"You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant." That famous refrain will echo once more when Arlo Guthrie brings his 40th anniversary Alice’s Restaurant tour to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Feb. 1. One of the musical icons of the 1960s, Guthrie has kept up a busy schedule of performing and social activism over the years since.
Q. Does it really seem like it’s been 40 years since Alice’s Restaurant to you? Oh, I don’t know. I dropped the song from the set list for many years, because the response 40 years ago was so terrific, and those days can never happen again. But obviously now there are a lot of people hearing it for the first time, as well as those hearing it out of nostalgia.
Q. You have a wide range of audience members? Yes, always have had. I inherited a lot of my father [folk legend Woody Guthrie]‘s audience, so there are guys in their 80s and 90s out there. Then of course my peers come out of the woodwork, and now their kids and grandkids are showing up.
Q. Is there a renewed appreciation for the folk music of the ’60s? Seems that way. When I was 18 we were doing songs about a country divided about 50-50 on most things, including civil rights, an unpopular war overseas, the future of the country and what America meant. That also describes today. Our point of view back then was so controversial the only place to present it was through music. Now there’s an expanded platform for that, with television and programs like The Daily Show. In some ways that’s diminished the importance of the music, but that’s all right.
Q. Your son, Abe, performs with you on tour? Yes, he has for 20 years.
Q. And your other kids are all musical as well? Is it in the genes? The genes or the environment; we provided both. They couldn’t get away from it. I never performed with my dad. I never even saw him perform, because he was in the hospital most of the time when I was growing up. So it’s great that I get to play with my son. My grandkids all play music, too.
Q. How much are you on the road these days? We generally perform 10 months of the year. But this year for the first time I took some time off to play in the mud, plant some trees. I want to get some of that in before I get too ancient.
Q. Where do you live now? I live in Florida, and my house there on the Indian River got slammed during the hurricanes last year. After a year of dealing with FEMA, only to get no help, I realize what that experience is like. That’s why I’m sending the train, the City of New Orleans, down to help in Louisiana. [The train set out from Chicago in December gathering donations for New Orleans musicians-sound equipment, instruments, etc.-along the way.]
Q. How do you go about writing songs? They just come when they want. I’m not a disciplined writer.
Q. Ever thought about writing a book? I’ve been asked a few times. But I keep saying that I like to read a book with a good ending, and I don’t have that yet.
Q. What do you think is the most important legacy of the ’60s? The idea that every voice counts. At the beginning of the war in Iraq, millions of people around the world took to the streets, either for or against. That’s a direct outgrowth of the ’60s-that realization that you can stand up and speak.-Kay Kipling
Ringling Museum of Art. Picturing What Matters: An Offering of Photographs closes Jan. 8 here. Opening Jan. 28 to run through April 2: Waking Dreams: Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum. 359-5700.
Tampa Museum of Art. Who Am I? (Exploring Identity) ends its run here Jan. 8, as does Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Time. Opening Jan. 29 to run through April 23: Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak, tracing the artist-author’s work from 1960 to the present. (813) 274-8130.
Museum of Fine Arts. On view at the St. Petersburg museum through Jan. 15 is Understanding the Nude in Photography, including works by Edward Weston, Bill Brandt and Robert Mapplethorpe. And continuing through Jan. 22 are three exhibitions: Art, Love and Life in the Village: Weegee’s Wild New York, The Sixties Show (featuring works by de Kooning, Enrico Donati and Robert Rauschenberg, among others), and Peter Max, continuing that ’60s theme with works centering on flower power, hope and Woodstock. (727) 896-2667.
Salvador Dali Museum. The St. Petersburg museum continues Tilting at Windmills: Dali Illustrates Cervantes’ Don Quixote, throughout this month, along with Pollock to Pop: America’s Brush with Dali. (727) 823-3767.
Palm Avenue Gallery. The oil canvases of Carole Connelly fill the gallery all this month. 953-5757.
