Friday, April 30, 2010

Golden Apple slashes prices for "Andrews Brothers"

Special deals on Golden Apple Dinner Theatre's "The Andrews Brothers." Here's what they are offering:

For the month of May only:
We are slashing prices across the board…what was once a $43.00 ticket is now $39.00.

In addition, the Golden Apple will offer a limited supply of RUSH tickets for $25 which will be available for purchase for each performance from Noon to 5:00pm the day of the performance. All tickets include dinner and show. No beverages or tips are included. Call the Box Office at 941-366-5454 for the special RUSH ticket price.

About "THE ANDREWS BROTHERS": A screwball comedy set on an island in the South Pacific in 1945. Three soldiers find themselves giving the performance of a lifetime when a certain singing trio of siblings fails to arrive at their USO gig. Featuring the hits: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Mairzy Doats, Slow Boat to China, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive, Rum & Coca Cola, Three Little Sisters, Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree, and many more! For reservations or further information please call the Golden Apple box office, (941) 366-5454, or visit the Web site at

A funky assortment of art

What is it?” I asked ArtCenter Manatee volunteer Barbara Saunders.

Whatever you want it to be,” she said like a magical fairy godmother.

We were at the art center, hovering over what looked like a blank roulette wheel sitting on a pedestal. Saunders said the Ray Melinder piece could be a fountain or some sort of a baptismal font.

All we really knew was that it looked funky — artsy funky. It was a fitting work for ArtCenter Manatee’s latest exhibition, “Fabulous Funky Furniture.” The exhibition is one of three featured at the center this month.

Find out more about my visit to the ArtCenter as it prepared for its latest exhibition in Sunday's Bradenton Herald.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ginger Rogers film series at Ringling

As the Asolo Repertory Theatre prepares its stage for "Backwards in High Heels: The Ginger Musical," which is based on Ginger Rogers, the Ringling Museum is gearing up for a special film series on the dancer/actress. Here are details below:

In celebration of the May 7th opening of the Asolo Rep production of "BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS the Ginger musical," The Ringling Museum of Art is hosting a Ginger Rogers Film Festival from May 4–7.

The films are showing at the Historic Asolo Theater in the Ringling Museum, and the live musical production, BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS: THE GINGER MUSICAL, is playing on the Asolo Rep mainstage in the performing arts center.

Film tickets are $6; call 941-360-7399.

See the movie, and then take your ticket stub to the Asolo Rep box office for $6 off the price of "Backwards in High Heels: the Ginger musical." Call 941-351-8000 for more information.

TOP HAT – 7 p.m. MAY 4
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball
RKO, directed by Mark Sandrich
B&W, not rated, 94 mins. 1935
Classic Fred & Ginger movie has it all: love at first sight, mistaken identity, dancing ‘cheek to cheek’ and boy wins girl’s heart in the end!

Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
Universal, directed by Mitchell Leisen
B&W not rated, 100 mins. 1944
One of the most elaborate musicals ever made. A successful fashion editor has a puzzling subconscious block toward men.

Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
Universal, directed by Billy Wilder
B&W, not rated, 100 mins. 1942
Billy Wilder’s first film. A career woman poses as a12-year-old girl to save on train fare, then must continue the masquerade at a boys’ military academy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Highway exhibit dazzles

Recently, I had the opportunity to do something I’ve never done before — look at Florida Highwaymen art up close and personal.

I was so amazed by the dazzling colors of the landscapes — the way the sunlight in those portraits illuminated the various scenes as if a piece of the actual sun was hidden somewhere underneath the vibrant paint.

Sure, I’ve seen pictures online and on postcards, but never in person. The paintings are records of the lush images of old Florida, depicted in a way that can only be truly appreciated in person. So it was a treat to see the artwork of Mary Ann Carroll, the sole Highwaywoman of the 26 black artists in that exclusive network.

She visited Art Center Sarasota for “An Evening with Mary Ann Carroll, Chuck Gomez and Larry Helmuth.” . . .

Read more about her visit in my Sunday column. Also, save the date for another Florida Highwayman visit by R.L. Lewis - 6 to 9 p.m. May 7 at the Manatee County Alliance Gallery, 926 12th St. W., Village of the Arts, Bradenton. The exhibit will be on view through May 29. Gallery house are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call Carl Keeler, gallery director at 746-2223.

New video from We The Kings

Bradenton band We The Kings has a new video out today - "We'll Be a Dream" featuring Demi Lovato.

Their videos are quite entertaining, and this one follows suit as well. It features random pillow fighting and more. Check it out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lakewood Ranch High grabs honors at festival

Earlier this month, Lakewood Ranch High School's drama department participated in the International Thespian Society Florida State Thespian Festival in Tampa.

