Saturday, February 25, 2017

FEBRUARY 26,2017

SIESTA BEACH #1 IN USA..........


Ryan Gosling with Emma Stone
This year's Oscar story begins with a bold  prediction: Surprise!!!  LA LA LAND will be the clear winner by the end of the evening!   Creatively,  it was the best picture  I saw last year.  Many, if not most of you disagree.  However,  its originality, risk taking, music, directing, acting, tops them all.  And Hollywood loves to love itself.
Host Jimmy Kimmel

A sleeper is Hidden Figures, which came out late without much hype and did very well at box office.  It is a compelling tale of our early space program, with terrific acting from the entire cast.   Octavia Spencer deserved her  supporting actress nomination as did the other two leads;  but Viola Davis chose this category for her role in Fences.  She is a lock.

I predict Emma Stone will win for best actress, while her co-star Ryan Gosling will take a back seat to either Danzel Washington for his tour d force performance in Fences or Casey Affleck for his star making role in Manchester by the Sea.

The musical highlight of the evening is the opening number where all nine nominated films will be featured.  

 The five songs vying for  Best will be performed by an A list of entertainers  including  Lin Manuel Miranda performing his song from Moana, How Far Will I Go; Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop The Feeling from Trolls,; Sting's The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story, and John Legend singing City of Stars from La La Land.

I am going with City of Stars, from La La, but with two songs from film nominated, look for a possible upset here.  The fun begins tonight with Red Carpet at 7 on ABC.

See you next week with either a smile or egg on my face! 

You still have time, but not much, to sign up for the many courses offered by The Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy beginning early March.  You can search their many broad course options for spring semester. by clicking here.  

One option is taught by friend and technology whiz, Gayle Yaverbaum.  Beginning March 7 and running 6 weeks : IPAD: Photo Books, and Videos. 

In this course you  learn how to enjoy your pictures and video clips;  learn editing techniques, as well as become more comfortable with the IPAD.  To enroll  call 941-309-5161.  Gayle tells me she is close to capacity, so do it today. Cost is a reasonable $75 plus discount for members.

Who isn't looking for a laugh these days?   Jay Handelman writes, the recently opened 1930 Gershwin classic Crazy For You at the Venice Theatre will provide many laughs and pleasant memories as well.  Filled with classic hits such as  Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and Someone to Watch Over Me.  They don't write them like that anymore.  Running through  March 19   To order tickets call 941-488-1115.

Gayle's husband,  Harry is also a contributor this week.  He recently had dinner at Cas Antica, and gave me a review while we were walking a few Saturday's ago.

 Harry's group of six  were fortunate to find themselves in a private room away from the noise.  The entire restaurant is a former residence and reeks with ambiance and  on beautiful  days like we've been experiencing, outside dining is available in their enclosed garden area.

As for the food.  "It was tasty with much variety to choose from.  I had their scallops special, while others had sauteed veal scallopini with several sauce toppings.  Along with fresh vegetables and a variety of appetizers,  great service and an endless wine list;  this was more of a "dining" experience than your normal restaurant here.  Not every week, but we will definitely be back." 

Located 1213 N. Palm and within easy walking distance from FST.  Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.  Call 941-366-1846 for reservations.

I've  heard nothing but rave reviews for the current season  of  Sarasota Orchestra POPS concerts.  Tickets still remain for next  weekend's Leading Ladies of Broadway.  Featuring three stars who have appeared on the great white way,  Susan Egan, Liz Calloway and Deede Mango.  Their credits include favorites Miss Saigon, Cats and Wicked. 

It promises to be a memorable evening, with music  from A Chorus Line, Evita, Funny Girl, Hamilton (sound familiar?), South Pacific and Wicked.    I don't know of a more relaxing way to spend an early spring evening or afternoon.
New this year are Saturday matinee performances at 2:30 pm.  Tickets for the two evening and matinee performance for as low as $38 are available by clicking here. 

JIM'S RANT.....Finished watching "The Good Fight" Sunday on CBS.  This follow-up to The Good Wife is excellent;  in  fact, I'll be taping it  this longer available on CBS Network.  No, if I want to see future episodes they'll be on  their streaming CBS All Access at a cost....remember when television viewing was free and was limited to four choices...........

