+ Skater send-off
2010 and 2011 United States National Pairs silver medalists Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora are headed to Tokyo for the World Figure Skating Championships, and they are doing a send-off performance from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 12, at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex. The event is free; donations will be accepted for the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club and/or Sunshine from Darkness. For more information visit: www.sunshinefromdarkness.org
+ Good news, bad news for the ACS
Guests at the patron party for the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Barons’ Ball were saddened to learn that event Chairwoman Debbie Plotts will be leaving Sarasota for Winston-Salem, N.C. Hubby Alex Plotts has a new job there. The good news: The event has exceeded its sponsorship goal and is sold out. Iris Starr, ACS director for leadership giving (and Plotts’ BFF) said, “It was a bucket-list item for me to sell out a party before the invites are mailed.”
+ A hard act to follow?
Who wouldn’t be nervous following Jane Pauley, who got a standing ovation when she spoke at a recent GenSpring conference in Palm Beach? Betty Schoenbaum need not have worried. The 123 women at the wealth-management firm’s event gave her two standing ovations — one after her speech on “The Joy of Giving” and another after the Q&A. Betty’s latest idea is “to change my middle name to ‘Ineffable Joy,’ meaning ‘joy beyond description,’ because that’s what my life is.”
Turnabout is fair play … Planned Parenthood board members picketed the bayfront mansion where a reception was being held for Congressman Vern Buchanan and Speaker John Boehner Feb. 22. The event was nonetheless amazingly successful and raised in excess of $800,000. The Sarasota County GOP returned the favor by picketing Planned Parenthood’s 45th annual dinner celebration at the Municipal Auditorium, but it, too, was amazingly successful with more than 500 guests. So it’s love-all! Is this a great country or what? … Speaking of love … the Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse will honor the Rev. Jim and Nikki Nilon as “Sarasota’s Citizens of the Year” at a luncheon March 24, at Michael’s On East. For reservations, call 377-7736 … Forgotten but not gone … Marion Levine was inadvertently left off the list of models at Beth Israel Women’s recent fashion show but she was very much present and accounted for … Wow! … Laura Breeze at the Education Foundation of Sarasota County reports that its 2011 Evening of Excellence raised more than $210,500, including $29,400 from the auction of student artwork. It recognized the evening’s honorary chairwoman, Caroline Zucker, who has been involved with the event since it was launched 16 years ago.
+ Black Tie Affair
Bravo! Best of the Sarasota Ballet — a 20th Anniversary Celebration
5:30 p.m. Friday, March 25 • FSU Center for the Performing Arts • Tickets $200 • Reservations 359-0099, Ext. 110
The invitation says, “Honoring the contributions and singular vision of our founder, Jean Allenby Weidner.” Here’s what Weidner has to say …
About the beginning: “Leo Rogers, chairman of the opera board, encouraged me to start this. I was reluctant because I had just started a company in Evansville, Ind., and I knew the level of fundraising would be huge. He talked me into it and promised to be my partner, then promptly took ill. My late husband, Ken Weidner, and I systematically went to every bank; Bob LaJoie took me to meet bank presidents, and it was the banks that actually brought the ballet to life. Bob Donlan, of Bank of Boston, was the very first president.”
About today: “Over the years, the company has grown and blossomed until it could attract a talent such as Iain Webb. My two ballet companies are the children that I never had. All the supporters and dancers and teachers are my American family. I see now the opportunity going forward for this community to sustain a ballet company that stands with its head held proudly next to our other arts luminaries, the Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Orchestra and the Asolo Rep.”
The celebration of all this includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a one-night-only performance and dinner. Black tie is preferred — and warranted!