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SRQ DAILY Jun 26, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"I'm going to start my own bow tie business. The bow tie spoke to me since kindergarten."

- Travis Ray, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Associate Managing Director and entrepreneur behind The Dapper Bowtique.

-SRQ Magazine Summer 2020 She Roars Flip Book Out Now.
[Side Project]  WBTT's Travis Ray Finds Divine Success in Dapper Style
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Three years ago, Travis Ray had a dream. Or was it divine inspiration? A black angel appeared to him, hovering above, something clutched in her hand that he couldn’t quite make out. As the angel approached, he saw that it was a swatch of African print fabric and he saw that fabric form itself into the distinctive shape of a bow tie. The angel dropped it upon Ray’s head and it fell into his hands and into his lap. Then more angels appeared, more than he could count and all bearing patterned fabrics of their own, the seraphim of style draping them over Ray’s head until he was buried in a textile cocoon. He awoke and turned to his spouse. “I’m going to start my own bow tie business,” he said. He would name it The Dapper Bowtique.

That Ray didn’t actually know how to make a bow tie seemed a small hurdle. Besides, he’d known how to tie one since he was in kindergarten. How much harder could it be to make one? It helped that he’d been sewing since the 7th grade. And with a 30-minute lesson from a friend and the sunroom converted into a home studio, Ray quickly began churning out one-of-a-kind accessories for friends and family. And himself. “The bow tie spoke to me since kindergarten,” Ray says, but in all this time he’s never been able to find any that matched his personal taste. “They were always conservative,” he says, and limited to solid colors and maybe a polka dot or two. Ray wanted something more. And as it turns out, a lot of other people did too.

Today, The Dapper Bowtique has blossomed from a side-project into a full-fledged business, selling Ray’s handmade bow ties and pocket squares online and in retail stores in Sarasota and Tampa, including as a recent addition to The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. He takes orders from all across the country, shipping his signature style everywhere from New York City to LA, from Houston to Chicago. He’s now known for his penchant for eclectic patterns and colorful African prints, which he imports from western and southern Africa—particularly Ghana, Mali, Cameroon and South Africa—and for an approach that eschews collections in favor of an ever-changing assortment of offerings that, once sold, have no guarantee of reappearing on the market. “I switch it up every time,” says Ray. “It’s always evolving and, for me, that really speaks to the sense of it being custom and uniquely made for each individual.”

And while the coronavirus pandemic may have hampered his work with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, where he’s performed for seven seasons and serves as Associate Managing Director, it only re-energized The Dapper Bowtique, which quickly pivoted to making custom facemasks with those trademark African prints. And with his online presence exploding, the Dapper Bowtique is now selling out consistently, as customers embrace the dapper side of life. “Dapper identifies a gentleman,” Ray says. 

Pictured: Travis Ray, photography by Lori Sax.

Click for more on The Dapper Bowtique.

[Local Artist]  Tom Ford Flips the Script on the Gender Binary
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

If art is a product of its times, it stands to reason its aesthetics ought to move with it. When it comes to the portrayal of male and female figures in particular, contemporary art screams for the dissolution of Classical norms that depicts women as passive objects while men stand in power poses that accentuate their muscular physiques. To that end, self-taught artist Tom Ford has amassed a body of work that attempts to upend the traditional gender binary and gives viewers something subtly subversive, faintly fun and altogether timely.

That he accomplishes this comes at least partially from a lack of formal training that would have introduced him to Classic gender depictions. He would only have used a ball point pen or pencil for most of his early childhood, but “later on, my mom bought me a cheap set of watercolor paint from the local 5 and 10 store,” he says. From there, he painted anything he saw, including the Marlboro Man. “I guess I always had an interest in painting beautiful men,” he says before chuckling. Today, watercolors comprise one small part of his multi-medium output, which includes acrylics, jewelry and even painted palm fronds. “If you walk into my little art room, it wouldn’t look like all the work was created by one person,” he says, “but I typically do male figures in watercolor because I think the male body calls for it.”

