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SRQ DAILY Feb 25, 2022

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"With production often taking 9-10 months, it is really hard to find plays that are timely and challenging while still being entertaining."

- Brendan Ragan, Co-founder and Artistic Director, Urbanite Theatre.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Urbanite Theatre Leverages Stage for Change and Public Health
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

After the existential crisis faced by every performance art organization over the last two years or so, a theater would be forgiven for tightening its purse strings, focusing all its resources inward and certainly not looking to create any new challenges for itself. But Urbanite Theatre, which has already taken on the challenge of adopting friendlier work conditions and pay for its production teams, loves to challenge itself as much as it does its audience.

The black box theater on Second Street returned to full productions with “At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen.” The story—timely and relevant in the current wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment that has some politicians in its legislative grip—follows a pair of drag queens practicing their craft in rural Georgia. Written by Terry Guest, the story draws from his uncle’s life, a man who was gay, dabbled in drag and eventually died of AIDS. But despite the heavy nature of the content—the play’s protagonist and narrator dies of AIDS—Ragan and Urbanite managed to find a play that addresses the grave themes with humor and heart.

“With production often taking 9-10 months, it’s really hard to find plays that are timely and challenging while still being entertaining,” says Ragan. The search is endless for plays that fit the Urbanite bill, and both Ragan and co-founder Summer Wallace walk a difficult line in finding plays whose themes can achieve one of their stated goals to be cultural ambassadors for marginalized populations. “We’re not like Saturday Night Live where we can take on the hot topic of the week,” says Ragan, “we have to look at the present and also be a little forward-thinking.”

That forward-thinking yielded a production that ostensibly accomplished everything Urbanite has set out to do—they sold out their shows, they challenged their audiences, they used their stage to advocate for marginalized populations. But at the end of “At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen,” Urbanite added another checkbox to their to-do list: support for a nonprofit organization.

“[Director] Damian Lockhart actually had the idea of connecting this production with some nonprofit organizations in town,” says Ragan, “so all credit goes to him.” In honor of the play’s themes around HIV/AIDS and disparities in access to healthcare, the team decided to take their mission a step further by enlisting CAN Community Heath’s advocacy team to speak at the close of several showings. CAN advocates for and treats those living with HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. The theater adapted the traditional tipping practice of drag clubs—in which a hat is passed around to collect tips for performers—as it looked to raise money for CAN’s Patient Assistance Fund.

On Monday, Ragan tallied up the cash donated by audience members and wrote a check to CAN Community Health for $3000, delivering it to the public health organization’s chief communication’s officer, Rogelio Capote. “I mean, this is exactly what you want to happen,” says Ragan, “you want to share a really powerful, humanizing story with people and inspire them to act. I don’t think there’s any better endorsement that your art is working.”

Urbanite Theatre, www.urbanitetheatre.com 

Pictured: From left to right, Brendan Ragan, Rogelio Capote, and Summer Wallace celebrate a sizable donation to CAN Community Health inspired by At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen. Photo courtesy of Urbanite Theatre,

[SRQ Book Club]  Fiction Book Review of Love Marriage
Bookseller Roxanne Baker, BookStoreOne Sarasota

Love Marriage by Monica Ali is the perfect book complement to the recent Oscar nominated film The Worst Person in the World, in that the theme, “Life is not simple” is universal. In both the book and the film, the female main character deals with coming of age.

Interestingly, while coming of age used to generally refer to enlightening self-discovery between late teens and early twenties, a combination of children having early access to social media and adult themes, along with a volatile and ever changing work world has slowed personal maturation. Thus, in Love Marriage, Yasmin is in her mid-twenties before she hits her disorientation.

As a post pre-med student on the doctor fast track Yasmin questions her career path and relationship. Was she pressured by her doctor father or is this really her true calling? Is her relationship with another doctor simply something that appears model perfect or does it really meet her needs?

I enjoyed Ali’s choice of English setting with its witty accompanying dialect, the short chapters with tremendous attention to detail, for instance, using characters’ fashion choices to help define their characters. Her granular approach to dialogue, as what Yasmin’s inner thoughts as her mother tells a long convoluted story is spot on. Layers of subplots; a black sheep brother, hospital office politics and her boyfriend’s therapy sessions in which he grapples with after effects of his oversexualized mother’s child rearing practices added spice.

