Englewood painter Robert Baxter is a keen observer of human nature. In this image, created from pigment mixed with water and brushed on paper, he has captured some of the bodies we might encounter on the pristine sands of Sarasota County and provided us with a stop-action view of the type of pile-up that can occur on a wide open beach. Even the seagulls overhead have converged to vie for a morsel of food, likely tossed in the air by a barrier island interloper.
Baxter has frozen a group in motion and still kept the action viable with certain compositional elements, such as the blurred gulls or the cropped leg of a man walking off to the left. His choice of individual body types captures our humanity and imperfection. Where else but at the beach do people who wouldn’t normally be caught dead without their Brooks Brothers suit or St. John knit parade around in baggy shorts or with less than a yard of fabric covering their torsos?
By focusing our attention on details like bangle bracelets or fanny packs, Baxter’s people become anonymous; he gives us no details of faces. He outlines his forms with pencil before he fills them in with color, and there are no shadows. The two figures headed off to the right are balanced by the man already mostly off the page to the left. In this way, Baxter stretches the horizontality of the picture plane and suggests there’s more to be seen, making us curious what else of interest may soon be strolling by.
Robert Baxter’s new work is on view all this month at Dabbert Gallery on Palm Avenue. –Mark Ormond
THE REEL THING
You may have read all about the Sundance Film Festival starting on page 108, but if you want more about our very own Sarasota Film Festival, slated for April 13-22, here it is.
While there are always lots of last-minute surprises with the fest, at press time we knew this much: Among the top films headed our way are Fay Grim with Jeff Goldblum and Parker Posey; Broken English, also starring the busy Posey (along with previous SFF honoree Gena Rowlands); Rocket Science, featuring teen idol Reece Thompson (most recently seen on TV’s Smallville); Away From Her with the incomparable Julie Christie; After The Wedding, starring Casino Royale villain Madds Mikkelsen; and The Hip Hop Project, the tale of a group of New York City teens who transform their life stories into art via hip hop.
That’s just a start, of course; programmer Tom Hall will be booking away up until the doors at the Hollywood 20 open. But here’s some more to plan for: the party at the Ringling Museum following the opening night film at the Van Wezel; a Family Fair bazaar focusing on cultural diversity; a new party venue at the Lake Club at Lakewood Ranch; a Youth Awards Reception for local young filmmakers; the World Cinema Celebration, a multicultural melange of food, drink, dancing and more; Independent Visions, a combination of film and music events; the jampacked Night of a Thousand Stars; and of course the Filmmakers Tribute dinner and Late Night Wrap Party after the closing night film. Also: an "In Conversation With…" at the Historic Asolo Theater, where you can get up close and personal with famous visitors; the SFF Forum at Metro, featuring panel discussions with filmmakers; and a whole raft of youth-oriented programs and outreach activities.
Best way to purchase ticket packages is probably online, www.sarasotafilmfestival.com; or call 366-6200. Let the movies begin!—Kay Kipling
Art Center Sarasota. A Selby Gardens juried members’ show continues in the Main Gallery through April 14. Opening April 24 to run through May 5, a show of artworks by students in the county’s northern section. 365-2032.
Tampa Museum of Art. The Art Guys: Seeing Double continues through April 15, presenting collaborative works by Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing. (813) 274-8130.
Selby Gallery. Mark English & The Faculty of the Illustration Academy continues through April 18. Opening with a reception at 5 p.m. April 27 to continue through May 11: 2007 Best of Ringling Annual Student Exhibition. 359-7563.
State of the Arts Gallery. Rock/paper/scissors features organic sculpture, collage and assemblage, throughout the month. 955-2787.
Venice Art Center. On view through April 19, an exhibition from the Suncoast Watercolor Society. Opening April 26 to run through May 10, exhibitions featuring art from students in the Sarasota County public schools. 485-7136.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The Annual Student Exhibit continues in the Durante Gallery here through April 22. In the Glen Gallery, Artistic Expressions features the work of Amy Webber and Collette Alexander, through April 30. Jazz in the Gallery presents the Greg Nielsen Dixie Jazz Group, at 7:30 p.m. April 10. And opening April 27 in the Durante Gallery is The Colors of Summer exhibit, which runs all summer long. 383-2345.
Museum of Fine Arts. Continuing through April 22 at the St. Petersburg museum: Untamed Beauty: Prints by Jean Dubuffet. (727) 896-2667.
