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SRQ DAILY Mar 13, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"The illusion has more depth on a cell phone because the human eye still perceives that something is off, a phone camera doesn't."

- Denise Kowal, Chalk Festival Founder

[Visual Arts]  Illusions of Grandeur in Three Dimensions
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

The Chalk Festival already has a well-documented reputation for hosting some of the most talented vertigo-inducing street artists the world over, and through May 31, the region will get to see what some of these artists can do on a vertical surface. Denise Kowal, the festival’s founder and chair, has added another immersive exhibition to the festival’s programming with the 3D Illusion Museum. Operating out of the Ice House on 10th Street, the museum features installations from some of the chalk festival’s A-list, including Eduardo Relero, Gregor Wosik and the legendary Kurt Wenner. 

Inside the warehouse, each artist was given some blank real estate to operate, with corners offering the greatest opportunity to play with perspective. Nearly all of the pieces made use of the angles and structures within the space to create murals that appear to pop out at viewers when standing in the correct spot. The spots are marked throughout the museum with pairs of feet drawn on the floor, but gazing at the work from various angles helps viewers appreciate how the illusion of depth is constructed, with the arms and legs of drawn figures skewed out of proportion. “It’s about the experience,” says Kowal.

But no experience is complete nowadays unless it is photographed and posted to social media, and, like Wynwood Walls in Miami, this exhibition is Instagram-ready. “Actually, the illusion has more depth on a cell phone,” says Kowal, “because the human eye still perceives that something is off, a phone camera doesn’t.” Because of the scale of each piece, the museum will only allow a finite number of guests at a time to ensure that each viewer has the opportunity to enjoy an unobstructed view of each mural and so groups have an opportunity to pose “inside” the pieces. 

And, like the Chalk Festival, the installations for the museum are intended to be impermanent. The warehouse recently changed ownership, and while the new owners were happy to host the scheduled installation of 3D art, it will only do so through the end of May. That still leaves plenty of time for those interested to experience the work while also supporting Avenida de Colores, a nonprofit arts organization started by Kowal that provides youth art instruction and promotes cultural literacy.

Beer and wine will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights. The museum is open from 11-8, Thursday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online. 

Photo taken by John Revisky.

Chalk Festival, 200 Base Ave. East, Venice, 941-488-8877.

[Theater Review]  WBTT Pulls No Punches with "Your Arms Too Short"
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Atmosphere begins before the show. 

Settling in for Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s production of Vinette Carroll’s Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, everything seems to click before the performers even enter the stage. The newly constructed theater emphasizes the classic amphitheater feel, with its tiered seats laid out in broad arcs around three-quarters of the stage, comfy but understated, evoking a real sense of community.

The colonnaded backdrop overlooks a sparse set comprising little more than a couple risers, some carefully positioned rock formations and a flag, yet the audience is transported back to the agora, the communal market, where orators and officials would make their case to the gathered population. Set Designer Michael Newton-Brown accomplishes all this with an economy to be commended. And leaves plenty of room on stage for the performers to come.

With an ensemble cast of 16, the next 80 minutes or so promise a musical retelling of the Gospel of Matthew—the betrayal and the trial, the passion and the resurrection—and WBTT puts it all onstage, in dance, in song, in cracking whips and crucifixion. We’re not going full Mel Gibson here, but there’s fire in the production’s willingness not to gloss over imagery that’s bound to shock at least a few.

Under the direction of Harry Bryce, the musical talents of WBTT’s acclaimed performers more than live up to the task, as evidenced from the very first number, with the beatitudes softly intoned until they become a dreamy soundscape propelled by a sense of earnestness that remains honest and somehow never overflows into onstage proselytizing. Pretty soon, it ramps up into that foot-stomping, hand-clapping energy that WBTT productions have become famous for.

Despite the ensemble approach, several performers find their chance to shine. Raleigh Mosely revels in the “villain” role as Pilate, his voice commanding and haughty, joined onstage by Carvas Pickens and others for an aggressive rendition of “We are the Priests and We are the Elders.” (Their entrance also highlights the talents of Costume Designer Adrienne Pitts.) Syreeta Banks wows with vocal virtuosity that soars in a performances of the title track. And the production even makes space to celebrate the art of dance, as Donald Frison channels the pain, fear and unbearable guilt of Judas through an extended solo routine, and Chakara Rosa gives Mary’s grief physicality in a crimson display. Not enough can be said about Cequita Monique’s stunning version of “Something Is Wrong in Jerusalem,” seeing the singer give such weight and pain to the words that each falls like a heavy stone on the soul. 

