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Roger Pettingell


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Home Showcase I - Bird Key Global Luxury

by Roger Pettingell

Homes that deliver on luxury and price

First showcase features Bird Key Global Luxury homes

Bird Key laid out
Bird Key design - Arvida Corporation purchased the island in 1960, took its original plans and laid out streets with many homes on canals that lead out to Sarasota Bay. Its history is discussed in my REALTALK™ #99 video in August of 2016.

When Coldwell Banker launched its new Global Luxury brand this spring they set the criteria for homes that qualified for the program. Among other features, the homes in the Sarasota area that qualified were homes that were listing over $1.2 million. I currently have 18 homes and four residences that are marked with this distinction. This is the first REALTALKplus™ article in a series that will showcase the homes and residences that not only qualify, but meet some other criteria in the theme for the upcoming weekly articles.

This week’s theme is based on the top homes on Bird Key I have listed that are featured on the Global Luxury website at Bird Key is in a great location, centered between the white sand beaches of Lido Key and fine dining with boutique shopping of Sarasota. St. Armands Circle is a short bike ride away. Bird Key has a rich history since Arvida Corporation purchased the land in 1960 and began developing homes for an affluent society. Lucille Ball, Jerry Springer, Brian Johnson and Martina Navratilova have once called Bird Key their residence. I have five of the 22 homes listed for sale here, four of which meet the Global Luxury standards. All four are directly located on Sarasota Bay or are a short boat ride on a Bird Key canal. Boaters will appreciate the Sarasota Yacht Club and its excellent amenities.

622 S Owl Drive
622 South Owl Drive.

At the top of the list is a wonderful home with a landscaped lot in a spectacular location overlooking the bay. There is over 450 feet of water frontage, most of which is navigable waters for sailboats. Built in 2003 with over 5,300 square feet of living space, this home has everything that is generally associated with a luxury lifestyle. The home at 622 South Owl Drive is adjacent to the lush tropical landscaping at 629 South Owl Drive. When purchased together, the parcels can be separated representing a higher value for the potential buyer.

Famed architect Cliff Scholz designed this home that is a split level interior that offers four bedrooms with four full baths and one partial. Perrone Custom Home Builders detailed this residence with solid, wood-beamed ceilings and three-piece crown moldings. The gas fireplace features a custom made mantle. The kitchen makes this home a unique place to entertain with its open connection to the family room. Entertaining guests can be a way of life here with a lanai, its own summer kitchen, gas fireplace and lounge areas that overlook the heated swimming pool and spa. The attached two-car garage completes this home listed at $9,995,000, a must see for the buyer that has it in their budget.

670 Mourning Dove Drive
670 Mourning Dove Drive

The second home at 670 Mourning Dove Drive has 100 feet of water frontage on an open canal to the bay with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. A 37-foot long lap pool is surrounded by brick pavers that also lead to the newer seawall and dock with shore power and 16,000 pound boat lift. The residence is decadently laid out and features a French inspired gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and imported tile backsplash. There is a 700-square foot bonus room on the second level with an extended terrace that is currently being used as a perfect media room.

Built in 2006, the home has three bedrooms and three full baths in over 4,300 square feet of living spacing. As you enter the home you will immediately be drawn to the quality of its construction with exposed maple beams on the ceiling of the living room. What you may not be able to see readily is the concrete framework, impact glass windows and superior insulation. The spa-inspired master bath is the epitome of luxury living. Complete with a three-car attached garage, this home sells for just under $3 million.

438 Partridge Circle
438 Partridge Circle

At $2.195 million, the luxury home at 438 Partridge Circle is sure to please with its 14-foot ceilings and stone marble accents. Built in 2004 by Las Casitas luxury home builders, there is over 5,900 square feet of living space with four bedrooms and three baths with one partial. The gourmet kitchen features solid-wood cabinetry, granite countertops, gas cooktop, island, breakfast bar, built-in planning desk and a massive walk-in pantry. A theatre room is sound-proof for a full movie experience, without disturbing other residents in the home.

The exterior features are something to behold. The landscaping and brick pavers surrounding the home creates wonderful curb appeal. The screened lanai with tranquil water fountain and lounging areas are perfect for entertaining. A heated swimming pool and spa are located in another section of the back yard. There is a 28-foot boat dock and lift, this is another must see home.

386 Bob White Drive
386 Bob White Drive

The last Bird Key home I have listed that qualifies under the Global Luxury standards is one on a canal with plenty of interior open spaces at 386 Bob White Drive. It has three bedrooms and two full baths under 2,980 square feet of living space. The split bedroom plan is great for guest privacy. The eat-in kitchen has plenty of space for a breakfast and built-in planning desk. It is also stylish with granite countertops and solid wood cabinetry that are coordinated with the stainless steel appliances.

The covered outdoor dining area is perfectly situated on brick pavers next to the heated swimming pool and deep-water dockage on a canal with direct access to the bay and Gulf. This luxury residence is located a few short blocks from the yacht club. It has a 2-car attached garage accessible by the brick-pavered circular driveway, and is listed at $1,499,000.

