More than 70 feet high, Star Pointer dominates the skyline along the downtown Sarasota bayfront, from a distance competing with buildings 100 feet or more in height. Sculptor John Henry’s inspired choice of a sensuous shade of lipstick-red acts as a foil to the blue of the sky and draws our eye to scan the form of the sculpture. Henry knows that sculpture is primarily about scale, and his work satisfies all the criteria of this three-dimensional medium. He has positioned five massive rectangles of steel in a composition that is elegant, solid and stable. Although massive and static, his arrangement of steel actively engages and animates the space it occupies. And while it commands attention from afar, Star Pointer’s greatest impact is when standing under it and looking up through it. Henry’s craftsmanship is exquisite. It’s difficult to detect exactly how he has joined the elements of the structure together, and yet it’s obvious this sculpture is a feat of engineering. As our eyes course the long planks of metal gleaming in the brilliant sunlight, we imagine returning in the dark of evening and discovering a new star at the end of our visual journey.
Star Pointer is on view as part of the Sarasota Season of Sculpture.—Mark Ormond
Jeanne Phillips brings “Dear Abby” advice to new generations of readers.
It takes a lot of experience to dole out advice to millions of readers every day, but Jeanne Phillips learned how at her mother’s knee. Pauline Friedman Phillips was Abigail Van Buren for years before passing the torch to her daughter; and Phillips’ aunt was advice columnist Ann Landers, so Phillips comes by her skills naturally. She’ll speak at the Junior League of Sarasota’s Legacy Luncheon Feb. 25 at Michael’s on East.
Q. You started helping your mother with her column while still a teen, right?
A. I did it to earn my allowance. When I was 14 she would hand me a stack of letters to answer, and if she approved what I wrote, they would run; if not, she’d hand them back to try again. It was not strange to me; it was an assignment, and I learned from it.
Q. And you took to it right away?
A. From the time my mother walked in with a letter from a man who said, “I have a daughter with a weight problem, and she’s depressed. Can you help?” I said, “Cut out the hamburgers and fries, get out of the bedroom and exercise”; and, finally, “I know you can do it, I have faith in you.” A few weeks later we got another letter saying she took the advice and was doing better. I knew I had helped someone.
Q. Did you ever consider another career?
A. I turned my hand to interior design for a while. But after my first marriage I gradually became more immersed in the column, especially when my mother began exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Let me tell you, we were the poster family for denial on that. But eventually you do have to face up to what’s going on. I talk to Alzheimer’s support groups often now.
One of the great things about my mother was that she told me early on, “There’s never a question I won’t answer for you.” There was never a book in the house I couldn’t read. She told me the facts of life when I was six.
Q. Are the problems your readers ask about today different from decades ago?
A. People are more outspoken today, especially on subjects that used to be taboo, like homosexuality and interracial dating. But my column is all about human relationships—with husbands, wives, in-laws, kids—so some things don’t change. Kids still want the same things: to be accepted, to establish relationships with their parents. Sometimes they feel their parents are too busy. I tell them, “You need to talk to your mother, tell her how much you need her.” Or possibly there’s an aunt, a grandmother, the parent of a close friend to talk to.
My readers are my friends. I don’t consider my column a monologue, I consider it a dialogue. And I do follow up with people after the initial contact.
Q. Do you plan to carry on the Dear Abby tradition indefinitely?
A. I’ll do this as long as I can. I feel so deeply honored that people allow me to continue the work my aunt and mother started. It’s a responsibility, but it’s not a burden. If I’m drained at the end of the day, I go to my husband’s arms, or he’ll take me out to dinner. There will always be a need for Dear Abby.
Selby Gallery. Ruinations, on view Feb. 7, consists of Berryville Tree Piles and Structures by Tom Nakashima and “ruined” artifacts by Leslie Fry. It’s followed by Interiors/Exteriors, Feb. 15 through March 19, which presents paintings and works on paper by New York abstractionist Melisa Meyer and installations by Brenda Brown. 359-7563.
