A look at our favorite events taking place this week
3 and 8 p.m. at FST’s Gompertz Theatre, 1265 First St.
A separated couple’s 18-year-old son is missing. As they wait in the predawn hours at a Miami police station for the police to give them some word as to what has happened to him, racial issues both personal and societal add to the tension. Runs through March 22.
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
Want to get away from political and social issues for a night? You’ve come to the right comedian. Dusty Slay was just a hard-working, sometimes hard-drinking product of the trailer park until he hit the big time when he figured out he could make people laugh with his observations from his side of the tracks. Runs through Sunday.
Skip Conkling & Dixie Mix
2 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road
Jazz Club of Sarasota’s Jazz at Two series takes a musical trip to the Big Easy with the Dixieland jazz sound of Skip Conkling’ six-piece band. Along with New Orleans swing the group also plays some jazz standards and a few selections from the American songbook.
‘Sonic Meditation at Sunset’
6 p.m. Hermitage Artist Retreat, 6630 Manasota Key Road, Englewood
Free, registration required
Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast. And who among us savages couldn’t use a little soothing once in a while? Get your ohm on as composer and double bassist Evan Premo leads this session on the beach of sonic meditation. Learn how find relaxation through deep listening spontaneous sounding.
‘My Favorite Things’
8 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Broadway singer and actress Maria Wirries comes back to her hometown and where she gave her first public performance at the age of 11 for this installment of the orchestra’s Pops series. Principle Pops Conductor Andrew Lane has compiled this lineup of some of his all-time favorite songs from “Mamma Mia,” “Funny Girl,” “Les Misérables” and more. Runs through Saturday.
FST Improv: ‘Life’s a Beach'
8:30 p.m. at FST’s Bowne’s Lab Theatre, 1265 First St.
Oh, Sarasota. You’re so beautiful but so easy to make fun of. This revue-style show features sketches, musicals and improv games to make light of some of Sarasota’s quirkiest characteristics — from early bird dinners to natives who can’t stand 50-degree weather. Runs through April 17.
Sarasota Spring Fine Art Festival
10 a.m. at JD Hamel Park, 199 Bay Front Drive
If you’re the sort of art shopper who doesn’t know what you want until you see it, you just might find it at the seventh edition of this outdoor festival. Think of a medium and odds are it will be here: painting, sculpting, jewelry, photography, glass — you get the idea. And the artists will be on hand, too, so if you don’t see exactly what you want, have it commissioned. Runs through Sunday
Art in the Park
10 a.m. at University Park Country Club, 7671 The Park Blvd.
At 20 years, this juried exhibition and art sale is a work in progress in it own right. It began with a handful of artists trying to bring some attention to their then-fledgling University Park community. This year’s event will include 150 pieces by 40 artists. Have some wine, cast your vote for the People’s Choice award, and if you feel strongly about it, lay down the cash and take it home with you.
Alexander Solotzew: ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’
5 p.m. at New Wave Gallery, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail (inside Sarasota Square mall)
Russian-born painter Alexander Solotzew has built a reputation in Europe and the U.S. for his bold cubist compositions. One of his favorite subjects is dance. A reception will be held for this exhibition of paintings depicting dance from various cultures, including ballet images painted for the Russian State Museum. Runs through March 28.
7:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 Pineapple Ave.
Alfredo Catalani’s fifth and final opera, first produced in 1893, is highly regarded but almost never performed in its entirety due the challenges of staging this story, set in the Tirolean Alps. The last full production in the U.S. was in 1989 — by the Sarasota Opera. It’s a story of a strong-willed young woman whose life falls down a tragic path of love and betrayal. Runs through March 22.
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Tell a buddy, bring a comrade to the hottest chamber quartet this side of St. Petersburg,the European one, that is. This quartet, consisting of traditional Russian instruments: the balalaika, the damra, the button accordion and the balalaika contrabasso, has taken the chamber music world by storm playing classical, jazz, tango and American folk music.
7:30 p.m. at Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way
You don’t need to look at Irina Kulikova’s passport to know Guitar Sarasota’s latest guest is an international performer. Just check her trophy case. She’s picked up first-place awards at competitions in Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany — 30 in all, playing on three continents. With her, the term“classical” refers not just to choice in music, but in her stage presence.
Ring Sarasota 10th Anniversary Celebration Concert
4 p.m. at Living Lord Lutheran Church, 11107 Palmbrush Trail, Lakewood Ranch
Does the name ring a bell? It should, as Ring Sarasota, the Gulf Coast’s preeminent handbell ensemble, as been at it for a decade. Bandleader Rick Holdsworth will lead this group of bellringers as they put 200 bells to amazingly creative use, creating sounds that emulate other instruments, from piccolos to trombones, and a few other surprises.
'Georgia On My Mind’: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles
7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
People just can’t stop loving the music of Ray Charles. During his career, every musical style claimed him as one of its own, bestowing awards and honors. His music gets the first-class treatment in this show, featuring Grammy Award-Winning band Take 6, sax whiz Kirk Whalum and vocalists Clint Holmes and Nnenna Freelon.
‘The Capitol Steps’
8 p.m. at Venice Theatre Main Stage, 140 Tampa Ave. West, Venice
Tired of partisan politics, and worse yet, partisan political comedy? Frequently heard on NPR and a frequent visitor to the Venice Theatre, Capitol Steps has bipartisan appeal with its satirical potshots aimed across both sides of the aisle. Anyone in politics is fair game, and this being an election year, everyone’s a candidate.
Music Mondays: Margaret Batjer
10:30 a.m. Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road
SILL’s weekly musical conversation series welcomes violinist Margaret Batjer. Since her solo debut at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony, Batjer has performed across the U.S. and Europe, and has been concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998. For the past three years, she has also been on the faculty of the Sarasota Music Festival.
Ari and the Alibis
7:30 p.m. at FST’s Gompertz Theatre, 1265 First St.
Is it jazz? Is it funk? Is it blues? Forget the labels. All you need to know is this homegrown five-member band is one of the most popular muscial acts in the region, and their sound is gaining fans all over the country.
Author Lisa Unger
1:30 p.m. at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S. Palm Ave.
Whodunit? When it comes to mystery novels, chances are Lisa Unger has. Her 17 mystery novels have made the New York Times best seller list, been translated into 26 languages and have earned numerous awards. Unger will discuss and sign copies of her latest novel, “The Stranger Inside.”
8 p.m. at FST’s Keating Theatre, 1241 Palm Ave.
One more time! Not for a song, for an entire show. Last year, “Unchained Melodies” set records as Florida Studio Theatre’s most successful cabaret show ever. It's a tribute to that window in rock ’n’ roll history during the ’50s and early ’60s when male harmony groups were doo-wopping their way into America’s hearts and record collections. Runs through March 29.