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SRQ DAILY Feb 21, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"Embracing visitors is so important to building upon our sustainable economy."

- Elliott Falcione, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

[SRQ Event]  Local Leaders Speak at SB2 State of the Economy Luncheon, 2020 Localpreneur Awards Announced
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Budding entrepreneurs, established executives and the business-minded professionals of all stripes convened yesterday afternoon for a collaborative luncheon at the Hyatt Regency-Sarasota for the latest SB2 Symposium Series: “State of the Regional Economy,” hosted by SRQ Media. The annual presentation featured five noteworthy leaders in the community fringing varied industries including education, financial, hospitality and tourism. Among the panel, speakers included Barbara Feldman, Academic Provost of New College of Florida; Chris Laney, Workforce Education Director of CareerSource Suncoast; Rick Konsavage, Managing Director of The Resort at Longboat Key Club; Brian Mariash, Senior Wealth Advisor of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management; and Elliot Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Assembled on stage for a packed ballroom, SRQ’s Executive Publisher and event moderator Wes Roberts, catalyzed a dialogue focused on "Fueling Today's Economic Engines for the Future." The diverse group of panelists touched on relevant topics such as legislative priorities, sustainable employment, tax regulations, bolstering the increased non-stop flights out of Sarasota-Bradenton airport, dealing with the impact of global epidemics, encouraging a young, rising workforce and the fundamental importance of tourism. 

“Embracing visitors is so important to building upon our sustainable economy,” says Falcione, before throwing the audience with an astounding statistic that 94% of first-time visitors who come here, are back within 11 months, and traditionally return year after year thereafter to invest in the economy and real estate. Meanwhile, Konsavage relays the area is becoming much more of a year-round town, than a seasonal one. “So, the demand is there to expand workforce,” he says. “But the challenge is finding good, quality staff and service workers. It’s been a tough season trying to find qualified, quality employees in restaurants and hospitality.” Without dwelling too much on the current scourge of China’s Coronavirus, Mariash shared input on the possible affect it could have on the state. “We should really be watching to see the economic effect the Coronavirus will have here,” says Mariash. “It’s already had a small impact already, but it’s certainly something we have to have global awareness of with a crisis management plan in effect.” 

After the thought-provoking discussion, SRQ CEO and President Lisl Liang, presented the 2020 honorees nominated for the Localpreneur of the Year Competition. Among the 20+ honorees, awards were given to five winners who were chosen for making a tremendous impact and impression in the regional business arena this year. The five entrepreneurs who have achieved success while keeping a local focus on passion and purpose include Jordan Letschert of TTJ Investments and Crunch Fitness, Allison Imre of Grapevine Communications, Michael Zurbrigen of Euro-Wall Systems, Robert Brady of ROBRADY Design+Production+Capital and lastly, Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini of Michael’s on East.

Congratulations to all 2020 Localpreneur of the Year honorees and thank you to our series sponsors: Merrill Lynch, Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, JFCS of the Suncoast, PSAV, Hyatt Regency Sarasota, New College of Florida and CareerSource Suncoast.  

Photo taken by Evan Sigmund.

Stay tuned for more SB2 initiatives and events this year.

[Performance]  Ken Ludwig Spotted on the Orient Express
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

Playwright Ken Ludwig is very much a man of the moment. He pens his material, works with the premiering production, then moves on to his next project. “I have an odd quirk about my work,” he says, “I feel that if I go see my shows, I’m sort of living in the past.” So, even after the critical acclaim, the prestigious awards and over 1000 productions a year of his work, he still wakes up to find himself riding the train of his creativity forward. And sometimes, the train stops unexpectedly or jumps tracks towards a new destination.

In the case of his stage adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express,” the unexpected came from the estate of Agatha Christie. With the last stage adaptation of Christie’s work being produced over 30 years ago, the estate was looking to get back into the theatre game to keep her legacy alive and relevant. “I won an Edgar Award years ago for a mystery play I wrote called ‘The Game’s Afoot,’” says Ludwig, “so maybe it was that, but somehow my name came up with the estate and they asked if I wanted to adapt one of her stories.” His response was resoundingly in the affirmative, of course, and the train of Ludwig’s prolific career brought him rather serendipitously to Sarasota.

