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SRQ DAILY May 7, 2021

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"In the end, I've learned that you have to be unapologetically you. Be respectful and willing to listen to others, but you've got to go out there and create that space to be who you are."

- Curtis Anderson, Photographer and Ringling Alumni

[Feature Film]  Tony Ahedo Returns to Sarasota Film Festival with Debut Feature
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

In 2015, Tony Ahedo had just graduated from Ringling College of Art & Design when he submitted his senior thesis project to the Sarasota Film Festival. Titled Icon, the short film sprang from a deeply personal place for the budding filmmaker: a childhood memory of the last time he saw his father. Now, six years later, with numerous shorts and even an original webseries under his belt, the writer/director returns to the Sarasota Film Festival to tell the rest of that story in his first feature film. “It was always top of my list to come back,” he says.

Also called Icon, the coming-of-age drama follows Sam Tolentino Jr., a teenager living it up in Florida, skating with his pals and hanging out with his new girlfriend, until an unexpected pregnancy threatens to derail his idyllic existence. Facing the mounting pressures and responsibilities of possible parenthood, he also finds himself increasingly grappling with a fundamental mystery of his life thus far: why his own father has been absent since that one last childhood memory.

Starring Sarasota native Parker Padgett as Sam, the film was shot entirely in St. Petersburg and Sarasota, with sharp-eyed locals sure to recognize filming locales such as Lido Beach, Selby Library and even some footage shot on a Sarasota city bus. “A day of paperwork for 30 seconds on a bus,” Ahedo laughs. “But this is my first feature, so I’m going to do it right.” And with help from the folks over at the Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office, acquiring permits went without a hitch and the cast and crew finished all filming right before the pandemic made further filming impossible. 

Holed up in quarantine, Ahedo became his own editor on the film as well, which is perhaps fitting for the nature of the story and its origin. “It is a very personal story,” he says, though quick to clarify that it’s not strictly autobiographical, despite certain moments being directly influenced by his own childhood. “At the end of the day though, Sam is only based loosely off of me. I had to separate myself as a screenwriter.” 

Exploring themes of responsibility, parenthood, community and toxic masculinity, Ahedo hopes that audiences will find plenty to relate to and think about long after the credits roll on Icon—especially the young men in the audience. Padgett agrees. “It’s something that someone can chew on and apply to their own life,” he says. “I hope it’s a testament to not thinking on such a short time frame, to looking at the big picture and realizing there are people around you who are willing to help you.”

Festival goers can still catch Icon via virtual showings on May 8 and 9 through the Sarasota Film Festival. 

Pictured: A still of Devon Hales and Parker Padgett in Tony Ahedo's 'Icon.'

For more information.

[Photography ]  Perseverance in Curtis Anderson's Mixtape
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

From 2008 to 2013, photographer Curtis Anderson lived in a bubble. In that span, he attended and graduated from Ringling College with a degree in Advertising Design, then spent a year interning with the Disney College Program. Inside that supportive bubble, Anderson, who is Black, could pretend that the turmoil existing inside and outside himself did not exist. “In 2012 Trayvon Martin had just been shot,” he says, “and I was numb to it, like it was just a headline I read.”

Then he moved back to Sarasota and his numbness turned to despair. He battled depression, homelessness and thoughts of suicide, pulled back from the brink by his strong Christian faith. He eventually began attending a predominantly white church, which gave him a sense of community and allowed him to deepen his relationship with his faith.

Then came the murder of George Floyd. “I shut down and wondered if God cared. Suddenly I felt really uneasy in church,” he says, “and I felt like I wasn’t able to be completely myself; Black and Christian.”

And here, in this moment of uncertainty and insecurity, Anderson found an opportunity to rise to the moment rather than edge towards the brink. The Story I’ll Tell: The Mixtape, Anderson’s photography exhibition inside Ringling College’s Skylight Gallery, sees him face the hard questions and, more importantly, challenge its viewers to face those questions with him.

The collection features strong imagery that spoke to the moment. A black and white picture of a husky white man draped in a Confederate flag; Anderson face down on the pavement with a white man kneeling on his back; a white preacher blindfolded with an American flag. “In the initial stages, the show was a response to what I considered ignorance,” says Anderson, “like, ‘how can you not see the injustice?’” In his conversations with fellow parishioners, Anderson was posed an equally difficult question: What’s bigger, the Black Lives Matter movement or Jesus. “And it hurt me to answer that Jesus was bigger,” he says, “but in that moment I suddenly felt like my anger didn’t have to define me.”

And that sense of reconciliation pervades his series. Though the themes are bold and explicit, the subjects are also humanized. It’s a snapshot of the emotional journey Anderson traversed over the last several years, and as the class of 2021 prepares to graduate and enter a world itself beset by polarization and uncertainty, Anderson offers a message he wishes he could tell his younger self.