Thanks for reading...see you next week....JIM 



Monday, February 13, 2017

FEBRUARY 19, 2017



The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, along with several major sponsors are bringing ELEVEN great films for this year's Festival.  And, all will be screened multiple times at Hollywood 20-giving you no excuses for missing any of them!!  Most have either received a nomination at another Festival or have actually won several awards.

For a complete schedule, including special events click here. You can also purchase advance tickets here as well.

Sol in his first Main St. location
Less than 2 months ago Sol's NYC Delicatessen,  for the second time short of  2 years,  closed its doors and promised to return in a new "secret" location.  The "secret" is out.  Sol is reopening this week inside the Il Pancifico restaurant at 6644 Gateway Ave in Gulf Gate. 

 Along with their variety of pizzas, calzones, signature sandwiches and pastries;  you now will be able to purchase Sol's reuben, pastrami,  corned beef sandwiches, and for dessert his cheese cake.   Almost like a mini eatery!!!  Sol states "the third time is the charm. " 

Nik Wallenda at Circus
Circus Sarasota was as good as advertised.  The finale featuring  Nik Wallenda along with members of his family was breathtaking to watch.  With the recent rehearsal accident fresh in everyone's mind, you could literally hear a pin drop as the family began its presentation.  Friend Randy called the experience "surreal".  I can't top that.  If you haven't purchased tickets do so now  by clicking this link. Performances extend though 3/5.

The year was 1987.  A new restaurant opened at 1212 East St.  THIRTY years later, Michael's On East has become one of a handful of  Sarasota "go-to" restaurants for lunch, dinner, parties or catering.  Their Wine Cellar has become an intimate destination for those parties.  Recently I was a  guest at birthday brunch in Cellar.  For a restaurant not known for breakfast, Michael's put on one heck of a spread.
The menu is elaborate with selections ranging from salads as simple as Caesar  to Michael's Famous chopped salad.  Most restaurants call a menu item  "famous"; but only Michael's can get away with it.  Be sure to save room for  one of their home-made desserts.   Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.  For reservations call 941-366-0007 or go to their web-site for lunch and dinner menus.

Our part of the state is  once again hosting several baseball teams for Spring Training.  The Baltimore Orioles, right here at Ed Smith Stadium 700 12th St.  Sarasota, Pittsburgh
Pirates in Bradenton,  Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte and soon to join them Atlanta Braves in North Port.  

The Orioles are encouraging you to watch practice on their back fields through February 23.  Exhibition games begin Friday.   The first home game is a week from Sunday, when the Orioles host those Pirates .  The regular season kicks off April 2 with 3 games, including Cubs at Cardinals.  Seems like only yesterday I was celebrating a World Series victory.

                                                   THE COLOR OF DREAMS/Marc Chagall
Glass- House Conservatory

For the next six months,  Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is home to an exhibit worthy of any major city in this country.   Marc Chagall's little known connection to flowers and nature are on grand display here.

Your trip begins in a glass- house conservatory where you will wonder at replicas of Chagall's stained-glass windows.

Next, featured  in the Gallery,  Chagall's 1937 masterworks painting,  'The Lovers", on loan from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, along  with two privately loaned, never before displayed paintings from late in his career.  Included in this exhibit are Chagall ceramic vases, archival photos, and outdoor scenes reminiscent of the French Rivera.  

Finally,  walk the grounds which have been enhanced with flora, evoking the south of France.

Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series
The Marsh family went Monday and were still talking of their experience several days later.  They did tell me the Gardens were packed, so if  you are here for a short visit then by all means go before you leave.  If not, you have until July 31. Open Monday Presidents Day.

One of the area's biggest craft shows takes place this coming Saturday and Sunday February25-26.
The Siesta Key Craft Festival stretches from 5124 Ocean Drive for blocks of jewelry, arts, craft, food, entertainment and lots more.  Click here for list of vendors.


JIM'S RANT....After experiencing a sixth year of record-setting tourism, Florida's House of Representatives is considering legislation to shut down the agencies responsible for that growth.  This action would probably eliminate an untold number of jobs, while at the same time put the state at risk of tourist stagnation.  Their rationale are a few "questionable" contracts.  Ridiculous.......

Our beautiful weather continues this week..enjoy the sunshine...Until next week....JIM

Couldn't resist!!!


