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SRQ Daily Apr 16, 2018

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"Filmmakers want to have a movie in Sarasota. It's one of the more name-y festivals right now."

- Sandy Stern, producer

[Backlot]  Filmakers Give Thumbs Up to Sarasota Film Festival
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Filmmakers flocked to to the Gulf Coast this weekend for the launch of the Sarasota Film Festival, speaking well of a community where the makers of independent cinema get held in high esteem whether they bring a movie ready for broad release or a short film with a niche audience. “Filmmakers want to have a movie in Sarasota,” says producer Sandy Stern. “It’s one of the more name-y festivals right now.”

Stern attended one of the first Sarasota Film Festivals 20 years ago and returned to the community Friday with the Opening Night film Class Rank, directed by Eric Stoltz, so the homecoming seemed especially relevant to the producer. Stoltz, too, said the reputation of the Sarasota event proceeded his arrival, and after the screening of the film he called the Sarasota Opera House viewers the best audience the film has enjoyed so far. “They laughed at all the right places,” Stoltz says. “It was great.”

On the red carpet before the kickoff event, filmmakers for much smaller productions also relished in the flood of flashbulbs. “This is great and wonderful. It’s kind of a big deal, at least it feels that way,” says Tracy Holcomb, whose film Cracking Aces: A Woman’s Place at the Table tells the story of famed female poker players.

Director Elizabeth Chatelain, whose Sundogs tells the story of a single mother dealing with financial hardship after the North Dakota oil boom, came to Sarasota as part of the Through Women’s Eyes program. She said the care Sarasota takes to give voice to filmmakers leaves her inspired. “There are so many voices not heard in the industry—women are one and minorities are one—and it’s just so important to hear from different parts of the world and country,” she says.

Festival organizers, who have been as hard at work on a new permanent facility in Sarasota as on the festival proper this year, say the event in its 20th year continues to excite every spring. And the reputation as a place to foster filmmakers remains a major part of the organization’s mission. “We insist upon it,” says SFF President Mark Familglio, who during the evening touted a screenwriting event at the Hermitage and impressive programming. 

The Sarasota Film Festival continues through Sunday. 

[Film]  "Class Rank" Opens Festival with Humor and Heart
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Laughter filled the hall of the Sarasota Opera House on Friday so often that audiences for director Eric Stoltz’s Class Rank missed numerous lines of dialogue that followed one-liners in the high school comedy. The take on the hopeful activism of American teenagers will screen at theaters nationwide starting May 11, but filmmakers brought the pleasing 

The film tells the tale of teenage School Board candidate Bernard and his enthusiastic campaign manager Veronica, played respectively by Slyler Gisondo and Olivia Holt. Stoltz told SRQ he felt drawn to the script by the characters’ awkwardness and eagerness. The characters fill archetypical roles—Bernard could be seen as a civically minded Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds with Veronica a version of Election’s Tracy Flick with an eye on the Supreme Court—yet they follow an atypical story arc, not so much evolving as characters as they expand their ambitions to include such pedestrian concepts as personal happiness.

Bruce Dern, playing Bernard’s reclusive grandfather, steals scenes with wry humor with a sense of anger laying behind every wise crack, while Kristin Chenoweth plays the surprisingly wise motherto Veronica.

The film hits theaters at a time when a group of real-life Florida teenagers seize American political dialogue, but Stoltz shies from comparisons. His movie follows high school students unhappy with the use of class rank and the insistence on including French in the foreign language curriculum, not the heavy issues around gun violence that drew Parkland students into national notoriety. But Stoltz still hopes his film might inspire action in youth. “Perhaps the teenagers and younger kids who see it will feel something, and say the adults have screwed this up long enough,” Stoltz tells SRQ.

The director also laments how comic book films have taken over the box office. Of course, a high school rom-com doesn’t exactly shake up the language of mass cinema. The movie also can employ superficial laughs to cover less-than-authentic plot devices, including the policy issue name-dropped in the film’s title. I’m uncertain of any schools that keeps the class rank of its top students in a graduating class secret, but believing momentarily that a school would proves essential to feeling anything at this film’s emotional climax.

All that said, few seemed to leave this film disappointed, and there’s something to be said for kicking off a week of challenging cinema with a movie everyone in a diverse audience of cinephiles can enjoy. 

