Friday, September 28, 2012

WATCH: Jimmy Buffett's new Save the Manatee message

Check out Save the Manatee Club’s new television spot, voiced by club co-founder Jimmy Buffett, which is being distributed to stations nationwide.

It asks people to, “Join us in leaving a lasting legacy for Florida’s cherished manatees.”

“We are ever-grateful to Jimmy Buffett for his vital support through the years to help manatees," said Patrick Rose, executive director of Save the Manatee Club, an international nonprofit advocacy group. "He co-founded the club in 1981; he has lobbied for better manatee and manatee habitat protection measures, and has also been featured in numerous public service announcements produced by the club. Thanks, in part, to Jimmy’s involvement with the club, manatees are one of America’s most well-known and beloved marine mammals.”

Other celebrities who have aided Save the Manatee Club’s manatee conservation efforts include Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Carl Hiaasen, Alex Trebek, and Cheryl Tiegs.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cinderella bassist to play The Lost Kangaroo Pub in Bradenton

Eric Brittingham, the bass player for hair metal heroes Cinderella, will be rocking the stage at The Lost Kangaroo Pub in downtown Bradenton on Oct. 11.

Brittingham will be accompanied by Tampa-based singer/guitarist Brandon Gibbs.

Expect the duo to play Cinderella hits like "The Last Mile," "Gypsy Road," "Coming Home," "Shelter Me" and the band's 1988 power-ballad classic "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Bradenton musician Paul Fournier will get the party started at 9 p.m.

"Get here early," reads the "Roos' Facebook page. "This is going to be EPIC!!"

Admission is free.

The Lost Kangroo Pub, 406 12th St. W., Bradenton. 941-747-8114.

 —Publicity photo of Cinderella with Eric Brittingham far right.

Sarasota Blues Fest headliner Delbert McClinton on teaching harmonica to John Lennon: interview

Delbert McClinton has released four CDs that have reached No. 1 on the blues albums chart, has been inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award.

And that's just since 2001.

Go back a couple more decades, and there's the Top 10 single "Giving It Up For Your Love," the popular country duet with Tanya Tucker "Tell Me About It," and another Grammy Award for his duet with Bonnie Raitt, "Good Man, Good Woman."

McClinton also wrote the Emmylou Harris No. 1 hit "Two More Bottles of Wine."

And gave harmonica lessons to John Lennon.

Yes, THAT John Lennon.

McClinton, a Texas roots music hero who first tasted international fame in the early 1960s, has finally started to slow down a little.

He scheduled just a handful of shows this month including his headlining spot at the Sarasota Blues and Music Festival on Saturday.

"I just don't care anymore about being out there eight days a week," McClinton said by phone while vacationing in Mexico earlier his month. "I work just enough to satisfy the jones."

Read more.

Sarasota Blues and Music Festival schedule  

—Delbert McClinton publicity photo provided.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to the newly named Bradenton Area Convention Center: commentary

"The Manatee Convention and Civic Center," didn't exactly roll off the tongue.

So Manatee County leaders shortened it to "The Manatee Convention Center."

Which, to many people, probably still sounded like a meeting place for sea cows.

Thanks to the recent 5-2 vote by county commissioners in favor of change, the newly renovated building at One Haben Boulevard in Palmetto will be called "The Bradenton Area Convention Center."

Although not exactly sexy, at least the name makes sense, especially from the all-important tourist's point of view.

"The problem is, nobody knows where Manatee is, there's no city of Manatee, that's the problem," said Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

Having graduated from high school and college in Tampa, I have to agree with Whitmore.

Even during the year or so I spent living in downtown Sarasota in my early 20s, before moving to Bradenton, I would get confused when someone said they were from "Manatee."

Joe McClash, whose more-than-two-decade run on the Manatee County Commission will soon come to an end after losing to challenger Betsy Benac, said he preferred to leave it "Manatee County Convention Center."

He also suggested "Palmetto Convention Center," since it is technically located in Palmetto.

I've also lived in Palmetto.

And trust me, pretty much nobody outside of Manatee County knows there's anything but a plant called palmetto.

So, great, it's The Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Now, if we could just get some exciting sporting events or concerts under that renovated roof

—A view of the main entrance to the Bradenton Area Convention Center. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Manatee Players to get $250,000 from county for new theater in Bradenton

The Manatee County Commission today formally authorized a $250,000 contribution to the new Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton.

The money will be matched with $250,000 that the Manatee Players' organization has already raised from ticket buyers, said Janene Witham, executive director of the Manatee Players.

