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THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014



Southern Living Farm Dinner PAGE 6

Three Things: Splendid Settings PAGE 8



Dick Vitale Gala PAGE 11 by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

KEVIN LEE DEAN March 19, 1950 to May 13, 2014

Courtesy of Steve Roosa

“Syd Solomon never stopped working, even with Alzheimer’s. Picasso painted the night before he died. Renoir never stopped painting even though his arthritis was bad,” Kevin Dean said. “What you do is what you are. It sounds romantic, but there’s a degree of truth to that because you feel like it’s something you have to do.”

PASSION WITH A PURPOSE In the very pages of the arts section he founded, artist-curator-critic-historianteacher Kevin Dean lives on as a pillar of Sarasota’s arts community. ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT COVER STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 2



THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014


by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor (continued from page 1)

PASSION WITH A PURPOSE In the very pages of the arts section he founded, artist-curator-critic-historianteacher Kevin Dean lives on as a pillar of Sarasota’s arts community.


Photos courtesy of Steve Roosa

Kevin Dean was feeling ill, and said he wouldn’t make it to a private tour for RCAD colleagues at the last show he curated, “Rediscovering David Budd: The Forgotten Abstract Expressionist.” But he showed up — the people there remember it as a special and poignant moment. Here, he discusses David Budd’s “Journey Without Maps,” which Dean said symbolized passing over into death.

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evin Dean once said, “History books can only tell you so much — when you meet the people, that tells you a lot more.” If you were fortunate enough to meet Dean, then you’d never forget him as the artist-meetsrock-’n’-roll-fan product of the ’60s: tall with long, disheveled hair, a pepper-gray beard and thick black-rimmed glasses. The 64-year-old was the perfect picture of an absent-minded Ringling College of Art and Design professor — remembered as never having hubcaps on his Toyota Matrix and always wearing black Aqua Socks, the slipon water shoes. Dean was quiet and unassuming. Visitors of Selby Gallery, where he was the director since 1994, would meet him without realizing his impact on Sarasota arts. But, for 35 years until his death May 13 following a brief illness, Dean gave a voice to the visual arts.



THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014



In 1979, Dean and his new wife moved to Sarasota. A year later, Dean approached Ralph Hunter, the publisher of the Longboat Observer at the time, and said he wanted to write an arts column. “My wife told him to, ‘Go out and get yourself a haircut and a shave, then come back,’” Hunter says. Plus, Hunter said he’d oblige if Dean sold a page of ads. Dean had never worked in sales, but shortly after the meeting he returned with a page sold. Eventually Hunter agreed to let him stop selling ads and hired him full time (even though Dean never did get that shave or haircut). Aside from Ralph and Claire

Sharing his passion

The same year his first child, Ian, was born, Dean began teaching studio and art history at Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) in 1985. He still wrote for various publications, including the Longboat Observer, and was creating art and exhibiting it on the side. “He was one of those people behind the scenes,” Mark Ormond, RCAD colleague and friend since 1983, says. “He didn’t seek out the limelight, but

he had a connection with artists and the community.” Although, Dean was in the spotlight when his rock band of RCAD colleagues, “The Art Sharks,” played. Dean was the drummer, and occasionally his wife would step in as the singer. Dr. Larry Thompson, president of RCAD, calls him “the ultimate educator.” Thompson’s son, Hunter, told his father Dean was the best teacher he ever had. “He found what he was meant to do and he was meant to be,” Larry Thompson says. “He was so passionate about it; he loved our students.” One of those students was Tim Jaeger. Jaeger says Dean used to take out one student a week to lunch. He estimated once that multiplying the price of pizza by the number of weeks he worked at RCAD, Dean spent more than $50,000 on his students throughout his career. Jaeger continued working with him at Selby Gallery as the gallery assistant. “He was one of the very few real and rare people that had a passion for art,” Jaeger says. “He was totally genuine.”

Introducing Whitcomb

Early in his career, Dean created paintings and collages. His work evolved into printmaking and constructions with yardsticks or wood. For the past two decades, he created site-specific installations with found materials; each piece had a symbolic meaning. Dean labeled it “Neodadaist postmodernist conceptual” art. His last installation, “Whitcomb Series: Dreaming of my Cabin in the City of Dis,” was featured in “All in the Family” at the

IceHouse (curated by Jaeger). It was a small shed-like cabin surrounded by Mason jars full of various items, a parallel to Dante’s “Inferno.” Often during the past 20 years, Dean would create art under the pseudonym Brandon Whitcomb. Dean would even give lectures at colleges about Whitcomb and introduce Whitcomb and his art as if he was a separate entity. Dean was writing the fictionalized biography of Whitcomb, which was really a reflection of Dean himself.