At times, I wanted more power from Charles Lattimore Jr.’s Jesus, but his soft and subtle performance, clad in all white, contains an interesting suggestion of focus—that this story may actually be more about the faithful than the one who they have faith in.

Of note: the production is more than simply a dramatic retelling of the narrative of the resurrection, but a gospel retelling, at times as reminiscent of the pulpit as the playhouse, meaning that mileage may vary depending on one’s personal beliefs and attachment to the source. But regardless of one’s faith, it’s impossible to deny the talent on stage at WBTT.


Cequita Monique in WBTT's

[Awards]  Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Wins Big at Youth America Grand Prix Competitions

The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is proud to announce its dancers recently won top honors at the recent Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) events held in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Indianapolis. With one more event of the prestigious international ballet competition still to come, the dancers will head to the finals in April in New York City. The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School brought home 12 award-winning titles so far in categories: Classical Dance Category, Junior Age Division and Senior Age Division; Pas de Deux Category; dancers Saela Rivera-Martinez and Nia Townsend making Top 12 in the Contemporary Dance Division; and the school's artistic director Ariel Serrano, recognized in the Outstanding Teacher award.  

Pictured: Saela Martinez-Rivera and Brian Guerrero: First Place Pas de Deux

Sarasota Cuban Ballet School 501 N. Beneva Rd., Suite 700, Sarasota.

[Recreational Facility ]  New Tennis Center At The Lake Club Opens With Great Success

The Lake Club, Lakewood Ranch’s most prestigious village, is known for providing its residents with an abundance of resort-level amenities and consistently adding more. With a grand opening on February 23, the village is now home to multiple state-of-the-art tennis and pickleball courts, and a Tennis Pro Shop as part of a new Tennis Center. “The staff was thrilled to showcase our new Tennis Center to our residents during our engaging grand opening event,” remarked Brad Jeffers, General Manager of The Lake Club. “The facility is already seeing steady use and enjoyment in its first month of operation, and it certainly adds to the many benefits of living in our beautiful and charming community.” The grand opening involved tennis demonstrations by professionals Brian Gottfried and Scott Shields before The Lake Club staff and residents joined in on the fun with doubles matches, a fundraising game of Jai Alai Tennis and a “blind line-calling” contest. This amenity development comes after the completion of luxurious enhancements to the park last year, which included a yoga lawn, children’s playground, fitness trail, dog park, and other sports courts. Central to the community’s exclusive enclaves, the continuous improvements add even more health and lifestyle-focused amenities to enhance residents’ lifestyles further. 

Areal view of Lake Club Facilities

To learn more about Lake Club living, or preview models, floor plans, and amenities

[Special Performance]  Sarasota Opera Presents the Popular "Artists Choice" Concert

A beloved tradition returns to the historic Sarasota Opera House, Sunday, March 15, at 7:30pm. Principal artists — the stars of Sarasota Opera’s productions — take the stage to perform their favorite songs, arias, and ensembles, accompanied by piano. Hear the beautiful Rigoletto quartet, Carmen’s thrilling Seguidilla, a Korean Art Song, and many more special selections. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased online at SarasotaOpera.org, by phone, or at the box office. The Winter Opera Festival continues through March 22 with performances of Puccini’s La bohème, Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, and Catalani’s La WallyFor more information on the special "Artists Choice" concert, visit sarasotaopera.org, call 941-328-1300, or visit the box office at 61 North Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. 

[Collaboration]  Music Compound Teams Up With Everyone Rocks to Support Rise Above

Music Compound is excited to partner with Everyone Rock’s Music school in Sarasota to raise funds for Rise Above Performing Arts, a nonprofit to help those with the desire and love of the performing arts to be able to express that love by partnering with local organizations to help them achieve their performance goalsThe Second Annual Battle of the Bands will be hosted at Music Compound on Friday, March 27. All three music educators teamed up last year for the 1st Annual Battle of the Bands to promote Rise Above’s School of Rock Musical. The event was a great way to showcase three very different music educators, their approaches, and specialities. “Collaboration at it’s finest” stated Jenny Townsend, owner of Music Compound. Music Compound’s mission is to enhance the music community through collaboration and education.  Music Compound and Everyone Rocks are training the next generation of musicians and bands. Both schools will showcase five bands at the event. The event is open to the public.  Tickets available for purchase in advance or at the door.  Net proceeds will be donated to Rise Above Performing Arts. Sponsorship opportunities are available as well.  

