Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drawing In Space

Public art fans, listen up! The opening of "Drawing In Space: The Peninsula Project" begins at 6 p.m. today on the Sarasota bay front in front of Star Pointer.

Many of you have probably driven by the towering sculpture of red sticks there created by John Henry. His Peninsula Project involves one of his large, colorful sculptures in seven Florida cities. For more information, go to

Fuzion Dance Artists will present a show during the opening reception on the bay front. Then the festivities will move to a gallery at 20 Lemon Ave. where Henry will meet and greet with guests.

The event is sponsored by Sarasota Season of Sculpture, Ringling College of Art and Design, Pineapple Square and WQ Magazine. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail

The exhibit will remain up through March 30.

- January Holmes

Monday, December 15, 2008

FST announces new Stage III season

Florida Studio Theatre recently announced its 2009 season for its edgy Stage III venue.

It begins with Edward Albee's "Occupant," a story about celebrated Jewish-American sculptor Louise Nevelson and her art. The show runs Jan. 14-31.

Next is Y York's comedy". . . And L.A. is Burning." This play, which runs March 4-19, is set during 1992 when four policemen are on trial for the beating of Rodney King. It focuses on several American's view of race relations in modern society.

Then there's David Harrower's production of "Blackbird," which won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Play. The story revolves around two former lovers who had an illicit affair years ago. When they recently cross paths, their past comes back to haunt them. The show runs April 22-May 7.

Note: These shows include strong language and situations. Tickets are $19-$32. Subscriptions are available for all three shows from $39-$52.

Also, last season's hit "Always . . . Patsy Cline" will return to FST's Gompertz Theatre for a limited engagement Feb. 17-28. Tickets are $29-$32. For more information, call 366-9000 or at

- January Holmes

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekend roundup

There's so much going on this weekend that it's hard to mention it all. Highlights include tonight's Boat Parade - a must see - along the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton at 6:30; Saturday's Breakfast with Santa at Ringling at 9 a.m., the Winter Wonderland Family Street Festival from 5-9 p.m. in downtown Bradenton and the Dance Theatre of Bradenton's "Nutcracker" at Manatee Community College.

And so much more ... But I wanted to mention something we haven't had a chance to write about: American Stage Theatre Company's "Proof/This/Steel/Lion," presented by the theater's youth ensemble. Granted, it's not Christmas-y, but it isn't your typical play either. It's snippets from the award-winning plays of "Proof," "Burn This," "Steel Magnolias" and "The Lion in the Winter."

Come see these hard working teens put out their best stuff. Tickets are only $5 (cash only). Performances will be noon on Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday.

The theater is at 211 Third St. S, Saint Petersburg. For more information, call (727) 823-1600, ext. 201.

- January Holmes

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Willy Wonka candy bars bring big prizes

Mary and Peter Ruscoe with cast of "Willy Wonka"
Debbie Crowe with artistic director Rick Kerby

So if you haven't seen "Willy Wonka" at the Manatee Players, you should. Even if it's just to get one of their delicious Willy Wonka candy bars, which are on sale in the Manatee Players' lobby for $5. Like in the musical, you could be a golden ticket winner as there are a couple of Golden Tickets still floating around in a few of the bars. Each golden ticket has a special prize attached to it.

Three of the five tickets have already been claimed, with two recent winners Debbie Crowe and Mary and Peter Rusco. Crowe, manager of Bradenton's Shake Pit, won a candy gift basket, Mattison's Riverside gift certificates and free admission to the South Florida Museum. The Ruscoes won a candy gift basket, Mattison's Riverside gift certificates and tickets to see Drumline at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

So that means there's two tickets left - at least, as of yesterday afternoon. Those tickets are connected to Disney World tickets and being a bat boy or girl at a Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training game.

- January Holmes

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inexpensive Christmas decor tips

Read today's story in the Herald about "Decking the Halls More Cautiously"? Decorating your home with Christmas cheer can be tough if you're on a budget. But for those who must decorate, especially to have your home spiffy for those holiday parties and get-togethers, here are a few tips from home decorating expert Sandy Sandler. She sent an e-mail to us recently about ways to decorate while saving money.

Tips include:

* Make a gingerbread house. Gingerbread houses are perfect edible decorations.

* Cinnamon sticks are a wonderful “green” way to add holiday fragrance to your home. Hang with ribbon or place them in bowls.

* Visit your local farm stand and purchase pumpkins, gourds, and poinsettias. Shake a little gold glitter on both the vegetables and the plants and place around your home. Gold glitter is a really easy trick to give everything a fresh rich look.

* Fill a tall narrow glass vase with brightly colored Christmas balls. Set the vase near a window where the colored balls can create wonderful multi-colored prisms throughout the room.

* Make a pine cone wreath for your front door. Gather pine cones from your yard attach them to a wire wreath. Add a colorful bow.

* Fill canning jars with colorful candy and attach a bow or ornament on the front of the jar. Place them around your home.

* Instead of purchasing a large Christmas tree, purchase a few tabletop trees to decorate the house. Your home will be filled with a nice pine fragrance and each room’s tree can have a special theme or color scheme. Large trees are very expensive while the little tabletop trees are usually inexpensive and very easy to decorate.

