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SRQ DAILY Sep 18, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"During a time, where many choirs across the country have gone silent, we have found, and will continue to find, ways to bring us together to experience the transformative power of music."

- Joseph Caulkins, Maestro of Key Chorale

-Photo from SRQ Magazine's SEPT/OCT 2020 Feature Escape to Crystal River
[Songwriter]  Songstress Jen Msumba Overcomes Adversity with Full-Length Album
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

The history of modern music is littered with artists whose personal challenges helped precipitate the quality and broad appeal of their work. Sadly, some, like Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix, succumbed to their demons in the prime of their creative lives while others, like Johnny Cash or Anthony Kiedis, overcame and became models of perseverance. But for all of these artists, their struggles imbued their music with identifiable and therapeutic energy that speaks to the universality of the mortal coil. And if obstacles overcome make art richer, then Jen Msumba’s music is a treasure chest.

“I have autism and OCD,” Msumba says, “and that made it really hard for me growing up.” Bullies and in some cases, teachers, were signals that the world could be an unforgiving place for the neurodivergent. Her struggles led to low self-esteem and the erroneous belief that she lacked something the neurotypical had. “I wanted to be anyone but me,” she says, until she got her hands on a piano and discovered she had something of a latent superpower waiting to be revealed.

Music quickly became her most potent medicine, giving her purpose and confidence. She taught herself to play by ear and in 2013 made her first YouTube video, a piano cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” (her channel now has nearly 27k subscribers). As her prowess on the piano progressed, so too did her confidence. She went on to join her church’s band on the keys, taught herself to play the guitar and continued to enlarge her repertoire at home and at the Music Compound, where she has been a student since its inception. And tonight, she headlines the Compound’s monthly concert with a performance and the release of her first full-length album, “Music Saved Me.”

Written during quarantine, the album explores her struggles as a young woman before discovering music and herself. One song, “Finally Home,” reads like a letter to her younger self. “I really wish I could’ve known then that everything was going to be ok,” she says, “but without those struggles, I wouldn’t be who I am.” Other songs are more lighthearted, like “I May be Country,” which satirizes how out of place she feels in her long-term care facility in rural Highlands County, the same facility where she practiced her craft in front of the discerning and captive audience at her community’s general store. “My friends out here are painfully honest,” she says, “so I figured it was good practice.”

For Msumba, tonight represents another milestone on her long road to self-love, and she hopes listeners find something in her music that speaks to and empowers them. “One day when I was a little girl, I was at the grocery store with my mother and I kept jumping out of everyone’s way and saying ‘sorry.’ My mother said something that really stuck with me. She said, ‘Jennifer, you belong in this world as much as anybody else.’”

Live attendance at tonight’s concert is limited to student families, but the performance will be streamed from Music Compound’s Facebook page at 6pm. 

Music Compound, 1751 Cattlemen Road, 941-379-9100. Photo courtesy of Jen Msumba.

Click here for more information.

[Restaurant Closing]  Smacks Burgers & Shakes Officially Closes Its Doors and an Era
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

SRQ was saddened to hear yesterday the news of Smacks Burgers & Shakes closing its doors for good on Friday, September 18 after seven delicious years serving the community. It has not been a kind year to many of our favorite local businesses and we wish the Gecko's Hospitality Group (GHG) all the best in their other restaurant ventures.

Smacks offered a modern take on the classic American Burger and was inspired by the neighborhood dining legacies of Sarasota, including a tip of the hat to the legendary drive-in from 1950s downtown Sarasota. GHG owners Mike Gowan and Mike Quillen reincarnated the former neighborhood gas station at the corner of Bee Ridge Road and Shade Avenue into a fun, family-friendly gathering spot. Guests dined-in, utilized curbside pickup and its outdoor seating on the patio, all while enjoying Smacks' menu featuring old-fashioned frozen custards in different flavors, steroid and hormone-free burgers, award-winning fries and more. 

Since their very first year in business, opening in the spring of 2013, Smacks has since won 'Best of SRQ' awards in our annual competition, including "Best Local Fries" and "Best Local Burger" for multiple years running. "Thank you to the SRQ family for your wonderful support and encouragement as Smacks evolved," said Anne Rollings of GHG. "It has been a lot of fun and we could not have been Smacks without all of you." 

