Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 03.11.10

Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Oscar-nominated writer/director to visit Ringling
Ringling College of Art and Design sure keeps some impressive company.

In January, German filmmaker Werner Herzog helped launch the college’s digital filmmaking lab, and on March 24, students will work with writer/director Oren Moverman and actor Ben Foster.

Moverman, for those of you who didn’t watch Sunday night’s Academy Awards, was up for an Oscar for “The Messenger,” a film about two Iraq War soldiers tasked with delivering death notifications. Foster, 29, starred in the film alongside Woody Harrelson, who was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Is it just us, or is Ringling College shrinking the distance between Sarasota and Hollywood? Just last month, Pixar CEO John Lasseter (“Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Finding Nemo”) toured the school with his teenage son, who is considering enrolling in Ringling’s fine-arts program. According to one Ringling staffer, students broke into a kind of Beatles frenzy when they spotted Lasseter poking around campus.


+ Youth jazz musicians groove just like old souls

Local youth jazz ensemble Jazz Futures earned a standing ovation Saturday night following their crowd-pleasing performance at the Sarasota Jazz Festival’s “Youth in Jazz Night” at the Players Theatre.

Musicians in the eight-piece band, led by Jazz Juvenocracy drummer Rodney Rocques, range in age from 16 to 28 and include a trombone, trumpet, alto sax, two tenor saxophones, piano and bass.

The group opened its set with standards by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington. Rocques, the recent recipient of a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, was — as usual — wickedly animated, barely missing a beat, despite the fact that he lost his drumsticks twice during a drum solo.

+ Sarasota Internet-o-holics go gaga for Google
Even non-computer using Frisbee players in Sarasota’s City Island Park can’t escape the all-pervading Google.

When the web giant announced plans last week to install Google Fiber, an ultra-high speed Internet network in a random test city in the United States, Google groupies went wild.

Taking a cue from officials in Topeka, Kansas, who last week temporarily renamed Kansas’ state capital to “Google” in an effort to pander to the company, marketing savvy techies in Sarasota have asked city commissioners to rename City Island to “Google Island” for one month.

Leading the pack is new media darling Matt Orr, whose team at the HuB launched a Web site –– Now area businesses are following suit. Sushi restaurant Pacific Rim is adding a Google roll to its menu. G.WIZ will be renamed Google/WIZ and Pastry Art will brew Google Fiber coffee.

Let the broadband wars begin.

+ Feed us your tips on good eats, treats and top chefs
Foodies, we want to know where you eat and where you drink. Is there a place in town that serves the best crème brûlée? The best sushi? An unsung chef who deserves a nod? A hole-in-the-wall diner that makes a killer meatloaf? The Observer is looking for your favorite restaurants, your beloved entrées and dessert recommendations. E-mail your culinary suggestions to or call 366-3468.

+ Hot tickets
Kuusisto and Chee Beach Reading at The Hermitage: If you’re socially spent and looking for a laidback reprieve from black-tie affairs, head down to cozy Englewood Sunday night for The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s first free beach reading. Hosted on its Manasota Key campus, the reading runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 14, and features two quality authors: blind writer, professor and “Oprah” guest Stephen Kuusisto and novelist Alexander Chee, whose debut novel, “Edinburgh,” was described by The New York Times as “haunting, complex and sophisticated.” Need we repeat: Oprah, New York Times and free?

Artist Series Scholarship Competition: Who needs “American Idol” when you’ve got the Artist Series of Sarasota’s voice scholarship competition? The cutthroat competition kicks off at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, March 13, at Neel Auditorium on the State College of Florida campus and finishes at 7:30 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater. Open to Florida singers between the ages of 16 and 25, the scholarship contest will award a total of $18,000 to six finalists.



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