extreme culture



We continue to turn art and culture as a way to delight our soul, articulate our collective truth and yes, as a balm for societal angst. My guess is that is not going to change any time soon.

So in your shopping frenzy, consider arts-inspired gifts this holiday season. Gift cards to shows make a sweet stocking stuffer. And opening a lovingly wrapped sweet artsy item always bring big smiles. You can buy actual items, or tickets to shows, gift cards to a jazz club or even lessons for the artistic soul.

Here are some quick ideas for tangible items:

Pottery by Lisa Shepperd in the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery's Annual Holiday Designer Craft Show

Pottery by Lisa Shepperd in the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery’s Annual Holiday Designer Craft Show

at the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery always scores a home run. This is my favorite holiday haunt. It’s filled with beautiful items both inexpensive and tres cher. I was in there just yesterday and there are still plenty of goodies like beautifully crafted sushi plates with tiny individual soy sauce dishes…gay little cream and sugar sets…fabulous eye-catching jewelry…sweet keepsake boxes…wildly wonderful dolls (for adults or the artistically precocious child)…carved wooden wine stoppers….and of course, art abounds. The Craft Show will remain on view through Jan. 7, 2017. The Fifth Avenue Art Gallery is at 1470 Highland Avenue, Melbourne (in the Eau Gallie Arts District). Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 321-259-8261 or visit FifthAvenueArtGallery.com. If you click onto their ad and scroll down, you can see a slide show of some of the items in the show…but remember, some of those in the slide show have already been purchased. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth a trip.

EAU GALLIE FLORIST has a bevy of gorgeous goodies that anyone would love to receive as a gift. Yes, the store has a definite Christmas theme to it right now, but you will still see plenty of beautiful decor befitting any time of year. There are unique vases, gorgeous candle holders, delightful tchotchkes and, of course, wondrous floral designs. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The Eau Gallie Florist is at 1490 Highland Ave., Melbourne. Call 321-254-2584.

Here are links to quick purchases for live community theater gift cards:

MELBOURNE CIVIC THEATRE has been batting 1,000 for a long time. Currently, the theater has been harvesting laughs with their sold-out show A TUNA CHRISTMAS. The rest of their season includes CALENDAR GIRLS, RUMORS and THE GLASS MENAGERIE. MCT is at 817 E. Strawbridge Ave., Melbourne. For a gift certificate, call 321-723-6935, visit MyMCT.org or click onto their ad.

theatre-812680_1920 theaterTHE HENEGAR has grown into one very popular theater with lavish new musicals on its mainstage and provocative plays in its intimate second floor studio theater. The rest of its season includes IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, LADY DAY AT EMERSONS BAR AND GRILL, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and HANDS ON A HARDBODY. The Henegar is at 625 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne Call 321-723-8698, visit Henegar.org or click onto their ad.

COCOA VILLAGE PLAYHOUSE simply must be on your cultural agenda. It, too, has lavish musicals and more. Remaining in its season are THE MIRACLE WORKER, ON THE TOWN, AIDA and MARY POPPINS. And, Margaret Cross will star in her musical revue MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU. Cocoa Village Playhouse is at 300 Brevard Ave., Cocoa. Call 321-636-5050, visit CocoaVillagePlayhouse.com or click onto their ad.

SURFSIDE PLAYHOUSE is a real neighborhood style community theater with devoted patrons and actors. The only theater on Brevard’s beachside, this is the place where you can easily get involved and let your light shine. It offers both traditional and provocative shows. The rest of its season includes THE RAINMAKER, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE RITZ and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Surfside Playhouse is at 301 Ramp Road (by 5th Street South), Cocoa Beach. Call 321-783-3127, visit SurfsidePlayers.com or click onto their ad.

TITUSVILLE PLAYHOUSE rounds out a county filled to the brim with good community theater. This very busy, very appealing venue has an active season with both musicals on its mainstage and straight plays on its second stage. The rest of the season includes ROCK OF AGES, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED), RAGTIME, MR. & MRS. FITCH, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and NEXT TO NORMAL. For a link to TPI’s direct purchases of Holiday Pass gift cards, click here. TPI is at 301 Julia St., Titusville. Call 321-268-1125.

