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Performing Art
Olsen. File photo.
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, May 2, 2012 8 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ Sigrid Olsen mugs for Oprah Magazine
Dear Sigrid Olsen, thank you for putting my angst about turning 30 into perspective.

The downtown Sarasota artist and merchant, whom I interviewed last spring for the cover of this section, appears this month in the pages of Oprah’s O magazine looking radiant, at ease and fabulous at 58.

In a feature titled “Better Than Ever: Meet 4 Women Who Discovered Youth After 30,” Olsen explained how she went from sporting jeans and ponchos to designer duds and Frédéric Fekkai blowouts when her clothing line took off in the 1980s.

Olsen’s transformation from a cabin-dwelling, textile-weaving hippie to a high-powered fashion designer has been recorded countless times in publications from The Wall Street Journal, to The Boston Globe, to The New York Times.

Just the same, in 2008, newspapers and magazines celebrated Olsen’s resiliency when she weathered breast cancer and the closing of her business by returning to her artsy roots. (Last year, the entrepreneur, who splits her time between Sarasota and Gloucester, Mass., opened her Sigrid Olsen art gallery and ISLA beach house in Burns Square.)

Really, it should come as no surprise that Oprah’s motivational mag chose to feature the entrepreneur.
In a spread that includes the youngest member of Sister Sledge, the wife of a bankrupted Wall Street trader and a once blue-haired “goth kid,” Olsen’s story is undoubtedly the most inspiring … and one of the many reasons why I’m beginning to feel OK about this next phase of my life.

+ Wallenda continues his media hot streak
Apparently I love seeing local people get national press.

Nik Wallenda, however …

This media darling — I mean daredevil — is all over the place. Did anyone catch his recent segment on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel?”

In March, “Real Sports” correspondent and longtime Sports Illustrated reporter Frank Deford interviewed the 33-year-old adrenaline junkie at his home off Lockwood Ridge in Sarasota.

Wallenda told Deford he got his superb mind/body balance form growing up on a wire while his family pelted him with footballs in an attempt to throw off his balance.

Last week, the seventh-generation circus performer was once again interviewed by an out-of-town reporter: Ed Drantch, from WIVB News 4 in Buffalo, N.Y., where Wallenda has become a celebrity since officials approved his proposal to cross Niagara Falls this summer on a wire.

Further proving that Wallenda’s high-wire shenanigans are a ratings boost for news stations: Drantch and his Buffalo news crew traveled from New York to Sarasota to speak to Wallenda last week at the Ringling Museum.

I wonder if they were able to expense a Segway tour of downtown Sarasota while they were here?

+ Does this produce look familiar?
Artist Clyde Burnett, the subject of this week’s Diversion’s cover story, admittedly struggled to find a market for his “gothic surrealist” art.

He never imagined he’d find his market … in a supermarket.

In 2004, when Whole Foods opened its downtown Sarasota location, it purchased one of Burnett’s apple paintings to hang in the produce department.

“It was so unusual for a food store to buy anything like that,” says Burnett. “Once in a while I tell people about it and they’re kind of amazed. If you look around the store you’ll see plenty of artwork by other artists. It’s not just decorative art, either. It’s interesting stuff.”

Sarasota artist Pamela Sumner curated Whole Foods’ collection of original Florida art, which, according to the store’s website, is estimated to be worth about $130,000.

So, the next time you’re picking up granola and organic almond butter, look up. You never know whose work you’ll see.

‘Moonlight and Magnolias’: The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s new non-profit, PLATO (Professional Learning and Theatrical Organization), kicks off its inaugural show, “Moonlight and Magnolias,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 17, with hors d’oeuvres, a Southern-style dinner and a cash bar. Written by Ron Hutchinson, the show follows the travails of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick, as he takes “Gone With the Wind” from book to screen. Directed by Carole Kleinberg, the show runs through July 1 on the Golden Apple stage. For tickets, call 366-5454 or visit

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