“In the end, I’ve learned that you have to be unapologetically you,” he says. “Be respectful and willing to listen to others, but you’ve got to go out there and create that space to be who you are.”

Anderson’s exhibition runs through July 31st and can be viewed virtually or by making an in-person appointment. 

Photo credit; Curtis Anderson.

Click here for more information.

[Sarasota Arts]  Andy Sandberg on #SafeArtsSarasota
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

The second installment of SRQ’s series on #SafeArtsSarasota features The Hermitage CEO, Andy Sandberg.

“The Hermitage was one of the first organizations to figure out a model for safe return, but we partnered with other organizations to spread the word to folks that even though the world is reopening, we still have to practice safe protocols. As a country, we’re still working towards herd immunity. [#SafeArtsSarasota] is a reminder to our audiences and ourselves that we can’t get complacent. As we move forward, we don’t want audiences or artists to equivocate over the safety of something that should be so joyful.” 

Click here for more information.

[New Show]  BAY MUSIC LIVE! at the Van Wezel Featuring Jah Movement

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall announces Bay Music Live! On Saturday, June 12, Jah Movement returns to the Van Wezel’s lawn and terrace for an outdoor, socially-distanced performance. The event starts at 6:30pm with music at 7pm. Lawn spaces and tables will be pre-arranged for social distancing, and guests can enjoy fresh air and a stroll on the Mangrove Bayou Walkway.  

Click here for more information.

[Schedule Update]  Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Announces 2021-2022 season

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) has announced its 22nd anniversary 2021-2022 season, with the Maya Angelou-inspired theme, “And Still We Rise.” In addition to four regular-season offerings – including two one-act plays under the umbrella of its New Playwrights Series – WBTT will present a holiday show. Running from October 6, 2021 through May 29, 2022, the regular season shows are “Eubie!” “Ruby,” “Broadway in Black” and world-premiere one-act plays “From Birmingham to Broadway” and “Float Like a Butterfly.” The holiday show is “Joyful! Joyful!” “As the only professional African-American theater in the region, we take our mission to promote and celebrate the African-American experience very seriously,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “As part of the #SafeArtsSarasota group, and with a professional on staff to oversee Covid-19 protocols, we will endeavor to provide a safe, thought-provoking and entertaining season. We will continue to look for opportunities to provide live and streaming video options, so that all who wish can have access to our work.” 

Click here for more information.

[Veteran Services]  Goodwill Manasota Expands Veterans Program into South County

Goodwill Manasota was thrilled to learn last December that it was one of 384 nonprofits to receive multi-million-dollar gifts from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. In the wake of its $10 million windfall, Goodwill is launching new programs as well as expanding existing programs, including its Veterans and Their Families Program, which will now be staffed and ready to assist in Venice and North Port. 

Click here for more information.

[New Position]  Brooke Chase Associates, Inc. Recruits Justin Bell as Vice President Operations

Joseph McElmeel, Chairman and CEO of executive search firm Brooke Chase Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the successful recruitment by its Executive Recruiter, Rick Mohrman of Justin Bell as Vice President Operations – KT Group for Kentucky Trailer. 

Click here for more information.

[Book Reading ]  Sarasota Store to Host Book Readings for Kids About Overcoming Bullying

Former Sarasota resident, Noelia Voigt wrote an anti-bullying children’s book called “Maddie the BRAVE” while holding the title of Miss Alabama Collegiate America 2020. Maddie, the main character in the book, sadly lost her life to bullying in 2018. This is a happy book that will help children practice self-love and positive self-affirmations, help them to identify what bullying may look like, and how to go about handling those situations. The book readings will take place on the hour from 10 to 2 at Children’s World, 4525 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday, May 15th. After each reading Ms. Voigt will speak to each child individually to further inspire them, and autograph individual books. 

Click here for more information.

[New Position ]  District Announces Two New Administrative Changes

Superintendent Cynthia Saunders announced two new administrative appointments today, including a new principal for Palmetto High School and a new Director of Secondary Curriculum. Both appointments will take effect on July 1, 2021. 

Click here for more information.

[Giving Guide]  Now Online: Giving Hearts: The Donor's Guide to Giving on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Now available to view online and download, Giving Hearts is the ultimate guide to giving opportunities that will impact nonprofit organizations working in the region. Become a part of the local philanthropic story by fulfilling their 'giving back' wishlists.  