Look here for area live professional theater:

Riverside Theater

Riverside Theater

RIVERSIDE THEATRE kicks into high gear with their current season with CHICAGO which opens Jan. 3. This theater is an absolute must-do. It’s the next best thing to jetting to NYC for a long theater weekend. This venue, which is oh-so-comfy, has a mainstage and second stage. The rest of its season includes CHICAGO, AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFE DU GRAND BOEUF, MAME, THE CHRISTIANS and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. You can also find live music, stand up comedy and other events throughout the year. The theater is at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach. Call 772-231-6990, visit RiversideTheatre.com or click onto their ad.

KING CENTER has a couple of live theater offerings left this year. Those are the Theater for Youth’s THE SONG FOR MULAN and MAMMA MIA! which features former Brevardian and extremely talented young lady Gabriella Marchion. The King Center is at 3865 N. Wickham Rd, Melbourne, Call 321-242-2219 or visit KingCenter.com. For a direct link to its gift certificate purchases, click here.

DR. PHILLIPS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is simply a wonderful experience. This is the home for the Orlando Broadway Series, which brings national tours of Broadway shows. Most of those tours are first runs. Remaining shows include WICKED, A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER, THE LITTLE MERMAID, MATILDA and FINDING NEVERLAND. The Dr. Phillips Center is at 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Call 800-448-6322 or visit DrPhillipsCenter.org.

Music is always the food of love, so click on:

music-1233671_1280 pianoBREVARD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA will send your spirits soaring with wonderful classical music and pops music as well. Under the baton of Christopher Confessore, this professional orchestra still has big concerts planned for this season. For more information, click here. The BSO performs at the King Center. Call 321-242-2219.

is a treat just waiting to be unwrapped. This very special organization brings in world class chamber groups, which normally perform at huge venues such as Carnegie Hall or the Kennedy Center, into an intimate setting at the St. Marks United Methodist Church sanctuary in Indialantic. The rest of the season includes THE LYSANDER PIANO TRIO, THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC WIND QUINTET, THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIA and PAUL HUANG & JESSICA OSBORN. Call 321-213-5100, visit MelbourneChamberMusicSociety.org or click onto their ad.

KING CENTER has a ton of concerts still in its season, including MICHAEL BOLTON, ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK, GLADYS KNIGHT and more. For a complete listing, click here. The King Center is at 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. Call 321-242-2219 or, for a direct link to its gift certificate purchases, click here.

HEIDI’S JAZZ CLUB is something you have got to start experiencing. This is a great little nightclub offering terrific jazz and a first-class dining menu prepared by Meisterchef Edmund Deleuil, who was inducted into the prestigious La Chaine des Rotisseurs. The Ron Teixeira Trio is as good as you can find anywhere. Frequent performers include Sybil Gage, Hella and Sally Hart plus a bevy of big name jazz artists who make it to this spot. Heidi’s Jazz Club is at 7 N. Orlando Ave., Cocoa Beach. Call 321-783-4559, or, for a direct link to gift certificate purchases, click here.


ballerina-1453074_1280 ballet classBALLET at the Brevard Ballet Academy. This group has year-round classes available. Just imagine lighting up the eyes of your little sweet one. Tuck a certificate to ballet classes into leotard and tights. The Brevard Ballet Academy is based at 1399 Highland Ave., Melbourne. For more information, call 321-622-4713, visit BrevardBalletAcademy.com or click onto their ad.

ART at Florida Tech’s Renee Foosaner Education Center in the Eau Gallie Arts District. Online registration is happening right now for the winter art classes and workshops. The new term starts Jan. 17, 2017. A variety of classes are available for adults and children, including a figure drawing class for kids, beginning, intermediate and advanced pottery for adults, figure sculpture, intermediate watercolor, beginning photography (digital) with Jennifer Glass, and mixed media painting. Classes run Monday through Saturday with both day and evening hours. In addition to time spent in class, students are given nine hours of supervised “open studio” time each week to finish projects and further engage in the process. Space limited. Get a 10 percent discount if you register by Jan. 1, 2017. The Renee Foosaner Education Center is at 1520 Highland Ave., Melbourne. Visit FoosanerArtMuseum.org or call 321-674-8923.