[City Politics]  Clarity at the Lido Pool and Pavillion
Liz Alpert

There has been a lot of misinformation and mischaracterization about the planned improvements at the Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion, which has been causing concern in the community. My hope is that I can provide some clarity about what is really happening.

Before I describe what is actually in the plans, I wanted to give a little background on how we got to this point. Plans for what to do with the pool, concession and pavilion were conceived about seven years ago as a response to the likelihood that the pool was going to close due to its condition and non-use. So, an ad hoc committee of the Lido Key Residents Association was formed to come up with ideas for how to save the pool and pavilion, which had fallen into disrepair. In 2012, the ad hoc committee made a presentation to the Sarasota City Commission, including a proposed site plan that included a wish list of amenities they would like to see at the pool and pavilion. The wish list included enhanced food service, cabanas at the pool, a Tiki bar, more seating, a splash pad for children and a children’s playground. In addition, the residents’ presentation suggested the entire facility should be run by one entity. At that time, the economy was still depressed, which meant that the City did not have the money to make the improvements. Encouraged by the residents, the City Commission decided to look for a concessionaire/operator who would be willing to make the improvements and form a public/private partnership with the City.

In 2014, the City advertised this opportunity, spelling out what the City wanted to accomplish for the residents.  Only two vendors responded. One of them only wanted to do a restaurant. The other group was willing to do the entire revitalization project. Thus, they became the preferred prospective concessionaire. Since 2014, they have been working on creating a plan that is acceptable to the Lido Key Residents Association and other City residents. There have been numerous community meetings. After each one, the concessionaires made modifications to their plan based on the feedback they received.

The actual plan is to renovate the existing buildings, including the restrooms, and add improved seating to the patio area. A new restaurant is not being built. There will be table service, but there will also be a walk-up counter for those who would just prefer to order some food and take it with them back to the beach. A thatched roof will be added over the open patio area to provide more shade. In addition, just off the patio there will be a 30-seat tiki bar.

For those who would just like to sit or bring their own food, there will be picnic tables with umbrellas in the open area just West of the patio heading toward the water, but within the dune area.

In the pool area, there will be cabanas that can be rented for the day. However, they are only one option at the pool. The pool can still be enjoyed without having to rent a cabana. There will be seating, some shade, and a splash pad for children. There will be a charge for access to the pool, just as there is now.

The green area in front of the pavilion will have three age-appropriate playgrounds and picnic tables with umbrellas, so that parents can sit and watch their children play. There is no charge for the playgrounds or any of the amenities outside of the pool area.

The value of the improvements will be tracked and expected to be significant. This public/private partnership is expected to create a positive cash flow for the City. The entire facility, including the bathrooms, will remain open and accessible to the public as it has always been.

Liz Alpert is a Sarasota City Commissioner. 

[Recognition]  Brooke Chase Ranked Among Best Recruiting Firms

Brooke Chase Associates has ranked among America’s best recruiting firms in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to Forbes and Statista. Also, there was a dramatic improvement in ranking, having risen from #177 to #116. Forbes has teamed up with market research company Statista to produce, for the second year, an annual ranking of America’s best recruiting firms. The list is divided into two categories; one for the top 250 executive search firms specialized in filling positions with salaries of at least $100,000 and another for the top 250 professional search firms focused on placing positions with salaries of less than $100,000. To determine the best recruiting firms, Statista surveyed 30,000 recruiters and 4,500 job candidates and human resources managers who had worked with recruitment agencies over the last three years. Firms could not nominate themselves. More than 14,500 nominations were collected, and firms with the most recommendations ranked highest. 

Brooke Chase Associates

[Community]  Ribbon Cutting at Sailor Circus for Junior League Improvements

The Junior League of Sarasota held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sailor Circus Sarasota this past weekend to commemorate the completion of recent improvements. The League’s New Member Class of 2017-18 has dedicated its time and resources to breathe new life into the grounds of Sarasota’s beloved Sailor Circus, a pillar in the local arts community that provides after-school circus training to students ages 8 to 18. The New Member class set out to refresh small buildings with repairs and a new coat of paint, updated landscaping, added outdoor seating and some whimsy with circus silhouettes and a new color scheme using Sailor Circus’s blue and white and the signature Junior League red. The New Member Class raised the majority of funds needed for the project with a fundraiser held at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre on February 7. Sponsors of the project include TJ’s Landscaping & Tree Service, Sherwin Williams, Snider’s Painting and Home Wood Craft. The Junior League of Sarasota is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. 

