Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for March, 2011

Thomas Edison receives 2011 Great Floridian Award from State of Florida

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 30th

Thomas Alva Edison, posthumously  received the 2011 Great Floridian Award from Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning at the Florida Heritage Awards Ceremony in Tallahassee.  Edison and his family wintered in Fort Myers from 1885 until 1947 when his widow, Mina Edison deeded the Estate to the City of Fort Myers to be opened to the public. 

Historic reenactors, Thomas and Mina Edison joined Edison & Ford Winter Estates president & CEO, Chris Pendleton in Tallahassee to receive the award.  The award is on display in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum. 
 
“Edison accomplishments as a great Floridian  helped shape Florida’s history and the Estates continues to honor his legacy through the preservation of his home and programs in history, science and the arts,” said Pendleton. 
 
The list of Edison accomplishments cited at the 2011 Great Floridian Awards ceremony included:

  • Thomas Alva Edison traversed the State of Florida in 1885 and eventually discovered a small cattle town called Fort Myers.  By 1886, he created a winter home and research laboratory complex and came to Florida regularly until his death in 1931.  His prominence, interest and involvement helped propel the young State of Florida into national fame.    
  • One of his most famous quotes was based on the population of the young nation at the time as well as its love of travel, ‘there is only one Fort Myers in the United States, and there are 90 million people who are going to find it out.’  The quote has proven true as Edison’s winter estate is one of the top ten most visited historic home sites in America.  
  • Edison loved Florida for its natural beauty, abundant resources, emerging industries, temperate weather, fishing and camping opportunities and its people (named his estate Seminole Lodge).
  • Until the railroad was connected in 1904, Edison traveled to Fort Myers by boat. In 1931, he commemorated the new Edison Bridge on the recently opened Tamiami Trail connecting Tampa to Miami through Fort Myers.   
  • Between 1914 and 1924, Edison and his colleague Henry Ford set out on a series of famous camping trips throughout America.  The camping trips began with their Everglades camping expedition of 1914 which achieved national press.   
  •  In 1917, as head of the US Navy Consulting Board, Edison was stationed in Key West to conduct research useful to the war effort.  One of his experiments involved a listening device designed to detect enemy ships underwater.    
  • Edison used his winter estate to entertain his guests and family but also to cultivate some of Florida’s best known tropical plants, including, citrus, mangos, palms, orchids, bamboo (for his light bulb filament) and 17,000 varieties of rubber plants and trees.  
  • Edison’s good friend and colleague, Henry Ford, bought the estate next to Edison in 1916 which connected Florida to the automobile industry and the American craze for motorized travel. 
  • The Edison years in Florida were marked by notable visits from friends and colleagues like Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs, the famous American naturalist, author and poet.  Edison was also visited from Herbert Hoover shortly before being inaugurated as the 31st President of the United States in 1929.   
  • In July of 1927, Edison, Ford and Firestone formed the Edison Botanic Research Corporation and established a major chemistry laboratory in Fort Myers.  The famous trio were committed to finding an organic source of rubber which could be grown in this country and processed for the nation’s needs for automobile tires, factory equipment, battery parts and other important items.  Edison believed this rubber would be especially useful in wartime when embargoes were inevitable and international sources of rubber would be costly. 
  • Construction on Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory in Fort Myers was completed by June of 1928 and was surrounded by research beds for growing and testing thousands of rubber producing plants.  The Edison Botanic Research Laboratory in Fort Myers is the only one of its kind in its original location in the nation.  It includes the original equipment for its function as a chemistry lab, machine shop, darkroom and general purpose scientific station for the Edison Botanic Research Corporation.  
  • Edison’s plant research in Florida had another lasting impact on the nation’s history as it created a significant change in American patent law which had not included chemical or botanical discoveries in its patent protection process.  Edison’s work resulted in a new legislation to create and protect the patent work of plant and chemical scientists.     
  • By 1931 Thomas Edison and his colleagues discovered that they could extract up to 9% rubber from the processes in this lab using various specimens of goldenrod, including Solidago leavenworthii and Solidago Edisonia and devised a distillation method known as the bromination test or bromine process.   
  • Edison died in 1931 leaving a legacy of 1093 patents, unsurpassed in American history, which includes a patent for almost every aspect of our lives from electricity,  electrical devices, communications, plant science, music, movies and the film industry.
  • In 1947 his widow, Mina Edison, deeded the Edison Winter Estate to the City of Fort Myers to be open to the public as a memorial to her husband and his work. 
  •  In 2006, a new non-profit corporation assumed the governance and management of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Museum, Laboratory and Botanical Gardens.  To date, the new corporation, Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc., has completed more than $13 million in restoration and improvements to the site, operates with a $4.5 million budget, 60 paid staff, 250 volunteers and has remained one of the top ten most visited historical home sites in the nation.  The new corporation has also been awarded the 2009 top award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the 2010 top award from the National Garden Clubs Inc. Mr. Edison would be proud and happy.
  • April 2011 Programs at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 23rd