At first glance, the watercolor medium itself seems at odds with traditional expectations of the male figure. Watercolors can be delicate and shy where male figures are often accentuated for their angular, sinewy lines. When Ford combines the two, the final product is a male figure that appears submissive or vulnerable. The painting above features a dear friend of Ford’s with his back to the viewer, his body relaxed and seeming to blend with the soft expanse of the landscape within his gaze. It all lends itself to a sense of repose often reserved for maidens sprawled out on couches or chairs.

His acrylic work also upends traditional representations of women. “I think that I always saw women as being more powerful,” says Ford, and some of his portrait work depicts women with all the tamed ferocity of an apex predator at rest. Recently, Ford completed a study of Joan Crawford in “Sudden Fear,” a gun in hand firing off-canvas, a heightened sense of purpose bristling in her face. Another acrylic portrait depicts Sophia Loren staring at the viewer through a pair of sunglasses “as if she had a bit of a bad day and wanted to take it out on the nearest person,” writes Ford in its description. And as sexuality and gender continue to be expressed in increasingly diverse ways, Ford hopes he can continue to reflect the currents. “I’ve always known I’m a cisman who loves men,” he says, “but I’m always trying to open my mind to other iterations of gender and sexuality.”  

Click here for more information.

[New Event]  Motorworks Brewing Enduro Can Drop and Live Music

Cruise by for a cold one and jam out this weekend with a stacked music lineup in their massive Beer Garden. Safely distance yourselves and catch Deviate The Plan this evening 7:00pm-11:00PM then catch The Eric Von Band tomorrow night from 7:00-11:00PM and Paul Fournier of Wild Root will take stage Sunday 3:00pm-7:00pm.

Available in six packs and on draft starting at 12:00pmPM in the taproom. Hazy-straw colored and easy drinking, this American pale ale was brewed with experimental hops delivering juicy citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas that give way to slightly resinous pine notes with semi-dry finish. This refreshing, crushable brew is the perfect reprieve from the sweltering Florida sun. 

Click here for more information.

[Ballet Dance]  Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Resumes Studio Classes June 29th

On June 29th SCBS will begin offering classes in the four studios at their school on North Beneva Road in Sarasota. The five-week summer sessions are scheduled for Monday-Friday from June 29th-July 31st. Students may enroll for classes by the week or for the 5-week session. The minimum age for enrollment in summer classes is 10 years old. All classes will be three hours in the studio. There will also be on-line conditioning classes. Strict protocols will be in place: staff and students will have their temperatures checked and use hand sanitizer each time they enter the school. Students will be assigned to a studio in advance and must use their designated entrance/exit and bathroom at all times. There will be touch-free soap and sanitizer dispensers in each studio and floors and barres will be marked to ensure proper social distancing of at least 6 feet. Teachers will wear masks at all times. Enrollment is limited. There are still a few openings. Zoom classes will be offered for younger dancers. 

For more information email info.sarasotacubanballet@gmail.com or call 941-365-8400.

Click here to donate to SCBS.

[Emergency Meeting]  Special Meeting Notice on Proposed Ordinance Requiring Face Coverings, June 29

Notice is hereby given that an Emergency Special Meeting of the City Commission shall be held as authorized by Article III, Section 9(b), of the City Charter, on Monday, June 29, 2020 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. via video conference technology to discuss the following: I.1. Proposed Emergency Ordinance No. 20-5329 Requiring Face Coverings in the City of Sarasota as more fully specified herein; allowing for exceptions to the face covering requirement; providing a penalty for violation; providing for severabilityl etc, and I.2. Discussion Re: Future Commission Meetings; any other matters that may come before the Body. The video conference is allowable under Executive Order No. 20-69 issued by Governor DeSantis on March 20, 2020 and extended under Executive Order No. 20-150. See links: Meeting Agenda Packet for the Special Meeting of the City Commission and Sarasota City Commission Remote Meeting Protocols and Process. 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk at 941-263-6222.

Click here to watch the meeting video.

