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SRQ DAILY Jun 7, 2024

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"While the plot is entirely the same as the original teleplay, the conversations leading up to the characters' decisions might be a little bit different."

- Peter Rothstein, Producing Artistic Director, Asolo Repertory Theatre.

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Baby-Sitters Club and Beyond: The Eclectic Art of Hodges Soileau
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Before Harry Potter and The Hunger Games captured imaginations everywhere with magical worlds of wizards and child violence, The Baby-Sitters Club ruled the roost with its charming tales of school woe and coming-of-age drama. The series ran for 15 years, resulting in 131 novels and a whole host of spin-offs and special editions. And behind nearly every one of its iconic covers was one artist: Hodges Soileau. Tonight, Soileau comes to Palm Avenue Fine Art for a special two-day exhibition, featuring not only selections of the original oil paintings behind his Baby-Sitters Club covers but showcasing the artist’s wide-ranging exploration in the years following. “And that’s the whole idea of this show,” Soileau says. “Eclectic subjects.”

An opening reception with the artist begins tonight at 6pm.

“If I had to paint only one thing,” Soileau says, “I wouldn’t be happy.” And this could be considered strange coming from the man who spent more than a decade of his life painting Kristy and Claudia and the rest of their entrepreneurial friends for novel after novel. But a quick glimpse around the exhibition illustrates the truth of the matter in landscapes and seascapes, pastoral scenes and figure portraits, abstract work and even a surprise rendering of Indiana Jones (pre-Crystal Skull, no worries).

While there are a handful of the original oil paintings that became Baby-Sitters Club book covers, much of the walls are dominated by Soileau operating squarely in the fine art tradition, eschewing the illustrative tendencies that defined his earlier work to explore new marks and new subjects. Here a portrait of white horses grazing by a waterfall; there a sunset of rich gold and purple. To one side, a classic figure study; to the other, a dancer frozen mid-pose, isolated and still in a world seemingly reduced to blurs of color around her.

“Hopefully, you see growth,” Soileau says of his eclectic collection. “And hopefully, that growth never ends. I’m 80 years old. And if I live to be 90, I’ll be a better artist than I am now.” And it’s this desire to grow as an artist that keeps Soileau coming back to the canvas, exploring different subjects each time, challenging himself to create something he hasn’t created before, whether it’s the watery reflection of a figure in the tide or the perfect haze on a marshland portrait. “If it’s easy and you know how it’s going to turn out…” Soileau trails off, as though even the thought isn’t worth finishing. “It has to be a challenge,” he says. “The challenge of possibly failing is always exciting.”

“And unless you’re asleep at the wheel, you always learn something when you paint.”

Hodges Soileau opens tonight at Palm Avenue Fine Art with an artist reception from 6pm to 9pm. Another artist reception will be at the same time on Saturday. 

Pictured: Abstract Ballet by Hodges Soileau. Courtesy of the artist.

To learn more, visit.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Asolo Rep's Spin on Twelve Angry Men
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

Catch Asolo Repertory Theatre’s production of Twelve Angry Men: A New Musical this weekend before the hit show closes its curtains on the final performance of the season. The musical, which is directed by Asolo Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Peter Rothstein, originally made its world premiere in 2022 at Rothstein’s old haunt, Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis.

Asolo Repertory’s production of Twelve Angry Men brings the same intensity that is intrinsic to the classic courtroom drama–which centers around twelve jurors in 1954 deliberating the case of a teenage boy accused of murdering his father–but with a few contemporary twists. The first and most obvious deviation from the original story is that this production incorporates music as a device to drive the plot forward. “While the plot is entirely the same as the original teleplay, the conversations leading up to the characters’ decisions might be a little bit different. When developing this, we learned that musical movement needed to move towards someone changing their mind,” says Rothstein. “In a traditional musical, the song has to propel the story to a new arrival point–if the characters aren’t in love by the end of this song, then it’s not doing its job. With this story, each song really drives someone to change their mind about the case.”

Twelve Angry Men uses composer Michael Holland’s score, set to the style of 1950s American Jazz, to weave in and out of key story beats. Dialogue will seamlessly give way to song before snapping back to conversation throughout the story.

The other key alteration to the story is the inclusion of a multi-racial cast, particularly when casting Juror no. 8, the original dissenting opinion arguing for the defendant, a Latin-American teenager’s, innocence. By casting Juror no. 8 as a person of color–and including a more diverse cast of jurors as a whole–Rothstein could not only avoid the typical “white savior” trope that permeates throughout the original story, but also use the musical to open a larger dialogue about race, class and responsibility in the country today. “Part of what having a diverse cast does, is that it puts multi-culture at the table for really challenging conversations that most of us are not willing to have right now. You might be talking and have an opinion about BLM or about racial reckoning or land acknowledgments or retributions that we owe our Native American citizens, but we’re having those convos in silos because we feel safe there,” says Rothstein. “These men are not safe, so they’re actually having the conversations that I wish we all were having.”

