand and One Nights, also called The Arabian Nights, are a collection of Persian stories of uncertain date and authorship whose tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor have almost become part of Western folklore. Legend has it that a beautiful storyteller, Scheherezade, told one of the stories each night to a bygone Persian king in the hope that he would spare her life.
The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra will play the symphonic suite by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov when they present Scheherezade at 7 p.pm. on Friday 21 at Scott Center for Performing Arts and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.
Led by Conductor and Artistic Director, Aaron T. Collins, the SCSO will perform the popular work inspired by the exotic nightly tales of shipwrecks, thieves and royals, in a concert that also includes the sweeping Fantasy Overture, "Romeo and Juliet." The passionate orchestral work composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is based on the story of the star-crossed young lovers in Shakespeare's play of the same name. Collins considers Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade a glittering showpiece.
David Baldacci gives kudos to his maternal grandmother, a former schoolteacher, for his keen interest in storytelling. As a young boy he would often visit with her absorbing her stories of yesteryear. Rambling around the house spouting his own batch of tales his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories.
Growing up in Richmond, Va., Baldacci was a self-proclaimed library rat where he spent a lot of time devouring Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, the Hardy Boys and the Three Investigators. In creating his own stories Baldacci was drawn to the puzzle aspect, putting all the clues, pieces and red herrings together, trying to be on step ahead of the reader. He spent 15 years writing short stories but realized he couldn't make a living, so he went to college and spent a decade practicing law to bring money in. Still writing was his passion.
Today, he is recognized as one of the greatest thriller writers of the last decade. A global bestselling author, his works have been adapted for both feature film and television. Baldacci will be appearing at the Vero Beach Book Center on Monday, April 23 at 6 p.m. when he takes the stage for a talk and Q&A session followed by a signing of "The Fallen."
His new thriller is "The Fallen" in his #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series featuring detective Amos Decker--the man who can forget nothing. Decker is the Memory Man. Following a football-related head injury that altered his personality, Decker is now unable to forget even the smallest detail--as much a curse as it is a blessing.
They met as children at a music summer camp in Denmark where they played both soccer and music together. That is when Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen, Asbjorn Norgaad and Frederik Øland started to explore music for string quartets. Lifelong friends, they later studied at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Music and are founding members of the Danish String Quartet.
The Melbourne Chamber Music Society presents the Danish String Quartet at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Indialantic, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
The Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for their integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance. Alex Ross of the New Yorker praised the “rampaging energy” of its music-making style, and The New York Times called the group’s 2012 performance of Beethoven’s Op. 132 String Quartet “one of the most powerful renditions that I’ve heard live or on a recording.”
In the past I've described Elon Musk as irrepressible. I'm not sure that is a strong enough depiction.
Following a brilliant launch on February 6 of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy into bright blue skies, eight minutes later the pair of F-9 rockets landed side by side at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, deploying legs and coming to rest on twin pads. A pair of synchronized giant candles dropping from the heavens. The rockets unleashed powerful sonic booms that echoed across the Space Coast.
Onboard the historic flight was Musk's personal 2009 Tesla, an all-electric, cherry red, rag-top roadster encapsulated in the rocket's upper protective fairing. Within a half-hour after liftoff, SpaceX's three cameras began beaming live views of car back to Earth. That webcast lasted 4 hours and 39 minutes before going offline.
The images showed "Starman," a mannequin driver with his left hand guiding the wheel, barreling through the blackness of space with the shimmering sight of planet Earth in the rear view mirror. Starman is wearing the white spacesuit and helmet that astronauts will wear on SpaceX flights to the International Space Station. Accompanying the $100,000 roadster's voyage is the music of David Bowie's "Life on Mars" and "Space Oddity" playing at full volume on a continuous loop.
Being a top assistant to one of the world's foremost thoroughbred trainers brought a young horseman in daily contact with some of the sport's biggest stars. Jonathan Thomas travelled the country executing a master game plan and shared the joy of winning some of the most prestigious races. He learned how to cultivate young horses into top-class runners, including the likes of Uncle Mo, Super Saver, and Eskendereya.
On the flip side, assistant trainers are first to arrive at the barn in the dark early morning hours and last to leave after sundown. They check legs and feet for signs of inflammation, refill feed tubs for missed meals, and school young runners at the starting gate. The list of duties goes on and on. There is much personal sacrifice, heartbreak and countless setbacks. And for assistant trainers anonymity comes with the territory.
The unsung status could change on Saturday when Ocala-based Thomas saddles Catholic Boy in the $1 million Florida Derby run at 1 1/8 mile at Gulfstream Park. Sitting on 14 Derby qualifying points, Catholic Boy needs a solid first or second place finish to put him into the starting gates at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5.
In the Florida Derby Catholic Boy is likely to tangle with a trio of speedy colts, including Fountain of Youth winner and Dale Romans trainee Promises Fulfilled and the runner-up Strike Power, trained by Mark Henning. Another prominent colt is trainer Todd Pletcher's Audible who has won his last three races, including a 5 1/2 length romp in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.
