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The best things to do around Sarasota for Sept. 8-14

There are screen classics, poetry lectures, art exhibits and live theater all vying for Sarasota's attention.

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Poet John Balaban will speak about Vietnamese poetry and culture at the Elling Eide Center. (Courtesy photo)
Poet John Balaban will speak about Vietnamese poetry and culture at the Elling Eide Center. (Courtesy photo)

Two Streams of Poetry in the Vietnamese Tradition
11 a.m. at Elling Eide Center, 8000 S. Tamiami Trail

Award-winning poet John Balaban will speak about how oral and written poetry have influenced Vietnamese culture over the centuries. The lecture will also be available via Zoom if you're unable to make it out to the Elling Eide Center.

Martha Lopez: Musical Journeys
7 p.m. at Studio for the Performing Arts Recital Hall, 5840 26th St W, Bradenton,

Soprano Martha Lopez is a member of the faculty at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, and she'll sing on compositions from Bach, Rossini, Poulenc and more. Lopez, who holds a masters in vocal performance from the University of South Florida, will be supported by Lurray Myers on piano and Sean O'Neil on violin. 

'Side by Side' by Sondheim
7:30 p.m. at Studio 1130, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail
$30, students $13

It's a revival of Stephen Sondheim's work that takes on new meaning in the wake of his passing. You'll hear songs from "Gypsy," "West Side Story" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in this revue, which made its Broadway debut all the way back in 1977. The Players will be singing Sondheim through Sept. 18. 

Jazz Thursday at the SAM: Sarasota Jazz Project
5:30 p.m. at Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail
Free for museum members, $20 for non-members

There's a whole bunch of activities going on at the Sarasota Art Museum on Thursday. Outside, there will be the jazz party in the Marcy & Michael Klein Plaza. And inside, there will be a talk at 6 p.m. with Alejo Benedetti, the associate curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.


David Lebe's
David Lebe's "Plant Specimen #20_vE, 1980/2013. (Photo courtesy of the artist and M+B, Los Angeles)


'Flora Imaginaria'
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Selby Gardens, 1534 Mound St.
Free with admission

It feels like "Flora Imaginaria"was just installed, but there's some bad news: It's about to be disassembled. The exhibit, curated by photography historian William A. Ewing, attempts to tell the story of the history of flowers in photography. Ewing says that photos of flowers have existed since cameras were invented, and he wrote the book to prove it. Now, with the assistance of Danae Panchaud, he's revisited the topic. Runs through Sept. 25



Exotic Cars on the Circle
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Armands Circle Park, 1 St. Armands Circle

Sponsored by Ferrari Drivers SRQ, the park will be filled with Ferraris, Porsches and other sporty vehicles. 

Cora Marshall: 'In and Out of Time'
3 p.m. at Arts Advocates Gallery, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail

It's the opening reception for an exhibit of the work by Cora Marshall, a painter and longtime arts educator. Michele Redwine, founder of the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, will deliver remarks about Marshall and her work.

International Ocean Film Festival
3-5:30 and 7-9:30 p.m. at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
$8 for members; $12 for nonmembers

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium partners with International Ocean Film Festival to present a selection of award-winning films. Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime. Showings will be at Mote's WAVE Center.

'Thank You For Being A Friend'
7:30 p.m. at FST's Bownes Lab, 1265 First St.

Celebrate the art of the sitcom with the cast of Florida Studio Theatre's Improv troupe, who will create and act out a brand new two-act show complete with theme song and commercials right in front of your eyes. This time, you won't be on your couch as you laugh along at plots you may have seen across genres and across networks over the decades.



HD at the Opera House: 'Rigoletto'
1:30 p.m. at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.

Here's your chance to hear some Verdi before the Sarasota Opera performs "Ernani" in March. This production was broadcast live by the Royal Opera in London in March of 2022, and director Oliver Mears attempts to bring Verdi's 1871 opera into the modern world. Come for the arias and impeccable musicianship conducted by Antonio Pappano.



Monty Franklin
7 p.m. at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.

Monty Franklin is touring the world and making a name for himself one show at a time. Franklin, an Australia native, has been honing his act for years and he's even shown up on TV programs like "New Girl" and "Becoming Bond." He'll play seven shows at McCurdy's, starting on Sept. 14 and running through Sept. 18.

7:30 p.m. at Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton

It's a show that became a touring phenomenon and only seems to gather more steam with age. The late Jonathan Larson won the Pulitzer Prize for "Rent," and the cast at Manatee Performing Arts Center is ready to bring the East Village to Bradenton. "Rent" will run through Oct 2.



Spencer Fordin

Spencer Fordin, the Observer's A+E editor, hails from New York and graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1999. Fordin previously worked as a sportswriter for for 16 seasons and as a features reporter for The Cayman Compass on Grand Cayman.