On the opening day of the event, the school performed the one act play "(Ab) Normal." Students also were involved in individual events for musical theater, acting and costume design. In all, the students received three Excellent ratings and four Superior ratings.

A "Critics Choice" was given for the school's performance of "Pandemonium" from "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

Also, Dane LaFemina received $2,500 from the American Heritage Musical Theatre Scholarship.

Hundreds of schools from across the state participated in this year's event and competitions, so Lakewood Ranch is pleased to have done so well. Congrats to the students that represented the school:

Julia Barrow
Tali Cohen
Megan Dehn
Cameron Helwege
Sean Knowles
Dane LaFemina
John Marano
Kelsey McGary
Laura Melo
Jessica Morrison
Carlotta Murri
Kristen Myers
Caroline Pfeiffer
Emilly Reilly
Kaitlyn Seheult
Ilana Simone
Jillian Smith
Kayla Taylor
Lucas Thompson
Kristi Todd
Rasheed Waliagha

Celebrate Earth Day, get discounts

Have way too many phone books at your home or office? You may want to make a quick trip to Tampa to recycle them today. Why? In honor of Earth Day, the St. Pete Times Forum is hosting a phone book recycling drive until 6 p.m. People who bring their phone books will receive the following goodies:

•Tampa Bay Storm – voucher valid for four tickets to a home game
•98Rockfest (April 24 at 6:30 p.m.) - $10 off all tickets
•Joel & Victoria Osteen (June 4 at 7:30 p.m.) - $5 off select plaza level tickets
•Carole King & James Taylor (June 6 at 8:00 p.m.) - $10 off select plaza level tickets
•WWE SmackDown (June 8 at 6:45 p.m.) - $5 off select plaza level tickets
•Maxwell and Jill Scott (June 15 at 7:00 p.m.) - $10 off select plaza level tickets

The St. Pete Times Forum is at 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. For more information, call (813) 301-2500.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Manatee Players volunteers of the year

Matt Voye (Volunteer of the Year) with Manatee Players board president Nina Richhardson

Mary Smith (Office Volunteer of the Year) with capital development director Janene Witham

From the Manatee Players:

The 2010 Manatee Players Volunteers of the Year were announced at a thank-you party held at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre Monday evening April 19. A group of nearly 150 volunteers gathered to celebrate another successful season. The staff members Denny Miller, Janene Witham, Leona Braun, Kristin Ribble, Travis Rogers and Rick Kerby were on hand to thank the volunteers and a picnic style dinner was shared by all.

Awards were presented to:
Barbara & Harry Adelman-Front of House Volunteers of the Year Ken Basque-Backstage Volunteer of the Year Mary Smith-Office Volunteer of the Year Easter Seals of Southwest Florida -VIP Academy -Teen Volunteers of the Year Matt Voye-Volunteer of the Year

Gatherings to thank Manatee Players' volunteers are held in December and April each year. All recipients are honored on a plaque in the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre Lobby. For more information on volunteering at the Manatee Players, call 941-748-5875.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Animation producer inspires

Don Hahn can get anyone’s creative juices flowing.

Hahn, an animation producer, was one of last week’s guests at the Sarasota Film Festival during its “In Conversation With ...” series. He was like a fountain of creative inspiration, with an underlying message of if your creativity doesn’t succeed, try again. And again. It will eventually lead to “the good stuff,” he said.

A lot of what he said still lingers in my mind. Like the phrase he chooses to live by: “Impression without expression = depression.”

Or . . .

Find out more in my column Sunday.

- January Holmes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bootleg performs with Original Wailers

Call it an epic night for reggae and ska. The Holmes Beach-based band Bootleg will perform with Bob Marley's Original Wailers for a show at the State Theatre May 21.

“BOOTLEG is humbled, honored, not to mention, very excited to have this chance of a lifetime to perform on the same stage as the ORIGINAL WAILERS," said Tom Parker, Jr., a spokesperson for Anna Maria Underground Records.

Doors open at 7 p.m. May 21. Tickets are only $20 and are available through and Sounds like a fun night.

More info is on and

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Films in my inbox you may like

With every Sarasota Film Festival I get e-mails about films I should see or directors I should interview. Here's a few films that may be of interest to you gathered simply from the e-mails sitting in my inbox (all festival screenings are at Sarasota's Hollywood 20):

"Deadly Closure"
Shot in Sarasota with 100 Florida talent (I would love to see this one if I could)
E-mailed details: “Deadly Closure” is the story of Janis McKenzie, a 36-year-old Sarasota photographer portrayed by Lisa Varga of Fort Lauderdale (“Marley & Me” and “America’s Most Wanted”). Twenty years earlier, Janis had witnessed her evil twin brother kill their parents. Now, as her brother is about to be paroled from prison, she prepares for him to come to kill her for having testified against him. An event from her past military service in Kuwait will come back to compound her troubles. Expect the unexpected.