Love Marriage could be enjoyed by women of any generation, and is a realistic look at life in the modern age of distraction and our attempts at human connection.

Love Marriage by Monica Ali is available at BookStore1 12 S. Palm Avenue or via their online store at sarasotabooks.com. Publication Date: May 3, 2022 ISBN # 9781982196509. 

[Art & Education]  Celebrate the Arts at Arts Alive

The Manatee Arts Education Council (MAEC) in partnership with the School District of Manatee County and the Manatee Education Foundation, is thrilled to present the 3rd Annual Arts Alive featuring K-12 student performances and high school visual artwork. Plus, recognition of outstanding arts education leaders in our community and schools, who will be honored with the MAEC Arts Alive Awards. Arts Alive will be held on Monday, March 28, 2022 at GROVE, in The Ballroom, located at 10670 Boardwalk Loop in Lakewood Ranch. The event will begin with a catered reception featuring hors d’ oeuvres and open bar, art auction and live entertainment from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The awards and performances will start at 6:30 p.m. and last through 8 p.m. The Master of Ceremonies is Marco LaManno, SNN Meteorologist. He will perform a ballroom dance with dance partner, Sonja Ragan. Featured performances are by the following schools: The Rowlett Middle Academy Jazz Ensemble; Manatee High Jazz Band; Elementary Honor Choir; Manatee School For the Arts Inferno & Heat Dance Teams; Lakewood Ranch High Indoor Percussion Ensemble; Braden River High School Theatre & Dance Thespian Troupe 8474 presenting “Chicago”. Presenting sponsor for Arts Alive is NDC Construction and Reception sponsors are Ringling College of Art + Design, Willis Smith, The Early Learning Coalition and HalfAcre Construction. Art Gallery Sponsors include Williamson Design Associates, Pittsburgh Pirates, AJAX Building, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Long & Associates and Charles Perry Partners. You can support the ARTS in our schools by purchasing your tickets to Arts Alive at MAECARTS.org. 

[Student Recognition]  Booker High VPA Art Student Lauded with Cambridge "Top of World" Award

Alanna Hutton, a junior in Booker High School‘s VPA Art program, recently earned one of Cambridge Assessment International Education’s Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards: "Top Mark in the World for AICE Art & Design”. All Cambridge Assessment International Education students are eligible for the prestigious ‘Top in the World’ award; however, these awards are only given to the learners who have achieved the highest standard mark in the world in an individual subject. Alanna earned the award for her work as a sophomore. Ms. Cathie Janssen was the teacher who guided Alanna through the AICE portfolio.  Alanna has also studied 2-D art with Mr. Steve Strenk in the Booker VPA Art program. Congratulations to Alanna for all her hard work! 

Pictured: Booker High VPA Art Student Alanna Hutton

[Artistic Director]  Celebrating Maestro Victor DeRenzi's 40th Season

Sarasota Opera continues their 63rd consecutive season of producing world-class opera for our wonderful community. This season is a special one, not only because it marks the return of full-scale operas to the stage, but it is also Maestro DeRenzi’s 40th Season as Artistic Director!

Revel in the joy and camaraderie of this celebratory event as Sarasota Opera pays tribute to Maestro DeRenzi at the Sarasota Opera Gala on March 26, 2022. You’ll celebrate this anniversary with a fabulous evening that includes a Grand Reception, Jubilee Concert on the Sarasota Opera House stage featuring special tributes and some of the Maestro’s favorite singers, and a Gala Dinner under the grand tent on Pineapple Avenue. 

To purchase tables or tickets, please email soaevents@sarasotaopera.org, or call the Special Events Office at (941) 366-8450, ext. 402.


Sarasota Opera Box Office 941-328-1300, 61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

Click Here for More Information

[Cancellation]  Sarasota Opera to Reschedule Tonight’s Performance of Tosca, Cancel Saturday Matinee of The Daughter of the Regiment

Sarasota Opera is rescheduling the 7:30 pm Thursday, February 24 performance of Tosca in response to COVID exposures in the Chorus. The Tosca performance is rescheduled for Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the February 24 performance will be honored on March 2. If ticketholders can’t attend the rescheduled date, they can contact the box office to exchange for another performance, receive a refund, or donate their ticket. The company will also be canceling the Saturday, February 26 1:30 pm matinee of The Daughter of the Regiment. Ticketholders can reschedule for another date or request a refund. For the most up-to-date information, please visit SarasotaOpera.org or call the Box Office at 941-328-1300. 