Here is a list of homes for sale on Bird Key. On our website are monthly Comparative Market Analysis reports for the Bird Key market dating back to 2008. You can review any month to see how pricing has changed over the years. I currently have 20 different communities represented with these CMAs.

Last week I added two more properties to my inventory. The first is a sixth-floor residence at the Islander Club overlooking the Gulf, attractively priced at $625,000. This home would make an excellent rental property, has two bedrooms, two baths and is offered with a covered car port for one car. The second on Lido Key is a vacant lot near the beach and St. Armands Circle that is prepped with utilities and permits to build a single-family residence. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of any property I listed here, or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
2295 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #62S $625,000   Photo Slideshow
221 Grant Drive $479,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Bayfront Park has its official opening

by Roger Pettingell

Grand opening planned for this fall

Second Longboat Key project accomplished through cooperation

Bayfront Park pavilion
Bayfront Park - Panoramic views of Sarasota Bay from the picnic area and sidewalk.

There are two public projects on Longboat Key that are getting a lot of cooperation from private and government organizations. And while one hasn’t been started, the other is officially open to the public. In June I wrote about the cooperation that was needed to seed a new arts center and expand its mission and name to Longboat Key Center for Arts, Culture and Education. It was the kind of cooperation that was necessary for Bayfront Park, which officially opened this month.

Donations from the Rotary Club, Garden Club and Kiwanis Club provided funds for some specific projects in the park while the town of Longboat Key and Sarasota County funded construction and land acquisition costs. The result is a wonderful park that is nearly complete on 3.54 acres of Gulf to bay Land that was acquired in 2007.

Nearly complete: The bay side is open with plenty of activities that include basketball, tennis, pickleball and shuffleboard. Two dog parks are open with plenty of open space for pooches to jump and play. There are kayaks for rent through an on-site local company that was selected as the official park vendor, Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & EcoVentures.

Dog park
Two separate fenced dog walking areas are in Bayfront Park with plenty of shade and plenty of room.

A covered pavilion was constructed for family gatherings, accessible by a winding sidewalk that parallels the shoreline of the Bay. There is a playground for the little tykes and a fishing pier for the outdoorsman in everyone. Restrooms, a rain garden and storm-water treatment center were constructed.

What isn’t completed is the Gulf of Mexico side, and that requires a little more government cooperation. The town needs approval with a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation because there are plans for a construction vehicle ramp.

There will be public beach access to the white sands of the Gulf, something that is in high demand on Longboat Key. For those who savor a beautiful sunset there will be an observation deck, which will be handicap accessible. There will be a bridge that leads to the beach over the dunes, and a sidewalk that connects the bay side to the Gulf of Mexico.

Years of planning, funding and renovations

The entire project has been 14 years in the making, starting in 2003 when a citizen’s committee was formed to study the project. The next year their recommendation for a $6.4 million bond to fund a community center was rejected by island voters. In 2009 Sarasota County and Longboat Key agreed upon a plan for the park, but three years later put those plans on hold.

Bayfront Park is on the northern edge of Sarasota County at 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive. While town officials wanted a community and cultural center, an Urban Land Institute panel recommended that the center would be of more use more centrally located on the island, and suggested the Bay Isles area. That is the tie-in with the Longboat Key Center for Arts, Culture and Education. It is to be constructed in the area that was once the Amore Restaurant, behind Publix and centrally located on Longboat Key.

Tennis court
The park opened in phases with the tennis courts one of the first to be completed.

The project received a big boost in 2015 when the county gave approval for $2 million. Longboat Key contributed $1.02 million, while specific projects were funded by local organizations. Ground was broken in July of last year. Courts for tennis, pickleball and basketball were opened in phases this year. A grand opening celebration for the park is expected this fall.

Last week I listed two homes that are at opposite ends of the price market. The first at 1654 Landings Boulevard in the Landings is a Smart Home in a prime location of Sarasota. The property backs up to conservatory land and cannot be developed for residential or commercial use, so the tranquil setting will not be upset. The second on Longboat Key will make a wonderful retreat or a great rental property in the Cedars East community. It has two levels of living area and comes complete with a full garage. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1654 Landings Boulevard $2,195,000 Video 3D Floor plan
511 Forest Way, #511 $389,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Many events slated for the holiday

by Roger Pettingell

Have an enjoyable Independence Day

Many local events conclude with fireworks tomorrow night

Fireworks off Bayfront Park in Sarasota, part of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival last year.

If you missed one of many opportunities to see local fireworks on Saturday night, or you’ve seen them and want more, the best may be spiraling skyward Tuesday night. Pyrotechnics were enjoyed after the festivities at Nathan Benderson Park and after the Marauders baseball game in Bradenton.

