A look at our favorite events taking place this week.
‘Visions of the Black Experience’
6 p.m. at Harry Sudakoff Conference Center, New College of Florida, 5845 General Dougher Place
New College hosts the inaugural film series “Visions of the Black Experience.” The weekend event studies and celebrates the African American life experience through film, panel discussions and audience talkbacks. Films include “No Lye: An American Beauty Story” 6 p.m. Thursday, “Something the Lord Made” 6 p.m. Friday, “Back to Natural” 11 a.m. Saturday, “An American Ascent” 1:30 p.m. Saturday and “Oscar Micheaux, the Czar of Black Hollywood” 6 p.m. Saturday. All films are free, but reservations are required. RSVP and find film synopses at VisionsOfTheBlack Experience.com.
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
Dennis Blair’s bag of tricks is heavier than many of his fellow comics, and his versatility has earned him performance spots on “The Tonight Show,” “The Stephanie Miller Radio Show” and gigs everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center. Join Blair for an evening of music, standup and topical observation that will have you laughing off all of the week’s stresses. Runs through Monday.
‘A Motown Christmas’
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Info: Call 366-1505.
Created, adapted and directed by Nate Jacobs, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s founder and artistic director this holiday revue blends Christmas carols and soulful songs made famous by Motown icons, such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Runs through Friday and Dec. 18-20.
‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’
7:30 p.m. at SCF Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton
Get into the holiday spirit at SCF music program’s evening of holiday revelry with favorites including “Sleigh Ride,” “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The Bradenton Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir and Chamber Choir will also perform “Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas,” which takes the audience through 12 historical music styles for each day.
‘SCD + Reverend Barry and The Funk’
7:30 p.m. at Jane B. Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Boogie on down as Sarasota Contemporary Dance joins the eight-piece funk band to showcase funk, groove and boogie through dance. Reverend Barry and The Funk features Florida-based, Grammy-nominated musicians and performs high-energy originals and true covers. Runs through Saturday.
‘Holiday Favorites from Brian Gurl’
11 a.m. at Eicher Auditorium, Sunnyside Village, 5201 Bahia Vista St.
Free but donations encouraged
Pianist and vocalist Brian Gurl shares a personalized fusion of classical, jazz and pop to holiday favorites. Expect fine piano playing, vocal harmonies and plenty of surprises.
Jazz at Two: Synia Carroll
2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road
Jazz Club of Sarasota presents Synia Carroll for the next installment of its weekly afternoon concert series. Carroll performed a lot of folk, rock and soca music before relocating to Sarasota to pursue a career in jazz. She will be joined by Billy Marcus, Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz.
“Just Add Water” Opening Reception
6 p.m. at Art Uptown, 1367 Main St.
Florida artist Marlane Wurzbach paints realism with inspiration from the Gulf. Her art features beaches, marinas, nature and more. The solo exhibit runs through Dec. 28. Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol: ‘Tijuana’
7:30 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road
$25-$35; students $10
The Mexico-city based theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (which translates to “Lizards laying out on the sun”) explores the experience of low-income workers in Tijuana in this anthropological theater experiment undertaken by Lagartijas member Gabino Rodríguez. This one-man show is a narration by Rodríguez of his experience essentially going undercover to work on an assembly line in a Tijuana factory on the U.S. border for six months. A second performance will be Saturday.
8 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
In Sarasota Orchestra’s next Masterworks concert, guest conductor JoAnn Falletta takes you on a tour of Rome and the Italian countryside. The evening begins with Edward Elgar’s “In the South” and Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, followed by Ottorino Respighi’s “Fontane di Roma” (Fountains of Rome). The performance concludes with Respighi’s symphonic poem “Feste Romane” (Roman Festivals). Runs through Sunday.
Christmas Concert: ‘Bells and Brass’
2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2600 26th St. W., Bradenton
Join Sarasota’s professional handbell ensemble in ringing in the holiday season. A second performance will be 4 p.m. Sunday at Longboat Island Chapel.
‘Merry & Bright — Sounds of the Season’
7 p.m. at SCF Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton
Sit back, relax and tap your toes as the Manatee Community Concert Band plays many of your favorite seasonal tunes at its holiday concert, with guest conductor John Schindler.
‘Jammin’ for the Holidays’
3 p.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3131 61st St.
Get in the mood for the holiday season with the Suncoast Jazz Ambassadors, which will round out the weekend with some jazz favorites.
‘Piano Grand IV! The Holiday Edition’
4 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Five Steinway & Sons concert grand pianos will yet again fill the stage of the Sarasota Opera House for this concert featuring renowned local pianists Joseph Holt, Don Bryn, Andrew Lapp, Tom Purviance and Michael Stewart. This holiday edition puts a merry spin on seasonal favorites, such as “Nutcracker Suite,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Ave Maria.”
Black Diamond Burlesque’s Holiday Show
8 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
“Tease the season” with this burlesque performance in vaudeville fashion. Come for the Diamonds, and stay for the special guests at this cabaret-style show featuring music, daring feats and more sparkle than freshly fallen snow. Ages 18 and up.
A Seraphic Fire Christmas
7:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road
$40; $50 at the door; $25 students
The Miami-based, Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble brings traditional carols, contemporary arrangements and transcendent Gregorian chant to Sarasota for the first time for its annual candlelit Christmas performance. Featured songs include “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Once in Royal David’s City.”
‘Merry, Merry Sarasota’
7:30 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave.
$25; $15 students
Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota celebrates its third annual holiday concert with classical music — including Niels Gade’s “Christmas Eve Suite,” Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Aaron Copland’s “Quiet City” — and seasonal favorites, featuring Johanna Fincher, soprano; Aaron Romm, trumpet; and Nicholas Arbolino, English horn.
‘Sounds of the Season’
5:30 p.m. at Holley Hall, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail
Guest conductor Michelle Merrill will make sure there are no Scrooges in the house by the time they leave this Sarasota Orchestra concert. This Great Escapes performance features everything from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” overture to everyone’s Christmas favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Runs through Sunday.