Sonnet Gallery. Continuing on view through April 25 at the gallery in Towles Court: Memories from Trujillo, featuring works by Mexican artists Herrera and Oscar Alarcon. Opening April 27 to run through May 23: Gone with the Circus, highlighting San Francisco-based artist Kate Anderson. 955-6433.
Ringling Museum of Art. Remaining on view here in the new Arthur F. and Ulla R. Searing Wing through April 29: Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum, runs through May 27. 359-5700.
Salvador Dali Museum. Dali and the Spanish Baroque, presenting Spanish master paintings alongside Dali works from the permanent collection, continues through June 24. (727) 823-3767.
Embracing Our Differences. This annual community exhibition will feature 39 billboard-sized images along Sarasota Bay at Island Park, each reflecting issues related to diversity, April 1-30. There’s an opening ceremony at 1 p.m. April 1; also planned are a Family Day, April 14, and a free movie screening of Pride and Prejudice, April 28 at Island Park. For more information, call 928-0567 or go to www.embracingourdifferences.org.
Galleria Silecchia. Artist Michael Kahn is featured this month through his silver gelatin sepia tone photography of seascapes and sailing ships. On view April 2 through May 3. 365-7414.
Palm Avenue Gallery Walk. The monthly stroll down the artsy avenue, from 6 to 9 p.m. April 6. 955-1315.
Dabbert Gallery. A show of recent works by watercolorist and oil painter Robert Baxter opens with a reception at 5:30 p.m. April 6 and runs through April 30. 955-1315.
Hansel and Gretel. Quebec’s Theatre Without Strings adapts the classic story of two babes lost in the woods, at 10:30 a.m. April 28 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. April offers comics Al Romas, April 1; Ralphie May, April 12-15; and Paul Mecurio, April 19-22. 925-3869.
Lily Tomlin. Actress-comedienne Tomlin returns to the Van Wezel in a one-woman show at 8 p.m. April 17. 953-3368.
Romeo and Juliet. Prokofiev’s version of the classic lovers’ tragedy is brought to life by the Russian National Ballet Theatre and Orchestra, at 8 p.m. April 9 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. Authentic Hungarian folk dances and music from this company of 30 dancers, at 8 p.m. April 10 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. The company presents a mix of Bharatanatyam (classical dance from Southern India) with highlights of contemporary collaborations, at 8 p.m. April 18 at Van Wezel. Part of Festival Diapente. 953-3368.
Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Last Call, based on an artistic tableau by Sarasota sculptor Jack Dowd, is the fitting title for artistic director Robert de Warren’s swan song, performed April 27-29 at FSU Center for the Performing Arts. 351-8000.
Sarasota Film Festival. You can read more about the festival above, but here’s the basic info: It runs April 13-22, with screenings of new movies at the Hollywood 20 downtown, it welcomes lots of stars, directors and such to town, it offers a host of parties, and there are plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with filmmakers of all types. There’s also a Kidfest, a Family Fair, a Young Filmmakers Showcase and lots, lots more. For complete info go to www.sarasotafilmfestival.com; you can also call 366-6200 for ticket packages.
South Florida Museum. Batter Up! Spring Training in the Sunshine State, an exhibit featuring baseball memorabilia, uniforms and three Pittsburgh Pirates World Series rings, continues here through April 29. 746-4131.
Life in the Wilderness Home Tour. The Bradenton Opera Guild hosts this tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14 in the River Wilderness Golf and Country Club community. Proceeds benefit the Sarasota Youth Opera and tickets are $15 each. There’s also an optional buffet lunch available. 776-2850 or 776-0994.
Festival Diapente. The third annual event brings together a range of performers and activities, from a Breakfast with the Arts April 15 to a Family Fest on the Bay, also April 15, to a wine tasting under the banyans at Selby Gardens, a Sixth Sense Late Night Party April 20 at the Van Wezel, and much more. Individual music and dance performers are listed separately throughout the calendar; for complete information call 953-3368 or go to www.vanwezel.org.
Sharks Tooth Festival. Celebrate the shark’s amazing dental work, April 20-22 at the Venice Municipal Airport, to benefit Special Athlete Boosters. For more info call 412-0402.
Shalom Israel ’07. The Community Relations Council of the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation and Kobernick Catering present this celebration of Israeli independence with a "Shop Israel" marketplace, Israeli and Jewish foods, live entertainment, kids’ activities and more, April 28 and 29 (sales continue April 30 at Kobernick House). 371-4546 ext. 103.