    April at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the continuation of  Director’s Tours (this month to Palm Beach),  NEW Spring into Science Camp (during spring break), Into the Wild Exhibit Opening and the continuation of Behind the Scenes Tours and Boat Tours as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  The April schedule of programs and events include:

    Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp
    The Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long.  Camp begins on June 13, 2011 and runs through August 5, 2011.  Camps are open for grades 1 – 6 depending on session.  Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films.  Registration forms are available on line at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org  or are available at the Estates.  Estates Members $200; non members $230.  For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

    Edison Wild Wizard at Florida Everblades
    April, 2, Germain Arena, Wild Wizard Show 5 PM, Florida Everblades vs. South Carolina Stingrays, 7 PM, tickets:  $15
    Join the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Wild Wizard for his biggest Science Show ever.  The pre-game science show with the Edison Wild Wizard is family fun for everyone and includes explosions, rockets, slime and much more.   Tickets include Wild Wizard Science SHOW and Everglades GAME admission.  After the science show participants can meet the Wild Wizard, take photos and make slime with the Edison “Muckers.”  Tickets available by calling the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.  

    Director’s Tour:  Flagler Museum and Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach
    April 8, 8 AM – 6 PM
    Visit some of Florida’s most renowned museums, historic homes, and gardens with  Estates President & CEO, Chris Pendleton.  This month, Pendleton will take participants on a tour of the 1930s gardens at The Society of the Four Arts including old Florida, Asian influence, water and contemporary sculpture gardens.  After lunch, tour “Whitehall” at Flagler Museum, the magnificent 60,000 square foot waterfront home of Henry Flagler built during the Gilded Age.  Registration required.  Estates Volunteers $85; Estates Members $90; non members $95.  Price includes transportation, lunch, behind the scene tour, refreshments and historical background lectures on trip to Palm Beach.

    Exhibit Opening Reception:  Into the Wild:  Edison, Ford & Friends
    April 10, 1 PM – 4 PM
    Join Estates staff for the Estates newest Museum exhibit “Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends” chronicling  the camping adventures of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their friends through photographs, archival materials and artifacts, including the 1918 Model T Roadster that Henry Ford had specially outfitted for the trips.  The exhibit features original artwork by artist Leoma Lovegrove reminiscent of the private scrapbook that American Naturalist John Burroughs produced in celebration of his 1916 camping trip with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.  The Exhibit is featured in conjunction with a documentary of camping trips and explorations produced by WGCU Public Media and sponsored by The Cox Foundation.  Reservations not required.  Cost:  Estates Members FREE; non members, adults $12, children $5 and includes admission into the Estates Lab and Museum. 

    Wild Wizard Science Fair Workshop
    April 12, 10 AM – Noon
    The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be hosting the 2nd Annual Young Engineers, Scientists, and Inventors Fair for homeschool and virtual school students on October 25, 2011.  The Estates will be offering workshops throughout the year to assist students with their science projects.  The first workshop, “Getting Started” will focus on choosing a science fair topic and how to conduct experiments.  Cost:  $5.  Registration required by calling the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.  

    Annual Estates Volunteer Award Ceremony
    April 13, Optional River Cruise at 12:30 or 1 PM, Awards Ceremony 1:30 – 3 PM, Royal Palm Yacht Club
    Estates volunteers are invited to join staff and trustees of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates at the annual award ceremony honoring and thanking volunteers.  Volunteers have the option of participating in a Caloosahatchee River cruise with Captiva Cruises before the ceremony.  Entertainment, refreshments and awards presentation begin at 1:30 PM.  Reservations required and participants must be active Edison & Ford Winter Estates volunteers in order to attend. 