Read more. 

— File photo of the under-construction Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton by PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Bradenton Blues Festival poster by 'Harry Potter' illustrator Mary GrandPré unveiled

A limited-edition poster created exclusively for Realize Bradenton and the Bradenton Blues Festival by Mary GrandPré, the world-famous illustrator of the "Harry Potter" books and Sarasota resident, was unveiled at the Bradenton Blues Festival’s VIP sponsor party on Saturday. 
More than 200 people attended, including this reporter and Bradenton Herald publisher/president Bob Turner.

The event was held at the historic Jennings Arcade off Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton.    

Local blues musician Steve Arvey and vocalist Rebecca Bird performed while people mingled, sipped wine and noshed on appetizers provided by O’Bricks Grill. 

The Bradenton Blues Festival, featuring Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster and other national acts,  is Dec. 1 at the redesigned Riverwalk, along the Manatee River in downtown Bradenton.

GrandPré’s editorial work and children’s book illustrations have received national recognition. She was featured on the cover of Time magazine for her illustrations for the acclaimed "Harry Potter" book series. 

“The Bradenton Blues Festival and its music outreach programs are inspired ways to educate young people about the importance of music," GrandPré said in a statement. "I'm really excited that I can contribute to this important effort."

Posters signed by the artist are available for $50 to support Realize Bradenton’s youth and music programs. To inquire email

COMMENTARY: Eddie Vedder's $20,000-a-person fundraiser for Obama in South Tampa not for me

Better play the most awesome, spine-tingling, soul-stirring, jaw-dropping version EVER of "Yellow Ledbetter."

And cover "Masters of War" (which he first did in 1992).

Those were my first thoughts when I learned Eddie Vedder was performing at a $20,000-a-person house party in South Tampa.

To be specific, it was a fundraiser attended by President Obama.

A reliable source told me who held the private shindig and where.

As a former South Tampa resident, I know the location. But I have only read about the host.

So even if I had $20,000 (ha, ha) to spend on a night of entertainment (ha, ha, ha, ha), it's doubtful an invite would have come my way.

Read more.

—Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder performs at the Voices for Justice concert in Little Rock, Ark., in 2010. AP Photo | BRIAN CHILSON

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Friday, September 21, 2012

REVIEW: Manatee Players' 'Evita' is must-see theater in Bradenton

Dianne Dawson won for Best Actress last year at the national AACTFest11 in Rochester, N.Y., for her role in the Manatee Players 2010 production of “Sunday in the Park with George.”.

She’s equally brilliant in “Evita.”

Dawson brings Eva Peron (1919-1952), the onetime first lady of Argentina, to life in all her divisive glory in the somber pop operetta by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The show follows Eva’s rise from small-town girl to big-city actress to the most powerful woman in Argentina.

Dawson sings beautifully, moves gracefully, and, most importantly, inhabits the role with smart objectivity.

While other actresses wrongheadedly worshipped Peron (yes, here’s looking at you, Madonna), Dawson does a superb job of depicting the historical figure as both beloved political leader and opportunistic wife of a dictator.

Another Dawson, Dianne’s husband Steve, plays the narrator Che as if channeling Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

When the Dawsons share the stage, it’s first-rate theater by any metric.

Directed and choreographed by Manatee Players Artistic Director Rick Kerby, the production moves fluidly with the large cast used smartly to depict much larger crowds of Argentinians. All three leads, which include Bradley Barbaro as Peron, deliver nuanced, tasteful performances. There’s not a superfluous move or gesture in the show.

Marc Lalosh’s winning set features a revolving platform with twin, ascending staircases. The back wall serves as a screen for images of the real Peron in action. The projections work wonderfully thanks to the striking similarity between Eva Peron and Dianne Dawson, dressed in spot-on costumes by Jean Boothby.

The lighting by Joseph Oshry enhances the visuals throughout the show while Aaron Cassette deftly leads a seven-piece through a score that alternates between operatic and Broadway pop.

There are many reasons to see the Manatee Players’ production of “Evita.” Need just one? I’ll go with Dianne Dawson’s chilling rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” It will make you instantly forget every other version of the song you’ve heard before.

And maybe even dry your eye.

Details: Sept. 20-Oct. 7; 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Sept. 29. Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton. Tickets: $26 (adults), $15 (teachers) and $13 (students). Information: 941-748-5875 or

—Photo provided of Dianne Dawson as Eva Peron in Manatee Players production of "Evita."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

WEEKEND: 'Main Street Live' in Bradenton, 'Evita' at Manatee Players, Movieville and more

The popular Bradenton street party Get Down Downtown restarts today as "Main Street Live." The monthly bash on Old Main Street will now feature new music acts, new vendors from Suncoast Food Trucks and a food court with more tables in the intersection area across from the Lost Kangaroo Pub.

