Friday, May 15, 2015

MAY 17, 2015

A glorious summer sunrise 

You have one more week to see the current ASOLO production of LUCK BE A LADY.  The very talented cast of this show performs the music of one of our great American composers, Frank Loesser.  Surely you remember the music from TONY winner Guys and Dolls along with How to Succeed in Business and I Don't Want To Walk Without You, I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now and If I Were A Bell, among dozens of others . Though uneven at times, the cast is energetic and works hard to please. To purchase tickets and see a short video for Luck click here. 

If you have tickets for this show or the one that follows, you can begin your experience or end it with a meal at TREVISO in the Visitor Center of Ringling Museum of Art across the street from Asolo Theatre.  Closing its doors after 10 years of exceptional service, Treviso is again offering their summer dinner  special of 2 starters, 2 entrees, 2 desserts and a bottle of wine from Mezzacorona for the ridiculous price of $45 per COUPLE.  There is no better restaurant deal in SARASOTA.

This is Treviso's thank you to their many customers served these past 10 years.  They will be missed.  Officially closing on 6/24,  the restaurant will reopen sometime in July with management team of Libby's, Louies Modern and The Francis.

SARASOTA Music Festival begins next month and runs through June 20th.  Classical musicians from around the world converge here for three weeks of master classes and breathtaking performances.  Your best bet are the concerts scheduled for the Opera House where every seat is a good one and the acoustics are almost perfect for a symphonic performance.  For a complete schedule of performances click here.

Last week's sold out Arts In The Ballpark started slowly with what seemed like dull selections.  Upon further review, a faulty sound system made the first half disappointing.  With the sound system functioning correctly, the second half was exciting, entertaining and featured a performance by former American Idol runner-up and SARASOTA native Seyesha Marcado.  Her voice and presence have grown since her Idol days.  She really got into her set and finished to a rousing standing ovation.  Fireworks closed the show.  Look for this series to continue next year.

the end is tonight!!!!!
Tonight (Sunday) marks the end of one of television's best programs, when AMC closes the book on MAD MEN at 10 pm.  If you have not watched this from the beginning, AMC is continuing a marathon of episodes right up to the finale. 

In my estimation, this season has been one of the best, keeping you guessing on plot changes weekly.  I have no way of knowing if Don Draper reveals his real identity or what happens to his children when Betty dies, what I do know will be the empty feeling next Sunday when MAD MEN is gone for good!!

And on Wednesday, Late Show With David Letterman, signs off after 35 years of Stupid Pet Tricks, Top Ten Lists, and unforgettable, indelible pop moments.  This is sure to be one of the TV events of the year. 

 No final guests announced, but you can bet Jay Leno is not one of them.  One can only assume Steven Colbert, anointed to replace Dave will be one of those guests.  Tune in for many surprises and tears.  Though past his prime, Dave managed to survive late nite where many others failed.

KONA GRILL is hosting a special happy hour for University Park Country Club residents Tuesday May 19, from 5:30pm-7:00pm.  There will be food and drink specials.  After the party you are welcome to stay and have dinner for a 20% discount off the menu.  This is available for the first 30 to RSVP at 941-350-5396  or As of this writing only a few reservations remain.

UPCC resident Alan Katz at 80!!!!!
Other special dates for UPCC residents are 6/23Apollonia, 7/22 Giuseppi's, and 8/18 Carmel Cafe.  All are offering dinner specials on those dates to UPCC residents.  To R.S.V.P. see above.   

JIM'S RANT....Nothing to rant about this week.  Just saying goodbye for a few month's hiatus.  If anything of importance happens this summer there will be a special edition of JIM KNOWS SARASOTA....If not, see you late August or early September....Have a great summer. 

Tracy will be enjoying her summer through the eyes of Cori who is off to Europe.  First stop the UK where she is staying with Emma, one of her best friends from high school.....JIM
Cori's first day in UK!!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

MAY 10, 2015


Those of you who  live in UPCC should have received your May issue of LIFE IN THE PARK.  Dedicated to University Park residents it features articles about Park activities, Women's Club, Golf and Tennis results, dining information and much more.  Under a different name, the company publishing LIFE also provides a similar magazine for Laural Oaks, River Club, Southside Village, Twin Lakes, City Islands, LWRCC, Riverwood and soon Waterleaf & Venice Golf &CC.

