Meals & Drink: Orlando In line with Brendan O’Connor

Who can flip the world on along with his smile? The busiest man in Orlando, Brendan O’Connor. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

The ever present Orlando celeb is including “Meals & Drink columnist with Orlando journal” to his resumé. Right here, the author displays on his motto, his heroes, and his best achievements—to date.

What’s your motto?

I feel for those who had requested me this a 12 months or so in the past I’d have stated, “Say sure to the whole lot.” However that will get previous actually rapidly as a result of you end up overcommitted, super-tired, and fats since you by no means have time to eat wholesome. Ha-ha! I say this with expertise. However just lately, my motto has developed into, “Marie Kondo that shit.” If it doesn’t convey me pleasure or make my life higher, then why do it? I say “make my life higher” as a result of I hate going to the dentist and the physician, however generally you simply have to show your head and cough, you already know?

Who’re your heroes in actual life?

I’ve at all times had a factor for Jane Goodall. I used to clip her articles out of “Nationwide Geographic” as a child and put them in a particular little “Janie Items” Bible I had beneath my mattress. I didn’t conceal it as a result of I used to be embarrassed, I simply needed to maintain it particular only for me. I like individuals who discover a goal on this life simply by being themselves and shining brightly. Affect by love is a good factor to attempt for. Different real-life heroes that deserve a shout-out are Sweet Chang, Majora Carter, Jane Jacobs, and private buddies who’ve had a big effect on my life who just lately handed, together with Billy Manes, Doug Bowser, and Sam Singhaus.

Who’re your favourite writers?

I feel Neil Gaiman is a magician. His writing has this “across the campfire” intimacy that tickles that lizard mind in the back of my head. I like the whole lot he does, even his kids’s books.

Talking of lizards, Christopher Moore’s “Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove” must be made right into a Netflix sequence or a Fringe present, it’s so absurd and humorous and completely scrumptious. I feel James Gurney’s “Dinotopia” sequence are beautiful, and I used to be raised on Brian Jacques and his “Redwall” sequence of speaking animals. Oh, and Anne Rice, due to her horny vampires with horny vampire issues.

What’s your best worry?

On the threat of getting too actual, I feel I’m principally afraid of dying and there being nothing afterward. Like, how unhappy if we spend this life rising and constructing and attempting to be our greatest selves, after which there’s simply nothing afterward. The demise of the ego and sense of self is tremendous scary to me. But additionally, so are heights and enclosed areas. I did that Over the Edge occasion the place you rappel down the aspect of Orlando Well being and I assumed I used to be going to die. I’m glad I did it, but it surely simply bolstered that I don’t belong above the bottom.

What’s your concept of excellent happiness?

I feel my favourite days are once I can sit on the ground, and simply make issues. I’ve bins of half-finished tasks like mixed-media work, papier-mâché masks, shrinky dink jewellery, and vintage finds that I like to connect onto random issues round city. There’s a pole throughout from the Downtown YMCA that’s coated in ceramic birds that I put there as a result of Mills 50 Foremost Road made the error of asking me to decorate it up. These days are so enjoyable and mission-driven and stuffed with exploration and errors and getting messy. These are nice days. Or lounging on an inflatable swan and drifting down a Florida spring with a chilly beer. Additionally, good.

What’s the trait you most deplore in others?

A full cup. I hate once you meet folks, and they’re simply unable to obtain something—like a brand new thought or a brand new idea. They’re simply full-up with their preconceptions and beliefs, they usually simply can’t make room for anything. That’s so unhappy to me. I feel we must be open to issues on a regular basis, like little human sponges. That’s arduous to do although, and it takes lots of presence of thoughts. Which might be why it bothers me a lot as a result of for those who can’t obtain something, it’s since you aren’t keen to actually BE with me within the second. I additionally hate individuals who throw cigarettes out their home windows once they’re driving. Hold your trash in your automotive, Mary.

What do you contemplate your best achievement?

I’ve been actually fortunate. I reside a life the place I get to dream one thing up after which make it occur. We hosted the primary huge sequence of drive-in motion pictures throughout the pandemic and used it to launch our membership program. Enormous success. I wrote a guide this 12 months with my longtime pal and radio co-host, Jon Busdeker, known as “100 Issues to Do in Orlando Earlier than You Die.” I had a TV present come out this 12 months too known as “Eating places on the Radar” for VeryLocal on Roku. I’ve received some awards, some from this journal, like “Ones to Watch” within the 50 Most Highly effective Individuals difficulty, and I helped to create a brand new dwelling for McRae Artist Studios over in Parramore that I’m fairly happy with. I feel one of many issues I’m most happy with is a mosaic mural I constructed with an incredible native artist, Janis Nunez, on the entryway to the Hope CommUnity Heart in Apopka. We constructed it utilizing donated supplies from migrant employees within the space and embedded it with pc chips that you may scan together with your telephone to listen to video interviews with the members, together with a number of the nuns who ran the middle and have since handed away.