Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bradenton's Next Top Model

If you find yourself doing a double take while watching the season premiere of "America's Next Top Model," which airs next week, you may not be the only one. Bradenton teen Jessica is one of the contestants. She's originally from Puerto Rico.

Jessica (whose last name has not been unveiled by the show yet) is an 18-year-old student. We received news last night that she is one of 13 participants on the show.

I love "America's Next Top Model" and I am excited about seeing Cycle 12's contestants. I love the modeling challenges they throw at them. In one of the premiere clips, Jessica tells Tyra and the judges that she's never been called ugly before. Judge Miss J replies, "Not to your face."

Let the model drama begin!

The two hour premiere is 8 p.m. March 4. Be sure to tune in to see how Jessica does. In the meantime, you can watch clips of Jessica from the show at

- January Holmes
(photo above is Jessica)

"10 Big Lies About America" author speaks in Sarasota

A guy I know posted a picture on his Web page about a month back of him reading a book called "The 10 Big Lies About America" (he likes posing with books believe it or not). I asked him, since he was apparently reading the book, what those 10 big lies were. I never got an answer. I've heard elsewhere that the book debunks negative viewpoints about our country. If you're interested in learning more, the author - nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved - is planning to speak about the book in Sarasota later today.

Medved will be at Temple Beth Shalom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave., at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$30 and includes a copy of his book. He will also hold a book signing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Sarasota Coastal Credit Union, 3000 Bee Ridge Road. The book signing is free to the public.

- January Holmes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free Pancakes Tuesday!

Nothing says lovin' like free breakfast. Did you know that Tuesday is IHOP's National Pancake Day Celebration? Guests will receive a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. In return, IHOP is hoping guests will make a contribution to the restaurant's Children's Miracle Network fund. IHOP hopes to raise $1 million for the effort, helping children's hopitals and other charities across the nation.

Pancake Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, ushers in the season of Lent. Centuries ago in England during this time people fasted from dairy products. So pancakes were made to use up remaining dairy supplies before the 40-day period.

Head to the nearest IHOP tomorrow for a free stack of pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. And, if you can, donate a few bucks to the Children's Miracle Network.

For more information, visit

- January Holmes

Oscar fashions

I'm not that big on award shows. But a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting curiously on my couch glued to the Golden Globes. I even got into a Facebook discussion with friends on what was going on with Renee Zellweger's Adams Family-like outfit and hair. It was so morbid for her.

So last night, I decide to tune into the Academy Awards - at least for a little while. It didn't seem as exciting as the Golden Globes. Plus, there was no dreary dress surprises either. In fact, everyone was pretty conservative with many sporting an old-Hollywood look to their attire. There were many mermaid-style dresses on the carpet. I couldn't figure out if this was a good or bad thing. Nearly everybody made the look glamorous to some degree.

My favorite dress of the evening was Meryl Streep's simple but lovely grey number. No mermaid look there.

I didn't really have a least favorite. But if I had to pick it would be Angelina Jolie's black sleeveless dress. Though it was nice, I found it rather boring on her. As if the dress itself didn't want to be there.

- January Holmes

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two free theater events

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training students is hosting two free Late Night Series events Sunday and Monday. Anyone who loves theater should attend. Both events will be held in the Cook Theatre at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. No reservations are needed.

The first event is "Breathe" by Javon Johnson, 10 p.m. Sunday. It will be performed as a staged reading.

The play "was inspired by all of the senseless crimes and the innocent victims whose meaningful lives have been taken ... and the ever-looming question of who's responsible," explains Johnson, a protégé of the late August Wilson. "This play is an attempt to recognize that all crimes are a result of the human condition and that maybe the cure lies not in 'drive-bys in the hood' or school shootings in the suburbs' but in stripping ourselves free of the social prejudices that won't allow us to see past the fence to our neighbor's house to see we both seek shelter under the same roof ... survival."

The second is "Poetry Mix-Tape," 8 p.m. Monday. It features an evening of "grab-bag" poetry.