View the Feature Here

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Let's Save Siesta Key Public Meeting , May 19, 7pm

Let's save Siesta Key by becoming our own town. Do you believe Siesta Key has a voice worth hearing? We stood up against the dredging of Big Pass and were not heard. The development of the Promenade will create even worse traffic, we spoke but were not heard. Now four large proposed projects that require special exception for density and height are trying to be built, we are not being heard. We believe our community of residents and businesses deserve to have a voice that is heard. The next public meeting will be held on  May 19, 2021 at 7pm at Siesta Chapel, 4615 Gleason Avenue with guest speaker and topic to be determined. Get involved at www.savesiestakey.org to donate, volunteer and learn.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Bookstore1Sarasota: The Mysteries to Die For Zoom Book Club led by Elsie Souza , June 8, 11am

On Tuesday, June 8 at 11am. The Mysteries to Die For Zoom Book Club led by Elsie Souza. This month we are discussing The Lost Village by Camilla Sten. A fee of $34.50 is required for participation. This includes a copy of The Lost Village to be picked up at Bookstore1 and the book club meeting. The fee is $39.50 to have the book shipped. The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense. Addictively gripping and brilliantly chilling, The Lost Village by Camilla Sten is a pulse-pounding, riveting thriller from beginning to end. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link. More event info at https://www.sarasotabooks.com/bookclubs or 941-365-7900.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Bookstore1Sarasota: The Poetry Zoom Book Club led by Doug Knowlton , June 9, 2pm

On Wednesday, June 9 at 2pm The Poetry Zoom Book Club led by Doug Knowlton. This month we are discussing Obit by Victoria Chang. A fee of $23 is required for participation. This includes a copy of Obit o to be picked up at Bookstore1 and the book club meeting. The fee is $28.50 to have the book shipped. After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died, and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link. More event info at https://www.sarasotabooks.com/bookclubs or 941-365-7900.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Virtual: The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast's PMP Alumni: At Home with Ilya Gringolts , May 13, 11am

The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast’s PMP Alumni: At Home free virtual recital featuring violinist and PMP alumn Ilya Gringolts will be released on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 11am. Ilya Gringolts first joined The Perlman Music Program as a Summer Music School student in 1998. He is first violinist of the Gringolts Quartet, which he founded in 2008. In the summer of 2020, along with Ilan Volkov, Ilya co-founded the I&I Foundation to promote contemporary music and grant new commissions to young composers. Ilya was named a BBC New Generation Artist at the outset of his career. In 1998, he won the International Violin Competition Premio Paganini, and still stands as the youngest winner in the competition’s history. After studying violin and composition in St. Petersburg, Ilya studied with Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School of Music. llya holds faculty positions at the Zurich University of the Arts, and the renowned Accademia Chigiana in Siena in 2021. Ilya performs on a Stradivari 1718 "ex-Prové" violin. All Perlman Suncoast virtual performances are free and available at PerlmanSuncoast.org or on the PerlmanSuncoast YouTube channel.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Ballet: Terrace Program 3 Images of Dance , May 7 – May 9, 8pm

Embrace the beauty of a spring evening in Florida paired with the magnificence of ballet with The Sarasota Ballet’s Terrace Program 3 – Images of Dance. Continuing the artistry displayed by The Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company and Trainees of The Margaret Barbieri Conservatory in The Sarasota Ballet’s first Terrace Program, Images of Dance is an annual performance featuring the Studio Company and Conservatory Trainees with a broad repertoire reflecting the diversity of dance styles today. The Program includes excerpts from Marius Petipa’s Raymonda, the Pas de Deux and Odalisque Variation from Petipa’s Le Corsaire, and new choreography by The Sarasota Ballet Faculty. Images of Dance runs Friday, 7 May through Sunday, 9 May on the Asolo Terrace Stage at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. All performances start at 8pm. For ballet fans excited to return to live, in-person dance performances and who wish to experience the tremendous ability of these young dancers, some of whom may be future Company Dancers of The Sarasota Ballet, Terrace Program 3 – Images of Dance provides a fabulous opportunity to spend a night enjoying ballet. Tickets for Terrace Program 3 can be purchased for $20 at https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/terrace-program-3-images-dance, available until three hours prior to the time of performance.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: Van Wezel: Michael McDonald: Home Alone 3: Yo Mama Be There , May 7, 9pm

Michael McDonald is proud to present his third livestream concert event, Home Alone 3: Yo Mama Be There, taking place on Mother’s Day weekend. Enjoy the show for yourself, or get a two-pack for you and the special lady in your life. The show will stream live on Friday, May 7 at 9pm and be available to watch or rewatch all weekend long.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Artist Series: Piano Grand V: The Ultimate Piano Grand , May 8, 4pm

