+ Woods works the crowd at RCAD
There’s always something (or someone) putting a spell over the staff and students at Ringling College of Art and Design.
Last week it was James Woods, who worked the crowd with the gracious charm of a veteran movie star, belying any resemblance to the seedy characters he’s famous for playing.
On Jan. 10, the 64-year-old actor hosted a Q&A session at the college following a screening of his 1986 film, “Salvador,” for which he was nominated for best actor.
Prior to being engulfed by photographers and fans, Woods took a few minutes to chat with me about his time in Sarasota. It turns out this wasn’t his first trip to the area. The actor has cousins in Bradenton (don’t we all?) and has been shooting an A&E miniseries in Orlando.
Woods, a character actor who has lent his distinctive voice to animated features such as “Hercules,” “Stuart Little 2” and “Surf’s Up,” was blown away by the college’s animation department and the talent of the student body.
“I was surprised by how sophisticated their work is,” Woods says. “These guys will be able to step right into the professional world without a problem, which isn’t always the case when you go to college. It can be a shock. It’s like playing college football and then going to play for Green Bay. Good luck with that.”
The actor is the first of several Hollywood hitters scheduled to participate in this year’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab at Ringling College.
Look for Elijah Wood next week. He’s scheduled to pay a visit Jan. 23 and Jan. 24 to the campus, where he’s sure to be bombarded by Middle Earth groupies.
+ José Carreño pulls double duty as tour guide
Throw me my fanny pack and passport. This is a sightseeing tour I can get behind!
In April, José Manuel Carreño (together with Carreño Dance Festival president and CEO Robert de Warren) will lead a tour of Cuba that includes five nights in Old Havana, landmark-hopping, rehearsals, classes and performances at the National Ballet of Cuba, a performance by the Conjunto Folklorico de Regla and what is sure to be the trip highlight — Carreño dancing with the Ballet Español de Cuba.
Registration is open now through Jan. 31, so book your spot now. The trip runs April 14 to April 21. For prices and more information, visit carrenodancefestival.com.
+ Sarasota Film Fest flashes new logo
Lucky for digital illustrator Vince Fraser, the Sarasota Film Festival loves otherworldly digital babes.
The London-based artist has landed the SFF logo contract for the third year in a row.
This year he created a side view of a female face rendered in aqua and purple — a nod, says Fraser, to Sarasota’s sunsets and Gulf waters and this year’s “See Things Differently” campaign.
In addition to unveiling the event’s signature graphic, festival organizers announced plans to host a free Town Hall-style meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 8 to discuss SFF’s 2012 programming.
The festival runs April 13 to April 22. The movie lineup will be available March 19 at sarasotafilmfestival.com.
‘Celebrate Circus’: Grab your kids and your camera for a colorful afternoon of circus-themed obstacle courses, crafts, music and games at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “Celebrate Circus” runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, and includes the grand opening of the expanded Tibbals Learning Center. Admission is free for children 17 and under with paid adult admission. For more information, call 359-5700 or visit ringling.org.
‘Yentl’: This isn’t Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl.” With music by quirky singer/songwriter Jill Sobule and direction by Gordon Greenberg (“Working” and Barnum”), this version of “Yentl” at the Asolo Repertory Theatre has all the familiar women’s lib themes plus a fresh sound courtesy of a klezmer/folk rock band. The show runs Jan. 20 through April 26. For more information, call 351-8000 or visit asolorep.org.