Venice Art Center. Masters of Stone and Canvas highlights the works of Julia Hyman, Nat Krate and Fred Nagel, Jan. 3-21 (reception Jan. 6). Coming up Jan. 27 to run through Feb. 14: a Portrait & Figure Exhibition. 485-7136.
Selby Gallery. Sarasotans Collect III focuses on The Art of Glass, opening with a reception at 5 p.m. Jan. 6 and continuing through Jan. 27. Also opening this month: Painted/Stacked, an outdoor installation by Russell Maltz, which will remain on view through March 31. 359-7563.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The 15th annual Town of Longboat exhibit opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Jan. 6 in the Durante Gallery; the exhibit continues through Jan. 23. Also this month: the works of Margaret Somers-Rich and Anthony Rich, Jan. 6-27 in the Glen Gallery; Art Feastival, exploring The Art of Dining, running Jan. 27-Feb. 17 with a reception Jan. 29; the works of Anne Abgott, on view Jan. 29-Feb. 22; a jazz concert Jan. 10; and a poetry reading by Lucia Blinn, Jan. 19. 383-2345.
Galleria Silecchia. Slightly Larger Than Life, featuring bronze works by Glenna Goodacre and Roxanne Swentzell, botanical glass and metal sculpture by Flo Perkins, and aluminum vessels by Paul Tamanian, opens Jan. 6 to run through the month. 365-7414.
Art Center Sarasota. Opening Jan. 10 (reception at 5 p.m. Jan. 12) is an exhibition of Miami artists (Main Gallery), accompanied by Molas of the Kunas Indians in the Front Gallery and works by Judy Lyons Schneider and Nancy Turner in the Members’ Gallery. All through Feb. 4. 365-2032.
Arts Day. The Sarasota County Arts Council’s annual celebration of all things artistic, downtown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 15. Expect live performances on 12 stages, kids’ activities, and much more. 365-5118.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Growing Up on the Prairie. A musical tracing the early days of storyteller Wilder, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 14 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. The North Tamiami Trail spot presents Lawrence Thomas, Jan. 4-8, and Joby Saad (aka The World Famous Village Idiot) Jan. 25-29. 925-FUNY.
Sinbad. The comedian makes his Van Wezel debut, at 8 p.m. Jan. 13. 953-3368.
Jackie Mason: Freshly Squeezed. Look out, Jackie’s back with new comedic kvetching at 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Steven Wright. A past master of the deadpan, Wright entertains at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Pilobolus. The inventive company continues to astound, at 8 p.m. Jan. 22 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Ballet NY. Sarasota Ballet of Florida presents this guest company from the Big Apple, which performs works by Balanchine, Stanton Welch and William Forsythe. At 8 p.m. Jan. 27, 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 28 and 29 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. 552-1032.
La Mariee Fashion/Trunk Show. See the latest in bridal designs at 8 p.m. Jan. 13 at Ana Molinari on Bay Shore Road; you can also sample bridal fashions Jan. 14 and 15. Call 955-1600 for times and more details.
St. Armands Circle. On the Circle this month: a Festival of Ferraris, Jan. 14, and Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style, 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 27, featuring Jose Ruiz. 388-1554.
Circus Ring of Fame. New members are inducted into the St. Armands ring, beginning with a 1:30 p.m. concert Jan. 21 by the Sarasota Concert Band at the park at St. Armands Circle. Those members include Charly Baumann, the Bertini Family, Roberto de Vasconcellos and the Ward Bell Flyers. Free and open to the public; call 388-1554 for more info.
ASID Designer Showhouse. This year’s Showhouse is really two, both historic dwellings on St. Armands. Open for viewing Jan. 22-Feb. 19; call 926-7794 for complete information.
Andromeda Night at New Gate School. A chance to view the heavens (especially the Andromeda galaxy) through telescopes set up by the Deep Sky Observers at the New Gate campus on Clark Road. Grounds open at 5 p.m. Jan. 26; viewing begins at dusk, and food service is available. 308-5437.
