Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book Talk Thursday

Sarasota News and Books presents a book talk on the Israel/Palestine conflict 6:30 p.m. April 30. Constance Hammond, author of "Shalom/Salaam/Peace: A Liberation Theology of Hope," will speak.

Hammond is a professor at Marylhurst University in Oregon.
Here's some info on her book:

From the first chapter’s overview of the historical, scriptural and theological rationale for the present situation in Israel/Palestine, the author leads us through the realities of life in Israel/Palestine with its politics, wars, security wall, settlements and ongoing struggles between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The ownership of land, water rights, human rights and religious rights are among the main issues that weave through this book---a book which is about two peoples and three religions struggling for their very survival. Lifted up for us are examples of key figures who are promoting peace and justice---some at the cost of their lives.

The second chapter offers Liberation Theology as a viable way to bring peace in Israeli/Palestinian. The indigenous Christian community in Israel/Palestine (which has been reduced to a minority of between one to two percent) is lifted up as a people of hope for the area. With the ongoing violence from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), who routinely bulldoze homes and make air attacks upon civilians while searching for terrorists, and the extremist Palestinian Muslims who have bombed buses, cafes and markets in their suicide bombings, the Palestinian Christians are the only ones who have not yet resorted to violence. They have managed to maintain a non-violent stance, out of their faith base, as they have been forced out of their homes and villages and towns and cities and had restrictions imposed upon them by the Israeli government.

For more information, call 365-6332.

FSU Playwright Fest

Mark your calendar. A week from today - that's 7 p.m. May 6 - FSU/Asolo Conservatory will present its annual FSU Playwrights Festival. The event will be held in the Historic Asolo Theatre. Featured will be six ten-minute plays read by conservatory students. The plays are original works from six graduate students at the Tallahassee campus.

The event is free. The theater is at 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. Ring 351-8000 for more info.

- January Holmes

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tweet an opera plot for international contest

Twitter fans will get a chance to challenge their tweeting genius in an international contest called OperaPlot.

The contest begins today and continues through midnight Sunday. Three winners will be selected by internationally renowned soprano Danielle De Niese.

Game rules: Summarize an opera plot of your choice in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Be sure to put the hashtag, #operaplot.

If you need inspiration here's last year's winning entry - a synopsis of Puccini's "La boheme":

"Seamstress pals around with bohemians in a December-May affair Receives muff as parting gift."

More than 20 opera companies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada are offering special prize packages to winners. The Sarasota Opera is also involved, giving away two stellar seats to a performance.

OperaPlot was conceived by Marcia Adair, aka "Miss Mussel." Adair is a Canadian freelance classical music journalist.

For more contest information, visit

Good luck!

- January Holmes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Manatee Players blogging and serving up awards

For those readers who like to travel the blogosphere, there's a new blog in town hosted by the Manatee Players. Get their latest updates and behind-the-scenes features here:

Speaking of the Manatee Players, the troupe hosted its annual Volunteer Luncheon and awards last night. More than 120 volunteers attended the event, enjoying food cooked by artistic director Rick Kerby.

Awards presented included:
2009 Volunteer of the Year-Sandy Najmy
2009 Teen Volunteer of the Year-Jordan Seward
2009 Front of House Volunteer of the Year-Cathy Brown
2009 Office Volunteer of the Year-Lillian Pizzo
2009 Backstage Volunteer of the Year-Paige Johnson
Special awards went to Mam'selles, Manateens and Easter Seals for their contribution of volunteers throughout the season.

If interested in becoming a volunteer, call 748-5875. More than 400 area residents donate their free time at the theater.

(Pictured is teen volunteer of the year Jordan Seward with Manatee Players production manager Kristin Ribble.)
- January Holmes

Monday, April 20, 2009

The scoop on free ice cream Tuesday

Did you know that tomorrow marks the 30th annual Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day? That's right. On Tuesday, head to the nearest Ben & Jerry store (which would be at 372 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota) for a free scoop of ice cream. More than two million free cones will be given away world wide. During the day, the store will unveil its newest flavor: Chocolate Macadamia, with Fair Trade vanilla, Fair Trade chocolate and sustainably-harvested macadamia nuts.

Here's the scoop:
“Our newest Fair Trade flavor is made with ingredients from all over the world. That provides social, economic and environmental benefits to the local communities they’re sourced from,” said Rick Almarode, owner/manager of Sarasota's B&J. “It proves that thirty years later we can continue to make progressive, business-based decisions that are good for the growers and their communities, as well as the belly and soul."


