Crowned the 50th Miss America in 1971, Phyllis George has been on the go ever since. She’ll be sharing life lessons from her latest book, Never Say Never, at the Junior League of Sarasota’s Legacy Luncheon on Feb. 27 (tickets are $75; call 485-8142 for more information); we caught up with her recently while she recovered from jet lag in her Manhattan apartment.
You’ve juggled many careers, including beauty queen, broadcaster, actress and entrepreneur, and now you’re promoting your sixth book. Any plans to take it easy? I’m at an age  where a lot of people would be slowing down, and I’m speeding up. This is a beginning. I’ve always kept myself busy and active and in the public eye. I hate it when people say, "Oh, I’ve done it all." There’s so much more to do.
It’s more accepted [for older women] to be active now, to be out there. I’m looking at Carol Burnett now, she looks great-she just keeps going. People like that are inspirations to me. In every chapter of my life there’s something new to discover. It’s been a great ride; it’s not over yet.
How do you stay organized? I just keep my lists going-I make lists for the lists. I have a BlackBerry now; it goes with me everywhere. It’s better than an American Express card.
Where did you get your drive? From loving parents and a normal childhood in Denton [Texas]. Throughout school I was a cheerleader or president of the class-I was always active and busy. I didn’t know anything different. My parents were always there to support me, but never were they stage parents.
The Miss America Pageant is famously hugs-and-kisses on stage. What’s the atmosphere among contestants really like? Any time you put 50 women together in a room, it would be phony to say we all get along. To win Miss Texas I competed against 60 people, and that was almost a hard as competing in Miss America, because Texas women are competitive. But all and all, when it’s over, they get along, and they support the winner. They have to: It wouldn’t do any good to go home and pout.
You were the first female host of Candid Camera and co-hosted NFL Today on CBS. What was it like as a woman in male-dominated ’70s broadcasting? Back then it was almost a novelty, like, "Let’s see what she can do." You had more doubters than supporters. You have to say, "I can do this." I love to hear women say, "We didn’t know we couldn’t do it."
Describe your beauty routine: I think a positive attitude is a good start-if you stay young in mind, you can look young. I’ve always taken care of my skin. I never go to bed with my makeup on. I put my own [Phyllis George Beauty] moisturizer on at night and in the morning. Once a month or so I get a facial, mostly for hydration, because our skin gets so dry and I’m on airplanes a lot.-Hannah Wallace
Venice Art Center. A Portrait & Figure exhibition continues through Feb. 14, followed by Art Ukraine 2006, opening Feb. 7 to run through March 7. 485-7136.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts. Continuing here through Feb. 17 is an exhibition entitled Art Feastival.The Art of Dining. Works by Anne Abgott are also on view through Feb. 22, and opening Feb. 10 is a retrospective on the art of Frank Eliscu, creator of the Heisman Trophy. Also this month: a jazz concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 14, and an Off the Wall fund raiser concluding with a reception Feb. 27. For more details call 383-2345.
Selby Gardens. An exhibition of rainforest masks continues on view through Feb. 22. Opening Feb. 24 to run through April 13, an exhibition of sumi-e brush and ink paintings; and coming up Feb. 28 to April 16, a photography exhibition featuring the works of Matthew Press. 366-5731.
Ringling Museum of Art. Waking Dreams: Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum continues through April 2 and includes works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, among others. 359-5700.
Tampa Museum of Art. Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak continues through April 23. (813) 274-8130.
Salvador Dali Museum. Two shows on view at the St. Petersburg museum: Returning Treasures: Selections from Dali Centennial Exhibitions; and Pollock to Pop: America’s Brush with Dali. (727) 823-3767.
Apple & Carpenter Galleries. The galleries present A Century of Artistic Inspiration: American and European Paintings 1850-1950, Feb. 1-28. 951-2314.
Palm Avenue Gallery. Abstract works by Ron Garrison are on view Feb. 1-28. 953-5757.
Selby Gallery. Contemplation and Action: The Drawings and Paintings of Richard Upton opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Feb. 3 and continues through March 3. An artist lecture takes place at 7 p.m. Feb. 2. 359-7563.
Museum of Fine Arts. The St. Petersburg museum presents Photography Past/Forward Aperture at 50, including images by Minor White, Barbara Morgan, Henri Cartier-Bresson and others. Feb. 4 through April 29. (727) 896-2667.
Art Center Sarasota. Opening this month: a watercolor exhibition in the Main Gallery, animation works from the Ringling School of Art and Design in the Front Gallery, and pieces by Ellen Mason and Sally Sloan in the Members’ Gallery. From Feb. 16 through March 11, with a reception at 5 p.m. Feb. 16. The center also plans an artisan and fine-craft studio tour Feb. 17 and 18; call 365-2032 for details.