    Homeschoolers:  “Chemistry Basics”
    April 15, 1 PM – 3 PM
    Home schooled students will participate in eye popping experiments as they explore chemical changes, acids and bonding atoms.  The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration is required.  Cost:  Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.

    Edison & Ford Winter Estates and The Cox Foundation present WGCU Public Media documentary, “Into the Wild:  Edison, Ford & Friends”
    April 14, 8 PM, April 16, 6 PM; April 18, 10:30 PM, on WGCU HD 30/Cable 3 and 440
    In 1914, three famous friends – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and John Burroughs, trekked into the wilds for a camping adventure in the Everglades.  Their campfire camaraderie inspired a series of camping trips throughout the next decade.  Joined by another famous friend Harvey Firestone, the “Four Vagabonds” explored a changing America, finding rest and inspiration in the nation’s great outdoors. 

    Historic Landscapes and Gardens at Miromar Design Center
    April 23, 2 PM
    Join Estates president & CEO Chris Pendleton and Debbie Hughes, Estates horticulturalist, master gardener and past president of the Fort Myers – Lee County Garden Council  who will present a dazzling view of the award winning gardens at the winter homes of the famous inventors and their families.  The Estates gardens have been restored to the 1929 landscape and participants will learn about the resurgence of Moonlight Gardens and antique roses as well as heritage plants in modern garden landscapes.  To register call 239-390-8200.

    Spring Into Science Camp
    April 25 – 29, 9 AM – 4 PM, (Grades K – 6th)
    Spring campers will go through a spectrum of science as they explore everything from plants and insects to slime and energy.  Participants will grow their own mini-gardens, create colorful sun catchers and much more.  Registration required.  Estates members $220, non members $230.
        
    Edison & Ford Winter Estates Open, April 24, Easter Day

    NEW Boat Cruises & Tours, Wednesdays, 10 AM – 4:30 PM
    The Estates and Captiva Cruises will be offering Boat Cruises & Tours from Captiva Island to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  The NEW cruise tour will provide a unique look at the Caloosahatchee River and its importance ecologically and culturally, a great view of the Estates from the water, lunch at a private club and a tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  Ticket cost is Estates Members $60 adults, $50 children (ages 12 and under); non members $70 adults, $60 children (ages 12 and under) plus tax and includes cruise, lunch and tour of the Estates.  Seating is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-472-5300.   Customized private tours can be scheduled for groups, departing from various locations any day of the week.  For more information contact Captiva Cruises (239) 472-5300. 

    Behind the Scene Tours, Thursdays, 10:30 AM
    Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates Members and $40 for non members.  Due to the intimate nature of “Behind the Scene Tours” space is limited and registration is required.

    Looking AHEAD to May: 

    Exhibit Opening Reception:  Celebrating Bromeliads
    May 1, 1 PM – 4 PM
    Special exhibit includes original 18th and 19th century botanical  illustrations in the restored Edison Caretaker’s House, book signing with author Jack Kramer, and Estates heritage plants and orchids available for sale.  Members of the Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society will be available to answer questions and will have unique bromeliads available for purchase.  

    Etiquette at the Estates:  Mina & Mimi’s Manners
    May 7, 11 AM
    Mina Edison, wife of Thomas Edison, was a gracious hostess and interested in the well being of children and the community.  Following in this tradition, Etiquette at the Estates, includes one day (two hour) lessons in etiquette and social skills.  Children will learn proper introductions, handshakes and dining etiquette during a three course meal.  Class will be taught by Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes at the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the nation.  Registration required.  Estates Members $40; non members $50. 

    Mother’s Day Brunch
    May 8, 11 AM
    Celebrate your Mom with a delectable brunch at the Estates.  The diverse menu will please every member of the family.  Leave time to enjoy the historical ambience along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River and create treasured memories with a tour of the historic homes, gardens and Museum.  Registration required.  Estates Members – Adults $35, children (ages 4 – 12) $15; non members – Adults $40, children (ages 6 -12) $18; Children 3 and under free. 
    The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

    Black Maria Film Festival: Dinner & the Movies

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 17th

    The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Edison State College and BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island  will host the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival in Florida for a fifth season.  The award winning festival will be held on March 18, 2011 at the Estates; March 19, 2011 at the Auditorium at the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College; and March 21, 2011 at Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island. 

    The Festival has the added attraction of being shown outdoors in the gardens of the Estates and moviegoers can enjoy  Dinner & the Movies along the Calooshatchee River as they enjoy the beautiful sunset.  The entire evening will cost $9.50 for Estates members and $16.50 for non members and includes Dinner & the Movies.

