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SRQ DAILY Aug 20, 2021

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"I just felt that if the history was that new and interesting to me, other people would be interested too."

- Denise Kowal, Chalk Festival Founder

-Summer Sizzler, as seen in SRQ's July/August 2021 edition. Click photo for the full article.
[Visual Arts]  Art and History Collide in Avenue of Art Walking Exhibition
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

For Chalk Festival founder Denise Kowal, scaling back beneath the weight of COVID-19 pressures would not cut it. Already accustomed to the uphill battles of securing permits and garnering support from businesses in the Burns Court neighborhood for the annual Chalk Festival weekend, Kowal has learned to overcome obstacles with creativity and effort. Last year’s 3D illusion installation in the former Ice House opened amidst the tense uncertainty of the early pandemic wave, and this year, she helped put together an outdoor walking exhibition to celebrate Sarasota’s centennial.

Called “Avenue of Art,” the walking exhibition includes over 150 paintings across four blocks of sidewalks on S Pineapple Avenue and Orange Avenue. The artists, ranging from Chalk Festival regulars to children as young as two, all share the common through line of depicting the iconography and history of Sarasota. Portraits of early Sarasota socialites like Bertha Palmer share the sidewalk with sunset scenes, lifeguard stands and circus animals. But for Kowal, the deep dive into the history of the region yielded revelations in subject matter for herself and, she hopes, for visitors.

“I didn’t know about our rich golf history and I learned a lot about our flora and fauna,” she says, “but it was really eye opening to learn more about Sarasota’s Black history.” Artists Luther Rosebaro and Lori Escalera both found rich subject matter in the city’s earliest Black settlers. Rosebaro did portraits of Dorothy Smith, Leonard Reid, Fredd Atkins and other prominent Black figures who helped to ensure the prosperity and equality of the city’s Black residents. Meanwhile, Escalera painted colorful portraits of Emma Booker and Lewis and Irene Colson. “It’s interesting that if you were a wealthy white settler, there’re plenty of pictures,” says Kowal, “but if you’re trying to find a picture of Emma Booker, good luck.”

The history would become an integral part of the exhibition, with QR codes on each painting directing viewers to a comprehensive description of the historic figure as well as a bio of the artist. “I just felt that if the history was that new and interesting to me, other people would be interested too,” says Kowal. That extra effort helped the scope of the exhibition balloon out to the size of the usual weekend-long chalk festivals despite the seemingly reduced and unobtrusive footprint.  

“Every event has its own challenges, and this was no different,” says Kowal. The sheer number of artists, the broad array of skill levels, the deep dive into the city’s history, a website with entries for almost every painting—all of it meant more legwork for Kowal to orchestrate all the moving parts. But, as the Delta variant continues to spread and raise the hackles of arts organizations, she hopes the outdoor exhibition offers locals a fun, interesting and, most importantly, safe way to learn about the city and experience beautiful art. 

Pictured: Artist Luther Rosebaro works on a portrait of Fredd Atkins as a young man.

[Performance]  WBTT to Present Benefit Concerts: 'Help for Haiti'

 In the wake of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that ravaged Haiti on August 14, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present “Help for Haiti: A Benefit Concert” featuring WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs and friends. The programs – which will take place at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 29 – will feature uplifting songs to raise funds and hope for the people of Haiti. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti has impacted more than 1.2 million people, killed nearly 2,000 and injured nearly 10,000, with thousands hospitalized and many still not accounted for. The situation has been further complicated by Tropical Depression Grace, which brought heavy rain and sustained winds to Hispaniola early this week, hampering search and rescue efforts.

The 90-minute program will feature touching and soulful versions of popular songs such as “Lean On Me,” “We Are The World” and “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.” In addition to Jacobs, favorite WBTT artists will also perform. “Friends of mine in Haiti have been impacted by the earthquake,” said Jacobs, whose friend – a co-founder of P.L.I. – lost his wife and three children in the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and founded the organization after that disaster. “I felt compelled to respond and try to help in the best way I know how – through music.”

Proceeds will benefit the Bradenton-based organization Project Light International (P.L.I.), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing emergency first responders, nurses and other medical professionals as well as ambulances and helicopters to help rescue and treat those in need. These vital emergency services are not currently available in many Haitian communities.

Concerts take place at WBTT (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). Masks will be required. Tickets are $27 (including ticket fees) and are available through WBTT’s website, westcoastblacktheatre.org, or by calling the Box Office: 941-366-1505. Donations can also be made at the P.L.I. website, helppli.org

Pictured: Nate Jacobs taken by Sorcha Augustine

[Live Like a Local ]  Win Big at The Bazaar with Locally-Curated Gift Basket Giveaway

Every time you visit the award-winning indoor market/shopping mall, The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime, from now until Tuesday, August 31, 2021, you can be entered to win a $200+ Bazaar Gift Basket (No purchase necessary!). One person will receive a Bazaar-curated bag filled with items from a chosen selection of the 40+ local vendors inside the Bazaar. From unique gifts, art, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, plans, live music and food truck yummies, see what you can find and potentially win at this loyal-to-local destination/shopping experience. 