As many already know, the Asolo debuted its production of “Murder on the Orient Express” in January of this year, opening to much acclaim with its comedically hyperbolic characters and sets that dazzled with their scale and level of detail. What many do not know is that this will only be the second production of “Murder” that Ludwig has seen since the play’s premiere in 2017 in Princeton, New Jersey. But, the Asolo presented Ludwig with an intriguing opportunity, not to be showered with praise and accolades, but to open new lines of possibility in the vast network of Ludwig’s career.

“The Asolo is really gaining prominence in the US,” he says, “they seem to be making a name for themselves on the strength of their management and artistic vision.” And while Ludwig hopes that all of his work can achieve success on the strength of its characters and storytelling, the theatre itself can also contribute to the cause. “It’s a great bonus when there’s a fantastic set,” says Ludwig, and add costumes, actors, directors and location to the list as well. 

Following the 1:30 matinee on Wednesday, Ludwig participated in a Q and A session with a select number of audience members and media personnel, offering commentary on his career, the play in general and the Asolo production specifically. It was an opportunity for Ludwig to meet the passionate theatre buffs that fill the theatre’s seats night in and night out. And perhaps with the glowing success of the Asolo’s “Murder” production, the theatre and Ludwig will find themselves sharing a train car into a future of collaboration. “I wanted to see the theatre and meet the people down here,” he says, “because I’d love for them to do more of my work if the quality is this high.”    

Cliff Roles, caption “Ken Ludwig flanked by James DeVita (Hercule Poirot) on the left and literary manager James Monaghan on the right.”

solo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N, Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-351-8000.

[Event Announcement ]  40th Sarasota Jazz Festival Keeps On Growing!

The Jazz Club of Sarasota marks its 40th anniversary with the 40th Sarasota Jazz Festival, its biggest ever. The events take place in various Sarasota County venues from March 8-14, 2020. Ken Peplowski returns for his third year as music director for the mainstage concerts.“Since it’s a big anniversary, we’re presenting an overview of the best of straight ahead jazz going on now,” he said. We’ve booked Sarasota favorites who have returned often over the years as well as people coming here for the first time.” Peplowski has chosen The Manhattan Transfer to headline the milestone event. Other jazz stars include Dick Hyman, Clairdee, Houston Person, Charles McPherson, Russell Malone, Terell Stafford, and festival band La Lucha (Alejandra Arenas, Mark Feinman and John O’Leary). “We try to have something for everybody on each night. If people already know one performer, they can come and discover another,” Peplowski said. The festival traditionally brings a mix of free and ticketed events that feature internationally acclaimed performers; local and regional musicians; jazz stars of tomorrow, joined this year by high school jazz bands; a pub crawl by trolley; two screenings of a jazz film with mini-concert; and the presentation of the Satchmo Award, the Club’s highest honor.This year the Jazz Club has added four new events: two Master Classes, one taught by Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer and the other by acclaimed trumpeter and educator Terell Stafford; a fifth stage for its Jazz Party, now offering a reduced admission price; and a Founders Luncheon honoring the Hal and Evelyn Davis family. In a significant change of venue, the festival’s mainstage concerts will be presented in the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 North Tamiami Trail, with several other concerts staged at venues within a short walking distance of the Auditorium and a master class at Fogartyville Art Center. Other long-established festival events will be held in their traditional venues at Phillippi Estate Park, Burns Court Cinema, and nightclubs in downtown Sarasota. For detailed information and tickets contact the Jazz Club office (email to admin@jazzclubsarasota.com or call 941.366.1552 on Wednesday-Friday, 9am-5pm). 

For more detailed information or to purchase tickets to events

[Music]  Multi-ethnic Latin Pop Songstress Gina Chavez Coming to Fogartyville

Fresh off a 12-country tour as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress Gina Chavez’s passionate collection of bilingual songs take audiences on a journey through the Americas. Gina Chavez is a 12-time Austin Music Award winner, including 2019 Best Female Vocals and 2015 Musician of the Year. Her NPR Tiny Desk concert has more than 900,000 views and her national TV debut is airing on PBS stations nationwide. Her bilingual record, Up.Rooted, topped both the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts. Gina’s music is deeply personal. Her passionate collection of bilingual songs traversing Cumbia, rumba, and soul take audiences on a journey to discover her Latin roots through music as she shares her story of life in Texas as a married, queer Catholic. Gina Chavez will perform at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on Sunday, February 23 at 8pm. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $18 for members, $23 for the general public. Student tickets are half-price and kids under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available online at wslr.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida. 