Greene Contemporary. Works by longtime Sarasota artist Syd Solomon remain on view through Feb. 2, followed by new figurative works from Sabrina Small Feb. 6 through March 1. 365-9406.
Art Center Sarasota. Continuing through Feb. 23: Objects of TOUCH, works of two- and three-dimensional art, a juried exhibition in the Main Gallery, along with New Sculpture 6 in the Front Gallery, Julia Hyman: Touch #2 in the Center Gallery; and ASALAH Master Artists in the Front Glass Gallery. 365-2032.
Museum of Fine Arts. Sacred India, Sacret Tibet, featuring bronzes, wood sculptures and paintings inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism,continues at this St. Petersburg museum through Feb. 24. (727) 896-2667.
Serrano Contemporary Sonnet Gallery. On view starting Feb. 15 with a meet-the-artist reception: The Voyager, paintings and sculptures by Ivan Rojas. Continues through March 14. 928-6490.
Ringling Museum of Art. Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation remains on view through April 13; Jacob Lawrence: Three Series of Prints, Genesis, Hiroshima and Toussaint L’Ouverture through May 4. Also on view, through June 15, is Asian Art in Focus: Guanyin Personified, featuring 16 figures portraying events from the life of the Buddha. Opening Feb. 9 to run through May 24 is an exhibition of Old Master drawings from the Ringling’s collection. 359-5700.
Dabbert Gallery. Longtime area artist Craig Rubadoux is highlighted with an exhibition opening Feb. 1 (reception at 5:30 p.m.) and continuing through Feb. 29. At the Palm Avenue Wine Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 8, there will also be limited edition Rubadoux festival posters available. 955-1315.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The center this month offers Jazz in the Gallery, featuring The Foot Note Jazz Band Feb. 5 and the Samba Jazz Quintet Feb. 14, along with the Longboat Key Club sponsored art exhibit running Feb. 1-17. Also on view: Beyond Ink and Glue (works on paper by Judy Lyons Schneider) through Feb. 20; and a gift and jewelry show running through Feb. 17. 383-2345.
Venice Art Center. On view here Feb. 1-23, a three-dimensional show, plus works from the Venetian Society of Basket Weavers. Opening Feb. 29 is the Paint Out in Paradise Invitational, featuring plein air work. 485-7136.
Galleria Silecchia. Mixed media works by Paul Tamanian fill the gallery Feb. 1 through March 6. 366-7414.
Salvador Dali Museum. The museum offers Dali & Film, a look at the relationship between the paintings and films of the artist. Running Feb. 8 through June 1. (727) 823-3767.
State of the Arts Gallery. The gallery presents art that is Red Hot/White Hot, opening Feb. 15. 955-2787.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Among the comics entertaining this month: Mitch Fatel, Feb. 14-17, Gina Yashere, Feb. 20-24, and Ralph Harris, Feb. 28 through March 2. 925-3869.
Bill Cosby. With five decades or so of entertaining under his belt, the Coz returns to the Van Wezel for two shows, at 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 17. 953-3368.
Sarasota Ballet of Florida. The dance company hosts Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre at 8 p.m. Feb. 22, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24 at the FSU Center for Performing Arts. 351-8000.
Moiseyev Dance Company. The acclaimed folk dance troupe from Russia performs at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Through Women’s Eyes. This international film fest kicks off with a sneak preview of The Sugar Babies, a documentary about children who work in the sugar industry in the Dominican Republic. For more details on movies being shown Feb. 1 and 2 at the Hollywood 20, visit www.ThroughWomensEyes.com or call 284-1027.
Monday Night at the Movies. This month’s offerings at the Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater, presented by the Sarasota Film Festival, include Truffaut’s 400 Blows (3 and 7 p.m. Feb. 4), Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest (7 p.m. Feb. 11) Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai (7 p.m. Feb. 18) and Clouzot’s Wages of Fear (3 and 7 p.m. Feb. 25). 360-7399.
