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SRQ Daily Jul 10, 2015

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"Understanding art is very much about the comparative process."

- Mark Ormond, curator

[Theater]  Improv Festival Embraces Promising Additions
Sydney Robinson

Lights, camera, spontaneity. With the summer heat of July comes the annual Sarasota Improv Festival, which has brought premier world-renowned improv ensembles to Sarasota for seven years now. This year, however, Florida Studio Theatre welcomes exciting changes to its festival. These include a new Director of Improvisation, Will Luera, and international improv ensembles from Europe and South America.

Luera came to Florida Studio Theatre all the way from Boston, MA. Managing Director Rebecca Hopkins met Luera back in the early years of the festival when he worked for ImprovBoston as its Artistic Director. When Hopkins was in the market for additional assistance with the improv festival, she said that Luera was just one of many that applied for the position, but that he turned out to be the “perfect fit” for the job. Luera has worked with the theater for nine months now and is currently tackling his first improv festival as director.

Luera isn’t the only addition this year though, the others are coming to the theater all the way from Madrid and Argentina. That’s right, for the first time in festival history Florida Studio Theatre is hosting two international improv groups. The first of these is an ensemble known as ImproMadrid, which originated in Spain, but performs completely in English. This three-man team has almost 15 years of experience with unscripted theatre performance.

Argentinian solo-improviser Omar Argentino Galván is the second international performer to make an appearance at the festival. In addition to showcasing as a one-man-show, Galván also improvises completely in Spanish with an English translator. For his performance, he collects suggestions from the audience written on post-it-notes and throughout the show acts out the audience’s ideas. Although his work is done in Spanish, Hopkins assures that regardless of language, the audience gets a kick out of him.  

Even with the theater’s new additions, one thing that hasn’t seemed to change is the festival’s crowd-pleasing environment. With one day full of improv left, check out the theater’s festival listing for performances by these new international groups as well as returning artists such as Baby Wants Candy and Available Cupholders to enjoy a sidesplitting show.

For schedule and tickets, click link below. 

Sarasota Improv Festival 2015

[Gallery]  Theoretical Notions of the Nonrepresentational
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Ringling College’s Selby Gallery explores the world of abstract art in the modern age with tonight’s unveiling of Defining Abstraction, the latest exhibition bringing 34 artists from across the country, each working in the abstract, to showcase the varied creative approaches within the highly conceptual field. Featuring a variety of mediums as well, including sculpture, printing and painting in acrylic, watercolor and hand-ground inks, Defining Abstraction is ambitious in its conception as a microcosm for a greater movement, one constantly expanding and experimenting. “I wanted artists who were wrestling with the idea of abstraction and putting their own spin on it” said curator Mark Ormond. “And when the objects get in the space, they start to have this dialogue with other works.”

Take for instance the contributions from Siebren Versteeg and Kyle Trowbridge, who both address the ascendance of computer technology through their work, but in different ways. Versteeg creates compositions such as the displayed Just Pepperon!, an abstract work both ordered and chaotic, that appear as painting, but are in fact “algorithmically generated” on the computer from code written by Versteeg and printed on canvas. “Every one is a different variation of a program,” explained Ormond; none is mass-produced. “They are unique works of art.” On an adjacent wall, Trowbridge uses acrylic paint to recreate the now ubiquitous black and white grid of the common QR code in full color, merging modern technology into his craft in his own way. “He’s interested in how we use technology to communicate,” said Ormond. If scanned, Trowbridge’s code says, “Recycle your life,” according to Ormond.

And as much as the work speaks to each other, it engages with the past as well. Looking at Ali Smith’s painting Bone Shaker, seeing the artist utilize the textural qualities of oil painting to its height, in a frenzied and layered creation of crooked turns and dynamic coloration, Ormond sees history. “She acknowledges a debt to abstract expressionist painting from the ‘40s and ‘50s,” said Ormond, “but she has a totally different sensibility because of the way she approaches putting marks on a canvas.” Similarly, Ormond pauses in front of Ernesto Garcia Sanchez’ Untitled, a gridded and patterned composition on cut canvas that bridges abstraction and minimalism and makes Ormond think of the artist Frank Stella from the ‘50s. “If an artist is conscious of what came before, they might reference approaches that other artists utilize, but they make it their own,” says Ormond. “Because this doesn’t look like a Frank Stella painting.”

