Here's a look at the A&E news of the week.
Coming full circle
We recently started a new series following apprentice, studio and other short-term (typically guest) artists performing with the professional arts groups in town, and there’s one performer we couldn’t pass up mentioning before the show he’s in, “Straight White Men,” ends March 2 at Florida Studio Theatre. Los Angeles-based actor Matt Koenig plays Drew in the production, and this show marks his return to FST after finishing his time as an apprentice artist with the company in 2011. He returned to make his professional FST debut under director Kate Alexander, whom he had admired greatly nine years ago during her one-woman show.
“It’s really surreal being back because so much of the theater and the city of Sarasota has changed, but it’s also surprisingly similar,” Koenig says. “I was 21 or 22 when I was (last) here — I thought I knew everything about acting. Now I’m aware of how little I know, and so it’s made me a much more humble artist.”
Artist and Ringling College of Art and Design professor Marianne Chapel opened her original Sarasota gallery, M. Chapel Projects, in November 2017. The gallery attracted attention in the local contemporary arts scene, but she wasn’t feeling fulfilled from owning a for-profit gallery. Instead, she’s officially kicking off her rebranding of M. Chapel Project to philanthropic project SPAACES (Sarasota Project Aligning Artists Communities Exhibits Studios), with a party at 5 p.m. March 1. The event will celebrate the organization’s new art studios, launch its crowdfunding campaign and open solo exhibitions for Chapel and fellow local Claudia Ryan.
Haters gonna hate
Grammy Award-winning vocalist Michael Bublé performed Feb. 13 at Tampa’s Amalie Arena and had an interesting take on Sarasota, where he had been just before the performance. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Bublé told the crowd, “A week and a half in Sarasota reminded me of living in the ‘Walking Dead’ television show. Every time I’d go to Starbucks, I’d just walk by people going, ‘Aunnngh!” And it wasn’t my brains that they wanted. It was Metamucil and prune juice.” Ouch.
Music to your eyes
Violinist Daniel Avshalomov recently channeled his creativity into writing a book, "Thoughts on Laps," based on notes from the La Musica International Chamber Music Festival program. Avshalomov has written for and performed at the festival since its inception, so to celebrate the book's debut, La Musica organizers hosted a kickoff party Feb. 12 at Sarasota Yacht Club. The event featured performances by Avshalomov and pianist Derek Han, and guests all received a signed copy of "Thoughts on Laps."
“I have selected threescore and three program notes which vary in length and in rigor, but generally include a fair quotient of facts, no paucity of opinions, a trace of wit for leavening, errors all my own, and one outright fabrication,” Avshalomov says of the book's contents.
Several other arts organizations made news recently: Sarasota Contemporary Dance named its box office the Muriel G. Mayers Box Office after its founding board member; The National Endowment for the Arts approved a $30,000 grant for Hermitage Artist Retreat; and Ringling College of Art and Design is partnering with creative studio Flight School to develop its virtual reality major program.