Gina Chavez

To register for this event or to find out more

[Award Announcement ]  The Hermitage Artist Retreat Announces 2020 Greenfield Prize Winner: Visual Artist Jennifer Packer

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in collaboration with the Greenfield Foundation, has selected New York-based artist Jennifer Packer as the winner of the 2020 Greenfield Prize, given this year in the field of visual art. Packer will receive a six-week residency at the Hermitage and a $30,000 commission for a new work, which will premiere in Sarasota in 2022 with the Hermitage’s presenting partner, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Andy Sandberg, the Hermitage’s artistic director and chief executive officer, notes that Packer was selected by a prestigious jury that included Valerie Cassel-Oliver, the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Daniel Byers, director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University; and Veronica Roberts, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin. Jennifer Packer creates expressionist portraits, interior scenes, and still lifes that suggest a casual intimacy. Packer views her works as the result of an authentic encounter and exchange. “I think about images that resist, that attempt to retain their secrets or maintain their composure, that put you to work,” she explains. “I hope to make works that suggest how dynamic and complex our lives and relationships really are.” Packer will receive her award at the Greenfield Prize Award Dinner on Sunday, April 19, 6 pm, at Michael’s On East, 1212 East Avenue South, in Sarasota. The dinner will be co-chaired by Ellen Berman and Flora Major, with honorary co-chairs, Steven High, executive director of The Ringling, and Anne-Marie Russell, executive director of Sarasota Art Museum. Tickets begin at $175 with benefactor and sponsorship levels available; reservations can be made online at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org. Further details about the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend, including the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Mayok’s new play, in partnership with the Asolo Rep, will be announced at a later date. The Hermitage Greenfield Weekend is presented in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.


To learn more about the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Prize

[Program Announcement ]  Florida Studio Theatre Receives Grant From The National Endowment For The Arts

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) proudly announces that it has been approved for a $15,000 Art Works grant to support The Suffragist Project: Celebrating 100 Years of the Woman’s Right to Vote. In honor of this historic milestone, The Suffragist Project has brought together over 60 community partners, each creating their own artistic, cultural, and educational programming. As part of FST’s contribution to The Project, the theatre has launched Historically Speaking, an educational touring program; commissioned four playwrights to develop new plays inspired by the movement for women’s suffrage; and created an original devised play. The grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will support these artistic initiatives, as well as FST’s Dangerous Ladies Festival, a weekend-long culminating celebration in August 2020 of the new theatrical work created over the course of The Project. Part of FST’s award-winning arts-in-education initiative, WRITE A PLAY, Historically Speaking inspires students to write their own plays exploring themes like suffrage and civil rights. First, students see a performance highlighting some of suffragists’ most stirring and impactful speeches. Then, lawyers from the Sarasota County Bar Association lead dialogues with students on voting rights. After that, students attend a playwriting workshop, providing them with the necessary tools to write their own scripts. The program concludes with students submitting their own original plays to FST’s annual youth playwriting competition. By the end of February 2020, FST’s Historically Speaking program will have reached over 1,000 young people in middle schools and high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. FST has also commissioned Jacqueline Goldfinger, Mark St. Germain, Rachel Lynett, and Sandy Rustin to write original plays that share women’s voices and address the state of voting rights in America’s past, present, and future. Public readings of these commissioned plays will be presented during The Dangerous Ladies Festival in August 2020, the month marking the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Each play will be considered for programming as part of FST’s 2020-21 Winter Season. 