Talking shop at Selby Gallery

Dean continued teaching and creating art when he became director of Selby Gallery in 1994 (two years after his daughter, Molly, was born). Laura Avery, assistant director of the gallery, describes his office as one of his installations, “the inside of his mind.” He displayed his collected iconography of the Catholic Church, tchotchkes his students gave him, paintings and the funny and tacky gifts he cherished. He curated more than 250 exhibitions during his time at the gallery. His mission was to enlighten RCAD students and the public about the contemporary art taking place in big-city hubs from Los Angles to New York City. When people would walk in the gallery, he’d love to talk about the work in display with them. “He never got tired of (art and art history),” Kipling says of her husband. “He just wanted to


“I think his voice was one of the most knowledgeable and clearest voices,” Mark Ormond says of Dean. “Not just to help people understand contemporary art but also to educate them about the history of art and culture.” share that.” His legacy lives on, not only in the words he left behind, but in his children. Molly Kipling Dean is an illustrator with one year left at RCAD; Ian Kipling Dean is a photographer and RCAD alumni — their father featured his work alongside theirs in January in the IceHouse’s “All in the Family.” “So many children of artists become artists; it suggests that artists are often born and not made,” Dean said. Dean is survived by his wife Kay Kipling; son Ian Kipling Dean; daughter Molly Kipling Dean; two brothers, Ken Dean and Keith (Sally) Dean; sister Karen Bunn; and many friends.


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A visionary voice

Hunter’s daughter, Janet Hunter, Dean was the first full-time employee of the Longboat Observer. Janet Hunter said he always surprised them with hidden talents: from being resident cartoonist to helping the paper win a baseball game as pitcher. The Hunters say he was a writer ahead of his time. “He had so much knowledge and vision for the arts community in Sarasota and a frustration with people’s lack of acceptance of creative forms of art,” Janet Hunter says. He modeled himself after his favorite art critic, Robert Hughes, who wrote for Time magazine. He thought Hughes was funny and could reach people on their level — Dean’s same approach. “I didn’t do what critics do that sounds like you’re talking to other critics,” Dean once said in an interview with Diversions. He wrote about the artists and the community when the visual arts scene was booming with nationally recognized artists such as Syd Solomon, David Budd, Ben Stahl and Robert Chambers. Dean was at the nucleus of it all as the authoritative voice preserving Sarasota’s art history.


While he was obtaining his master’s degrees in studio art and art history from Western Illinois University, he taught art in public schools and at a community college. But his first job as a curator was in Galesberg, Ill., where Dean ran the Galesburg Civic Art Center beginning in 1976. Attempting to gain some publicity for an exhibition, he ventured into the building of the town’s daily newspaper, The Register-Mail. He spoke with a blueeyed blonde, Kay Kipling, who hadn’t been on the job for even a week as a features writer. “He was intelligent and funny,” she says. “I thought he was a little offbeat — I like offbeat.” The duo clicked. They went to see Clint Eastwood’s “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Afterward, they talked for hours. It was the first of many movies they’d watch together throughout their relationship. They were married in 1978.



THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014


by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

Stopperan produces movie based on reel life The last time Diversions talked to Tony Stopperan in May 2013, he was busy producing “The Lucky 6” at Ringling College of Art and Design. This film was the first fulllength feature college students at RCAD produced using FSU/Asolo Conservatory graduate students as actors. Since its premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival, Stopperan has fully immersed himself in his next project. His next full-length feature film production, “Paradise, FL,” is completely independent from RCAD. The film starts preproduction June 16, and shooting begins July 8. Stopperan wrote the script based loosely around events that occurred in his life. When he was 26 years old, he moved in with a friend whose wife attemptTony ed suicide and was hospiStopperan talized, and his friend had young children younger than 5 years old. “I moved in to help and found myself in the middle of his drama,” Stopperan says. “He always said I’d write about it some day.” Stopperan never thought he would write about it. His belief is that the leading character’s change, or growth, is something imperative to a well-formed plot. But Stopperan’s friend never changed. “I realized that I was the one who changed,” he says. Stopperan discerned it in summer 2011 when he was an FSU/Asolo Conservatory of Acting graduate student studying in London with other second-year students. One class involved monologue writing, for which Stopperan wrote about the experience. When he returned to Sarasota, he presented the one-man monologue to an audience, including his friend and Ringling College of Art and Design student, Nick Morgulis. “He told me, ‘That needs to be a movie,