ASID Designer Showhouse. Continuing through Feb. 17 at 819 Whitfield Ave. 926-7794.
Circus Sarasota. The 11th season commences with “Soaring to New Heights” as its theme. Among the stars performing under the Big Top at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue Feb. 1-24, are masters of the Russian bar, The White Crow; hand balancers Crazy Flight; juggler Daniel Hochsteiner; Italian clown Jimmy Folco; aerial act Szebastian Richter and Krisztina Eotvos; The Smirnov quick change artists; acrobats the Kambarov Kazakhs; Risley foot jugglers the Poemas; and of course, Queen of the Air Dolly Jacobs. 355-9805.
Ferraris on the Circle. More than 50 of the sports cars, and their owners, compete for Best of Show, Feb. 9 at St. Armands Circle Park. 388-1554.
Symphony Designer Showcase. Two luxurious residences at the Concession Golf Club are featured on this year’s home tour, running Feb. 15 through March 9. For hours and ticket information, call 685-0425.
Moscow Circus. High-flying acrobats, clowns, a dog act and more enliven the circus’ appearance at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Pug Parade. The annual parade of pooches takes place at Lakewood Ranch’s Adventure Park on Feb. 23, to benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County. For complete info call 955-4131.
Parade of Homes. The Home Builders Associations of Sarasota and Manatee unite to present this once-a-year look at new homes and new innovations, Feb. 23 through March 9 at a variety of locations. For more information call 412-9696.
Freedom Song. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe teams with the Players Theatre to present an evening of music, dance and narration celebrating black history. At 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Players. 365-2494.
Florida West Coast Symphony. Violinist Kyoko Takezawa joins the orchestra for Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, in a Masterworks performance Feb. 1 at Neel Performing Arts Center, Feb. 2 and 3 at Van Wezel. Also this month: works from Bernstein, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, Feb. 22, 23 and 24; Valentine Pops Feb. 8 at Neel; and Great Escapes pops concerts featuring excerpts from Scheherazade and Porgy and Bess, Feb. 13-16 at Holley Hall. 953-3434.
Frank, Liza and Sammy. A tribute to Sinatra, Minnelli and Davis, Feb. 1 and 2 at the Players Theatre. 365-2494.
Sarasota Concert Association. Pianist Ingrid Fliter guests Feb. 4 with a program featuring Chopin, Schubert and Beethoven, and the Pittsburgh Symphony with conductor Yan-Pascal Tortelier offers Bizet and Berlioz Feb. 25, in this subscription concert series at Van Wezel. For ticket availability, call 955-0040.
Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano. Lots of classics from the genius of music master Berlin, at 8 p.m. Feb. 6 and 7 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Courtyard Concert. Featuring The Bay Band, at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Ringling Museum. 360-7375.
Venice Symphony. The symphony offers classical concerts at 8 p.m. Feb. 8, 4 and 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Church of the Nazarene. Also this month: Music Outside the Box, 4 p.m. Feb. 27 at Jacaranda Trace. 488-1010.
Chorus of the Keys. The chorus presents its 58th annual concert Feb. 9 at Van Wezel; that’s a lot of harmonizing over the years. For ticket info call 926-1161 or 378-3331.
Sarasota Pops. Sit back and indulge your Anglophilia with Rule Brittania at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at Church of the Palms, featuring music from the court of kings to Beatlemania.. 926-7677.
Artist Series of Sarasota. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan performs works by Strauss and Schumann Feb. 10 and 12 at the Historic Asolo Theater. Also in the series this month: When You Wish Upon a Star: Music of the Movies featuring cabaret artist Karen Mason, Feb. 24 and 26. 360-7399.
Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour. Celebrate a half century of jazz with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, saxophonist James Moody, pianist Benny Green, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Kendrick Scott and vocalist Nnenna Freelon, at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Perlman Music Program Young Artist Recital Series. Cellist Deborah Pae performs at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. 953-3368.