Perlman Music Program. The acclaimed educational program continues through Jan. 3 at Van Wezel; for information on any public rehearsals or events, call 953-3366.
Salute to Vienna. The traditional Viennese New Year’s concert, at 8 p.m. Jan. 1 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Charles Dutoit leads the orchestra in works including a Sibelius overture, Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, at 8 p.m. Jan. 4 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Masterworks. Violinist Elmar Oliveira joins the orchestra as its presents Colorful Counterpoint, highlighting Higdon’s blue cathedral, Dvorak’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53; Barber’s Symphony No. 1 in One Movement, Op. 9 and more. At 8 p.m. Jan. 6 and 7, 2:30 p.m. Jan. 8, all at Van Wezel. 953-3434.
Edgar Winter Band. Performing as part of the Thunder by the Bay festival, along with several other bands, Jan. 7 at Robarts Arena. 371-8820, ext. 1800.
Venice Symphony. Listen for Music Outside the Box, at 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at Jacaranda Trace. Also this month: Pops Concerts at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20, and 4 and 8 p.m. Jan. 21, all at Church of the Nazarene. 488-1010.
Tony Bennett. The ever-popular Bennett appears once more in concert at the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Jan. 8. 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Great Escapes. Something Borrowed, Something Blue is the theme for this month’s concerts, Jan. 11, 12, 13 and 14 at Holley Hall; that means Blue Moon, St. Louis Blues and a tribute to great themes by Rachmaninoff, Grieg and Schubert. 953-3434.
Linda Ronstadt. Ronstadt and her band bring decades of music to the Van Wezel, accompanied in some cases by a 28-piece orchestra. At 8 p.m. Jan. 12 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sarasota Opera Guild. Ira Siff appears as Madame Vera Galup-Borszkh in a spoof on all those legendary opera divas, Jan. 13 and 14 at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center. 366-8450.
Dave Brubeck Quartet. Brubeck is joined by longtime pals Michael Moore, Bobby Militello and Randy Jones, at 8 p.m. Jan. 14 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. More than 60 years after Miller’s disappearance over the English Channel, his music lives on, as in this concert at 2 p.m. Jan. 15 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Artist Series of Sarasota. Pianist Christopher Taylor plays Liszt and Beethoven, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Holley Hall. 388-1188.
Roberta Flack. Songstress Flack makes a return visit to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Jan. 16 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Liza Minnelli. Minnelli returns to Sarasota after an absence of some years, with performances at 8 p.m. Jan. 17 and 18 at Van Wezel (there is a Van Wezel Foundation gala at 5:15 p.m. Jan. 17 prior to that evening’s concert). 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Salon Soiree. Try a concert A la Francaise with music from Chausson, Debussy and Saint-Saëns, at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
Cocktails at Cà d’Zan. The Third Thursday event offering music, refreshments and time on the terrace, from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 20 on the Ringling Museum grounds. 359-5700.
Florida West Coast Symphonic Pops. Singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli and his trio will open The American Songbook, at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Van Wezel. 953-3434.
Helikon Opera. The Moscow-based company presents A Russian Evening of Opera, at 8 p.m. Jan. 23 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Vince Gill. The country music star saunters into town at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Cleveland Orchestra. Violin soloist Janine Jansen joins the orchestra, which performs works by Walton, Tchaikovsky and Elgar, at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Masterworks. The orchestra presents two true masterworks with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major (Titan), at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 at Neel Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. Jan. 28 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Van Wezel. Leif Bjaland conducts. 953-3434.
Cleveland Orchestra. Vladimir Ashkenazy leads the orchestra in performance at 2 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Van Wezel, in a Sarasota Concert Association offering. For ticket availability, call 955-0040.
Michael McDonald. Longtime pop vocalist McDonald returns to the Van Wezel at 8 p.m. Jan. 30. 953-3368.
Books & Coffee. This month in the Friends of the Selby Public Library series, Dr. Emanuel Tanay looks at Orhan Pamuk’s book, Snow. At 10:30 a.m. Jan. 10 at Selby. 365-5228.