The most celebrated Manatee Players of recent years are returning to downtown Bradenton today for the opening of "Evita."

After debuting last June at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, Movieville International Film Festival returns with screenings in Sarasota and an event in Bradenton.

Read more here:

The good witch of rock 'n' roll returns to the Tampa Bay area in support of her latest solo album, "In Your Dreams."

The Players Theatre's 83rd season opens today with the often overlooked gem "Applause."

Read more here:

And more in Weekend.

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—Music fills the air as the Michael Mac Band plays during sunset on Old Main Street in Bradenton. HERALD FILE PHOTO by Paul Videla.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lakewood Ranch seniors Josh Rogers and Brett Wagner celebrated with benefit concert at Joyland in Bradenton feat. Florida Georgia Line

Debbie Wagner gets a hug from Ann Marie Colwell as Gena Rogers watches at a Click it or Ticket event held at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office in May. Wagner and Rogers both lost their sons, Brett Wagner and Josh Rogers, in a terrible crash on Christmas Eve of 2011 while they were in the mangled truck seen behind them. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald TTOMPKINS@BRADENTON.COM

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An association started by the parents of Josh “Bubba” Rogers and Brett “Bswag” Wagner, the two Lakewood Ranch seniors who lost their lives as a result of an accident on Christmas night last year, is holding a benefit concert to celebrate the boys' birthdays and seat belt awareness.

The 1st Annual B.U.B.B.A. Birthday Bash concert on Friday, Oct. 5 will feature the popular new country group Florida Georgia Line.  All of the ticket sales will go to Buckle Up for Bswag and Bubba Association, also known as B.U.B.B.A., according to a press release sent on behalf of the families.

B.U.B.B.A. was started by the mothers of the two boys, Gena Rogers and Debbie Wagner.  The goal of the association is to create awareness for seatbelt safety for teens and young adults, through their website, Facebook page and through speaking at, attending and sponsoring area events.

Florida Georgia Line's ebullient, summer-love new single "Cruise" is at No. 27 on the Billboard's Top Country Songs chart. Earlier this year the band signed with the Big Machine Label group that's home to Nashville stars like Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and are available at Honda Cars of Bradenton, Joyland, Crowder’s Ace Hardware and Gifts, Joyland Feed Company and online at

Moms of Brett Wagner and Josh Rogers start safety campaign with MSO

Aerosmith, Cheap Trick to play Tampa

Aerosmith's "Global Warming Tour" will perform Dec. 11 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the band has announced.  

The original lineup of Steven Tyler (vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), Brad Whitford (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass) and Joey Kramer (drums) will be performing songs from their new album “Music From Another Dimension,” due out November 6 on Columbia Records. 

Plenty of past hits — "Sweet Emotion," "Walk This Way," "Dream On," the silly stuff the band recorded in the 1990s — will likely be performed as well. 

Cheap Trick opens .  

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday (Sept. 24). 

Singer Steven Tyler, left, and lead guitarist Joe Perry, right, of Aerosmith, perform at the Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg, Sweden.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Randy Newman is 'Dreaming of a white president'

Pop music's king of satire, Randy Newman, has returned with another zinger that's likely to entertain longtime fans and offend others.

While similar to what Newman did four years ago with the George W. Bush-mocking "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," his new piano tune, "I'm Dreaming," is the singer/songwriter's most shockingly politically incorrect offering since the 1974 release of "Rednecks," which includes the N-word.

Sample lyric from "I'm Dreaming": "He won't be the brightest, perhaps, but he'll be the whitest, and I'll vote for that."

Read more here:

Read more here:
Newman, who is white, is openly supporting President Barack Obama. He says he wants the public to find comedic relief in the song, but to also know he's serious about his thoughts that racism is well and alive in the world - and in the current presidential race. He called racism "the great issue of this country."
Read more.

"I'm Dreaming" music video:

—This Feb. 27, 2011 file photo shows composer Randy Newman posing backstage with the Oscar for best original song for “We Belong Together" from “Toy Story 3" at the 83rd Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. MATT SAYLES, FILE — AP Photo

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Pink announces Tampa stop for 'Truth About Love Tour'

Pop star Pink has announced that she will tour North America for the first time in four years, beginning Feb. 13. She has confirmed 25 dates with a stop at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Feb. 27. The tour  is in support of Pink's new album, "The Truth About Love."

