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SRQ DAILY Aug 25, 2023

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"It is exciting because Creative Liberties is such an impactful organization in the arts and I love being in collaboration with them."

- Robyn Holl, Cultural Curator, Art Ovation Hotel.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Austin Judd Tastes Success With Cannibal Comedian
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

When a man calls out of the blue and invites you to cross the country and spend two weeks with him in The Murder House, most people say No. But if that man is writer/director Sean Haitz and you’re Sarasota-based actress Austin Judd, you ask for the address.

“It’s Leatherface meets Jerry Seinfeld,” Judd says of Cannibal Comedian, her latest cinematic collaboration with Haitz, the Sarasota-born filmmaker behind Florida horror flicks Mangrove Slasher 2 and Big Top Evil (also starring Judd). A blood-soaked but otherwise unconventional horror-comedy, the story follows a cannibal named Charlie with stand-up comedy dreams and the depths he’ll go to for a captive audience. Judd stars as Chrystal—one such lucky audience member who may be more than she seems. “They do crazy things with our characters that you don’t normally see in horror movies,” Judd says. “But I don’t want to reveal too much.”

Filmed in early 2020, just before the pandemic brought film production to a halt across the country, Cannibal Comedian was largely shot over the course of just two weeks in California at an abandoned cabin in the Morongo Valley known locally (and one hopes non-literally) as “The Murder House.” All told, a strange place to find the shy child who used to watch scary movies through her fingers. “But horror is so much fun to make because it’s so theatrical,” Judd says. “Also, when you have the blood on you and it’s corn syrup and it’s sweet and sticky, you don’t feel like it’s blood.” That’s not to say there weren’t challenging moments for Judd. “This required me to go to some really dark places,” she says. “I wanted to bring enough intensity and seriousness to my character.”

Released this summer with a world premiere at the Marina Del Rey Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it won Best Horror Feature, Cannibal Comedian has since been lighting up the horror festival circuit, including winning Best Feature at Days of the Dead Indianapolis, where it played to sold out theaters. As for Judd, she nabbed her first award nomination for Best Actress at the Houston Horror Film Festival and a win for Best Supporting Performance at the HorrorHound Film Festival in Indianapolis this month. Still on the circuit, the film will play in a handful of festivals in Los Angeles over the next couple weeks before coming to Florida, where it will screen at the Fantasm Film Festival in Orlando, September 15-17.

In the meantime, Judd recently completed shooting on an arthouse film about environmental awareness at Ringling College of Art and Design and is gearing up for her third feature-length film, Occult Detective, to be filmed in the Sarasota area. And while many follow their film dreams to LA or elsewhere, Judd, also a figure model at Ringling College and the Miano Academy of Art, and whose husband works at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, has no intentions of leaving. “Sarasota has amazing opportunities for film,” she says. “And we hold our art to a certain standard.” 

Pictured: Mis Sadistic and Austin Judd in Cannibal Comedian. Photo by Andrea Davoren.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Onaelan at Art Ovation Hotel
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

This Saturday, head over to the Art Ovation Hotel to check out their latest installment of their Conversations with Artists Series. The series, which allows viewers to engage with the artists on display in the hotel’s various galleries, welcomes local art institution Creative Liberties. Creative Liberties, headed by Barbara Gerdeman and Elizabeth Goodwill, is an arts organization that is dedicated to helping local artists grow–they assist with everything from organizing and promoting the artist's work to renting out studio spaces or even being in residency in local gallery spaces.

Through Creative Liberties, the Art Ovation Hotel has 10 local artists featured in an exhibition titled Onaelan in the hotel’s Crescendo Gallery. “Onaelan is an old English word that means to ignite with fiery energy,” says Robyn Holl, Cultural Curator of the Art Ovation Hotel. “The show features a variety of different types of paintings from abstract work to representational to mixed acrylic and watercolor. On Saturday, a handful of those artists are going to present themselves on stage and I’ll be able to ask them questions and then open the conversation up to the audience for any further inquiries.”

Featuring a local organization such as Creative Liberties gives Holl and the team at Art Ovation a chance to do something that they hold near and dear to their hearts–connect with the community. “Not only is it one of our big goals to put on a group show in the Crescendo Gallery, but part of our program is really to emphasize the community by bringing them into the hotel and giving them the platform and exposure we can offer as a hotel that brings guests in from all over the world,” says Holl. “It’s exciting because Creative Liberties is such an impactful organization in the arts and I love being in collaboration with them.”

August 26, 5pm to 6:30p, Art Ovation Hotel Gallery Lounge, 1225 North Palm Ave, Sarasota. 

To learn more, visit

[Fundraising Event]  Sarasota Opera Food and Wine Festival Welcomes New Partners and Returning Favorites

Sarasota Opera’s Annual Food & Wine Festival returns on September 23, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and will take place at Sarasota Opera House. Local restaurants will gather to serve tasty bites, wine, and other treats as a benefit for Sarasota Youth Opera. This year’s festival will feature many returning classics, such as Michael’s on East, Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill, Mattison’s, and Selva Grill, and will also include new partners such as Molly’s Pub, and Shore. There will be performances throughout the event by the Youth Opera chorus, as well as raffles of gift cards from local favorites and tickets to Sarasota Opera and Sarasota Youth Opera performances, and other activities. Tickets are now available for $75 per person and can be purchased online at www.sarasotaopera.org/foodandwinefest, at the Box Office located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, or by calling the Box Office at (941) 328-1300. All proceeds go to support the Youth Opera & Education programming. This season, Sarasota Opera’s events are produced by Mary Kenealy Events. Restaurants interested in participating in this event can find registration information at www.sarasotaopera.org/foodandwinefest-registration. Restaurant registration is open until September 8. Participating restaurants are: 99 Bottles, EVOQ Sarasota/Westin Hotel, Jack Dusty Restaurant/Ritz-Carlton, Selva Grill, Happy Soul, Michael’s on East, Pier 22, Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill, Five-O-Donut Co.    Molly’s Pub, Tzeva/Art Ovation Hotel, Mattison’s, Storii Coffee, Bahi Hut, Bridges/Embassy Suites,Food & Beer, Shore, Rise & Nye’s, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Nautical Gin

Sarasota Opera Food & Wine Festival, Saturday, September 23, 2023, Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, Tickets: $75 purchased in advance, $85 purchased on the day of the event. 

