Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 08.05.10

Posted August 4, 2010 at 6:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Elizabeth Van Riper goes off the air
After four years of hosting “The Creative Life” on WSLR, Elizabeth Van Riper has decided to move onto bigger, better (and tastier) things.

“I’m looking for a new venue for ‘Food for Thought,’” Van Riper says. “A lot of people loved it and I’d like to a find a place where I can do it less expensively, so that the broader public can get on the bandwagon.”

Van Riper’s salon dinner series first debuted at Canvas Café two years ago. In 2009, she moved it to Michael’s Wine Cellar, where she hosted dinner table conversations with Jack Dowd, Gale Fulton Ross, Michael Edwards and Dr. Larry Thompson, to name a few.

A painter, Van Riper also plans to focus on furthering her own art career. Reproductions of her floral paintings have been sold at Neiman Marcus and as of recently, Pier 1.

“It’s a wonderful time for me to step back,” Van Riper says. “It’s like shaking the bottle of marbles and seeing how they reappear in a new configuration.”

Van Riper’s final show featured Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe founder Nate Jacobs and the Banyan Theater Company Artistic Director Carole Kleinberg.

+ ‘Lil Chris’ gets kudos from the county
Chris Eisenberg (aka “Lil Chris” for those of you who tuned in last month to “America’s Got Talent”) received a certificate of recognition July 24, from Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason.

Eisenberg was one of 48 contestants to make it to the NBC talent show’s Hollywood finals. He was voted off the program July 21, after performing a cover of R&B singer Ne-Yo’s “Closer,” not without high praise from the show’s judges, including the fastidious Piers Morgan.

Eisenberg returned to Sarasota last month just in time to close the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s “Motown ’60s Revue” at the company’s new Orange Avenue theater.

+ Bend it with the masses
Sarasota yogis are all abuzz about Salutation Nation, a free outdoor mass yoga event organized by downtown fitness store lululemon athletica.

Led by local yoga instructors, Salutation Nation kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, near the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion.

Organizers are hoping to draw 1,000 people to the beach for a series of sun salutations. Let the namaste begin.
+ The Brualdis stayed cool for their 50th
While the rest of us were sweating profusely, Sarasota Opera Board of Trustees Chairman Les Brualdi and his wife, Carol, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary aboard an Alaska cruise.

The couple kicked off their golden anniversary July 23, on a Regent Seven Seas cruise ship that took them through the Inner Passage from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they spent an additional four days.

They were surrounded by family members –– 15 in all –– including three daughters from Michigan, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and seven grandchildren.

The Longboat Key lovebirds have explored 88 countries, proving wanderlust makes the heart grow fonder.
+ Hot ticket
“Sylvia”: A must-see for Sarasota dog lovers, Florida Studio Theatre’s “Sylvia” stars Rita Rehn and Warren Kelley as Kate and Greg, middle-aged empty-nesters, who, in the midst of working on their strained relationship, take in a stray mutt, played by the hysterical Katharine Abbruzzese. An unlikely love triangle ensues. “Sylvia” runs through Aug. 29, at FST. Call 366-9000.

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