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SRQ DAILY Nov 22, 2019

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"He works a lot with systems of repetition."

- The Ringling Executive Director Steven High

[Exhibit]  The Ringling Introduces Ai Weiwei's LEGO Exhibit
Andrew Fabian

Ai Weiwei wears many hats—artist, architect, documentary filmmaker, provocateur, human rights activist and occasional political prisoner. And he has managed to acquire all of these hats in spite of constant threats of imprisonment from China’s communist party, cultivating an outsized public profile in the international art scene and a vast portfolio across many disciplines. As The Ringling unveils Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac (2018) LEGO exhibit, area art lovers will be among the first in the US to glimpse Weiwei’s penchant for art that is fun, visually striking and not-so-subtly subversive.

As the name of the collection implies, the pieces all center on the signs of the Chinese zodiac and are all constructed out of LEGO pieces. The Zodiac motif is an extension of Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads bronze sculptures that were featured outside the museum from June 2017 to June 2018. And for anyone familiar with Weiwei’s work, the use of LEGOs seems like a natural choice by the artist. “He works a lot with systems of repetition,” says Executive Director Steven High, citing Weiwei’s Kui Hua Zi (Sunflower Seeds) installation that made use of over 100 million individually-made porcelain sunflower seeds. Each of the twelve animals gets a 7 ½ foot square panel that includes between 30 and 35 thousand individual LEGO pieces by High’s estimates. The panels weigh around 200 pounds and are arranged around the gallery space in their astrological order, starting with the Rat and culminating with the Pig. 

The color schemes for each panel are vibrant, giving the collection an almost video-game aesthetic that complements the 8-bit look of each panel. Behind each animal figure is a recognizable image from a nation-state, a juxtaposition that invites viewers to meditate on what exactly Weiwei is stating about that particular country. The Dog panel, for example, features a panting canine in front of The White House—is Weiwei associating the US with the honesty and prudence attributed to the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac, or is there a hidden hint of sarcasm? Weiwei’s Dragon panel leaves no room for doubt, on the other hand. The ornate dragon head sits in the foreground of Tiananmen Square, the site of an unsavory stain on China’s human rights record, and in the bottom right corner stands the artist in a t-shirt with an expletive on it. Clearly, Weiwei intended to criticize the political missteps that led to the massacre. 

The Ringling will host the traveling exhibit through February 2nd, 2020, and even though guests are prohibited from touching the panels, each came with a bag of spare pieces should someone be unable to keep their hands to themselves. 

Pictured: The bold colors of the dragon panel make it easy for Weiwei to cleverly hide himself in the image, though his message is anything but hidden.

[ShopTalk]  Painted Portraits for the Holidays
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

The holidays are suddenly appearing on the highway horizon in the rear view mirror like a heavy-footed Floridian driver on the move—getting closer, faster, and before you know it, right up on you tailing your behind. If you’re feeling totally scrambled and baffled on what to get the loved ones yet to be crossed off your list, consider an incredibly personal and unexpected gift this giving season. Chasen Galleries is offering an exclusive opportunity for the holidays to have hand-painted portraits of loved ones done by Conceptual and Commission Portrait artist Dirce Kennedy. Portraiture came to Dirce through years of travel, drawing, painting and study. Her Conceptual portraits are always concept first—allowing the subjects’ inner self to unfold the narrative. Her Commissioned portraits are not simply faces painted on canvas either, but rather reveal the subject’s inner spirit and soul, impart their individuality and create a piece that will be cherished now and for generations to come. 

With over 10 solo exhibitions under her belt, and even more juried show awards, plus collections spread worldwide, a personalized oil-painting portrait by Dirce may be the unwrapped present under the tree most coveted. “Normally, Dirce paints oil portraits that take approximately 3-4 months to complete and cost in the thousands,” shares Richard Kennedy of Chasen Galleries. “But the joy of giving, the excitement of sitting at the artist's studio, sharing the painting with family and friends, knowing that you can continue to connect with your future generations and realizing how she loves the challenge of capturing a likeness in oil,” he says, enticed Dirce to abridge the cost and experience into a 3-hour portrait special.