Pink appeared on "The Today Show" this morning, "The View" this afternoon and will visit "John Stewart's The Daily Show" on Wednesday (Sept. 19).  Fans will have the opportunity to chat with Pink about her upcoming tour live today at noon Eastern. To register and participate in the web chat, fans should visit

Tickets will go on sale 10 a.m. Oct. 6 via

Citi presale info Citi cardmembers will also have access to presale tickets beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. local time through Citi's Private Pass Program. For complete presale details visit

—Photo Pink, left, and Carey Hart arrive at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. INVISION — Photo by Matt Sayles

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Lady Gaga has Tampa date in March

Lady Gaga has a another date in Tampa.

Live Nation Global Touring today announced details for the North American leg of the pop star's "Born This Way Ball World Tour," which includes a date at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on March 13, 2013.

Tickets for this show go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

"The Born This Way Ball" will continue in 2013 visiting 25 cities in North America including performances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto.  In this brand new tour, Gaga performs her latest album "Born This Way" as well as music from both "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster." "The Born This Way Ball" began on April 27 in Seoul.

"The Haus of Gaga and I have worked for months conceiving a spectacular stage,” said Lady Gaga in a statement. “'The Born This Way Ball' is an Electro-Metal Pop-Opera; the tale of the Beginning, the genesis of the Kingdom of Fame. How we were birthed and how we will die celebrating.”

Fans will have first access to ticket presales via on Tuesday, Sept. 18. To receive an access code for this exclusive presale, sign up for free at to RSVP.

Citi is the official credit card of the US leg of The Born This Way Ball. Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning 10 a.m. Wed., Sept. 19 at through Citi's Private Pass Program. For complete presale details visit

"The Born This Way Ball" starring Lady Gaga is promoted world-wide by Live Nation Global Touring, and brought to you by Skype.

—Photo: Singer Lady Gaga arrives at a "Lady Gaga Fame" fragrance launch event at the Guggenheim Museum on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The black tie masquerade event will feature a performance art piece by Lady Gaga, “Sleeping with Gaga.” The film for "Lady Gaga Fame", directed by Steven Klein, will also be unveiled during the evening. INVISION — Photo by Evan Agostini Read more here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

UPDATED 9/20: DeSoto Music Fest in Bradenton area to debut with Gretchen Wilson, Easton Corbin headlining; tickets on sale Friday

As first reported here, "Redneck Woman" singer Gretchen Wilson will headline the inaugural DeSoto Music Fest.

Country artists Easton Corbin, Love and Theft and Craig Campbell will also be performing Nov. 24 at the Manatee Fairgrounds.

Entertainment schedule:

Noon-1 p.m. Lawyers, Guns, & Money
1:30-2:30 p.m. Dr. Dave Band
3:00-4 p.m. Craig Campbell
4:45-5:30 p.m. Easton Corbin
6:15-7:30 p.m. Love & Theft
8:30 p.m. Gretchen Wilson

Tickets are $29.99/$100 (VIP) and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday (Sept. 21).

Review: Corbin aims for escapism on latest album

Photo: This CD cover image released by Mercury Records shows the latest release by Easton Corbin, "All Over the Road." Mercury Records — AP Photo

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Bradenton area could do better than 'Real. Authentic. Florida' slogan

Look out, "Friendly City."

The sweet, albeit snoozer, slogan for the City of Bradenton has competition.

"Real. Authentic. Florida."

It's our official new catch phrase.

Manatee County tourism officials announced "Real. Authentic. Florida." last week as part of a rebranding endeavor.

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, explained his team based the slogan on "research."

The agency paid a consultant, talked to a bunch of prospective tourists and people who will benefit from a boost in vacationers to the area.

Falcione found a recurring focus on the Bradenton area's small-town charm — which I love, but think could be celebrated with something better than:

"Real. Authentic. Florida."

Read more here:
Read more. 

—Photo: People relax on Bean Point on the north end of Anna Maria Island. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald TTOMPKINS@BRADENTON.COM

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Manatee Education Television (METV) celebrates 20 years of covering Bradenton, Sarasota

Manatee Educational Television Station Manager Charles Clapsaddle shows Studio 1, one of two studios in METV’s 18,000-square-foot facility at 2501 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton, which was completed in 2009.

Back in the summer of 1991, Manatee Educational Television hit the airwaves with a special back-to-school program.

METV programming planned to rely on material from the Manatee County School Board, Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) and the University of South Florida.

