Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 06.10.10

Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ DNG alum graces cover of Dance magazine
Things continue to come up rosy for Sarasota Ballet’s Dance –– The Next Generation (DNG) protégée, Bridgett Zehr, and her partner and boyfriend, Zdenek Konvalina.

Zehr and Konvalina, who are both principal dancers with the National Ballet of Canada, were featured this month on the cover of Dance magazine following their critically acclaimed “Swan Lake” debut this spring at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre.

Inside the magazine, the couple is the subject of a lengthy and glowing story by Toronto-based dance critic Michael Crabb. Even Zehr’s Sarasota childhood and DNG back story is chronicled.

In February, in a special-guest appearance with the Sarasota Ballet, Zehr and Konvalina performed Christopher Wheeldon’s “Prokofiev Pas de Deux” at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. The performance, like all Zehr/Konvalina performances, brought the crowd to its feet. Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, look out! This star duo is seriously poised to step on your toes.

+ Hair-band enthusiasts await superstar shredding
Attention head-bangers: Turn down the volume on your Iron Maiden albums. Guitar hero Michael Angelo Batio will be in town Saturday to lead a guitar clinic and perform a concert at Sarasota Guitar Company, which opened this past December on South Tamiami Trail.

The famously ambidextrous Chicago guitarist was the first to invent and play the famed double guitar, a V-shaped, twin-necked, left- and right-handed beast-of-an-instrument for which Batio developed his signature over-under technique.

Voted the No. 1 “Shredder of All Time” by Guitar One magazine, Batio also topped the list of Top 100 “Greatest Metal Guitarist of All Time” by Guitar World magazine.

Unassumingly titled “The Biggest Guitar Event in Sarasota History,” the event will go down from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 12, at 4333 S. Tamiami Trail, inside the guitar company’s retail store. The concert and the clinic are free and open to the public, although clinic space is limited.

“Any aspiring rock star who likes heavy metal and fast shredding will definitely love this,” says Scott Cook, the store’s owner.

Cook, a Sarasota resident for 20 years, is also a successful guitarist and songwriter –– though Slash he is not. The singer/songwriter, who records under the name Marshall Cook, has a song featured in the romantic comedy “Catch of a Lifetime,” scheduled to come out this summer. The ballad, titled “Time’s Man of the Year,” is not exactly shredding material.

+ Local actress/blogger vies for Oprah’s day job
Sarasota’s Jaszy McAllister has her sights set on landing her own talk show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). And with the number of job titles already on her resumé, she’s a prime candidate for Winfrey’s new reality-show project with “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett. recently posted the details of a nationwide search for 10 contestants to compete in an as-yet-untitled “The Apprentice”-style talk-show competition.

Last seen in the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s “Jar the Floor,” McAllister is an actress, model, jewelry designer and founder of, a popular blog-turned-high-traffic web publication dedicated to health, wellness, environmental sustainability and all things eco-friendly –– clothes, food, beauty, you name it.

McAllister traveled last weekend to New York City for auditions. You can vote for her talk-show pitch (“Green Living with Jaszy”) and watch her audition tape at

+ “The Drowsy Chaperone”: See the musical that earned the most Tony Awards of any Broadway musical in 2006. Inspired by American musicals at the height of the 1920s Jazz Age, there’s nothing drowsy about this musical comedy, up now through June 27, at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. For tickets, call 366-5454 or visit

+ “FST Improv”: Billed as “Sarasota’s original anti-depressant,” Florida Studio Theatre’s colorful cast of improvers return to the Goldstein Cabaret June 12 for another summer of outrageous sketches and spot-on spoofs. Shows run Saturday nights through Sept. 4. For tickets, call 366-9000 or visit


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