So whether it’s for your handsome hubby, a hard-to-please in-law, a quirky friend, your newborn nephew, goofy dad or adorable grandmother, a gift this thoughtful and admiring will blow anyone away. A commissioned 14"H x 11"W gallery wrapped canvas oil-painted artist's representation is priced at $600 for a 3-hour session. Reservations are limited. Contact the gallery to check on availability: andrew@chasengalleries.com / 941-260-5787. 

Photos courtesy of Chasen Galleries.

[Music]  Renesito Band Celebrates Five Years in Sarasota

Formerly from Havana, Cuba, Renesito Avich brought along with him the rhythms of traditional Cuban music when he moved to Sarasota five years ago. Avich and friends will now celebrate five years of performing in the community at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on Saturday, November 30 at 8pm.  The band will consist of Avich on guitar/tres guitar/vocals, Dayan Virelles on sax, Andy F. on percussion, and Otto D. Ferreiro on vocals. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for the general public. Advance tickets are available by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online at www.wslr.org.  

[Environment]  Pilot Plant Program Encourages Homeowners to Plant Mature Trees

To continue to grow the urban canopy, the City of Sarasota is supporting a community-driven pilot program offering an incentive up to $500 for residents who plant and maintain a mature tree within program guidelines.  Residents will own the tree and are required to invest $100. Homeowners will purchase the tree and will be required to water, prune and maintain it.  The program focuses on planting mature canopy and understory trees with a minimum 2-inch caliper.  Planting is limited to the right of way or within ten feet of the right of way. Participants can select from over two dozen approved species, from pink tabebuia to shady lady to live oak.  A complete list of approved trees and program details are available in the Mature Tree Canopy Pilot Program Guidelines. Once the planting is verified by City staff, the City will reimburse the resident up to $500.  In addition to beautifying the community, trees provide significant benefits including saving energy, cleaning stormwater runoff, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning the air, lowering the urban heat island effect, providing wildlife habitat and improving overall health and well-being for people.Sarasota resident Lou Costa, a retired principal engineer, volunteered his time to administer the initiative. Residents interested in participating in the program should contact Lou Costa:  LouCosta1000@aol.com 

[Pets]  DOGPerfect Announces the Grand Opening Celebration of Its Third Location in the Landings

DOGPerfect is the local marketplace for bringing dogs and their people together. Their third location at The Landings of Saraosta is nearly double the size of its other two locations and will offer an expanded professional grooming area, two self-serve dog washes and the ever-popular DOGPerfect Arena which is designed for dog training, socialization, play and events such as adoptions and birthday parties. Customers will also have a larger selection of high-quality natural and holistic dog food, healthy treats, and other fantastic products to choose from. “We are thrilled to be expanding and opening our third location in The Landings,” says Fernando Carrera, Vice President of Operations, “With our interactive environment, adoption initiatives, knowledgeable and caring staff, and wide range of services and products, we hope to earn the trust of the local Sarasota community and become their preferred resource for their pet.” To celebrate DOGPerfect’s third store opening, dogs (and their pet parents) who visit The Landings store between December 5-8 can enter a raffle to win free dog grooming for a year, which is valid for six grooming sessions in 2020. No purchase is necessary to enter. Pet parents are invited to bring their pups on December 7 and December 8 from 12:00 pm-4:00 pm for free photos with Santa. Satchel’s Last Resort will also be at the store with adoptable dogs looking for their forever homes on Saturday, December 7 from 11 am -2 pm. To see all of the event details visit https://www.dogperfect.com/grandopening 

[Staff Announcement]  Habitat for Humanity Sarasota Adds Doris Berkey as Philanthropic Officer

