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SRQ DAILY Jul 21, 2023

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"I once saw a famous singer eating somewhere that I would never dine at, and I wanted to grab them and tell them to go somewhere really good."

- Roxanne Baker, Bookseller and Author of Small and Shrewdly Specific, A Sarasota Dining Guide

[Dining Guidebook]  This New Dining Guidebook Gives Sarasotans a Chow Down Cheat Sheet
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

The guidebook is marked by a distinctive stereotype. Identifiable as a well-worn tome poking out of a duffel bag or a pristine beacon to new adventures waiting on the highest shelf at the bookstore, the guidebook lives in a land separate from readers’ real lives. But, how could a guidebook help people delve deeper into the places they experience every day in their own cities?

For Bookstore1Sarasota Bookseller Roxanne Baker, one could write a book about the myriad of ways that guidebooks could aid Sarasota residents, especially when it comes to dining. “Almost every shift, someone, from couples to families of four, comes into the bookstore asking where to eat,” she says, “and I wanted to tailor a book to them.”

Baker describes herself as someone who loves food, but not cooking, a combination that has led her to explore the nooks and crannies of the growing Sarasota food scene. In her new book, Small and Shrewdly Specific: A Sarasota Dining Guide, she shares 30 of her favorite local go-to establishments. “I wanted to create something specific and to tell people about the ambiance of a place, because that’s important. Whether you’re a family or a romantic couple, I designed a key with the specific items that people care about,” she adds. Unlike listing only the price and type of cuisine offered, Baker’s key reflects her careful observation of restaurant goers and their innate desires. She notes which restaurants offer valet service, a necessity for many elderly folks, and shares her intele regarding the dress code. “Sarasota is fashion conscious,” she says, and her guide helps readers avoid making the faux pas of wearing flip flops where heels are appropriate. No restaurant feature is off the table; Baker even provides handy information on the air conditioning intensity, saving many a diner from being so busy shivering at the table that they barely taste their meal. She groups the restaurants by general location, such as Downtown, the North Trail or Siesta Key, for readers to decide whether they can travel to their destination on foot or need a car, although renting a bus full of foodie friends is an ideal way to experience the restaurants listed.

Notable stops include Knick’s Tavern and Grill as well as Shilla Korean Restaurant. A small pub tucked away from the hustle and bustle, Knick’s serves up American food, including tasty burgers and charbroiled calamari, which in other eateries takes a back seat to its fried cousin. “I travel a lot, and there are some places where you don’t feel comfortable eating alone. Knick’s is friendly, and you can eat by yourself without feeling awkward,” Baker says, describing yet another of her selection criteria. A restaurant’s vibe also manifests itself in the pace of the meal, whether it’s a quick bite or a slow food experience. For the latter, she suggests sampling the Korean fare at Shilla, run by a mother-daughter team. “Everything is made to order, and the owners are so sweet,” she adds. “I wrote in the description that diners here have to make time to wait and not be in a rush.”

Baker’s guidance reads like the words of a friend because she aimed to give the book a fun and conversational tone accesible to anyone. But make no mistake, Small and Shrewdly Specific is as apt as a description for her recommendations as it is a commentary on the city’s culinary culture. “I once saw a famous singer eating somewhere that I would never dine at,” she says, “and I wanted to grab them and tell them to go somewhere really good.”

Small and Shrewdly Specific: A Sarasota Dining Guide will be available for purchase starting Saturday, July 22, in-store at Bookstore1Sarasota or online. Bookstore1Sarasota, 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, sarasotabooks.com. 

Small and Shrewdly Specific, A Sarasota Dining Guide by Roxanne Baker. Photo Courtesy of Bookstore1Sarasota.


[Arts & Entertainment]  Portraits from a Stolen Past at Art Ovation Hotel Studio

Bradenton resident Gary LaParl will be the artist in residence at Art Ovation Hotel, August 15-21, 1255 N. Palm Ave in Sarasota. LaParl will be in Art Ovation’s lobby studio, 4-8 p.m. daily, with a public reception on Friday, August 18, 5-7 p.m. His exhibit, “Portraits from a Stolen Past,” features oil paintings and mixed-media oil collage works based on vintage portraits.  An area of the Art Ovation wall space will be devoted to a series of portraits of Sarasota performance artists, including Jeffery Kin, executive director of Sarasota Rising, Leymis Wilmott, artistic director of Sarasota Contemporary Dance, and Alex Pelletier, a graduate of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and area actor. 

Pictured: Sag Harbor by Gary LaParl. Photo courtesy of www.GaryLaParl.com.