What better ‘grand finale’ to the 25th season than the 5th edition of the five-piano extravaganza that has been a sell out and an audience favorite for the past five years. Once again, five Steinway concert grand pianos, brought in from New York, will share the stage of the Sarasota Opera House on May 8, 2021 at 4pm for another afternoon of classical and popular favorites, arranged for multiple pianos, and with a few surprises too.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Key Chorale: Tomorrow's Voices Tonight , May 8, 3pm-5pm

Celebrate the power of choral music on May 8 from 3pm to 5pm at Riverview Performing Arts Center through an inspired performance by more than 200 singers of all ages, from high school students to seniors. In its 7th year, this intergenerational choral festival has inspired countless high school students by encouraging music-making at the highest level. Hear the very best repertoire of the season from Booker, Riverview and Sarasota High School choirs performing separately and alongside Key Chorale. Repertoire: Awake the Harp from The Creation – Franz J Haydn, In Remembrance – Jeffrey L. Ames, O What a Beautiful City – Arr. Shawn Kirchner, and Alleluia from Songs of Faith – Paul Basler. Tickets are $10.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Van Wezel: Bay Music Live: Yesterdayze , May 8, 6pm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall announces Bay Music Live. On Saturday, May 8, Yesterdayze brings the high-energy music of the ’60s to the Van Wezel’s lawn and terrace for an outdoor, socially-distanced performance. The event starts at 6pm with music at 6:30pm. Lawn spaces and tables will be pre-arranged for social distancing, and guests can enjoy fresh air and a stroll on the Mangrove Bayou Walkway. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 9 at 10am. Lawn spaces on the grass accommodating up to 4 guests are $70. Guests reserving lawn spaces are encouraged to bring seating or blankets for their respective spaces if they do not want to sit directly on the grass. Spaces will be pre-arranged and marked by Van Wezel staff. Table seating for up to 4 guests is available for $100 per table. “Burgers on the Bay” crafted by Mattison’s (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken-burgers and veggie-burgers) will be available for purchase at the event. Yesterdayze is a high energy ‘60s show band, recreating your favorite songs from the magical era that changed modern music forever! Performing together for over 15 years, Yesterdayze delivers a non-stop blast-from-the-past you'll never forget with hits from The Beatles, The Monkees, The Animals, The Temptations, The Supremes, CCR, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones and more! All band members have toured worldwide, and can’t wait to bring an upbeat, family-friendly show to the Van Wezel this May.

[SOON]  MUSIC: WSLR: Shankh Lahiri & Friends: A Unique Indian Flamenco Fusion Project , May 8, 8pm

Under the leadership of internationally touring musician, music composer and educator Shankh Lahiri, this unique Indian Flamenco Fusion project offers an authentic taste of Raga Music from India with a fresh, modern feel of Spanish Flamenco music. Joining Shankh will be Don Soledad (flamenco guitar) and Kanada Narahari (sitar). Shankh & Friends will perform at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on Saturday, May 8 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for the general public. Advance tickets are available at www.WSLR.org. With strong traditional Indian Classical Music training and wide performing experiences in World Music, Lahiri has achieved a deep understanding of Cultural Music and gained a reputation as a highly creative and innovative concert performer in both Classical and World Music genres. He is the Founder and Director of Shruti Foundation & Shruti School of Music - a fast growing music organization in USA that promotes the rich Art of Indian Classical Music as well as cultural and intercultural music through its ongoing classes, concerts and workshops. Inspired by the guitar of flamenco legend; Paco de Lucia, Don Soledad cultivated his sophisticated, soulful sounds in Northern, California, beginning with his early guitar studies with the great Spanish flamenco maestros - Mariano de Cordobá and Agustin Ríos - the nephew of legendary guitarist Diego del Gastor. His studies continued in the Southern region of Spain; Andalucía in the city of Jerez de la Frontera - with guitarist Juan Diego Mateos. Soon thereafter, he was performing shows in San Francisco and the Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries. As a performer and recording artist, he has worked with talents in a variety of genres including rock singer Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Jazz bassist Kai Eckhardt (John McLaughlin and Garage Mahal) and opening for the late Jazz guitar legend Larry Coryell. Upon his departure from the West Coast, Don has been a mainstay in the Florida and US professional talent pool performing with his band — The Don Soledad Group and recently winning 1st place at Orlando's 'FusionFest 2020' for 'Best Musician' category.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: The Bishop: May KidSpace , May 8, 10:30am-11:30am

We unleash the awesome power of The Planetarium during KidSpace, where kids can become scientific masters of the universe. Join us on Saturday, May 8 from 10:30am to 11:30am via Zoom as we take off from the Earth’s surface and fly to places humans have never been: the Sun, planets, other moons in our solar system, newly discovered solar systems in our galaxy and beyond. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome.

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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