    Dinner will be served on the historic grounds of the Ford Estate and include a choice of a pulled pork sandwich, two sides (potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw), soft drink and jumbo cookie for $9.50 per person or a hot dog, soft drink and jumbo cookie for $7.75 per person as well as a variety of salads.  Beer and wine will be available at an additional cost. 

    Dinner will begin at 6 PM and reservations are required by calling the Estates at 239-334-7419.  Seating is limited.

    Tickets for the Black Maria Film Festival may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Boulevard; and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island.    The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students.  Estates Members are free on March 18 and Edison State College students are free on March 19.  Seating is limited.  For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison/events.php BIG ARTS at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at  www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

    DIRECTOR’S TOURS With the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 17th

    Director’s Tours with the Edison & Ford Winter Estates are led by Estates President & CEO Chris Pendleton and include some of Florida’s most renowned museums, estates, gardens, and historic sites with behind the scenes tours and insight by her colleagues who are long time museum professionals, directors, and curators. 

    Fort Lauderdale—March 25, 2011
    Bonnet House & Gardens
    Enjoy a glimpse of “old Florida” as participants will tour the sprawling two story waterfront home surrounded by formal tropical gardens. Pendleton will take participants on a private behind the scenes tour the home once owned by the world acclaimed artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Evelyn as well as enjoy a garden tour of the seaside tropical gardens with native and exotic landscape plants. Lunch will be served in the beautiful Bonnet House tropical gardens. 

    Palm Beach—April 8, 2011
    Flagler Museum& The Society of the Four Arts
    Enjoy a tour of the 1930’s gardens at The Society of the Four Arts including old Florida, Asian influence, water & contemporary sculpture gardens. After lunch, tour Whitehall at the Flagler Museum, the magnificent 60,000 square foot waterfront home of HenryFlagler built during the Gilded Age. 

    Delray Beach—May 6, 2011
    MorikamiJapanese Gardens and American Orchid Society Gardens
    Tour begins at the world headquarters of The American Orchid Society with lush gardens and exotic orchids. After lunch, enjoy a tour of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Participants will experience Japanese culture, art, and beautiful gardens. The MorikamiGardens are ranked as one of the top ten Japanese gardens outside of Japan. 

    $85 Volunteers * $90 Members * $95 non-members
    *Receive a 10% discount when you register for all three!
     
    Tours are all inclusive. Cost includes top of the line transportation, taxes, gratuities, admission, lunch, snacks, and refreshments.
     
    Reservations required, call 239-334-7419 to RSVP 

    Leoma Lovegrove Helps Create “Into the Wild” Exhibit

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 17th

    Leoma Lovegrove is painting in the exhibit gallery at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum this week as she helps Estates staff install a new permanent exhibit which includes her massive paintings and a gallery of historical artifacts. 

    Leoma Lovegrove is an acclaimed artist who is known for her expressionist style and vibrant colors.  “She has been creating paintings and art for many years and her style has become iconic, especially in Southwest Florida,” says Chris Pendleton, President & CEO of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  “Leoma is also passionate about the out of doors and the environment so we knew that she would take on this exhibit project to create a framework for the travels of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs and their famous friends almost a century ago.”

    John Burroughs, who traveled with Edison and Ford, was a well-known American naturalist and captured their exploration of America in his beautiful wildlife sketches, illustrations and poetry.   He created a journal and a diary which Lovegrove is reflecting in the full wall paintings in the exhibit. 

    The Into the Wild exhibit will open to the public on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 1PM at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum.  The exhibit includes the Lovegrove paintings as well as the original Ford Chuck Wagon which was one of the vehicles in the entourage of the famous friends.  In addition to the Burroughs journals, it also includes a journal of Harvey Firestone, notes from the Edison and Ford families, and dozens of photographs and film of their travels.

    To capture the project, however, there is another important exhibit component, a half hour documentary, produced by WGCU Public Media, which further shows the spirit of adventure, exploration and invention of the famous friends and their travels ‘into the wild.’  The documentary will air on regional television and is expected to move to national distribution.
         
    For additional information, contact the Edison & Ford Winter Estates at 239-334-7419.

