Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sarasota residents semifinalist in America's Hottest Culinary Couple challenge

Jonathan and Nicole Luciana-Epperson enjoy the thrill of the kitchen.

The Sarasota residents' kitchen affairs has made them one of 10 semifinalist in America's Hottest Culinary Couple, sponsored by Pyrex. They are vying for a $10,000 cash prize and $500 worth of Pyrex products that will fulfill their every cooking and baking desire. They will also get to star in an online cooking video series.

But the couple needs your vote. Jonathan and Nicole's entry video is featured with the other semifinalists. Pyrex is looking for you to pick the couple who has the best presentation, entertainment value, cooking knowledge, compatibility in the kitchen, originality and creativity.

The local couple has some fierce competition, though. Visit http://www.americashottestculinarycouple.com/index.asp?pageId=14&vId=10 to vote for the best one. If they land in the top two spots, the couple will fly to New York to compete in the "Culinary Challenge" in mid-September.

Exciting, hu?

Voting is through Friday. Best of luck to our local couple!

- January Holmes

It's not "hot" enough

Drive past the Manatee Players current home and you'll see a big "thermometer" sign hanging from the side of its Riverfront Theater. The sign will keep track of the troupe's capital campaign fundraising program for its state-of-the-art theater, just blocks away on Third Avenue West. Money is needed to help complete the building. As more fundraising dollars come in, the thermometer will rise.

If you would like to see it keep rising, contact Janene Witham, capital development director at 749-1111 for details on how you can help.

- January Holmes

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Got A Minute?" entertaining play benefit

It was sorta like "Saturday Night Live," with each skit running only a minute long.

That was the atmosphere on stage during the fifth anniversary of "Got A Minute?" - the 60-second play festival at the Players Theatre this past weekend. The event raised funds for cancer research, featuring a silent auction, drawings for great prizes and an assortment of plays.

Though I've previewed the event on and off during the past few years, I have never had the opportunity to attend it. When artistic director Jeff Kin said "January, you gotta come" - as he tells me every year, I decided to finally take him up on it.

The play festival featured a variety of plays - each a minute long - submitted from around the globe. For the fifth anniversary, the best plays from the past four years were presented along with new ones for this year's event. Some focused on cancer, others were comic situations, songs and dance. Then were some featuring bathroom humor - one of favorites being the two guys in the stalls chatting. One guy kept asking strange questions that the guy in the stall next to him would answer until things got too personal. Come to find out the man was actually talking to someone on his cell phone. It was such a funny, true-to-life-moment.

A poignant 60-second play that stuck out to me was the skit with a grandma and her teenage granddaughter in the waiting room of the hospital. The granddaughter tells her grandmother she needs to stay strong during the battle with cancer. Then a nurse comes out to the patient. We find out that it's the girl who has cancer. 

The event was made successful by a lively and entertaining volunteer cast - a cast who even waded through a few cheesy skits. If you missed it this year, make plans to attend what Kin says will be a newly revamped "Got A Minute?" format. That means audiences will be in for lots more fun.

- January Holmes

Friday, August 27, 2010

See the stars on Broadway this fall with Asolo Rep

    Last season’s trip featured a private meet and greet with Tony-Award winning Hugh Jackman after his performance in 'A Steady Rain.' Pictured: Hugh Jackman with Asolo Rep Adventures tour guests.

Asolo Rep Adventures travel group will hit the road, venturing to New York City in November for a four-night getaway for the sights and sounds of Broadway. This fall's adventure includes tickets to Broadway's "La Bete" with David Hyde Pierce, three other plays and other special tours and perks.

“It’s a great way to meet other theatre lovers and make new friends while also helping to support Asolo Rep programs, said Asolo Rep Board of Directors President and Asolo Rep Adventures tour leader Susan Buck

Tickets are limited and subject to availability, as many of the shows scheduled in the tour close in January 2011; early reservations are highly recommended.

More about the tour: From Nov. 10–14, includes tickets to four plays, select meal service and accommodations. See Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice as he reprises his celebrated role of Shylock. Experience intertwining lives, relationships and 48 tumultuous hours of love, confusion and passion with Patti LuPone in the new musical version of Pedro Almovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Laugh at David Hyde Pierce as a struggling classical actor in the contemporary and satirical La BĂȘte. Be one of the first to see the acclaimed London production The Pitmen Painters, written by Tony Award-winner Lee Hall who wrote the book and lyrics for Billy Elliot The Musical. This new play, which won the 2008 Evening Standard Award for Best Play and features the original London cast, is based on the true story of a group of miners who become artists. Travelers may also choose the option of seeing the Radio City Yuletide Spectacular with the world-famous Rockettes.