[Construction]  Halfacre Construction Company Awarded Wimauma Elementary School Addition

Halfacre Construction Company, a Lakewood Ranch-based commercial construction company, has been awarded the contract to construct a new 21,000-square-foot building for Wimauma Elementary School in Hillsborough County. 
Built to educational standards, the new addition will house more classroom space for the school’s students. The campus’ existing buildings will remain operational. Construction on the $5.4 million project is scheduled to start in fall 2020 with a projected completion date of summer 2021. "At Hillsborough County Public Schools, we are projecting a need for nearly 38 new schools in the next 15 years to keep up with the number of new families moving into our school district and particularly into the south side of the county,” said Carin Hunt, project administrator for Hillsborough County Public Schools. “The classroom addition, being built by Halfacre Construction Company and designed by Hepner Architects, will provide additional student stations to relieve overcrowding at nearby schools and provide a more cohesive learning environment to meet the needs of families in the Wimauma community.” 

Click here for more information.

[Renovation]  Fishman & Associates Joins Team to Redesign and Expand Kitchen at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Fishman & Associates is working with GMC Architects, DeAngelis Diamond Construction, and the food service team at 800-bed Sarasota Memorial Hospital to help redesign and expand the kitchen into a state-of-the art, room service style meal delivery system for its patients. The expansion will nearly double the size of the current kitchen. Construction is scheduled to be completed in May 2021. Sarasota Memorial Hospital opened in 1925 with 32-beds at the cost of $40,000. The hospital expanded to 100 beds following the Great Depression. The first kitchen and dining room was added by 1946. 

[Online Teaching]  Foundation Expands Virtual Training on Consulting for Nonprofits

Gulf Coast Community Foundation has produced a variety of digital training and information resources, including pre-recorded webcasts and a series of interactive webinars, to support nonprofit organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic. Branded I3Digital, the suite of offerings stems from a transformation of the foundation’s highly popular Invest in Incredible (I3) nonprofit capacity-building initiative. The I3Digital resources can be accessed online at GulfCoastCF.org/i3digital.

“With COVID-19, we had to quickly reimagine our capacity-building offerings for our nonprofit partners,” said Veronica Thames, Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer and staff lead on the I3 initiative. “We focused on addressing their most urgent needs and on delivering training and knowledge in an easily accessible way. Our I3 consultants have done an amazing job of transforming what they do to meet our nonprofit partners where they are right now.”

To date, Gulf Coast’s I3 team has produced 15 videos on topics ranging from remote governance and fundraising strategies for board members and executives to resilience training and mental-health self-care for nonprofit staffs and volunteers. “The webinar on HR policies with COVID-19 impact delivered very valuable, pertinent information in a timely manner,” said one webinar participant. “[Presenter] Laurie Huebner was outstanding, knowledgeable, and insightful on each topic—HIPAA, I-9, furloughs, layoffs, reductions in force, and OSHA.”


To learn more about nonprofit consulting services provided through I3, email i3Director@gulfcoastcf.org.

Click here for more information.

[LGBT Foundation]  Support ALSO Youth During Give Out Day

Give Out Day is an annual fundraising campaign specifically for LGBTQ+ organizations that happens during Pride month. This year, anyone can "give out" anytime in the month of June. ALSO Youth would be honored to receive your support this year as our organization navigates these uncertain times. Organizations with the most unique individual donations are eligible for bonus prize money, so please encourage your friends and loved ones to donate by June 30th. 

Click here to donate.

[Wish List Donation]  Wanted: New and Gently Used Life Jackets, Kayak Paddles or Paddleboard Paddles

If your kids have outgrown last season’s life jackets, or you received a bag of new life jackets when you purchased a new boat and used them to replace the old ones, please donate any PFDs you won’t use to the City of Sarasota Parks & Recreation District. Donating your used life jackets, as long as they are still in good working condition, allows them to continue their usefulness long after you have finished with them. Donated life jackets will be used for youth and adult water safety at City of Sarasota Aquatic facilities and for our educational water safety and boating programs. Donating new or used kayak paddles or paddleboard paddles will aid the City of Sarasota Parks & Recreation District in teaching youth about paddling safety and will allow youth in the community to learn a lifelong skill. 