Ringling School Library Association Town Hall. Journalist Bill Moyers kicks off Town Hall 2006 with an appearance Jan. 11 at the Van Wezel; he’s followed by poet Maya Angelou on Jan. 25. Two appearances by each, at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. For information on tickets, call 925-1343.
Palm Literary Society Luncheon. Author Robert Hicks (The Widow of the South) is the special guest at this luncheon, Jan. 17 at Michael’s On East. 359-9240.
Whale Season Book Signing. Sarasota author N.M. Kelby shows up to mingle with fans and sign copies of her latest book, Whale Season, from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 29 at Circle Books on St. Armands Circle. 388-2850.
My Way. Florida Studio Theatre’s cabaret stage wraps up its tribute to the late, great Frank Sinatra Jan. 7. 366-9000.
Sweet Charity. Jillian Godfrey stars as perpetual loser in love Charity Hope Valentine, through Jan. 15 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. 366-5454.
Laughing Stock. Charles Morey’s farcical look at the woes and wonders of summer stock theater continues through Feb. 2 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Brooklyn Boy. Donald Margulies’ play about a lonely writer who’s unhappy despite his success continues through Feb. 4 at Florida Studio Theatre. 366-9000.
Enchanted April. Take a trip to Tuscany with four Englishwomen whose lives change for the better through their experience, through Feb. 26 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Bowfire. A strings spectacular, as violin virtuosos take to the stage for an eclectic musical journey. At 8 p.m. Jan. 3 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
The Streisand Song Book. Valerie Snead takes on Streisand’s distinctive style in a cabaret show at VeniceLlittle Theatre, Jan. 3-8. 488-1115.
What the Butler Saw. Joe Orton’s wild sex farce tries out the comedic talents of FSU/Asolo Conservatory MFA students, Jan. 4-22 in the Asolo’s Cook Theatre. 351-8000.
Trying. David Howard and Deanna Gibson star in this taken-from-real-life play centering on the relationship between aging aristocrat Francis Biddle and his young, small-town assistant, Jan. 6-April 8 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Piano Men. The likes of Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, Ray Charles and Billy Joel are represented in this musical revue, onstage at Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret Jan. 10-March 25. 366-9000.
The Underpants. Steve Martin’s adaptation of a classic German play by Carl Sternheim makes its area premiere Jan. 10-29 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
The Most Happy Fella. Frank Loesser’s touching musical about an older man who falls in love with his young mail-order bride fills the stage Jan. 12-22 at the Players of Sarasota. 365-2494.
Sophisticated Ladies. West Coast Black Theatre Troupe brings this evening of Duke Ellington music to Booker High Performing Arts Center, Jan. 12-15. 363-9300.
Annie Get Your Gun. Irving Berlin’s ever-durable piece about sharpshooter Annie, Frank Butler, Sitting Bull and show business is onstage Jan. 12-29 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. 748-5875.
The sounds of Harry James and the Andrews Sisters. A trip back in time with "Charly Raymond and the Apple Blossoms," Jan. 16 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Urinetown. The Broadway hit about young love, a ruthless business tycoon and that urge we’re all familiar with debuts in Sarasota Jan. 17-March 12 at the Golden Apple. 366-5454.
Wicked. The hit musical about the land of Oz before Dorothy and Toto arrived, onstage at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Jan. 18-Feb. 5. (800) 955-1045.
The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial. Ed Asner, Marsha Mason and James Cromwell are slated to appear in this L.A. Theatre Works production, which presents the historic Scopes trial in the format of a radio broadcast. At 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at Van Wezel, followed by a Curtain Call discussion with the cast members. 953-3368.
Cabaret. Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II scored big with the musical Assassins a while back; now it tries another piece suitable for its intimate environs with this Kander-Ebb look at pre-World War II Berlin, Jan. 19-Feb. 12. 488-1115.
Anything to Declare? It’s the season for farce, with yet another on tap at the Asolo Jan. 20-April 27. This one revolves around a pair of newlyweds whose wedding night is interrupted, with unfortunate consequences for their sex lives. 351-8000.