-January Holmes

Shakespeare Lite: great taste, less filling.

Join the FSU/ Asolo Conservatory as it presents the first of three "Shakespeare Lite" segments, beginning 8 p.m. today. The segments are 45 minutes each, featuring a small cast of Conservatory students and directors performing Shakespeare's works in and around the FSU Center for the Preforming Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Presented will be "The Tempest" directed by Anne Towns in the Main Rehearsal Hall.

Following is "Julius Caesar" at 6 p.m. April 27 at the Mertz Loading Dock (northwest corner of the building) and "Much Ado About Nothing" at 8 p.m. April 27 in the lobby of Mertz Theatre.

"Shakespeare Lite" is part of the Late Night event series. The shows are free to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Support local theater

The Asolo Repertory Theatre is hosting a college night 8 p.m. today for "The Winter's Tale."
Show up at 7:30 p.m. to hear a brief introduction on Shakespearean language in the show. The Asolo has modernized the Shakespeare play by setting it in the 1950s and 60s. Tickets are $10 for college students with IDs. Stay after the show for a talk back and free beer.

The theater is at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Speaking of Sarasota, the Players Theatre will host a car wash and bake sale 2-4 p.m. Wednesday for its next show "Smile, The Beauty Pageant Musical." The musical opens April 16. Address: 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Bradenton's homegrown local theater, the Manatee Players, will open "Smokey Joe's Cafe" 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Address: 102 Old Main Street, Bradenton. For more info on the show, check out our Weekend section Thursday.

- January Holmes

Monday, April 6, 2009

Film Festival Winners announced

Here's a round-up of film winners during the 11th annual Sarasota Film Festival, which ended Sunday.

The Sarasota Film Festival, in partnership with the companies Film Movement and First Run Features, presented our very first feature film competitions that carry distribution prizes. The eight films in the Best Documentary Competition competed for a US Distribution deal with First Run Features, the acclaimed North American distributor of daring independent, foreign and non-fiction films. The Best Narrative Feature winner will receive an offer for US Distribution from Film Movement, the full-service North American distributor of critically acclaimed and award-winning independent and foreign films.

The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award, Presented by Film Movement and BAMcinematek was presented by Film Movement’s Rebeca Conget and Richard Schiff to – The Maid directed by Sebasti├ín Silva.

Special Jury Prize – Children of Invention directed by Tze Chun.

Special Jury Prize for Cinematography - Nurse. Fighter. Boy directed by Charles Officer, with cinematography by Steve Cosens.

The winning film receives a DVD/VOD/Educational/Television and "first look" theatrical offer from Film Movement. In addition, the film will be screened in New York at BAMcinematek, presented by the Sarasota Film Festival and Film Movement. The Jury for the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award, presented by Film Movement and BAMcinematek includes: Rebeca Conget, Film Movement; Adley Gartenstein, Film Movement; and Mike Maggiore, Film Forum.

The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Documentary Feature Award, Presented by First Run Features
was presented by First Run Features’ Marc Mauceri and Steve Buscemi to - Winnebago Man directed by Ben Steinbauer.

Special Jury Prize for Cinematography - Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be The Same directed and shot by Jody Lee Lipes.

The winning film receives a DVD/VOD/Educational/Television and "first look" theatrical offer from First Run Features, and a screening in the Fall 2009 “Stranger Than Fiction” line-up, held at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Jury members for the SFF documentary competition include: Florence Almozini, BAMcinematek; Karina Longworth,; Marc Mauceri, First Run Features.

The ­2009 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Awards­ were also presented at the event. The audience awards were presented by Cinetic Rights Management’s Matt Dentler and SFF Programmer Holly Herrick.

2009 Audience Award For Best Narrative Feature - That Evening Sun directed by Scott Teems.

2009 Audience Award For Best Documentary Feature - Over The Hills And Far Away directed by Michel O. Scott.

2009 Audience Award For Best In World Cinema - Nurse. Fighter. Boy directed by Charles Officer.

The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film will receive a standard Cinetic Rights Management offer for VOD from CRM. - Second Guessing Grandma directed by Bob Giraldi.

In addition to the current partnerships with Film Movement, First Run Features and Cinetic Rights Media, the Sarasota Film Festival is partnering with Indiepix as the Official DVD and Download Partner of the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival. The Sarasota Film Festival website has launched an online DVD store hosted by Indiepix. DVDs of Official Selections from past Sarasota Film Festivals will be available for purchase on the site, as well as films recommended by the festival.

Save the date: The 12 annual Sarasota Film Festival is set for April 9-18, 2010.