< DISNEY: Samantha’s Friends make dreams come true. 11 LUCIA BLINN: Local poet finds new inspiration. 6
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
Stages of Discovery
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s summer program gives students a chance to shine onstage. PAGE 7
MANAGING EDITOR OF ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Photos courtesy Marina Solotzew
“Dream of Venice” depicts a woman observing Carnival in Venice, one of the themes on which Alexander Solotzew currently focuses.
Alexander Solotzew’s favorite theme to paint helped him find a partner in business and life. NIKI KOTTMANN A+ E MANAGING EDITOR
T Alexander was born and raised in Russia, while Marina was born in Odessa, Ukraine, then moved to Moscow at age 8 and to the U.S. at age 34.
he delicate white lace tablecloth is adorned with various types of fruit and European pastries. Next to the croissants sits a pitcher of steaming herbal tea, its fruity aroma inviting and warm before it even touches the tea cup. But none of it entices Alexander Solotzew. He sits twiddling his thumbs, his eyes darting anxiously toward his wife, Marina. He wants to know if he can leave to go paint
now, she translates after a series of Russian words dart out of his mouth. Before she finishes her nod, he’s already off to grab his helmet and hop on the motorcycle he rides to his gallery and studio a few minutes down the road. “You need 50 years to get to this point,” Marina says of her husband, noting that at any given time, he’s envisioning 10 paintings in his head. “He’s constantly growing.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Patriotic spectacle Choral Artists of Sarasota celebrated Independence Day with several unique tributes. PAGE 10
Florida Studio Theatre revue lights a candle to the iconic singer-songwriter’s universal music. PAGE 9
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
FROM PAGE 1
RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Alexander believes he was born an artist. He calls art his one true calling, and he credits his father, who was an artist and professor, for seeing his potential and encouraging him to seriously pursue a creative career. Born and raised in Kaliningrad, Russia, Alexander, 60, had an interest in art from as early as he can remember. But it was around the age of 10 that he decided to seriously dig into his craft. Alexander attended Moscow Academic Art Lyceum, a school for gifted children supported by the Russian Academy of Arts, from the age of 11-15. There, Alexander began to explore his attraction to artists such as Vrubel, Serov, Botticelli, and El Greco that would later serve as some of his greatest artistic inspirations. After graduating from the Lyceum, he studied at Tambov Art College, where his parents taught art. He started creating for eight hours a day, and he says sticking to a rigorous schedule is what helped him learn what kind of artist he wanted to be. In 1981, Alexander immigrated to East Germany. But even though he was away from Russia, his artwork remained rooted in symbols and other nods to his homeland. PIVOTAL MOVES
It wasn’t until 1989 when he moved to Landau in der Pfalz, Germany, that his art career really took off, Marina says. The new environment inspired him, particularly a new studio he opened in Villa Streccius, a historic building that doubles as an art museum. Alexander had found a niche
Alexander works on a new painting depicting a woman counting sheep in an effort to try to fall asleep, which is one of his many dream-oriented pieces.