The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime is located at 821 Apricot Ave (off of 8th Street, one street West of N. Lime Avenue).

To learn about more of Visit Sarasota's Have Fun in the 941 deals and special offers, head here, and don't forget to hashtag #funinthe941 on socials!
[Memoir Review]  SRQ Book Club: Non-Fiction Book Review by Bookseller Roxanne Baker

If you were fortunate, you saw one or maybe both WeiWei art installations at Ringling Museum (Zodiac Brass Sculptures or Zodiac Legos).  If you missed those, you can at least discover what inspired WeiWei by reading his upcoming engrossing memoir titled 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

WeiWei spent over two months in solitary confinement in China and while there, regretted so deeply his lack of empathy for his own father’s plight that he penned his backstory.  Thus, Weiwei’s memoir is his father's biography as much as his own memoir and reads similar to Laura Hillenbrand’s heroic and riveting biography Unbroken.

From surviving labor camp in his formative years with his father, Wei Wei made it to New York City and used his artistic skill to survive.  He documents his friendship with Allen Ginsburg which originated from a meeting Ginsberg had with his father in a previous meeting in China. 

WeiWei returned to his homeland, beginning a career in repurposing object art which quickly transformed into rebellious statement pieces in response to the oppressive society.  Equally moving was his stumble into fatherhood where he evolved even further, wanting his son to understand his genealogical legacy.

At close to 400 pages, I was enthralled by the entire journey as WeiWei’s fearlessness is an awe inspiring freedom of speech and expression plea for the world. 

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir (ISBN: 9780553419467)  is available for pre-order at .sarasotabooks.com and can be purchased in-store upon its publication date November 2, 2021. 

Book cover photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

[Environment]  Sarasota County Video Contest Invites Children/Teens to Share Their Thoughts on Sustainability

Children and teens interested in sustainability can share their thoughts on video and win prizes, in a new Sarasota County contest. Added to the county’s annual Sustainable Communities Workshop, set this year for November 10, the contest looks to engage an audience of 8- to 18-year-olds in the efforts to build lasting, equitable communities for generations to come.

“Since 2019, we’ve prioritized involving youth in our annual event,” said Sara Kane, sustainability program supervisor with Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability. “It’s important to bring youth into the community sustainability conversation. After all, they are not only a part of this community, but also its future.” 

Fast-growing Sarasota County continues to face challenges, with stress on everything from health systems to natural resources, like water, natural areas, and wildlife. Children and teens across the community have noticed, and are getting active in identifying and adopting sustainable approaches. The video contest asks contestants to create and submit a short video (no more than two minutes) explaining what sustainability means to them, and what they are doing to practice sustainability in their everyday lives. Judging criteria include video content, technical quality, and creativity.

Participants will be grouped by age: 8-10 years old, 11-13, and 14-18. The winner of each age group will receive a $100 gift card, provided by the workshop’s fiscal host, Transition Sarasota. In addition, all participants will receive a certificate, a free ticket to the workshop, and a reusable, metal straw, while supplies last. To submit a video, and for more details on contest rules, guidelines, and judging criteria, visit tinyurl.com/SCWvideocontest. All submissions are due by Oct. 04. 

To learn more about the Sustainable Communities Workshop, to be held virtually again this year for enhanced access and safety, visit scgov.net/sustainablecommunities

[People]  Martha Collins named Director of Education for Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera General Director Richard Russell and Artistic Director Victor DeRenzi have announced Martha Collins as the new Director of Education. She will be responsible for the development of Sarasota Opera’s Youth Opera and Adult Education programs and community engagement efforts. 

Ms. Collins has a long association with Sarasota Opera, having first joined the company in 2004 as a stage director for the Apprentice Artists program. She has since directed numerous mainstage productions, including Dialogues of the Carmelites (2017), Nabucco (2019), and Romeo and Juliet (2020), and most recently was stage director of The Happy Deception, and Dido and Aeneas, performed during the 2021 Winter and Spring Opera Festivals. She has directed the annual Sarasota Youth Opera production every year since 2005, including Rootabaga Country (2017) and Brundibar (2019). She has also directed at numerous other organizations including Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Southwest, New York University, and New England Conservatory. She has extensive teaching credits, including New York University, Swarthmore College, Brevard Music Center, and the Florence Voice Seminar in Italy. Ms. Collins will continue to direct productions for Sarasota Opera. 

