+ A big anniversary …
New College’s 50th anniversary weekend Feb. 11 to Feb. 13 was big on every dimension: 1,500 alums and family members at weekend activities, more than 2,000 folks at the free Saturday concert and 575 at the Friday gala. Among them: two who are rarely seen together at the same event — Phil Mancini and Paul Mattison. Mancini’s guests for the evening were his friends since age 5, Joseph and Stephanie Coccia, from Rhode Island. Ringling College of Art and Design President Dr. Larry Thompson was burning up the dance floor with at least three different partners. And Charlie Lenger, class of ’78, was burning up the wires. Hubby Bruce Crissy shared the story later: Lenger had designed a special bodice for her gown, incorporating the school’s 50th anniversary logo. Alas, there was a misunderstanding about when it was needed — it was not completed on time, and client and dressmaker were trying to console each other. That’s the sad part, but let’s hear it for school spirit of the most creative kind!
It was a once-in-a-lifetime turnout for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
+ And a small one ...
It seems only yesterday that it opened, but Apple Jelly Studios, the fitness and pole-dancing studio in Midtown Plaza, celebrated its one-year birthday Feb. 4. Owners Kim Mancini and Kelly Blake and Studio Manager Nicole Phillips welcomed a capacity crowd of 175 students and their friends and families, who enjoyed apple-themed food and drink and gobbled up performances by United States Pole Dancing Federation competitors, including Sarah Claussen, Brittany Rohr and Allison Cox, not to mention competitive male pole dancer Josiah “BadAzz” Grant. And to think that BT missed it! Boo!
+ Black Tie Affair
‘A Madcap Evening at the Circus’
Senior Friendship Centers
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 • Senior Friendship Center • Ticket $150
• Reservations: call Cheryl Pilch at 556-3205
Marx brothers’ fans will instantly recognize J. Cheever Loophole as the slightly shady Groucho Marx character in the 1939 film “At the Circus.” That he is one of the hosts of this event sets a tone of light-hearted fun for the evening. Entertainment includes circus acts by Circus Sarasota, an opera interlude by Sarasota Opera, a repeat performance of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” which was such a hit at last year’s event, and a special-guest appearance by Gibraltar. (Marx brothers’ fans will know who that is.) Even the food is fun, featuring favorites from the film’s era. Chairman Harold Ronson will emcee, and there is talk of an appearance by Groucho himself. A good time will be had by all to benefit Senior Friendship Centers, which annually helps more than 20,000 older adults live with dignity and independence.
A different take on the Oscars … the rumor is that Cornelia Matson is going to Elton John’s Oscar party for her birthday present … Familiar faces in unexpected places … in the sold-out house for the Willie Nelson concert recently at Van Wezel, Nora and Bob White (he in appropriate headgear), Joyce and Sherman Cooper, Jennie and Mark Famiglio, Janet and Buzz Schaberg, Dottie Baer Garner, ambassador Jeanette Hyde and Monica and Dr. Richard Van Buskirk ... Either/or but not both … fashionistas have a tough choice to make Thursday, March 3. NeuroChallenge Foundation’s “Cause 4 Fashion” is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Michael’s On East and features apparel from DreamWeaver’s Planet, Peace of Cloth, Exit Art and others. Models are people with Parkinson’s disease and family members and friends of those with Parkinson’s — including Jeff Torborg, Lee Dougherty Ross, Dr. Steven Silverman and BT. Ticket is $95, including hors d’oeuvres and dinner with wine. Cash bar. For reservations, call 926-6413. On the same night is“Undercover,” Sarasota’s lingerie-and-jewelry show from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. It benefits the Pajama Program, implemented locally by Children First, Child Advocacy Center and JOY. Sources are Sea Cup and Up and Coffrin Jewelers. Models include Dr. Anne Chauvet, Diana Lebed, John Ambrozic and Max Fraga. Ticket is $85, including cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. For reservations, call 951-2727… A rolling stone … Lina Abirafeh Ph.D., who spoke at the recent Women in Power luncheon, arrived here from Queensland, Australia, and left here for Papua New Guinea …