Yesterday, many loyal patrons sprinted over tthe Sarasota diner staple to grab one last burger and shake, as well as show their undying support and say farewell to their favorite Smacks' staff. Though the restaurant group shared with us that all eight of their valued employees have been offered jobs at their sibling restaurants within the Gecko's Hospitality Group family. "We hope they all continue their careers with us," said Rollings. 

Plans for the Smacks space will be revealed by the new owners. As for Gowan and Quillen, the partners made the decision to rededicate their focus on their Gecko’s Hospitality Group model of full service, polished casual restaurants, and they are grateful for all the support of the community during Smacks’ foray into the Sarasota quick-casual dining scene. Gowan and Quillen are known for their roll-up-your-sleeves approach to hospitality while creating new jobs, navigating economic storms, and through their charitable giving programs, serving the community. At the current moment, they offer a dependable "stay tuned" when asked about their next venture. "Thank you for enjoying with us, Sarasota."

A fond farewell, Smacks! 

Pictured: General Manager Justin Speed works a busy lunch rush on Smacks final day, taken by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Book Review ]  SRQ Book Club: The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem
Roxanne Baker

I have a special relationship with Jonathan Lethem. Taken singularly and you have a hot rumor, but the truth is the affinity started in 2003, reading Lethem’s semi-autobiographical novel to my son. While my nightly dinner oration ritual amounted to copious book consumption, when asked about the most influential book of this time period, without skipping a beat, Liam embraces Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude.

Since then, I’ve remained loyal reading Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn and his last book The Feral Detective. While satisfying, Lethem seemed stuck in a film noir detective motif. But his upcoming novel The Arrest, is a re-fresh, using a post-apocalyptic world milieu. And since the 2016 Presidential election, dystopian and apocalyptic classics have certainly been hot sellers for those with an appetite for both anxiety confirmation and distraction.

Lethem’s The Arrest will feed the masses. His new world ending meal is set in idyllic Maine, containing the protagonist Alex carrying backstory baggage as a flailing Hollywood screenwriter of coincidentally apocalyptic flubs. Cinephiles will appreciate Lethem’s cheesy real-life B movies references which Alex, and his pompous college fraternity chum Pete, use to concoct their plots.

But while the societal changing event dubbed ‘The Arrest’ is thankfully not pandemic related, readers will relate to Alex’s experience stranded while visiting his sister, Maddie. Mix in a mysterious hatred Maddie has for Pete, a nuclear-powered Humvee equivalent, pop up gangs formed post shut down, an exiled sex abuser and you have yourself one interesting novel.

Roxanne Baker is a Bookseller at BookStore1 Sarasota. Bookstore1Sarasota was opened in 2011 with one mission: to bring a high-quality independent bookstore to the Sarasota area. Their passion for the joy of books inspired them in the beginning and continues to drive them today. They offer a shopping experience curated with their customers in mind, and are gratified by the long-term relationships they have built with those who have come through their door: patrons and authors alike.  

Bookstore1, 12 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, 941-365-7900, georgia@sarasotabooks.com

Click here for more information.

[Annoucement]  Key Chorale Announces a Season of Coming Together

Key Chorale, Sarasota’s premier symphonic chorus, will celebrate its 36th season bringing the community together with another season of unique programming that has become their hallmark under the guidance of Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins. he Come Together Choir is a partnership with Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, JFCS of the Suncoast, and Key Chorale. In August, nine of Key Chorale’s professional singers came back together to record eight new episodes of the Come Together Choir, Online Choral Rehearsals, Volume Two. These new rehearsals are set to premiere on Thursday, September 24 at 2pm on Key Chorale’s YouTube Channel. “During a time, where many choirs across the country have gone silent, we have found, and will continue to find, ways to bring us together to experience the transformative power of music.” said Maestro Joseph Caulkins. Season tickets are on sale now through October 30. 

Click here for more information.

[Jazz]  A New Internet Jazz Radio Station Premiers in Sarasota

The Jazz Club of Sarasota is pleased to announce the launch Sarasota's own Jazz Radio station. MetropicsRadio.org is a locally curated, commerical free, internet station playing a custom blend of Modern, Latin, Vocal and Vintage Jazz along with sophisticated Soul, R&B and Tropical world music. Metropics Radio was created by the Jazz Club of Sarasota's Carlos Pagan. Carlos, who handpicks and programs every song tell us, "Metropics Radio is a labor of love. I bleive that this music has the transcendent power to bring people together, by using the most effective and most accesible medium on the planet, music!" 