If you are interested in donating any items or would like more information on our educational water safety and boating programs, please contact Emily Randell at 941-263-6732 or Emily.Randell@sarasotafl.gov.

[COVID-19 ]  UnMasked
Ariel Chates, ariel.chates@srqme.com

The hands behind Sarasota's selfless sewers. 

Click here to read the full article in SRQ's Summer 2020 issue.

[COVID-19]  SMH Restricting Visitors Again

Effective 6 pm on Friday, June 26, Sarasota Memorial Hospital will once again activate a “No Visitors” policy, except in special circumstances. SMH is taking a proactive approach to reduce risks of exposure by significantly reducing the number of people in the facility. The temporary changes are part of the health system’s ongoing effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard the health of patients, families, staff & the community. No visitors will be permitted for patients suspected of having COVID-19 or who have tested positive. Visitors also are not permitted in the Bayside Center for Behavioral Health or at the Sarasota Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Rand Boulevard. SMH is encouraging community members and loved ones looking to connect with patients to utilize apps such as Skype, Facetime and Zoom. Staff is available to assist patients and have iPads and other devices available to ensure patients can continue contact with family and friends.  

[Safety]  Manatee County Commission: Follow Surgeon General's Recommendation

After two days of lengthy debate over whether to make face masks mandatory in public, County Commissioners today approved a statement endorsing recommendations from the Florida Surgeon General that state all individuals in Florida should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.

Commissioners also agreed to other elements of the Public Health Advisory that state:

All individuals over the age of 65 and all individuals of any age with high-risk health conditions should limit personal interactions outside of the home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

All individuals should refrain from participation in social or recreational gatherings of more than 50 people. For all gatherings of fewer than 50 people, individuals should practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from each other and wear a face covering.

County Commissioners urge Manatee County residents, business owners and visitors to read and adhere to the Surgeon General’s public health advisory issued on June 20, 2020, and respect others that cannot protect themselves in public spaces. The Board of County Commissioners supports businesses that require patrons to wear masks prior to entering their businesses, and requires social distancing if masks are removed. 

Click for more info.

[Schools]  Board Workshop Offers Recommendation for Re-opening Schools

Manatee County School Board Members heard Superintendent Cynthia Saunders reopening recommendations for public schools in August which includes face masks coverings and eLearning options for families not yet ready for a full return to school. School Board Members will hear final details of the back to school plan at a Board Workshop on July 9th and a vote will be taken at the July 14th Board Meeting. The health, safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff is the School District’s utmost priority as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Careful deliberation took place in the creation of the plan, which includes a multifaceted approach to safely reopening schools while providing a high-quality instructional experience. More than 20,000 people recently provided feedback through a survey with 54 percent of Manatee County parents choosing a plan that includes a traditional return to school in August. Board Members are in agreement there will be an expectation that face mask coverings will be worn by all staff and students while inside District buildings and schools, including school buses. Details of the expectations will be voted on during the July 14th Board Meeting. 

Click here for more information.

[Live Music Venues]  Van Wezel Joins Artists Banding Together to Ask Congress for Support

Stating that “the collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating,” more than 600 of nation’s most cherished musical artists issued a letter to Congress asking legislators to provide urgent financial support for independent venues and promoters in the U.S., which are in grave peril due to the pandemic. Formed at the onset of the Covid-19 shutdown, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), now has nearly 2,000 members in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These independent venues and promoters were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen. They are at real risk of closing permanently if Congress does not take quick and specific action to address the unique circumstances of this still-shuttered component of the small business sector, which normally fuels substantial economic growth for the communities they serve.

The 600 artists sending the letter to Congress are joining more than 500 other touring artists and comedians with a combined social media presence exceeding 900,000,000 who have urged their fans to have their voices heard at SaveOurStages.com. So far people across America have written more than 500,000 emails asking Congress to #SaveOurStages. The artists’ letter to Congress says, in part: “We will know America is ‘back’ when our music venues are filled with fans safely enjoying concerts with abandon. The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric. In fact, 53 percent of Americans – that’s 172 million of us – attended a concert last year. “Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us have played on. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 9​0 percent of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again. 