May 8 to June 9, Box office: 941-351-8000 / 800-361-8388, 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 

Pictured: Twelve Angry Men at Asolo Repertory has been a crowd pleaser for Sarasota theater fans. Photo by Dan Norman

[Arts & Entertainment]  Summer Circus Spectacular 2024

The Ringling and The Circus Arts Conservatory of Sarasota partner again to present a fantastic, jaw-dropping, fun-filled show for the entire family! The Summer Circus Spectacular showcases some of the most thrilling circus artists from around the world in performances that will entertain and delight audiences of all ages. Summer Circus Bonus! $5 Admission to the Circus Museum: Admission to the Historic Circus Galleries and the Tibbals Learning Center is only an additional $5 with your Summer Circus performance ticket!  Tickets may be purchased at Admissions on the day of your show. 

For ticket information click here.

[Donation]  Making An Impact Awarded $28,250 Donation From 100 Women Who Care

Making An Impact, Inc. (MAI) is proud to announce the receipt of a generous donation totaling $28,250 from the Greater Sarasota chapter of 100 Women Who Care during their Spring 2024 meeting. The Greater Sarasota chapter of 100 Women Who Care is part of a global grassroots movement of compassionate women dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations. Members collectively choose one of three presenting charities at their biannual meetings and contribute $100 each, resulting in significant support for the selected cause. Since its inception in 2018, this chapter has donated an impressive $307,395 to 14 local organizations and causes. At the recent Spring 2024 meeting, in addition to the members’ donations of $23,250, Making An Impact was awarded a generous $5,000 matching donation grant by The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, bringing the total donation to $28,250. The contribution received by Making An Impact will ensure that over 300 local agencies, law enforcement, and first responders can access the organization’s comprehensive and user-friendly information. This vital resource helps residents find programs and services to meet their basic needs, thereby addressing critical challenges many individuals and families face in the community. A portion of the funds will also support research, translation services, web app technology updates, and community outreach and engagement programs designed to reach underserved and at-risk populations. Victoria Kasdan, Co-founder and Board Chair of Making An Impact, expressed heartfelt appreciation for the support received from 100 Women Who Care, stating, "We extend our deepest gratitude to 100 Women Who Care for their generous donation to Making An Impact. Despite low unemployment rates, thousands of individuals and families in our area struggle to make ends meet. Thanks to the financial support from 100 Women Who Care, we can ensure that those who need it most can find local resources to meet their basic needs." With over 6,000 printed copies in circulation and thousands of views online, Making An Impact's resource guides bridge information gaps and underscore the organization's steadfast commitment to addressing the community’s most pressing needs. For more information about Making An Impact or to experience use of their Basic Needs Community Connections Resource Guide, visitwww.Making-An-Impact.org.



Pictured: 100 Women Who Care, Spring 2024 Award. Photo courtesy of Making An Impact, Inc.

[SOON]  FILM: On the Waterfront at Sarasota Opera , July 5, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now! One of the greatest films ever made, receiving twelve Academy Award nominations and winning eight. The film focuses on union violence and corruption among longshoremen on the waterfront of New Jersey. The musical score was composed by Leonard Bernstein. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint. Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Sarasota Opera, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Wonder, Human Experience and the Arts , June 6 – June 9, Various times
As a museum complex featuring visual and performing arts alongside circus history and a Gilded Age mansion, all situated on a bayfront campus, The Ringling is truly a site filled with wonder. This interdisciplinary symposium explores wonder as a source of creative inspiration, artistic medium, and physical and social well-being. Join us for the full symposium or catch the not-to-be-missed keynote sessions, open to the public. To learn more, visit ringling.org.
[SOON]  GALA: Celebrating Regional Art and Artists at Creative Liberties , June 1 – July 6

Creative Liberties Artist Studios and Gallery continues its season’s offerings with an all-packed June starting with the exhibit, “True Colors: Celebrating Pride,” June 1-July 6. Local artists will exhibit works in a color scheme that represents one of the colors on the LGBTQ+ Progress flag.

Creative Liberties, 901B Apricot Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  FILM: A Star Is Born at the Sarasota Opera , August 2, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now!  This musical revolves around a story about Norman Maine, a movie star whose career is on the wane who meets showgirl Esther Blodgett when he drunkenly stumbles into her act one night. They develop a friendship that blossoms into romance before tensions increase as Esther’s career takes off while Norman’s continues to plummet. Directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland, James Mason, and Jack Carson. Running time: 2 hours, 34 minutes.