Accommodations/Meals: Four nights at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in the heart of Times Square and within walking distance to Broadway theatres and Fifth Avenue shopping. Daily continental breakfast, and wine and hors d’oeuvres in the Tower’s private lounge (three evenings) gives Asolo Rep’s guests the opportunity to meet and mingle.

Special Events/Tours: A behind-the-scenes tour of the Lincoln Center followed by lunch at Lincoln, an elegant glass-enclosed pavilion overlooking the reflecting pool and Henry Moore sculpture; and a special private wine and cheese reception.

Information and pricing: Patricia at Patricia_Horne@asolo.org or 941-351-9010 ext. 4708

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sarasota film office launches TV idea contest

Got an idea for a TV show? The Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office wants to know. It has developed a new contest called "TV Me!" to seek out fresh ideas for television.

Grand prize for the contest: A trip to LA to pitch your idea to industry professionals.

“There is no other contest quite like this,” said Jeanne Corcoran, director of the SCFEO. “Unlike ordinary competitions that require full-length scripts for television, screenplays for movies, or manuscripts for novels, our competition accepts only short (five-to-15-page) ‘pitches’ of a concept for television programming. It’s like a fast and forceful ‘elevator pitch’ where you give the most powerful and concise summary possible.”

Concepts with a Florida-based twist get extra points in the contest, but storylines can venture far beyond the community. The contest is open to U.S. citizens ages 18 and up. Additional prizes will be given for other noteworthy concepts. Look for my story on this in the coming days via the Bradenton Herald.

In the meantime, here's what you need to know about the contest:

Individuals as well as creative teams may compete for awards and prizes in three categories:

• scripted series (from comedy to drama, animated to children’s programs, science fiction to hybrids and other genres of recurring and/or series television),

• unscripted/partially scripted (reality programs, game shows, demonstration/training programs such as cooking, crafts, skills, documentary, interview and investigative programs, etc.), and

• one-offs (single standalone programs such as an award or sporting event, a movie-of-the-week, a special televised gala, benefit, tribute, fundraiser, concert, staged performance, etc.).

Contestants will pay for entries via an online form and then submit concepts via email. No hard copies of submissions will be accepted. Entry fees range from $15 to $30 per concept, depending on date of submittal. Information: http://www.filmsarasota.com/.

- January Holmes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Get paid to sing!

Sarasota's vocal chamber ensemble, known as Gloria Musicae, will hold its annual auditions Saturday through Monday. The auditions are for paid singing positions for classically trained sopranos, altos, tenors and bases.

Contact Gloria Musicae executive director Steven Falk at 706-2459 or email GloriaMusicae@StevenFalk.com to set up an appointment or get more info.

Here's what you need to know about the audition:

Singers should be prepared to sing two works in two different languages, sight-read and perform vocal exercises, and are asked to bring or email an updated music bio that includes works performed in recent years.

Singers wishing to audition for these paid singing positions (singers are paid for both rehearsals and performances) should possess good voices, good reading ability, and a strong interest in participating enthusiastically. Rehearsals are held throughout the season on Monday evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Concerts in the 2010-2011 season will include: “Rolling in the Aisles,” on October 24, 2010; a holiday Christmas concert on December 6, 2010; The Mozart Requiem on April 13, 2011; a Star-Spangled 4th of July concert on July 4, 2011; and other various fundraising and educational concerts throughout the year.

Win tickets, prizes to Ringling Fest

The Ringling International Arts Festival is giving away special prizes to its Facebook fans. Winners will be drawn at random every 50th time someone clicks the "Like" button on the festival's fan page.

The prizes feature museum tickets, festival passes and gift certificates to Treviso Restaurant. The grand prize package consists of an assortment of tickets to various festival events, including the champagne toast and post performance gala and two nights at the Hyatt Place Hotel.

The Ringling International Arts Festival is slated for Oct. 13-17.

Find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RinglingArtsFestival

- January Holmes

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marauders bobblehead day!

Get your peanuts, hotdogs, Crackerjacks and . . . bobbleheads!?

The Bradenton Marauders will mix bobbleheads with baseball Friday night at McKechnie Field. The first 500 attendees at the 6 p.m. game will get a free Marauders mascot bobblehead. Gates open at 5 p.m. The Marauders will play the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays) for a three-game series.

If you get there early, enjoy live music by the local band Yesterdayze from 5 to 5:45 p.m.. There will be drink specials at $1 on drafts and Pepsi products until game time.

