By Rodger Skidmore
They lived at Ca’ d’Zan before John and Mable Ringling did
Who specifically? Hard to tell, but during a period of a few thousand years a number of Native American tribes (Muscogee, Calusa, Seminole, etc.) lived along Sarasota Bay (or whatever it was called back then). They did not claim any specific spot as being theirs alone, as there was more land than people back then. Plus, they were not into owning “things” quite the way the current locals are.
Go to Mt. Vernon and you will see a plaque stating that George Washington was born on that “property.” Visit Amherst, Massachusetts and saunter through Emily Dickinson’s birthplace and see the window through which she viewed her father’s “property,” and the plaque which proclaims it as belonging to her family.
Not owning, but simply living upon a certain piece of “property” still connects one to that land, since it had been home.
Reclaiming Home: Contemporary Seminole Art is the plaque at the Ringling Museum which shows the artistic talents of the Seminole and other tribes’ art through Sept. 4. As the old saying states, “Home is where the art is.”
And speaking of art, what is art? Some say, “the representation of something truly beautiful.” But if the representation is beautiful, what about the original beautiful thing — isn’t that art as well? Lorna Bieber, in an earlier life as a photo editor, saw thousands of pictures of beautiful things. As an artist she has taken and manipulated bits of many, many images, remixing them with copy machines onto fabric and then taking small fragments and weaving them together into giant wall-hangings. Seems like beauty can be transformed as well as being transformative. An early work, Tapestry (2015), along with two newer ones, Ordinary Day (2019) and Quiet Night (2022), will also be on display through Oct. 15. More info at Ringling.org.
Too darn hot
“Too Darn Hot” was the name of a song written by Cole Porter for his hit musical Kiss Me Kate, which appeared on Broadway back in 1948, and which was also featured in the 1953 film of the same name. Since HOT is how Sarasota might feel toward the end of July, we must be prepared. Yes, now is the time to tune up the air conditioner and to check the icemaker in the fridge, but perhaps also time to make sure all passports are up-to-date and to book a flight to England, where it is bound to be a bit cooler.
London will be a real cool place to be if you are a ballet aficionado, as there will be big things happening in that world -– especially if you, throughout the years, have been following the best of Cuban ballet.
Carlos Acosta trained with the National Ballet School of Havana, won the Prix de Lausanne in 1990, danced with London’s Royal Ballet and retired from actively dancing after 28 years. After touring with his own company Acosta Danza for four years, he became director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020.
And July 26 through 30, Acosta will be starring in Carlos at 50 at London’s Royal Opera House. More specifically, on opening night, he, along with guest artists from The London Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Acosta Danza, will be performing for you – if you join a select group of ballet fans that will be flying over during the special Sarasota Cuban Ballet School London Tour, from July 25 through 28. In addition to a center orchestra seat on the 26th, you would be meeting with Carlos Acosta during a welcoming reception and pre-show dinner, attend another special SCBS event at the Royal Opera House, have hotel accommodations, and receive a tax deduction on a donation to the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.
The connection? Carlos Acosta and Ariel Serrano, artistic director of the SCBS, trained together in Havana and have been close friends ever since. How close? Carlos serves as an advisory board member of the SCBS. For more info, contact Barbara Worth at SCBS.Barbara@gmail.com.
Late July marks the end of the SCBS Summer Intensive, where ballet students who auditioned, were accepted, received exceptional training, and now perform at their highest level, are showing their wares the afternoon of the 22nd. They should be watched and applauded.
That same evening, the SCBS presents On Stage 2023: Coppélia. This full-scale production of the delightful tale of a mad inventor and the life-like doll he creates is directed by Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernández, co-founders of the SCBS. Tickets for both these presentations at the Sarasota Opera House are available at Tickets.sarasotaopera.org/6500/6501.
What time are you having your barbecue on the Fourth of July – under the broiling hot afternoon sun or later in the hot and muggy evening? Either way, it might be a good idea to break up your celebration of Independence Day by going to the Sarasota Opera House (it’s air conditioned) at 4:30 p.m.
There you can continue your celebration by listening to the Choral Artists of Sarasota perform a suite of beloved American songs along with acapella renderings of famous words, originally proclaimed by famous people, and which remind us of our many freedoms.
“You’re a Grand Old Flag” was the George M. Cohen song memorialized in the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy, which starred James Cagney. Cagney was an actor who could really strut his stuff, which he did to great acclaim in the movie, tap dancing up and down the steps of our nation’s capital. Uplifting words by Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and others, are all sung with meaning by the Choral Artists of Sarasota, led by Dr. Joseph Holt.
On the same program The Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble, Joe Miller directing, brings meaning to the phrase, “Words alone cannot express … ” by playing with its signature pageantry and true esprit de corps, a colossal salute to America – to its dual seas, ending with a final overture – the 1812.
The musicians, besides being an ensemble, are also an assemblage, playing together as the LRWE and individually in 14 other performing groups throughout the concert season. Info at Choralartistssarasota.org.
If the cannons of the “1812 Overture” are to your liking you’ll get a bang out of the Siesta Key Fourth of July fireworks, which kickoff at around 9:15 p.m. on Siesta Key’s famous beach. A different set of blooming, glittering, earthshaking sky bombs and rockets will be set off downtown about the same time, with excellent views from Bayfront Park.
Bring your own chairs, blankets and whatever, to either location. While parking atop the Ringling Causeway Bridge might give spectacular views, it is somewhat frowned upon by attendant authorities. Better to watch from the ground, various condo windows, or from atop the upper floors and penthouses along Gulfstream Avenue.
The sound of fireworks reverberating through the newly built canyons of Sarasota will sound like the CGI special effects in The Fast and the Furious XXIII.