[Arts & Entertainment]  New Exhibits at Art Center Sarasota

Art Center Sarasota’s 2022-2023 exhibition season concludes with four exhibits, August 24-September 30. In “The Ephemerality of Being,” Lauren Mann reflects on the beauty and magic of everyday life in colored pencil drawings that are full of patterns and idiosyncrasies. Iren Tete’s “systems of (entanglement)” is an installation of ceramic sculptures inspired by forms, materials, and thoughts that exist somewhere between reality, dream, and possibility. In “SUPERPOSITIONS,” Ry McCullough’s colorful works of collage, sculpture, and wall-bound hybrids are inspired by the traditions of still life and modernist abstraction. “An Abstract View” re-examines abstraction and its relevance in contemporary art and is juried by Tre Michel, co-owner of State of the Arts Gallery. The opening reception for all four exhibits is Thursday, August 24, 6-8 p.m. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032. 

Pictured: Ripening Shadows by Lauren Mann. Photo courtesy of Art Center Sarasota.

[Arts & Entertainment]  FST Announces Lineup for Its Annual Summer New Play Festival

Florida Studio Theatre announces its annual Summer New Play Festival, presenting three staged readings of new works by contemporary American playwrights. This year’s Festival features the emotional play, The Secret Wisdom of Trees by Christine Toy Johnson, the compelling drama, The God Committee by Mark St. Germain, and the new comedy, The Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latine Vote by Bernardo Cubría. Readings will take place on August 11, August 18, and August 25 at 3PM each day in FST’s Keating Theatre. Subscriptions to all three readings are $15-25. Single tickets are $10. Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or by calling FST’s Box Office at 941.366.9000. As Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, FST is heavily invested in New Play Development. To date, FST has produced over 30 World Premieres, many of which have been nurtured through the theatre’s artistic initiatives. Through reading series, like the Summer New Play Festival, FST gives select works-in-progress a platform, a live audience, artistic support, and valuable feedback. The playwrights highlighted in this Festival will each travel to Sarasota for a week of rehearsals with FST’s artistic staff and guest artists. At the end of each week of development sessions, a staged reading of their play or musical will be performed for a live audience, followed by a discussion with the audience about the work-in-progress. A full Festival schedule can be found at the end of this release. Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or 941.366.9000. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is Excited to Welcome Michelene Everett to the SPAA Board of Directors

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance (SPAA) is excited to welcome Michelene Everett to the SPAA Board of Directors. Senior Events Manager with American Express Global Business Travel, Michelene Everett brings over 15 years of event management experience, including city-wide conferences with up to 100,000 people, to the SPAA Board. “St. Pete is where culture and travel converge. I believe our local arts community plays a vital role in shaping our city's identity, attracting tourists, meetings, and conferences interested in cultural experiences, all of whom contribute to the economic and social development of the city we are proud to call home,” says Michelene. SPAA is excited for Michelene’s contributions to further our vision of strengthening and sustaining the art and cultural community within St. Petersburg through collaboration, economic growth, education, and adequate and consistent funding. 

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Reassembling Spilt Light, An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga , July 21, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Join the most creative, social, and fabulous fans of art in Sarasota and enjoy early access to Reassembling Spilt Light, An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga before it opens to the general public. Enjoy access to all summer exhibitions from music by DJ KEZA, cocktails and lite bites for purchase. Grab your friends, grab your friend’s friends, and don’t miss this unforgettable evening. Purchase Tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.org. Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 South Tamiami Trail,

[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Fest at The Van Wezel , July 11 – September 22, 5-9pm

Friday Fest, the free, outdoor summertime concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall continues with TEN-76 on August 11. TEN-76 is a powerhouse high energy band that covers classic and modern rock. From the Lakewood Ranch homebase, TEN-76 regularly plays many of the local venues and are expanding in the Southeast Region. They have volunteered their time and entertainment for many charities to help raise funds and awareness.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: John Pirman, Diving Into Nature , July 22 – September 17, Garden Hours

Dive into nature this summer at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, where a retrospective-like show of the career of Sarasota artist John Pirman to date can be seen inside the Museum of Botany and the Arts and outside in the Gardens. The show features several of his signature views of Sarasota, including iconic scenes of Selby Gardens itself, along with diverse works from his 30-year career in New York City and even pieces from his childhood in Ohio. On view daily through September 17. Learn more at selby.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Wellen Park Summer Music Series , July 19 – September 30, Various times