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. The longtime duo performs standards of the American songbook at 8 p.m.Feb. 13 and 14 at Van Wezel. A Valentine’s Day reception follows the performance Feb. 14. 953-3368.
Patti LaBelle. Soul sister LaBelle performs at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 15 at Van Wezel, as part of the evening-long Van Wezel Foundation annual gala. For performance tickets call 953-3368; for more info on the gala, call 366-5578.
Thomas Viloteau. The young French guitar virtuoso, winner of the Guitar Foundation of America International guitar competition in 2006, guests for Guitar Sarasota, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at St. Paul Lutheran Church. 351-8000.
Israel Chamber Orchestra. Led by artistic director Gil Shohat and conductor laureate Philippe Entremont, the orchestra offers works by Mendelssohn, Debussy and Schumann, at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Dresden Philharmonic. Music from Wagner and Beethoven (Symphony No. 5) highlight the program conducted by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, at p.m. Feb. 18 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Cocktails at the Cà d’Zan. From 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 21, with music and refreshments; 359-5700.
Smooth Jazz on St. Armands: Fourth Friday with Style. From 6 to 9 p.m. on the circle, with musicians TBA. 388-1554.
Anne Murray. Canadian songstress Murray flies back to the Van Wezel for one performance, at 8 p.m. Feb. 22. 953-3368.
Ken Peplowski Trio. Joining Peplowski in this Van Wezel concert is special guest guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
I Musici de Montreal Chamber Orchestra. Cellist Yuli Turovsky leads the ensemble in an all-Russian program including Mussorgky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Remember This Diamond Ring? How about Everybody Loves a Clown? Ok, then you’re old enough to go see Lewis and his band, performing at 8 p.m. Feb. 24, 4 and 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson guests as the orchestra (under Yan Pascal Tortelier) performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30, and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Sir James Galway with Lady Jeanne Galway. Master flutists and spouses, the Galways perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.
Plantation Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic. This fund raiser for the foundation’s programs in the community takes place with a cocktail party Feb. 20, the tourney and awards dinner Feb. 21 at Plantation Golf and Country Club. Among the celebrities playing: baseball’s Tony Oliva and Bob Friend, hockey’s Brian Bradley, and former Boston Celtics star John Havlicek. For information call 497-4826.
Children First Golf Tournament. To benefit children in the community, Feb. 22 at Pelican Pointe Golf & County Club in Venice. For details call 953-3877.
Education Center of Longboat Key. Lectures on tap this month include The Lesser-Known Operas of Puccini, Feb. 5, The Clash of Civilizations, Feb. 12, and From Brighton Beach to Broadway, Feb. 19. All are at 3 p.m. 383-8811.
Forum 2007-08. Jan Crawford Greenburg discusses the subject of her latest book, Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle to Control the United States Supreme Court, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Holley Hall. 349-8350 or 365-6332.
Palm Literary Society. Lee Woodruff, author with TV newscaster-husband Bob of In An Instant, speaks at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at Michael’s On East; Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Burning Bright) at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 27, at the Historic Asolo Theater. 329-2604.
Town Hall. This month’s talk in the Ringling College Library Association series offers television host and commentator Charlie Rose, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Van Wezel. 925-1343.
The Power of Women. This New College Foundation series continues with the focus on Women in Education Feb. 12 at College Hall. 487-4674.
Conversation with Sherrill Milnes. The baritone reflects on his life at the Metropolitan Opera and more, at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.
The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead. One actress plays seven characters in this comedy onstage through Feb. 2 in an Asolo Rep production at the Historic Asolo Theater. 351-8000.
Run for Your Wife. The Ray Cooney farce about a cabbie with two wives ends its run Feb. 3 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Apartment 3A. This Jeff Daniels comedy about a public TV fund raiser facing personal and professional dilemmas continues through Feb. 3 at Venice Little Theatre’s Stage II. 488-1115.