Sarasota Opera, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Free Second Sundays , March 10 – December 8, 11am-5pm
Enjoy a day of art and family fun at Sarasota Art Museum. On the second Sunday of each month, we offer free admission for visitors, special performances, and art-making activities for the whole family. To learn more, visit sarasotaartmuseum.org.
[SOON]  FOOD: A Taste of Art , February 1 – January 31, 5:30-8pm
Longtime friends Chef Charles Amherst of Chaz 51 Steakhouse in Venice and Barbara Gerdeman, co-founder of Creative Liberties Artist Studios in Sarasota, have joined forces to create a series of interactive live art dinner showcases called A Taste of Art. The first of these events takes place Thursday, February 1, 5:30-8 p.m., at Chaz 51 Steakhouse, 549 US 41 Bypass N, Venice. The events will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Guests who visit Chaz 51 on these evenings will be able to witness the creation of captivating works of art in real-time. To make a reservation, call Chaz 51 Steakhouse at 941-484-6200. To find out which artists are scheduled for February, check out the calendar at CreativeLiberties.net.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , January 11 – June 13, 5:30 pm-8 pm

Join us for live jazz at Sarasota Art Museum, hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota, featuring Hot Club of SRQ, and extended hours in the galleries, Bistro, and SHOP. Sip on refreshing cocktails and enjoy small bites in the Bistro. Each second Thursday of the month features a different style of jazz, from straight-ahead to free jazz, bebop to swing-programmed in partnership with Jazz Club of Sarasota. Galleries are open until 7 pm on Jazz Thursdays. Learn more and purchase tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.org.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Byzantine Style Icons , April 7 – June 28, Gallery hours: Mon-Thurs. 9-1, and Sundays 11:30-12:30. June will have no Sunday hours.

All Angels Church is delighted to offer an exhibition of Byzantine-style icons by noted iconographer Christine Simoneau Hales. Since the beginning of Christianity, icons have been revered as aids to prayer and contemplation. They are visual reminders of the Saints and Gospel stories that have inspired all Christians throughout the ages. Ms. Hales has studied for many years and now teaches and produces icons for churches and private collectors. She is sought after for her modern, yet traditional icons for churches all over the world. She has won several grants and awards for her painting and is now a local Sarasota iconographer. She will share the icons she has crafted in the ancient Byzantine Tradition using egg tempera paints and gold leaf gilding on wood panels. There will be over twenty original icons on display, and all icons will be available for purchase by contacting the artist/iconographer. To learn more, visit allangelslbk.org/.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O Keeffe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , February 11 – June 30, n/a

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will present Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O Keeffe as the eighth iteration of its annual Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, which examines the work of major artists through the lens of their connection to nature. The exhibition, which will be on view from February 11 through June 30, 2024, at Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, will explore the unexpected yet profoundly impactful mentoring relationship that developed between iconic artists Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O Keeffe. The theme of the upcoming Goldstein Exhibition is the latest announcement of programming planned for Selby Gardens 50th anniversary season. For more information, visit selby.org.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens , November 11 – August 31, N/a

Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens will be on view through August 31, 2024 at the Historic Spanish Point campus. Selby Gardens is excited to present the extraordinary imagery of photographer and conservationist Clyde Butcher throughout the grounds of the Historic Spanish Point campus. Large-scale prints on aluminum of Butcher’s beautiful photographs of plants, animals, and habitats of Florida will be exhibited amid the natural landscape of the 30-acre waterfront preserve, enabling the public to engage with the artist’s work like never before. In the tradition of earlier landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, Butcher captures the beauty and majesty of America’s natural treasures in dramatic black and white. The unique environments of Florida have been subjects of particular interest to Butcher since the 1980s, when he was first introduced to the magic and mystery of sites such as Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. Nature Through the Lens will include Butcher’s photographs of regional locales such as Myakka River State Park and Casey Key. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Clyde Butcher Gallery & Studio in Venice, Florida. For more information, visit selby.org.

[SOON]  FILM: Viva Las Vegas at the Sarasota Opera , August 16, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now! This American rock and roll musical film is about two competing race car drivers who also compete for the same girl. This film is regarded by Elvis fans and film critics as one of Presley’s best films. Directed by George Sidney and starring Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, Cesare Danova, and William Demarest. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes. 

Sarasota Opera, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FILM: Meet Me in St. Louis at the Sarasota Opera , June 28, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now! One of MGM’s most successful musical films of the 1940s, this is the story of a year in the life of the Smith family in St. Louis leading up to the opening of the World’s Fair in the spring of 1904. Popular standards in this film include “The Trolley Song, “The Boy Next Door” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Directed by Vicente Minnelli and starring Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, and Lucille Bremer. Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes.

Sarasota Opera, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

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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