Saturday, December 31, 2016

JANUARY 1, 2017!!!!

2017  It seems like a few months ago we were busy with LABOR Day; and now into a new year.  The older we get the faster they fly by. 

The new year brings with it a host of new theatre, music, dance and  festivals.  The Asolo is first with next week debuting  THE GREAT SOCIETY.  Lyndon Johnson begins A vision for his legacy; something we are witnessing as Obama ends his Presidency.  Besieged by political opponents, Johnson shows his skills as a leader, stepping out of Kennedy's shadow to  help reshape our  country.

Opening January 13 and running until April 2.  Along the way it will be joined by other productions which I will discuss in coming weeks.   Unlike Guys And Dolls, there will be ample opportunities to see this one.   You can reserve your tickets by calling the box office at 941-351-8000 or by clicking here to order tickets on line. 

Continuing at Florida Studio Theatre is Joe DiPietro's Clever Little Lies.  I mentioned the opening last week, before any published  reviews.  Jay Handelman writing  in the Sarasota Herald Tribune states

 "If it weren't for the free-flying four-letter words and brief but BLUNT description of sexual acts, you might think that Joe Di Pietro's Clever Little Lies, a light and breezy comedy with heart, was a long lost comedy of the 1960's.  It has an old fashioned style, evoking the tone of early Neil Simon, within a more contemporary setting."

He goes on to give a strong positive review.

However, friends Mark Freed and Debbie Yonker recently saw the show and were less than enthused. 

Having seen DePetro's other FST productions they were expecting his lighthearted approach to family, marriage and growing older.  What they got instead was, according to them , a loud, sometimes slapstick and over the top use of profanity to make a point.

 Their view, unlike Handelman was "just OK." If you like this kind of theatre, then by all means go. 

This one runs through March 4.  The box office number is 941-366-9107.  Their web site is a touch away. 

Next  weekend, The Sarasota Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor, Case Scaglione, will be presenting its third  Masterworks program of the season. 

 This one titled Musical Musings of Beethoven and Brahms  features some of the more familiar as well as less familiar works of these two Masters!!!  Scaglione's credits include The New York Philharmonic and one I am personally fond of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

There should be lots of passion in the room when two of the most venerated composers in classical music are on the same program.  The energy of Brahms' first symphony forever secured his place as Beethoven's successor.

  Beethoven's  genius is on display with his Piano Concerto No.3,   performed by guest artist, Yulianna Avdeeva.  She is the recent winner of the  Chopin Prize and the Arthur Rubenstein competition among others.  The program is available three times.

Good seats remain for all performances for as low as $33.  You can call 941-953-3434 or click here for your on-line link.

This week's new restaurant find comes from friend Ron Emmerman.  Always in pursuit of that unique meal, he found it at of all  places ELLAs 8004  Cortez Road in Bradenton.  What once was a Kentucky Fried Chicken location is now home to family style Greek cuisine serving lunch and dinner daily. 

 Though small with a few tables and designed mostly for carry-out, the menu offers many Greek favorites seen at more well-known Greek restaurants in Sarasota.  Quoting Ron who was extremely enthusiastic when describing his several meals here, "Very tasty with no artificial foods, wonderfully priced, a clean environment, a place we should consider for a great meal with no frills."

Welcoming in 2017
If you've never been to Lucky Pelican, "your neighborhood fish house",  in Lakewood Ranch, you're missing one of the area's most outstanding restaurants. Since replacing the ill-advised Carmine/Goldberg several years ago, Pelican has maintained its high standards of quality food, impeccable service, affordable prices and friendly atmosphere. 

Lobster is a Specialty
Open for lunch daily except Sunday, and dinner every day except Monday,  even in summer months there can be a wait.  But with outside seating the wait is palpable.  If you arrive early for dinner take advantage of beverage happy hour.  Their menu is stable, but each afternoon and evening a centrally located  chalkboard features seafood and meat specials.  And if you can handle it, cheese cake for dessert is a must.

REMINDER:  Pick up this week's OBSERVER for their Winter Season Magazine.   The insert covers two months through   February 2017.

BREAKING NEWS:  A Friday press release along with an article in Saturday's Sarasota Herald Tribune business section marks the end at least for now of one of the most bizarre restaurant chapters in recent memory...."Sol's NYC Deli Relocating to Make Way for Main Plaza Redevelopment" ...Open post-Thanksgiving/2015 and closed several weeks after. Then this past February, Sol Shenker along with partners Jesse Biter and David Chessler moved his brand to the vacated Applebees on Main St.  Now Sol promises to expand on his "brand" in a new "top-secret" location.  I am reserving my comments for the next press release.

JIM'S RANT...This time of year many of us venture out to the movies.  With minimal theatre choices most end up at Hollywood 20.  Not a bad option when you factor in the $6 admission (plus tax).  However, a word to the wise.  If going, do yourself a favor and park in their open lot along Fruitville.  Not taking my own advice, we parked indoors Christmas day.  Ouch!!! With traffic coming in and going out, it took at least  fifteen minutes to exit.  No fun for impatient me......

Happy and Healthy to you all...see you next year...JIM

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