Over My Dead Body. A comedy about an unusual murder, continuing through Feb. 3 at the Island Players. 778-5755.
Cats. Watch ‘em purr, through Feb. 10 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre. 748-5875.
The Constant Wife. W. Somerset Maugham’s comic look at marital infidelity in the upper crust circa the 1920s continues through March 12 at the Asolo Rep. 351-8000.
The Play’s the Thing. In this P.G. Wodehouse adaptation of a Molnar play, two Broadway playwrights and their young musical collaborator meet up with their show’s leading lady—who has a surprise in store for them. Onstage through March 13 at the Asolo Rep. 351-8000.
Evita. It’s looking like Argentina over at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, where this musical about the onetime First Lady continues through March 16. 366-5454.
European Cabaret. A revue celebrating the 1930s music of—you guessed it—European cabarets, through March 22 at FST’s cabaret space. 366-9000.
Jewtopia. This new comedy by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson revolves around two guys in search of the perfect Jewish wife. Continuing through March 28 at Florida Studio Theatre. 366-9000.
Doubt. Continuing through May 1 at the Asolo Rep is John Patrick Shanley’s award-winning piece about a quest for truth by a nun who suspects a popular priest of a horrible breach of trust. 351-8000.
TBA. Florida Studio Theatre’s Stage III opens a production on Feb. 4; for more details call 366-9000.
Pump Boys and Dinettes. Get set for some country-western music and vibes in this off-Broadway hit, Feb. 5 through March 2 in a Venice Little Theatre cabaret offering. 488-1115.
The Unexpected Man. Yasmine Reza’s play about a famous author and a woman reading his latest novel who meet on a train runs Feb. 6-9 in a Banyan Theater Company production at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.
Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers. From L.A. Theatre Works comes this docu-drama looking at the issues of government secrets and a free press in the famous 1970s case, at 5 p.m. Feb. 10 at Van Wezel. Actor Stacy Keach is scheduled to star; a dessert/coffee/conversation follows the performance. 953-3368.
The Good Doctor. Neil Simon’s tribute to the works of fellow playwright Anton Chekhov runs Feb. 13-16 in a production by the Sarasota Visual and Performing Arts Center theater students at Booker High. 355-2967.
Jersey Boys. The Broadway hit about the beginnings of the Four Seasons musical group runs Feb. 13 through March 15 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. To check on ticket availability,call (800) 955-1045.
Smash. In another modern adaptation of an earlier play, this time by George Bernard Shaw, Jeffrey Hatcher tackles the story of millionaire Socialist Sidney Trefusis, who dreams of overthrowing the government. Playing Feb. 15 through May 3 at the Asolo Rep. 351-8000.
My Fair Lady. Henry Higgins once again tackles Eliza Doolittle’s bad accent in the Lerner-Loewe smash, Feb. 19 through March 16 at Venice Little Theatre. 488-1115.
Candide. Leonard Bernstein’s musical version of the Voltaire classic runs Feb. 21 through March 2 at the Players Theatre. 365-2494.
A Soldier’s Play. Charles Fuller’s prize-winning look at murder and racism on a military base is presented by the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Feb. 22 through March 1 at the Historic Asolo Theater. 360-7399.
The Duchess of Malfi. Jacobean dramatist John Webster’s tragedy of lust, passion and political intrigue in the 17th-century court of Malfi open Feb. 27 to run through March 16 in an FSU/Asolo Conservatory Production in the Cook Theatre. 351-8000.
Best Seller. A world premiere musical debut set in New York City by playwright Don Crabb, Feb. 28 through March 16 at the Manatee Players. 748-5875.
The Real Inspector Hound. A reading of the play by Tom Stoppard, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Powel Crosley Estate. 722-3244.
Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. An ensemble cast presents more than three dozen beloved Cash songs, at 8 p.m. Feb. 29, 2 and 8 p.m. March 1 at Van Wezel. 953-3368.