For more information on Florida Studio Theatre and The Suffragist Project

[Event Announcement ]  Madeby Gallery Show Opening Reception

WOA-H!, which stands for Women of Age-Ha!, is an exhibition concept borne from the frustrations and barriers to older women being taken seriously as professional artists. With a goal to showcase the strength and vibrancy of work from women with more life experience; and to shatter the perception that engaging in art making as a recreational activity- is due to age. Madeby Gallery on the campus of Ringling College of Art and Design is hosting an opening reception on Friday,  February 28 from 4:30 to 8:00 pm for the WOA-H! Alumni Show. The show coincides with the Ringling College Art Walk.  All eight campus Galleries will be open from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Any questions can be sent to lseaboye@c.ringlng.edu. 

For more information on Madeby Gallery or the WOA-H! Alumni Show

[Art Exhibit Announcement ]  The Original Circus Museum Reopens To The Public!

The Ringling is excited to announce that the galleries of The Original Circus Museum are now open to the public after an extensive renovation. Visitors will be able to view reinterpreted displays of historic circus wagons, costumes, and the Ringling's private railcar -  The Wisconsin - in the historic galleries. "Chick" Austin, The Ringling's first director, opened the circus museum in 1948; it was the first museum in the country to document the rich history of the American Circus. Today, The Circus Museum is comprised of the Tibbals Learning Center, The Ringling Archives, and The Original Circus Museum. 

To learn more about The John & Mable Ringling Museum, or this exhibit

[Mexican Food]  Make it Melt Melvin
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Heating up the streets of Downtown Sarasota with funky Mexicana fusion.


Click here to read the full story in our February 2020 Business Edition!

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables , December 8 – March 1

Born and raised in Mexico City, where he spent most of his career, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) was one of the most important figures in 20th century Latin American photography. Although he took art classes at the Academy of San Carlos, his photography was mostly self-taught, but he was savvy to the emerging international artistic avant-garde. Considered to be one of the founders of modern photography, his work extends from the late 1920s to the 1900s. He was a key figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance—in which arts and literature flourished. This “Renaissance” owed to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an authentic national identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role. Support for this exhibition has been provided, in part, by the Ringling Endowment at the Florida State University Foundation. Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues. 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Handle With Care | Florida Studio Theatre , December 11 – March 8

A young woman from Israel, Ayelet, reluctantly joins her grandmother on a trip to the United States. Circumstances both absurd and tragic bring Ayelet, who has little command of the English language, together with Josh, a young American man who has little command of romance, on Christmas Eve. Is their inevitable love an accident…or is it destiny, generations in the making? 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Ringling Reflections , January 12 – June 14, 10:30 am

Ringling Reflections programs are designed specifically for people with memory loss and their care partners. They are relaxed, conversation-based gallery tours in the Museum of Art. The tour routes will be wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available for use free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Listening devices, including induction loops for t-coil hearing aids, will be provided. Portable stools will be available for all participants. Tours take place on select Sundays. Please plan on arriving to the museum’s Visitors Pavilion at 10:00 to check in. The tours are free of charge, however, advance registration is required and space is limited.

The Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: ROAR! At the Ringling , January 16 – April 24, 10:30 am

ROAR is The Ringling’s family story time designed to engage toddlers and preschoolers in activities that connect art and early literacy. Attendees will enjoy a story and accompanying art activity. This event is free to attend, however, tickets are required. Tickets will be avaiable 30 days prior to each program. 

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Education Center Classroom, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Circus Sarasota Showcases The Finest International Talent in 2020 Show , February 7 – March 1, 10 am - 5 pm

Sarasota’s hometown circus, Circus Sarasota, is ready to bring chills, thrills and laughs aplenty to audiences of all ages during its professional winter show, Circus Sarasota 2020. Each year, an international cast of renowned artists is chosen to showcase the finest acts in various circus arts disciplines. Once again featuring new and innovative acts, Circus Sarasota 2020 will offer high-flying, heart-stopping thrills, laugh-out-loud comedic antics, and acts that defy both expectations and the boundaries of human limitations. This year’s show features incredible artistry on the flag pole and single trapeze, fast-paced Alanian riders on horseback, hand-to-hand acrobatics, juggling, breathtaking aerial artists, and much more! All performances are rain or shine and take place under the air-conditioned Ulla Searing Big Top in Nathan Benderson Park (behind the Mall at UTC). Showtimes are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m., and President’s Day (February 17) and Sundays at 1 and 5 pm. Tickets are $15-$55, with children under 2 free. Go to CircusArts.org, call the Box Office, or visit the Big Top Box Office beginning Monday, January 20, 2020 (140 UTC Dr., Sarasota) Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. When picking up tickets, please present your confirmation email or I.D.