Courtesy photos

Clockwise from top left: Nick Morgulis, director of photography; FSU/Asolo Conservatory alumnus Jon-Michael Miller to play Tommy; the title reel; a story board by artist Michael Cable Marynell. and I need to make it,’” Stopperan says. So, three years and many drafts of the script later, Stopperan has what he thinks is the best script he’s written, and Morgulis will be the director of photography. They’ve cast a fellow FSU/Asolo Conservatory student in the role based on Stopperan — JonMichael Miller. They’ll film it all in Sarasota. There’s also a recurring lullaby sung in the film that will be an original song. It hasn’t been officially confirmed, but Boyce Avenue, the band of three brothers from Sarasota that is gaining national recognition

from YouTube, will write the song. The film’s roots are intentionally close to home, but Stopperan is also bringing in some national talent to make it marketable in the independent movie festival circuits. He’s enlisted the help of big-name casting director Adrienne Stern. Her name might not be as familiar as the big-name talent she brings to independent films: from lead-


ing hunks Ryan Gosling and Matthew McConaughey to memorable funny people Tina Fey and Jeffery Tambor. Stopperan will finish casting in the next few weeks. Right now, it’s still pretty surreal. “I’m excited to watch people take my words and put them into a performance,” he says. “I’m excited to watch all these parts come together.”

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THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014


by Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor

Lost boys find themselves in the spotlight Sarasota Ballet School flies off to Neverland with its upcoming “Peter Pan” performance May 24, at Manatee Performing Arts Center. The choreography is as darling as Wendy Darling herself. One standout scene features the Lost Boys, including the littlest member of Sarasota Ballet, 4-year-old Adam Attari. Attari, portraying a troublemaker, pushes the boys over in a domino effect, causing them all to tumble. He then chases after them with a sword — soon after, they all playfully retaliate. Diversions got a behind-the-scenes look at a rehearsal — and the fun that happened during it.

Frankie Duffy sword fights Carter Gish.

Photos by Mallory Gnaegy

Eddie Duffy (Peter Pan) and Olivia Ratner (Princess Tigerlilly)

Four-year-old Adam Attari and 7-year-old Wilhelm Cockrell sword fight at a break in rehearsal.

IF YOU GO ‘Peter Pan’ When: 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 24 Where: Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Cost: $15 students, $25 adults Youngest lost boy Adam Attari chases the Lost Boys with his sword in one scene of the “Peter Pan” ballet.

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Local farm gives Southern Living a taste of homegrown crops Southern Living magazine partnered with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for a farm-to-fork event, which celebrated local crops and ways to prepare them, May 17, at King Family Farm and Market. The magazine’s Contributing Editor Rebecca Lang demonstrated how to prepare four recipes from the magazine and her cookbook, “Around the Southern Table.” Harvest & Harmony attendees enjoyed peach-mint iced tea and boiled peanuts as they listened to music by a trio of country music bands from Nashville. For dinner, the Loft 5 restaurant prepared the crops grown at the farm for a table of 160 hungry guests. Photos by Amanda Sebastiano

