Brian Nell


Brian is the groom.
Brian is a career pool boy. His "adult" job involves lounging around a pool all day and occasionally he finds the time to save a life or two. He is the only male two-time winner of the County's LOC (Lifeguard Obstacle Course) - he currently holds the title. Brian holds his second degree black belt in Pangai-Noon Kung Fu and teaches reguarly. This makes for a very interesting mix of interors for Misha and Brian's house. Near east meets far east. In counstant aw of Misha's dance ability, and dangerous wit keeps Brian on his toes. (You know...Like Kato to Inspector Cluso.) Her willingness to adventure makes for fun and exciting time, and Brian is very thankful to have found someone willing to share in wacky escapades.

Melissa Cain


Melissa is the bride.
Melissa spends her days running around the Florida wildlands herding volunteers, leading tours, and working on various research projects. Sometimes, people are even crazy enough to give her a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline with the edict of "go burn stuff." At night she shimmies and slinks as a bellydance performer and teacher. Right now, she's a snake charmer for hire and a sword dancer. While not sure if either of these qualify as "real jobs" (although she does have a Masters degree so apparently the "educational" one qualifies) she will continue to pretend that they are unti she gets caught not being an adult. Spare time is spent outdoors, caring for animals, or working on various crafty stuff. Melissa is also an artist and adores drawing and painting. Melissa loves Brian's sense of humor, sense of wonder, cynicsm, and the fact that he suckered her cat into turning traitor on her. She is in awe of his talents (he can cook, build, remodel, and sews a mean bellydance costume) and his ability to bring balance and calmness into her life - he is truly the yin to her yang. Brian's also the only man who'd take her to disney, hunt for hidden mickeys, ride the haunted mansion 15 times, suck down sugar, lament the loss of mr. toad, and then pretend he was a german tourist with her.

Josh Harrold


Josh is the Best Man.
Josh and Brian met at the Half Moon Beach Club, where they both worked as support staff for one of the coolest (and unfortunately since demolished) little inns on Longboat Key. Brian and Josh are kung fu partners, forever locked in an unending stalemate of battle. They also both ride hip scooters and look good in tight shirts. Josh and Melissa met at New College, in her first year, when his friend tripped over her and fell into her lap during a horrid outdoor production of "Hamlet Machine." While the play's interpretation had the potential of scarring Melissa for life, the subsequent appology and introduction to Josh made up for it. Melissa credits Josh for introducing her to some of her most favorite people, and for being one of them, himself. In many ways, Josh is the keystone of their relationship and is greatly adored by both Brian and Melissa. Josh is an incredible writer, socialite, musician, and will completely destroy all takers on Tekken.
Josh says: At a very early age Josh was stricken with a positivity that the universe immediately began striving to erase. By the time he reached puberty, Josh was a bitter, cold, adorable tow-headed pimple factory, and the girls loved him. After high-school, he attended New College in Sarasota Florida and was able to graduate, fifteen years later, from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg (also Florida.) During those fifteen years Josh accumulated innumerable skills which help make him the interesting and amusing baby-eating scoundrel he is today. These skills include: kung-fu, rock and roll, video-game competency, and wit. He also knows a lot about stuff, as fifteen years of college tends to impart some small knowledge of the true nature of everything. Brian Nell is his best friend, and inordinate amounts of Josh's time and energy have been spent trying to kill him. The addition of Melissa to the mix as a co-conspirator promises the impending fulfillment of this long-time goal. In closing, Josh thinks life is generally amusing and often stupid, but he does manage to enjoy himself from time to time.

Dierdre Hamlett


Dierdre is the Maid of Honor.
Dierdre says: I grew up in central NY state playing with my collection of Lego bricks which led me to a lifelong love of architecture, particularly residential design. I studied in Syracuse for a few years (until my tuition funds ran out!) and after visiting a relative in Venice, FL, I wound up in Sarasota in 1986. I started my own busines at the Drawingboard, Inc. specializing in all types of residential design, modest mason to McMansion. Living my architectural dreams vicariously through my clients is truly awesome, but my second love became belly dance about 16 years ago. It became a blessing in many ways as well. I had always found it difficult to make friends in Florida until I met so many other women who were drawn to the dance for the same reasons I was. Women who possessed qualities such as independence, strength, career focus, open mindedness, insatiable curiosity, creativity, compassion, ecoactivism, wisdom, and extraordinary inner beauty. Then a shy and graceful woman tiptoed into my dance class who radiated all of these things and as I was soon to find more! She has been my closest friend, a confidant and dance partner ever since!! There did come a time, however, when Melissa was REALLY busy. For weeks she had no time to dance! She had lost all sense of time! When we came together to catch up again, she had a goofy smile and a glint in her eyes. I'd never seen it before - incandescent. Then I got to meet Brian when Melissa invitied me to kung fu class in the park. Since then, I know Brian has shared with Melissa his love and vast knowledge of the cultural, martial, and medicinal gifts of the Far East. The love of my life, GJ, is a drummer and we have always shared a love of all things kung fu and we both have had the priviledge of calling Brian teacher and studying Pangai Noon under him. We enjoy performing with Brian and Melissa (and Shawn!) in Raqs a Dunya drumming and dance group.