    The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

    5th Year International Film Festival Returns to Southwest Florida

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 10th

    What:  Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival
    When:  March 18, 7:30 PM, Edison & Ford Winter Estates (rain date 3/20),
                March 19, 7:30 PM, Edison State College,
                March 21, 7:00 PM, BIG ARTS, Sanibel 
     
    The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Edison State College and BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island  will host the 30th annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival in Florida for a fifth season since the Festival began its national tour in 1981.  The Festival has the added attraction of being shown outdoors in the gardens of the Estates as well as indoors in the newly renovated Auditorium in the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College and the Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island. 
     
    The award winning festival will be held on March 18, 2011 at the Estates; March 19, 2011 at the Auditorium at the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College; and March 21, 2011 at Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island.  Black Maria Film Festival Director and Founder, John Columbus will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards. 
     
    The Black Maria Film Festival, named after Thomas Edison’s first motion picture studio, honors Edison’s pioneering work in cinema.  The Festival is hosted by museums and colleges throughout the country and showcases independent and experimental film and video.  The films include a variety of contemporary works drawn from the annual juried selection of award winning films and videos.  The Black Maria is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Awards qualifying festival for short films. 
     
    Tickets may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Boulevard; and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island.    The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students.   Estates Members are free on March 18 and Edison State College students are free on March 19.  Seating is limited.  For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.efwefla.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison/events.php BIG ARTS at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at  www.blackmariafilmfestival.org
     
    On March 18th the Estates will host the Festival along the Caloosahatchee River in the Royal Palm Alee at the historic Ford Estate.  This year the Estates is offering “Dinner and a Movie.”   Viewers can enjoy a dinner under the night skies at “The Mangoes,” the winter home of Henry and Clara Ford, for an additional cost (reservations must be made in advance by calling the Estates 239-334-7419).    In the event of rain the Festival will be held on March 20.  Films to be screened at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates include:
     
    CET AIR LA
    3 min. (2010) by Marie Losier, Brooklyn, NY
    JURORS’ CITATION SELECTION
    This witty musical ditty features April March and Julien Gasc
    performing a popular 1963 French while floating over a superimposed projection of clouds, birds, bubbles, whiffs of smoke and glitter.
     
    MRS. BUCK IN HER PRIME
    9.5 min. (2010) by James Franklin Gould, Washington, NC
    JURORS’ CHOICE SELECTION
    Mrs. Buck in Her Prime is a tender documentary portrait of a spirited 104 year old African American church pianist who, despite her physical frailties, carries on playing the piano with verve and vigor at services in her small hometown of Washington, North Carolina.
     
    PINBURGH
    5 min. (2010) by Doug Cooper, Pittsburgh, PA
    JURORS’ CITATION SELECTION
    Pinburgh is a highly inventive musical fantasy, combining live action and digital animation techniques set in Pittsburgh’s hilly industrial landscape. A live actor is seen dancing down a drawn set of steps and into a bar where a patron plays a game of pinball. As balls bounce out of the bar and about into the city, they activate drawings
    which conjure up the perspectives of M.C. Escher yet retain an originality that reflects a quirky and witty sense of humor.
     
    STANLEYPICKLE
    11.33 min. (2010) Vicky Mather, Berkshire, England
    JURORS’ CHOICE SELECTION
    A comic “pixilated” live action animation in which the quirky main character, Stanley Pickle, a 20 year old never leaves the house where he lives with his parents. He likes to play with his clockwork toys and every night his mother kisses him goodnight. The trouble is that Stanley thinks this is all quite normal, until he spies a mysterious girl in the meadow outside his window. She turns his world upside down. The film premiered at the
    Edinburgh Film Festival and was given the McLaren Award for New British Animation.

    CYCLE OF LOVE
    3.75 min. (2010) by Catherine Marshall, Providence, RI
    This is a whimsical animation anthropomorphizes a child’s tricycle, endowing it with tender feelings for a grown up racing bicycle that’s way out of its league.
     
    GRANDPA LOOKED LIKE WILLIAM POWELL
    4.33 min. (2010) by David Levy, Brooklyn, NY
    Sometimes a memento only reminds one of how little one knows of someone. What remains behind of a person’s life may tell a bit about the past but there’s a mystery to the discovery. When the animation artist came to possess his grandfather’s high school photo album/autograph book from 1924 the divide between the two generations became
    very tangible. David Levy created this original work in which a sketchbook comes alive and questions surface about his grandfather’s world.
     
