FEATURES
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Here & There

By David Monforton


Winter Blooms

It's the middle of winter, so what better time to begin planning this year's "dream garden"? Get inspired and educated while you prepare for spring at the 25th Annual Southern Gardening Symposium from Jan. 28-30 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA. Designed for gardeners whose skills range from novice to expert, the jam-packed schedule includes lectures, presentations and demonstrations from gardening experts.

In addition to the presentations, guests can indulge their passion at the marketplace, which offers one-stop shopping for an assortment of choice plants, books and garden ornaments. There will also be silent and live auctions for books and plants recommended by the event's speakers; garden ornaments; botanical artwork by the late Athos Menaboni; special plants provided by Callaway Gardens' horticulture department, Hills & Dales Estate, and Auburn University; and much more.

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Cultural Festival Educates and Entertains

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Jeffrey Osborne

An annual celebration and promotion of cultural diversity and sensitivity, this year's Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival takes place Jan. 13-22 in locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, providing a connection to a unique blend of African and African-American art, culture and history.

Consciously scheduled to begin the week before and end the weekend after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the festival features local and national speakers, musicians, artists, poets and craftspeople, as well as activities that educate and entertain. It consists of three main components: a street festival, cultural enrichment activities, and personal enrichment events featuring inspirational speakers.

A highlight of the festival will take place on Jan. 20, when Martin Luther King III will speak as part of the free USF Lecture Series. The two-day street festival—also free—runs Jan. 15-16 and offers a wide array of activities for all, including food and craft vendors plus live entertainment.

Headlining performers at this year's street festival will be R&B music legend Jeffrey Osborne and electric violinist Ken Ford. Festival attendees can also take advantage of exclusive discounts available to them at select area hotels.

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Look a Little Closer

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Simen Johan. Untitled #152 (Bears), 2008. Digital c-print, 53 x 85 3/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

At first glance, the upcoming "Until the Kingdom Comes" exhibit at Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts appears to be a collection of simple photographs and sculptures of animals in natural settings. But given closer examination, the works of Simen Johan will instead challenge your perception of reality.

The exhibit reflects the uneasy connections between humans and other species as Johan's digital photographs, showing live or taxidermied animals digitally inserted onto various natural and human-made landscape environments, blur the boundaries between the real and unreal, animal and human, and beauty and brutality. His sculptures of taxidermied birds are interwoven with insects and foliage, serving as, in his words, "miniature parasitical ecosystems." The results—perhaps intentional—say more about human interference than they do about animals.

"Until the Kingdom Comes" opens on Feb. 20 and will run through May 29 in the Frist's Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery.

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Trading Glass Slippers for Running Shoes

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Ever wonder what it would feel like running through Disney's Magic Kingdom and Epcot for reasons unrelated to impatient children who can't wait to get to their favorite ride? Well, ladies, slide on your running shoes, and let your inner princess shine from Feb. 25-27 during Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend at the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to the namesake 13.1-mile run, there will be a Disney's Royal Family 5k run, plus Disney's Royal Family Kids' Races.

There may not be a running shoe version of glass slippers, but you can still enjoy a few enchanted days where women of all ages come together to participate in a magical event designed just for them. (The events are not exclusively for women; men and children are invited to participate as well.)

This running event is one of six scheduled by runDisney in 2011. Ranging from short family runs to a full marathon, participants in runDisney events enjoy the thrill of running through Disney's theme parks, in addition to exclusive activities related to each specific celebration.

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Where Do You Think You're Going?

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When you're thinking about where to go and what to do on your next vacation, the possibilities can seem infinite and overwhelm you. AAA Travel agents are aware of this, so they utilize their vast knowledge and expertise every day to help members narrow their choices when they come in to plan their trips. Oftentimes, it's simply a matter of the agent identifying a member's lifestyle in order to lead them in the right direction.

In an effort to help many AAA members explore vacation options in one place at one time, the inaugural AAA Travel 2011 Lifestyle Show will be held on Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.

This free event will highlight cruises, tours and custom vacations centered around adventure, discerning elegance, mind/body/spirit, exploration and discovery, simple and easy escapes, drive trips, empty nester, family and honeymoons. AAA and its travel partners will be on hand to find you the best vacation values. There will be presentations, trip giveaways, prizes and much more.

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