Kenneth Stellingwerf, a student at the Florida State University Asolo Conservatory, gives a chilling performance as the evil brother, Jamey McKenzie. The male lead character, Ben Rogers, Janis’s love interest and commanding officer in Kuwait, is played by David Mackey of Orlando.
Of the 40 actors with dialogue, 32 are Sarasota residents, including the two cameos – international star Audrey Landers (“A Chorus Line,” the movie) and comedienne Diane Ford (star of three HBO specials) – who add a light-hearted streak to the story.

Toni Ann Rossi, also known as Toni Huartson, a Realtor with the Jim Soda Group of Sarasota, plays Carol Dodd, a country club manager who befriends Janis. Rossi trained in Los Angeles at the Larry Moss Studio and spent 10 years in California honing her craft. There she was cast in “Scrubs,” “Judging Amy” and "Life with Bonnie," among other projects.

Other local actors include Daniel Landers in a brilliant performance as Jamey McKenzie at age 16; Jeffrey Kin, artistic director of the Player’s Theater, who portrays a homeless person; film composer Leon Salem, who plays a janitor; Mark Konrad, a former regular on the TV series “30 Rock,” who plays Sgt. Carlyle; Seva Anthony, former Las Vegas performer, who plays a psychologist; and Cliff Cespedes and Cliff Maples, who play a father and son pair serving as Jamey’s Sarasota accomplices. Cespedes is a well known local actor who is a policeman by day. He most recently was seen in “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Pretender” at the Players Theatre in Sarasota.

Many characters play themselves, including Wes Roberts of SRQ magazine, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vance Askins, Kay Rosier of Big Cat Habitat, dockmaster Sam Chavers and security guard Courtney Shusler.

See the Trailer. Last screening is 10:15 p.m. April 15

E-mailed details: The film portrays the flamboyant, outspoken founder of the Playboy empire and his many fierce battles with nearly all levels of the U.S. government, the religious right, and militant feminists.

See it at 7:30 p.m. April 15 or 2:15 p.m. April 17

E-mailed details: Sarasota director Ken Sons turns his lens to toys and toy inventors in a new, feature-length documentary film entitled, Toyland. Premiering at the 12th Annual Sarasota Film Festival this April 9-18th, Toyland promises a never-before-seen look at a place where fun is born and competition is fierce: The $22 billion dollar toy business!

See the Trailer

This one sounds good. Last chance to see it is 7 p.m. April 14

E-mailed details: After its successful world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival last month, indie film executive Jeff Deutchman's first feature film, 11/4/08, will make the Sarasota Film Festival its second stop on the festival circuit. The film was curated and edited by Deutchman and produced by he and Natalie Difford of Chicken and Egg Pictures.

Two weeks before the election of Barack Obama, Deutchman asked friends around the world to record their experiences of 11/4/08. Deutchman collected footage from Alaska to Chicago to Dubai and "curated" his findings into a feature-length "participatory documentary." What emerges is a portrait of how people choose to live through "history": the celebration of a potential new future remaining entangled with the universally visible tensions of the past.

See the Trailer.

Friday, April 16, 3pm @ Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 - Theater 12
Sunday, April 18, 12:30pm @ Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 - Theater 11

"Just About Famous"
E-mailed details: about celebrity impersonators

Watch Trailer

Playing 12:45 p.m. April 15

If you see any of these, tell me how they are.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick hits: Sarasota Film Fest Film Reviews

With so many films to see and so little time, I have been lucky to screen a handful. Here's a quick rundown of them.

"The Extra Man" starring Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly and Kaite Holmes

The story: Louis Ives (Paul Dano)moves to New York City to find himself and begin a new career as an aspiring writer after being fired from his teaching job at a prep school. To make those dreams happen, though, he needs a place to stay. Luckily, he finds a roommate - the eccentric Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline.) Louis discovers, among Henry's quirky traits, that his new roommate is an "extra man" who serves as a social companion to rich widows.

The acting: Kline is a comic tour de force as the wonderfully bizarre Henry. Dano also shines as the sensible but under confident Louis, who, from time to time, lives life as if it were narrated. Reilly also brings the laughs as the gruffly-looking neighbor who, surprisingly, talks with a high-pitched voice and is less rough around the edges than he seems.

Does the story work: Yes, it does indeed. This witty script is full of great one-liners and many awkward moments in Louis' life that will have you laughing your head off. The plot involves weird twists like Louis' curiosity with cross dressing, but the characters in this film are all so odd that the plot twist works. The story as a whole is strong on humor, wit and entertainment. This will hit the theaters nationally in July.