    HOUSE BUNNY
    1.50 min. (2010) Gina Kamentsky, Somerville, MA
    A cut and paste audio assemblage by the Tape-beatles and several hundred feet of cast off movie trailers are the starting points for the lively and playful animated work House Bunny.
     
    SWEET CLOVER, A HOMECOMING
    17.25 min. (2010) by Jennifer Heuson, Brooklyn, NY
    Employing Super-8 film, archival photos, audio recordings and personal voice over, Sweet Clover is an evocative, lyrical portrait of a granddaughter and grandfather and their shared obsession with the American West, an obsession interwoven with issues related to the filmmaker’s mixed-blood heritage. This poignant memoir piece traces a quest to find a cultural home in landscapes such as those of The Black Hills of South Dakota and includes visits and/or references to issues related to Native American homelands and locales.
     
    LA PREMIERE
    20 min. (2009) by Nick and Michael Regalbuto, New York, NY
    People’s Choice Selection
    The late 1800’s were a time of invention and exploration. Science, chemistry and ingenuity were rapidly changing the way people lived. La Premiere is a recreation, a photoplay, of the race between Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers.  The brothers, Auguste and Louis dreamt of projecting movies large enough on a screen to be seen by groups of people all at once and Edison was out maneuvered in this recreation even as his electric light bulb was key to the Lumiere’s success in this engaging re-creation narrated by actor James Earl Jones.
     
    NEW LONDON CALLING
    10 min. (2010) by Alla Kovgan, Somerville, MA
    New London Calling is zestful urban dance film shot on location in New London, Connecticut. A tribe of 75 young people take over the entire city, playing their games, running, jumping, simply being exuberant. Their vibrant spirit is uplifting and brings fresh, youthful vitality to an otherwise drab city.
     
    TRANSFORMATIONS ON BARTOK
    1 min. (2010) by Stephen Campbell, Lancaster, PA
    This delightful work is a drawn interpretation of the music of the Béla Bartøk.
     
    March 19th at Edison State College, Fort Myers films to be screened include:
     
    THE STITCHES SPEAK
    12 min (2009) by Nina Sabnani, Mumbai, India
    ANIMATION SELECTION
    Fabric art graces this intriguing animation/documentary tracing Kutch artisans’ journeys between Pakistan and India in the forming of the Kala Raksha Trust and School for Design. The women’s appliqués and embroideries reveal a powerful narrative as this visually rich work unfolds. 
     
    MRS. BUCK IN HER PRIME
    9.5 min. (2010) by James Franklin Gould, Washington, NC
    JURORS’ CHOICE SELECTION
    Mrs. Buck in Her Prime is a tender documentary portrait of a spirited 104 year old African American church pianist who, despite her physical frailties, carries on playing the piano with verve and vigor at services in her small hometown of Washington, North Carolina.
     
    PINBURGH
    5 min. (2010) by Doug Cooper, Pittsburgh, PA
    JURORS’ CITATION SELECTION
    Pinburgh is a highly inventive musical fantasy, combining live action and digital animation techniques set in Pittsburgh’s hilly industrial landscape. A live actor is seen dancing down a drawn set of steps and into a bar where a patron plays a game of pinball. As balls bounce out of the bar and about into the city, they activate drawings
    which conjure up the perspectives of M.C. Escher yet retain an originality that reflects a quirky and witty sense of humor.
     
    CHAINSAW
    24 min. (2007) by Dennis Tupicoff, St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia
    A most unusual “mature” animation, Chainsaw starts with a pseudo 1980s safety training film with lumberjack Frank. The cheesy soundtrack and seemingly disjunctive, parallel story lines gradually congeal into a tour de force of rogue humor about a wayward wife and husband Frank’s solution. Among other honors, this film and the artist were featured in a retrospective at the 2010 Animator Festival in Poznån, Poland.
     
    HAIL
    3 min. (2010) by Emily Hubley, South Orange, NJ
    This whimsical hand drawn animation is based on a song composed and performed by the musician Hamell on Trial. Hubley’s art illustrates the song about three hate-crime victims who meet up in heaven. This lyrical piece was created as
    part of a documentary by Vic Campos about the song’s composer.
     
    JUST ABOUT FAMOUS
    14.50 min. (2009) by Jason Kovalsev and Matt Mamula, c/o Blue Collar Films, Los Angeles, CA
    Is that actually Robert DeNiro doing a sort of standup routine about the hassles of being recognized? Celebrity lookalikes for Oprah, Whoopie Goldberg, Sarah Palin, Britney Spears, Robin Williams, Dame Edna, President Obama and George Bush and Elvis populate this spoof-like documentary.
     
