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SRQ DAILY Jul 19, 2019

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"21st century opera is getting away from 20th century atonality."

- Sharon Ohrenstein, writer

[Opera]  The Aria and The Asp
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

It’s not every day that Sarasota gives birth to a new opera, much less an opera comique based off a story that traditionally ends in a bit of snakish self-disposal. But that’s exactly what Sharon and David Ohrenstein have created with their latest collaboration, Patra. Based on the final days of the famed Cleopatra, after Marc Antony and before the apocryphal asp, the show will receive a special concert reading tonight at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, before heading to New York in September for a workshop and production.

Skipping over the oft-tread ground of the Egyptian ruler’s relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, Patra explores that final month in Cleopatra’s life, courted by the man who would be Augustus Caesar and trying to protect her children amongst the political chaos. “The story really required an operatic treatment,” says Sharon, who wrote the book and lyrics, collaborating with David for the music. The high drama of royal courtship and tragic romance, all set against the backdrop of warring factions and the rise of an empire—while opera may not be the biggest genre of the day, Sharon admits, few would be as apt to capture the grandeur and passion of such a tale.

Still, the pair made a concerted effort to avoid slower or stiffer opera traditions and embrace more popular musical sensibilities, a trend Sharon has observed throughout the modern opera industry. “21st century opera is getting away from 20th century atonality,” she says. “It doesn’t sound like Philip Glass; it sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber.” Or, perhaps, like Georges Bizet’s Carmen. “I love Carmen,” Sharon gushes, and the music in Patra infuses bolero, tango, international cha cha, waltzes and more into something that comes out as something of a “hybrid” of opera and musical theater. “Audiences love that rhythmic aspect,” she says. “In opera, sometimes that’s missing. But everyone’s heard Habanera. They’ve heard Toreador Song.”

The Sarasota audience will get the first listen tonight at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, where a concert reading will be staged, featuring Kathryn Parks as Cleopatra, Joseph Ryan as Octavian, Carole Cornman as Iras, Robyn Rocklein as Charmian and Baron Garriott as Marcellus. David Ohrenstein will accompany on piano. A $20 donation is requested for entry, to help defray the cost to take the show to the Seagle Music Colony in New York for the workshop. The show begins at 7:30pm. 

Pictured: Kathryn Parks will sing the role of Cleopatra in tonight's concert reading of 'Patra' at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Photo by INSTUDIO E PHOTO.

[ShopTalk]  Hanging On To Your Inner Child
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

As kids growing up, they would call each other 'Mandy Candy' and 'Hannah Banana.' Today, the Bradenton sisters' nicknames make up BananaCandy Designs. “Merging fashion and their inner child,” their motif-driven handbag line sweetens the pot of the lot at local markets like 73 Degree Flea and The Makers Market.

Handmade and sewn entirely here in Bradenton, fabric selection spawns first from a theme or seasonal collection—often from local purveyors such as Jay’s Fabrics in St. Pete or Fabric Warehouse in Lakeland. From funky, and sometimes fruity, the patterned prints BananaCandy source evoke nautical and tropical fun—perfect for Gulf Coast statement-makers. "The basis of my design style is to give your everyday accessory a pop and uniqueness that allows you to stand out from the crowd," says Mandy. "Being a Florida native I cannot help but be inspired by beautiful colors found all throughout nature. Color grabs our attention, makes us turn our heads and makes us feel alive."

Pack your daily provisions for an everyday crossbody purse in Deep Sea Octopus or Festival Sugar Skull. Grab a wristlet for a night downtown in Lemon Breezy or Watercolor Pineapple. Whether you’re feeling a Blushing Succulent print with your outfit or some cheeky Great White Sharks, the designs animate a desire within to deviate from the habitual route of plain, basic, neutral-colored handbags that come with "adulting." Instead, unpack your penchant for exuberant, youthful impressions and reach into your Avocado Please! purse for some bubblegum flavored lip balm.

"BananaCandy it is not just about the handbag," says Mandy. "It’s about expressing yourself, not being afraid to standout, and showing the world what you are passionate about no matter your age or lifestyle." 