- January Holmes

Monday, August 23, 2010

One-man Star Wars, James Barbour and more during Asolo Rep's new series

If you can't get enough of theater this season, you'll definitely want to catch Asolo Rep's new "Extras" series. The series features special performances of music events, such as James Barbour Holiday concert, to laugh-out-loud stage attractions such as "The Passion of the Crawford" - about the Joan Crawford and her fascination with celebrity. Then there are shows like the sure-to-be-hit "One-Man Star Wars." That's right, one man will take audiences through the original Star Wars trilogy - light sabers, death stars, Chewbacca and all that comes with it.

Here's a complete list of Asolo Rep's Extras series

DEC. 21–22, 2010, 8 p.m.

James Barbour brings his Holiday Concert straight from New York for only two performances! Light
up your holidays with timeless selections like the “12 Days of Christmas, O Holy Night, Believe, and "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Barbour received Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Actor in a Musical for his critically acclaimed Broadway run in A Tale of Two Cities, playing Sydney Carton. (In The Mertz Theatre) $45--$60

DEC. 28–29, 2010, 5 & 8 p.m.

Writer/performer Charles Ross spent much of his childhood (and adulthood) in a galaxy far, far away. This high-energy, 75-minute piece takes you on a theatrical adventure at warp speed through the Star Wars trilogy, all performed by one man. Using body, voice and movement, Charles Ross plays all the characters, recreates the effects and music, flies the ships and fights both sides of the battles. It’s a thoroughly entertaining cosmic experience! (Historic Asolo Theater) $28–$40

VALENTINES DAY, FEB. 14, 2011, 8 p.m.

Real life sweethearts and superb Broadway duo Barbra Russell and Ron Sharpe perform the best of Broadway’s music. From Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy to the classical Broadway hits from West Side Story, Carousel, Les Miserables, Phantom and A Tale of Two Cities; plus, modern Broadway shows like The Spelling Bee and Avenue Q. Barbra and Ron perform this Valentines Day concert with special guests–their very talented children. (In The Mertz Theatre) $40--$60

APRIL 17–18, 2011, 4 and 8 p.m.

The Second City has been rocking audiences with laughter for years; now they take on the Asolo Rep mainstage with 90 minutes of non stop hilarity. Fair & Unbalanced takes unbridled comic pleasure in the foibles of our politicians, celebrities and even our significant others. No institution escapes the satiric eye of The Second City – from the blowhards of the Beltway to the Hollywood elite. Ripped from the stages of Second City's legendary theatres in Chicago and Toronto, Fair & Unbalanced is a riotous ride through present day America. (In The Mertz Theatre) $22--$40

MAY 9, 2011, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Utilizing almost entirely recorded sound bytes made with the participation of Joan Crawford, The Passion of the Crawford is not merely a Joan Crawford impersonation, but a fantasia on the persona of Miss Crawford. Lypsinka (the female brainchild of actor/writer John Epperson) and a guest actor reproduce interviews and speeches given by Crawford, in a humorous performance about the refraction of celebrity and the addiction to fame. The controversial, beloved and enormously contradictory 20th century star Joan Crawford, in all her fascination and complexities, is the centerpiece of this unique show, created by John Epperson and directed by Kevin Malony. (In The Mertz Theatre) $30--$55
Tickets will be available to subscribers and donors on Oct. 4 and to the general public on Oct. 18. Presale event is set for 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at http://www.asolorep.org/. Group discounts available. For more information, call 351-8000 or visit the Web site.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

High-wire stuntman Nik Wallenda to perform at St. Armands Friday

Nik "King of the High Wire" Wallenda will be at it again Friday. The daredevil aerialist will perform a death-defying stunt with his wife, Erendira, 75 feet above St. Armands Circle at 6 p.m. tomorrow. The couple will be on two slender sway-poles performing acrobatics, a mid-air "exchange" and then a free-fall to the ground - head first.

Wallenda comes from a long line of aerial daredevils. He helped kicked off Circus Sarasota's season earlier this year with a high-wire walk between the Ritz Carlton Hotel and One Watergate Condominium.

Tomorrow's stunt will be for a TV special featured on the Discovery Channel. After the performance, the Wallendas will sign autographs for donations as a way to raise funds for All Children's Hospital. If weather is bad, the rain day for the event will be 6 p.m. Saturday.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Friends" actress comes to town

Remember that crazy character on "Friends" who dated Chandler? Well, she's coming to Bradenton next week for a special benefit called "A Conversation with a 'Friend.'"