Learn more about Everyone Rocks Rockband Program

[Volunteer]  Manatee County Clerk's Teen Court Needs More Volunteers

Does your pre-teen/teenager need community service hours?  The Teen Court/Teen Court Too program, under the direction of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller, is in need of volunteers. Teen Court was established in 1991 as a pre-trial diversionary program for first-time juvenile offenders, ages 10-17 who admit guilt to selected misdemeanor offenses and some court-ordered non-violent felony offenses.  Instead of adults in the legal system deciding their fate, their peers do.  A group of middle and high school volunteers work as prosecution and defense attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and jury members.  They help decide the offender’s penalty for disobeying a law or rule.  Please note that the attorney positions require additional training. To help continue to make this program successful, Teen Court is in need of more volunteers.  There is a need for both teenagers and adults.  Participants become familiar with the mechanics of the court system and learn what kind of career opportunities are available.  Teen Court also awards community service credit hours to school-age volunteers for their participation in the program. This is a year-round program. 

Please contact the program’s coordinators, if you have questions or would like to learn more about the program: Sue.Lockliear@manateeclerk.com, Vicky.Alvarez@ManateeClerk.com, or 941-741-4027.  

[Jewelry Design ]  British Bling

British historian and jewelry designer Andrew Prince wants to see diamonds from across the room. 

Click here to read the full story in our March 2020 Home Edition of SRQ Magazine!

[ITB]  Now Online: Localpreneur of the Year 2020

The SRQ Magazine Localpreneur of the Year program recognizes entrepreneurs who are running locally-owned businesses with purpose and passion, and who have earned the respect of their peers in the following areas: corporate acumen, innovation, philanthropy, leadership and community impact.

Check out this year's stellar group of Localpreneur nominees and winners HERE 

Click here to view the feature

[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: Pop-Up Exhibit with Tom Stephens and John Pirman , March 9 – March 14

A special one-week “pop-up” exhibition of work by Tom Stephens and John Pirman will be on view starting with a free opening reception for both artists on March 9, 5-7 pm. Stephens will unveil new paintings that reflect the environmental effects of Sarasota’s surge in downtown construction. Stephens, who has spent the majority of his life fishing off the west coast of Florida, now depicts the once limitless coastline with the forceful vertical lines of condominium towers. Pirman, an illustrator best known in Sarasota for his back page illustrations in Sarasota Magazine, branches out and reveals his personable, humorous side. Pirman will exhibit a new series of quirky and light-hearted Sarasota portraits. Free admission.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: John Sims American Pi Day Dinner at The Rosemary Sarasota , March 14, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Rosemary restaurant in Sarasota, FL, is excited to announce American Pi: A Wine and Words Pi Day Dinner - A John Sims Project on March 14. This multi-course multimedia dinner in honor of Pi and all things circles celebrates the intersecting spaces of mathematics, human culture and nature.  The dinner menu will consist of 4 courses, where each course with paired wine will have a guest presenter responding to the Pi theme. The featured guest is Stephen Ornes, an award-winning science and mathematics writer, and author of the recent book, Math and Art: Truth, Beauty and Equations. The first chapter of this book features Sims' Pi quilt collaboration with Amish quilters in Sarasota, the subject of Ornes' award-winning podcast episode, How to make an American Pi?. Other guests include Colleen McGue, Chief Transportation Planner of Sarasota, poet Yuki Jackson, actor/musician Michael Mendez, and Modern Jazz Ensemble. John Sims, the event host and current Artist in Residence at The Rosemary says, "Pi Day, as does this dinner event, presents an opportunity to explore and celebrate the power and magic of mathematics as a universal language that can create connections and paths across boundaries of nature, cultures, communities and different creative spaces." 

For information contact John Sims at johncsims@gmail.com and for dinner reservation The Rosemary at 941.955.7600 For more info on these events, please visit RosemarySarasota.com

The Rosemary, 411 N Orange Ave, 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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