Click here for more information.

[In the Classroom:]  Out of the Shadows: Bringing Stories from World History to Life
Earl Young, Director of Operations & System Improvements

Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences teacher Sarah Sheppard wanted her sixth graders to tackle information they couldn’t copy from a book. A grant of just $130 made that possible for her group of 100 students, including 35 special needs and 25 low-performing students. 

 “Students chose topics of interest related to our current unit on ancient Greece and Rome,” Sheppard said. “They worked together in cooperative learning groups to gather research. Rather than just presenting their research in the typical report, they created scripts that were presented as shadow puppet shows.”

  Students were able to demonstrate deep understanding of the topics they chose to research, and Sheppard was able to gauge her students’ authentic understanding and learning. “This was not something that they could just copy out of a book. They incorporated literacy, arts integration, and content area knowledge,” Sheppard said.

The project pushed students out of their comfort zones. One student, who had been struggling in class all year, initially was very apprehensive about working in a group for this project. By the third day of working on the project, she was engaged and communicating with her group, Sheppard reported. “What really amazed me was hearing her voice during her group's presentation,” Sheppard said. “This project helped her find confidence and a sense of belonging, along with helping her understand the academic content.”

 Classroom grants allow teachers to bring learning to life for their students. “I continuously am grateful for funding from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County for projects that energize the classroom, both for teachers and students,” Sheppard said.

 “The funding allows for the purchase of books and materials that otherwise would be inaccessible. Through these projects, students forever are changed,” Sheppard said. Sheppard planned to allow students to do an additional shadow puppetry show in late spring of 2020. COVID-19 derailed that plan. However, Sheppard plans to use purchased materials to replicate the project in subsequent school years.  

EducateSRQ is the teacher and classroom grants signature program of The Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

Click for more information on the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

[Recognition]  ROBRADY Design Wins Award

ROBRADY design and GMX7 are excited to announce that the X1-PRO has won a 2020 International Design Excellence Award at the virtual ceremony hosted by the Industrial Designers Society of America on September 16th. 

Click here for more information.

[Office Relocation]  Red Dog's is Moving

Red Dog's Roofing of Florida is moving its offices in Sarasota, Florida to a new location by the end of the week. Red Dog's Roofing has had to shift to a larger venue gratefully due to accommodating its growing talent and establishing a location with ease of access. New location: 1598 Apex Road, Sarasota, FL 34240. 

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  Chunky Cherishables

Trendsport: Accessories. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's New September 2020 edition.

[Emotional Support]  Tidewell Presents Stress First Aid Webinar to Support Community During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has added a layer of stress and negative impacts for those who work in high-stress jobs. To address the stress many are feeling during this time, Tidewell Hospice and Tidewell Foundation, Inc., are offering a free Stress First Aid webinar to community members and colleagues as part of the yearlong celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary. The webinar, presented by world-renowned traumatic stress psychologist Patricia Watson, PhD, is scheduled from 1-5pm Friday, October 2. Stress First Aid is a self-care and peer support model designed to help those who are under extreme stress better care for themselves and assist each other in reducing the impacts of stress. “Recognizing that all of us are feeling the need for psychological first aid, this course will provide evidenced-based suggestions to address the stress we’ve all been enduring as part of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tidewell President and CEO Jonathan Fleece said. “Tidewell Hospice and our foundation are pleased to bring Dr. Patricia Watson to teach this course in celebration of our 40th anniversary of service in southwest Florida.” 

For more information, contact Mary Alderson at malderson@tidewell.org.

Click here for more information.

[Initiative ]  Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Joins Operation Chill Campaign

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is once again joining Operation Chill, the popular community service program sponsored by 7-Eleven stores. This fall, sheriff’s office deputies and civilians will “ticket” youngsters who are caught in random acts of kindness, good deeds or positive community activities with free Slurpee coupons. Appropriate “offenses” might include being helpful, wearing a helmet while riding a bike or holding the door open for a stranger. 

Click here for more information.