Giving Hunger the Blues. Live bands, dance demos and food and beverages, from noon to 8 p.m. on Hillview Street in Southside Village, to benefit the All Faiths Food Bank and the Child Protection Center. 366-5555.
National Philharmonic of Russia. Works by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff are on the program when Vladimir Spirakov leads the orchestra, at 8 p.m. April 1 at Van Wezel. Guest pianist is Olga Kern. 953-3368.
Jazz at Two. The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents five of these events this month: Bassist Gary Deary, April 6; guitarist Nate Najar and saxman Harry Allen, April 13; pianist Lenny Wilson and vocalist Jymie Charles, April 20; trombonist Buster Cooper, April 27; and pianist Lenore Raphael, April 28. All at 2 p.m. at the Bayfront Community Center. 366-1552.
Paris Café. Pianist Joyce Valentine and cellist Sasha Von Dassow team for a romantic music soiree, at 8 p.m. April 9 at the Players of Sarasota. 365-2494.
La Musica International Chamber Music Festival. Musicians and audiences gather each year for this event, which in 2007 focuses on "Bridges Across the Atlantic: The Sarasota Connection." You can expect works by Dvorak, Bartok, Stravinsky, Gershwin, Schubert and more, with concerts set for April 10, 13, 16, 20 and 22 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. There are also daily open rehearsals at the Sainer Pavilion on the New College of Florida campus. For more information call 346-2601; for tickets call 366-8450 option 3.
Jazz Artist Spotlight Series. The Lynne Arriale Trio with Mark Neuenschwander and Steve Davis performs at 8 p.m. April 10 at the Backlot; for tickets call 363-9300.
Munchtime Musicale. Listen to the sounds of the Bay Arts Trio at noon April 11 at David Cohen Hall in the Symphony Center. 925-7811.
Nana Mouskouri’s Farewell Tour. The Greek-born songstress makes the Van Wezel a stop on this tour, at 8 p.m. April 12. 953-3368.
Florida West Coast Symphony Salon Evening. A Spring Fest features all four of the symphony’s chamber ensembles, performing works by Vivaldi, Bartok, Schubert and Brahms, at 7:30 p.m. April 13 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
Gloria Musicae. Great Handel masterpieces are performed by the choral ensemble at 4 p.m. April 14 at St. Boniface Church, with guest soloist baritone Todd Thomas. 351-8000.
Tom Jones. Please, ladies, no more panties or hotel room keys when the ever-charismatic Jones performs, at 8 p.m. April 14 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sarasota Pops. Classical guitarist Thomas Koch joins the orchestra at 3 p.m. April 15 at Church of the Palms. 351-8000.
Pops Extra! Featuring the American Brass, at 5:30 p.m. April 15 at the South Florida Museum. 746-4131.
Kenny Loggins. Musician-songwriter Loggins gets Foootloose at 8 p.m. April 15 at Van Wezel as part of Festival Diapente. 953-3368.
Rebecca Albers. Talented young violist Albers performs at 8 p.m. April 16 at the Asolo’s Mertz Theatre, as part of the Perlman Music Program Young Artist Recital Series. 953-3368.
Cocktails at the Ca d’Zan. Live music and refreshments, from 6 to 9 p.m. April 19 on the Ringling grounds. 359-5700.
Paco Pena. Pena presents a Flamenco Requiem as part of Festival Diapente, at 7 p.m. April 20 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Jazz Craze. Jazz, wine and hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m. April 21 in a Players of Sarasota event at a locale TBA. 365-2494.
Symphonic Pops. And the Beat Goes On…with music of the ‘60s (think Sonny and Cher, the Beatles, etc.) interpreted by Broadway’s Liza Callaway. At 8 p.m. April 22 at the Van Wezel. 953-3434.
Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style. Featured jazz artist this month is Robert Harris, starting around 6 p.m. April 27. 388-1554.
Venice Symphony. The symphony presents pops concerts April 27 and 28 at the Church of the Nazarene in Venice. 488-1010.
Key Chorale. Verdi’s Requiem is the showpiece for the choral ensemble, joined by symphony orchestra and soloists, as they mark the retirement of longtime artistic director Daniel Moe, at 8 p.m. April 30 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sarasota Ski-A-Rees. Free water skiing shows at 2 p.m. April 1, 15, 22 and 29 at City Island. 388-1666.