[In This Issue]  Home and Design 2021 Flipbook

Click here to read the full article in SRQ's July/August 2021 edition.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Shades of Buble: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Buble , July 13 – September 26

With three voices singing incredible songs like “Feeling Good,” “Moondance,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Home,” “Everything,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” and many more, Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé brings the swinging standards and pop hits of Bublé to the stage in an unforgettable high-energy concert event. Shades of Bublé, created by Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano and produced by Drew Pournelle, will play beginning July 13 in FST's Goldstein Cabaret.

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: In Dialogue with Nature: Glass in the Gardens , July 10 – September 26

Selby Gardens and the Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg present the fourth annual summer glass show at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus from July 10 to September 26. This year’s exhibition, featuring nature-inspired glass work created exclusively by Duncan McClellan, will be displayed in the Tropical Conservatory and the Gardens against a backdrop of lush flowers and plants.  All artworks are available for sale with a percentage of proceeds benefiting Selby Gardens.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , 1534 Mound St., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Rounding Third by Richard Dresser , July 28 – August 29

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) presents Rounding Third by Richard Dresser, a sharp yet touching comedy about two Little League coaches who turn the ball field into a battlefield as they try to navigate the curveballs life throws their way. Rounding Third will run in FST's  Gompertz Theatre starting July 28. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org. Rounding Third centers on Don and Michael, two polar opposites whose lives are in no way going according to plan. When fate conspires to put their sons on the same Little League team, the men are forced to coach the group together. Don is a veteran coach who values winning at all costs, while Michael, a newcomer to the game, just wants the players to try their best and have fun. As the two experience breathtaking victories and crushing defeats both on and off the field, they pour all their energy into “America’s favorite pastime” in hopes that they’ll discover a greater sense of meaning in their lives.

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Laughter in LWR Stand-Up Comedy Show , August 28, 5pm & 8pm

Grove Restaurant, Patio & Ballroom and Knock Out Marketing & PR presents, “LAUGHTER in LWR™!” a stand-up comedy event on August 28, 2021. The event will have two show times, 5 pm & 8 pm and feature three nationally-accredited comedians at each show: Happy Cole, Mariannetta Torres and Jeff Jena. A portion of the event proceeds will be given to The Players Centre for Performing Arts and The Humane Society of Manatee County.

Ticket prices range from $40 to $60, and the show style encompasses three hilarious comedians back-to-back, creating non-stop laughter. Cash bars will be available as well as service throughout the show by Grove’s finest staff. (Cash and credit cards accepted). The event organizers encourage you to come early and socialize with your friends, as doors open 45 minutes before each show time. Grove is also offering a 10% off voucher with each ticket. You are welcome to enjoy dinner in the Grove restaurant (connected to the ballroom) before or after your show time. Reservations are recommended.Wind down the evening with a night cap and meet-and-greet with the comedians after each show. Leave with a smile and laughter exhaustion.


Grove Restaurant, Patio & Ballroom , 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Immigrant Experience in Our Local Communities , August 23, 6-7:30pm

Join SRQ Strong Monday, August 23 from 6 pm - 7:30 pm for our next community conversation. In this diverse country, immigration (past or recent) is an almost universal experience. This event will feature personal stories from people who have recently arrived in the United States. They will share the challenges they left behind, the difficulties experienced on their journey, and their experiences raising a family in a new culture. The focus will be on Spanish-speaking newcomers and will highlight the positive impact of Hispanics in our community. Leaders from community agencies will also discuss how we can make our community more welcoming. The forum will be delivered twice, once in English and a week later in Spanish.

SRQ Strong, Virtual

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: ALSO Youth: Manatee Pride , September 18, 12pm-5pm

We are pleased to announce that the 7th Annual Manatee Pride Festival will be held on September 18, 2021, at the beautiful downtown Bradenton Riverwalk from noon to 5pm. Manatee Pride is a fund raiser, and all proceeds benefit ALSO Youth Sarasota/Manatee a 501(c)(3) non-profit Florida corporation, providing Advocacy, Leadership, Support and outreach for LGBTQ youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and dedicated to supporting, affirming, encouraging, enabling and empowering all LGBTQ youth. We would welcome your participation and support at our Festival on September 18, 2021. Our 7th annual Festival, Manatee Pride 2021 will again have live performers and renowned bands, great food, beer, refreshments (and other favorites), health checks and more. We expect our attendance to meet or exceed our previous attendance record. Mark your calendars & tell your friends. We look forward to seeing you in September for a safe & fun Manatee Pride. If you are looking for ways to get involved as a volunteer, participate as a performer, have a booth as a vendor or support our non-profit via a donation, please reach out to Craig@ALSOYOUTH.ORG.