in avant-garde, cubism-inspired oil painting, and people started to notice. He gained local, then regional and soon national notoriety, all the while broadening his customer base and building a reputation with private collectors and gallery owners. Fast-forward to 2013, and Alexander found himself living
in Florida and showing his work in a solo exhibit at the RussianAmerican Museum of Naples. Enter Marina, a real estate professional working at Re/Max in Sarasota, who was told about an artist looking for a Russian-English translator. There was an immediate spark, and by Sept. 30, 2013, the couple had a beach wedding
on Longboat Key (during which their friends persuaded them to swim in the Gulf of Mexico in full wedding attire). Now they live in a home off Sarasota’s Richardson Road serving as both a gallery and studio for Alexander. “It was love from the first sound — when Alexander called me and I heard his voice, some-
thing clicked and my heart told me, ‘You need to meet this man,’” Marina says. “I fell madly in love with Alexander ... I felt like I suddenly got wings and I was flying. And I still feel that way.” TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Since leaving the real estate field in October 2014, Marina has
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worked as Alexander’s manager and translator. She likens their bond to one body and soul — his eyes, hands and mind create the art, and her mouth spreads the word so others can experience it. “I always believed that Alexander is one of the greatest artists of our days, and that is why I didn’t have any doubts or regrets when I quit my job and started working hand in hand with Alexander,” Marina says. This switch also made the couple business partners, Marina says, which requires mutual love and complete understanding of each other to be successful. Their relationship is the source of one of Alexander’s greatest artistic inspirations: love. “Love holds the world,” Alexander says. “Paintings are reminders that love is here because we forget sometimes.” The painter says love is vital to go on, and his wife says it’s also vital to the success of their new gallery, officially opening July 14. “We put our love as the first and foremost,” Marina says. “Love and family always come first and only then comes our business. We live and work hand in hand and heart to heart.” STYLE ALL HIS OWN
Marina says Alexander’s style is unique in that he can elicit a wide range of emotions. Some of his work is political, such as “All in His Hands,” which depicts politics as a puppet show with all of the 2016 presidential candidates on strings — while others, such as “Reflections,” about the stages of life and growing through faith, are rooted in explorations of religion. But he also covers themes that are slightly less serious, such as
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
“Mazel Tov!” is one of many paintings Alexander has created to focus on the joyous aspects of the Jewish faith.
IF YOU GO
the power of dance in his series of salsa dance paintings. The couple used to take salsa classes at Tampa’s Simone Salsa Dance School, where Alexander says he was inspired by the people he met. “Every man can be a great man with self confidence,” Alexander says, which he found in the most average, timid-looking men would transform while dancing. Alexander says his paintings are for all ages, and Marina agrees that his work has the unique ability to touch anyone. Marina says her husband likes to explore the themes of both peace and war to show all the emotions that consume our lives. “When I realized the world is full of beauty and emotion, I decided I wanted to be an artist — to convey that beauty I saw,” Alexander says.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
FRIDAY MURDER MYSTERY DINNER SHOW 6 p.m. at The Founders Golf Club, 3800 Golf Hall Drive $55 Call 371-9720. Make this Friday the 13th especially memorable at this devilish dinner party. Dine with a killer amongst you as you follow the clues of this cast of characters to crack the case and name the hidden homicide enthusiast. Ticket includes admission to the show and a three-course dinner and glass of wine. LATIN NIGHTS AT BRASA Y PISCO 9 p.m. at Brasa & Pisco, 8347 Lockwood Ridge Road Free admission Call 870-4992. This Peruvian oasis on Lockwood Ridge Road heats up every second Friday of the month with a night of Latin dancing, drinks and food. Lace up your dancing shoes and salsa into a free lesson by Kery and Dario of DK Dance Creations, accompanied by the music of DJ TA. The dance floor doesn’t close until 1 a.m., so if you’re nervous, you’ll have plenty of time to sip and watch on the sidelines (aka gaining some liquid confidence to jump in).
SUMMER TIME LOCAL TIME: MARY ALICE DEVENY 11 a.m. at BookStore1, 12 S. Palm Ave. Free Call 365-7900. Moms and anyone with a soft spot for our younger generation should come listen to children’s book author Mary Alice Deveny at this local book talk and signing. Deveny’s passion for helping children and young adults develop communication skills and confidence is evident in her latest story and activity book. “Pockets,” is recommended for preschool audiences. SARASOTA IMPROV FESTIVAL Noon at various locations throughout the Florida Studio Theatre campus, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Single tickets $10 to $25, passes $29 to $79 Call 366-9000. This year marks the 10th anniversary of one of the Sarasota comedy scene’s biggest — and certainly most unpredictable — annual events. Join the fun in this marathon of improv, featuring more than 75 artists and 28
ONLINE Find information on these events and more at YourObserver.com.
SATURDAY SUMMER CIRCUS SPECTACULAR 2 and 5 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road $16, $12 for children 12 and under Call 360-7399.
