Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gregg Allman biopic starring William Hurt derailed

   Last week, in Savannah, Ga., a train crashed into a movie production crew and its equipment, killing one of the crew members and injuring seven others.
   The film was a biopic called "Midnight Rider," and it was supposed to star William Hurt as former Manatee County resident Gregg Allman.
Gregg Allman
   On Thursday, the Savannah Film Office announced the the filmmakers were "shutting down production of the film."
    Filming had just begun when the crew members were struck Feb. 20.
   Investigators say the crew was on the tracks without the railroad's permission. The crew was filming on a bridge and second camera assistant Sarah Jones could not escape when when the train barreled into the set.

   There's no word yet on whether the filmmakers will resume the project later.
   Tyson Ritter of the All-American Rejects was set to play young Gregg Allman in the film. The cast also included Eliza Dushku, Bradley Whitford and Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, as Duane Allman.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tritt, Vanilla Ice headline DeSoto Seafood Festival

   Grammy-winning country star Travis Tritt and one-hit pop-rapper Vanilla Ice are the headliners for this year's DeSoto Seafood Festival.
    The seafood fest, the biggest and one of the most popular elements of the month-long DeSoto Heritage Festival, is April 4-6.
   Don't look for it at its long-time location in downtown Bradenton, though. This year the festival will be in Palmetto, along 10th Avenue between Fourth and Seventh streets.

Read more here:
   Besides the live music acts -- and there's live music all through the weekend, with lots of local bands in addition to the headliners --  the festival also features all sorts of food – tons of great seafood, but also everything from barbecue to ice cream – and a children’s area.
   The complete lineup of bands should be announced soon.
Vanilla Ice
   Tritt has had a long career in country music, dating back to the late 1980s.
   Vanilla Ice was one of the first successful white rappers, and at one time among the biggest-selling rapper in the world, thanks to his hit "Ice Ice Baby."

   Admission is $3 for everyone age 12 and older. (That's $1 more than last year.) Kids younger than 12 get in free.

    For information, go to the De Soto Seafood Festival Facebook page or or call  941-747-1998.

Read more here:

Read more here:

M. Ward plays St. Petersburg May 1

   M. Ward, everybody's favorite alt-folk singer/guitarist, is coming to St. Petersburg.
   The Portland-based musician has received almost universal critical acclaim for his solo work as well as for She & Him, his duo with Zooey Deschanel, and Monsters of Folk, his band that also includes Conor Oberst, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes.
M. Ward
   If that's not enough indie cred to impress you, he's also performed or recorded with Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Jason Lytle and Cat Power and a bunch of other cool alternative folkies and rockers. 
   He's not a sideman, though. His own low-tech, quiet, beautiful music is at least on a par with that of the people he plays with. He's apparently just happy to let the spotlight shine on other musicians.
    But he'll be performing solo for his show at the State Theatre on May 1, which is what most of his fans would prefer.
   The show's set for 7:30 p.m. May 1. Tickets are $20 in advance (they go on sale Friday, Feb. 28) and $23 day of show. Go to

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sarasota Film Society hosts Academy Awards parties

   You're probably planning on sitting at home watching the Oscars on Sunday, but here's a better idea: You can watch them on a big screen, with an open bar, surrounded by some serious film buffs.
   The Sarasota Film Society is hosting its annual Academy Awards Party on Sunday at both Burns Court and Lakewood Ranch cinemas. Pick whichever one's closer to you, because the events are pretty much the same at both theaters.
   The evening starts at 7 p.m. with a VIP Red Carpet reception, just before the Oscars show starts. There's an open wine, beer and soft drink bar for the entire event, and hors d'oeuvres during the red carpet part. There's also a silent auction, a trivia contest with prizes, and lots of other cool stuff. 
   Tickets are $20 for Sarasota Film Society members and $25 for everyone else. They're available at the box offices -- Burns Court is at 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota, and Lakewood Ranch Cinemas is at 10715 Rodeo Drive No. 8, Lakewood Ranch -- or online at

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bradenton Blues Festival tickets on sale now

Little Ed and company
    The official word was that tickets for the 2014 Bradenton Blues Festival would go on sale March 1. But in fact you can already get tickets through the website,, and organizers say they've already sold about $2,000 worth of tickets.
    The general admission tickets price is the same as last year -- $30 in advance and $40 at the gate -- but this year there will be a couple of hundred reserved seats up toward the stage. Those tickets are $75.