There are too many artists in Defining Abstraction to list here, including locals and favorites such as Jean Blackburn, Gay Germain, Peppi Elona, Mike Hodges and Mike Solomon, and therein lies the strength of the exhibit, something that Ormond thought long about. “Understanding art is very much about the comparative process,” said Ormond, where everything new is compared to everything seen previously. “That’s what the gallery experience allows visitors and why it can be really exciting.”

Defining Abstraction opens tonight in the Selby Gallery at 5pm with an opening reception with artists and Ormond running until 7pm. The exhibit will be in the gallery until Aug. 5. 

Pictured: "Bone Shaker" by Ali Smith. Courtesy of: Mindy Solomon Gallery

[Daily Shop]  Clutter Keepers

Summer is chaotic and although the days are longer, there is no time to spare. Yet there is no need to neglect the tidiness of your home in lieu of soaking up days outside. These store-all bags from Asparagus are an easy answer to organizational faults and can tidy up all miscellanies in a creative way. This intimate shop of Towles Court carries an assortment of the bags in different sizes and imagery, as well as a supply of other crafty items and gifts all worth a browse. 

Asparagus, 1938 Adams Ln, Sarasota, 941-364-3900

[From The Chef]  Kiwi Cocktails
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Need a sip of summertime? Bonefish Grill shares this seasonal cocktail, a modern spin on The Smash, a cocktail with a history dating the 1860s, now flavored with kiwi to help bring the chill.

Summer Kiwi Smash

Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Tequila; 3 slices kiwi; 5 mint leaves; 0.5 oz. simple syrup; 0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice.

Combine the kiwi, mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass and muddle well. Add your favorite tequila and fresh lemon juice. Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice! Garnish with a fresh kiwi slice.

If you want a “WOW” garnish add an edible flower on top. Crushed ice would make this drink a nice frosty treat! 

Bonefish Grill, 3971 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[Exec Moves ]  Women's Resource Center Welcomes Cruz

The Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County recently welcomed Barbara Cruz as the development director. Cruz brings over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector to the Women’s Resource Center. In her new role, she will be responsible for donor relations, including fundraising, major gifts and planned giving as well as spearheading volunteer recruitment. 

The Women's Resource Center

[Exec Moves ]  Make-A-Wish Announces New Board

Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida announced the election of new officers and members to its 2015-2016 board. Officers include Beth Wexler, community volunteer, president; Rob Wagner, Brown and Brown Insurance, Vice Chair; Barbie Nilsen, Nilsen Interior Design, Secretary; Michelle Cherp, Kerkering Barberio, Treasurer; Mitch Helton, Northern Trust Company, Fundraising & Special Events; and Kim Livengood, The Eclipse Agency, Marketing & PR. Cheryl Burstein, Saralyn Dorrill, Sherra Fritz, Amy Hammon, Susan Jones, Terri Klauber, Phil Mancini, Renee Phinney, Iris Starr, and Sheryl Vieira will also serve on the board. 

Make a Wish of Central and Northern Florida

[Recognition]  Boardwalk Food Company Gets New Look

The Boardwalk Food Company, the official bread of craft beer, has refreshed their packaging and website to align with the Craft Beer industry. Creative Director and Ringling College professor Janine Gevas created the new design for the Boardwalk Craft Beer Popper Mix boxes. The website was created by Sarasota based Notion Design Group. Boardwalk products are made in America with company headquarters in Sarasota. 

Boardwalk Food Company

[Recognition]  Community Haven Receives $225,000 Grant

Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities, Inc. recognized the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation for their recent grant of $225,000, which will assist with the building of a new facility for Haven Industries. This grant contributes to an ongoing $1.1 million capital campaign to expand the agency’s largest program, which currently serves more than 165 adults with developmental disabilities in the Sarasota-Manatee region.  

Community Haven

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: 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. 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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