But tomorrow night will feature another round. As the conclusion to the successful 2017 Powerboat Grand Prix Races, the fireworks over Sarasota Bay will have its best viewing from Bayfront and Island parks. Marie Selby Gardens will have its special day before the fireworks with the All-American Cookout from 6 to 9 PM. The grill will be fired up for the cookout and there will be live music by soulRcoaster. This local band has a large range of songs in high energy fashion with lead vocalist Sheri Nadelman. The Office Bar SRQ Rooftop Party will provide a panoramic view of the bay for the show. Le Barge Tropical Cruises are featuring their boat on the water to anyone over the age of 21. Call (941) 366-6116 for more information.

You can expect crowds up to 30,000 to watch the Siesta Key fireworks put on by a number of local businesses. There will be great viewing from Crescent Beach and from your boat in the Gulf. Station yourself near the sand volleyball courts on the beach where the pyrotechnics will be set off. Their starting time for the fireworks is expected at 9 PM. Special VIP tickets and parking passes can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce by calling (941) 349-3800.

The Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria Island will shoot off its fireworks shortly after sunset. Remember 8:29 PM because you may be eligible to win a bottle of champagne in their nightly guess the sunset time. They will want the seconds too because many people will have Googled 8:29 PM. A special VIP party section for $140 is available by reservation at (941) 778-0444, but the restaurant is open for first available seating. The annual Privateers 4th of July Parade will start at Coquina Beach at 10 AM and conclude just north of the Sandbar Restaurant at the city pier around 1 PM. A party will be held after the 7 mile parade at the Ugly Grouper restaurant and bar on Holmes Beach.

Another Manatee County restaurant, Pier 22 in Bradenton, kicks off its Independence Day festivities at 6 PM with a buffet and annual pig roast. The best seating will be at the open bar for $69.95 and an adult wristband for an additional $30. Children under 12 are $19.95. Reservations for this event can be made at (941) 748-8087 or through their website.

Venice will fire off their 30 minutes of fireworks after sunset from the south jetty. There will be good viewing from many locations around the jetty, and by boat in the Gulf and intracoastal. The inlet will be closed around the jetty for boat traffic from 8:45 PM to a half hour after the grand finale. Tarpon Center Drive will be open for car traffic but closed near the jetty. Road closures will be displayed on message boards, expect a crowd of around 15,000 viewers.

A little further south in nearby Englewood, a block party on Dearborn Street will feature muscle cars and crafts to precede one of the largest fireworks shows in southwest Florida. The festivities start at 10 AM and live bands will be on stage starting at noon. Fireworks presented by the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club will be exploded over Lemon Bay.

If you’re looking for a family day, Busch Gardens in Tampa will conclude its party day with an extended fireworks show starting at 9:30 PM. The Actual Bank Robbers, a local Tampa band, will hold a dance contest on the main stage in Gwazi Park. For $34.95 you can purchase a Summer Nights Sampler Lanyard for a full-day of food at park locations.

The crowds may be heavy at times so it is highly recommended that you leave your personal fireworks at home. Even the legal sparklers, snappers and trick noisemakers should not be set near a crowd of people. You should also consider leaving your pets at home, the loud sounds of exploding fireworks might leave them disoriented and panicked. There is a chance for afternoon thunderstorms so an umbrella may be in order.

Daytime special events on Independence Day

Avenue of the Flags
Longboat Key will line Bay Isles Road in their Avenue of Flags display for FreedomFest.

David Miller of Cannons Marina will serve as grand marshal of FreedomFest, put on by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce. For two hours starting with the parade at 9 AM there will be food, kid games, balloon artist, sand art, a butterfly release and avenue of the flags along Bay Isles Road. The festivities will be held in Bicentennial Park. Dress up your puppy in patriotic colors to get involved in the Hot Diggity Dog contest. Registrations for the parade and contest will begin at 8:30 AM at the registration table near the Sun Trust Bank or by calling Carol Erker at (847) 274-8741. The contest is put on by the Rotary Club of Longboat Key.

Other events tomorrow include Voices of Freedom, a patriotic salute to Independence day by the Choral Artists of Sarasota. The concert begins at 4:30 PM in the First Church of Sarasota.

The city of Palmetto will hold its annual Fourth Festival, this year featuring the Oak Ridge Boys as the main act at 7 PM. This band was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. Festivities begin at 1 PM in Sutton Park, admission is free.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens has a special day for children, half off the $13.00 admission price for ages four through 16, children under four are free. The Jungle Gardens is on 3701 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota and is open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

The 4th of July Jam Blast and Myakka River Kayak Festival with live entertainment and craft beers, will be free to the public from 8 AM to 4 PM. Kayaks will be available for rent.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday and please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Cooperative solutions to old art center

by Roger Pettingell

Next chapter is written for arts center

Last piece of a puzzle includes moving old Whitney Cottages

Abandoned studio
Many memories were started in the old studio, now abandoned on the grounds of the arts center.

This is a good story how a housing development dream comes true, there is a strong commitment to the preservation of history, a local government works closely with other governments and organizations to provide funding sources for a cause, there is a passion for the arts and a college sees strong value in supporting its local residents. And it all is happening here on Longboat Key, with the Longboat Key Center for the Arts at the apex to benefit from all the cooperation. But now it’s a race against time.