Professional comics from across the United States and Canada will descend on McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, the host venue, for this national event. Come watch hysterical comedians compete for a trip to Las Vegas in September for The Main Event. This touring show goes around North America in search of America’s next best comic — and the audience gets to vote and help the judges pick the winners. Runs through July 14.
performances over the course of three days. Chicago’s Baby Wants Candy, Madrid’s ImproMadrid and Los Angeles’ Improv Theatre are headlining, and local groups include FST Improv, St. Petersburg’s Hawk and Wayne and Tampa’s The Third Thought, along with many others. THE WORLD SERIES OF COMEDY 7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd. $18 to $21 Call 925-3869.
Prepare to be amazed by how close you’ll get to the action at this show. Join The Circus Arts Conservatory and The Ringling Museum for an intimate circus experience with enough wow factor to pack a whole big top, but enough intricacies that you’ll be glad to be watching it at the museum’s Historic Asolo Theater.
SUNDAY HD AT THE OPERA HOUSE PRESENTS ‘ANDREA CHÉNIER’ 1:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave. $20 Call 328-1300. Umberto Giordano’s masterpiece made its début at Milan’s
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
DON’T MISS ‘WHAT THE BUTLER SAW’ Joe Orton’s risqué farce will take audiences on a wild and wickedly funny journey covering topics ranging from sex to psychiatry. Dr. Prentice’s private mental health clinic gets shaken up after he attempts to entice his prospective secretary when his wife walks in. This unwelcome interruption halts his shameful intentions and sparks a manic fury in his wife that entangles a state inspector, bellboys and more in a witty tornado of breakneck dialogue. This Dog Days Theatre production, presented by FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, runs through July 29.
Teatro alla Scala in 1896, but the opera hasn’t been performed on the same stage since 1985. However, it was revived for this special performance, which stars Yusif Eyvazov as the lead alongside Anna Netrebko. Enjoy this verismo opera in four acts based loosely on the life of the French poet André Chénier, who was executed during the French Revolution.
talented up-and-coming artists at this performance, which is the culmination of five weeks of work through Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Stage of Discovery summer theater intensive. These students will take on the junior version of Nate Jacobs’ original production from last summer, “Broadway in Black.” This show features everyone’s favorite songs from breakthrough shows and roles that helped launch the careers of artists such as Melba Moore in “Purlie” and Jennifer Holliday in “Dreamgirls.” Also runs 7: 30 p.m. Monday, July 16.
Swing-era territory band The Swingaroos are back at Florida Studio Theatre. Jitterbug, Lindy hop and swing back into the glory days of the ’30s and ’40s with everyone’s favorite hits by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and many more. This cabaret show combining the worlds of theater and jazz runs through Aug. 19.
Sissy walk into McCurdy’s and prepare to yell “YAS” at the top of your lungs, because it’s time for a face off between many of the area’s top entertainers (and their fabulous hairdos). Comic Jeff Klein and Sarasota’s go-to drag show host, Miss Beneva Fruitville, will emcee this show, which is put on by LDG Productions.
SKETCHING INSIDE RINGLING MUSEUM 10 a.m. at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road Free museum admission with Florida ID Call 351-1660.
JOE LOWERS 7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd. $18 Call 925-3869. Joe Lowers is the living, breathing (or wheezing after a good joke) example of a kid at heart. This comic took his high school award of Class Clown seriously and decided to earn a living by making people laugh and have fun — despite his teachers telling him goofing off 24/7 wasn’t a career choice.
Channel the artistic gems around you and get your creative juices flowing at this weekly art-making event. Bring a pencil, sketchbook or notebook and head to the Ringling every Monday in July to join SRQ Plein Air Painters in creating works both inside and outside the museum. Pens, markers, paints, clay and easels are permitted only on the grounds.
WIGS & WIT — SRQ 8 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd. $20 Call 925-3869.
BROADWAY IN BLACK JR. 7:30 p.m. at Westcoast Black Theatre, 1012 N. Orange Ave. $15, $5 for students and active military (with valid ID) Call 366-1505.
‘MUSIC OF THE NIGHT’ 7:30 p.m. at John C. Court Cabaret, Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 First St. From $35 Call 366-9000.
