By Rodger Skidmore
Here today, gone tomorrow
literally. In 2020 CT (COVID Time) the Sarasota Ballet had put the pas de deux from Marius Petipa’s Le Corsaire on its January Gala program, and divertissements from the same ballet on its Conservatory Spring Concert. Did you miss seeing them? Well, you have a chance to see even more of this ballet when two dancers from London’s Royal Ballet perform on July 30, along with a full core de ballet. The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is doing a one-night-only performance at the Sarasota Opera House. Want to attend? Just drive or run down there and enjoy. Tickets at SarasotaOpera.org/5970/5971.
The disappearing act continues with a number of treats at the Ringling Museum. Remembrance, a retrospective of the works of Eleanor Merritt, who studied under Mark Rothko, is on display through Aug 21. Her creative use of oils, acrylics, inks, and paper gave her a platform that permitted her to show her Caribbean and African roots through the lens of abstract expressionism.
Look at a photo of a tiger and you see an image of a tiger. A zoologist, looking at a tiger, sees what it eats, how it sleeps, how it evolved, and how it reacts with its offspring, its prey, and its habitat; thus, seeing how it interacts with its ecosystem. Metadata: Rethinking photography from the 21st Century on exhibition until Aug. 28 does the same with photography — from Kodak through Instagram and Flickr. Not just the images themselves, but the how, why, and what of their creation. Nine artists are represented in the exhibit and, among other things, show how artificial intelligence algorithms decide who to identify with facial recognition.
Ballroom Florida is not about Florida. While Miami Beach was a hotbed of Art Deco architecture and interior design in the 1920s, the show Ballroom Florida: Deco & Desire in Japan’s Jazz Age is about the use of this style of design in outfitting one of Tokyo’s most lively dance halls in 1928 (yes, cultural appropriation on their part, but indirectly. It was named after a dance hall in Paris). In turn, this dance hall, with its hot taxi dancers and hotter jazz, inspired other artists, as well as filmmakers and writers. In addition to international musicians, the international elite, such as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, took turns around the dance floor with a few of the more than 100 dancers that were there each evening. Paintings and photographs show how the dance hall looked and how striking the art was. The show goes on until Sept. 25.
Also at the Ringling until Sept. 25 is a display of five stressed, painted, cut, marbleized, built, layered, and textured ceramic bowls. The origins of this form of agateware date back to China’s Tang dynasty. Matsui Kõsei, a Japanese ceramicist, not only resurrected the original technics, but added new ones. More info at Ringling.org.
Or maybe tenors? New Jersey is known for many of its exports: Jersey pizza comes to mind. Also, the aroma of roasting coffee drifting over midtown Manhattan whenever there is a west wind blowing. Certainly, Tony and the Sopranos, as jailbirds have a musical connotation. But the songbirds that have flown down to roost in Sarasota are The Jersey Tenors. They are here now and don’t fly north again until the fall — or just after Sept. 11, whichever comes first. They have built their nest in Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret and, being night owls, can be seen and heard in the evening when the sun goes down. While nightingales sing to each other from afar, the Jersey Tenors tend to sing quartet style, in a group of four. Magpies can be heard to mimic other birds, dogs, and car alarms, but Jersey Tenors take melodies from other Jersey songbirds such as Frank Sinatra, Frankie Valli, and Bon Jovi, and make them their own by constructing quite distinctive melodic rhythms. The JTs have been here in years past but they’ve learned a new set of tunes — from “Walk Like a Man,” to “Eye of the Tiger,” and on to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Speaking of FST, its third dramatic offering of the 2022 summer season starts Aug. 3 at the Gompertz. Smoke & Mirrors is a comic murder mystery, a pastiche of most TV who-done-its of the1970s and 80s — Colombo, Agatha Christie, Get Smart,and Murder She Wrote, among others. The action takes place on an island off the coast of Louisiana where a movie is about to be filmed and is a send up of Hollywood, TV shows, and the south. Two members of a movie production company wish to eliminate, in the fullest sense of the word, the third partner. You are given enough clues so that you don’t know who did it until the very end. Info at FloridaStudioTheatre.Org.
Did someone say Sarasota is hot in August?
Sure, lots of people. Like everyone.
So, what’s a person to do? Or mind over matter. Or a person is what a person thinks they are. Blah, blah, blah!
Well, there is some truth in those cliches. If you think you are cool, you just might become cool. So, even though it is August, imagine you are somewhere in February or March that it is cool — like the Sarasota Opera House. And how do you know you are there if they aren’t producing operas in August? By watching the operas they are showing on their big movie screen.
Have you seen the Sarasota Opera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata? Of course you have. Maybe a couple of times — great stage sets, beautiful singing, and pretty good music, too. But have you seen the Royal Opera House’s production in London? Didn’t think so. But, here’s the nice thing, you can see it on Aug. 7, in HD, at the Sarasota Opera House.
You’ve probably seen horror movies where the monster takes a pretty girl and wants to turn her into something just like it? Well, the twist would be if a monster (or maybe a pretty water nymph) wanted to become just like a handsome prince — like, maybe, human. This actually happens in the opera Rusalka on the 25th in the Teatro Real version from Madrid. Sure, it’s an adult fairy tale, but it’s all done to the music of Antonín Dvořák, and that makes everything OK.
Want to be cooler on more days? In the south, before air conditioning, many people slept on a sleeping porch to keep cool (northerners take note: a sleeping porch is a porch with a bed on it). In the movie Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye plays his fiddle on the roof — probably thinks it’s cool. You will be, too. Watch him do it on Aug. 5 on that big screen.
Or, if you want to double your coolness, watch Double Indemnity on the 19th. Barbara Stanwyck will give you the chills as she gets her husband killed. More info at SarasotaOpera.Org.