A 10-year career veteran as a fundraising professional, Berkey is responsible for building a comprehensive fundraising platform that includes cultivating and securing a mix of annual, major, and planned gifts. Berkey will focus on building a strong, diversified base of individual giving while continuing to grow Habitat Sarasota’s corporate partnerships. Another key role is to secure merchandise donations to the Habitat Sarasota Restore, which funds the organization’s administrative costs. “In her role as Philanthropic Officer, Doris will be instrumental in donor engagement to support our capital campaign, Lives Transformed: The Campaign for Hammock Place,” says Renee Snyder, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, 1757 North East Ave., Sarasota, 941-487-5507, habitatsrq.org.



[SOON]  THEATER: The Sound of Music , November 13 – December 28, 7:30pm and 8pm evening performances and 1:30 and 2pm matinees

Like a breath of fresh Alpine air, this beloved musical masterpiece sweeps onto the Asolo Rep stage just in time for the holidays. Maria, a young nun causing trouble at the abbey, is sent off to be governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven troublesome children. She brings much-needed love and joy to the family – and the widowed captain – and transforms their world and hers through the power of music. But the looming threat of Nazi Germany’s invasion of their native Austria darkens their future. Overflowing with some of the most iconic songs of all time, this heart warming family musical will be helmed by Josh Rhodes, returning on the heels of his spectacular production of Evita in 2017.

FSU Performing Arts Center, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALA: Champions for Children Gala , November 23, 6pm-10pm

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is thrilled to announce the Champions for Children Gala will be held at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club on November 23, 2019. This year, we will honor Tom and Debbie Shapiro. Join us for an enchanting evening with silent and live auctions, a gourmet dinner prepared by Chef Paul Mattison and dancing. All proceeds will support our valuable programs designed to enhance more than 9,000 Club members' academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership development.

Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, 3100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  FOOD: Caregivers Comfort Socializing Lunch , December 2, 12:15pm-1:45pm

Julie Cook Downing, President of Caregivers' Comfort Creations, LLC and Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group Facilitator, hosts a monthly lunch at The Rosemary restaurant in Sarasota. This event provides caregivers some time to relax, enjoy themselves and eat a delicious meal with others sharing similar situations. The lunch takes place from 12:15-1:45pm.

The Rosemary, 411 North Orange Avenue

[SOON]  BUSINESS: BeingWE: Women Balancing Business & Life - Creating What's Possible Against All Odds , December 3, 4:30-7:30pm

Women are natural-born leaders. Yet, many feel overwhelmed by attempting to juggle life’s demands and have it all—home, family, and career. How to balance work and home life? The Women’s Resource Center will explore these issues with BeingWE (Being Women Empowered), a guided conversation series for women by women, created by Keren Lifrak, an area-based entrepreneur and real estate professional. The series launches with three sessions: The Superwoman Badge, October 29th, Women Balancing Business & Life: Creating What’s Possible Against All Odds, December 3rd and Follow Your Bliss: How Our Brains Are Uniquely Wired to Take Action, January 23rd. Each session is 4:30-7:30 p.m., and all genders are welcome to participate.  

The Women’s Resource Center, 340 S Tuttle Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Reverend Barry & The Funk , December 5 – December 8, 7:30pm

As part of Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, SCD Artistic Director’s passion to collaborate with local musicians, SCD will join forces with Reverend Barry & The Funk, an 8-pc funk band featuring a 3-pc horn section, and one of the fastest-rising “buzzworthy” acts in the state of Florida. Fueled by their recent #1 Global Position on ReverbNation’s Funk Charts after the release of their debut album “SxyGdLuv,” and the success of their recent breakout single “LoveShine,” the band is now headlining festivals and larger venues around the state. This is the first time that SCD will be partnering with a funk band, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that they are already a Sarasota favorite. This production will feature original choreography by Artistic Director, Leymis Bolaños Wilmott in collaboration with the SCD dancers. This unique evening is sure to be unlike any other, and is not to be missed!