Junior League of Sarasota

[Recognition]  Kerr Receives Real Estate Broker License

Wanda Kerr of RE/MAX Alliance Group has received her Florida real estate broker license. Her continuing training is part of an ongoing commitment to professionally and expertly serve her clients, the real estate industry and community at large. Kerr has 25 of experience in local real estate sales. Her efforts have won her the Certificate of Excellence in Real Estate by Broker Agent Advisor for achievement, potential, leadership, ethics, community value, experience, capability and trust for her service. She is an agent in the RE/MAX Alliance Group Sarasota office at 2000 Webber. RE/MAX Alliance Group is the #1 RE/MAX franchise in Florida and the #16 RE/MAX franchise in the United States. The company also placed among the REAL Trends Top 500 list and RISMedia's Top 500 Power Brokers. 

RE/MAX Alliance Group

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads , June 9 – June 1

The Ringling is pleased to announce the presentation of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s 12 monumental bronze sculptures, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. A sculptor, photographer, installation artist, architect and social activist, Ai is one of the most renowned artists working today. Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was inspired by the fabled fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an 18th-century imperial retreat just outside Beijing. The 12 bronze Zodiac Heads stand on bronze columns. Each animal head measures approximately 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. The animal heads on their columns reach between 9.8 and 12 feet high, with each one weighing approximately 800 lbs. The sculptures will be on The Ringling’s grounds, which are free and open to the public. For more information please visit www.ringling.org

The Ringling, 5401 Bayshore Rd., Sarasota

[TODAY]  FESTIVAL: 20th Anniversary Sarasota Film Festival , April 13 – April 22

Held annually, The Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts and kid-friendly picks. This year's 20th Anniversary Festival will run April 13-22.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Let It Be , April 17, 8pm

This is the show that you never got to see The Beatles ever perform.  Let It Be relives the past from Ed Sullivan to Abbey Road, with favorite hits including “Hard Day's Night,” “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Twist and Shout” and “Strawberry Fields,” and imagines the reunion that never was.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: ABBA The Concert , April 18, 8pm

The audience and press all agree that this is the closest to ABBA you’ll ever get. ABBA The Concert brings one of the greatest pop phenomena back to life and continues to be the top ABBA tribute group in the world. Be dazzled by the performance of the most iconic hits from ABBA, including “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S,” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes All” and “Dancing Queen.” Come dance, come sing, having the time of your life at the ultimate tribute celebration.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Shakespeare in the Gardens , April 18 – May 15

Experience Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” during the Asolo Rep’s outdoor performances. The lawn behind Payne Mansion will serve as the backdrop to this comedy anchored by the entire ensemble of second year graduate actors of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALA: Blue Ties and Butterflies , April 18, 6:00pm-9:00pm

On April 18 during Child Abuse Prevention Month, Child Protection Center will hold its 6th annual Blue Ties & Butterflies at Michael’s On East. This signature, event is beautifully designed to build awareness about CPC's mission in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse. Child abuse is a difficult topic, but one we cannot ignore. At Blue Ties & Butterflies, we celebrate the healing and hope CPC provides to children and families in our community. We promise you an unforgettable evening full of hope and inspiration.

Michaelís on East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota, Florida 34239

[SOON]  THEATER: Soul Man: A New Musical Revue , April 18 – May 26

As the 1960s Civil Rights movement unfolded, black music evolved from the controlled Motown performances to fiery cross rhythms sound—a little gospel, a lot of soul. The passionate soloists, such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, added energetic movements and unique vocalizations that inspired many future performers. Soul Man will feature some of WBTT’s most popular male performers.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma , April 19, 8pm

Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been redefining classical music for 21st-century audiences. Established by world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the musicians represent a global array of cultures while co-creating art, performances and ideas. They draw on a rich tapestry of traditions that make up our shared cultural heritage, creating a new musical language. A uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. Their most recent album, Sing Me Home, won the Grammy this year for Best World Music Album

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: Solo Blanco , April 19

Come out to Jorge Blanco's first solo exhibition in Sarasota. Blanco is a Venezuelan sculptor and illustrator whose art values a postive lifestyle. His work embraces scale, landscape, urbanism and technology while creating soaring testaments to the optimism of everyday life.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Romantic Wonders , April 19, 5:30pm

Two quintessential Romantic era composers are the stars of our final soirée. Brahms' Clarinet Trio opens with a sense of longing as the clarinet and cello engage in a beautiful duet. The dance continues and expands with expressive interruptions from the piano until the final stormy movement. Mendelssohn's Octet cemented his legacy as one of the great prodigies and composers of all time. The work combines two string quartets with stunning melodies and a graciously balanced structure.