    The third annual festival is set for Dec. 6 on the Riverwalk. 
    The headliner is Marcia Ball. Other acts include Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Little Ed and the Blues Imperials, Bill Branch & The Sons of Blues, Samantha Fish, EG Kight, Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling; and Dave Muskett.

Victory Belles bring '40s harmonies to Bradenton

   The Victory Belles are coming to Bradenton.
   The vocal trio is based at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, offering faithful re-creations of the exuberant and distinctive music of the 1940s.
   They'll be at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, at 502 Third Ave. W., for one show, at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 13.
The Victory Belles
   They specialize in Andrews Sisters songs, and their show will feature such hits as  "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "I'll Be Seeing You," all sung in rich three-part harmony.
   Tickets are $19 for adults and $10 for students and teachers. Call 941-748-5875 or go to

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sarasota's Asolo Rep adds "Baritones Unbound"

    Asolo Repertory Theatre’s has added a show called "Baritones UnBound:  Celebrating the UnCommon Voice of the Common Man" to its 2013-14 season.
   The show premiered last year in Boston and drew some great reviews. It's a three-person show (all three people are baritones, of course) that looks at the role of the baritone singer through music history, in opera, operetta, musical theater and pop music.
Marc Kudisch
  One of the creators of the shows, and one of its stars for the Boston run, is
Marc Kudisch, a Broadway star who's been nominated for Tony Awards for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "9 to 5" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." He'll also star in the Asolo Rep production.
   Call 941-351-8000 or go to for tickets or more information.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marcia Ball headlines 2014 Bradenton Blues Festival

   Local music fans are still buzzing about how great the 2013 Bradenton Blues Festival was. But the 2014 festival looks as though it could be even better.
    Organizers announced the lineup for the third annual edition of the festival, which is set for Dec. 6 on the Riverwalk. The headliner is Marcia Ball, probably the biggest name the festival has ever featured.
    Just like last year, through, there’s not a weak link in the entire lineup. Other acts scheduled thus far are Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Little Ed and the Blue Imperials, Bill Branch & The Sons of Blues, Samantha Fish, " EG Kight, Doug Deming and the
Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling; and Dave Muskett.
  Tickets for the 2014 Bradenton Blues Festival go on sale March . They're $30 in advance; $40 at the gate, cash only; $25 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 for students; and $10 for children, ages 5-12. Children under 5 are free. A limited number of reserved front-of-stage seats are available for $75. 
   Tickets are available online and at Keeton's Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. W.,  Bradenton. For more information and to buy tickets online, go to

Friday, February 14, 2014

Inconic singer-songwriter Morrissey plays St. Petersburg

   Morrissey is coming to St. Petersburg.
   The charismatic and controversial frontman for the Smiths and successful solo artist is heading out on a U.S. tour in May. The tour includes a stop at the Mahaffey Theater on May 30.
Tickets go on sale at noon Feb. 21. They'll set you back
   Morrissey has recently completed a new album, his first in five years, and it should be released later this year.
Joining Morrissey are guitarists Boz Boorer and Jesse Tobias, bassist Solomon Walker, drummer Matthew Walker and keyboard player Gustavo Manzur.
    For tickets and information, call
727-892-5767 or go to

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Daily lineup for Tampa's Big Guava announced

   The day-by-day lineup of the Big Guava Festival has been announced.
   The festival's set for May 2-4 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. It's one of the biggest music festivals ever in west central Florida, made even bigger by the announcement earlier this week that Bruce Springtseen and the E Street Band would play a "festival kick-off show" at the amphitheatre the evening before the festival.