Off the southern tip of Marco Island sits the mysterious Star Wars-style, igloo-like Cape Romano Dome House. Some locals suggest it was the community home of a secret cult, while others claim the structures had been left behind by extra-terrestrials.
A retired oil producing magnate and inventor, Bob Lee built it in 1981. His idea was a completely self-sufficient and eco-friendly home. For many years the rounded, concrete domes were able to sustain hurricane winds, having taken little damage from a series of powerful storms.
Not anymore. Last September Hurricane Irma caused two of the original six domes to collapse. A Naples, Fla.-based nonprofit Oceans for Youth is seeking to raise funds to load the structures onto barges and sink them further off the coast, creating a unique reef which would be home to thousands of sea creatures.
Irma made its second Florida landfall as a Cat-3 storm at Marco Island, a picture perfect resort community with a five mile sugary white beach. It was turned into a mess-- uprooted trees, downed power lines and debris as far as the eye could see. The good news was that physical damage to the tourism infrastructure was not as bad as it might have been. Within a month or so utilities were back up and running and the county was collecting debris, post-haste. The message trumpeted to visitors: "We're open for business."
It's showtime! Falcon Heavy -- the most powerful operational rocket in the world-- is set to blast off as soon as February 6 with a three-hour launch window opening at 1:30 p.m.
It will be the biggest, brightest launch from the Kennedy Space Center since the last Space Shuttle flight. Standing an enormous 229 feet and measuring 40 feet wide, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy will produce a 5.1 million pound force of thrust at lift off, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. That is more lift capacity than any U.S. launch since the last Saturn V in the 1970s, according to SpaceX.
“Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb. 6 from Apollo launch pad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted on January 28.
People will be flocking to Florida's Space Coast for the test flight. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has called the event “one of the most anticipated launches in recent history.” Tickets to watch from within a few miles of the launch, priced at $195 each, have already sold out. The viewing party features a champagne toast and a commemorative glass.
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news-papers and websites. I have written about an array of topics such as arts & culture, chefs, food & drink, business entrepreneurs, travel, history, thoroughbred racing, and the animal and natural world.
I'm currently a regular arts & culture contributor to WFIT's website (the NPR radio station in Melbourne.), Vero Beach Magazine and Florida Today newspaper on a number of topics. Over recent years my work has been published regularly in Blood-Horse, Long Island Boating World and The Hunt and PA Equestrian magazines.
I am a regular contributor to the websites JustLuxe.com and SeeTheSouth.com. JustLuxe is an online magazine featuring the best of luxury lifestyle and travel, while SeeTheSouth features truly unique southern destinations. My travel articles also regularly appear in Florida Today, Long Island Boating world and the Delaware County Times, a major daily newspaper just outside Philly.
I've also contributed a variety of articles to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Delaware County Times, and the Montgomery County Newspapers. I have been an Arts & Culture correspondent for Newsworks, the website for WHYY-TV (PBS in Philadelphia). I have been a correspondent to ESPN.com, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
After spending the past two decades in Wilmington, Delaware, my wife Jane, our Toller retriever Smarty and I have moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, Melbourne Beach sits on the southern end of Florida's "Space Coast." The famed coastal highway A1A runs directly along the Atlantic. Melbourne Beach (pop. 3,000) offers unspoiled beaches with sparkling blue-green waters and thousands of beautiful seabirds and long-legged shorebirds.
Head north 35 miles on A1A and you arrive at Cape Canaveral, for decades our nation's gateway to exploring and understanding our universe. Today, Cape Canaveral is a hub for many of the most exciting new private space projects such as SpaceX, the rocket and spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk (manufacturer of Tesla vehicles). Upwards of 30 launches are planned in 2017.
Back down to earth traveling on two-lane A1A south from Melbourne Beach's compact business area brings you to a series of secluded and undeveloped natural beaches. Bonsteel Park's two-acre beach provides an excellent vantage point to catch glimpses of passing dolphins, while the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. It's also home to the gigantic leatherback turtles.
Nearby is Sebastian Inlet State Park which connects the Indian River Lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. Its jetty break is recognized as one of the surf world's high-performance hot spots. Three generations of world-class surfers have surfed here, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 600-acre park is also celebrated for world-class fishing, and plenty of seabirds and wildlife.
Through my writing over the past decade I have traveled to spectacular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. and Sun Valley, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming/Yellowstone Park; Saratoga Springs, the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and Rhinebeck, New York; Port Clyde and Monheghan Island, Maine; Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey; Middleburg, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.
Other travel adventures have included Tampa and St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Florida; and St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Georgia. My travel articles thoughtfully explore the history of the region along with museums, music and the arts, chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and craft breweries, outdoor and sporting adventures as well as profiling intriguing personalities of those regions.
In addition to my writing career I owned a marketing company where I represented a diversified list of clients in the areas of publicity, marketing and business development-- such as the famed Baldwin's Book Barn, Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Kahunaville restaurant chain. In another life I was the founder, publisher and editor of Life Sports Magazine.
Along with Jane and Smarty I look forward to writing about new adventures in Melbourne Beach, the "Space Coast" and other Florida destinations. That's Smarty below with his pals Willie and Nelson.