Into the Wild
Florida photographer Clyde Butcher captures the glory of Big Cypress Swamp and the Western Everglades in a show at the Orlando Museum of Art. By Jay Boyar
With the beauty of our natural world newly imperiled by the BP bunglers and their assorted enablers, it seems more important than ever to document that beauty.
Here in Florida, one of the most prominent photographers of nature is Clyde Butcher, whose work is often compared to that of Ansel Adams. On view this month at the Orlando Museum of Art, Clyde Butcher: Big Cypress Swamp and the Western Everglades includes 40 black-and-white photos, many of them quite large, all celebrating the glory of the natural world.
“Wilderness, to me, is a spiritual necessity,” Butcher has said. “When my son was killed by a drunk driver it was to the wilderness that I fled in hopes of regaining my serenity and equilibrium. The mysterious spiritual experience of being close to nature helped restore my soul.”
Gazing at the photos in this show, you can see what he means. In the larger works, especially, the haunting grandeur of the Everglades comes through in the twisted trees and driftwood, dense grass, eccentric clouds, and multifarious waterfowl. Butcher has even captured images of the elusive ghost orchid, which Susan Orlean aptly describes as resembling “an ethereal and beautiful flying white frog” in her nonfiction classic, The Orchid Thief.
Somehow, Butcher’s black-and-white shots seem to reveal more than color photos would, as if the artist had, by filtering out the distraction of the various hues, gotten down to the essence of what makes his subject great—and irreplaceable.
Through July 25. Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon-4 p.m. $5-$8. 2416 N. Mills Ave. 407-896-4231. omart.org
July 21 “Weird Al” Yankovic—whose satirical hits include “Eat It,” “Another One Rides the Bus,” “Like a Surgeon” and, of course, “Canadian Idiot”—brings his act (and his accordion) to town. Since breaking through in 1979 with “My Bologna” (spoofing The Knack’s “My Sharona”), the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter has repeatedly earned the “Weird” in his name. 8 p.m. $25-$35. Hard Rock Live, Universal Studios CityWalk, 6050 Universal Blvd. 407-351-5483. hardrock.com. [You can also catch him in Melbourne July 23. 8 p.m. $29.50-$59.50. King Center, 3865 N. Wickham Road. 321-242-2219. kingcenter.com].
July 9-11 That inquisitive monkey stars in his own stage musical, Curious George, Live, a tale about friends helping friends. George and his pals sing, dance and travel to Rome, where they use a special “secret ingredient” to try to help Chef Pisghetti win the Golden Meatball Contest. Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Sunday 1 and 5 p.m. $15-$65, $12 opening night. UCF Arena, 50 N. Gemini Blvd. 1-800-745-3000. ticketmaster.com
July 25 Dozens of indie bands are on the bill of the 16th annual Vans Warped Tour, a rolling parade of punk, alternative, hip-hop, ska, pop punk, electronica, alternative rock, emo and hardcore groups. The party takes place in the parking lot behind Firestone Live, where extreme sports demos vie with a punk-rock flea market, all backed by the music. 11 a.m. ‘til it’s over. $32.70. Firestone Live Amphitheater, 578 N. Orange Ave. 407-872-0066. ticketmaster.com
July 8-August 8 It was recently announced that “Little Orphan Annie,” the 86-year-old comic strip, was being canceled. But Annie lives on in Annie, which is coming to Theatre Downtown this month. You’ll hear “Tomorrow,” “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” and other familiar tunes as the invincible moppet, aided by her band of optimistic orphans, seeks a loving home. Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m. $18; seniors and students $15; July 8 preview $10. 2113 N. Orange Ave. 407-841-0083. theatredowntown.net