It's a commitment that continues today as METV prepares for its sold-out 20th anniversary gala Saturday at the South Florida Museum in downtown Bradenton.

Read more.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

UPDATED 9/17 Bradenton's Get Down Downtown now 'Main Street Live' with food trucks

UPDATED 9/17: Popular Bradenton street party Get Down Downtown renamed 'Main Street Live' 

Bradenton's popular monthly street party Get Down Downtown has been officially renamed Main Street Live and kicks off Sept. 20.

The event will now feature new music acts, fresh vendors from Suncoast Food Trucks, and a food court with more tables in the intersection area across from the Lost Kangaroo Pub.

Rick Willats, manager of O'Brick's, took over for Cork Miller recently as president of the Old Main Street Merchants Association. The organization started Get Down and continues to produce Main Street Live.

"We want to be able to mix up the food with six food trucks at the first event and different ones each month," he said. "We also want to elevate the music here and mix that up, too."

Events will benefit various local organizations including the Manatee Players (Oct. 18), Art Center of Manatee (Nov. 15) and the Women’s Resource Center (Dec. 20). 

Main Street Live is 5-10 p.m. every third Thursday on Old Main Street (except for July and August) in downtown Bradenton. There will be vendors selling foods and drinks, arts and crafts and more. 

Here's the live music roster through December:

Sept. 20: Soul Purpose
Reggae, Rock

Oct. 18: Lauren Mitchell Band

Blues, Soul, Rock

Nov. 15: Stone Fish
Rock, Folk-Rock

Nov. 21: Glass Onion
The Beatles & Paul McCartney

Dec. 20: Billy Rice Band
Contemporary, Top 40, Country

—Bradenton Herald file photo of Get Down Downtown.

TONIGHT: Elton John struggling to fill USF Sun Dome 'grand opening' in Tampa

When Elton John came to the St. Pete Times Forum with Billy Joel on a Thursday night in 2009, the piano men played in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,898.

John's performance tonight at the the "grand opening"of the newly renovated USF Sun Dome in Tampa, which holds 11,000 for concerts, will take place in front of a much smaller audience.

"Great seats have just been released and are available for purchase," reads the email sent today from Global Spectrum Global Spectrum, the Philadelphia-based company that manages the USF Sun Dome and more than 100 other venues around the world.

Potential ticket buyers are informed that "Elton John and His Band are returning to Tampa for his first headline appearance in 14 years to take the stage at the USF Sun Dome for the Grand Opening ... One of the most successful live bands on the road today, Elton and his band put on the kind of concert you will never forget: the entire audience standing, dancing and singing along with much-loved classic songs such as 'Your Song,' 'Rocket Man,' 'Bennie and the Jets,' 'Philadelphia Freedom,' 'Crocodile Rock,' 'Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, and many more."

Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 14, USF Sun Dome, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; $39.50-$139.50. Information: 1-800-745-3000 or

Read more here:

—A Friday, Oct. 16, 2009, file photo of British singer Elton John performing on stage during a concert in Zurich, Switzerland. ASSOCIATED PRESS WALTER BIERI — AP

Thursday, September 13, 2012

WEEKEND: Elton John opens USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Toby Keith, Go-Go's and more

Rocket Man and Madonna rankler Elton John will be fronting a five-piece band to open the newly renovated USF Sun Dome Friday in Tampa.  

Toby Keith is ready to raise 'Red Colo Sup' at Ask Gary Amphitheatre.

Will the Go-Go's to go 'wild' at Mahaffey in St. Petersburg?

Singer Betty Fox headlines 'Countdown to the Blues' in Bradenton. 

And much more in Weekend.

—Publicity photo of The Go-Go's.

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kimberly Betts' Gamble Creek Band and more at 'PJ's Wish' concert in Sarasota

Manatee County-based singer Kimberly Betts (daughter of Dickey Betts) and her Gamble Creak Band will be playing at 'PJ's Wish Benefit' Battle Against Leukemia show on Saturday at the Farm Burea in Sarasota.

Several other acts are performing and there will be items up for auction and raffle as well food, drinks, fun and "entertainment for the whole family!"

Read more.

Details: Noon-9 p.m. Sept 15, Farm Bureau, 7289 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Tickets: $20; children age 12 and younger free. For more information contact Johanne Eisenmann at or 941-809-6082.

—Publicity photo of Kimberly Betts with her Gamble Creek Band.