Naomi Ardjomankermani


Naomi is the Persian Princess
Melissa and Naomi bonded while working at GWIZ, Sarasota's ONLY science center (*not* to be confused with Sarasota's ONLY zoological gardens. Or botanical gardens. Or the only-open-on-Sundays Russian bakery). As any war-hardened soldier can tell you, the face of great adversity and harsh conditions can form very fast friends and this was certainly true at the 'WIZ where Naomi and Melissa faced such daunting tasks of regularly re-organizing hundreds of Beanie Babies, repeated malfunctions of exhibits they didn't know how to fix, underage co-workers eating dry ice, and a total lack of weekend support staff. The two were often paired as "hostesses" for the birthday parties of some of the city's most affluent small children and, while the clientel weren't always the greatest, they still had a tremendous amount of fun and laughs whilst regularly cooking up slime. This beauty packs brains, too, boys - she's currently working on her thesis and studying to become a doctor. That is, when she isn't practicing up her opera singing or her dance skills. Naomi is a wonderfully talented and acomplished bellydancer and Melissa adores learning from this naturally gifted dancer. So while they may not work at the museum anymore, Melissa and Naomi still set out on many adventures and Melissa and Brian both are proud to call this beautiful lady one of their closest friends. After all, who else would sleep through the New Year with Melissa while Andrew and Brian played video games?

Brian Stewart


Brian is Melissa's Surrogate Brother and Bodyguard
Brian says: I first met Melissa in 1996 at New College (then of USF) where I majored in Political Science. Melissa lived next door to my close friend with whom I spent most of my time in his room watching "Clerks", eating pizza, and throwing pine cones at random passersby. As time went on, Melissa and I became more acquainted and more comfortable with each other until the point where she became one of my closest confidants and I hers. She is still the only woman who I let get away with the comment, "He's like a brother to me." I accepted that role wholeheartedly and have been rewarded with years of laughter, tears, ups, downs, shimmying, shaking, underground wrestling, exclusive hurricane parties, and the friendship of one of the kindest, most intelligent, most thoughtful, caring, and beautiful women I have ever had the honor of knowing. Now we share the distinction of being able to be there for each other at the greatest transitional point in our lives, as we are both getting married almost exactly a month apart. I wish Melissa and Brian, who I find to be an exceptionally witty, poignant, and wonderful man, all of the happiness in the world that I have not greedily claimed for my own. Congratulations, little sister. I love you.

Shawn


Shawn is part of the Imperial Guard
Shawn is one of Brian's kung fu students and Brian has selected him as a member of his "Imperial Guard." He's a talented musician and can play just about any instrument. He is also an incredible glass-blower. Melissa met Shawn when he agreed to play drums while the girls danced at the Medieval Faire. Shawn is a truly kind, sweet man who's incredible quirkiness and amazing hair make him very endearing.
Shawn says: I started playing guitar at age 13, started playing in bars at age 14, been rockin' ever since. Moved to Florida in 1989, toured all around the country with my band "Neurotica" including Ozzfest in 2002. Learned how to play many instruments including: guitar, bass, keyboards, sitar, various drums, tanpura, harmonium, and kazoo. Currently fronting a new band called "ObiShawnKenobi" and own my own store called "Drum or Dance" where I sell and make musical instruments and make blown glass art.

Andrew Sokolov


Andrew is part of the Imperial Guard
Andrew is catagorized, here, as one of Brian's "Imperial Guard." However, he is also Naomi's partner in crime so, clearly, he's a double agent. Melissa and Brian met Andrew through Naomi and, well, dangerously wacky adventures insued. Andrew has since become one of Brian's kung fu students and is learning to drum with Brian, too. He can juggle just about anything, including fire and sharp pointy things or both. While Brian and Melissa persistantly try to drive Andrew crazy, he is very patient with them and allows them to be silly and drag him to Disney. Often. Andrew's a wonderfully intelligent, supportive, deliciously evile yet kind guy who brings a whole new meaning to the word "bear."

Scott Curtin


Scott is part of the Imperial Guard
Scott Curtin is one of two Curtin brothers that co-habitated with Brian for many, many years. Scott is one of Brian's kung-fu students and has been studying with Brian for several years.

Bezel


Bezel is part of the Imperial Guard
Bezel is also one of Brian's kung fu students. He is a talendted drummer, and plays with Shawn in serveral local Sarasota bands. Melissa met Bezel when he played for the girls when they danced at the medieval faire. Bezel has a great sense of humor and is a truly interesting, unique individual.