Actress Maggie Wheeler - also known for guest spots on "Everybody Loves Raymond" "The X-Files" and "How I Met Your Mother" - will talk about her celebrity life and latest adventures 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in Braden River High School's auditorium. Part of the proceeds will benefit 11-year-old Lakewood Ranch resident Rachael Jaworski's medical expenses. Jaworski has been diagnosed with AVM - arterial venous malformation. It is a rare condition caused when a group of veins and arteries tangle and rupture. I just spoke with Jaworski's mom, Wendy, who said her daughter still has a long way to go in recovery but has improved.

I'll be writing more on Rachael and Wheeler for a future story in the Herald to preview the event. In the meantime, tickets for Wheeler's appearance are $10 general admission, $15 for autographed head shot and admission and $60 for a VIP pass, which includes a goodie bag, a personalized head shot and CD, plus a meet and greet with Wheeler after the show. Tickets are available at Little Bookworms, 8111 Lakewood Main Street, Suite 103, Bradenton. For more information, call 907-3808.

- January Holmes

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harry Potter park best attraction in 2010

This just in: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" has been named "Best New Theme Park Attraction" in 2010 by voters at Theme Park Insider. The park has only been open at Universal Orlando for a short time which makes the honor extra special. Watch the video to see what folks are saying about it.

- January Holmes

Save the date for Perlman Music Program Winter Residency

 PMP faculty member, John Root (on piano), performing with student musician during The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast’s 2010 season; photo by David Klein, M.D.

If you enjoy the sounds of young musical geniuses at work, don't miss the seventh annual Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency. The two-week program, led by world renowned concert violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby, has been set for Dec. 28-Jan. 8. It will feature the talents of international students ages 12 and up performing their master skills on the violin, viola, cello and bass.

The winter residency includes nearly 20 free events open to the public that range from orchestra and chorus rehearsals to master classes and works-in-progress recitals. Many of them will be held outside in a heated tent on the campus of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Free tickets will be available at the USF Sarasota-Manatee Rotunda Dec. 1.

The winter residency will conclude with a "Celebration Concert and Gala" at the Sarasota Opera House. The popular gala event is also open to the public with tickets $35-$500. Tickets for the gala will go on sale Oct. 15 at the Sarasota Opera House.

For more information, call 350-2338 or visit http://www.perlmanmusicprogramsuncoast.org/.

- January Holmes

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School Party - for grown ups

School is just around the corner and the Polo Bar and Lounge in Lakewood Ranch plans to celebrate with a back-to-school party just for the parents.

What better way to celebrate your kids going back to school than with a party, right?

The fun will take place 8 p.m. Aug. 14. Jonathan Cortez will sing the hits of the 1980s and 90s, bringing memories of your very own school days back in the day. Happy hour specials will available through the night. And if you come to the party before it starts, the restaurant will give you 20 percent off dinner.

For reservations or more information contact Eric Hale, Polo Grill General Manager, at 782-0899 x224 or via e-mail at eric@pologrillandbar.com.

One more thing. There will be a best-dressed contest. Though it has been a few years since you were a student, if you come dressed in your best back to school wear - plaid skirts, knee socks, and suspenders - you might win a special prize.

The Polo Grill is at 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
- January Holmes

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Diana Krall comes to Van Wezel/ tix on sale this weekend

Guess who's coming to the Van Wezel this season? Diana Krall, songbird extraordinaire. She'll be performing at the Van Wezel 8 p.m. Nov. 20. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Here's more about her from the Van Wezel:

Known for her familiar breathy vocals and rhythmic lilt style music, the award-winning pianist, singer and songwriter continues to wow audiences and critics around the Globe. Her career exploded when she won a GRAMMY for best jazz vocal, “When I Look in Your Eyes,” followed by “The Look of Love,” her No. 1 best seller and five-time platinum album, “The Girl in the Other Room,” boosting her 15-year career to an all-time plateau. Her new album, “Quiet Nights” with a Brazilian, bossa nova style, which she will also feature on stage, includes such greats as “The Boy from Ipanema,” “Walk on By,” “Too Marvelous for Words,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,” and many more.

Krall, at the age of 43, has experience in her favor. Born in Nanaimo, Canada, to a musical family, she grew up absorbing music that guided her future growth. She attended Berklee School of Music in the early ‘80’s, the moved to Los Angeles where she continued her studies with bassists Ray Brown and John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and pianist Jimmy Rowles; Rowles convinced the young pianist to focus on her singing as well. By 1990, Krall relocated to New York City and began performing with a trio, and in 1993, she released her debut album on a small Canadian independent label.