Monday, September 10, 2012

REVIEW: Bob Dylan's 'Tempest' is a delightfully strange journey

UPDATED version for print/

Wielding words like the finest of medieval weapons, Bob Dylan returns with his 35th studio album in 50 years. “Tempest” is a statement issued by a man who has been wronged by entire armies. But it’s a deft, focused act of vengeance. These songs are a brilliant, biting repudiation of all the mendacity and madness that pollutes our eyes, ears, minds and souls. And the places that we don’t like to discuss.

Dylan, with his persuasively craggy croon and delightfully dusty melodies, has something to say. And he says it well. Which is amazing when you consider what his contemporaries are doing these days. What does the man have to prove? Evidently, he just wants to burn, burn, burn. His final act shaping up to be just as rewarding as his historic first. Dangerous, too.

Dylan’s got a collection of songs soaked in blood, mud and icy waters filled with lifeless bodies. The master storyteller takes his sweet time telling each dark, peculiar tale. It’s a striking, twisted journey through a cryptic past that reflects the slippery present and hints at a future no one wants to see come forth.

Scary stuff. But old man Dylan will make ya laugh, too. Those throwaway lines are fun, especially if you can appreciate Leo DiCaprio making an appearance in the epic title track about the sinking of the Titanic; or enjoy smiling at Dylan the lover man searching for phrases to sing some gal’s praises.

Then, at the end, there’s “Roll On John,” a tribute to the fellow 1960s cultural icon with which a young, wild Dylan used to compete. Is Dylan making peace with John Lennon? Or just waiting on a friend? It doesn’t matter. It's beautiful.

“Tempest” is Dylan building with vintage Americana sounds and subject matter better than he, or anyone else, has done this century. It’s popular music’s reigning poet laureate riding high above the banality of modernity. It's Dylan still surveying the lowlands and making sense, or at least stories, of it all. It’s Dylan delivering another masterwork.

Bob Dylan: stigma of slavery ruined America

REVIEW: 'Tempest,' Bob Dylan (in 140 characters) 

Golden Apple Dinner Theatre evicted from Sarasota home

Eviction notice posted Monday at Golden Apple Dinner Theatre in Sarasota.

After four decades of entertaining audiences in downtown Sarasota, the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre had a sheriff's notice on its door Monday.

"Court order for eviction has been completed," it read. "Locks have been changed."

The Golden Apple was evicted over failure to pay rent, according to court documents.

"They have been locked from the premises," Mark Lord, attorney for the Golden Apple, told the Herald around 5 p.m. Monday. "But my understanding is that there is a potential deal being discussed."

Read more. 

—Photo by William Winter/Bradenton Herald.

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'Titanic' filmmaker James Cameron's Digital Domain closes Port St. Lucie facility

'Titanic' filmmaker James Cameron's Digital Domain Media Group is closing its Port St. Lucie facility and laying off approximately 280 workers.

CEO John Textor resigned Thursday.

"I am in profound disagreement with the decision to close our animation and visual effects studio in the wonderful community of Port St. Lucie," Textor wrote in his resignation letter.

Digital Domain has spent the past few years building a new animation studio in Port St. Lucie, using millions of dollars in incentives from the city and the state.

Read more from

"Founded in 1993 by film industry icon James Cameron with Stan Winston and Scott Ross, digital production company Digital Domain (a subsidiary of Digital Domain Media Group) has delivered innovative visuals for more than 90 movies including 'Titanic,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the 'Transformers' trilogy and 'TRON: Legacy,' reads the company's website.

—Photo: In this film image released by Paramount Pictures, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, left, are shown in a scene from the 3-D version of James Cameron's romantic epic "Titanic."

Read more here:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bradenton, Sarasota on big, small screen with 'Spring Breakers,' ESPN2 and Comedy Central

Manatee rocked last Sunday afternoon on national TV.

The powerhouse high school football team opened the regular season with a 41-6 pummeling of Miramar live on ESPN2.

Not bad publicity for Bradenton, which got mentioned many times.

But would it kill the network to spend some down time, and there was plenty Sunday, showing off the Bradenton area beyond Hawkins Stadium?

How about mention our famous sugary sand beaches?

Or Riverwalk?

Or some of our famed, fresh seafood-serving restaurants?

Did ESPN even have access to such information?

If not, someone dropped the ball.

Meanwhile, film critics and such from around the world saw Sarasota.

And it caused a stir.

It seems Selena Gomez has gone from Disney darling to wild child thanks to her "shocking" new movie "Spring Breakers."

In March, scenes were filmed at the Ringling College of Art and Design and other parts of Sarasota as well as St. Pete Beach.

