Scene & Heard


Scene & Heard


Date: February 20, 2013
by: Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor


+ Staff Photographer meets famed photographer
Black Tie photographer Rachel S. O’Hara is enthusiastic by nature, but she was particularly excited to see Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Hume Kennerly speak. Here’s her experience:

Ringling students and photography enthusiasts gathered Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Ringling College Academic Center Auditorium to hear Kennerly speak. Kennerly, who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1972, has a variety of credits to his name including photographing eight wars and every president since Richard Nixon; and producing two official inaugural books for President Barack Obama.

During his two-hour presentation, Kennerly showed a slideshow of his work and talked about photos and stories that had a profound effect on him, not only as a photographer, but as a human being. He also gave a sneak peek of the video documentary he is helping to produce for the Discovery Chanel called “The Presidents’ Gatekeepers.” The documentary will show what it is like to be the White House chief of staff.

+ LeBell talks opera, go figure
In November, music reviewer June LeBell went to see Sarasota Youth Opera’s “Little Nemo in Slumberland.” Her husband, Edward Alley, and a visiting friend opted to grab a drink at Maximo before the performance. While there, LeBell overheard a woman, Andrea Fellows, discussing Santa Fe, N.M. — a favorite vacation spot for LeBell, whose ears immediately perked up.

“Ed and I fell in love with Santa Fe a few summers ago and have made a point of visiting there and going to the opera there every summer,” she says. Plus, she thinks it’s great that members of the Sarasota Orchestra perform with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra regularly.

The two women started talking.

“What do you do in Santa Fe?” LeBell asked. It turned out the woman works for Santa Fe Opera House. LeBell explained her history as a concert-singer-turned-announcer on a major commercial classical music radio station WQXR, in New York City. The two hit it off, then, in June LeBell nature, she invited her new friend to dinner that evening following the performance, and Fellows obliged. A new friendship formed.
When Santa Fe Opera’s Preview Talks narrator said she wouldn’t be in attendance for a week in August, Fellows thought of LeBell to fill in.

LeBell will conduct six of the Santa Fe Opera’s Preview Talks and present an informative talk about the evening’s opera in the open-air cantina on the rehearsal grounds.

Her talks will include five operas: two she knows well (Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”). Of the other three operas — one of which is performed twice — two are rare (Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago” and Offenbach’s “The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein”) and the other is a world premiere (“Oscar” by Theodore Morrison).

So, LeBell has her work cut out for her. She’ll head out to the opera house a week early to see each production ahead of time.

+ Local film makes festival debut
In January, I wrote a story, “SRQ couple conquers big-screen dream,” about Lakewood Ranch residents Karl and Rhonda Wilson filming a full-length independent film in Sarasota called “Breaking up with Rosie.” 

When I talked to them in January, they had just sent the film to festivals around the region to see if it would be accepted. I’ve recieved word from Rhonda Wilson that “Breaking up with Rosie” was selected for the 2013 Gasparilla International Film Festival March 19 through March 24, in Tampa. I’ll keep you posted on the Wilsons’ happenings.

+ Flight 347 bonds over blizzard and FST Improv
Two weeks ago, Associate Director of Florida Studio Theatre Kate Alexander boarded a flight following a casting session in New York City — just as a nor’easter decided to blanket the city. But, as Alexander says, “Neither hail, nor sleet, nor snow stopped flight 237 from leaving La Guardia.”

But, after a flight to Sarasota, there was no way the plane and its crew would be able to return home and was, therefore, grounded for the evening. Alexander heard one of the flight attendants, Patricia Tomaszewski, had birthday plans for her 60th birthday that night in New York City. Alexander would not let Tomaszewski’s birthday be spoiled and sent the whole crew to FST Improv.

Tomaszewski sent Alexander an email when she returned home, “We will forever be in your debt for the BEST birthday celebration ever.”

Hot Ticket
‘We Are Because They Were’: There’s only one chance to see the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s original performance that pays tribute to black history in America. The special Black History Month song, dance and drama performance takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s theater, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets are $20. Call 366-1505 for more information.

Samba Jazz Concert at LBKCA: This show offers a cool night of hot jazz in the intimate setting of the Longboat Key Center for the Arts and features Thomas Carabasi Samba Jazz Quintet. Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, 6860 Longboat Drive S. Call 383-2345 for more information.


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