Saturday, July 19, 2014

JULY 20, 2014

JULY-AUGUST-SEPTEMBER are usually the slow months in SARASOTA........NOT ANYMORE....

There are several shows playing at different venues as good if not better than IN SEASON...consider THE PRINCE OF SOUL now at Westcoast Black Theatre through August 10th.  This is the second and last show of their summer season, but is an instant hit as it was three years ago. 

Starring as Marvin Gaye is Sheldon Roden, recreating the role again,  he looks talks and sings like Gaye so much that you may think Gaye has come back from his grave to entertain you.  Combining music and drama, this one should not be missed.  Tickets are scarce so call 366-1505 and reserve yours today.

Currently playing at Florida Studio Theatre in the intimate Keating Theatre is a one woman show Becoming Dr. Ruth. Running through this week, unless extended, the show is an insight into America's most famous sex therapist.  Played by Susan Greenhill, who has been at FST in several other productions, Dr. Ruth comes alive as she revisits her fascinating life after the death of her third husband.

A moving, funny portrayal of one woman's determination to survive, thrive and keep learning.  If you enjoyed last season's Thurgood, you will love this!!

BANYAN Theatre company's second production The Sty of the Blind Pig takes place on Chicago's South Side during the 50's in an era that precedes  the civil rights movement.  First presented on Broadway in 1971, it came away with the Drama Desk award among others.  An emotional roller coaster of a story not dimmed by the passing of time, this intimate production is heartwarming emotional stuff associated with good theatre. 

PIG closes in two weeks to make room for the third and final production of the summer, Collected Stories by Donald Margulies. Performances are in the Jane B. Cook Theatre in FSU Center for Performing Arts.

Continuing at Historic Asolo Theatre in the Visitor's Center at Ringling Museum is their annual SUMMER CIRCUS SPECTACULARA one-hour performance of circus acts for all ages.  Performances continue through August 2nd Tues-Fri 11am and 2pm; and Saturday at 2 and 5pm.  In addition to tickets for the show, another $5 gets you admission into Circus Museum.  Many have called this year's edition the best yet.

Christian Stoinev shown above is still in the running on NBC's "America's Got Talent" and returns via tape to that show for another audition round this coming  Tuesday or Thursday at 8pm.  If he makes it out of this round, live performances begin the following week. If he wins the prize is a $1mil contract for Las Vegas performances.

MAIL BAG....Not everyone agrees with my reviews of movies, restaurants, books, shows, television,  whatever.  The purpose of this blog is to let you know what's happening in SARASOTA and where possible I put my own slant on the attraction, book or restaurant.  By now, you know my favorites.  With so many new restaurants opening in the fall, I'm sure there will be more.

I recently gave a not so good review to CULVER'S, a new burger and custard restaurant on University Parkway.  Last week, in a review by Cooper-Levey-Baker correspondent for the Herald Tribune,  he also  would opt out for Five Guys.  One of you disagreed with me and wrote: "I must disagree with your evaluation of Culver's.  I thought it was terrific.  The food was excellent.  It was brought to my table in exactly 5 minutes......"  The writer goes on to compliment restaurant for handling of crowds which by the way seem never-ending both inside and take-out.

Then there's the letter from a reader who bought Harlan Coben's thriller Missing You on my recommendation.   Space does not permit the entire letter...Here are the juicer parts..."single most inane book I've read since "Once We Were Brothers."  Harlan Coben hasn't changed in 30 years.   He still has the same plot formula with a missing person who miraculously appears about 80% into the book as the plot completely falls apart.  Though one of the characters, a 45 year old woman is locked in a box for 6 days, she manages to escape and subdue a grown man by using an ax.........WOW, what a plot.  Please forward your check made payable to me for $10.99 for buying this drivel..." The check was sent but returned with the proviso I not recommend any further reading material....LOL!!!!

YUME SUSHI has a new home, but you don't have to go very far from their old location.  In fact, it is across the street at shuttered  Sangria Tapas restaurant which bit the dust months ago.  Airy and more inviting than its former location, YUME has a new menu with more entrees, but the same delicious sushi they are known for. 

What was most exciting about the evening were the crowds.  Almost full at 6:15; completely full at 7:30 with a decent wait....all this on a Tuesday night.  When going downtown,  with the State Street lot torn up,  parking is at a premium.  But don't let that stop you as the NEW YUME is a great addition to Main st. dining.

Le Chef, not to be confused with Chef, is a French film which in its own way is as funny and delightful as the other.  Playing at the BURNS, it is a pleasant way to spend a hot afternoon or evening. 

Also playing at the BURNS, a documentary dedicated to the life of Roger Ebert, LIFE ITSELF.  Though tough to watch at times,  since Ebert and wife Chaz took part up to his passing;  it is nevertheless a story of a man, his movies and his will to live under terrible circumstances.   Surely, an Academy Award nominee for best 2014 documentary.  You can also view this at home with VOD.

Also showing on VOD, new releases....Snowpiercer, #1 on Entertainment Weekly Must See list last week, Affluenza, Happy Christmas, A Long Way Down, They Came Together and one of  Phillip Seymour Hoffman's last movies before his untimely death  God's PocketIn addition Venus in Fur currently at BURNS while playing as well on VOD.

JIM'S RANT...On Thursday TICKET featured their list of the top 50 places to eat, drink, shop and be entertained in downtown SARASOTA ..........impossible to list every attraction, restaurant and shop....BUT..NO Brooks Brothers, Hyde Park,Eileen Fisher, Patrick's,Yume Sushi, Mattison's, Toasted Mango, Word of Mouth, First Watch, PF Chang's, Reasons, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Opera House, Americano Cafe, Duvals, J. McLaughlin, The Brown Bag, As Good As It Gets, Evelyn and Aurthur ,Envie, Salute!, Station 400, Savory Street, Traders on Main,  Dead Poet's Sushi, Melange,  Sur Le Table , WBTT, and so many more.  LAZY reporting and an insult to our intelligence! For their list click here.

See you again in two weeks.....thanks to Tracy...letter writers...and all of you for reading.....JIM



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