Sharp-Stevens Gallery. This new Towles Court gallery presents works by acrylic artist Debbie Dannheisser, starting with a reception at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17. 365-4222.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Providing the laughs this month are Elayne Boosler, Feb. 10-12; Ron Shock, Feb. 15-19; and Louis Johnson Jr., Feb. 22-26. 925-FUNY.
Mark Russell: The Laughter and Song of Politics. Russell returns to the Van Wezel with more examples of his pointed political satire, at 8 p.m. Feb. 22. 953-3368.
Sarasota Ballet of Florida: Anne Frank. The company presents a reprise of this work, choreographed by James Buckley, Feb. 10-13 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. 552-1032.
DanceBrazil: Retratos da Bahia. The Brazilian martial art form of capoeira combines with dance in this company’s performance, at 8 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Symphony Designer Showcase. Phillippi Landings, a project of new waterfront condominiums along Phillippi Creek, is the setting for this year’s showcase, which offers two large residences decorated by more than 25 area designers. The condos will be available for touring Feb. 2-26, with proceeds benefiting the Florida West Coast Symphony’s Youth Orchestra program. The event also includes a Boutique Marketplace, Terrace Café, and a Patrons’ Party at the historic Phillippi Mansion, with a new feature, Wine with Design, each Thursday evening. Tickets at the door are $20; for more information call 922-5195 or 685-0425.
Circus Sarasota. The 2006 season of performances under the Big Top near the Sarasota Fairgrounds runs Feb. 3-26, and highlights include Sarasota’s own Dolly Jacobs, aerialist supreme; French-Canadian acrobats Damien Boudreau and Genevieve Cliché; quick-change artists Vladimir and Olga Smirnov, and much, much more. For complete information call 355-9335 or 355-9805.
The Incredible Acrobats of China, the Shanghai Circus. Daring feats of physical prowess, at 2 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Founders Circle Garden Club’s Gardener’s Fair. Garden-related items for purchase, a boxed lunch and more, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Chelsea Center. 927-3001.
Children First Celebration. This event to raise funds for services to children and families in the community includes an Evening of Comedy at McCurdy’s Feb. 23, a golf tournament at Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club Feb. 24, a celebration dinner Feb. 25, a kid’s comedy show Feb. 26 and an afternoon of miniature golf, also Feb. 26. For complete details call 953-3877.
2006 Parade of Homes. More than 100 model homes are on this year’s tour, a joint project of the Home Builders Associations of Sarasota and Manatee counties running Feb. 25 through March 12. To find out more, head to www.paradeofhomesinfo.com.
Pug Parade. All hail the pugs, as they line up once more in hopes of snaring a prize at this fund raiser for the Humane Society. A SARASOTA Magazine event held at Lakewood Ranch Adventure Park, Feb. 25; for more details call 487-1116; you can also register online at www.sarasotamagazine.com.
Sing! Sing! Sing! A tribute to Benny Goodman’s famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, from Ken Peplowski and the Kingdom of Swing Band. At 2 p.m. Feb. 1 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant 40th Anniversary. Guthrie joins with son Abe, Gordon Titcomb and The Massacree Band to present that famous song and more, at 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sarasota Folk Club House Concert. Folk artists Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2; for reservations and location, call 918-8333.
Salon Evening. The Florida Brass Quintet explores The Seasons of Life in works from Bach, Vivaldi and others, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
An Evening with Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder. Together for the first time on the Van Wezel stage, these two popular performers promise a night of both standards and newer tunes, at 8 p.m. Feb. 3. 953-3368.
Sarasota Folk Club. A folk and bluegrass concert featuring the group Myakka is set for 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Crowley Museum & Nature Center; for more info call 342-6419.
La Bohème. The Sarasota Opera opens its 2006 season with Puccini’s perennial hit about Mimi, Rodolfo, and their fellow bohemians, in a new production full of passion and romance. Performances this month are Feb. 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 23 and 26. 366-8450.
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme: One More for the Road. The legendary show-biz duo returns to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Feb. 4. 953-3368.
Salon Afternoon. The Florida String Quartet passes Musical Milestones with works by Schubert, Prokofiev and Beethoven, at 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
Venice Symphony. The orchestra looks at Music Outside the Box, at 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at Jacaranda Trace. The musicians also present classical concerts at the Church of the Nazarene, at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 and at 4 and 8 p.m. Feb. 25. 488-1010.