Fifteen years later, she looks back on a stellar career path, in the interim co-writing tunes with her husband Elvis Costello and her 2006 album From This Moment On was an upbeat, critical success that coincided with the birth of her twin sons- a life-affirming event that has enhanced Krall’s continuing growth as a musician. As moving as Quiet Nights is-deriving from Krall’s feelings for Brazil and bossa novas-the singer is not shy in admitting that its sensuality is as much about her home life. “It’s my love letter to my husband-just an intimate, romantic album.” As they say in Rio- obrigado!

Ticket prices range from $30 to $115. For more information and to buy tickets, contact the Van Wezel Box office at (941) 953-3368 (SPECIAL BOX OFFICE HOURS SAT. AUG. 14 10AM-3PM) or log onto www.vanwezel.org.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Call to artists - more public art in store

On Sunday, my column will highlight a new public art project for Old Main Street - sculpture bike racks.

That's right. It's art with a purpose.

For local artists interested in the project, here's some the info you'll need to know from the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority:



Creativity: High quality design and artistic creativity

Sensitivity to urban setting:

• Relationship to the urban core character of Old Main St, downtown Bradenton

• does not impede pedestrian flow on sidewalks and keeps right‐of‐ways in compliance with ADA


• The City and Community desire to retain and enhance the pedestrian/bicycle orientation of Old

Main St. public art should relate to the pedestrian/bike rider experience of the street.


• Able to support and lock up at least two bikes securely and without damaging the bikes

• Low maintenance and high durability in the Florida environment.

Safety Some of the technical design features for a successful sculpture/bike rack are:

o No sharp edges.

o To be detected by a white cane, the protruding or leading edge of the rack shall be 27" or less above the

sidewalk surface.

o The top of the bike rack design must be a minimum of 36" tall.

o Except for the bike rack supporting brackets, the shortest section of the bike rack must be a minimum of

27" tall—enough to be perceived by pedestrians and avoid tripping hazards.

o The space between rack features must be larger than 9" and smaller than 3.5" to avoid the potential for

children trapping their heads.

Go to: www.ddabradenton.com to view pictures of available bike rack locations

DEADLINE: September15, 2010

Inquiries: awykell@ddabradenton.com
Find a COMPLETE list of guidelines at www.ddabradenton.com

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SOMA bash this weekend

There's a block party this weekend in the Old Manatee district from 2-8 p.m. Sunday. The event? SOMA Bash - meaning "South of Manatee Avenue" Bash. The occasion? SOMA - the restaurant owned by chef Dave Shiplett - is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

The party, held in the parking lot of Central Cafe (between Manatee Avenue and Sixth Avenue West), will feature live music, food from local restaurants, art, a car show, a VIP lounge and plenty of activities for children.

Live music includes:

2-3 p.m. Pushing Broom

3-4 p.m. Rixon

4-5 p.m. Sheri and the Vision

5-6 p.m. Assuming Tomorrow

6-8 p.m. National Recording Artist Jimmy Reagan

Also: John Lawler in SoMa' s VIP chill lounge; Matt Brown in Manatee Central Banquet Hall; Kara Nally upstairs.

Admission is free. Proceeds collected from the bash will benefit Family Resources, Inc - a downtown Bradenton non-profit agency serving youth and families in Manatee County.
The event is rain or shine.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teens needed for "Sound of Music"

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is holding teenage auditions for its upcoming show "The Sound of Music" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The audition is open to teens ages 14-17. Boys should be prepared to sing "Do Re Mi"; Girls, ""Climb Ev'ry Mountain."

Teens selected will appear in two to three scenes in multiple roles. The roles are not the Von Trapp children, though. Selected teens will need to be available for rehearsals Aug. 18-20.

The musical, now on tour, will play at the Tampa venue Aug. 20-22. This is a volunteer opportunity only.

Please RSVP for an audition time at (813) 222-6453.

- January Holmes

Monday, August 2, 2010

Teen concert at art center this weekend

ArtCenter Manatee is hosting a Summer Concert Night from 6-10 p.m. Friday.

The event, organized by 13-year-old Michael Moran, is for teens by teens. Featured will be six Bradenton-based teen rock bands. The lineup includes: Adaliah, White Noise Reverie, Forever Hold Your Peace, Our Silence Will Be Heard, A Prophecy and Take Him to the Skies.

Tickets are $5 in advance; $7 at the door.

- January Holmes