Holley Hall, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Pageant , April 19 – April 21, 7:30pm

Back by popular demand! This is not your everyday beauty pageant. These “ladies” will fight for your vote to capture the crown of “Miss Glamouresse.” The six vivacious contestants include: Miss Deep South, Miss West coast, Miss Great Plains, Miss Bible Belt, Miss Industrial Northeast, and Miss Texas.Watch these lovely “ladies” compete in evening gown, talent, swimwear, and spokes-modeling. An evening filled with lots of laughs, where the audience actually chooses the winner!

The Players Centre of Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Garden to Plate Wine Dinner , April 20, 6pm

An evening hosted by Nora and Billy Johnson and Jenny and Ken Pendery will have one continuous table set on the Great Lawn. Guests will enjoy fine wines selected by Michael Klauber that compliment an extravagant, multi-course dinner personally designed by Phil Mancini.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Swingin' at the Club , April 20 – April 21

This swingin’ night of musical sensations focuses on Harlem’s heyday when Duke Ellington’s orchestra was the house band, and Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Ethel Waters showcased the classics of the Great American Songbook. This production features the brilliant trumpeter, vocalist and conductor Byron Stripling, vocalist Carmen Bradford and tap dancer Ted Louis Levy.

Van Wezel, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Suncoast Boat Show , April 20 – April 22

The 36th annual Suncoast Boat Show takes place in downtown Sarasota on April 20 - 22, 2018, at Marina Jack’s in Sarasota, Florida. Enjoy the great outdoors while pricing and comparing hundreds of boats from the Gulf Coast's leading boat dealers. See various types and styles all in one place. Cruisers, Runabouts, Bowriders, Sportfishers, Center Consoles, Motor Yachts, Inflatables and more. Shop tents full of electronics, accessories, jewelry, art and clothing all in a festive atmosphere with food, drinks, music and much more.

Marina Jackís, #2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALA: Firefly Gala , April 21, 6:00pm-11:00pm

Experience the sparkling night of Firefly Gala with incredible auctions and delectable dining. Marvel at the full stage and light production at this intimate, private concert. Help children and families create good beginnings that last a lifetime. Enjoy cocktails and spectacular silent auction on the lawn followed by dinner and a concert featuring Jason Derulo. Dancing at the After Party will feature DJ Jeffrey Michaels of J2 Events.

The Ritz‐Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Chill Under the Stars , April 21, 6:00pm

Join the Sarasota Film Festival tonight and "Chill Under the Stars" as Chillounge Night makes its triumphant return to Sarasota and transforms Five Points Park into a magnificent outdoor lounge with all the chic and stylish vibes that it has become known for throughout Florida. The event starts at 6pm and will showcase live band performances, a sophisticated and fun fashion daybed parade, the signature and colorful Brazilian Samba Parade and much more. With hundreds of cool outdoor furnishings and fine food/drinks to complement the entertainment, this will be an intimate and magical evening for thousands to enjoy. Admission is $30 per person in advance and $40 at the door (must be 21 or older). Chillounge Night, founded in Sarasota 10 years ago, continues to bring a unique brand of "dazzle" with the ultimate outdoor lounge party.

Five Points Park , N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Bill Engvall , April 22, 8pm

Come see Bill Engvall, a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling recording artist and one of the top comedians in the country. He was a contestant on Season 17 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and as a fan favorite, he made it to the finals. He also lent his voice to the animated comedy series Bounty Hunters, which aired on CMT. Bill was part of the enormously successful Blue Collar Comedy concert films, which sold over nine million units and received a Grammy nomination. He also starred on the WB’s hit sketch comedy show Blue Collar TV.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

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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