Photos courtesy of BananaCandy Designs, PO Box 635, Bradenton, @bananacandydesigns_

Shop the Etsy Page

[Museum]  Ringling Museum Receives Grant for Major Canvas Conservation Treatment

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has announced that it has been awarded a grant of $176,800 from the Getty Foundation as part of its Conserving Canvas initiative. This grant is in support of a major conservation treatment of the museum’s monumental oil on canvas painting, Emperor Justinian, by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. An intrinsic part of this project is the training of mid-career painting conservators.

Conserving Canvas is an international grant initiative focused on the conservation of paintings on canvas, aiming to ensure that conservators remain fully prepared to care for important works of art through a combination of training activities and information dissemination. The Getty Foundation offers grant support for museum projects involving conservation treatment residencies and for targeted professional development opportunities for conservators and curators.

The John F. and Herta Cuneo Conservation Laboratory at The Ringling will partner with Artcare Conservation, which will carry out the conservation treatment of Emperor Justinian in its Miami studio. International collaboration involves four postgraduate mid-career painting conservators from the USA, Canada, and Colombia who have been invited to participate as Trainees in various stages of the structural treatment. Two junior painting conservators at The Ringling will also take part as Trainees. 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

[Science and Nature]  Selby Gardens Receives APGA Program Excellence Award

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been the recipient of the prestigious Program Excellence Award given by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) for a four-year partnership entitled “Air Plants and Other Epiphytes of Belize: A Collaborative Project Between Two Botanical Gardens and a University.”

The Program Excellence Award is presented to an APGA member who has shown an innovative spirit in the development of an original program and has pioneered in disciplines that are important to horticultural institutions, including education, conservation, development, botany, gardening, horticulture, research, extension or administration. Selby Gardens was presented with this honor for its successful partnership with Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Botanical Garden and the University of Belize-Environmental Research Institute, to promote in Belize the study, conservation and display of epiphytes.

Through work with these botanical organizations in Belize, about 860 accessions, or plant materials, were collected for Selby Gardens and Caves Branch living collections. More than 2,000 mounted specimens were added to Herbarium collections at both Selby Gardens and Belize National Herbarium. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[Theater]  Players Presents Production of 2018 New Fest Play Winner

The Players Centre for Performing Arts has announced that the 2018 winner of the Players New Play Fest, The Wonder of Our Stage, will receive its premiere production next week. Written by local playwright Monica Cross, the show will run from July 23 through 28, and presented in the Backstage at The Players space. A thrilling look into the Elizabethan era and the idea that William Shakespeare was actually an automaton that was built and created to please Queen Elizabeth I, Candace Artim directs. Tickets are $15.

The playwright, Cross, also served as costume designer. Awarded The John Ringling Tower Grant for Performing Arts, the grant will be used toward originally constructed period costumes for the production. 

The Players Centre for Performing Arts

[TODAY]  MUSIC: Van Wezel Friday Fest featuring Rebel Heart , July 19

Join us for The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall’s FREE outdoor summertime concert series! The events run from 5-9pm and are located on the Bayside Lawn of the Van Wezel. Each of the four events will feature food trucks, beverage vendors and more – it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset over Sarasota Bay.


Rebel Heart returns to Friday Fest at the Van Wezel with some of today's most popular country songs, mixed with a healthy dose of hits from pop, rock, dance and the blues! The 5-piece band puts on a high-energy, powerful and melodic country rock act that you won’t want to miss

Van Wezel

[TODAY]  FESTIVAL: Christmas in July , July 19 – July 20

Forget your stresses and get in the spirit at the Downtown Venice “Christmas in July” event. Catch Santa and Mrs. Claus riding the trolley and visiting the shops, ride the trolley from 11am to 4pm or participate in a raffle for four large gift baskets. Pick up your free raffle tickets at many of the participating downtown businesses and experience holiday magic like never before.

Historic Downtown Venice , 101 West Venice Ave. #23

[TODAY]  THEATER: Come Together: When the 60s met the 70s , June 11 – July 21

With music made famous by Cher, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and more, this rockin’ revue explores the changing musical landscape from 1965-1975. Come Together explores the musical soundtrack of one of the most exciting, controversial, and impactful decades our country has ever seen. Featuring hits like “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Come Together,” and “Killing Me Softly.”