Ulla Searing Big Top in Nathan Benderson Park, 140 UTC Dr., Sarasota

[SOON]  FILM: Grace Hartigan: Shattering Boundaries , February 24, 1:00 pm

Shattering Boundaries is a portrait of artist Grace Hartigan, a courageous and key figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement in American Art. Attendees are invited to see Hartigan’s work on display in Remaking the World: Abstraction from the Permanent Collection after the film. Admission is $5/ free for members. 

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Fabulous Frescos , February 27, 5:00 pm

Artist Walter O'Neill will lead a participatory workshop on the art of buon fresco. Attendees will learn the Renaissance technique of fresco, using the same materials and methods Renaissance artists used. Students will explore the various aspects of creating a fresco: mixing and applying plaster, grinding pigments, transferring drawing and painting in the wet plaster. Please dress casually. Tickets are $15/ $13.50 for members. 

Ringling Education Classroom, 5401 Bay SHore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  FILM: Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts , February 28, 1:00 pm & 6:30 pm

Chasing Ghosts is an inventive feature documentary capturing the vivid life of Bill Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the street in the thriving segregated black neighborhood of Montgomery, produced a body of extraordinary art. Born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama, Traylor witnessed profound social and political change during his life spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation and the Great Migration. In his later years, Traylor poured out those memories from within, drawing and painting over 1,000 pieces of art from 1939-42. Using historic and cultural context, the film is designed to bring the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life.

Historic Asolo Theatre at the Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Artisan Cheese Company Hosts Cheese Course , February 28, 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm

What is Cheese 101? – This course will take attendees through 8+ kinds of cheese, and two wines. There’ll be a little bit of milk science, cheesemaker stories, and a lot of fun. From fresh to blue, and favorite pairings and wine to complement the cheese. A cheese class is a fun night out with friends, or come alone and meet other cheese-loving folks. Classes include tastings of two wines and 8+ cheeses. Space is limited to 16 people, paid in advance either by phone, or at the shop, or online. Please note - if you were given a gift certificate for a 101 please call the shop directly at 941-951-7860 and we will add your name to a class that has spaces and works with your schedule. The cheese classes are taught by the shops trained and enthusiastic cheesemongers. Gift certificates/incentive tabs are not redeemable for special events/dinners.

Artisan Cheese Company, 550 Central Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALA: BELIEVE: A Gala Celebrating 30 Years , February 29, 6pm-10pm

Are you going to BELIEVE? Thirty years ago, Dr. Kay Glasser believed it was possible to build a campus that would help to improve the quality of life for all people in our region. This Leap Day, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center celebrate those who believed in her vision to get us here, and those who believe in our future.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Youth Fashion Bootcamp Saturdays at Art Center Sarasota , February 29, 9:30-3:30pm

Students will complete a basic sewing project and work on a fashion design of their own creation aided by our skilled teachers. Students will explore, design and create with the materials they bring and those that we have on hand. Students will learn about fashion design, construction, creative thinking and more. Ages 9-17 years old. Participants will need to bring an idea for an unconventional material outfit, some requested materials and a basic sewing kit. Fashion Bootcamp is taugher by Barbara Gerdeman or Margaret Hillman. Students must be registered by Thursday February 27, 2020. Parents will be notified on Friday February 28 if bootcamp has been canceled.

Art Center Sarsota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FILM: Wax Paul Now to Screen at Through Women's Eyes International Film Festival March 7 , March 7, 2:30 pm

The hilarious mockumentary-style short film Wax Paul Now, featuring prolific actor Paul Giamatti of Showtime’s Billions and HBO’s John Adams, will screen at the Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival this March. A lighthearted take on the power of grassroots democracy, the film will show alongside several other documentary and narrative shorts.

Hollywood 11 Cinemas , 1993 Main St., Sarasota

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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