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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Camera USA:National Photography Award and Exhibition

Camera USA is an annual photography exhibit at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples, FL.

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The art center is the exhibition space and educational center for the Naples Art Association (Naples Art Association). I love this show as photographers from all 50 states are juried (vetted) in, and each year the images keep getting better and better. I was one of the lucky ones whose photo was invited into this year's show, it's third annual.

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The jurors (those that select the photos for the show) were impressive this year. Harry Benson, Ron Bishop and Christopher Rauschenberg (Camera USA 2013 Jurors) chose 45 of the 183 photos submitted for the show.

Camera USA also ran together that evening with Capturing Our World: Naples Daily News Photographers Part 2 (Capturing Our World). This is a show of photographs put together from the photo journalists at the Naples Daily News (Naples Daily News).

As people started to enter the gallery for the show,

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appetizers were provided by the local catering company Here's Howe (Here's Howe Catering).

They included meatballs in marinara (Marinara Sauce) sauce,

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sausage rolls and "petite" quiche,

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cheese,crackers and grapes,

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and more cheese, crackers and grapes.

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A variety of beverages were also served on the back landing of the art center.

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In not too long a time, the gallery and the art center really started getting crowded in anticipation of the awards ceremony,

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and attendees really were enjoying the photography.

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At the start of the awards ceremony Aimee Schlehr, Executive Director, made some announcements and gave recognition to some of the photographs in the show.

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Michel Fortier, Director of Visuals, Naples Daily News, then made a few remarks about the concurrent Capturing our World Show.

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As the crowd waited in anticipation,

the winner, Tony Herz, was presented his award by the Naples Art Association Board President, Stacey Bulloch for his brilliant photograph, Gnarled Wave (Gnarled Wave).

All in all, a fun night out. Camera USA and Capturing Our World run until August 23rd.

The von Liebig Art Center
585 Park St.
Naples, FL 34102

Saturday, June 1, 2013

KC American Bistro

KC American Bistro is a restaurant in the Pavillion shopping center in North Naples. 

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The restaurant was opened mid summer of 2009 by Keith Casey (KC). Mr. Casey's credentials are impressive (KC Bistro), and so is his cooking. Any problems this restaurant may have had in the beginning are long gone.

I have eaten here 4 or 5 times, and have never had a bad meal. He recently expanded his dining space. Sorely needed in the winter months when people flock to eat here.

After an "exhausting" evening earlier perusing art at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers (vide infra), we were off for a bite.

Old coworker (OC) and wife (OCW) had never eaten here before, and were assured that they were in for a very good meal.

The restaurant expansion not only added badly needed space, but a very nice aesthetic.

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The new bar area is also very nice. For now, just beer and wine.

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They also have, by the way, a great by the glass wine selection (Wine List).

As you are perusing the menu (Dinner Menu) you are brought a piece of very warm bread with "honey truffle" butter.

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This is a very interesting flavor combination, a sort of sweet/earthy/mushroom taste.

OC ordered the lamb chops.

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OC is in Atkins mode at present (Atkins Diet). Asparagus and peas and carrots were substituted for goat cheese couscous and spaghetti squash. It was great that the kitchen was willing to deviate from the menu to keep everyone happy. OC remarked that the currant sauce really made the "chop pop", and was one of the best that he ever had.

OCW picked the Ritz cracker seared black grouper. She really liked the different tastes of the fish with the corn/napa cabbage slaw and homemade tartar sauce.

I opted for the duck, traditionally one of my favorite things to order out.

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It was served on a bed of bean picadillo (Picadillo), plantains that had the sugars caramelized to perfection and topped with jicama/orange salad. This was excellent, another winner of winners that evening.

I do not have much of a sweet tooth, but OCW wanted dessert (Dessert Menu).

A chocolate ganache torte with cream sauce and cherries appeared.

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OCW thought it was just o.k. and it did not do very much for me. Then again, I am not into sweets.

Well, that's that! If you have not, eat here. I think you will find it one of the better dining experiences in Naples, FL.

KC American Bistro
885 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.
Naples, FL 34108

KC American Bistro on Urbanspoon

Twenty Seventh Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition at Alliance for the Arts Fort Myers

Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers is the premier facility in Lee County to develop and promote the arts (Alliance for the Arts). They are located on the corner of Colonial Blvd. and McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. Every year they host an exhibit of artists exclusively from Florida. This will be the twenty seventh show since the facility opened in 1975.

The show is juried, which means someone with expertise in the arts says you're in the show or you're not. This year, the juror (judge) vetted 51 submissions from a pool of 300 (27th All Florida Exhibition). I was one of the lucky ones.

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I was accompanied by an old coworker (OC). We got there a bit late to find the food offerings demolished.

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The food was generously donated by Cristof's on McGregor (Cristof's). From the aftermath, the food there must be pretty good.

Fortunately, there were ample amounts of wine to carry those interested until the end of the show.

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They had a really good crowd that evening, which OC and I estimated to be around 150.

Towards the end of the evening was the awards ceremony. These were cash prizes given out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd best in show as this year's juror saw it.

To start this off, a number of comments and well wishes were given by the director of the Alliance, Lydia Black.

As the crowd waited to see who were going to be recognized that evening

The awards were given to the recipients

All in all a very nice evening out. This was to be followed by dinner in Naples at one of my favorite restaurants, KC American Bistro (post to follow).

Alliance for the Arts
10091 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919