+ News of our own
Responding to your interest in event and arts coverage, The Observer Group is proud to announce improvements to its Black Tie/A&E section. It is now a section of its own on high-quality, bright-white paper for better photo reproduction. Also, there are more pages and a new, easier-to-handle size. We will cover more events — philanthropic and artistic — and showcase more of our favorite people — you! The section will now run in all three Observer newspapers: Longboat, Sarasota and East County.
+ It takes a village
Somebody forgot to tell the Pines of Sarasota that this was going to be a tough season. The town’s only private not-for-profit retirement community threw its first fundraising gala, “Would You Date Your Mate?” Jan. 8, at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. It was the culmination of an almost year-long series of events themed “Beauty of Aging,” co-chaired by Lee Peterson, Betty Schoenbaum and Margaret Wise. And it was a hit, drawing more than 250 guests. Four local couples participated in a hilarious panel discussion conducted by the comedy duo, Les McCurdy and Ken Sons. Getting a lot of laughs were Jewel and Mike Ash; Sarah and Tramm Hudson; Elaine Keating and Dr. Sidney Katz; and Gwen and Doug MacKenzie. Funds raised will benefit Alzheimer’s/dementia care. Estelle Crawford, president of the Pines Foundation, singled out two of her staff for special contributions to the evening: Jane Lautner and Becky Taylor.
+ Prohibition-era party
One of the newest ideas in town is the Hub, a 21st-century incubator put together by entrepreneurs-about-town Matt Orr and Rich Swier, the folks who brought you this past summer’s Vinyl Music Festival. One of Sarasota’s most established events is the Florida Winefest, started in 1991 by Sandy Loevner to benefit local children’s charities. Put them together and you get “Big Mama’s Juke Joint Speakeasy,” an intriguing event created by the former for the latter. It happens Jan. 23, when the Hub will be transformed into a speakeasy, featuring a private concert by nationally known Kat Williams. For tickets, call 952-1109.
+ BT tidbits
Doubly talented … Marcy Laughner, private banker-turned-piano-teacher, is now doing both, having recently joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney as a financial adviser. She has the credentials, having served as senior vice president, wealth management, and director of private banking at Bank of America and Fifth Third Bank … What we do for love … The co-chairs of ODA’s Banyan Ball, taking place March 20, have their meetings on the Siesta Key campus to coordinate with their kids’ school schedule. Thus, Kitty Cranor, Mickey Davis, Nora Johnson and Elizabeth Mahler, plus honorary Co-Chairwomen Myrna Band and Sandy Loevner, braved the cold for an 8 a.m. photo shoot last Wednesday. Brrr! Two more co-chairwomen, Kim Githler and Terri Vitale, had excused absences … And the winner was … Temple Beth Israel skipped an auction in favor of a raffle for its gala Jan. 10, at Michael’s. Nancy Eisenstat won the grand prize of a party for 40 at Michael’s Wine Cellar. About 200 guests attended the gala.
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IN THE KITCHEN WITH: SoMa Creekside
This week we went in the kitchen at SoMa Creekside while owner and chef Dave Shiplett prepares his signature spicy peanut calamari. Get the recipe and watch an instructional video in this week's 'In the Kitchen.'
The Good News: Children First
Children First hopes to raise funds to provide an appropriate space for waitlisted children as well as money to scholarship them, which costs between $9,000 and $10,000 per year, per student, for educational programs, screenings, family counseling and food.
PHOTO GALLERY: Longboat Key Democratic Club
The Longboat Key Democratic Club assembled Tuesday, Dec. 10, for their monthly meeting at the Harbourside Clubhouse.