Some of Sarasota’s best talent isn’t even out of school yet. Discover several of the area’s most
The area’s funniest comics and most glamorous drag queens will battle it out using music, comedy and several surprises.
WEDNESDAY SOG SUMMER SALONS 11:30 a.m. at Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Drive $40 Call 960-1453. Pianist Stephen Fancher will perform at this music-filled Sarasota Opera Guild luncheon, which is part of a summer series highlighting masters of music. Fancher, who studied piano performance at the University of Connecticut, Trinity College of Music and at the Conservatory at SUNY, serves as assistant conductor and accompanist for Key Chorale and as a board member for Artist Series Concerts and Sarasota Music Conservatory. ‘40 BY 8’ Noon at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 N. Palm Ave. Free Call 366-2454.
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This summer art exhibit features more than 40 works by eight artists: Luisa Basnuevo, Jean Blackburn, Luis Delgado, Daphne Gamble, Leslie Lerner, Melissa Meyer, Helen Shulman and Joyce Ely Walker. From mixed media to calligraphic abstract paintings, this show has something for art lovers and collectors of all interests. Open every Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., through Aug. 31.
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IF YOU GO When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail Tickets: $40 Info: Call 351-8000.
BREWERY VS. BREWERY LIP SYNC BATTLE #2 Who (pretend) sang it best? Come watch several area breweries battle it out with a microphone as their musical weapon to raise money for All Faiths Food Bank. Participating businesses include JDub’s Brewing Co., Motorworks Brewing, Naughty Monk Brewery and more. Munch on German grub from The Schnitzel Trailer, sip the newly released PB & J Pale Ale and donate $1 to fighting childhood hunger with each vote for your favorite contestant.
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
Poetic license Poet Lucia Blinn is a woman of her words. MARTY FUGATE CONTRIBUTOR
Lucia Blinn’s sixth book of poetry, “Sonoma,” is named after a poem she was inspired to write after seeing a wine crate at The Reserve that reminded her of the last trip she took with her late husband, Marty.
where she creates. “I can’t write at home,” she says. “I have a wonderful desk in an office overlooking the bay. It’s beautiful, but I’m too distracted. When I want to write, I’ll go to The Reserve or other nearby hangouts. After years of working in an office, I’ve been trained to write elsewhere.” For more than 30 years, you could find Blinn’s office in some
by JOE ORTON directed by
of America’s top advertising agencies in Chicago and New York City. She spent time in the trenches as a copywriter and creative director at Leo Burnett and DDB Worldwide. “It was a crazy career,” she says. “The people were fun, the money was great, but I was working in a factory, and it could be brutal.” She says Leo Burnett was a huge agency that sometimes had 12 people working on one assignment that may or may not work out. She has a long history of great campaigns that went nowhere. Blinn walked out before she burned out. Thanks to a poetrywriting workshop, she made the
leap from copywriting to poetry. “Passing for Normal,” her first anthology of poems, hit the stands in 2004. And she hasn’t stopped writing since. “Poetry became the career after my career,” she says. Now that she’s finished “Sonoma,” what’s next? Starting on the next book, of course. And for Blinn, that leads to sharing her work with others. “I love connecting with people,” she says. “What I do is more of a performance than a reading. I have a streak of the actor in me, and it gives me great joy.” To order a copy of “Sonoma,” email email@example.com.
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tickets.asolorep.org 941-351-8000 Dylan Crow, DeAnna Wright, and Jillian Cicalese. Photo by John Revisky.
