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Arts advocate: '13' aims to inspire

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It takes a particular mindset to be a Renaissance man, someone willing to wear the hats of playwright, music producer, freelance writer, radio personality, spoken-word performer, photographer and self-promoter.

All those descriptions would fit Orlando arts advocate Joseph Hayes, who wants to harness what he has learned from his diverse interests into an impressive, ambitious and exciting schedule of 13 cultural events in 2013.

"All those words have come up to describe it," Hayes says of his "13 in 13" project, a proposed slate of five jazz shows, two of Hayes' own plays, a live holiday radio drama, two arts-oriented workshops, a photo exhibit, movie screening and spoken-word performance. "Slightly mad is another one."

To turn the project into reality, Hayes has launched a fundraising campaign on the website Kickstarter.com, where his goal is to raise $7,000 by the Jan. 27 deadline. At press time, the project had received pledges for roughly half of that amount. Anyone interested in donating can visit 13in13.net for a link to the Kickstarter page.

If the fundraising push is successful, Hayes envisions a schedule that includes a mixture of free and ticketed productions. Proceeds from ticketed shows will go toward funding projects in 2014.

Tickets are on sale (at gathr.us/screening/718) for the project's inaugural event, a screening of the musical documentary "Big Easy Express," which follows alt-country darlings Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and other musicians on a train from San Francisco to New Orleans. The film will be shown Feb. 5 at the Cobb Plaza 12 in downtown Orlando.

It's appropriate that the film will be the first taste of "13 in 13," because it was among the main motivations for Hayes to undertake the project.

"I was depressed with the progress of the elections," Hayes says. "Everybody was so down on almost everything, but here's these kids, 120 people on this train, playing their music. They played their shows, then they get on the train and play some more. It was so heartening and enthusiastic. There are positive things out there. People that care about art and doing things for the world."

Hayes plans to pay the creative people involved in the shows, a cast that will include 19 musicians, 11 actors, eight directors and theater technicians, four writers, a chef, and a sound-effects person.

"I'm very enthusiastic that this is going to work, but it's a gamble," Hayes says. "We're gambling that the audiences of Orlando are looking for original theater and original jazz. It's a risk that organizations don't generally like to take, but I can do it because I'm just one person."

Hayes already has built a reputation for indie-minded events. His Jazz On Edge concert series, for instance, is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2013 as an established forum for highly evolved jazz. His House Theater Project has streamed intimate theatrical productions online to a worldwide audience.

Other "13 in 13" highlights include a master class in composition and improvisation by trumpeter Brian Groder and pianist Tonino Miano on April 4 at the University of Central Florida. The duo will premiere their new "FluiDENSITY" CD on April 7 at the Timucua White House in Orlando.

Hayes hopes that "13" will inspire others:

"The bottom line is always money, but I did it. Now it's your turn."

jcabbott@tribune.com or 407-420-6213

'13 in 13'

What: Yearlong series of musical, theatrical and arts events conceived by Orlando's Joseph Hayes

When: Schedule opens with Feb. 5 screening of the music documentary "Big Easy Express" at Cobb Plaza 12 in downtown Orlando.

Where: Various locations in Orlando

Cost: There are free and ticketed events

Online: 13in13.net

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