Jane B. Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  FILM: Gazebo Starlight Cinema Series , December 6

Join the Gazebo Starlight Cinema series with this month’s movie: Home Alone. With a screen stretched around the Gazebo pillars and family flicks back-projected from within, what better place than the facing grassy knoll to relax in a beach chair or curl up on a blanket? Bring the whole family to kick off your weekend while enjoying the park! Support local Venice Avenue businesses by bringing snacks, dinner, ice cream (or gelato!) to enjoy during the movie.

Downtown Venice Centennial Park, 200 West Venice Ave.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Art of Performance: Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol: Tijuana , December 6 – December 7, 7:30PM

This Mexico-city based theater ensemble has created a suite of works that explore ideas of democracy in the 21st Century and blends them with narrative collages from Mexican history. The solo work Tijuana is the staged result of a real anthropological theater experiment undertaken by Lagartijas ensemble member Gabino Rodríguez, in which he abandoned his life in Mexico City to work on an assembly line in a Tijuana factory on the U.S. border. Passing under a false identity for six months, he earned the legal minimum wage to explore how the current day Mexican working-class survives.

Historic Asolo Theater , 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  GALA: Brunch & Bubbles - Celebrating Sarasota County Teachers , December 11, 10:30am-12pm

On Wednesday, December 11, join the Education Foundation for a morning of brunch & bubbles as they honor phenomenal teachers in Sarasota County. The awards ceremony will recognize an Alumni of Distinction and unveil the 2020 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year. The event is from 10:30am to 12pm. Please use complimentary valet service. 

The Westin Sarasota, 100 Marina View Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SEMINAR: PINC 2019 , December 12, 8am-8pm

PINC is People, Ideas, Nature, and Creativity. It's a one-day, conference-style experience delivered by a cascade of international speakers from every imaginable discipline, skill, and talent you can think of. Speakers range from Iditarod champions, the founder of Vertical Farming, a famous felt artist and a lawyer whose territory is outer space, all the way to Nobel Prize winners, perfume virtuosos, a Master Acoustician, and the doctor who performed the first-hand transplant. Whether a speaker or a guest, the PINC experience attracts creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, specialists, designers, artists, scientists, and anyone looking to stimulate their mind, heart, and soul. It's an opportunity to participate in an eclectic mix of the fundamental pieces that create the human experience. If you want to be inspired, you want to be at PINC.

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

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Atomic Holiday Bazaar , December 14 – December 15, Noon to 5pm

Atomic Holiday Bazaar, Season 14, returns to the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Atomic launched in 2006 showcasing 50 unconventional crafters who needed an affordable and welcoming venue to sell their unusual handmade wares. By producing an alternative craft show for Sarasota’s hip shoppers, Atomic quickly grew into an annual Sarasota holiday shopping tradition. 

The show proved such a success it expanded to a full weekend in 2007 and in 2008 Atomic grew from the main auditorium to the Bay Front room to accommodate the ever growing number of talented applicants and dedicated shoppers. In 2015, Atomic expanded again opening up its first street fair and jumping on the trend of including a handful of delicious local Sarasota food trucks. This season the show introduces a number of new makers who have had the opportunity to be a part of the show due to a number of Atomic Misfit Makers retiring from the craft making scene.

Atomic features a wide range of items for all: screen printed t-shirts, faux taxidermy, upcycled everything ranging from home decor, clothing, jewelry, (for example, think of “upcycled” as copper pipe that has been refitted into a desk lamp), vintage clothing, kitsch and jewelry, lowbrow to elegant fine art, holiday cards, jams, jellies and the best canned pickle selections ever, one of a kind baby clothing, humorous chatchkes, ornaments, knits, catnip toys, doggie stuff, felted art, plants, plushies (unusual and humorous creatures), pop culture-graphic art posters, dark sentiments, body products, candles, beachy vibe stuff, ethnic Latin textiles, rock n roll edgy clothing, sweet little creations that make you sigh, get the picture? No artsy stone unturned, Atomic has something for all.

Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 34th Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights , December 14, 6pm

Don’t miss the 34th Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will be held on Saturday, December 14 beginning at 6pm. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island. All boats must pass approx. 1/3 of the marina side Bayfront Park, to be considered for judging. The Bay front Park spectator viewing area has been expanded to include the entire Northern tip of the island near the fountain.

Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School: The Nutcracker , December 14 – December 15, 2pm

Returning for the third year, the Sarasota Cuban Ballet brings its stunning production to the VPAC for three performances. Accompanied by 26 musicians from The Venice Symphony with guest conductor Joeseph Caulkins, and a brand new set, these pre-professional performers will stun you with their elegance and strength in this holiday tradition. Single tickets on sale now at veniceperformingartscenter.com or (941) 218 3779.

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave building 5, Venice, FL 34285

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Lights In Bloom , December 14 – January 4, 6pm-9pm

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens lights up the holiday season with Lights In Bloom. Over two million lights will illuminate the gardens and walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through magical gardens filled with beautifully lit flowers, radiant rainforest butterflies, dragonflies and more. The tropical holiday paradise includes nightly visits from Santa (before Christmas Eve), children’s arts and crafts activities and games and special entertainment. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill including a cash bar. The Selby House Cafe will also be open with its full menu. In its 16th year, Lights In Bloom has become a tradition for residents and visitors to celebrate the holiday season in Sarasota.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  HEALTH: Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group , December 16, 10am-11:30am

Every third Monday of the month, Julie Cook Downing, President of Caregivers Comfort Creations, LLC, facilitates a Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group. This group focuses on the caregiver and offers a retreat from the never-ending mental and physical responsibilities of caregiving. This free, open group provides compassionate support and an opportunity to explore new solutions together to caregiver challenges. The group meets in the classroom outside of the cafeteria.

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, 5731 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota, FL 34233

[SOON]  HEALTH: Veterans' Caregivers Free Lunch and Learn Support Group , December 16, 12:15pm-1:45pm

Welcoming all Veterans' Caregivers and Veterans caring for a loved one to a free lunch and monthly Caregivers Support Group every third Monday of the month. This group focuses on the Caregiver and not the patient. Julie Cook Downing, Facilitator and President of Caregivers' Comfort Creations, LLC, has over two decades of experience with both support groups and Family Caregiving.

Mindspa Integrative Wellness Center, 5632 Bee Ridge Rd #101, Sarasota, FL 34233

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency and Celebration Concert , December 21 – January 4, 5pm

Each season, The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast hosts The Perlman Music Program (PMP) Sarasota Winter Residency. Founded by Toby Perlman, and with a world-renowned faculty led by her husband, internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, PMP augments its seven-week summer school program in Shelter Island each December with a 17-day winter residency, December 21, 2019 - January 4, 2020, in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The residency provides valuable mentoring and performance opportunities for approximately 35 young international string musicians, ages 12-20+, and offers 20+ free and low-cost musical events on the campus of USF Sarasota-Manatee. Each year, the winter residency culminates with the Celebration Concert, January 4, 2020, with Itzhak Perlman conducting the PMP String Orchestra and Patrick Romano leading the PMP Chorus at the Sarasota Opera House.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 34243

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings , December 28, 7pm

The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings is presented as part of a public orchestra rehearsal during the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency. Super Strings promotes the interaction of local young musicians with international students of The Perlman Music Program and world-class faculty. Forty-five string players from across the state of Florida join the PMP String Orchestra on stage, for a special one-time PMP Sarasota Winter Residency event, to perform the 1st Movement of Felix Mendelssohn's String Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major, under the baton of Itzhak Perlman. Tickets $10 at Perlmanmusicprogramsuncoast.org

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

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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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