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ARTSalon 2010 begins Nov. 16 with actress Janina Birtolo

By Staff | Oct 28, 2010

Janina Birtolo.

BIG ARTS will launch their special ARTSalon series — a chance for fine arts professionals to share their background and career stories with an intimate audience — on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. with writer and actress Janina Birtolo.

This opening presentation, “Amelia’s View through Pilot Eyes,” will feature a 20 minute viewing of Birtolo’s one-woman show about the life and final flight of Amelia Earhart, followed by discussion.

Just over a decade ago, Birtolo, a Naples resident with a life-long passion for writing and performing — not to mention a very successful career as an area writer and producer for WGCU — combined her two passions after reading Dava Sobel’s book “Galileo’s Daughter.”

“After reading Sobel’s book, I thought about how there are so many great stories about women out there that are never told,” Birtolo said.

What resulted was “Most Affectionate Daughter,” Birtolo’s first one woman show based on the extraordinary life of one of history’s lesser known heroines.

After “Most Affectionate Daughter,” Birtolo began chronicling other forgotten female trailblazers, including Abigail Adams, Catherine de Medici, Mary Lincoln, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Gertrude Bell, Margaret Sanger and Sarah Bernhardt.

“I’ve performed these shows in all different locations. I actually wrote them so that they could be done anywhere. It’s great to interact and let the audience feel like they’re actually talking with the person. It’s a nice feeling,” Birtolo said. “When I share the women with audiences, they get to learn so much. I think it’s a fabulous way to teach history.”

Birtolo also has an hour-long one woman show devoted to Amelia Earhart, but on Nov. 16, Birtolo will present a video of “Amelia’s View through Pilot’s Eyes,” a 20 minute play that takes place against a backdrop of artwork by Jo-Ann Lizio and celebrates the lives of Earhart and five other early female pilots.

And while Birtolo has visited BIG ARTS on numerous occasions, this will be her first time on stage.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m hoping that it will be a rather intimate gathering and that it will evolve into a real conversation where people will feel free to ask questions and talk,” Birtolo said. “There is so much interesting information about early female pilots and what they’ve gone through, but most of them are forgotten by history.”

The cost to attend any of the ARTSalon presentation is $5 and all programs will take place in the BIG ARTS Phillips Gallery, located at 900 Dunlop Road on Sanibel.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for these fascinating ARTSalon presenters:

• Getting into Character: Roaming the World to Research and Write Novels

Thursday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.

Internationally-recognized, award-winning maritime writer, lecturer and television commentator Robert Macomber will talk about his world travels, researching and writing adventure novels.

• The Play is the Thing

Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 a.m.

Florida Repertory Theatre Producing Artistic Director Robert Cacioppo and actress and producer Carrie Lund Cacioppo will talk about how “the play is, and always has been, the thing.”

• How to Market and Distribute your Talent

Friday, feb. 11 at 3 p.m.

Lee Lessack has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe to sold-out performances and has released several albums that showcase his lyric baritone vocals.

• Restored Gardens of the Great French Impressionists: A Visit to Monet’s Garden, Renoir’s Garden and Cezanne’s Garden and how their Gardens Reflect their Artistic Genius

Tuesday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Derek Fell is a writer and photographer with art, travel and garden books totaling more than 2.5 million in print.

• Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock: Their Secret Artistic Territory

Tuesday, April 12 at 3 p.m.

Art therapist Dr. Judith Rubin will present short films about successful artists and their never-before-seen paintings and drawings made to express and cope with their own inner pain.

For more information about programs, shows and exhibitions at BIG ARTS, go to www.BIGARTS.org or call 395-0900.

Learn more about Janina Birtolo by going to www.JaninaBirtolo.com