- January Holmes

Thursday, February 19, 2009


During the run of the baseball-inspired musical "Damn Yankees" at the Manatee Players, there will be a chance for you to win big. We mean big as in tickets to one of the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training games along with special Pirate memorabilia.

For a chance to win, attend one of the "Damn Yankees" shows, pick up a program and look for imprints of Lola's kisses throughout. Count up the kisses and send your tally to the Manatee Players. There will be a drawing for the prize with the winner announced here on the Buzz Worthy blog March 16.

For more information, call 748-0111.

-January Holmes

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentines for Veterans

There's a special concert Thursday at Tampa's Ford Amphitheater/Florida State Fairgrounds to honor of both Valentines Day and next week's National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week. It's call Valentines for Veterans, and the best part is the event is free to the public. An estimated 5,000 is expected to show up for the event.

The two bands performing are the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Little Anthony and The Imperials along with The Spinners.

Little Anthony and The Imperials are known for songs such as "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop" and "The Girl from Ipanema." The Spinners hits include "The Rubberband Man" and "Working My Way Back to You."

Be sure to get there early to get a good seat! The concert is tomorrow at 6 p.m.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Call for one-minute plays

The Eclectic Theatre Company, founded by Sarasota Players artist director Jeffery Kin, is winding up its watch for the annual Got A Minute one-minute play festival. The festival is slated for Sept. 4-6 with local talent producing selected plays.

One-minute play submissions are being accepted through June 1. Send them to This year's theme is "Overcoming Adversity."

Got A Minute benefits the American Cancer Society's efforts for breast cancer research. Last year, the festival raised $25,000.

For more information, visit
- January Holmes

Monday, February 9, 2009

Banyah Theater Company season

Just in case you miss it, here is the 2009 Banyan Theater Company's season:

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh, June 25-July 12 - Maureen Folan, a 40-year-old spinster, is the sole caregiver to her 70-year-old selfish, manipulative mother Mag. While her sisters have escaped into marriage and family life, Maureen, who has a history of mental illness, is trapped in a tiny cottage and a co-dependent, dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Maureen’s hopes are raised when the glimmer of a last-chance romance with a construction worker sparks up. Full of secrets, betrayals and surprises, this exciting blend of uproarious comedy, grand melodrama and bleak tragedy is a dramatic tour-de-force that will take audiences on an emotional roller coaster. Gil Lazier will direct The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which features actresses Jessica K. Peterson and Lisa Morgan.

Old Wicked Songs by Jon Marans, July 16-August 2 - Viennese Music Professor Josef Mashkan takes on a new student, the brash young American Stephen Hoffman. A piano prodigy whose concert career is suffering from severe burnout, Stephen thinks he will be addressing his performance problems with Professor Schiller and is dismayed to learn he must first study singing with Mashkan. His course of study is to be Schumann's magnificent Dichterliebe, 16 songs based on Heinrich Heine’s poems about love and loss. Mashkan’s denigration of Jewish culture further increases the tensions between the two men and they struggle to find common ground. As each man is forced to reveal his deepest secrets, a tale of loss and redemption unfolds, and the two generations begin to understand where life and fate have led them. Playwright Jon Marans will direct; cast includes Peter Thomasson.

Fat Pig by Neil LaBute, August 6-August 23 - Life is good for Tom. He’s successful at work, has some great friends, and a fantastic new girlfriend who is big and beautiful. He loves her, and that’s what counts. Isn’t it? When Tom’s office buddies and ex-girlfriend find out that he is seeing Helen, a “plus size” woman, it’s not long before the whispers and mockery turn to relationship sabotage, leading Tom to question if size does matter after all. Neil LaBute’s hit comedy (don’t let the title fool you) is a biting story of love and friendship, and a profound examination of the cultural influences that define “attractive” in our society. Fat Pig will be directed by Greg Leaming; Broadway actress Margot Moreland will play Helen.

New Play Reading series
The Banyan Theater Company will also be producing a professionally-staged play reading series, Banyan Becoming, at the Jane B. Cook Theatre in March, with 8 p.m. performance times. Banyan Becoming will showcase new plays about historical figures written by local playwrights. Audience members will be involved with the creative process through a discussion with the playwright, the actors and director Carole Kleinberg after each performance. Tickets (general admission) cost $15 each or $40 for the series.