[SOON]  THEATER: Florida Studio Theatre: Hare & Tortoise , January 8 – February 26, Varies.

Hare & Tortoise is a whimsical retelling of one of Aesops best-known fables about two friends who have opposite approaches to just about everything. Hare wants nothing more than to speed through everyday life and make time pass faster. Tortoise prefers to take her time, tending her garden and celebrating each season of life. This fun, treasured tale tells a timeless story of friendship, change, and the excitement of growing up. Hare & Tortoise, by Brendan Murray, will play Saturdays and select Sundays from January 8, 2022 - February 26, 2022 in FST's Bowne's Lab. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale and can be purchased by clicking the button above or by calling the Box Office at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Beehive: The 60’s Musical , February 16 – February 26, 7:30pm and 2pm

Big voices with big hairdos! BEEHIVE celebrates the powerful female voices of the 1960’s with such timeless hits as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” Told from the perspective of six young women who come of age in this enigmatic decade, BEEHIVE takes us from their first Beehive Dance to the challenges we faced as a nation. Single tickets available Sept. 1, 2021 ($26.50 preview/ $29.50 single/ $14 student). Subscriptions are available now. The show dates are Feb. 16-19, 22-26 at 7:30pm and Feb. 20, 26-27 at 2pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota High School Theatre: The Underdogs: A Dinner Theatre Experience , February 26

Sarasota High School Theatre's The Underdogs: A Dinner Theatre Experience will show on February 26, 2022. Our annual Broadway dinner theater is back. Join our theatre students and alumni for an evening to remember as we celebrate Broadway's favorite characters and their stories of struggles and triumph, and look ahead toward a brighter future for our program, our students, our community, and the world. Time and location will be announced in the fall of 2022.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Party Under the Stars 2022 , February 26, 6pm-10pm

The Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation's Party Under the Stars 2022 is A Glamorous Night of Mystery that will take place on Saturday, February 26 from 6pm to 10pm at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts. Their signature event is a festive evening “under the stars” and features entertainment, dancing, dining, and silent and live auctions with fabulous items. All event proceeds provide non–medical financial assistance to cancer patients. Honorary Chairs are Amir Harandi, MD, Anjan Patel, MD, and Ana VanDerWall, MD.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime: 3rd Young Entrepreneur Market , February 26, 10am-3pm

Calling all young entrepreneurs who are 17 and under. Sell your wares on February 26 from 10am to 3pm in the outside courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. For the 3rd time, The Bazaar is hosting this unique pop up market. Past businesses included handmade jewelry, plants, original art, and so much more. Live music will be provided throughout the day by Music Compound’s talented students. Located at 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. Cost to participate is only $25 with table and chair provided. Limited to twenty participants,  so email today for an application info@bazaaronapricotandlime.com.  

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Mattison's City Grille: Skip's Dixie Mix New Orleans Mardi Gras Event , February 27, 11am-12:30pm and 1pm-2:30pm

Skip’s Dixie Mix is bringing New Orleans, Mardi Gras, Dixie style music to Mattison’s. They will play one day only on Sunday, February 27 at Mattison’s City Grille, 1 North Lemon Ave. There are two seating times. The first seating is at 11am-11:30am with the band playing from 11:30am-12:30pm. The second seating is 1pm-1:30pm with the band playing 1:30pm-2:30pm. This is a free event to attend but reservations are recommended. Skip’s Dixie Mix is a band of seven seasoned musicians who have been immersed in the music scene for more than six decades and have played the circuit with some big names in the music business. Mattison’s will feature special New Orleans style menu items such as made-from-scratch Seafood Gumbo, made-to-order Beignets, Po Boys, Shrimp and Grits, Baby Back Ribs, and more. A special New Orleans Hurricane cocktail will also be featured. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Key Chorale: Tomorrow's Voices Tonight, Student Scholar Soiree , February 28, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Tomorrow’s Voices Tonight, Student Scholar Soiree on February 28, 2022 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Westcoast Black Theatre, 1012 N Orange Ave. Student Scholar Soirée and Recital showcasing solos and group numbers from the Key Chorale Student Scholars as they entertain you with songs from Classics to Broadway. Come support and cheer our musicians of tomorrow while enjoying cocktails and light bites.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Engelbert Humperdinck , February 28, 8pm

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK has 64 gold albums, 35 platinum albums, four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe and stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Las Vegas Walk of Fame, spanning a career of over five decades. He has recorded romantic ballads to movie theme songs, disco, rock and gospel, charming millions of fans around the globe. His first single in the charts was “Release Me,” which went into the Guinness Book of Records for achieving 56 consecutive weeks on the charts. It was No. 1 in 11 countries. This performance will take place on Monday, February 28 at 8pm.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: From Legend to History: Archaeology of the Underground Railroad in our Backyard , December 1 – February 28, Museum hours.

