Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Music event at Starbucks Saturday

Starbucks hosts another music event with The Big Green Show 5 p.m. Saturday. Performances include local bands Mystery at 5 p.m.; Little Boy Creep at 6 p.m.; Now Is Not Forever at 7 p.m.; Crash Fist Fight at 8 p.m. and Siren at 9 p.m.
The free event will be held outside of Starbucks, 5733 Manatee Ave. West.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Want to be a millionaire?

The hit show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," which inspired the blockbuster film "Slumdog Millionaire" and has attracted millions of viewers around the country, will be visiting Tampa Friday to recruit a fresh batch of contestants. Auditions will be held from 7-11 a.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive.

Those who are chosen will appear on the syndicated show, hosted by Meredith Vieira, or the special 1oth anniversary show of "Millionaire" hosted by Regis Philbin in August.

Tampa is one of six cities chosen for next season's "Millionaire," which kicks off Sept. 7.

For more information or to brush up on your "Millionaire" skills, visit

Good luck! Let us know if you make the show.

- January Holmes

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sarasota Ballet announces new season

The Sarasota Ballet recently unveiled program highlights for the upcoming season, which will feature the return of several area favorites along with new pieces.

Opening the season Oct. 23, will be the Tony Award-winning musical "Contact." This will be presented as a co-production with Asolo Repertory Theatre.

Next is one of the most beloved ballets of them all, "Giselle," which opens Nov. 27 at the Sarasota Opera House.

For the holiday season, Robert de Warren's "The Nutcracker" will return to the stage for a limited two-day run beginning Dec. 4 at the Sarasota Opera House.

A triple bill program, including a to-be-announced Sir Frederick Ashton ballet will open Jan. 29., 2010. The program also features the U.S. premiere of Matthew Bourne's "Boutique."

Peter Darrell's "Othello" makes its area debut during the troupe's next triple bill program, which opens Feb. 19, 2010. The program includes Matthew Bourne's "Infernal Galop" and a new piece by Dominic Walsh.

April's triple bill, opening April 2 at the Sarasota Opera House, will pay tribute to some of America's best choreographers. John Cranko's "Pineapple Poll" will also be performed.

The season will close, April 23, with another triple bill that includes a new world premiere and the return of last season's successful "The Rake's Progress."

Programming is subject to change. Unless otherwise noted, shows will be presented at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information or to purchase season subscription, call 359-0099 or visit

-January Holmes

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Annie" photo opt Friday

The sun will come out tomorrow for fans of the popular musical "Annie."

The national tour will roll into the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center 8 p.m. Friday in the Carol Morsani Hall. As a special treat, 11-year-old star Madison Kerth will meet and greet fans from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Friday at WestShore Plaza (250 Westshore Plaza in Tampa), center court. She'll be there with her pooch "Sandy" from the show. Bet your bottom dollar they'll be there.

Youth are encouraged to dress in red dresses and wigs so they can be just like Annie. Parents, be sure to bring the video cameras to capture the special moment.

When I was a kid, I used to read the Little Orphan Annie comics for a time. If I remember right, she was always running away a lot, trying to solve some sort of mystery from her past. And she would run into these weird-looking and often scary characters. The comic was rather strange to me. I enjoyed the more uplifting film version of "Annie" better.

This new Broadway production follows the film's hopeful storyline and has all the great songs such as "It’s the Hard-Knock Life" and the ever-popular "Tomorrow."

TBPAC will offer a special family deal for the opening night show. Purchase a full-price adult ticket and receive a free children's ticket (ages 12 and under). There will also be pre-show family-friendly fun activties. "Annie" will run various times through June 14.

The theater is at 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. For more information, visit
- January Holmes

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Upcoming Oprah comic illustrated by Bradenton resident

Heroes are enshrined in some way, shape or form.

Monuments. TV specials. Museums dedicated in their name. Comic books.

Oprah Winfrey, queen of the daytime talk show circuit - and an inspiration to millions of women - will be featured in a new comic book in Bluewater Productions' "Female Force" biography series. The series recently featured First Lady Michelle Obama, 2008 vice president nominee Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton.

The bigger news is that Bradenton resident Joshua LaBello will be illustrating the book. We did a feature story on LaBello a couple of months ago when he illustrated the Obama book, which went on to outsell both the Palin and Clinton comics.

Unlike most comic book heroes, Winfrey won't have any super powers. She won't be able to absorb cosmic energy, disintegrate harmful fat cells in unsuspecting audience members or stop people from jumping on couches. The "Female Force" series is known for highlighting the real lives of "super" women - women who have helped shape our history and culture.
The comic will depict Oprah's rise to fame and the challenges she faced along the way.

“She might not wear a cape, but she is some kind of super hero to a great many people,” Labello said. “Despite a childhood riddled with abuse and adversities, she turned her wounds into wisdom, grabbed hold of every opportunity and reached a level of success that practically redefines the term.”

Look for the comic at a comic book store near you in September.
-January Holmes

Starbucks songwriter showcase

There's nothing like sipping coffee to some cool tunes. It's the best ways to unwind after a long day. Visit one of the area's newest Starbucks from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday to experience this for yourself. Local songwriters will be performing original tunes outside the 7484 Cortez Road location in Bradenton. The evening, which is free to the public, is presented by Upside Down Puppy Productions.

- January Holmes