Miami artist Mary Ellen Scherl will capture the stories of local active-duty servicemembers and veterans for her project, “Defending Democracy: Portraits of U.S. Military Women on Canvas and Film,” at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Feb. 19 – 21.

“Seeing the escalation of social and political strife across the United States, for the first time in my life I feared for our democracy. I wondered if, through my art, I could soften the antipathy, build bridges between communities, and remind my fellow citizens that freedom and democracy rise from commitment and sacrifice,” Scherl said. “Why female service members? What better example of sacrifice than the women who are willing to give their lives to protect us, our democratic values, our freedom, our country, and our Constitution. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being.’ This project is about awakening the personal responsibility that comes with freedom.”

Scherl’s program invites the public to contemplate the lives and accomplishments of these heroes through their stories of breaking the “brass” ceiling, female “firsts,” heroism, heartache, humor, basic training, deployments, combat, PTSD, physical disabilities, sexual assault and harassment. All topics are welcome, Scherl said.

Contact Scherl at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up for an on-camera recording session. Participation is free. Military ID required, uniform optional.



Barbra and Judy at Empire Stage

New England's leading Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand Impersonators, Summer Orlando and Tony Di Pietro, return to Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale, Feb. 18 – 27, in a new, scripted cabaret-style show, “Hooray for Love.”

Orlando and Di Pietro have performed to sold-out audiences across New England, New York City and South Florida, and are now embarking on a national tour. Following their residency at Empire Stage, the winners of nine BroadwayWorld cabaret awards will appear in Delaware and South Carolina. 

“Summer and Barbra truly go BEYOND impersonation; this is more than a tribute show. They truly become these icons when they are on stage. This is a completely live vocal show with dazzling visual effects, replica costumes, lots of laughs, storytelling, and songs of the past. It promises to give the audience everything they expect from a Garland and Streisand show and maybe even a little more than they didn’t even know they needed,” according to promotional materials for the tour.

Tickets are $35 at


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