We’ll all have another chance next week to see whether the Christmas spirit has had any impact on the current election campaigning for Marco’s City Council.
It’s hard to expect some people to be civil to one another any time of year, but some of us are hoping the coincidence of having a holiday season and a political season at the same time will result in calmer rhetoric — more hand shaking and less fist waiving.
At this writing, the next scheduled candidates’ forum is at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 18, at the Hilton. It’s open to the public, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Marco Association of Realtors.
Important gift-giving tips
Go to a drugstore and ask for the “trial size” counter and you’ll find a thousand lotions, potions and other toiletries packaged in tubes and bottles, all less than three fluid ounces.
These are big stuff for air travelers these days, required by Homeland Security. So here is a memo to Christmas gift givers. Don’t give anybody one of those fancy leather toiletry holders or dop kits. They’re worthless when traveling by air with carry-on luggage.
Best thing is to buy that favorite guy or girl a gross of quart-size Zip-Loc bags. Your traveling friends can put all their teeny-weeny shampoos and moisturizers into one of the bags every time they fly and as ordered, put the baggie in one of those plastic bins that go through X-ray.
A fancy leather toiletries kit is as obsolete as the buggy whip, until worldwide terrorism is thwarted and we can go back to buying our shampoo in Costco-sized packages.
Why is it called a “dop” kit or “Dopp” kit? I’ll have that here next week.
Barry Newman and Chris Rowles
Many Islanders who attend the First Thursday happy hour evenings at The Esplanade love to hear and dance to the music of Barry Newman and Chris Rowles.
We know about their success with playing big corporate events and other shows in major venues in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere. But you may not know that Barry and Chris are at Blu Fusion restaurant here on weekends.
You may not know, but fans from off the island are coming by the busloads. Why?
“They come from Cape Coral and Estero and elsewhere up there,” says Blu Fusion Manager Don Lewis. “They say they like the food, the music and the dancing.”
Watching Barry and Chris entertain at “Blu” the other night, I asked Barry how he always seems to know what the audience wants to hear at any given point in the evening. That is, he senses when they want to talk, at their tables or at the Blu Fusion bar and when they want to get up and dance.
“In our business, we call that ‘reading the room,’ ” Barry explains.
He began his musical career in 1971 with the “Crests” singing group. Remember “Sixteen Candles?” Barry was still with the Crests when they were nominated to enter the vocal Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Barry must have known how to “read” that Hall of Fame room too.
You can phone Blu Fusion in Town Center Mall to get show times and make reservations, at 389-4545.
Out front and backstage at the tree lighting
A belated thank you to all the Islanders who attended the Christmas Tree lighting evening Dec. 1.
Before my wife Chris Curle and I emceed the event, we had a chance to walk to the back of the crowd and check out how different it is back there from the folding chairs section up front.
Tailgating is even more a major part of the event.
They’ve been celebrating with food and drink back there for years. But it seemed there were more in tailgate type party mood this year. And that’s a good thing.
Up front we get good views of all the talented performers on the program. With apologies to the adults who sang and danced, our favorites were the little ones, especially the three to five year olds of Nathalie Stratford’s Island Dance Academy.
The tykes were terrific, even if sometimes a little non-plussed. And there’s always one of the youngest who stands at the edge of the stages, tears flowing, arms outstretched, hoping mommy or daddy will rescue her from the unsettling loud music, glaring lights and not knowing for sure what she’s supposed to do.
It’s priceless. The teacher, Nathalie Stratford, is the hardest working woman in local show business.
Someone should train a camcorder on her next year, as she leads by example, doing the moves with a dazzling smile.
Backstage and side stage are shows in themselves. We loved it.
Don Farmer has been a full-time Marco Islander for eight years and a part-time resident for more than 30 years. He says full-time is better. Farmer welcomes your ideas for column items via e-mail at email@example.com.