Many problems matched with many solutions

The Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota merged with the Longboat Key Center for the Arts in 2007 so the center could continue its long tradition of providing art projects and exhibits to the residents of the island. This year the college worked with the city of Longboat Key to expand and announced on March 3, 2017 that it would close the center for the arts at the end of the 2016-17 season in May. The solution between the college and city, purchase land that has been the site of a highly respected restaurant. The Amore Restaurant solution, move to a location on the mainland.

Whitney Cottages built in 1930s
Moving Whitney Cottages - These homes were built in the 1930s and moved to the art center grounds in early 1950s. Now there is a movement to find a new location, fund the project and do it quickly.

Another problem, what was to become of the old art center property? Solution, sell it to a home developer, Jim Clabaugh, that has a good history for building quality homes. Since the land was already zoned for residential use, voters would not be required to approve the project. Two referendums were soundly defeated in March that would have changed residential density on the island. Jim Clabaugh is ready to roll with his construction plans.

But yet another problem, and potential solution. The center for the arts has a long history packed into 65 years. Two historical homes were moved to the property of the arts center in the early 1950s to preserve the last homes of the Whitney Beach Resort, originally built in the 1930s. Would it be possible to save the homes and for what use? Enter more residents with solutions to two problems. City organizers had always wanted a welcome center but did not have a building or property. The Longboat Key Historical Society President Michael Drake stepped in and offers another solution, move the two Whitney Beach cottages to a new property. At first an old gas station on the north end of the island was reviewed, but last week a better property across the street was announced.

New location for Whitney Beach Resort homes
Proposed location for Whitney Cottages on north end.

Both Drake and the property owner at 521 Broadway Street, Greg Ciccolo, agreed. Land developer Clabaugh has a short time to build 12 homes in the space vacated by the arts center. His 18-month time frame does not fit into the historical society plans, but he is giving some allowance for the move. He is even going so far that he is donating the homes. Now it’s a race against time to fund the project, acquire the property and move the buildings.

Are there any other potential problems? I’m sure some will appear, but if the past is any indicator it looks as though city and organizers can come together in short time. The fact that these properties are located in two separate counties hasn’t been addressed and hopefully won’t be an issue. The Welcome Center will greet visitors on the north end in Manatee County and the new art center will be centrally located on Longboat Key in Sarasota County.

Digital studio
Digital production studio - The progressive arts center included a production studio for digital arts.

All is a matter of timing, and all just this year. Even the old gas station across the street at 6990 Gulf of Mexico Drive is in contract to purchase. There has been no plans announced for its use, only a city report that it will be used as a new restaurant and gas station. Amore Restaurant owner Howard Rooks announced that his new restaurant will be in the surging Burns Court district at 443 Pineapple Avenue in Sarasota. It will be opening next month in the old Villa Toscana restaurant. So much has occurred since I first reported on the closing and plans for the new center on April 6 in my REALTALKplus™ article, an update was needed to cover these most current events.

While on the subject of charm and history, last week I listed a well-maintained, updated three-bedroom plus office at 1222 Center Place in Sarasota. It was designed by famed architect Erwin Gremli II and was once the guest quarters for Dr. Marion Hoppin, a founding member of New College here in Sarasota. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1222 Center Place $1,549,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Powerboat Grand Prix returns to Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Grand Prix Festival, 11 days in Sarasota

2017 Annual Powerboat Event concludes with Fireworks on July 4

Superboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
The Grand Prix returns with races on July 1 and 2.

The 33rd annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival starts this week. This is the festival that attracts thousands to Sarasota and the Lido Beach shores on race days, July 1 and 2. The economic impact is awesome, last year bringing in over $37 million to the area and providing financial support to Suncoast Charities for Children.

The festival kicks off with the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic on Saturday at the Meadows Country Club in Sarasota. The tax deductible entry fee is $500 for a foursome with a shotgun start at 8:30 AM.

Lance’s Cruzin’ to the Hop Car Shows will attract visitors to Main Street in Lakewood Ranch on Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM. Prizes will be given out with registration of $20 payable that morning.

Also on Sunday at 11 AM, the boat and personal watercraft fun run will begin at Marina Jack. There is a $20 entry fee beginning at 10 AM. There are three stops to Anna Maria Oyster Bar, the Seafood Shack and The Old Salty Dog. The best poker hands win $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. A 50/50 raffle will be held at the last stop. Each participant will receive lunch and Fun Run t-shirt.

The Friendliest Catch Fishing Tournament is a private event on Wednesday at the Sarasota Outboard Club. Clients of the agencies supported by Suncoast Charities for Children will be competing for prizes. Over 8,000 special needs children are supported by donations and funding through events such as the Grand Prix. Money raised by the Suncoast Charities for Children supports the Suncoast Foundation, which provides grant money to five local non-profits that serve special needs children.