Read more here:

Read more.

Actress Selena Gomez poses at the photo call for the film 'Spring Breakers' at the 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
Joel Ryan — AP Photo

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Straz Center in Tampa: 25 years of star performances

From Miles Davis and Jay Leno in the 1980s to 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' last month, they've all been on stage at The Straz.

Tampa Bay's top performing arts complex, which serves more than a half million people each year, celebrates its 25th anniversary Wednesday.

 (The same day tickets for the Straz's 2012-13 season go on sale.)

Read more here:

During the inaugural season, about 500,000 people attend nearly 600 performances, including the world premiere of the musical, "Teddy & Alice." Produced by Hinks Shimberg, the show moved to Baltimore and then Broadway where it opened in November and ran through January of 1988.

Here are some more Straz Center highlights from the past 25 years.

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—TAMPA ,FL - AUGUST 28: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Jon Stewart appear on "The Jon Stewart Show" during the Republican National Convention on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Jeff Daly/Comedy Central/PictureGroup via AP IMAGES

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Anderson Cooper cancels Tampa appearance

The Anderson Cooper “360 World View” show at the Straz Center been cancelled.

According to the press release, the host of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” won't be at the Tampa venue "due to unforeseen circumstances."

Cooper had been scheduled to appear at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 with tickets priced at $39.50 and up.

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Those who purchased tickets with a credit card will be automatically refunded. Refunds for those who purchased tickets by other means may be obtained at the point of purchase.

For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and its upcoming events, visit

—Publicity photo of Anderson Cooper provided.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sarasota County's 'TV ME!' concept pitch contest opens for entries

The Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office (SCFEO) is inviting entries for the 2013 TV ME! Contest.

It's the third annual innovative writers’ competition seeking fresh, creative content ideas for television programming. Entries may be submitted now 1 through Nov. 30. Submission instructions and prize information are available online at

As in previous competitions, one grand prize winning entry (GPW) will be chosen as the best across all categories, garnering all of the prizes won by category first place winners, plus the grand prize of an escorted trip to “pitch” in person to a select group of industry professionals. This trip has been to Los Angeles/Hollywood each year, with numerous private meetings taking place to create opportunity and professional relationships for the GPW. The 2012 contest added the new additional element of the InkTip Pitch & Networking Conference attendance for the GPW.

The 2013 contest will add more exciting new elements to the awards and prizes. New York City will be an alternate trip location for meetings and pitching opportunities, based upon the genre of the winning grand prize entry as determined by the SCFEO. Additionally, the SCFEO will introduce the GPW to one or more agents for potential representation.

Contest Seeks Concept Pitches; Not Scripts

Unlike ordinary competitions that require submission of full-length screenplays for movies, scripts for television, or manuscripts for novels -- which can range from 90 pages to 350 pages -- the TV ME! Contest requires only five-to-15-page pitches of a concept for television programming. It’s a variation on the idea of a fast and forceful ‘elevator pitch’ where you give the strongest and most concise summary possible,” says Corcoran. “This contest seeks condensed knock-their-socks-off impact. Powerful brevity is key.”

The 2013 TV ME! contest includes a dozen winning slots: One Grand Prize Winner; three first place, three second place and three third place winners (one in each of three specific categories); and two honorable mention recipients. Depending upon a winner’s placement, he or she may receive trophies, cash awards and gifts from sponsors, and all winners are invited to bring one guest to a press conference announcing their achievements, followed by an awards luncheon in their honor.

Individuals and writing teams may compete for awards and prizes in three different 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 expose programs, etc.); and

• one-offs (single stand-alone programs such as a mini-series, movie-of-the-week, award or sporting event, or special)

Winners Gain Access to Industry Insiders

The 2012 grand prize winning entry was “Best Seller: America’s Next Great Novelist,” a smart, sharp reality show written by a team of three writers, Lynn Holley, Greg Helton and Jennifer Marquis-Muradaz. The “Best Seller” team was taken to Los Angeles in Spring 2012 and met privately with leading reality production companies including SHED USA, Bunim-Murray, Pilgrim Studios, USA Networks, and Fox Television Studios among others. The GPW team also attended the InkTip Pitch & Networking Conference, providing access and the opportunity to hone their pitching skills to dozens of production companies and producers over a two-day period in an intense “speed dating” format.

The SCFEO arranges pitch training and preparation for the GPW in advance of the trip. For example, sponsors such as “Sell Your TV Concept Now!” teach techniques used by the pros to pitch concepts and programs. The SCFEO arranges and attends all pitch meetings with the GPW, assisting throughout the trip.