[SOON]  GALA: Annual Fundraiser at Waterworks Sarasota , October 9

Save the date for Sarasota Contemporary Dance's 16th Main Stage Season "GRIT" is a testament to the company's passion, purpose, and perseverance. After surviving and celebrating its landmark 15th season through a global pandemic, SCD is returning to the stage with greater conviction than ever before in its responsibility to progress contemporary dance in Sarasota. Tickets and subscriptions will become available soon. The fundraiser will be held to kick off the season at Waterworks Sarasota.

Sarasota Contemporary Dance , 1005 N Orange Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Steven Wright: Live in Concert , October 21, 8pm

Academy Award winning, Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian Steven Wright continually sells out theaters internationally with his skewed comedic view of the world. Since his Tonight Show debut, which caused such a stir that Johnny invited him back to perform again within a week, the deadpan surrealist master has pushed the comedic boundaries in film, television and the live stage. With an Oscar-winning short film, a 2014 Emmy nomination, two Grammy-nominated CD’s, three critically acclaimed hour specials and countless appearances on TV and in film, Wright is a prototype comedian that others continually try to follow.


[SOON]  GRAB BAG: St. Armands Circle: Sol of the Circle: St. Armands Family Day , June 27 – September 26, 11am-1pm

Life on the Circle only gets better when days are bathed in the summer sun. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and immerse yourself in the perfect setting for adventure and fun. Join us for the “Sol of the Circle,” a series of special events for the entire family. St. Armands Family Day will take place every last Sunday from 11am to 1pm. Dates are June 27, July 25, August 29, and September 26.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Skyway 2020: A Contemporary Collaboration , June 20 – October 3, 10am-5pm

The Skyway 2020 exhibition, now in its second iteration, is a celebration of artistic practices in the Tampa Bay region, as it is a collaboration between four institutions: the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; the Tampa Museum of Art; and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa. Working together, curators from each institution will offer context for the diversity of art being made in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. Artworks and projects in the exhibition will be selected by museum curators and the guest juror, Claire Tancons, an independent curator and scholar whose practice takes a global focus on the conditions of cultural production. Tancons has curated biennials around the world, including Prospect.1, New Orleans; the 2008 Gwangju Biennial; and the 2019 Sharjah Biennial. This exhibit will begin on June 20, 2021 and will end on October 3, 2021. Runs from 10am to 5pm.

The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Psychic Sunday Tour , January 1 – December 31

Get in touch with Sarasota’s psychic influence on this interesting trolley or van tour. Learn why Sarasota is called Sedona by the Sea, explore the tools psychics and mediums use, hear about the history of the tarot, and learn why Sarasota is a psychic and spiritual energy center. Visit Pixie Dust on Sarasota’s Main Street, walk the sands of Siesta Key Beach, explore a labyrinth, and then enjoy a Spirit Gallery Reading and a mini tarot reading on the trolley or van. You can also book a 15-minute personal tarot reading with tour guide Michael Newton-Brown at the cottage after the tour. Ages 12+; young people ages 12-20 may attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour tickets are $34.99 and include FREE Parking.

[SOON]  FILM: Verd La Traviata Opera Film , August 22, 1:30pm

Violetta, a famed Parisian courtesan, has lived a life of lavish parties with influential friends. She abandons it all to be with her beloved Alfredo, but when her past threatens his family’s honor, she must forsake her dream of love. Verdi’s awe-inspiring music combined with a heart-breaking libretto has made La traviata one of the repertoire cornerstones of opera companies around the world. From Teatro Real, Madrid; starring Ermonela Jaho, Marifé Nogales, Francesco Demuro, and Juan Jesús Rodríguez; conducted by Renato Palumbo and directed by David McVicar. Tickets: $20 ($18 for Sarasota Opera subscribers). Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes, sung in Italian with English subtitles.

The Sarasota Opera House , 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Classic Albums LIVE , September 24, 8pm

Classic Albums LIVE returns to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Friday, September 24 at 8 p.m. The group will bring Led Zeppelin II to life on stage – note for note, cut for cut. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 9 at 10 am. “One thing I know for sure is that Zep fans are unrelenting in their love for the band. Many people don’t realize that during the ‘70s – no other band or artist came close to selling as many albums as Led Zeppelin.” – Craig Martin, Founder of Classic Albums LIVE. Tickets are $32-$72 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To view a full listing of upcoming events, visit www.VanWezel.org.

The Van Wezel, 777 N Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Orchestra: Discover Mozart: Rebirth , October 2, 7:30pm

Experience the excitement as the full orchestra returns to the stage this season on Saturday, October 2 at 7:30pm at the Sarasota Opera House. Kensho Watanabe leads a program beginning with Valerie Coleman's heroic Seven O'Clock Shout, a tribute to essential workers. Dominic Cheli will shine in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20, and Schumann's "Spring" Symphony will lend a perfect finale to this long-awaited reunion of orchestra and audience.

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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