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4 New exhibitioNs

May 22–JuNe 27, 2014

Black Box Projects: Summation Group show of USF graduate students

Unconventional Inventions

Kinetic sculpture by students from Out of Door Academy and New Gate Montessori

MUSIC // The musical abundance of Sarasota I double dare anyone to say Sarasota isn’t one of the most musically abundant cities in the country. In one Sunday, we attended a concert of mostly 20th and 21st century music by Sybarite5, ran home to feed our dog, and then waltzed over to the Historic Asolo to spend the evening with Lehár’s “Merry Widow.” You couldn’t have two more contrasting musical experiences, yet both satisfying and musically fascinating. We recently told you about Sybarite5’s Forward Festival, a series of five concerts focusing on music of almost every era performed by violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett, cellist Laura Metcalf, and bassist Louis Levitt with a variety of friends including mezzo Blythe Gaissert, pianist Djordge Nesic, the Chroma Quartet, percussionist George Nickson and harpist Cheryl Losey. At the Festival’s grand finale, all the musicians were participating this time and their program, which opened with “The Shark,” a jazzy, dancing, rhythmic piece by Astor Piazolla, set the stage for things to come, ranging from experimental musical sounds that were both emotionally and dramatically intriguing, to more conventional forays into styles from jazz to impressionism. Among the more absorbing works on the program were some pieces by Radiohead. Hearing Sybarite5 play “No Surprises,” surprised me into wanting to hear more of this music that’s beautiful, tonal and used mesmerizing melodies over Vivaldi-like pizzicatos. Another of their works, “Weird Fishes,” was more rhythmically complex with electronic sounds acoustically produced, resulting in a melding of John Adams and Philip Glass — simple on the surface but complicated in its core. Sybarite5 and Chroma joined forces for “Last Round,” a work composed by Osvoldo Golijov in honor of Piazolla as “A sublimated tango … two quartets confront each other … with the bass in between,” we were told. Words, while adding a personal touch, weren’t needed because the swirling music spoke well for itself. Ending without musical resolution, it was one of the most intriguing pieces on the program. But then there was Debussy’s well known “Danses sacree et profane” performed with magic by Sarasota Orchestra’s principal harpist, Losey, with Sybarite5 and Chroma. This work is generally done with a conductor but this ensemble held together beautifully without one, except for one thing: It lacked an overall concept and interpretation. It’s fine for a chamber ensemble to be conductorless, especially a group as well honed and precise as this one. But a leader would have given the work a focus it lacked. Losey, though, positively burned the harp, giving it a glistening, glowing performance. Another work, Andy Akiho’s “Revolve,” written for Sybarite5, and based on a fivenote pattern with rushing, knocking, plucking, slapping sounds, had its world premiere at the concert, and the group — with Gaissert — performed a new version of “Goodnight Moon,” a lovely setting of the children’s

Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Lemur Conservation Foundation


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Courtesy photo

book, by Glen Roven (who heard the performance, live, via Skype). The most eloquent work of the afternoon was “Coming Together,” by Frederic Rzewski. Here, Sybarite5, Gaissert, pianist Djordje Nesic and George Nickson on marimba, painted a mesmerizingly frightening and disturbing aural portrait of insanity. Gaissert, who proved to be as able a narrator and actress as she is a singer, used a sort of Sprechstimme to speak her lines rhythmically and robot-like, as if in a trance, first like a sci-fi creature, and then as she repeated the same story about her excellent “physical and emotional health,” we realized she was about to crack. Finally, the repetitious script devolved into “I talk to guards and inmates,” with her instrumental colleagues joining in with pointed phrases, showing she had, indeed, fractured her personality. To do this in music takes mastery and, disturbing as it was, this madness in music was also emotionally powerful and beautifully performed. — June LeBell

// The Artist Series Concerts

The Artist Series Concerts offered three performances of the “Merry Widow” at the Historic Asolo in an encapsulated version arranged, choreographed and directed by Joy McIntyre, who also served as the charming narrator, holding the far-fetched but fetching story together. Sung in English with simply magnificent videos of Viennese palaces, gardens and ballrooms as the backdrop, it was a fun and very welcome evening. The men in the cast — baritone Andrew Garland, as Count Danilo; tenor Gregory Schmidt as Count de Rosillon; and baritone John Fiorita as Baron Zeta — fared better than the women. Garland, whose Andrew Garland rich baritone soared through “Maxim’s” and, with Schmidt, roared through “Girls, Girls, Girls,” was particularly effective as an excellent singer and actor. While soprano Lindsay Russell showed a lovely, light voice as Valencienne, Susana Diaz, as the Widow, had a garbled, strangely produced soprano that was covered and not very appealing. Still, you can’t argue with such beautiful music and, with members of the Gloria Musicae Singers in smaller roles, this “Merry Widow” was seductive, fun and heartening. The Can-Can scene (“Little Paris Ladies), sung and danced by Gloria Musicae, showed — shall we say — an entirely different side of this ensemble that really needed to be seen to be believed. The star of the show was the off-stage pianist and musical director, Joseph Holt, who sounded like a full orchestra with stylish, polished playing. As much as the audience enjoyed the singers and dancers on stage, when Holt finally came out for his curtain call, he was given the largest ovation, with great justification.

