Scene & Heard


Scene & Heard


Date: April 4, 2012
by: Observer Staff



+ Actress Penelope Ann Miller joins SFF lineup
This just in: Penelope Ann Miller will receive this year’s Career Tribute Award at the Sarasota Film Festival.

The festival announced Friday that Miller will join the ranks of this year’s VIP guest list, which, so far, includes documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, director Todd Solondz and actors Frank Langella, Jena Malone, Dominic Monaghan and Ashley Bell.

Miller stars alongside Lauren Ambrose in the drama “Think of Me,” a story about a struggling single mother in Las Vegas, which is slated to screen April 21 and April 22 at the festival.

The actress will receive the accolade at the festival’s Filmmaker Luncheon April 20 at the Sarasota Yacht Club.

Miller, who broke out in Hollywood with a string of hits in the early 1990s, including “Awakenings,” “The Freshman” and the Al Pacino/Sean Penn flick, “Carlito’s Way,” is back in the spotlight again thanks to a nice run in the now-canceled “Men of a Certain Age” and a supporting role this year’s Best Picture winner, “The Artist.”

Miller’s appearance is a cherry on top of a thick festival sundae highlighted by NPR host and New York Magazine movie critic David Edelstein talking robots and Nixon with Count Dracula himself, Frank Langella.

+ Artist Series announces 2012 scholarship winners
And you thought J.Lo, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler had it hard. Imagine what the judges for the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota must go through when they select the final six for the organization’s scholarship competition.

The agony!

At least on “Idol,” Ryan Seacrest is on hand to console the castoffs.

Divided into two age groups — scholarship level (ages 14 to 19) and performance level (ages 20 to 26) ­­— the competition came to a head last month when 10 semi-finalists competed against one another for a spot in a final performance at the Historic Asolo Theater.

Judged by violist Christina McGann and Sarasota Orchestra musicians Abe Feder and John Miller, the competition awarded $25,000 in scholarships.

Finalists in the scholarship level were cellist Erica Ogihara and violinists Gabriela Pena-Kim and Likai He. In the performance level, awards went to violinists Born Lau and Ryan Meehan and cellist Matthew Allen.

+ Sarasota bids adieu to two dynamic directors
Two resignation announcements hit my email inbox last month: one from Art Center Sarasota Director Fayanne Hayes, the other from G.WIZ Executive Director Molly Demeulenaere.

Double bummer.

Hayes joined the Art Center in 2007. Demeulenaere joined G.WIZ in 2009. It feels like I just met these women at the start of their tenures — especially Demeulenaere, who graced the cover of this section just one month into the job.

At the time, she said she could picture herself leading G.WIZ for another 10 to 15 years, but, alas, Demeulenaere is moving up … to Tampa, where she’ll work as the vice president of development at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

In April, her G.WIZ run will come to an end, as will Hayes’ time at the Art Center.

I wish you ladies lots of luck. You provided stability and leadership and fostered innovative programming and smart collaborations during trying economic times.

These two neighboring organizations are flourishing because steered them. You will both be sorely missed.

+ Carreño Dance Fest exceeds enrollment goal
José Carreño and Robert de Warren auditioned dancers all over the country this winter, hoping to pad out the second season of summer intensive classes at their Carreño Dance Festival.

Last year, the school enrolled 56 students. This year, Carreño and de Warren were hoping to double that number. Mission accomplished.

In addition to holding auditions last month at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, the duo saw pre-professional dancers in Winston-Salem, N.C., Los Angels, Phoenix, Miami and Houston.

Their jet-setting paid off. The program, which runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25, at the Sarasota Opera House, has grown to more than 100 students.

‘Red’: Abstract expressionism takes center stage in this Tony Award-winning play by John Logan. A visual feast set amid the turbulent 1960s, “Red” follows artist Mark Rothko as he sets out to finish the largest commission in the history of modern art. The play is up now through April 22, at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. For tickets, call 351-8000 or visit


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