Glory Days

One of my favorite movie scenes comes at the end of the World War II biopic Patton, when the irascible General George Patton, played by George C. Scott, speaks about how, for over a thousand years, “Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph—a tumultuous parade,’’ accompanied by musicians, strange animals from  conquered lands, and carts laden with treasure. The movie concludes with this line: “A slave stood behind the conquerer, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that any of those on our 50 Most Powerful People list are going to be riding chariots down Orange Avenue any time soon. But glory—and power—is fleeting. Some of the powerful in this issue have been listed for years; others are first-timers; still others who appeared last year are absent in 2014. That’s not because they had a fall from grace. It’s just that to create space for newcomers, movement is required. In fact, of the 50 people who appeared on our 2009 list, fewer than half—21—are on it today.
Yes, our social and political landscape is constantly shifting, with people gaining and losing (or retiring from) positions of power. But while they hold that clout, they are capable of changing the face of our area in profound ways, whether they are politicians, business leaders or community activists. You can read about their contributions—including a wealth of charitable efforts—starting on page 43.
And speaking of faces, it’s no accident that we’re also featuring “Faces of Orlando,’’ a photo essay by UCF student Grace Howard, in this issue. Howard snaps pictures of random people, mostly at Lake Eola Park, engages them in conversation, then  posts the photos and personal accounts on Facebook. These photo subjects don’t have power in the traditional sense of the word, but there is power in their words as we gain some simple insights into their lives. They are the constituents of the movers and shakers and assume their place on the pages of this issue—and deservedly so. The photos start on page 32.
Elsewhere, Roger Moore pays tribute to the Orlando filmmakers who put a scare into us 15 years ago with The Blair Witch Project; Kourtney Destefano talks to an intriguing Disney performer in the stage show Finding Nemo; Joseph Hayes reviews two culinary gems, Chef Henry’s and Yuki Hana; and columnist Greg Dawson discovers that even after all these years, nothing brings out a sense of community quite like the siren song of an ice cream truck.

Next month, don’t miss our annual Best of Orlando issue—I can promise it’s going to be wild and wacky. And come September, the winner of our annual Pet Cover photo contest will have his or her fabulous mug on the front of our annual Pet Issue. Online voting recently ended, and thousands of ballots were cast. Will a dog prevail as usual? Will a cat finally rule? Or will some other type of furry friend stage an upset? Stay tuned.

Categories: Column