Saturday, February 11, 2017



Amazing New England comeback, PLUS Lady Ga Ga's incredible performance at half time.  BUT who can forget Michael Jackson? And so many above average commercials.  Can't wait til next year.

I am old enough to remember the first game in Los Angeles Coliseum.  Wow, how fast time flies and how much this game and telecast has changed!!!


Our 16th President 1861-1865

Kicking off an event filled week  CBS, broadcasts the  59th Annual Grammy Awards.  This year hosted by their  late-night star, and fresh off last year's Tony Awards James Corden.  Not enough  time in this music driven show for his Carpool Karakoe, but the man can sing and dance and LOVES music.  Among the performers will be Adele, Beyonce, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and many many more.

As Award Shows go, this is one of the best with the musical performances mixed in along with the envelope opening.  Plus, add a talent like Corden, who can break into song without any prodding, and you have an entertaining and unpredictable evening.  Show begins at 8 and is scheduled to end 11:30. 

Opening Monday and continuing through July at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Rivera: The Color of Dreams.  In part sponsored by Jewish Federation of Sarasota.  Much more next week.

Opening Friday at  Asolo Repertory is one of the great classics of the 20th century, Born Yesterday.  I know many of you remember the Broadway show and later movie starring the incomparable Judy Holliday.   Broderick Crawford was her junk dealer boyfriend , and William Holden played political reporter, Paul Verrall,  hired to educate Holliday's character, Billie Dawn.  The rest is history, as Billie learns more than she bargained for, and falls for the Holden character. 
Christiana DeCicco/ Christopher Kelly

Yesterday is the third, and last show of current season's Washington Trilogy.  Included in trio and continuing along with Yesterday, are  The Great Society and The OriginalistTo order tickets click here.

If I have to remind you that Tuesday is VALENTINES DAY, then you're in deep trouble.  If you're reading before Tuesday,  there is still  time for candy or flowers.  Most of the better restaurants are booked, but I'm sure one of our  plentiful supply of casual dining spots  is available. 

Here's a place not to go Tuesday,  but as a once or twice a year trip, it's pretty good and CHEAP.  Sorry Randy, but on a recent late movie night with most of the chain restaurants off University full to capacity, we went to Five Guys in Cooper Creek shopping center. 

The grease on burger and fries is overwhelming; however, when several  toppings are added to burger, it is quite a meal.  I admit, Steak N' Shake is classier, what with their table service, but Five Guys is a good alternative when you don't want to drive a long distance late in the evening.

Still another new restaurant has popped up along the University corridor.   SPACCO opened last month in the home of shuttered Filipo's 6329 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd.  If you're not familiar with address, they are near Outback and north of two buck movies.  

Marlene Meyer, who eats out almost as much as we do, writes..."Went to Spacco tonight.  Opened a week.  Back up in kitchen so had to wait a long time for food.  It was good, but wouldn't rush back.  CPK is much better."

Two points.  Owners of Spacco have a successful operation in St. Pete; Grazzi.  Plus Florida ownership!  Drove by today, and interior looks modern and casual.  I'll give them a few weeks to get their act together before sampling.   Open  Mon-Sat 11am-9pm; 4pm-9pm Sun.

Circus Sarasota is now performing under the BIG tent behind UTC.  If you did not attend the opening weekend, you still have until March 5.  But better buy tickets soon, because most shows are selling out.  I am going on Sunday and will let you know how good it was next week.

In the midst of getting out this week's blog, news came of the Wallenda family accident while rehearsing an eight person pyramid.  Extensive television coverage that evening and into Thursday.  But in the true tradition of "the show must go on", go on it did with a new finale created in just a few days.  Based on reviews the entire production is worthy of community support.

JIM'S RANT.....Read in Saturday's Sarasota Herald Tribune about still another store closing at Westfield Southgate Mall.  This in addition to Dillards and countless others.   Which takes me to UTC,  University and I75.  Though there are days when traffic is almost non-existent, there are times like now when they thrive. Thanks to Circus, Rowing Events, and development of east side area, they will remain vibrant even in light of the growing popularity of on-line shopping.

Get out and enjoy our fabulous early spring weather.....Until next week.....JIM

Gaga brings her spectacular act to Tampa 12/1/17!!