Saturday, November 16, 2013


Season of Sculpture, one of SARASOTA'S most popular exhibits, is here!  You can take advantage of this exhibit for free through Memorial Day.  Spaced along Bay Shore Drive are 18 of the most magnificent sculptures by famous and non-famous sculptors.  One of the many wonders of Sarasota. To learn more about the exhibit and artists click here.

These are exciting times for the University Parkway corridor.  By now, most of you should have read the growing list of retailers and restaurants scheduled to arrive next year.  This week comes an addition to the corridor that will create more traffic, but at the same time  be a very valuable asset to the retail choices in the market.  FLOOR & DECOR, a large national chain in twelve states with thirty locations offering a huge selection of tile, wood and stone is opening it's 62,000 square foot Sarasota store Thursday in former Albertsons at 8145 Lockwood Ridge Road. 

Floor and Decor carries the broadest selection of marble, travertine, granite, ceramic, tile, and laminate flooring available to both individual consumers as well as contractors. In addition, they sell a full array of tools and related accessories necessary to complete any hard surface flooring surface.  A do-it-yourself consumer friendly store.  Open early until 11 during the week and 9 on weekends.

There are two charitable events this weekend that need your support.    Please take the time to attend both or if you cannot attend you can always make a contribution of money or time!!!

On Saturday, Tree of Life Community Project Kickoff is being held from 1-3pm at Art Center Sarasota, 701 N. Tamiami Trail.  Immediately following  Downtown Farmer's Market there will be music, Bar-B-Q, discounts from several local businesses, and a new live plant to take home for the holidays.    Proceeds go to those who need support and encouragement in their quest for a second chance. For more information please click here.

Art Center Manatee is holding their 2nd Annual is holding their 2nd Annual Holiday Pottery Sale Saturday and Sunday from 9am til 3pm at 209 9th ST. W Bradenton.  Shop early for the holidays as talented potters offer great deals and selection for the discerning shopper. For more information click here.

The SARASOTA Medieval Fair continues today and next weekend at Ringling Woods behind Sarasota Fairgrounds.  Featuring nationally renowned acts along with rides, games, music, holiday shopping and food.  There is a Medieval Village where you can even get a haircut.  Face painting for kids and horse rides as well. 

If you are looking to spend a few hours in a world that only exists in our imagination then Medieval Fair is for you.  With art shows ,wine fests, and Chalk Festival,  this little gem of an attraction did not get its fair share of attendance or attention last weekend.  For something different, I recommend a look see.

Have you noticed the return of slot machines in a different form?  Sprouting around Sarasota in the former locations of the shuttered slots are Jacks...Bingo and more. I walked into the Lockwood Ridge location and saw several people hovered over bingo machines with plates of food by their side.  The location manager claims several thousand visit on the weekends.

The day I was there, the lot was busy but far from full.  For $3 admission you receive breakfast, lunch and dinner along with snacks.  There is a full bar as well.  Each game costs $7, but there are other opportunities to gamble. Why the state does not allow gambling is a mystery since the money generated from these places would go a long way to improve roads, decaying infrastructure, etc.

Half Shell Seafood House is thriving in it's new location on University Blvd. in the Kohl's shopping center.   Moving to the totally renovated Red Elephant location they offer oysters and mussells,  and have expanded their menu to include fresh fish, pasta and a good old-fashioned hamburger.  I was not a fan of the former location, but did enjoy my meal in their new digs.  The decor is charming with a New Orleans look, their new menu is still a work in progress as is their service.   To make a reservation call 941-952-9400.

Mandela...a long walk to freedom had its area premier at CINE-WORLD, and opens here on 11/29. It is a powerful, well done movie that delves into the life and mystique of Nelson Mandela, who after 27 years a prisoner for his only crime of dark skin is finally granted freedom and in due time  becomes President of South Africa .  It is a powerful film filled with wonderful performances; especially Mandella played by Idrus Elba, who plays Luther in BBC's crime series.  It should be mentioned as Academy Award possibility next year.

I want to thank APOLLONIA owners,  brothers Eddie and Ben for assisting our neighborhood party of over 50 for cocktails and dinner last week.  The service was excellent and every meal came hot and as ordered.  If you are thinking of a holiday party and are looking for something new and unusual this year, I highly recommend APOLLONIA.

JIM'S RANT is directed at our magnificent Opera Company.  Not the singers or musicians, but management.  Their ticket return policy is for the birds!!!  If a season ticket holder passes away and a refund is justified  a death certificate is required as proof.  Once received, instead of a check or offer of credit towards next season, a refund is sent to the deceased's credit card used in the transaction; even though the card has  probably been cancelled.  I would hope in respect for the grieving family a more compassionate way of refund be considered.

Tracy did her usual fine editing job this week....until next week's Thanksgiving edition with breaking news only revealed here,  I leave you with a photo many of us witnessed on television in 1963.....JIM
A very young John John saluting his father's casket.  Hard to believe it's been 50 years!!!

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