Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 05.20.10

Posted May 19, 2010 at 7:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Sybarite5 brings rock to Holley Hall
It’s only a matter of time before Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke pays some serious attention to Sybarite5, the string quintet heating up symphony halls across the country with its classical covers of Radiohead songs.

Founded by Pine View grad and double bassist Louis Levitt, Sybarite5 shook things up last week during its Sarasota residency, performing May 14, at the HuB Incubator and at gala concerts May 15 and May 16, at Holley Hall.

Levitt and violinists Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violist Angela Pickett and cellist Laura Metcalf brought the crowd to its feet twice during its May 16 matinee performance at Holley Hall.

A bonus for concertgoers: Levitt announced the winner of the HuB’s “New Music Idol” contest — New College sophomore Brendan Rivers, whose one-minute composition was performed by the New York City-based ensemble.

“They’re fantastic,” Rivers said of the group. “I got goosebumps on several occasions. It’s such an honor to have one of my pieces played by them.” It was the first time Rivers, 19, had ever written for a string ensemble.

Below: Sami Merdinian, Angela Pickett, Brendan Rivers, Sarah Whitney, Louis Levitt and Laura Metcalf

+ Sarasota Opera shows off makeover
Sarasota Opera’s $20 million makeover got the respect it deserved last Friday when it received the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award at the 32nd annual statewide preservation conference, in Fort Myers.
The 1926 opera house underwent massive renovations in 2008. The project was led by preservation architect Killis Almond, who traveled last week from his company’s San Antonio headquarters to Fort Myers to attend the award ceremony.

According to opera house staffers, the application process was a bear. The company had to wrangle up five letters of support from community groups, provide photo documentation of the scope of the work and submit a two-page statement explaining the significance of the project.

After rehabbing an 84-year-old theater, you’d think filling out paperwork would be a picnic.


+ Vinyl Music Fest announces headliners
Club-hoppers rejoice. The organizers of Sarasota’s Vinyl Music Festival have announced this summer’s techno-rrific lineup, starting with the return of DJ Paul Mendez.

More than 50 DJs are booked for the four-day electronic music festival, including turntable masters Scooter & Lavelle, Miami nightclub fixture Shawn Rudnick and Las Vegas DJ and vocalist Madam Malixa.

The festival, scheduled for July 15 to July 18, is estimated to bring 5,000 scenesters to Sarasota. Hotspots include Ceviche, G.WIZ Science Museum, the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, Lido Beach, Horse Feathers, Evies and dozens of local clubs and bars. (FYI: The locale of the official July 17 after-party is still undisclosed.)

Further proving it’s the coolest downtown neighborhood, the Rosemary District will open its streets to a festival dance party, complete with exhibiting visual artists and local performers.

Last year’s VMF was a raging success, though partygoers were in for a rude awakening when police pulled the plug on Mendez during the festival’s final performance on a Siesta Key sandbar. According to the officers, generators running on a sandbar can pose an environmental hazard. Let’s hope organizers have remedied the generator situation so that sandbar spoilsports can be kept at bay. For more information, visit

Below: DJ Madam Malixa



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