I urge you to support the advertisers in these publications.  You will recognize  many and will discover some new offerings  as well.  In addition there are several Park dinner's planned for the summer.  I will give you a list next week.

If you subscribed to FLORIDA STUDIO Theatre's summer season you should have your tickets by now.  Those who didn't, there is still time to subscribe.  The season is dedicated to laughter, mostly the slapstick kind and kicks off June 3rd at the Gompertz with Inspired Lunacy.  Filled with an  irreverent collection of witty, wacky and whimsical novelty songs from composer Allen Sherman to Kander and Ebb.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is up next, plaing at The Keating.  It starts July 1st and is followed in August at the Gompertz by Over The River and Through The Woods, this laugh filled play was written by Joe DiPietro author of Tony winning Memphis.

CABARET'S  season is SOLD OUT!!!  Yes, I was surprised to learn on Tuesday that all three shows were off the board.  I assume you can still go stand-by or put your name on a waiting list.  For more information call the box office 941-366-9000.  You would be wasting your time going to their web site.

If Cabaret style entertainment is your thing, then do not fret.  WESTCOAST BLACK THEATRE TROUPE is offering its own; THE COTTON CLUB CABARET.  Created and directed by Nate Jacobs, this show originally debuted in 2000, but is being brought back as part of the 15th anniversary season. Opening July 8th and running until August 9th,  this high-spirited-high-stepping musical revue features favorite songs from the greatest entertainers of by-gone era's Fats Waller, Etta James, Ethel Waters, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and Lena Horne.  

I'm very confident the 2015-2016 VAN WEZEL Broadway series is NOT sold out at this point.  Their schedule reflects the growing importance of the venue in attracting recent Broadway productions.  Following this season's sold out performances of Jersey Boys, comes the recent Tony winner, THE BOOK OF MORMON, for an extended run February 9-14.  In order to purchase tickets now you will need to become a subscriber.  Click here for new season of Broadway.

Single tickets will not be available until later this year.  In addition to Mormon scheduled performances include The Producers, Bullets over Broadway, and Million Dollar Quartet among others.  Discounts are available now for multi-show performances.

According to a Herald Tribune poll, this was the most visited tourist venue this season!!

Looking for a page turner summer read?  This new book by Richard Montanari, The Doll Makerstarts like a bullet train until ending in a breathless conclusion.  Author of seven detective investigative thrillers, this could be his best yet.  A must list read from Entertainment Weekly; it has become a best-seller on Kindle. 

Finally open at UTC, YO SUSHI, is creating quite a buzz with its distinct style of sushi service.  Sit at their expansive counter or one of the tables and get your sushi delivered via conveyor belt.

  You will have to spend several minutes with their large menu since sushi comes in seven color bowls all with different prices.  There are also reasonably priced soup and entrees on the menu all reasonably priced.  Specials are added daily and can actually be ordered from a server.  With no outside seating available their operating hours are limited; especially on Sunday when they close at 6.

This past Friday evening the place was jumping with a wait for seats  at counter or table.  I witnessed several eating carry-out  in Center Court of Mall.  Looks like YO SUSHI is a HIT!!!

JIM'S RANT......Just when you thought it safe to drive the streets of  SARASOTA now that spring breakers have left along with the snowbirds....guess again....those nasty, dirty, swarming, black creatures are's love bug season and all the mess it brings with it.  Spray Pam on the front grill of your car to keep them from suggestions for your front window...just patience along with soap and water and stay away from I75 where the bugs are most prevalent.
As always, Tracy has provided her editing skills to this edition.  Only one more before our summer break  More next week.......JIM
Season finale is tonight 9 pm CBS


Saturday, May 2, 2015

MAY 3, 2015


The World Premier of LUCK BE A LADY, featuring the music of Frank Loesser, premiered Friday to rave reviews and continues through May 24th.  Featuring a cast of New York stage veterans, a director who is among the best in his field, this will surely be a most sought after ticket during its run.   If you love standards, go to Cabaret, support the Pops concerts, you are sure to enjoy this one..... I will give my review in the May 17th edition.  Stay tuned.......