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THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014



by Robert Plunket | Contributing Writer


A spectacular setting demands a spectacular house. Here in Sarasota, where the land meets the water, we’re lucky to have an abundance of special places where the beauty of nature is so close it seems you can reach out and touch it. Sometimes it’s the beach, sometimes it’s tropical flora and fauna. Let’s take a look at several homes currently on the market that celebrate Sarasota’s closeness with nature.



This 6,266-square-foot residence in The Oaks looks out on the mangrove islands that dot the bay and provide a home to an ages-old ecosystem. Located behind the gates of the bayside section, the natural landscaping and size of the lot — almost two-thirds of an acre — provide privacy from the neighboring multimillion-dollar homes. A large outdoor living area sets the scene with an infinity pool and spa overlooking the vista. The home itself is classical in style, with some unusual art deco touches — check out the backlit onyx bar. You’ll also find four bedrooms, five baths, a home theater, an eight-car garage and a top-floor terrace with a fire pit and views that extend to the Gulf. Priced at $3,995,000. For more information, call Brandy Coffey of Keller Williams at 284-4474.

Photos courtesy of Keller Williams



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2. RAIN FOREST HIDEAWAY 4401 MIDNIGHT PASS ROAD A Costa Rican rainforest was the inspiration for this gated Siesta Key estate, set on almost an acre of land. Everywhere you look are exotic examples of tropical vegetation, and the views from the interior of the home showcase the palms and bromeliads, plus the birds and other friendly wildlife they attract. The home has three guest rooms, each with its own bath, and a two-

story owners’ retreat. There is also a dock and lift. The beach, accessed via a private Gulf-front park, is a short walk away. The home looks particularly dramatic at night, when custom outdoor lighting brings out the peaceful, zen-like atmosphere. Priced at $3.59 million. For more information, call Cindy Fluck of Keller Williams at 228-9817.

Photos courtesy of Michael Saunders and Co.

3. UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN 3860 CASEY KEY ROAD With its rustic yet sophisticated Tuscan architecture, this estate on Casey Key suggests long sunny afternoons and outdoor meals in the gardens. In addition to views of the bay and the Intracoastal to the east, the uncrowded, almost private beach is to the west. Inside, amid carved stone and wrought-iron ornamentation, you’ll find six bedrooms, six baths, plus

Photos courtesy of Keller Williams


Grant’s Gardens

three half-baths. The home’s centerpiece is a beautiful outdoor living room with a fireplace that adjoins the infinity pool and spacious terrace. There’s also a guesthouse, connected to the main house by a Tuscan-like vine-covered trellis. Priced at $5,595,000. For more information, call Deborah Beacham of Michael Saunders and Co. at 376-2688.

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Diplomate American Board of Cosmetic Surgery


4143 Clark Rd, Sarasota

Alberico J. Sessa MD






THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

// BLACK TIE: CAMERA READY IN CELEBRATION Benefiting Sarasota Ballet Wednesday, May 14, at Michael’s Wine Cellar

Margaret Barbieri, Iain Webb and Florence White

Lucia and Steve Almquist


Sheila and Merrill Wynne

Ernie Kretzmer, Dale Rieth and John Siepp

, e r e Wh


Jonathan Coleman, Mary Ann Servian and Rick Kerby


Photos by Heather Merriman


Sara Sardelli and Retta Wagner


? Where ? ?

Looking for a copy of the Observer or Pelican Press?


Visit and use the interactive map to find one of our 1,500 distribution racks at a location near you.


THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014


// BLACK TIE: CAMERA READY 9TH ANNUAL DICK VITALE GALA Benefiting The V Foundation Friday, May 16, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

Terri Vitale and her daughter, Sydney Sforzo

Erica Sherman, Dick Vitale and Annette Sherman

Honoree Nick Saban and Dr. Charles Rush

Photos by Heather Merriman

Tish and honoree Mike Brey with Gary and Renee Brokaw

David Grain, Jenna Landis, Lisa and David Grain, Cheslea Grain and Amile Jefferson

Grand Opening



Tarah, Berkley and J.B. Kemper

Saturday - May 31 - 7:30 p.m. Sunday - June 1 - 7:30 p.m.

Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling

Opera, Broadway and More!


Solos and duets from operas including Bizet’s Carmen – with Art gradient Songs, andColor popular songs from My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, , Funny Girl, Aspects of Love, City of Angels, Wonderful Town!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and more…


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THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014



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