New to the Grand Prix schedule this year is comedy night at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre in downtown Sarasota. Tickets are $25 and includes one drink and complimentary food. The welcome receptions starts at 5:30 PM, before John Carfi takes the stage at 7 PM. John Carfi has been on many comedy shows including Comedy Central Standup to the Rascals Comedy Hour.

Thursday is the festival kick-off party at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens, starting at 6 PM. The band, Kettle of Fish, will be playing at the party that is $150 per person. Island casual is the dress style for this event that will include an open bar, food stations, 50/50 raffle and silent auction. Kettle of Fish is a local band that performs rock, blues and New Orleans soul genre of music.

Friday starts the race boating activity with the Boats on Main downtown Block Party and the autograph session meet and greet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The entire family is invited to the meet and greet for two hours starting at noon. There is a $5 donation to get involved, 18 and under are free. Team pilots will be available for autographs and photos in the hotel ballroom. Boats with their crews will be set up on Main Street, from Orange to Palm Avenue starting at 6 PM. The reggae band Jah Movement starts at 7 PM.

Three festival events on Saturday coincide with qualifying races. From 9 AM to 11 AM the Finz Finds Motorcycle Charity Ride starts at Rossiter's Harley-Davidson, 330 Cattlemen Rd, Sarasota. The course takes you through Myakka State Park and ends at Centennial Park where the Powerboat Grand Prix Fan Fest will take place. For $10 you will have access to the park, free gift to the first 250 riders, 20% off a purchase in the store and designated parking at the Fan Fest. There are over $500 in cash prizes. From 10 AM to 6 PM you can watch the races live and catch up with the race teams preparing their boats. At 1 PM judging for the Miss Powerboat P1 Swimsuit Contest takes place before The Caribbean Chillers take the stage at 3:30 PM. The Caribbean Chillers perform the songs that made Jimmy Buffett famous.

There are many winners from 2016 returning this year to capture their consecutive trophies. Competing in the P1 Superstock division on Saturday at 10:30 AM and Sunday at 10 AM, team Geico hopes to retain their championship. In the Unlimited division starting at 1:30 PM on Sunday, Miss Geico takes to the waters of the Gulf to defend their crown. Cleveland Construction defends their championship in the Superstock catamaran, starting at noon on Sunday. Last year’s champion in the Superstock V-hull division, Legacy Builders return with its boat Twisted Metal, Sunday at 1:30 PM. In the Super Vee Lite division, and in the P3 Class, the Blackpearl from Boatworx return to defend their titles. The Blackpearl, and Twisted Metal are Sarasota-based boats.

Qualifying personal watercraft races for the AquaX Pro begin at 9:30 AM, of which 52 riders are registered in four divisions of racing. The AquaX Pro races pick up again on Saturday at 2:45 PM and conclude on Sunday at 9:15 AM.

Some of the best viewing of the races is from the shores of Lido Beach. There is VIP Race Viewing at Sandcastle Resort for a fee of $100 per person which includes free parking at South Lido Beach and a complimentary gift. It also includes a free shuttle service to the VIP area. The races will also be streamed live on Facebook at AquaX Races and for the Powerboat Races. The races will also be broadcast on Fox Sports and Comcast Regional Sports Networks.

Award presentations will begin at 5 PM in Centennial Park, Sarasota. The Grand Prix concludes on July 4 with a Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular, starting at 9 PM at Island Park. Unless noted here, events are free and tickets can be purchased online from the Grand Prix website.

Powerboat Festival Schedule at a Glance

Date Event Location Time
June 24 Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic Meadows Country Club 8:30AM
June 25 Suncoast Grand Prix Car Show Main Street, Lakewood Ranch 10AM - 3PM
June 25 Boat & PWC Fun Run Marina Jack, Sarasota 11AM
June 28 Fishing Tournament (Private) Sarasota Outboard Club 9AM
June 28 Grand Prix Comedy Night McCurdy's Comedy Theatre 5:30PM
June 29 Kickoff Party Fundraiser Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 6PM - 10PM
June 30 Driver’s Autograph Session Hyatt Regency Ballroom 12PM - 2PM
June 30 Boats on Main Block Party Main Street and Lemon Avenue 6PM - 11PM
July 1 Motorcycle Charity Ride Rossiter's Harley-Davidson 9AM - 11AM
July 1 Grand Prix Fan Fest Van Wezel Parking Lot 10AM - 6PM
July 1 Qualifying Races Lido Key beach 9:30AM
July 2 Grand Prix Fan Fest Centennial Park 10AM - 6PM
July 2 Powerboat Races Lido Key beach 9:15AM
July 2 Race Team Awards Centennial Park 5PM
July 4 Fireworks Spectacular Island Park, Sarasota 9PM

Saturday Race Schedule at a Glance

Event Times
AquaX Pro Race 1 9:30AM - 10:15AM
Superstock Practice + Race 1 10:30AM - 11:15AM
Open Practice for Invitational Classes 11:15AM - 1:45PM
Superstock Race 2 & 3 1:45PM - 2PM
AquaX Pro Race 2 2:45PM - 3:30PM