You still have one more week to see one of FST'S most popular and well attended show in years, AMERICAN PIE.  You are probably tired of my writing about this one, so I'll be brief.  If you have not seen it...GO!!!! 

Continuing on the main stage of FST  is CHAPPATI, a two person play with no intermission.  This one got off to an inauspicious start when the male lead had trouble memorizing his lines and actually used his script for most of the previews.  However, those who have seen this tell me it is worthwhile as both actors have gained momentum with each performance.

  This is season's last show before summer series kicks in June 5 with the first of three shows.  If you have not subscribed there is ample time.  I will have information next week on the summer schedule.

The AJC Global Jewish Advocacy is again sponsoring a summer lunch and learn series. This year's line up will not disappoint.The Lunch and Learn begin promptly at 11:30am with a delicious lunch at Michael's On East and ending at 1:30pm.  You can go to one or all three.  The cost for each is $28.  Reservations are required.  Call 941-365-4955 or email  
This year's dates and speakers:

  • May 28:  Shira Lowewnberg, AJC's Director of The Asia Pacific Institute
  • June 30: Aaron Jacob, AJC's Associate Director of International Affairs; and
  • July 28:  Dina Siegel Vann, AJC's Director of the Belfer Institute for Latino &Latin American Affairs. 
RINGLING COLLEGE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION recently announced its TOWN HALL speakers series for 2016, and I am happy to say the lineup is the strongest in years.  The series kicks off with Israel  President Shimon Peres, a month later there's a debate between Jim Messina and Karl Rove moderated by former CBS correspondent Sheryl Attkisson.

Other highlights include Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, former General David Petreaus and Sir Ken Robinson an International Expert on Creativity and Innovation, finally, novelist Amy Tan who is speaking at the Platinum Dinner.  Tickets for both morning and evening sessions are on sale now.  Click here to become a member and order tickets.

Now playing at Burns Court Cinema, Clouds of Sils Maria comes well reviewed and highly recommended.  Starring Juilette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, this film is easily misunderstood without first reading a synopsis before going into theatre.  Unfortunately, we did not, and therefore had difficulty with storyline until later when reading the aforementioned review.  Stewart has become quite an actress away from her Twilight series and Binoche has never met a role she doesn't chew up.  See the movie, BUT read a review first.

A few weeks ago I wrote extensively about happy hour at various SARASOTA restaurants, and made several recommendations.  Here is one to stay away from!!  Those of you who don't think I am critical about our dining establishments; guess again!!  STONEWOOD GRILL, which was once the best for happy hour is no longer in that category.  Expensive, very limited menu and even smaller portions, I will never go back.  Their regular menu has not changed much since last visit,  but their bar is no longer competitive with what is now being offered all over SARASOTA.

We recently revisited SOCIAL after a long absence.  I am happy to report the menu, service and attention to detail has not changed.  In fact, eating outside on a beautiful spring night made everything taste that much better.

This is the perfect spot for those of you who have FST tickets.  Get there early enough and the FST parking lot next door will have plenty of spaces. Arrive later and you can use SOCIAL valet or  Palm Ave. Garage.  This is one of our better downtown casual restaurants; especially if your in a sharing mood.

Saturday is STAMP OUT HUNGER food drive.  Your mailman will be collecting non-perishable food with mail delivery on May 9.  Be sure to hang a bag of food items or place one next to your box.  The food will be delivered to either Manatee Food Bank or All Faiths.  This is one of most successful food drives of year.  Please do your part and contribute.

JIM'S RANT....Thursday's SARASOTA Herald-Tribune had two disturbing front page articles.
"Get Used To It!" and "Finishing What Work They Can."  The first deals with the on-going traffic problems year round, and the city's unwillingness to tackle the issue. The latter has to do with our State Legislature which is in chaos with no budget and several funding issues  unattended to including but not limited to  Rowing park funding, Medicaid,  and the BUDGET!!!  Traffic will not be improving soon if ever; especially with all the downtown building.  AND Tallahassee will continue to be dysfunctional until we get together and demand more out of our Representatives and Governor.


Thanks as always to Tracy for her attention to detail.  Have a great week see you soon........JIM