Lindsey Stirling can’t stand still

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Eric Ryan Anderson / Courtesy

Eric Ryan Anderson / Courtesy

Read on SouthFlorida.com

For most people, playing a musical instrument can be challenging enough.

But for Lindsey Stirling, the challenge was to play the violin while doing pirouettes, leg lifts and hip-hop steps.

“I feel like I have to move, or I’m not fully expressing what the song is,” she says. “I just have to make sure that I know the song super well, and then I can move around.”

And although she’s on the road with her national Shatter Me tour — her next stop is Sunset Cove Amphitheater in Boca Raton on July 5 — deconstructing the traditional violinist form wasn’t always easy.

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Palm Beach Poetry Festival to present ‘Ballet’s Child’

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Palm Beach Poetry Festival / Courtesy

Palm Beach Poetry Festival / Courtesy

Read on SouthFlorida.com

With one look in a mirror, Lani Scozzari’s life changed.

She was 9 years old, and attending a ballet class. At one point, Scozzari turned around to look at the teacher, and caught her reflection in a mirror. She says she saw a different person staring back at her.

“I think that moment shifted my connection to myself,” Scozzari, 34, says. “When I looked at myself, I was suddenly so much bigger than I felt or had felt. And I think I kept spiraling, and I developed this lie about myself that I was heavy or fat or big. And, really, that wasn’t the case at all.”

Scozzari, of Tequesta, has spent most of her life pursuing dance and other performing arts while fighting anorexia and bulimia. She saw herself as overweight, even though she has always been thin.

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Dianne Reeves’ ode to ‘Joy Joy’

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Jerris Madison / Courtesy

Jerris Madison / Courtesy

Read on SouthFlorida.com

Jazz singer Dianne Reeves has performed for President Barack Obama at the White House. George Clooney hired her to record the soundtrack to his film “Good Night, and Good Luck.” She has won five Grammy Awards, the most recent one this month. And she is no stranger to Carnegie Hall.

Yet for Reeves, the most important moment in her career took place at a talent show in Denver when she was 12 years old. Onstage for the first time, with her junior-high classmates and teachers in the audience, Reeves sang the Edwin Hawkins gospel song “Joy Joy.”

“I could feel a part of me that I didn’t even know really existed,” she recalls in a phone interview. “I felt caught up. I’ve never felt like that before. I’ve wanted to chase that particular feeling for the rest of my life.”

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Lady Casa and her PLUR approach for Ultra

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Photo by Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Photo by Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Read on SouthFlorida.com

In the sea of neon fishnet stockings, tutus and fluffy boots that is the Ultra Music Festival, Michelle Casares stands out.

In fact, when the three-day Ultra global phenomenon overruns downtown Miami this weekend, spotting her in the crowd will become like a case of “Where’s Waldo?”

She is Lady Casa, and she’s the one usually wearing the combination bikini with thigh-high stockings, neon eyelashes, colored contacts and some type of flashy adornment on her head, like a feathered headdress or a long, rainbow-colored ponytail wig.

Her calling: To spread the raver’s mantra of PLUR, or “Peace, Love, Unity and Respect,” through the exchange of plastic beads known as kandi.

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Gay men, women find spiritual homes in Southwest Florida GLBT-friendly churches

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Photo by William DeShazer

Photo by William DeShazer

READ IN THE NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Raised a Roman Catholic, John Boettjer never imagined a church would be the place he would come out as a gay man.

At age 70, he joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples, and organized a gay and lesbian movie series at the church.

“When introducing one of the first films, I said, ‘Well, you know, if you haven’t realized it yet, I’m gay,’” Boettjer, now 76, said. “There was no gasp of surprise, but that was the first time I stood in front of a group and said that. You recognize who you are and are public about it. It’s such a liberating feeling.”

Boettjer is among the members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community who find in local religious congregations a safe place to express their religion and their sexual orientation. Several Southwest Florida congregations are openly welcoming to the GLBT community.

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Photographers taking their shoots into the water

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Underwater Photography

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Read at SunSentinel.com

Beneath the water’s surface, the bride-to-be’s pink gown flowed around her as she posed for engagement photos.

She let her lengthy tulle skirt and her long dark hair float as the groom-to-be pulled her in for an underwater kiss.

Then, flash!

Photographer Victoria Machin, also underwater, snapped rapid shots on a recent Thursday afternoon before the couple ran out of breath and rose to the surface laughing.

“Oh, wow! She turned into a mermaid!” Machin exclaimed, perusing the photos.

Machin is among the photographers submerging their cameras and their clients into the ocean or a pool for shoots commemorating all occasions — from engagement and pregnancy to quinceañeras and Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. They say the region’s fascination with water, and its weather, make underwater photography perfect for South Florida.

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Ingrid Michaelson: Shadows and light

By Barbara Corbellini Duarte

Ingrid Michaelson / Courtesy

Ingrid Michaelson / Courtesy

Read on SouthFlorida.com

Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson wrote her latest album, “Lights Out,” while in fear. Her mother was sick, and Michaelson worried about her constantly.

“It was all I was thinking about. It was the idea of losing her,” she says. “She’s all over that record.”

Michaelson will perform songs from “Lights Out” and other albums on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale. During her show, Michaelson moves from the piano to the ukulele. Her voice is soft, but powerful.

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