Archaeologists have the unlikely job of saving the lives of people who have passed. For a generation or more, freedom-seeking people built lives in hamlets from the Manatee River to Sarasota Bay. Angola, as the early 19th century maroon community is known, was a haven of liberty from slavery and its inhabitants numbered in the hundreds until the community was destroyed in 1821, with survivors escaping to the Florida interior or the British Bahamas. The National Park Service recognizes the archaeological findings in east Bradenton as evidence for their Network to Freedom, the Underground Railroad. Working with local and descendant communities, historical archaeological research has pieced together fragments from ceramic sherds, glass fragments, oyster shells, and more of their belongings. From Legend to History traces the research process, shows the archaeological and archival evidence, and seeks to inspire hope from unsettled times. The exhibit began December 1, 2021 and will end February 28, 2022. The Ringling’s Community Gallery is always free and open to the public. The public exhibition space is located on the ground floor of the museum’s Center for Asian Art. If you wish to visit the Community Gallery please ask for a free wristband at the Visitors Pavilion upon your arrival at The Ringling. The Community Gallery is generously funded by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

[SOON]  GALLERY: SPAACES Gallery: Seeking Love: The Journey , February 25 – February 28, Gallery hours.

A Commemorative Exhibit of Ian North’s Works “Seeking Love: The Journey." Ian North invited the viewer to derive their own meaning from his artworks, to discover their own story in his mixed media assemblages. Ian had a successful solo exhibition at SPAACES in February of 2021. The day the exhibition closed he suffered a fatal heart attack. His talent extended far beyond the visual arts. Ian was a musician and songwriter, releasing groundbreaking music in the ’70s and ’80s. He was a Sarasota community icon, well respected for his visual art and music contributions. To commemorate his art and his life, this show will exhibit a collection of his life’s work and the art card collection he lovingly created for his wife over the last 21 years. Opening Night Reception is Friday, February 25th, 2022 from 6pm to 8pm. Saturday Brunch Reception is Saturday, February 26th, 2022 from 11am to 2pm. By Appointment Only on February 28th & 29th.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Seeing the Invisible , September 25 – August 31, 10am-5pm

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, opening on September 25, 2021 and ongoing through August 31 2022, as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Sarasota Art Museum: David Budd: Motion Within Stillness , October 9 – March 20, Museum hours.

David Budd: Motion Within Stillness from October 9 to March 20, 2022. After painting for only six years, David Budd (1927-1991, Florida) dove into the New York art scene in the 1950s —immersing himself in Abstract Expressionism and working alongside iconic names of the movement, such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. His paintings, like others of the time, relied on the bodily relationship between the artist and canvas —each stroke and mark of the artist encapsulated in viscous gestures of paint—and spontaneity; although, this is not to say that Budd painted hastily—each mark was placed with intention to animate the canvas’s surface.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions: POW! The Comic Art of Mike Zeck from the Costas Collection , October 18 – March 25, 9am-3pm

After attending Ringling College in the late 60s, Zeck made a name for himself illustrating the horror stories of Charlton Comics before turning his talents in both illustration and storytelling into one of the most successful careers of The Bronze Age of comic books. His talents served him well for both Marvel and DC. Zeck is credited with creating the alternative black costume for Spider-Man that would eventually become the character Venom, and his work on Kraven’s Last Hunt is considered one of the best stories in the Spider-Man canon. In the DC universe, he helped modernize Batman into the flawed and dark knight he would become in the modern era. With “POW!,” Ringling College Galleries has compiled the best of The Costas Collection, featuring over 60 original illustrations of Zeck’s most iconic storylines and covers. This exhibition will be on view from October 18, 2021 – March 25, 2022. In-person viewings are free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm at The Lois and David Stulberg Gallery is located inside the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center on campus at Ringling College of Art and Design at 1188 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

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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