The Play About the Baby. Edward Albee’s absurdist comedy about a young couple, an older couple, and a rather mysterious baby opens at Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III (Gompertz Theatre) Jan. 25, to run through Feb. 17. 366-9000.
Murder by Misadventure. See if you can guess the ending to this one, as a successful writing team prepares to break up its collaboration, one way or another. Onstage Jan. 26-Feb. 12 at the Island Players. 778-5755.
Laughter in Bloom. Eddie Carroll portrays comedian Jack Benny in this production, Jan. 29 and 30 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Tap Dogs. The Aussie hoofers continue to redefine tap dancing, in performance at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Those who saw Selby Gardens’ exhibition of rainforest masks in 2004 will be excited to hear of a return exhibition slated to open there this month. For those who’ll be seeing the masks for the first time, a revelation awaits.
The Borucan tribe, natives of a mountainous village in southern Costa Rica, have a tradition of mask making going back centuries. But the art of carving the masks from their lush forests’ wood was largely forgotten until a man named Don Ismael Gonzalez (father of one of the master carvers who will be present at the opening of the Gardens’ exhibition) resurrected it.
Then came a visit to Costa Rica by Lauren Jawer, who runs a fair trade company called Mariposa Indigenous Art. Jawer was impressed enough by what she saw on her trip there to suggest the 2004 exhibition at Selby, and the show was a hit.
Typically, the masks on view range in size from small to large; some are painted, some not. But all are carved with painstaking care and creativity, often featuring shaman faces surrounded by rainforest flora and fauna, including orchids, ferns, hummingbirds, toucans, tree frogs and butterflies. All but the most delicate beaks are created from a single block of wood-an amazing testimony to the skill of the crafters who produce them.
For the artists, says, Jawer, "The sale of these masks helps to create a sustainable living in the village, one they can count on. And they are their own bosses." The exhibition runs Jan. 7-Feb. 22 and offers visitors to Selby a chance to meet the artists, purchase their works, hear Jawer speak on the culture of rainforest masks (at noon Jan. 10) and take a mask painting class (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 12).
For more information about Rainforest Masks 2006, call (941) 366-5731.-Kay Kipling
In her oil painting of a Florida panther, Regina Stahl Briskey has captured the personality of a wild Florida creature. In a small, square format, she reveals the feline in its native habitat. The trees and palms are authentically rendered in rich sun-soaked greens and browns, and we appreciate the camouflage these colors provide the cat, whose attention is focused away from us.
Briskey’s palette is brilliant, and her brush stokes are deft. The painting is jewel-like. This beast with powerful jaws and paws designed for speed looks docile enough, and yet Briskey gives us a sense of the potential of the predator, with its coiled tail, wiry body and crossed legs poised to spring in an instant.
Florida panthers are an endangered species. On Tamiami Trail running east/west though the Everglades, you’ll find marked "panther crossings" patrolled by the park service, and if you are fortunate you may indeed encounter one.
Briskey, the daughter of late Sarasota painter Ben Stahl, is a sculptor as well as a painter. Her work can be seen at Dabbert Gallery on Palm Avenue.-Mark Ormond
THE ART OF GLASS
The exhibition Sarasotans Collect: The Art of Glass runs Jan. 6-27 at Sellby Gallery. A number of events are planned including: A preview reception and presentation by Ferdinand Hampson, 3:30 p.m. Jan. 6 ($35); an opening reception, 5-7 p.m. Jan.6. Free to the public; a director’s tour, 11:30 a.m. Jan. 9. Free to the public; a reception and presentation by Jon Kuhn, 6 p.m. Jan. 12. Free to the public; a reception and presentation by Paul Stankard, 6 p.m. Jan. 19. Free to the public; demonstrations by Elizabeth Sterling and the Glass Guild of Sarasota, time TBA, Jan. 21. Free to the public. For more information call (941) 359-7563.