Sunday Race Schedule at a Glance

Event Times
AquaX Pro Race 3 9:15AM - 10AM
Superstock Race 4 10AM - 10:30AM
Invitational Classes P1-3,P4-7 11AM - 1:15PM
Invitational Classes Cat Lite Superstock 12PM - 1:15PM
Invitational Classes Super Unlimited 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Invitational Class Super Cat 750 2:45PM - 4PM

Events like these help make Sarasota a wonderful place to live. Last week I listed three properties for sale in the Sarasota area. Walk directly from the open terrace of an updated, two-bedroom Beachplace residence, to the Gulf of Mexico shores on Longboat Key. An updated Queens Harbour home on Longboat Key is behind the secure gates of Bay Isles. A 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath residence at Majestic Bay on Golden Gate Point is in an ideal location to catch a few of the Grand Prix events. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
258 Golden Gate Point $1,695,000 Video Photo Slideshow
3517 Fair Oaks Lane $1,225,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1135 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #103 $779,000   Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Sarasota - the New Hollywood

by Roger Pettingell

Shows filmed or are about this area

From movies to TV shows, the entertainment industry likes Sarasota

The Greatest Show on Earth movie
The Greatest Show on Earth is considered an all-time great by director Cecil B. DeMille.

Sarasota may be the next Hollywood now that the show, Claws, aired on the TNT network last night. It appeared as just another of a string either filmed or are about the Sarasota area. And there are many, beginning as early as 1932, continuing to this year when two shows debut with the Sarasota area as a backdrop.

If you were watching the Tony Awards and didn’t watch the show, Claws, which is centered in a Palmetto salon that is a site for women who make a business of money laundering. And it is getting good reviews as of this morning. It stars some very familiar actresses including Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes and Karreuche Tran. It was filmed in other locations but the producers had a crew in the area for 20 days to get background information and some local shots for the series. Local native Ryland Jones is a consultant for the company that is involved in post-production work for the show. It airs at 9 PM on Sundays.

Set to debut in July, the MTV reality series with a preliminary name of Siesta Key, is a show about living near the Number 1 beach in the United States. Its pilot was filmed here with little fanfare about 16 months ago, then followed with subsequent productions around the Siesta Key beach. The show is unscripted, depicting the lives of young adults and the relationships they nurture. A commercial for the show appeared May 7 during the MTV Movie and TV Awards ceremony.

It all started in 1932 with the movie Prestige, starring Melvyn Douglas and Ann Harding. Although the premise of the movie was not about Sarasota, it was filmed in Venice and on the Myakka River. Douglas was an alcoholic struggling with his command of a French Indo-China penal colony.

The Greatest Shows on Earth

Two of the most well-known movies about the area and filmed here received critical acclaim and achieved box office success. You likely have seen The Greatest Show on Earth, the 1952 fiction film directed by Cecil B. DeMille based on the real-life connection to the circus. The plot, production and the list of stars were enough to earn an Academy Award for Best Picture that year. Cornel Wilde played the Great Sebastion who demoted his girlfriend Holly from her center trapeze spot. The cast was a Who’s Who of Hollywood actors, including some of the best known stars Charlton Heston, James Stewart and Dorothy Lamour. Even circus clown Emmett Kelly had a role in the movie.

In 1993 The Great Wallendas was a made-for-TV production filmed entirely in Sarasota, starring Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt fame as Karl Wallenda. It may have been a prophetic depiction of local events, a tragic end of a seven-person high wire act. In February of this year, five were injured in a similar pyramid performance including Rietta and Lijana Wallenda. Nik Wallenda anchored the pyramid but caught himself on the wire and was uninjured.

Now for the Rest of the Movies

Less famous movies included A Flash of Green, a 1985 movie which pitted environmentalists against local land developers. The plot was a fictional account of the struggle in Palm City, a real town near Port St. Lucie and partially filmed on Casey Key.

Back to Palmetto, where Woody Harrelson portrayed a convicted felon who kidnapped a millionaire’s step-daughter, Odette, played by Chloë Sevigny. The 1998 movie was named for the Manatee County town but there are no reports any of it was filmed here.

A movie filmed mostly in the Tampa area, the 1999 movie Forever Mine did include a SCAT Sarasota transit bus when the crew was in town. Gretchen Mol played a politician’s wife who fueled a long standing vendetta between the characters played by Ray Liotta and Joseph Fiennes.

The fishing village of Cortez in southern Manatee County served as the backdrop for the movie Out of Time in 2002, starring Denzel Washington as police chief Matthias "Matt" Lee Whitlock who plotted to steal $550,000 that was confiscated in a recent drug bust. It was filmed in Cortez, Placida and Boca Grande.

