ARTS & CULTURE TO GO 


;The end of EPCOT

;;Now in soft opening, the Seas With Nemo and Friends isn't just another family-;friendly addition to Disney's dark-ride lineup. Sure, it's a charming attraction that uses cutting-edge projection technology (a digital descendant of the Haunted Mansion's ballroom) to let the Finding Nemo characters swim among the real fish in Epcot's aquarium. The slow-moving ride will delight kids who have their Nemo DVD memorized, though parents may notice the static sets and junky jellyfish that betray a modest budget.

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; But what the Seas really represents is the last nail in the coffin of the old EPCOT, when the name was an acronym for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The executives removed the capital letters years ago, and now not a single original Future World pavilion remains intact at the 24-year-old park. The elaborate animatronics of World of Motion; the inspirational futurism of Horizons; the playful innocence of Dreamfinder and Figment — all lost to the wrecking ball. Today, carnival thrills rule, and only the creaking Spaceship Earth remains to remind us of the park's original mission of optimistic humanism.

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; The schizophrenic nature of Epcot means that World Showcase has escaped the renovations that have transformed the front half of the park. Stumble your way around the world at the International Food and Wine Festival (through Nov. 12). It's expensive — you can drop $50 and still not get full — but the variety and atmosphere are unmatched. And before you pass out somewhere between the sake and the Shiraz, raise a glass to the Epcot that once was. (Epcot; $64.22; 407-939-6244)

;;— Seth Kubersky

;;Are We There Yet?

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;Life is all that dumb stuff that happens between the important events, like birth and death. Winter Park Playhouse celebrates such fuzzy trivia in this friendly and hilarious cabaret-style show, taking us from baby diapers in the crib to Depends in the old folks' home.

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; Bracketing the musical comedy is the dreaded car-vacation-from-hell, with Dad (David Michael Green) deferring potty breaks for as many hundreds of miles as possible, while Mom (Meghan Colleen Moroney) maintains a United Nations–;quality peace process between the kids in back (Ame Livingston and Patrick Brandt).

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; By the end of the production, the roles are reversed, with the kids driving mom and dad to the retirement condo in Fort Lauderdale. It's not the funeral home yet, but the distance and the supercharged air conditioning are a first approximation.

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; Musical highlights include Brandt's zany "Baby Rap," Green's "Bernie's Buffet" and second-act opener "Your Parents Push Your Buttons 'Cause They Put 'Em There." Occasionally the show dips into the maudlin, with "Coach Bob" sappier than necessary and "Bailey's College Fund" sounding a bit … dog-eared. Winter Park Playhouse makes up for its small stage with rapid-fire costume changes and spiffy live music led by Ward Ferguson. Some-where in this show they claim, "There's no such thing as ‘fun for the whole family,'" but the music proves otherwise. (7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, through Nov. 4 at Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park; $22-$30; 407-645-0145)

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;;— Al Pergande

;;This American Life: Stories of Hope & Fear (Shout! Factory)

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;;Here are two rollicking discs of coffeehouse angst from the Gen-X King, Ira Glass. This American Life, Glass' weekly public-radio program, functions less these days as a bully pulpit for his aggressively self-effacing persona and more as a showcase of his quirky friends' psychological scars and tics. But on the Stories of Hope and Fear CD, the regulars are mostly absent: no squeaky Sarah Vowell, no snarky Sandra Tsing Loh, no mordant David Rakoff. Waggish princeling David Sedaris does make an appearance with a wry-unto-death allegorical yarn about a squirrel dating a chipmunk, one of the less quotidian tales told here. (This being pledge season over at WMFE, you're probably sick to death of Glass' nasal tones worming their way into your brain. Rest assured, however, that his presence on this set is minimal.)

;; This being Halloween week, we'll focus on the "Fear" disc. In addition to Sedaris' fable of fated rodent love, we find "Anti-Oedipus," a queer-fear family anecdote (originally aired on the "Sissies" show); John "I'm a PC" Hodgman with "Slingshot," the story of a really bad trip; a saga exploring the anatomy of the customer-service beast called "On Hold No One Can Hear You Scream"; and the truly fabulous "Fears of Your Life," an exhaustive catalog of terrors great and small — birds, falling, the possibility of Rugrats being canceled, being mugged, dropping your sandwich. It's an atavistic recitation that attempts to exorcise fear but only widens the scope.

;;— Jessica Bryce Young

;;Two Tiffany Windows

;;As the exhibit title promises, there are two new Tiffany creations on display at the Morse Museum, and they have something for both the traditional and the conceptual camp of Tiffany glass enthusiasts. The first of the leaded-glass windows is a 6-foot-tall panel (1908-1910), which was originally the middle of a 10-panel installation at the home of Richard Beatty Mellon of Pittsburgh. You can see Tiffany's training as a painter in this masterpiece as panes over panes of confetti and textured glass create striking foregrounds and rich color. The lilies in the water and ethereal quality of the layered glass creates the feeling of an impressionist painting, heightened by the bridge in the background a la Monet's famous Nymphaeas series of the late 1890s.

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; The second window, from the New Jersey home of Tiffany's studio manager, Joe Briggs, is dominated by a molded leaf and floral tile medallion that is placed on top of glass that is swirled in pinks (1890-1900). These abstract molded glass pieces of Tiffany's are often the most difficult to make in terms of the baking and cooling process. This smaller window is a staff favorite because it has never been publicly displayed before now.

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; This Friday, Oct. 27, the museum will hold a leaded-glass window-making demonstration throughout the evening with activities for children. The 4 p.m.-8 p.m. outreach will be free to the public, as will every Friday evening through May. These potential cheap-date nights also feature live music ranging from Celtic to jazz through March. (9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park; $3; 407-645-5311. Free admission 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday, through May)

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;;— Aya Kawamoto

arts@orlandoweekly.com

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