A look at our favorite events taking place this week.
‘Variety of the Abstract’ Art Opening
5:30 p.m. at Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Drive
The Bird Key Yacht Club Art Committee is getting a creative start to the new year with this exhibit of varying styles of abstract works. Meet featured artists Marilyn Powell, Jan Colby and Arlene Sjosten at this lively opening, which will also include Champagne and live music. Exhibit runs through Feb. 28.
Nik’s Pick: Jay Leno
Whether you know him from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” from his stand-up comedy specials or his best-selling children’s books, Jay Leno is a name synonymous with show business. In this performance he’ll show the talents gained from the various hats he wears, which extend to in-demand corporate speaker, devoted car collector and lovable movie voice-over artist.
If You Go
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Tickets: From $77
Info: Call 953-3368.
‘Straight White Men’
8 p.m. at Keating Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.
$18 and up
Try not to laugh when reading the name of this play — we dare you. The regional premiere of this sharp-witted play by Obie Award-winning playwright Young Jean Lee will capture audiences with its desensitized take on the American father-son drama. Runs through March 1.
Music on Main
6 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Lakewood Main will turn into an outdoor concert venue for this free monthly music series open to the public (and pups). Head to Lakewood Main Street for a block party featuring beer trucks, food vendors, rides and kid activities and of course live country-folk-rock music by Thomas Wynn and the Believers Band. This event will benefit the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund and celebrates the community’s 25th anniversary.
Art Nite — First Friday
6 p.m. at Artists on Main Street, 1467 Main St.
The first Friday of every month, art lovers take to the street (Palm Avenue and Main Street, that is) and enjoy gallery openings, dining, live performances and more as members of the Palm Avenue Arts Alliance entertain residents and tourists with original artwork.
‘See Rock City’
7:30 p.m. at Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice
$28; college students $17; children $15
Picking up a year after Venice Theatre produced the critically acclaimed “Last Train to Nibroc,” this heartwarming and hilarious sequel follows lead characters May and Raleigh through the end of World War II and introduces audiences to their two mothers-in-law. Runs through Jan. 20
Victor Wainwright & The Train
8 p.m. at The Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St.
The "Piana From Savannah" is heading to the Sunshine State, and blues fans in particular won't want to miss it. Victor Wainwright and The Train was recently nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category for his recent self-titled album, and he's kicking off his winter tour with a stop in Sarasota. Come enjoy the smooth sounds of an accomplished artist who also just won the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award at the 2018 Blues Music Awards.
‘Summer to Winter’
8 p.m. at Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton
Sarasota Orchestra’s third Masterworks concert of the season gives audiences the chance to experience the seasons in reverse. Mendelssohn’s “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream” conjures the warmth of hot summer nights; Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 (Spring) brings the feeling of nature awakening from a winter slumber; and Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes joins the orchestra to reflect on the harsh beauty of winter in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Runs through Sunday.
Aztec Two Step featuring Rex Fowler and Friends
8 p.m. at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center,
525 Kumquat Court
$25; $30 day of
The story of Aztec Two Step is one of the many pieces of the puzzle comprising the history of folk music in the U.S. After meeting by chance in 1971 at an open mic night in a Boston folk club, Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman became an unstoppable folk-rock duo whose first four albums on Elektra & RCA Records changed folk music forever. For this performance, Fowler will be joined by bassist Fred Holman and keyboardist John Korba while Shulman takes some time off following the death of his wife.
Sarasota Visual Artists Studios Open Studio Series — January
11 a.m. at various SVAS studios
It’s time to get intimate … with local art. Sarasota Visual Artists Studios is a monthly open studio series created by a group of locals artists who invite the public to visit their creative spaces. Watch these artists demonstrate their process up close and personal and see where the magic happens.
Conversation: Coco Fusco — ‘Twilight’ Meetup
1 p.m. at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Free, but must reserve ticket
Get to know the work of Coco Fusco, a Cuban-American writer and interdisciplinary artist largely known for her political commentary art at her solo exhibition. This show is all about the government of her native Cuba (with one nod to the head of the White House), and this talk will cover her four video projects and sculpture on display. Meet on the grounds at the “Tin Man of the Twenty-First Century” sculpture and then you’ll move inside to discuss reactions and ask questions.
Don’t Miss: ‘15th Anniversary Celebration Concert’
Every year, the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast celebrates the close of its 17-day PMP Sarasota Winter Residency with a concert showcasing the talent this program helps shape. For the 15th anniversary, this concert will feature the PMP Chorus directed by Patrick Romano, chorus master, and the PMP String Orchestra, conducted by Itzhak Perlman himself. Premium tickets include dinner and cocktails with PMP faculty and students immediately following the concert at Michael’s On East.
If You Go
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
Tickets: $40 to $80
Info: Call 328-1300.
2 p.m. at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S. Palm Ave.
Prepare for some serious snapping, because Bookstore1Sarasota is kicking off a new season of its monthly poetry series spotlighting local talent. Eventgoers will hear pieces by Frances Bloom, Linda Goodman Robiner and Donald McLagan.
Sarasota Ballet Gala Performance
5 p.m. at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
The tickets to one of the hottest galas of the year are sold out for the dinner portion of the evening, but The Sarasota Ballet is still offering performance-only tickets. Come enjoy a grand evening of professional dance and song with renowned opera singer Susan Graham, ballet performer Marcelo Gomes and The Sarasota Ballet.
Monday Night Opera Prologues
7:15 p.m. at Unity Church of Sarasota, 3023 Proctor Road
Ever wonder what kind of work goes into a professional opera production? This series of five talks presented by Sarasota Opera Guild offers fascinating insights into the nitty gritty of what makes these performances happen. This session will be presented by Carlos Vicente, director of marketing for Sarasota Opera. Wine and other refreshments are included with admission.
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
New York Magazine called this Broadway hit musical “The Producers + Spamalot + The Book of Mormon. Squared!” Set in 1595, this hysterical story follows brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, two writers longing to create a play that will make it big. When a local psychic foresees their futures involving a great deal of theatrical singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel have the idea to combine these art forms and create the world’s first musical. Runs through Tuesday.
8 p.m. at Mildred Sainer Pavilion, New College of Florida, 5313 Bay Shore Road
New Music New College and ensemblenewSRQ join forces for this concert featuring French composer and pianist Daniel Wohl (now based in Brooklyn) and visual artist Daniel Schwarz of New York City. Both artists will complement one another in a work for live visual projections and electroacoustic ensemble. The piece explores unlikely combinations of sounds as well as secluded sonic landscapes — both acoustic and electronic.
3 Redneck Tenors
8 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
This mixture of country laughs with urban music is a musical experience unlike any other. Imagine if “Larry the Cable Guy, Il Divo, and Mrs. Doubtfire” all came together for one comedy show — that would be The 3 Redneck Tenors. These singing sensations started from the trailer park and now they’re here, so grab a seat and enjoy an evening of hilarious stories, audience interaction and a smorgasbord of songs ranging from gospel and country to Broadway, pop and classical.
8 p.m. at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Asolo Repertory Theatre takes on this classic tale of a 17th-century Massachusetts village torn apart by fear and sexual repression opens on 1692 Salem. A reverend finds a group of teenage girls in the woods dancing devilishly around a fire. It’s not long before the whole town is turned upside down with rumors of witchcraft. This ageless warning of the consequences of fear doubles as Arthur Miller’s criticism of the communist “witch hunt” of his time. Runs through March 28.