Meadows Cup Pro-Am Golf Tournament. The 11th annual event for Easter Seals of Southwest Florida kicks off with lunch at noon April 21 at the Meadows Country Club, with a shotgun start to follow at 1 p.m. A cocktail reception and awards presentation finish up the day. 355-7637 ext. 412.
Books & Coffee. Speaker TBA, at 10:30 a.m. April 2 at Selby Library. 365-5228.
Palm Literary Society. Author Luanne Rice (The Edge of Winter) is guest speaker April 11 at Michael’s On East. The luncheon event begins at 11:30 a.m.; for tickets, call 329-2604.
Ringling School Library Association Town Hall Series. Veteran composer and musician Quincy Jones is this month’s speaker, at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. April 11 at the Van Wezel. 925-1343.
SmARTalk Luncheon. With the theme "State of the Arts," this partnership between the Sarasota County Arts Council and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice offers a report on the foundation’s 2007 Community Arts and Culture Assessment. Starts at noon April 11 at Venetian Golf and River Club. 365-5118.
Rosalind Wiseman. Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School’s Making Good Choices Association brings author Wiseman (Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence) to town April 13, with a luncheon at Lakewood Ranch Country Club starting at 11:30 a.m. (registration at 11 a.m.). For ticket information, call 746-2121 ext. 121.
Selby Public Library. Bradenton-based author Paul Schneider speaks about his book, Brutal Journey, at 6 p.m. April 23. 365-5228.
Permanent Collection. Thomas Gibbons’ play centering on issues of both art and race continues through April 6 at Florida Studio Theatre. 366-9000.
The Oldest Profession. Paula Vogel’s play about three elderly ladies of the evening ends its run at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II April 7. 488-1115.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The popular Joe DiPietro musical concerning dating, marriage, relationships and all that continues through April 7 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. 748-5875.
Nine. The Players of Sarasota wind up the season with this musical version of Fellini’s 8 ½, through April 8. 365-2494.
Carnival. The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre continues its production of this stage version of the film Lili, through April 22. 366-5454.
Expecting Isabel. A comedy about a couple trying desperately to have a child, Isabel offers solid entertainment, if no new insights. It continues through April 25 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. 351-8000.
A Few Good Men. Aaron Sorkin’s play about a military trial runs through May 5 at the Asolo. 351-8000.
Pride and Prejudice. Catherine Sheehy’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic continues through May 6 at the Asolo Rep. 351-8000.
Laughing Matters…Too. Song, comedy and political satire, onstage at Florida Studio Theatre’s cabaret through June 10. 366-9000.
Mamma Mia! The runaway hit with the ABBA songs tells the tale of a young girl, her wedding and her mother’s past, April 3-8 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Godspell. Stephen Schwartz’s musical interpretation of the Gospel of St. Matthew arrives in time for Easter at Venice Little Theatre, running April 3-22. 488-1115.
A Marriage Minuet. Playwright David Wiltse dips into the style of Restoration comedy in this piece about flirtation that leads to infidelity, onstage April 11 through June 9 at Florida Studio Theatre. 366-9000.
The School for Wives. Moliere’s classic comedy about a middle-aged man obsessed with cuckoldry offers laughter April 12-29 at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II. 488-1115.
Steve Solomon’s My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy. Back, apparently by popular demand, is Solomon’s one-man show about his wacky family, onstage April 17-22 at the Players Theatre, in a Van Wezel offering. 953-3368.
Blue Window. A play by Craig Lucas set around a dinner party of young New Yorkers, running April 18 through May 6 in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory production at the Cook Theatre. 351-8000.
Hello, Dolly! Booker High’s theater students tackle Jerry Herman’s musical about matchmaker Dolly Levi, April 18-21 at Booker’s VPA Theater. 355-2967.
Pluck in the Specialists. What happens when the three stupidest musicians in the world are invited to perform? It’s described as "the Marx Brothers meet Yo-Yo Ma" in this mix of music, comedy and theater, April 24-29 at the Players Theatre, in a Van Wezel presentation. 953-3368.
Doubt. John Patrick Shanley’s Tony winner about a Catholic school touched by suspicion runs April 24-29 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. (800) 955-1045.
Measure for Pleasure. A bawdy contemporary comedy dressed up in 18th-century style by David Grimm, Measure has everyone onstage busy looking for their next sexual escapade. Opening April 25 to run for four weeks at Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III. 366-9000.
A Chorus Line. The quintessential "gypsy" musical bows April 26-May 13 at the Manatee Players. 748-5875.