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Stage at Payne Park Selects Architect and Consultant for Future Location

The Stage at Payne Park LLC (The Stage), a wholly-owned subsidiary nonprofit organization of The Players, Inc. with a mission to remodel the existing Payne Park auditorium for its new home, has selected Fleischman Garcia Maslowski (FG+M) Architecture to lead the design process for its new location at 2100 Laurel St. in Sarasota. The Stage has also hired Stages Consultants to serve as the project’s theatre, AV and acoustics consultant, and will be led by theatre consultant Alec Stoll, ASTC, and acoustician Damian Doria, FASA. Stoll has played integral roles in the programming, planning, design and construction of more than 250 academic, professional and community venues, as well as historic renovation and restoration projects. He will help oversee design and construction of the new facility.mThe Stage is also currently looking for a general contractor, executive director and advisory committee members. The organization has started the major conditional use permitting process with the city of Sarasota, which will take approximately four to six months. A community workshop will be held on September 11, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. at the municipal auditorium in Payne Park to gather input from neighbors and community stakeholders. Construction is expected to start in March 2024, with an estimated completion slated for summer 2025. The Stage will also host a focus group and design charrette on August 29 from noon to 3 p.m. to update the consortium of performing arts organizations on the progress, tasks ahead and to understand the varying requirements of each organization for inclusion in the design for the new facility. 

Pictured: Marcel Maslowski, president and director of design for FG+M.

[Feature]  Kitchen Notebook
Kate Wight

KITCHEN NOTEBOOK | Four local design professionals share insights from recent kitchen projects, July/August 2023. 

Read Here!

[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]  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]  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]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: A Comedy of Tenors at Florida Studio Theatre , August 9 – August 27, Various times

FST presents A Comedy of Tenors, a rollicking comedy full of mistaken identities, slamming doors, and comical misunderstandings. A Comedy of Tenors is set in 1930s Paris, and the stage is set for the concert of the century, where three of the top tenors in the world are going to give career highlight performances for a stadium packed with thousands of fans. But clandestine affairs, opening night chaos, and unexpected surprises have producer Henry Saunders desperate to ensure that the show goes on. FST Gompertz Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  MUSIC: IL DIVO , December 20, 7:3opm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome IL DIVO A New Day Holiday Tour to Sarasota on Wednesday, December 20, at 7:30pm. The tour will feature the group performing holiday classics that include It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Its The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and more, in addition to songs from their vast catalog. Tickets start at $59.50 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 10am to 4pm. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattison’s at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theater. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

[SOON]  FOOD: Taste of New Orleans at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , October 28, 5:30-7:30pm

Taste of New Orleans will take place on Saturday, October 28th at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This event has developed an exceptional reputation, providing guests with hors doeuvres, live entertainment, and an unforgettable bayfront setting. Taste of New Orleans sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Proceeds support Truly Valued programs, that increase confidence and better decision making skills through changed behaviors of the youth and families that we serve. Visit https://trulyvalued.org/taste-of-new-orleans to purchase tickets.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling Art of Performance Season Kickoff Party: White Hot Fête , October 20, 7pm

Secure your tickets to our Art of Performance Season Kickoff Party: White Hot Fête on Friday, Oct 20 featuring La Dame Blanche. White Hot Fête is Sarasota’s hottest party. Put on your stylish glow and celebrate the opening of the cultural season in your finest all-white attire! General admission includes a pre and post-show DJ, live concert with La Dame Blanche, as well as food and beverages for purchase. Tickets for general admission are $35 for non-members and $31.50 for members. VIP admission includes priority entrance to the venue at 7pm, a private VIP Section, open bar and buffet, as well as VIP parking access. VIP tickets are $125 per ticket. Be sure to buy your tickets soon, VIP tickets are limited. 5401 Bayshore Rd., Sarasota, www.theringling.org.

[SOON]  DANCE: Romeo and Juliet at the Van Wezel , October 8, 5pm
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome the International Ballet of Florida’s production of Romeo and Juliet to Sarasota on Sunday, October 8, at 5 p.m. For over ten years, the International Ballet of Florida, IBF, has gained a reputation for original full length ballets and has garnered acclaim across the state. Alongside its students, IBF proudly welcomes principal guest artists from the National Ballet of Ukraine, Lithuania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and more as they begin the 2023 through 2024 season. Tickets are available now, starting at $30 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. Groups of 10 or more should call 941-263-6726.
[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Center Sarasota New Exhibitions , August 24 – September 30, Gallery Hours

The 2022 through 2023 exhibition season of Art Center Sarasota concludes with four exhibits, August 24 through 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. Artist Iren Tete presents 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 creates colorful works of collage, sculpture, and wall bound hybrids 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 to 8 p.m. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032.

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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