Salon Soirée. Another outing from Florida West Coast Symphony musicians, this time spotlighting German Masters. At 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
The Marriage of Figaro. The Sarasota Opera celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth with a new production of this comic masterpiece, pitting servant against master amid attempted seduction. Performances this month: Feb. 11, 14, 16, 19 and 24. 366-8450.
Valentine Pops. Enjoy a romantic rhapsody courtesy of the Florida West Coast Symphony, at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Neel Center for the Performing Arts. 953-3434.
Sundays at Neel. The Foundation for Manatee Community College series presents singer Marni Nixon, the voice behind so many Hollywood stars, at 2 p.m. Feb. 12. And on Feb. 26, Carmel Quinn entertains with songs, stories and comedy. 752-5252.
Gloria Musicae. The choral ensemble says Happy Birthday, Wolfgang in a celebration of Mozart’s work, 250 years after his natal day. At 4 p.m. Feb. 12 at Holley Hall. 954-4223.
Foreigner. After four decades, the band that scored with Cold as Ice and Feels Like the First Time continues to rock. They’ll appear with special guest Greg Billings and other musicians TBA, at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the PAL Sailor Circus Arena; for ticket info call 361-4350.
Tom Rush. Long-established singer-songwriter Rush performs at the Players of Sarasota, at 8 p.m. Feb. 12. 365-2494.
Sarasota Opera Artists Concert. The opera’s principal artists choose and sing an array of opera, operetta and Broadway with piano accompaniment, at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Opera House. 366-8450.
Gordon Lightfoot. The troubadour of songs including Sundown, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and countless others returns to the Van Wezel at 8 p.m. Feb. 13. 953-3368.
Kenny Rogers. The Gambler is rolling up to the table for another performance of country music hits, at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Third Thursdays: Cocktails at Cà d’Zan. Music and refreshments on the terrace of the Ringlings’ mansion, Feb. 16. 359-5700.
Florida West Coast Symphony Masterworks. Alasdair Neale conducts as the orchestra presents Mediterranean Sunshine, an outing featuring works by Ravel, Ginastera and Falla. At 8 p.m. Feb. 17 at Neel Center; 8 p.m. Feb. 18 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Van Wezel. 953-3434.
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Those "Jersey Boys" bring decades of hits to the Van Wezel, at 8 p.m. Feb. 17. 953-3368.
Sarasota Pops. Swing with the Pops in a concert featuring the Helios Saxophone Quartet and Jim Earp’s Big Band arrangements, at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Van Wezel. For tickets call 351-8000.
The Florida Voices. The vocal ensemble celebrates its 10th anniversary with a "By Request" concert including favorites from seasons past, at 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. 922-6354.
Academy of St. Martin in the Field. The Sarasota Concert Association presents this ensemble, at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 at Van Wezel. To learn if any tickets are available, call 955-0040.
John Davidson in Concert. Popular songs and comedy from Davidson, Feb. 20 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Leon Botstein leads the orchestra in works by Copland (Appalachian Spring) and Prokofiev, at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Great Escapes. The Language of Romance is spoken in Florida West Coast Symphony concerts at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 8 p.m. Feb. 25, all at Holley Hall. Composers include Offenbach, Michel Legrand and more. 953-3434.
Donna Summer. The onetime Disco Queen has much more to offer, as she’ll prove in a Van Wezel performance at 8 p.m. Feb. 23. 953-3368.
Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style. Jazz entertainment, food and wine available on St. Armands Circle, from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24. 388-1554.
Longboat Island Chapel 50th Anniversary Celebration. Tenor Stuart Neill, soprano Meagan Miller and tenor Joseph Spinella combine forces on opera favorites, Broadway hits and love songs for this celebration, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25 at the Chapel. 383-6491.
I masnadieri (The Robbers). As part of Sarasota Opera’s ongoing Verdi Cycle and Masterworks Revival Series, Verdi’s 1847 drama about a young nobleman in exile who leads a life as a robber takes to the Opera House stage Feb. 25 and 28, with more performances to come in March. 366-8450.
The Moody Blues. It’s another Night in White Satin as the Moodies perform, at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Our Sinatra. Three young stars backed by an 11-piece orchestra bring back all those Sinatra memories, at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
The Kingston Trio. The trio’s folky harmonies fill Venice Little Theatre, Feb. 26 and 27. 488-1115.
Sarasota Folk Club. The club’s monthly concert at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron features blues singer/songwriter Michael Pickett. Open mic at 7:15 p.m.; concert at 8:30 p.m. 377-9256.