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota

[TODAY]  MUSEUM: Natasha Mazurka: Order Systems , March 17 – September 29

Mazurka’s work reflects the communicative potential of pattern by combining visual references to architecture, biology, data analytics and instructional code. From her intense research into pattern languages, Mazurka presents an art exhibition that flatters and disturbs concepts of certainty and stability residing within pattern systems existing all-around us.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[TODAY]  THEATER: SHOUT! The MOD Musical! , July 10 – July 21

With its irresistible blend of hip-swiveling hits, eye-popping fashions and outrageous dance moves, SHOUT! takes audiences back to the music, style and freedom of the 1960s, following five groovy gals as they come of age during those glorious days that made England swing. Created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein, the soundtrack includes new arrangements of such classic tunes as "To Sir with Love," "Downtown," "Son of a Preacher Man" and, of course, “Shout.”

The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Family Saturdays: Terracotta molds , July 20, 10am

Explore Ca d'Zan through a creative project: sculpting terracotta molds! Work in the Education Building classrooms and explore the grounds with a special handout to help locate and learn more about the objects and places that inspired the project.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Kayak Trip: Caspersen Beach to Lemon Bay , July 20, 8:30am-11:30am

Enjoy quiet water and open-seated kayaking from Caspersen Beach to Lemon Bay with John Sarkozy. All kayak equipment will be supplied and is included in the cost of the trip. Call John for additional information, exact launch location and required reservations. 

[SOON]  FILM: Art and a Movie: Summer Film Series , July 22, 1:30pm

See the showing of Nevelson: Awareness in the Fourth Dimension as part of The Ringling and Monda Collections’ Summer Film Series. Ringling staff will introduce the film and lead a brief discussion about each of the three highlighted women artists of the series. Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of free Mondays at the Museum of Art to visit the exhibition before or after the film.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Museum of Art Mondays: Fabric of India , July 22, 10am

Join the Ringling staff in the Education Building for a Fabric of India art-making program, bridging active creation with artwork in the Museum. Then visit the galleries to find each day’s featured artwork and learn more about it from a docent!

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Kayak Trip: Paddling the Waterways of Nokomis , July 22, 8:30am-11:30am

John Sarkozy will lead this kayak trip, exploring the bays and canals around Nokomis. Check out the islands, birds and marine life in this area. All kayak equipment will be provided and is included in the cost of the trip. Contact John for additional information, exact launch location and required reservations. 

[SOON]  THEATER: The Swingaroos: Hollywood Serenade , July 23 – August 30

Back by popular demand, The Swingaroos return to FST with a brand new show. Inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood, this jazzy music revue pays tribute to such icons as Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway, and Fred Astaire. Travel back in time this summer to the ‘30s and ‘40s when big bands and swing dancing were all the rage. 

Florida Studio Threatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Conversation: Behind the Scenes with the Events Department , July 24, 10:30am

Join Events staff for an informal discussion of their work, including an explanation of their day-to-day tasks, highlights of their favorite parts of the job, trade secrets of the profession and what they wish museum visitors knew about what goes into planning museum events.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Kayak Trip: Caspersen Beach to Lemon Bay , July 24, 8:30am–11:30am

Enjoy quiet water and open-seated kayaking from Caspersen Beach to Lemon Bay with John Sarkozy. All kayak equipment will be provided and is included in the cost of the trip. Contact John for additional information, exact launch location and required reservations. Get out and explore the area! 

[SOON]  BUSINESS: SB2 Transformation in Philanthropy Symposium- July 25; 11:30am-1pm , July 25, Registration 11am. Program 11:30am-1pm.

Join us for the SB2: Transformation in Philanthropy Luncheon on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota from 11:30am to 1pm. The topic of discussion will be creating bold and resonant impact through the nonprofit mission. Registration opens at 11am. Panelists include special guests: David Moore of Moore Strategic Consulting, Sabeen Perwaiz of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance and Lilly Weinberg of the Knight Foundation. Tickets: $55/person. Table Sponsorships Available. Purchase tickets online at SRQSB2.COM. 

Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota

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. 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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