To enter or obtain more details, visit

VMA winner Rihanna to play Tampa Bay Times Forum

Live Nation announced this morning that the "Rihanna Diamonds World Tour" will launch March 8 in Buffalo, N.Y.  The tour is scheduled to stop in more than 27 cities across North America including  the Tampa Bay Times Forum on April 19. 

Tickets go on sale Sept. 21.

Rihanna won the night's biggest prize, video of the year for "We Found Love," on Thursday at MTV's Video Music Awards. 

Citi is the official credit card of the U.S. leg of Rihanna’s upcoming world tour. Citi card members will have access to pre-sale tickets beginning 10 a.m. Sept. 10 through Citi's Private Pass Program. For complete pre-sale details visit

Information: 813-287-8844 or

—Rihanna performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. INVISION — Photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall live music preview Sarasota to Tampa: Elton John, Weezer, Bradenton Blues Festival

Ruthie Foster headlines the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival.

The heat (we hope) will soon give way a bit to the fall weather, which means it's an ideal time to make live music plans. From rock and rap to country and blues, here are a dozen shows coming to the Tampa Bay area we think should be worth your hard-earned dollars.
Elton John, Weezer and Bradenton Blues Festival are part of our dozen concerts worth your dollars.
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Elton John, Weezer, Bradenton Blues Festival and more.

—Publicity photo of Ruthie Foster.

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REVIEW: 'Tempest,' Bob Dylan (in 140 characters)

Bob Dylan’s new studio album, "Tempest," which will be released Sept. 11, has been streaming in its entirety for free at iTunes since Wednesday.

It features 10 new, original songs by Dylan. I listened from start to finish last night and had it playing again this morning. While the title song alone, about the sinking of the Titanic, clocks in at 14 minutes, here's my first-listen review in a mere 140 characters:
Over vintage rock, swing and blues, Dylan croons with savage wit, gallows humor and defiance about a world both weird and sadly familiar.  

I'll have a longer review run next week.

The official music video of Dylan performing "Tempest" opening track "Duquesne Whistle" can be found here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Selena Gomez gets wild in 'shocking' movie 'Spring Breakers' filmed in Sarasota

Selena Gomez has gone from Disney darling to wild child thanks to her shocking new movie "Spring Breakers," which had scenes filmed at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota in March.

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The movie premieres at the Venice film festival on Wednesday.

Directed by Harmony Korine, it stars Gomez and fellow Disney graduate Vanessa Hudgens "as bikini-clad revellers on a drink- and drug-fuelled orgy of beach parties and pranks," according to Reuters.

"The camera zooms in on scantily clad teenagers gyrating to the music, local drug dealers snort cocaine from writhing, topless girls and mobsters cruise the streets of Florida in Lamborghinis in a hedonistic portrait of the 'American Dream'".

Gomez plays Faith, one of four wild young college students celebrating"spring break."

"Obviously I know that coming from Disney Channel gives you kind of a brand in a way," the 20-year-old told reporters in Venice after the movie was screened to the press.

"People do put a label on you. I know that I have younger fans, and this is an opportunity for myself to kind of grow. It is a little shocking, I think, for the younger audiences ... but I think it was right for me."

Selena Gomez shooting movie next week in Sarasota

'Spring Breakers' official site

—Photo of Selena Gomez playing to a standing room only crowd Oct. 10, 2011, at the Fresno Fair in Fresno, Calif. MCCLATCHY FILE PHOTO

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UPDATED 9/5: WATCH Holmes Beach resident get roasted during daughter Natasha Leggero's appearance on Comedy Central's 'The Burn with Jeff Ross'

In case you missed the show last night, here's Holmes Beach resident Johnny Leggero getting "roasted" while his daughter, comic Natasha Leggero, participates from on stage (warning: adult language):

Tonight's episode of "The Burn with Jeff Ross" on Comedy Central will find the comic roasting the week's topics with the help of Natasha Leggero, the hilarious daughter of Holmes Beach resident Johnny 'Leggs' Leggero.

He was in Los Angeles last week visiting his children and will be in the audience this evening.

"Tonight! I snort, fall over and cry from laughing," tweeted Natasha.

"The Burn with Jeff Ross" starts at 10:30 p.m.

Here's my recent interview with Ross.

WATCH: Natasha Leggero, daughter of Holmes Beach resident Johnny 'Leggs,' on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

—Jeff Ross (left) with Johnny Leggero. Photo provided. 

—Video used with permission of Comedy Central.