PRESENTED BY FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY FOR ACTOR TRAINING
Tr y so m et h i n g n ew t h i s wee k
ucia Blinn is a Sarasota resident — and a citizen of the world. Her poetry explores the human comedy on a global and personal scale. Sometimes, very personal. “Sonoma,” the title poem of Blinn’s new anthology, speaks of a holiday visit to Sonoma Valley — the last trip she ever took with her husband, Marty Blinn. He was dying from pancreatic cancer; the beauty they experienced together became all the more precious. The memory had dimmed until Blinn saw a wine crate in The Reserve’s wine-tasting room. Its beautiful illustration of a lush vineyard sparked a bittersweet recollection. “It was like Proust’s madeleines,” Blinn says. “I looked up at the wine box and the memories came flooding back.” Marty is frequently the poet’s muse. Blinn peppers her volumes with “Memos to Marty” — capsule reports on our mad, mad world addressed to her late husband, who died in 1993. It’s her way of keeping him up to date on the latest news, both personal and political. “It’s a very handy structure to relate what’s going on in my world,” she says. “I fold in the
most interesting bits and pieces of my life and pass it on to him. That could be a memory, a surreal news item, or a beautiful wine crate, like the one I saw in The Reserve.” Blinn’s poetry draws on a well of deep emotion, but it’s never sentimental. Her words combine the insights of a sharp mind with the rhythms of natural speech. “If my poem sounds like me, I’ve succeeded,” she says. “If it sounds artificial, you’ll never read it. I’ll throw it away, or keep reworking it until it comes to life.” Working on a poem can also mean not working on it. Blinn learned this piece of advice from Ted Kooser, America’s 13th poet laureate. And took it to heart. “When I finish a poem, I’ll step away from it for as long as I can,” she says. “When I come back, I’ll see it with fresh eyes.” As Blinn sees it, that’s not perfectionism. It’s part of a writer’s job description. “‘A writer writes,’ as the old saying goes,” she says. “I think E.B. White improved on that. He said, ‘The best writing is rewriting.’ I’m a compulsive rewriter, so I suppose that makes me a writer.” Where does she write? Blinn’s home at the Sarasota Bay Club is where she relaxes, not
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
Photo by Niki Kottmann
Tay Peterson, Trinity Pitts and Todd Bellamy II rehearse “Sweet Georgia Brown,” one of the many iconic songs featured in the WBTT Stage of Discovery production of “Broadway in Black Jr.”
Set the stage NIKI KOTTMANN A+E MANAGING EDITOR
his summer, lunchtime at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is a whole show of its own. “We always put on music and start dancing,” Shawn Cacciola, an 18-year-old participating in the WBTT’s summer program for the first time, says of his lunch break. “Everyone is having a good time, whether it be watching a counselor’s video or playing ‘Mario Kart’ or dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’” It’s the third summer the troupe has offered its Stage of Discovery theater intensive for 13- to 18-year-old dancers, singers and actors — a free five-week program led by theater professionals. WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs says this is his heart’s work, offering a free program to students who might never get theater instruction otherwise. And his motivation is highly personal. “I was one of those kids who didn’t have money to attend performing arts programs,” says Jacobs. “I would have fallen through the cracks if, in my 20s, mentors had not been set around in my life … So these five weeks they’re here, I give them my very
“This is a second home to me. It doesn’t matter who you are. Race, creed, sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter. They will make you feel like you belong.” — Todd Bellamy II, 16-year-old actor
best to see these kids to their full potential.” Jacobs says he chose to focus on teenagers because most performing arts camps in the area are offered to younger people. He also has a knack for working with teens, he says, so sticking to 13- to 18-year-olds was the perfect fit. A little more than half the kids from last year returned this summer, Jacobs adds, which is a testament to how much these students enjoy the instruction they receive. One is Todd Bellamy II, a 16-year-old actor who grew up attending WBTT shows in which several of his relatives performed. This summer, he returned to the program for a third time. “This is a second home to me,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who you are. Race, creed, sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter. They will make you feel like you belong.”
The camp takes place every weekday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the end of the five weeks, the students put on a full-fledged production for the public. This summer is the first time Stage of Discovery will present a musical rather than a play, and the show Jacobs chose is a junior version of last summer’s mainstage WBTT original revue “Broadway in Black.” Jacobs says putting on a musical presents several challenges, because fitting in not only acting but singing and dance instruction into five weeks is a lot for the students to memorize. However, he says the passion in the eyes of these talented students makes him confident in the future end product. Cacciola says nailing the choreography has been a particular challenge for him coming from more of an acting background, but he just adds it to the list of valuable learning experiences he’s gained from the program. Another valuable lesson is how to work in a professional setting with artists who are both younger and older than him. “Seeing fresh faces in this industry is very different,” he says of his younger peers. “They definitely inspire me to be better and work harder.”