Willie Nelson. The man who wrote Crazy is, apparently, still crazy about performing. He’ll sing fans’ favorites and more at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Engelbert Humperdinck. Romance and song from Mr. H., at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sarasota Ski-A-Rees. The 48th season of free water-ski shows commences Feb. 7 to run each Sunday at 2 p.m. through May 7. At Ken Thompson Park on City Island. 388-1666.
Ringling School Town Hall Series. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich addresses the audience Feb. 2, at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Van Wezel. 925-1343.
Palm Literary Society Luncheon. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer speaks on My Year in Iraq, at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 6 at Michael’s On East. Also this month: Taylor Branch, author of At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68, at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 28 at Michael’s. For more information, call 359-9240.
Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning. The lecture series offers several topics each month. Mondays focus on music appreciation, Tuesdays on arts and humanities, Wednesdays on contemporary public issues, and Thursdays on international challenges. All of those take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Players Theatre except for music appreciation, which is at Holley Hall. There’s also a series in Venice, focusing on contemporary public issues (2:30 p.m. Wednesdays) and international issues (10:30 a.m. Fridays), at the Venice Community Center. For more information, call 365-6404 or go to www.sillsarasota.org.
Education Center Lecture Series. The Longboat Key center this month offers the Poynter Institute’s Journalism Values Scholar Dr. Robert Steele on a White Coat for Journalists, Feb. 7; Thomas O. Hecht on The New World Order, Feb. 14; Diane Steinbrink on Arthur Miller: American Theatre Giant, Feb. 21; and Ruth Hartz on her personal story of being a hidden child in Nazi-occupied France, Feb. 28. All talks at 3 p.m. 383-8811.
Books and Coffee. Dr. Mary Nickles discusses Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14 at Selby Public Library. 365-5228.
Laughing Stock. If you haven’t yet seen Charles Morey’s funny-poignant ode to life in the theater, you have a few more chances through Feb. 2 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Brooklyn Boy. Florida Studio Theatre ends the run of this Donald Margulies play about a writer returning home for a visit on Feb. 4. 366-9000.
Cabaret. Wilkommen to Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II for their performance of this Kander-Ebb piece about Berlin between the wars and lost little girl Sally Bowles. Onstage through Feb. 12. 488-1115.
Murder by Misadventure. The breakup of a writing team turns tricky in this Edward Taylor play, onstage through Feb. 12 at the Island Players. 778-5755.
The Play About the Baby. This Edward Albee play bears some echoes of his Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf-it centers on a young couple, an older couple and a child who may or may not be real. Through Feb. 17 in Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage II series at the Gompertz Theatre. 366-9000.
Enchanted April. Four Englishwomen rent a Tuscan villa and find a reawakening in their lives in this Asolo production, onstage through Feb. 26. 351-8000.
Urinetown. The musical about a city paying the price to use the bathroom, onstage through March 12 at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. 366-5454.
Piano Men. From Scott Joplin to Billy Joel with lots of stops in between in this Florida Studio Theatre cabaret show, through March 25. 366-9000.
Trying. Joanna McClelland Glass’ true story about the friendship between aristocrat Francis Biddle and his fresh-from-the-prairie assistant, onstage through April 8 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Anything to Declare? An adaptation of a French farce about a newlywed couple desperately seeking consummation, onstage through April 27 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Movin’ Out. The Broadway hit with all those Billy Joel tunes and Twyla Tharp moves tells the story of five young friends over two turbulent decades, at the Van Wezel Feb. 7-12. 953-3368.
Moonlight and Magnolias. Ron Hutchinson’s comic look at what might have gone on during the writing of the film version of Gone with the Wind, onstage Feb. 8 through April 8 at Florida Studio Theatre. 366-9000.
Hamlet. The talented students of Booker High’s VPA program tackle the Bard’s challenging work, in performances Feb. 8-11 at the VPA Theater. 355-2967.
Singin’ in the Rain. Feel those drops start to fall as Venice Little Theatre presents the stage version of the classic MGM musical, Feb. 14 through March 12. 488-1115.
Always.Patsy Cline. The country legend roars back to life in this two-woman show, onstage at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II Feb. 14 to March 5. 488-1115.
The Will Rogers Follies. Country star Larry Gatlin takes a turn as everyone’s favorite homespun philosopher, at 3 and 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Man of La Mancha. Don Quixote tilts at windmills once more in this Impossible Dream musical, onstage Feb. 23 to March 5 at the Players of Sarasota. 365-2494.
The Elephant Man. The drama based on a true story about a physically deformed but intellectually whole man in the Victorian era, onstage at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre, Feb. 23 to March 12. 748-5875.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Stephen Johnson stars as Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s moving masterpiece about life and death in a small Southern town. Onstage at the Asolo, Feb. 24 to May 6. 351-8000.