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SRQ DAILY Jul 8, 2016

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"That's the greatest compliment to me, when people get up and dance."

- John Russo, performer

[Theater]  Russo Brings The Rat Pack to Venice Theatre
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

The 4th Annual 2016 Summer Cabaret Festival began its near month-long run last night on the Pinkerton Stage with Venice Theatre veteran Syreeta Banks belting Broadway favorites and genre-hopping from Gospel to pop to rock to jazz as she wailed through her repertoire. Banks returns tonight for a second show at 8pm before passing the festival baton to John Russo, who returns to Venice Theatre with his Rat Pack Tribute show running Sat. and Sun. “The opportunity to do cabaret is a wonderful thing,” says Russo. “It’s a more intimate space and the energy at Venice Theatre is very positive—the audiences are great.”

Regulars of the Starlite Room in Sarasota may recognize Russo from his Monday night performances at the Broadway Bar, where the singer can be found winding his way through nonstop three-hour sets of Rat Pack classics from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Audiences will get a “taste” at the festival, says Russo, who trimmed the show to a pair of 45-minute sets divided by a brief intermission. Saturday he’ll begin with a Sinatra set and close with Martin, he says, but Sunday, “because it’s a more mellow day, I’ll start with Dean.”

A high-energy show in the Vegas style, Russo is not an impersonator but an emulator—a performer both paying homage and seeking to recapture, not recreate. He doesn’t imitate voices and audiences won’t see him affecting famous Sinatra idiosyncrasies onstage. “I’m more concerned with the music and the songs and delivering them in the style of a Vegas performer,” he says. The audience isn’t there just to watch Russo; he’d rather they dance. “I consider that a compliment,” he says. “That’s the greatest compliment to me, when people get up and dance.”

A self-professed child of “chrome and big cars” with an affection for “a simpler time with straightforward music,” those similarly inclined can hop in Russo’s musical time machine and dance along to Rat Pack favorites such as “Summer Wind,” “Anything Goes” and “Night and Day” this Sat. Jul. 9 at 8pm and Sun. Jul. 10 at 2pm on Venice Theatre’s Pinkerton Stage.

The 2016 Summer Cabaret Festival continues the following weekend with performances from Kristofer Geddie, Robin presents Barbra & Frank @ the Movies and Dorian and the Furniture. Ticket prices and more information can be found at the Venice Theatre website below. 

Pictured: John Russo. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Venice Theatre Summer Cabaret Festival Line-up

[Good Bite]  Sweet Caffeine
Lizzy Steiner

Pastry Art’s de facto signature creation relies on a combination of just seven ingredients, including two types of chocolatemilk and white blend together in sweet harmonyspicy cinnamon chips and coffee. The Espresso Muffin, a mainstay of Pastry Art’s menu since the ‘90s, gives you your morning caffeine shot in solid form. As for that last ingredient, the baking team doesn’t simply throw in a couple of coffee beans or a dash of espresso chipsa steamy, overflowing cup of house-ground Joe adds to the mix, granting the muffin its fresh-brewed flavor. At its summit, the mountainous muffin’s bittersweet peaks receive a snowy layer of powdered sugar. The Espresso Muffin has survived three management changes and multiple menu shake-ups; current owner Chip Beeman estimates that his team serves up 50 to 60 of the chocolatey, caffeinated confections each day.  

Pictured: Pastry Art's Espresso Muffin.

Pastry Art, 1512 Main St., Sarasota, 941-955-7545.

[Recipe]  Corned Beef Hash Mango Style
Diana Morales

Chopped bits of beef and potatoes tossed with mild and savory flavors from onions, mushrooms and peppers, the Toasted Mango Cafe’s corned beef hash is a bountiful and well-balanced breakfast plate. Known to be one their most popular breakfast dishes, the chef throws in a sweet kick to your palate by adding their signature mango butter on the side.

The below recipe feeds all restaurant customers each morning. Scale down for a smaller party.

Ingredients: 10 lbs. raw brisket; 2 ½ lbs. red skin potatoes; 10 lbs. corned beef; onions; mushrooms; peppers; 2 eggs. 

Use 10 lbs. of raw brisket cut into approximately three-inch squares. Boil in water and add seasoning for about three to four hours. Drain and cool. Once it’s cooled, grind and add chopped boiled red skin potatoes. Mix well. Add onions, mushrooms, peppers and jalapenos to your liking and grill on the flat top. Top off with two eggs cooked to your desire (Toasted Mango recommends poached eggs). Add fresh fruit and a buttermilk biscuit with mango butter on the side.  

Toasted Mango Cafe, 430 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-388-7728 or 6621 Midnight Pass Rd., Siesta Key, 941-552-6485.

[Exec Moves]  Grapevine Communications Adds 24 Clients

The area’s leading full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency, Grapevine Communications continues its momentum of growth by adding 24 new clients to its diverse roster since the start of 2016. Some of their new clients include: Advanced Asphalt, BayView Dental, Community Haven, Gilbert Design Build, Jupiter Marine, New College of Florida and Trustworthy Home Care. 

Grapevine Communications

[Recognition]  Willis Smith Construction Awarded Contract

Willis Smith Construction has been awarded the Construction Management at Risk Contract for the South Florida Museum expansion and renovation project. The project will include the expansion of new exhibitions, programs and spaces for visitors to explore new ideas, serve new audiences and connect with the Riverwalk as an anchor in Bradenton’s reinvigorated downtown.  

Willis Smith Construction

[Hires]  Attorney Appointed Secretary of Manatee Bar

Attorney with Williams Parker firm, Jennifer Fowler-Hermes was sworn in as secretary of the Manatee County Bar Association for the 2016–2017 term. The association’s purpose is to instill in its members the principles and duties of service to the public, improve the administration of justice and advance the science of jurisprudence among its members, maintain the highest standards in the profession of law in the County of Manatee and the state of Florida and maintain and promote social and recreational gatherings to provide for a cooperative spirit among the members of the bar. 

Williams Parker

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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