The Beauty ofThank Light, Transformed you Sarasota for
IF YOU GO ‘BROADWAY IN BLACK JR.’ 7:30 p.m. at Westcoast Black Theatre, 1012 N. Orange Ave. $15, $5 for students and active military (with valid ID) Call 366-1505.
The compassion of the program counselors and teachers is unlike anything 17-year-old Trinity Pitts has experienced. She says seeing how much thought and effort goes into their instruction inspires her to work harder every day. Bellamy couldn’t agree more. “The counselors want us to release the inner fire from our hearts to put out to everybody, so they try their best and go over and beyond for us to be great,” Bellamy says. “They love us, they really do.” Pitts says she never knew how much preparation went into a professional show because her theater experience has been limited to what her school can offer. But her WBTT instructors and fellow participants are expanding her knowledge significantly. “Being around all these people
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who love the same thing that you do is such a thrill,” she says. “And also to have these amazing counselors who want you to grow as much as you do.” Pitts and Cacciola say they’re ecstatic to be performing solos in the show, and Bellamy is living his dream of performing several songs he’s adored since his childhood. “From ‘Dreamgirls’ to ‘The Wiz,’ it’s a huge plethora of songs from different musicals,” he says. “It’s so fun.” But as challenging as that iconic material can be, Pitts says nobody gets lost in the whirlwind of rehearsals. The teachers make every person feel important, she says, and they’re given in-depth instruction that makes a difference. And that’s been Jacobs’ goal all along — to show young people who don’t always get the chance to step on a stage that they have a shot. “The next Josephine Baker or the next Bernadette Peters — those people need opportunity,” he says. “WBTT is that net, that essential arm into a community that is still underserved when it comes to culture and art.”
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In its third year, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s summer theater program amps up the intensity — while still being a blast.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
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Key Chorale aims to honor the history of choral music, feature guest artists, collaborate with other arts organizations and better the community.
Key Chorale announces its 2018-2019 lineup The 34th season of Sarasota’s symphonic chorus will include eight concerts, one luncheon and the 2019 Sarasota Choral Festival. NIKI KOTTMANN A+E MANAGING EDITOR
ey Chorale will focus on two of its central values throughout its 2018-2019 season: collaboration and community outreach. Several professional collaborative performances in addition to collaborations previously in place will make this season unique, the chorus says in a release. These performances include “Misatango” with Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company (choreographed by guest artist Elizabeth Bergmann) and “Honoring Heroes,” a choral festival that will honor resident first responders by incorporating documentaries created by Ringling College of Art and Design interns. Key Chorale will continue its previous collaboration with Circus Arts Conservatory to present its annual “Cirque des Voix” concert accompanied by live circus acts, as well as its partnership with Sarasota County Schools to again present “Tomorrow’s Voices Today” with several local high school choirs. In addition, the group will perform Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” a partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Service. The Key Chorale Chamber Singers will present “American Roots: Digging Deeper,” an exploration of the American choral tradition the builds upon last year’s “American Roots” concert with a five-piece bluegrass band, and “Fauré’s Requiem,” presented alongside some of composer Benjamin Britten’s most cherished works. The group will also continue to offer existing outreach programs such as Off-Key Chorale, a collaboration with the Neuro Challenge Foundation using singing as a way to help better the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease.
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OCTOBER Oct. 27: Chamber Singers Concert: “American Roots: Digging Deeper” NOVEMBER Nov. 12: Annual luncheon with guest choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann Nov. 25: Masterworks Concert: Misatango with Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company DECEMBER Dec. 8: “Christmas in Venice” at Venice Presbyterian Church JANUARY Jan. 22, 25 and 26: Sarasota Choral Festival Jan. 26: Masterworks Concert: “Honoring Heroes” MARCH March 10 and 11: Masterworks Concert: “Mendelssohn’s Elijah with JFCS of the Suncoast” March 22-24: “Cirque des Voix 2019” APRIL April 13: Chamber Singers Concert: “Fauré’s Requiem” MAY May 3: Masterworks Concert: “Tomorrow’s Voices Today”
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IF YOU GO ‘CAROLE’S KINGS’ When: Through July 15 Where: FST Court Cabaret, 1265 First St. Tickets: $35 to $39 Info: Call 366-9000.