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  But the lineup was plenty impressive even before that: Outkast, Vampire Weekend, Violent Femmes and Cake are just a few of the big names.
   Here's the whole lineup:
   Friday, May 2: Outkast, Cake, Sleigh Bells, Twenty one Pilots, Jake Miller, Smallpools, NONONO, Vic Mensa, Unlikely Candidates, Betty Who.
Saturday, May 3: Vampire Weekend, Slightly Stoopid, Tegan and Sara, Haim,  Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, Blue October, Band of Skulls, American Authors, Hoodie Allen, Bear Hands, Kitten, Jacuzzi Boys, Civil Twilight, Terraplane Sun, Hunter Hunted, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas.
Sunday, May 4: Foster the People, Girl Talk, Violent Femme, Grouplove, Walk the Moon, Earl Sweatshirt, Ms Mr,
Chance the Rapper, Timeflies, ZZ Ward,  St. Lucia, Morning Parade, Magic Man, Gringo Star, Fly Union.
   Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15. Single-day tickets are $65. A three-day ticket is $165. VIP passes are available for $175 (one-day) and $499 (three-day).
   Besides the music, there's a midway (you can do all the rides you want for no extra charge), food trucks and craft beer gardens.

   To buy tickets go to or call 800-745-3000. 
   Springsteen tickets are separate from this The three-day pass does not include that show. Springsteen tickets got on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, also at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pilobolus performs in Sarasota this evening

   It was a shot at the big time that most artists and entertainers can only dream of. And Pilobolus blew it.          
   In the early 1970s, Frank Zappa was performing at Dartmouth College, and a group of students from a dance class opened the concert with a weird performance piece called "Pilobolus," after a fungus that grows in cow manure. Zappa loved the piece and invited the group, which didn't
even have a name yet, to go on tour with him.
   "We said, "What? We can't do that, we have midterms coming up,' " recalled Pilobolus co-founder Moses Pendleton.
    The people from Pilobolus obviously had no intention of making their careers as dancers, but they went on to change the face of American modern dance through their unusual approach to movement, narrative and illusion.

   They’ll be at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota at 8 p.m. tonight, (Wednesday, Feb. 12).
   They’ve lasted much longer than most dance companies, and in recent years they've shown signs of being past their creative prime. (Pendleton left the company to found the equally innovative Momix and Pilobolus hasn’t been as wonderfully weird since.) And because they’ve been so influential, the rest of the dance world has caught up with them and Pilobolus no longer seem so revolutionary.

   But their concerts are still full of beauty and intellect, and anyone who cares about dance still wants to see them anytime they come through town.

   Tickets are $40-$60. Call 941-953-3368 or go to




Monday, February 10, 2014

Bruce Springsteen announces May 1 Tampa concert

   On Monday, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band announced 15 more stops on their current tour. Tampa is among them.
   They'll be at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on May 1.

Bruce Springsteen
  They're touring the world on the heels of their  massively popular new album "High Hopes," which debuted at No. 1 in 20 countries.
   Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at You should be able to find more details at soon, but as of Monday morning the Tampa show wasn't listed there yet.
   Springsteen’s show is being billed as a “pre-festival kick-off” for the three-day Big Guava Festival, which gets going the next day and features Outkast, Violent Femmes, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Slightly Stoopid, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Earl Sweatshirt, Grouplove, Haim and others.
   Three-day passes for the festival are on sale for $165, or $499 for a “Super Guava” pass that includes a bunch of perks. (The three-day pass does not include the Springsteen concert.)

   Single-day tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m. Saturday for $65. Call 1-800-745-3000 or go to

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kansas, Sinise complete Lakwood Ranch festival lineup

The organizers of Winterfest at Lakewood Ranch , the all-day music festival set for next month, have been releasing details about the lineup in bits, each time naming a few acts that have been added and hinting that more big acts are yet to come.

Now the entire lineup is in place, and the latest additions are some of the biggest names in the festival.

The Lt. Dan Band, a cover band headed by actor Gary Sinise, has been added to the lineup, along with classic rock stalwarts Kansas and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.

