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A Unique Magazine Begins Anew at Rollins

On Sunday, Sept. 19, The New Animated Magazine was performed in Tiedtke Concert Hall at 4 p.m. The magazine, proud to be the only one of its kind published in the United States, kicked off the Winter Park Institute’s new season in honor of Rollins’ 125th Anniversary Celebration.

More than 80 years ago, the first Animated Magazine was “published” in the open-air auditorium off of Lake Virginia. Created by Rollins’ eighth president, Hamilton Holt, the Animated Magazine is an innovative program where contributors appear in person to read their writings in front of an audience. Past contributors include novelists Irving Bachellor, Rex Beach, and Corra Harris; activist Jane Addams; editor Henry Goddard; and journalist Albert Shaw.

This edition of The New Animated Magazine began with an amazing performance by Davy Jones and the New Century Jazz Heritage Ensemble. The highly talented group received a roaring applause from the packed house.

Following their performance, President Lewis Duncan, Rollins’ 14th and current president, filled the role of publisher and welcomed the audience. He discussed the magazine’s history, mentioning how the magazine not only focuses on the past but honors the future as well. He also revealed that quite a few members of the audience had attended the original performances of the Animated Magazine.

The Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute and the “editor” of the magazine, Billy Collins, took the stage next for the foreword. Collins described how the magazine “filled a cultural vacuum in Central Florida.” He showed the audience his giant blue pencil, with which he had the right to “x” anyone who went over their time limit (though he never chose to use this power).

Professor Emeritus of History Jack Lane gave the introduction, ending his speech with a quote many of us are familiar with: “Perhaps this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between a new and old tradition.”

Journalist Erik Calonius was the first contributor to perform, discussing “Visionaries in Our Midst.” He mentioned the three things that visionaries do to achieve, a topic featured in his next book, Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us. His three points included that visionaries break patterns, create better versions of things that already exist, and have the ability to raise their level of thinking from one level to another.

Next, publisher of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, Scott Joseph, performed his The Diner’s Bill of Rights. Definitely the most humorous presentation of the evening, Joseph gave a list of the rights he would give his customers if he ever opened a restaurant, including a low-wage, gum-chewing high school kid will not be greeting you as host or hostess; your party will never be referred to as “you guys;” the menu will not be read to you by your waiter; the waiter will not tell you “you picked a great choice!” (for once I wanted them to say, “Oh, you’ve ordered crap!”); and no one will ever ask you if you are “still working on that” (if you have to work on dinner in a restaurant, the food must not be very good).

The Executive Director of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community N.Y. Nathiri promoted the twenty second annual Zora! Festival, which will take place Jan. 22-30, 2011. Nathiri has received an honorary doctorate from Rollins and discussed much of Zora Neale Hurston’s great work.

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez described his struggle to become an American and earn his place as the politician he is today. Born in Cuba, he was brought to the United States before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and although he did not know the language or the culture, worked his way up to where he is today.

Former major league baseball player and manager, Davey Johnson, spoke next. After Collins’ introduction, he said, “Well, I have been called a lot of things in my life. I have never been called a contributor. I do like to think of myself as a visionary.” He discussed his time on the field and his time as a manager.

Afterward, historian, biographer, and editor James L. W. West III discussed the biographer’s complex relationship with the person he writes about. He discussed his biography on William Styron and Styron’s life.

Editor for the evening and former U.S. Poet Laureate Collins next read aloud three humorous poems—“Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House,” “What She Said,” and “On Turning Ten.”

The night ended with author and drama critic for The Wall Street Journal Terry Teachout, who described his writing of his new book Black Beauty, focusing on the life of Duke Ellington.

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