‘Carole’s Kings’ celebrates universal music Carol King is honored rather than imitated through this new Florida Studio Theatre revue.
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
“Carole’s Kings” celebrates the tapestry of Carole King’s music at Florida Studio Theatre. (With a title like that, what else would you expect?) But this traveling cabaret revue does the unexpected. King’s tunes are sung by a male trio: Jordan Aragon, Trey Harrington and Ken Lear. This struck me as a gimmick at first. But it forced me to consider a question: How do you separate a singer-songwriter from their songs? Good singers and songwriters pour their heart and soul into their music. If the artist is famous, separating the music from the singer-songwriter’s persona is tough. When another artist performs the songs, you might love it or hate it. But you’re always comparing the copy to the original. If the cover is wildly different, your inner fan feels cheated. If it’s close, the homage feels like an imitation. As a million Elvis clones can tell you. That colors the experience of any Carole King revue. When a woman sings her songs, it feels like she’s playing Carole King’s character. (Three women
Jordan Aragon belts out a note during a performance of “Carole’s Kings,” which runs through July 15.
would feel like Carole King triplets.) When the singers are three tuxedo-wearing guys, there’s no danger of that. The break from King’s persona made me rethink her artistry. My sense of her singersongwriter persona came from “Tapestry,” “Fantasy”
and other albums she released in the 1970s — that prolific time when King collaborated, performed and hung out with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and other folk-rock icons. But before she got on stage and in front of the cameras, King (and first husband Gerry Goffin) was a songwriter — period.
And a hit-making machine for other singers and groups. King and Goffin wrote charttoppers for The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva and, believe it not, The Monkeys. The list goes on. And on … This revue opened my eyes to King’s universality. She sings of herself, but her songs belong
to everybody. With a few obvious exceptions, her tunes apply to every permutation of the human equation. “Universality” is a tough nut to crack. If we all knew the secret, we’d all be hit-making machines. A song has to tell a specific story. Simultaneously, listeners and other performers need to make that story their own. King, somehow, pulled it off. Revelations aside, it’s a great show. The trio dutifully gets King’s biography across without making it feel like they’re reading a homework assignment. Their self-mocking patois (written by two Second City talents) never seems fake or forced. Tight artistic oversight is provided by Catherine Randazzo, who avoids lounge lizard slickness. (Credit for the original concept goes to D.J. Bucciarelli of 2A Productions.) Carole King is inimitable. This show offers no substitutes. Instead, it draws your attention to the original. That’s the best homage there is.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
Fourth of July concert offers patriotic introspection Choral Artists of Sarasota’s selections were predictable but comforting. EDWARD ALLEY MUSIC CRITIC
There are at least three givens for a Fourth of July celebration in Sarasota: fireworks over Sarasota Bay, the annual concert of Choral Artists of Sarasota and ... an afternoon thunderstorm. But the concert came through with all the pomp, color and flag waving of a military band, not at all deterred by the intrusive descant of the predicted storm and downpour, which abated and cleared in time for the fireworks later that night. Conductor and Artistic Director Joseph Holt knows a thing or two about military celebrations, since he was pianist for the U.S. Army Chorus, a component of the U.S. Army Band, for some 20 years. Each year his programming projects a grand love of country, while always presenting us with something new. This year’s July Fourth “Patriotic Spectacular” was just that, but added were selections on peace, justice and inclusion, emphasizing today’s somewhat unsettled times. The first set of six selections
Choral Artists of Sarasota’s “Patriotic Spectacular” concert featured a 100th birthday tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein and honored both the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the armed forces.