Wellen Park invites the community to come out and enjoy music from local bands and artists during the Summer Music Series every Wednesday through Sunday in Downtown Wellen. Now through September, Wellen Park is hosting different musicians throughout the week. Every week, Wind Down Wednesdays, Thursday Tunes and Saturday Sounds will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Night Live, the first Friday of the month, will feature a band on the Solis Hall stage overlooking the Great Lawn from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Groove, the second, third and fourth Friday of the month, will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. On Unplugged Sunday, every Sunday, there will be music under the Heritage Tree from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The series is open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating on the Great Lawn and around the Heritage Tree. For more information, visit wellenpark.com/events/summer-music-series.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bradenton Public Market , June 24 – August 26, 9 am to 2 pm

Realize Bradenton is pleased to announce the continuation of the Bradenton Public Market through the summer months. The summer Markets are scheduled once a month on the last Saturdays of each month, on June 24th, July 29th and August 26th on Old Main Street and 3rd Ave West in Bradenton. Our Market family is excited to see their customers throughout the summer while still enjoying some well-earned time off. The Market was founded in April of 1979 in a Downtown Bradenton parking lot. Over the past 44 years, the Market has grown and evolved to fill Old Main Street with produce, local artisans, and prepared foods. realizebradenton.com/market.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Comedy Lottery at Florida Studio Theatre Improv , June 3 – July 29, 7:30pm
It is the lottery where everyone wins. Twelve lucky audience members determine the fate of our team by selecting the nightly lineup of games. Our cast of funny people are off to the races spinning scenes, sketches, and songs to win your laughter. Bownes Lab, 1265 First St., Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org.
[SOON]  GALLERY: 55 Frida Project , June 18 – August 18, Various times

Maverick, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo painted 55 self-portraits in her short and tragic life. View the commemorative exhibit by artist Beck Lane of her work at UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, her artwork merges extraordinary creative vision and innovative technique and has been collected and shown in pop-up galleries, solo shows, galleries, and private collections in Boston, California, New York City, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami, Brussels, Switzerland, South America, and Israel. On her YouTube Channel, Catalyst and Co., Beck records herself painting live, while offering encouragement to fellow artists, and sharing her experiences as an artist and her painting process and techniques. These mixed medium works pulsate with powerful, vibrant energy, fluid color and rare style. On Sunday, July 16, Lane will be painting live from 12-2 pm at the Lexow Gallery. UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, 3975 Fruitville Rd., www.uucsarasota.com, www.becklaneartist.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  THEATER: Divas Three , July 11 – September 17, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre presents Divas Three, a dynamic music revue featuring four decades of hits by some of the most influential women of music. With songs made famous by Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Carole King, and more, this original revue pays tribute to the artists whose musical impact has earned them the coveted title of diva. Created by Nancy Allen Productions, Divas Three begins playing on July 11 in the FST Court Cabaret. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALA: Toast Local , August 19, 1-5 pm

On Saturday, August 19th from 1-5pm, at Robarts Arena in Sarasota join us for Toast Local, and raise a glass to local charities. Benefiting The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, enjoy a craft cocktail and beer tasting with delicious bites, plus special musical guest Kettle of Fish. The fun begins with a free family-friendly car show from 9am to 1pm. The Rotary Club of Sarasota is a network of active and retired business, professional, and community leaders dedicated to helping make Sarasota and the world a better place. Each year, the club receives requests from a number of local not-for-profit agencies seeking support. Toast Local will bring the local community together for an afternoon this summer to taste local beers, cocktails, and food. All proceeds will then be donated back to the local community. Information and tickets at rotaryclubofsarasota.com/toast-local, 21 and older.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art at Ringling Museum , March 29 – September 4, Museum hours

Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art group exhibition will mark The Ringling’s first presentation of contemporary art by Native American artists with ancestral, historical, and present-day connections to Florida. An imperative step toward establishing a meaningful relationship with the Native American artistic community, Reclaiming Home will highlight the breadth and depth of the artwork by Seminole, Miccosukee, and mixed-heritage artists from Florida with the important work by internationally-recognized artists. The exhibition will expand the conceptual framework of Native American art made in Florida today and provide a fuller understanding of the complexities of issues within the art of the Seminole diaspora. Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Surfer Boys at Florida Studio Theatre , June 13 – August 13, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre kicks off its Summer Cabaret Series with The Surfer Boys,an energetic tribute to the music of The Beach Boys. Featuring such hits as California Girls, Good Vibrations, Barbara Ann, and Surfin USA, The Surfer Boys is filled with the honey-tinged harmonies and unforgettable melodies that defined 1960s California and pop music. The Surfer Boys begins playing June 13 in the FST Goldstein Cabaret. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

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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