Happy decorating!

P.S. You can also get ideas from the Crosley Estate's Festival of Trees. Today's the last day of the event. Check it out from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookies top list for favorite holiday food

Remember our blog on the top foods consumed for Thanksgiving? Well, researchers at The NPD Group have a new chart out, tracking Americans favorite snack foods during the Christmas season.

The list includes all of our favorite holiday treats like nuts (which ranked No. 4), brownies (No. 12), chocolate candy (No. 3) and cookies (No. 1). Other favorites includes cheese, fudge and muffins.

Fruit cake - which is loved by only four people in the country, including my mom (this is just my estimate of course) - made the bottom of the list. The only thing I couldn't understand was how vegetables came in as No. 2. There was no specification on what kind of veggies people were consuming either. So, since this is snack food we are talking about here, I'm assuming it's the party trays of carrots and celery with ranch dressing dip, which are very delicious.

You can refer to these items for your Christmas party planning or holiday gift ideas. People never seem to turn down free food over the holidays, unless it's a fruit cake. But even then you could just re-gift it.

- January Holmes

Monday, December 8, 2008

American Craft Show awards

Organizers of the 16th annual American Craft Show, held over the weekend, announced its picks for the Award of Excellence. The award is given for recognition of creativity and quality of the artists' works.

Only four were honored out of the 175 juried artists. They are:

Robert J. Farrell of Venice, Fla., a designer of sterling silver jewelry and “tabletop objects of heirloom quality," who won the award for both his work and the design of his display booth.

Susan Gott, a Tampa-based artist, who is well known for her sculptural glass installations.

Marcia Phillips of Goshen, Mass., who specializes in handwoven clothing.

Pat Pruitt of Paguate, N.M., a jewelry designer participating in the Sarasota American Craft Show for the first time.

- January Holmes

Thursday, December 4, 2008

'Dark Knight' fans unite

Okay, I'll admit that driving to Tampa to pick up the newest DVD release of Batman's "The Dark Knight" is extreme, but next Monday night one Blockbuster store there is making it worth the while for fanatics of the film.

While Blockbuster stores throughout the Tampa area (we haven't heard anything about the Bradenton area yet) are staying open late in anticipation of being swamped by costumers, the store on 614 S. Howard Avenue has plans of being party central for the event. There will be costume contests, games, prizes and giveaways at the location. Plus, a few local radio stations will be on site.

According to Blockbuster, "The Dark Knight," which stars the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, is the highest grossing movie of 2008 worldwide.

So if you're up for the drive, don't miss this free event. The fun begins at 8 p.m. Monday and lasts until 1 a.m. Tuesday. Let us know if you know of any local Blockbusters in the Bradenton area having any "Dark Knight" related events so we can post it on the blog.

- January Holmes

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ringling rings in the season

The John and Mable Ringling Museum kicks off the Christmas season with its Holiday Splendor event from 6-9 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 4) on the Ringling grounds. Get an eye-full of holiday decorations and live entertainment provided by Manatee and Sarasota county schools.

Holiday Splendor benefits the area "Toys for Tots" program headed by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Admission to the event is $10 or one unwrapped toy.

Food and drinks will also be on sale.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Ringling's Breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. on Dec. 13. During breakfast, Santa will greet guests and give each child a special gift (that gift will brought by the parents who attend with their child and will be given to Santa).

Tickets to the breakfast are $20 for adults, $12.50 for ages 3-12 and $5 for age 2 and under. Seating is limited. For more information, call 359-5700, ext. 5705

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trade 'Idol Live' for Mannheim

You've probably heard by now that the Idol Mania Live tour, which was to kick off in Sarasota this weekend, has been postponed. We hope to give you details of new tour dates in the new year.

In the meantime, though it's not American Idol, you can partake in the holiday cheer at Universal Orlando Resort with the electric Grammy Award-winning Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller. The group recently performed at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and will be performing two shows at Universal Studios at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. this Saturday (Dec. 6). During the event, Mannheim Steamroller will perform favorite hits and music from their new album Christmasville.

After Saturday, the Christmas celebrations continue at Universal through New Year's Day with performances of "Grinchmas," a spin on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and Macy's Holiday Parade.

Remember, Florida residents can get special deals on tickets this holiday season. For more information on discounts and the holiday events at Universal, visit

- January Holmes

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bayshore High showcases shoes as art

Now that we've had a chance to enjoy the holiday and reflect on the many things we are thankful for this season - be it friends, family, job, etc. - it's time to jump back into the swing of things and see what's going on locally in the art and entertainment world.

This week, beginning Wednesday, will be a fundraiser exhibit given by the students of Bayshore High School and will include works by former student Tyrell Waiters who has been featured in the Herald several times for his colorful works. The exhibit, held at John Carl Spa and Salon, is called Best Foot Forward, Shoes as Objects D'Art where regular shoes will be transformed into funky and whimsical pieces of art. Themes include Christmas, Mardi Gras, Film Festival, games and more.

The spa, which has been known to feature special art work, is at 1345 Second St, Sarasota. An opening reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Proceeds will benefit the Bayshore High Visual Arts Department.

For more information, call 330-8000.

- January Holmes