E.G.O.: The Passions of Eugene Gladstone O’Neill by Jo Morello, March 9 - Raised in the theater as the son of matinee idol James O'Neill, Eugene O'Neill (Christopher Swan) struggled to measure up to and ultimately surpass his father. At 29, he had a wife and son behind him and a life of playwriting ahead, complicated by struggles with alcohol, disease and “the things life has done.” E.G.O., based on facts, explores O'Neill's passion to become a great playwright as he jettisoned anything and anybody that got in his way. Featuring Carolyn Michel as Carlotta Monterey, Gabriel V. Ortiz as Jamie O’Neill and Leah Page as Agnes Boulton.

The Other Sonya by Jolene Goldenthal, March 16 - The story of the Tolstoy marriage has become a legend ... how they first met when Sonya (Ann Morrison) was very young, how they married when she was just 18 and Lev (David S. Howard) was in his 30s, and how he left her when he was old and ill, dying in a village train station while she was forced to wait outside for news of him. The Other Sonya is an imagined exploration of their meeting, their life together and their final parting - events with resonance for today. Featuring Kathryn Ohrenstein as Sonitchka.

Angelina by Susan Jones Mannino, March 23 - Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (Susan Jones Mannino) was born into a wealthy, slave-owning family in Charleston, South Carolina in 1805. An outspoken abolitionist and religious rebel, she wrote an anti-slavery treatise which was published in The Liberator, and was the first woman to speak before the Massachusetts State Legislature. Facing threats of death and imprisonment, she continued to fight for a free country for all. In this one-woman show, Angelina shares intimate memories of her personal journey from aristocratic slave owner to passionate freedom fighter.

For more information about the Banyan Theater Company, call (941) 358-5330 or e-mail

The three-play season will be performed in the Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, from June 25 through August 23, 2009. A three-show subscription costs $70, a two-show package is $52 and single tickets are $28.50. To purchase tickets, visit or call (941) 358-5330.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Locals gaining prominence

I don't know if longtime Bradenton residents will remember Jennifer O'Connor, a former Bradenton resident and Manatee High School alumnus. When she was at Manatee High about 18 years ago, she was one of the top players on the girls varsity basketball team.

Now the former high school basketball star is a rising indie singer/song writer. We are told she is touring the country, performing shows with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and Wiko and Lucinda Williams. She also has an album out under Matador Records.

For those interested in getting a look at the blossoming musician, O'Connor will be performing 8 p.m. Saturday at the New World Brewery 1313 E. 8th Ave. in Tampa.

You can check out her music by visiting

In other news, Asolo Repertory Theatre costume designer Clint Ramos will be one of several people honored at the Theatre Development Fund 2009 Irene Sharaff Awards in New York on March 27. Ramos worked on last season's "Equus" and the current production of "Winter's Tale."

Ramos will receive the Young Master Award, which is presented to an designer who has exhibited talent beyond the norm for a beginner in the field. For more information on the award recipients, visit

- January Holmes

Monday, February 2, 2009

Any college comics out there?

Are you a college student? Think you're funny? I mean laugh-out-loud funny? Then here's a chance for you to be semi-famous with your hilarity. It's RooftopComedy's second annual national college comedy competition. RooftopComedy is looking for contestants for its Stand Up and Funny Films categories.

Talent scouts will be visting 32 college campuses through March 6, looking for the funniest Stand Up comics. Any enrolled student from the schools are welcomed to compete for a slot on the school's comedy team. Once the teams are formed, each college will duke it out against regional schools in a series oflive elimination rounds to be shown on the Internet. Voting will also take place on-line. The top teams will compete in the live Web finals in Aspen, Colo. at

For the Funny Films catergory, entries of short comedy films can be submitted at by March 15. Celebrity judges and online voters will determined the finalists. You can vote by visiting the Web address too.

Rooftopcomedy will be at the University of Florida this Friday and at the University of South Florida at a time to be announced. Check the Web site for further details.

-January Holmes