    March 21st at BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island films to be screen include: 
     
    LA PREMIERE
    20 min. (2009) by Nick and Michael Regalbuto, New York, NY
    People’s Choice Selection
    The late 1800’s were a time of invention and exploration. Science, chemistry and ingenuity were rapidly changing the way people lived. La Premiere is a recreation, a photoplay, of the race between Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers. The brothers, Auguste and Louis dreamt of projecting movies large enough on a screen to be seen by groups of people all at once and Edison was out maneuvered in this recreation even as his electric light bulb was key to the Lumiere’s success in this engaging re-creation narrated by actor James Earl Jones.
     
    LETTERS HOME
    9 min. (2010) by Melissa Hacker, New York, NY
    A telling documentary, Letters Home was created around letters written by the filmmakers great-aunt, Freda who during 1945-46 Freda traveled through Germany and Austria as a member of the Women’s Army Corps. of the U.S. military.
     
    URVA
    12.75 min. (2010) by Emre Ozdemir, Philadelphia, PA
    This is a poetic documentary shot in the remote village of Urva in Kastamonu, Turkey, near the Black Sea and the native land of the filmmaker. The town is part of a culture than may soon be lost, one that doesn’t fit with present day Turkey nor the global economy in general. The filmmaker’s grandfather is the main subject of the film, who is living close to the land in a vanishing tradition that young people have abandoned.
     
    THE STITCHES SPEAK
    12 min (2009) by Nina Sabnani, Mumbai, India
    ANIMATION SELECTION
    Fabric art graces this intriguing animation/documentary tracing Kutch artisans’ journeys between Pakistan and India in the forming of the Kala Raksha Trust and School for Design. The women’s appliqués and embroideries reveal a powerful narrative as this visually rich work unfolds. 
     
    MRS. BUCK IN HER PRIME
    9.5 min. (2010) by James Franklin Gould, Washington, NC
    JURORS’ CHOICE SELECTION
    Mrs. Buck in Her Prime is a tender documentary portrait of a spirited 104 year old African American church pianist who, despite her physical frailties, carries on playing the piano with verve and vigor at services in her small hometown of Washington, North Carolina.
     
    STANLEYPICKLE
    11.33 min. (2010) Vicky Mather, Berkshire, England
    JURORS’ CHOICE SELECTION
    A comic “pixilated” live action animation in which the quirky main character, Stanley Pickle, a 20 year old never leaves the house where he lives with his parents. He likes to play with his clockwork toys and every night his mother kisses him goodnight. The trouble is that Stanley thinks this is all quite normal, until he spies a mysterious girl in the meadow outside his window. She turns his world upside down. The film premiered at the
    Edinburgh Film Festival and was given the McLaren Award for New British Animation.
     
    HAIL
    3 min. (2010) by Emily Hubley, South Orange, NJ
    This whimsical hand drawn animation is based on a song composed and performed by the musician Hamell on Trial. Hubley’s art illustrates the song about three hate-crime victims who meet up in heaven. This lyrical piece was created as part of a documentary by Vic Campos about the song’s composer.
     
    JUST ABOUT FAMOUS
    14.50 min. (2009) by Jason Kovalsev and Matt Mamula, c/o Blue Collar Films, Los Angeles, CA
    Is that actually Robert DeNiro doing a sort of standup routine about the hassles of being recognized? Celebrity lookalikes for Oprah, Whoopie Goldberg, Sarah Palin, Britney Spears, Robin Williams, Dame Edna, President Obama and George Bush and Elvis populate this spoof-like documentary.
     
    Film selections are subject to change and some films may be shown at all three venues
     
    In 1892 the world’s first motion picture studio was built by Thomas Edison and nicknamed the Black Maria.  The studio has become an emblem of the exploratory spirit in film which the Festival celebrates.  The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival  celebrates Edison’s pioneering contributions to the film industry.

    Artist Leoma Lovegrove at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates March 10, 2011

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 10th

    Acclaimed artist, Leoma Lovegrove, is painting a series of landscapes that reflect the travel of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their friends during a decade from 1916 through the mid 1920’s in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum for a new exhibit, “Into the Wild:  Edison, Ford & Friends.” 