The previously announced acts are Marty Balin, Rick Derringer, Bertie Higgins, Jeff Cook & the AGB, Ty Herndon, Billy Dean, and Hotel California.

Winterfest is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday, March 29 (actually in the spring, despite the festival’s name) at the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch. It had originally been announced as a two-day festival.

Balin, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member from his days as a vocalist with Jefferson Airplane, and had hits with Jefferson Starship in the ‘70s. Derringer, whose band the McCoys did “Hang on Sloopy,” had their first hits in the 1960s, and played in the late ‘60s and into the ‘70s with both Johnny and Edgar Winter.

Rick Derringer

Soft-rock giants Kansas (“Dust in the Wind), and Southern pop band Atlanta Rhythm Section (“Imaginary Lover”) had their biggest success in ‘70s. One-hit wonder Higgins hit with “Key Largo” in 1982.

Jeff Cook is a founding member of Alabama, who dominated country music in the 80s and ‘90s. Dean and Herndon are more contemporary country stars.

The website hints that Edgar Winter, a long-time musical partner of Derringer, might be joining him at Winterfest.

The Lt. Dan Band, named after Sinise’s character in the film “Forest Gump.” They’re best known for playing USO shows and other events in support of members of the United States military.

Hotel California is an Eagles tribute band.

Besides the music, Winterfest promises up to 50 food and beverage vendors and an artisan village with 25 booths.

Tickets are available on the Winterfest at Lakewood Ranch website, General admission $26.87.

VIP tickets, which include an all-day catered buffet, bar service, front-row reserved seating and air-conditioned restrooms, are $104.49. Call 941-757-1553 or check the website for more information.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Asolo's "Philadelphia" is coming back to Sarasota

   Asolo Repertory Theatre's "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" has been the most talked-about area theater presentation in a long time. Even the Wall Street Journal wrote about it.
  The reason is that director Frank Galati had trimmed the play significantly, and playwright Brian Friel found out and wasn't happy. He made Asolo Rep halt "Philadelphia" after just a couple of shows. The cut scenes and characters were restored and Galati and the now-larger cast went back into rehearsals.
Christian Conn, Douglas Jones
"Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Read more here:
   It's reopening Tuesday, Feb. 4. It had been a 90-minute show with no intermission; now it's significantly longer and has two intermissions, as Friel dictated in his script.
   The play, which is about a half-century old, was the first big success for Friel, who's now best known for "Dancing at Lughnasa." It tells the story of a young Irish man on the night before he moves to America. The "hook" is that the young man is portrayed by two actors simultaneously, one his "public" self and one his "private" self.
   The shorter version was lovely, with a gorgeous set and wonderful performances.
    The restored version runs through April 12 at the Mertz Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $33-$61. 941-351-8000,

Tickets on sale for John Legend's April 27 Van Wezel performance

   Tickets are on sale now for John Legend's recently announced appearance at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
John Legend

   The nine-time Grammy winner will bring his "An Evening With John Legend: The All of Me Tour" to Van Wezel on April 27.
    "All of Me" is the current hit single from Legend’s fourth studio album "Love In the Future," produced by Legend and longtime collaborators Kanye West and Dave Tozer. The tour starts March 20.
    Call 941-953-3368 or go to for tickets and information.

Banyan Theater announces its 2014 summer season

  In 2013, Sarasota's Banyan Theater produced a popular staging of Donald Maguilies' "Time Stands Still." The company will end its 2014 season with another Margulies' work, "Collected Stories."
  Banyan, which produces only in the summer months, announced its 2014 season last week. Besides "Collected Stories," scheduled for Aug 7-23, the season includes Arthur Miller's "The Price," (June 26-July 13) and "The Sty of the Blind Pig" by Phillip Hayes Dean (July 17-Aug. 3). 
   All three are acclaimed dramas. This will be Banyan's second time staging "The Price," which the company first offered in 2003.
   The Banyan Theater Company performs in the Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. A three-show subscription costs $70, a two-show package is $52 and single tickets are $28.50. For tickets and information, go to