[Baseball]  Orioles Announce 2021 Spring Training Schedule

The Orioles today announced they will begin their 2021 Grapefruit League season at home on Saturday, February 27, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. against the Atlanta Braves. The club’s home Grapefruit League schedule, which features 16 dates, will conclude with a home game on Saturday, March 27, against the Minnesota Twins. In the 11 years since the Orioles moved Major League Spring Training to Sarasota, more than one million fans have enjoyed Orioles games at Ed Smith Stadium.  

Click here for more information.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Being Seen: Recent Photography Acquisitions , April 19 – January 3, Museum hours.

Curated from The Ringling’s photography collection, this exhibition features works by photographers who examine the complexities of identity and the staging of selfhood. Consisting primarily of self-portraits and portraits of empowered subjects, these works explore personal agency at the intersection of politics and the female body. Many of the artists in the exhibition are recognized as leading voices in contemporary art and offer diverse perspectives on issues surrounding power, sexuality, and self-representation. Each photograph presents a unique invitation to renew the dialogue on the authority of the gaze in the twentieth-first century. Being Seen also includes numerous works by significant women photographers from the twentieth century, added to the collection in recent years. This exhibition offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore themes of agency, visibility, and gender through the lens of a broader historical context. This exhibit began April 19, 2020 and will end on January 3, 2021, during museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  HEALTH: Monthly: Beer Garden Yoga at Motorworks Brewing , July 21 – December 29, 7:45pm

Join Motorworks Brewing every Tuesday night at 7:45pm in the spacious outdoor Beer Garden for a one hour, all-levels yoga flow led by RYT Rachael Croll from Salty Buddha Co. Spread out your yoga mats in the fresh, open air of Florida’s Largest Beer Garden then, once safely distanced, stretch out your body, mind & soul… one delicous, cold beer at a time. Classes are just $10 and include a complimentary core four pint (V Twin Vienna Lager, Intellectual Property Ale IPA, Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter or Rollcage Red Ale). No sign-up required; you can just show up before the class begins & sign-in/pay at the brewery. Please bring your own mat to practice on, invite all your friends, and come vibe out in our spacious Beer Garden with like-minded souls and recharge during a relaxing hour under the stars.

Motorworks Brewing, 1014 9th Street West Bradenton, Florida 34205

[SOON]  GALLERY: Virtual: Celebrate Selby Gardens: 40th Annual Juried Photographic Exhibition , August 27 – September 20, 10am-4:30pm

We are excited to announce that Selby Gardens will celebrate 40 years of the annual juried photographic exhibition and sale with a virtual edition hosted in partnership with The Observer Group! The virtual exhibition will be viewable August 27 to September 20 on Selby.org and YourObserver.com. As we pivoted to the virtual photographic exhibition format, we adjusted the photo submission deadlines and details as well as the dates of the exhibition. Please review and mark your calendar with the new dates below: Online Photo Submissions: Sunday, August 9 to Friday, August 14. Winners Announced: Thursday, August 27. Virtual Exhibition: Thursday, August 27 to Sunday, September 20. To minimize person-to-person contact, photos must be submitted digitally. Please stay tuned for more step-by-step details on how to submit your photos. Entry is open to all amateurs, but photos must have been taken at either Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota or Historic Spanish Point campuses. Please refer to the entry details below for more information.

Selby's Museum of Botany & the Arts, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Glass in the Gardens at Selby Gardens , August 8 – September 20

The third annual summer glass show, In Dialogue with Nature: Glass in the Gardens, opens Saturday, August 8 at the Downtown Sarasota campus. This year, nature-inspired glasswork, exclusively created by Duncan McClellan and his studio artists, will embellish the Tropical Conservatory and Koi Pond against a backdrop of lush flowers and plants. Many spectacular pieces will also be on view in the Museum of Botany & the Arts. The botanically-themed glassworks will be available for sale with a significant portion of the proceeds benefiting Selby Gardens’ mission.

Selby Gardens, 1534 Mound Street

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ian Dean: Nostalgicons , August 28 – October 2, Open by appointment 8/28-10/1 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm. For appointment please email galleries@ringling.edu

Nostalgia can be a powerful trigger of emotions and memories, sometimes even invoking forgotten past events, places, and moments. Nostalgia also sells. Products replicating or calling back to the 1980’s and 1990’s have seen a surge (resurgence?) of popularity recently. These products are often marketed to younger generations who are fascinated with the decades, right along with the adults who actually owned the original items - or still do.

