+ Paxton makes an unpretentious impression
If only all stars were as humble as Bill Paxton.
The actor/director arrived last Thursday at Ringling College of Art and Design in the mood for good appetizers and good conversation.
Paxton, who was in town to participate in Ringling’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab, rolled onto campus a good 15 minutes before the screening of his 2005 golf drama, “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” let out.
After poking his head into the showing, Paxton asked the crowd of reporters gathered outside the auditorium if they’d witnessed any walkouts.
(We hadn’t. Phew.)
After helping himself to a small plate of munchies, a chatty Paxton mingled with the media and posed for pictures with former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, an ardent supporter of RCAD’s filmmaking program.
Later, during a Q&A session with department head Bradley Battersby, Paxton revealed that he booted a then little-known Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers”) off the “Greatest Game” set for repeatedly copping an attitude.
“(LaBeouf) had grown up selling this street shtick,” Paxton said. “And I needed him to play a gentleman from 1913.”
Since then, Paxton says he’s taken a “proprietary interest in LaBeouf’s huge success.”
If so, then how do you explain “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?”
+ Up next on the RCAD guest list: Martha Stewart
Bill Paxton isn’t the only famous face floating through the halls of Ringling College of Art and Design this month. The mother of all domestic divas will be on campus this Thursday.
Martha Stewart joins an A-list lineup of celebrity schmoozing planned for the film department’s spring semester. German filmmaker Werner Herzog will return to RCAD March 15, followed by actor Andy Garcia and producer Paul Schiff April 5.
We can only hope that Stewart has healed since her French bulldog, Francesca, gave her a bloody lip last month.
According to Stewart’s blog, the star bent down to kiss her dozing pooch one night, when the startled dog reared its head with such force it busted open Stewart’s lip. The wound required several stitches.
+ Sarasota throws struggling comic a funny bone
Bill Harvey, a 56-year-old computer technician from Michigan, has finally found a home for his comic strip “THE ODDS.”
Harvey created the single-panel strip years ago after watching his mother interact with one of her friends.
“THE ODDS,” which was loosely inspired by Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” and Bill Hoest’s “The Lockhorns,” focuses on the misadventures of married senior citizens Tad and Elmira Odd.
Since September, the strip has been running in the monthly Sarasota humor publication, Smiles Humor Magazine.
The artist, who grew up infatuated with superhero comic books, has spent much of his life hoping to catch up to his comic idols, Ernie Kovacs and Jackie Gleason.
“Nothing I’ve ever drawn has propelled me to where I could do it for a living,” Harvey says. “Perhaps Sarasota has an older audience that better appreciates ‘THE ODDS.’”
Truer words were never said.
GPAC’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’: The comedy thriller, which involves the disappearance of a new bride, a befuddled detective, a priest and a deli guy stars real-life husband-and-wife duo Steve Carroll and Elaine Levin-Smith. The pair just celebrated their one-year anniversary in January. According to Levin-Smith, the lovebirds are still so starry-eyed the play’s quarreling scenes were a stretch. The show runs through Feb. 26, at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center. For tickets, call 552-5325 or visit www.gpactix.com.
‘Cirque des Voix’: Key Chorale lends its voice to Circus Sarasota for a first-time circus/choral collaboration featuring aerialist Dolly Jacobs. The performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 and 2 p.m. Feb. 26, under the Circus Sarasota Big Top. For tickets, call 355-9805 or visit www.circussarasota.org.