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Performing Art
McCurdy's Comedy Theatre opened its doors 24 years ago.
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012 8 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ McCurdy preps for ‘Today’ show close-up
Although it seems Gid Pool isn’t sweating his interview this week with Jane Pauley, Les McCurdy is certainly getting anxious about one thing: housekeeping.

If your business were about to be broadcast to millions of “Today” show viewers, you’d pick up a feather duster and rearrange décor, too.

During my interview with Pool last Tuesday, McCurdy was shuffling around his dark comedy club, leading a small group of staffers through various changes, including the removal of old artwork hanging on either side of the stage.

I see nothing wrong with a little rearranging, so long as McCurdy doesn’t touch his collection of autographed headshots. Every time I walk into the club I’m blown away by how many famous comedian friends McCurdy has.

Anyhow, with Pool at the mic stand no one should even notice what’s on the walls.

A retired real-estate agent from North Port, Pool came through McCurdy’s Humor Institute program six years ago and since then has found himself the focus of a Wall Street Journal story and now a “Today” show segment.

On April 20, a film crew will take over the North Sarasota comedy club for an AARP-sponsored spot called “Your Life Calling TODAY with Jane Pauley.”

The interview will air May 8, just in time to generate buzz for Pool’s stand-up gigs May 11 to May 13 and May 16 and May 17, at McCurdy’s.

+ YouthArts Fest puts creativity on display
If you’ve got antsy kids and nothing going on Saturday, I suggest you head to downtown Sarasota for the Arts and Cultural Alliance’s YouthArts Fest.

I’m taking my kid and he’s not even old enough to stand up and dance, much less appreciate the bounty of performances and hands-on arts and crafts activities planned for the day.

Better yet: It’s free and held in the heart of downtown Sarasota; and last year I enjoyed the best cherry snow cone of my life somewhere near the face-painting booth.

More than 20 local arts organizations are participating in the third annual arts showcase, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21, in Five Points Park.

The festivities kick off at the Sarasota Farmers Market with the Sarasota High School Drum Line. Also on the lineup: performances by Pine View School Jazz Band, Booker Middle and High School VPA, Florida Studio Theatre, Sailor Circus, West Coast Civic Ballet, Southside Elementary School Hula Dancers and The Players Kids.

For more information, call 365-5118 or visit

+ Jazz Juvies blends hot rhythms with Fuzión
Put your jazz hands together for “Ritmo Caliente: Hot Rhythm and Dance from Another Land,” the latest collaboration to come out of the genius pairing of Jazz Juvenocracy and Fuzión Dance Artists.

The last time the Jazz Juvies collaborated with Fuzión it was for last year’s The Miles Project at The Players Theatre.

Good news, JJ groupies and Fuzión fanatics: The dream team is back with a program consisting of Afro-Cuban, Latin, African and Gypsy Manouche music and dance.

Choreographed by Fuzión founder Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, the show, which features guitarist Rico Peterson and percussionist Gumbi Ortiz, is already under way at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center.

You can catch what’s left of this sizzling project at 8 p.m. April 27 and April 28, at GPAC. For tickets, call 552-5325 or visit

Heffner & Hefner: Sarasota jazz crooner Katt Hefner and her organ-playing brother, Stan “The Man” Heffner, have been performing around Sarasota and their native Pittsburgh, for years as the duo Heffner & Hefner. Last year, the brother-sister act even recorded an album, “Over & Under Blues.” This week they join saxophonist Butch Thomas and drummer Joe Renda in concert at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at Prana Restaurant & Lounge, 1118 N. Washington Blvd. Tickets are $10. For reservations, call 343-2614.

‘So You Think You Can Compose’: Pine View grad Louis Levitt and his ensemble of hipster, Led Zeppelin-strumming musicians –– New York City-based string quintet Sybarite5 –– is back in Sarasota this week for a music residency. “So You Think You Can Compose,” a program featuring the premiere of works by New College students, begins at 8 p.m. April 19, at Mildred Sainer Pavilion at New College. “Mozart Meets Radiohead,” a chamber rock project with Key Chorale, is scheduled for 4 and 7:30 p.m. April 22, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road. For tickets, visit

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