Winter in Dolphin Tale
Most of the scenes in Dolphin Tale movies 1 & 2 were filmed on location at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Two movies about Winter, a bottlenose dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail, were filmed in and around the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In Dolphin Tale, a 2011 movie inspired by the actual story of Winter, Morgan Freeman plays Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who develops the mechanical tail from donated parts. Other stars, Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, and Kris Kristofferson form their own tale around Winter and the fight to keep the aquarium open. In the 2014 sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, the characters reunite to find a suitable companion for Winter so that the dolphin can continue to stay at the aquarium. By then child actors Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff are established stars. There is an exhibit about the two movies at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In 2011 and 2012 three movies were filmed in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Armed and Dangerous was filmed here, the story of an ex-con who returned to this area to kill the woman who testified at his trial that led to his 20-year incarceration. The documentary, Last Will and Embezzlement, that focused on elder exploitation was filmed in Sarasota and had an appearance by Mickey Rooney. Bradenton was the location for The Message, a movie about a woman who struggled with religion after a serious car accident.

The House of Blood, Parker and Spring Breakers in 2013 were three films that had Sarasota as its backdrop. Although The House of Blood was about a crazed masked man who kidnapped a young stripper in Miami, the set of the movie was here. Parker was filmed on the grounds of the Ringling Museum at the home of John and Mable Ringling, Cà d'Zan. Spring Breakers may not be a movie for the older set, but it was filmed partially at the Ringling College of Art & Design. Other set locations included the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and St. Pete Beach.

Two 2016 movies about Christine Chubbuck

Sarasota WTOG and WXLT-TV reporter and morning show talk host, Christine Chubbuck, ended her life on live television, July 15, 1974. Based on the true story and tragic events that led to her suicide were portrayed in the movie, Christine, that premiered in theaters late last year. It was released in the United Kingdom this year and starred Rebecca Hall as Christine. Video of the original suicide surfaced last year but has been debunked for its authenticity by experts.

In Kate Plays Christine, Kate Lyn Sheil portrays Rebecca Hall in a documentary released in August before the release of Christine. Kate Lyn has had roles in the House of Cards and Sun Don’t Shine. In this documentary, director Robert Greene explored the exploitation of community suicide and the public need for creating a movie about the topic. It follows Kate Lyn as she prepares for the role of Christine by visiting friends and co-workers of the late television reporter.

Back to the Real Sarasota

I have a keen interest in movies as of late. My niece, Katie Dippold, is an actress and screen writer with recent credits for her work in movies The Heat, Spy, the new Ghostbusters released in 2016 and the more recent movie with Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, Snatched. The Heat won two awards in 2014, the American Comedy Award and People’s Choice Award. She has several credits for her work in television comedies including the highly acclaimed Parks and Recreation series.

Professional film credits are going to Ringling College of Art Design students. Teachers, students and professional artists from Semkhor Productions are teaming up to produce movies in and about the area. The most current project is Killroy Was Here, an anthology horror series filmed at Nathan Benderson Park. Rated one of the best film schools in the country, the Ringling College is adding Studios A and B this summer and plan to have the Post Production Facilities finished in the fall.

Winter in Dolphin Tale
A Gulf of Mexico beach view from the balcony at 1000 Longboat Club Rd, #805 on Longboat Key.

Last week I listed a wonderful residence in Privateer South, #805. This eighth-floor residence overlooks the azure colored Gulf of Mexico waters and its sandy white beaches. Everything has been completely renovated including frosted-glass sliding doors that lead to each of two bedrooms. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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2017 Sarasota Music Festival

by Roger Pettingell

53 years strong and under new direction

First showcase is Thursday, festival runs through June 24 with 12 concerts

Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Artist Showcases and the Rising Star student series will be held at Holley Hall each week of the festival.

Although the first concert this week of the Sarasota Music Festival is set for Thursday, musicians and aficionados have been pouring into the city for the activities that precede opening night of the three-week event. The welcome dinner was held last night to start the festival.

Now in its 53rd year, the Sarasota Music Festival extends into summer, marking its return as the first of the season when weekend festivals dominate the schedule. As in the past, the schedule of Thursday through Sunday each week has a different flair, mixing in students with accomplished professionals. Thursdays are devoted to acclaimed artists, while Friday Festivals feature students and professionals performing chamber pieces. Full symphony works are each Saturday, and Sundays present some of the best rising stars in the nation.

A slight twist was introduced this year by new music director Jeffrey Kahane that focuses attention on a Generation Y ensemble of six musicians in a program aptly named yMusic. They are to feature some classics on June 23 but have a selection of their own that may introduce some pop into the classical overtures. yMusic is the third of the Friday Festivals that will begin each week at 8 PM in the Sarasota Opera House.

Rising Stars - Scholarships for Sarasota Music Festival
Rising Stars — Scholarships were offered to 60 students among the 457 musicians who auditioned for the 2017 Sarasota Music Festival. They will perform in the Rising Stars series and ensembles of acclaimed professionals throughout the festival.

Kahane is the third festival music director and follows Robert Levin who is scheduled to lecture during the festival, June 17 at 1:30 PM in Holley Hall. Levin replaced the famed and late Paul Wolfe, one of the co-founders of the festival. Kahane will combine his experiences as pianist, conductor and educator, having served in all three capacities throughout his illustrious career including his last position as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets for all concerts can be found on the Sarasota Music Festival website. They can also be purchased over the phone at (941) 953-3434 or during normal business hours at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center in Sarasota, 709 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets start at $10 for the student recitals, $27 for Artist Showcases and Friday Festivals, to $32 for the Saturday Symphony series. The lecture by Robert Levin is $5.