"Tiny Furniture"

The story: A feature narrative about a recent college grad named Aura (Lena Dunham) who moves back in with her mom and sister at their New York loft. Though Aura is an artist, she struggles with finding herself and figuring out what to do with her life.

The acting: Dunham is oddly charming as well as the rest of the quirky cast.

Does the story work: This coming-of-age tale doesn't have a glamorous ending. In fact, it kind of leaves you hanging with the storyline. Aura is the nerdy heroine of this film who just can't seem to get life right at times. I wish this film would have told more of her story, but it does do a good job of painting Aura's awkward relationships with her mom, sister, best friends and the couch-surfing non-love interest that comes into her life. This film runs noon April 17 and 3:45 p.m. April 18 at the Hollywood 20.

"Ms. Senior Sweetheart"

The story: This is a documentary feature on Sarasota's Ruth Berkel and a group of women of a certain age who compete for the Ms. Senior Sweetheart pageant, held in Boston.

Does the story work: Though slow moving at times, this film is a treat for women who are curious about the lives of older beauty pageant contestants. It does a nice job presenting the background of the the women vying for the crown. Some of their stories will make you smile. Others will move your heart.

"Brownstones to Red Dirt"

The story: A documentary featuring a pen pal project between a group of students from Brooklyn's housing projects and a group of students from Africa's war-torn Sierra Leone.

Does the story work: This wonderful film is both educational and enchanting as it goes back and forth between the joys and the struggles these students have in both countries. Through their letters, the students form bonds with their overseas counterparts. But for the Brooklyn students, their newfound friendships mean much more - it opens their eyes to a bigger picture of the world, a world where they can make a big difference. To find out what that difference is, go see this film. The next screening is at 7:15 p.m. April 14 at the Hollywood 20.

"The Hooping Life"

The story: A documentary on the new wave of hula hooping.

Does the story work: Yes, in ways you never expected. This film takes a look at the culture of hula hooping - now known as "hooping" - as an art form and as an unexpected source of healing for inner-city youth, a woman who was raped and a once suicidal adult living in the Bible-belt. Check this film out 5 p.m. April 14 and 8:15 p.m. April 15. It will inspire you to pick up a hoola hoop afterwards.

- January Holmes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A couple neat moments behind film fest opening night

1. In covering opening night of the Sarasota Film Festival, one of the neatest moments was when actor Kevin Kline walked into the theater of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - the audience of local folk cheered and applauded.

And those who were more interested in getting a good seat in the hall than flocking the red carpet line saw the moment as an opportunity to pull out their cameras and take photos.

Kline sat almost right in the middle of the crowd, instead of being roped off somewhere in the front row, which allowed him to speak with a few fans.

2. Two funny moments happened before the film started. Most crowds are used to a speech or two right before the opening night film, but last night's speeches kept going and going - with different faces behind the lectern. And every new face brought more sighs. The crowd was definitely itching to see the film, not be speeched to death. Finally, when someone - I think it was artist director Tom Hall - said there was only going to be one more speech, everyone in the hall applauded.

3. The other was when the lights were dimmed and the camera started rolling on the silver screen. The first thing the audience saw was not the opening credits of "The Extra Man" but an ad for the Longboat Key Club. The audience laughed, recognizing they had been momentarily duped into local marketing propaganda.

- January Holmes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Local violinist to perform in San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival

Bradenton's own world-renown violinist, James Ehnes, has been invited to perform as a guest violinist in the prestigious 22nd annual Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.

Ehnes has performed in the world's popular international music festivals. Claims to fame include being the youngest musician to win first prize in strings at the Canadian Music Festival and the youngest to be elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. Ehnes has also won a Grammy, a Gramophone and six JUNO Awards.

Other artists at the event include British pianist John Lill, violinist Sarah Chang and world renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade.

Ehnes will perform June 19.

The festival runs June 8-19. Tickets are $20-$120. For more information, call (619) 239-0100 or visit

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ham it up tonight at Mattison's Riverside

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County's Kiss a Pig Candidates "Ham Tour" will head to Mattison's Riverside at 5:30 p.m. today. Julie Aranibar, Ed Bailey, CJ Bannister, John Gough, Tim McGonegal, Lee Rangel, and Adam Rickert will compete in the "Bakin' with Bacon" contest. The public is invited to attend the festivities.

After Chef Paul is done awarding the winning $50 and two $25 Mattison’s gift certificates to the best tasting dishes, the restaurant will cut the remaining entry into tiny bite size pieces for the happy hour crowd to taste - for“People’s choice” voting via dollar bills.

The contest judging categories are:
1.Taste 2. Appearance 3. Respectful use of bacon

Afterwards, guests can gather on the back deck for the Billy Rice Band Happy Hour.