Darlyn Finch

The setting should be as memorable as the words when writer Darlyn Finch reads from her newly published book, Red Wax Rose (Shady Lane Press), on the patio of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, under the stars and/or clouds.

For a taste, here's the poem that gave the book its title.

After the Burning

i am the red wax rose after the melting

i am the blackened wick

no light is left

no warmth

i am the last puff of breath

stirring these ashes

even the smoke is still

even the smoke is still

A Florida-born native, Finch has a rich history with Winter Park. She graduated with an English major and a writing minor from Rollins and worked as editor of the school's literary journal, Brushing. After Rollins she continued her writerly ambitions by attending graduate school at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky. She still maintains, which keeps the Central Florida writing community in close contact.

Currently, Finch is staying at the Jack Kerouac House in College Park and she is proud to be the first Orlandoan accepted to stay at the writers' residence. She'll be there rent-free through February 2007. The residence, once the hearth of Kerouac and his mother, now serves as a place for writers to get away from it all and concentrate on writing. (8 p.m. Saturday at Jack Kerouac Project House; 6:30 p.m. Monday at Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park;

— Issac Stolzenbach

Fabulous Fringe Fundraiser

The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival doesn't start its 16th season until May, but you can get a preview tonight at their seventh annual winter benefit. The Fabulous Fringe Fundraiser (that name should silence anyone who complains Fringe is "too gay") is hosted by Fringe vet David Lee. Featured entertainment includes musician Tod Kimbro, who will be taking requests, and the SoundStage percussive dance company.

Finally, there's Melbourne High School's Rhythm of Life; teacher/director Rod Savickis, who conceived this mash-up of Stomp and Def Poetry Jam, was behind last Fringe's unfortunate Tick, Tick … BOOM!, but Fringe producer Beth Marshall vouches for this new show, calling it "RAW!" Even if the pubescent angst doesn't satisfy, the food from Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria will. (6 p.m. Monday at Universal Theatre at Orlando Repertory Theatre; $35, $50 per couple; 407-648-0077;

— Seth Kubersky

Beth Marshall

What's the difference between Playfest and Fringe? For an answer, we asked the above-mentioned Beth Marshall, the producing artistic director of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, who's also the host for the "Play in a Day" performance at Playfest.

Both are 10-day jamborees. Both take place at and around the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival grounds in Loch Haven Park. The Playfest is coming up Feb. 23-March 5; the Fringe arrives later in spring, May 17-28.

"Playfest and Fringe are best friends," says Marshall, and they share many common players. But as for the difference from the public's point of view, "They `Playfest` are juried and we `Fringe` are not. They are more heavily focused on writing — the process of writing, the workshopping of writing — than the actual product. We're product-based," Marshall says. "They are exclusively writing- and theater-based, while we encompass all areas of the arts."

The "juried" part is key to how the shows differ. To be accepted into this year's Playfest (it wasn't always so), everything was auditioned and approved by the hosting Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival. the screening process assures quality.

To be in the Fringe, interested performers submit their applications in November and are chosen at random to fill the time slots. "The board and the staff of the Fringe does not control any of the artistic content," says Marshall. Thus, all kidding aside about whether the Fringe has gone gay, it's a lucky numbers game. If there are more artists proposing shows with gay themes, then there are more chances those themes will pop up in the lottery. A higher number of dance groups applied this year, she says, as well as more international acts.

Another difference between Playfest and Fringe is that the latter camp is always noisier. Case in point, the mock protest staged Monday, Feb. 12, at Loch Haven Park. Approximately 70 people waved around signs that expressed their love of the Fringe. Signs, explains Marshall, show "conviction." Fringe is sillier, too.

— Lindy T. Shepherd

What's Pat Greene reading?

‘The Architecture of Happiness'

I was 9 years old. My father was starting a new job in Detroit. We had been living in Winter Park. It was my first time out of Florida. I was excited about the adventure. We started to see snow and elevation in North Georgia. My brother and I fell on our asses while having a bare-handed snowball fight at a Kentucky gas station. We found out that ice is slippery and gloves are good.

When we got to our house in Detroit we learned another lesson. Not all adventures are fun; as a matter of fact, a lot of them aren't. We didn't want to get out of the car when my father pulled into the driveway of our new/old house. It was a late-19th- century soot-covered brick house that was crowded in by the surrounding houses. My brother said, "It looks depressing."

The thesis of Alain de Botton's new book, The Architecture of Happiness, might be that architecture is the most inescapable of all art forms. My brother and I learned that early.

De Botton's book is a beautifully packaged work of black-and-white photos of architectural classics and meditative ponderings about how architecture evolved. The ideas and circumstances often lead to an unrealized vision by the designer; sometimes that can be good. I found out that one of my all-time favorite architects, Swiss modernist Le Corbusier, wanted to fill the center of Paris with 60-story buildings.

When I look around at the strip malls and hyper-real tourist traps in Orlando, I would take anything Le Corbusier would design.

— Pat Greene

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