Dean photographs both the popular and old toys he still has from his childhood. Well-known toys that evoke nostalgia in others, the obscure tokens, and the items made by companies that no longer exist; all have histories which have been lost to time. In doing so, Dean found himself pondering the origins of the objects, who might have designed and created them, how many of them were made, the persistence of similar colors, and how many still exist. Over time, each object also picks up its own unique set of bumps and scratches, becoming tiny fragments of years that only grow more distant. Dean creates new art out of the mass-produced trinkets. He makes new memories out of the old, playing with color and shape; creating something for the viewer to enjoy looking through. Perhaps connecting with them as well by unlocking a buried snapshot of a distant time and place.

Patrician Thompson Gallery in the Keating Center, 2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234

[SOON]  SEMINAR: VIRTUAL Forty Carrots Presents Mark Brackett, Ph.D. , September 23, 7pm

Forty Carrots Family Center announces its 18th annual Free Educational Community Speaker Event, presented in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. This year’s event transitions to a virtual platform, broadcasting at 7 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd. The event is free and open to the community, but advance registration is required. Dr. Brackett will present insights from his book; “Permission to Feel” helping parents, caregivers, teachers and professionals understand how emotions influence our lives; cultivate emotional intelligence in our children and develop tools for greater well-being and success.  Dr. Brackett is a research psychologist and the founding director at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. He has developed a remarkable effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults – a blueprint for understanding emotions and using them wisely to help, rather than hinder, an individual’s success and inspiration in equal parts. Advance registration is required. Click to register online.


[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: ALSO Youth Presents Virtual Variety Show , September 26, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Matthew McGee, a well-known performer in the Tampa/Sarasota area, will host ALSO Youth’s upcoming Virtual Variety Show “Better Together” on September 26th from 6:30 to 8:30. Mr. McGee has performed locally with the Asolo Rep, freeFall Theatre Company, Stageworks, American Stage in the Park, and the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project. He is a two time Theatre Tampa Bay Award winner and a Broadway World’s Best Actor in a Musical winner. The Virtual variety Show will feature performances by local theater, dance, circus arts, and drag performers as well as cooking and cocktail demonstrations. An online auction featuring vacation stays, experiences and gift baskets will begin two weeks prior to the event and will conclude at the end of the Variety Show. Proceeds from the event will support ALSO Youth’s programs for LGBTQ+ youth. For more information about the event contact TonyBoothby@michaelsaunders.com or james@alsoyouth.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Pumpkin Patch Express Train Ride , October 17 – October 25

October 17th & 18th and October 24th & 25th. Tickets for this popular event go on sale to the general public on August 12th at 10am, tickets will be available on the museum's website at www.frrm.org Early access for members are on sale now by calling the ticket office. The Ticket office is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Special Note for Covid 19; For 2020 the event will operate at 50% capacity. Due to the complicity of ticketing in reserved seat cars, window seats will only be sold. However, you may consolidate your group using unsold aisle seats within your seating area. Mask requirements will be based on Manatee County mask ordinance at the time of the event.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Out Of The Blue 2020 Fundraising Event , October 29, 6:30pm-8pm

Welcome to Out of the Blue 2020 – a unique Live Online Event and Costume Contest supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Throughout the month of October, you will have the opportunity to enter a picture of your best “BLUE” costume. On October 29th from 6:30-8:00 pm, NAMI will host a Live Online Zoom event emceed by entertainer Jonathan Cortez and featuring local artists and talent all in support of NAMI. Our evening will wrap up by announcing the Costume Contest winners with a “Best in Blue” winner in each category. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to have fun creating a “Bluetiful” costume along with an enjoyable – and safe – evening of entertainment.

[SOON]  THEATER: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Black Nativity , December 2 – December 27, 2pm and 7:30pm

WBTT lovingly presents its Christmas card to the community, Langston Hughes' Black Nativity. The show is a celebration of the Nativity story, with gospel, blues, spiritual and Christmas music paired with the poetry of Langston Hughes and the creativity of WBTT. Children and adults alike will be enthralled by this high-energy, inspiring show. The show will run at 2pm and 7:30pm from December 2, 2020 until December 27, 2020.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 North Orange Avenue

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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