[TODAY]  BUSINESS: Webinar: CEO & Joe, Arts and Culture in Our Region , June 26, 9-10am

Join us for "virtual" coffee with your Chamber President/CEO, Heather Kasten and Guest Speaker Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance of Sarasota County for an update on the impact of Covid-19 to the Art & Culture community and the innovative ways they are adapting. 

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Kabuki Modern , November 13 – June 27, Museum hours.

In response to developments and the rise of photography, publishers, print designers and painters updated their stylistic and technical approaches to yakusha-e, thereby propelling the genre into the modern era. Kabuki Modern presents superb recent acquisitions of kabuki portraits between 1868 and the 1950s. Visitors will see works by Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900), Yamamura Kōka (Toyonari, 1885–1942), and Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) — the foremost print artists of their time. Two stunning screen paintings by Murakami Michiho (1899–1938) and Torii Kiyotada IV (1875–1941) that recently returned to the Museum following conservation treatment are also on view. Featuring portraits of actors in character, these prints and paintings capture the dynamic poses, elaborate stage make-up, and sumptuous costumes that have enthralled audiences for over 400 years. The exhibit began November 13, 2019 and will end June 27, 2021, during museum hours.

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

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Nathan Benderson Park Fireworks on The Lake , July 3, 4pm - 11pm

Nathan Benderson Park’s annual July 3 tradition, NBP Fireworks On The Lake, returns with a social distancing twist. It’s the finale of WWSB ABC7’s Independence Day special, tentatively airing at 9pm Saturday, July 4, 2020. The in-person fireworks celebration at the park will be a drive-in, social-distancing event. Fireworks will begin at 9pm on July 3 at the park. Ticketed fireworks viewing areas are on the park’s Regatta Island, in the Green Lot next to the SCAT station on North Cattlemen Road, and on the park’s south end. Vehicles will be spaced to allow for social distancing, so parking in each lot will be limited. Tickets will be sold beginning June 24, 2020. Pricing is $15 per car and $40 for recreational vehicles, with RV parking in the south park lot.

Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL 34235

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: Choral Artists of Sarasota's July 4th American Fanfare Concert , July 4, 4pm

For the last 15 years, Choral Artists of Sarasota has honored Independence Day with a concert of rousing songs celebrating the United States. The choral group will continue that tradition this July 4—with a twist. To ensure the safety of its singers and audience, the concert will be virtual. According to Artistic Director Joseph Holt, this year’s concert will feature highlights of previous Independence Day celebrations—and will be streamed over various platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. “Audiences should prepare to tune in and sing along on July 4 at 4 pm,” says Holt. “We’ll be safe, and we’ll be celebrating.”

Holt explains that Choral Artists’ July 4th concert “has been a vital part of our community’s celebration of Independence Day for the past 15 years. These concerts featured musical pieces that form the heart and soul of our collective national sense of pride and patriotism. For all these years, Choral Artists has celebrated, through music, the thread of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that characterizes our nation.” He adds that, last year, Choral Artists moved the concert to the Sarasota Opera House due to popular demand. It also partnered with the Sarasota Concert Band last year to present a “musical tradition that is as American as hot dogs, apple pie and fireworks.” Original plans for the live performance of “American Fanfare” were to include patriotic music composed by female composers. This year’s virtual performance will feature one of those works, “The March of the Women” composed by suffragette Ethel Smyth, recorded specifically for this concert.

Holt says the July 4th video will feature hits from the past years, including such patriotic standards as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful.” According to Holt, with the cancellation of the group’s “Listen to the Earth” in April and the July 4th concert, Choral Artists has lost more than $50,000 in ticket sales. “This represents a significant loss of income for our singers,” he says. “As we are all freelance musicians in this organization with incomes derived from a variety of performing opportunities, the pandemic has been financially devastating.”


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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