was a direct reference to peace and harmony from an excellent arrangement of “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” two “Anthems of Peace,” “We Won’t Give Up,” and others, all offering a hope and vision for this still rather new millennium. Even more direct and to the point was Moses Hogan’s work, “His Light Still Shines,” commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington. The piece features five spirituals interspersed with pertinent quotes from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The excellent narrator was Nate Jacobs,
founder and artistic director of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. These spirituals were beautifully performed and included solos by Amy Jo Connors, Trine Bolling-Patel and Jamal Sarikoki. Immediately following was Tom Trenney’s inspired reworking of “We Shall Overcome,” featuring drummer Tihda Vongkoth on the African Djembe. Board member Mary Lou Spottswood had won a guest conducting spot at the Choral Artists’ spring gala, and her piece was “This Is My Song”
set to the music of “Danny Boy” by Mary McDonald. Changing to a lighter mood, and in honor of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, Holt and the performers offered a choral suite from “West Side Story,” featuring solos by sopranos Alison Novak, Michaela Ristaino and Nicole Smith, mezzo Amy Jo Connors and tenor Mark Lubas, with excellent piano accompaniment by Michael Stewart and Vongkoth on the drum set. Performed with enthusiasm and gusto, their excitement almost out
ran them in their singing of “America!” to a strong Latin beat. However, throughout the concert these choral artists sang with such an excellent blend and quality of sound that it was a bit disappointing when Holt announced and recognized about eight choristers who would be graduating, moving or retiring at the end of this final concert of the season. After a rousing Hebrew version of “Hine Ma Tov,” adding the klezmer clarinet of Robert Felman, the afternoon shifted to the main course of the day: patriotism. We were again enveloped in the rich harmonies and modulations of Carmen Dragon’s exquisite arrangement of “America the Beautiful,” followed by Holt’s salute to the armed forces with audience participation, and “Let Freedom Ring” arranged by Keith Christopher and John Moss. Applause and enthusiasm were such that the beginning phrases of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” were barely audible, but they all stopped, listened and joined in the final refrain. Yes, Fourth of July concerts are almost 100% predictable, and this one was no exception. Yet it is still thrilling and, yes, comforting to spend a couple of hours on a summer day reflecting, appreciating and enjoying the wonder of our great country and what it still offers to everyone.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
Photos by Kayleigh Omang
Monica Kelly, Siena Kelley and Kelly Dean
Alice and her daughter Samantha Bozza
Samanthaâ€™s Friends Disney Magic 2018 Sunday, July 8, at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club | Benefiting Southeastern Guide Dogs Caellan Curtis and Robyn Faucy
Celebrity and Disney items were available for the silent auction. Levi, a Southeastern Guide Dog ambassador, poses for the camera on the runway.
FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE
Book and lyrics by Kellen Blair, Book and music by Joe Kinosian
Left to right: Kyle Branzel and Paul Helm in Murder for Two. Photo by Matthew Holler.
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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2018
FAS HI O N INS I D ER MOMMY & ME OUTFITS KAYLEIGH OMANG BLACK TIE REPORTER
winning! And we don’t mean just being that parent who puts her little ones in matching outfits. This one involves the moms out there, too. Whether you’re doing it for the Instagram-worthy photo op, a special Sunday brunch or just a fun day out, nothing is cuter than mom and daughter fashion. Matching your little ones can be as easy as coordinating colors and patterns. But, for those looking to go the full nine yards, some designers make the same dress for you and your children. We talked to a few familiar faces who love both fashion and dressing up their littles for one of the cutest fashion features Black Tie has ever done.
iana and Lilly Buchanan had matching dresses made by local designer Camilyn Beth. Diana says she always dreamed of having a daughter to match with, and says it must be because of her background in design.
eather Saba loves to coordinate outfits with her daughters, Liv and Lyla. They frequently match outfits with similar colors and the same shoes (like these Vans) for her fashion blog, Chic in Sarasota.
ddison, Jessica and Ava Hays rock the “Blue Peri Pinch Pinch” summer 2018 Lilly Pulitzer pattern. Jessica has a love for the designer and sharing it (even her jeans and earrings are Lilly) with her daughters.
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