    Her painting will provide the viewer with an understanding of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s unique travels which included the Florida Everglades, the New England countryside, the Smokey Mountains and even a visit with Luther Burbank in California.  Museum curatorial staff is excited to include Lovegrove’s infectious painting style in the exhibit which reflects the early camping and exploration of America at the turn of the last century.  Lovegrove is well known for her love of the Florida and her vibrant painting style, but her direction in this project is to reflect the drawings of naturalist John Burroughs who joined Edison and Ford on their trips, as well as the many photographs of the famous friends and their entourage as they explored America.

    The exhibit “Into the Wild:  Edison, Ford & Friends,” and will open to the public on April 10th.  For the next month, in addition to the installation of the landscape with Leoma Lovegrove, staff will be installing other exhibit components including the first traveling chuck wagon of the famous friends which is actually a 1918 retrofitted Ford Model T Truck, early camping equipment and other artifacts, photographs and copies of the very unique personal journals of John Burroughs and Harvey Firestone which are daily diaries noting their discoveries and personal observations.

    Leoma Lovegrove currently makes her home in southwest Florida, but her art is known nationally and globally. Lovegrove’s work is displayed in the Carter Presidential Library and in the private collection of millionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson as well as in numerous galleries throughout the world. Her art is instantly recognizable for its exuberant technique and tropical color palette.

    She calls herself a creative machine. “My life is one mammoth production line. I want to create a gazillion things.”

    Whether incorporating some of the lyrics to the songs running through her head as she paints or expressing the love in her heart through brilliant colors, Lovegrove strives to make others happy. She paints to make sense of the world as much for herself as for the viewer.

    Why is Lovegrove an artist? To Paint Out Loud.

    Director’s Tour to Fort Lauderdale – Bonnet House

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 8th

    What:   Day trip to Fort Lauderdale, a tour of the Bonnet House
    When: March 25,   8:00 a.m. 
    Where:   Tour leaves from the main parking lot at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
    Who: Visitors, groups, history and museum enthusiasts, and general public

    The public is invited to join Edison & Ford Winter Estates President and CEO, Chris Pendleton for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with Karen Beard, CEO of Bonnet House, a historic 35 acre plantation estate on March 25, 2011.

    Participants will get a glimpse of “old Florida” as they tour the sprawling two story waterfront home surrounded by formal tropical gardens.  Pendleton will take participants on a private behind the scenes tour of the home once owned by the world acclaimed artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Evelyn. 

    This historic 1920’s house is the only home and studio of two American artists open to the public.  Pendleton and Beard will lead you through the rooms of the main house where you will learn the history of the Birch/Bartlett family and discover the charm and whimsy of the beachfront estate.  Participants will also enjoy a garden tour of the seaside tropical gardens with native and exotic landscape plants.  Lunch will be served in the beautiful Bonnet House tropical gardens. 
     
    The cost of the tour is $85 for Estates volunteers, $90 for Estates Members, $95 for non-members and includes a charter bus ride, admission, lunch, taxes,  gratuities, snacks and refreshments.  To make reservations call the Estates at 239-334-7419.  Reservations are limited.

    Incredible Images of Edison & Ford Winter Estates

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 4th

    New Ground Photography was recently at the Estates for a very long day of shooting.  The breathtaking images they took of the property are shared below.  Click on the photo to view larger.

    Photography: New Ground Photography / 239.449.8897 / www.newgroundphotography.com / info@newgroundphotography.com

    Mina Edison’s Garden Social

    Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 1st

    Join the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Mina Edison for “Mrs. Edison’s Garden Social” on March 11, 2011 at 11 AM.  Mina Edison was well known for her love of her husband, Thomas Edison, as well as her dedication to her family, the community and the beautiful tropical gardens at her winter estates in Fort Myers.
     
    Accomplished actress and storyteller Nan Colton will bring to life the remarkable and charitable Mina Edison with unforgettable tales of her life with Thomas Edison.    Mrs. Edison and her “garden caretakers” will lead a tour of the Estates gardens, including the award winning Moonlight Garden. “Garden Social” refreshments of the Edison era will be served in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House.
     
    Hats and gloves are encouraged!  Reservations are required and seating is limited.  Cost:  Estates Members $50, non members $60. To register or for more information call the Estates at 239-334-7419.  Mrs. Edison’s Garden Social is available to private groups upon availability.