And if you can’t make any of the concerts or you haven’t got enough of the music you can attend Chagall Nights at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens, June 14. Then some of the musicians from the Sarasota Music Festival will sit in with the Sarasota Orchestra for a special concert starting at 6 PM. This coming Sunday at 1:30 PM a special high definition showing of Wagner’s, Tristan and Isolde, will be shown in the Sarasota Opera House.

Artist Showcases – Thursdays in Holley Hall at 4:30 PM

Performances are already selling out, including the first Artist Showcase this Thursday, The Tempest. The night begins with three Gershwin preludes and concludes with a sonata by faculty artist Clive Greensmith on cello and Kahane on piano. As of this writing tickets are still available for all other festival events. Kahane and Levin combine in a Schubert composition for the second Artist Showcase, A Feast of Music, a light composition that was performed as entertainment during feasts, one of three compositions for the evening. Special Gems will be performed for the final Artist Showcase, June 22. Strings are featured in Ravel’s sonata. Wind instruments and piano are featured in a sextet by Poulenc, followed by a Violin Sonata in B Minor by composer Röntgen-Maier. Each Artist Showcase will begin at 4:30 PM in Holley Hall.

Friday Festivals – Fridays in the Sarasota Opera House at 8 PM

It’s All Bach for the first Friday Festival, a series of six Brandenburg Concertos by 17th century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Students join the ensembles for the first five of the evening. Each Friday Festival will begin at 8 PM in the Sarasota Opera House, the second of which is Shimmering Summer on June 16. The evening starts with Summer Music, composed by Samuel Barber, followed by a Mendelssohn string quartet and Brahms quartet, with Levin on piano. yMusic concludes the Friday Festivals on June 23.

Saturday Symphonies – Saturdays in the Sarasota Opera House at 8 PM

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Friday Festivals and Saturday Symphonies will be at the Sarasota Opera House on N. Pineapple Ave.

Interest is high in the Saturday Symphonies, the series each Saturday at 8 PM in the Sarasota Opera House. Jasmine Choi, a past student of the festival and now an acclaimed flutist returns to perform in The Triumphant Fifth. Her energy is sure to shine through in Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto, Op. 37. Mostly Mozart is mostly Mozart with a concerto in E-Flat Major to start the evening composed by Stravinsky in the second Saturday Symphony on June 17. Faculty violinist Alexander Kerr is highlighted in the conclusion with his performance in Violin Concerto No 3 by Mozart. Kahane is center stage once again on piano and as symphony conductor in Saturday Symphony 3, Adagio and Rhapsody, on June 24.

Rising Stars – Sundays and the last Friday in Holley Hall at 3 PM

Students perform in recitals for Rising Stars 1, 2 and 3, the first of which are performed by student ensembles to works of Faure, Dvorak, Nielsen, Schubert and Beethoven. Over 400 rising stars auditioned to be among the 60 selected for the festival. Four concertos on June 18 by master composers Brahms, Mozart, Maslanka and Bartok feature students on June 18 at 3 PM in Holley Hall. On the final Friday, June 23 at 3 PM, students take the stage for a Mozart clarinet quintet, Shostakovich string quartet and composition credited to Richard Strauss and Franz Hasenöhrl, Till Eulenspiegel - Einmal Anders!

Whether you are here for the three weeks of the festival or plan to stay longer, I hope that you enjoy your stay here in Sarasota. And if you want to make this a permanent residence, please contact me at (941) 387-1840 so we can find your dream luxury home on the waterfront.

Memorial Day celebration

by Roger Pettingell

A day to honor those who sacrificed

Events to consider for this holiday and the summer ahead

Superboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
The Grand Prix returns with races on July 1 and 2.

I hope that you have good plans today for Memorial Day. It is significant that we honor those who have fought for our freedoms. There are many events today, in many different ways we can celebrate from concerts to parades. The weather is expected to cooperate, celebrate those heroes with family that this day is recognized for.

If you read this in time, the Sarasota Memorial Day Parade begins at 10 AM on Main Street, starting at Osprey Avenue and ending at J.D. Hamel Park. This is the Battle of Midway 75th anniversary and a scholar of that famous sea battle, Dr. Jim D'Angelo will be the keynote speaker in the park. Bring lawn chairs and coolers to Philippi Estate Park where the Sarasota Concert Band will perform from 2 to 4 PM in its Memorial Day Concert. There is a $5 fee for adults at this event.

In Venice the Memorial Day Celebration will begin at 10 AM in Patriots Park, followed by an open house at the American Legion Post 159 in Venice. Memorial Day will be celebrated at Veterans’ Monument Park in Bradenton, near the Riverwalk, starting at 9 AM.

Those in the military will receive a salute and a discount at participating businesses on St. Armands Circle. A Military Appreciation decal will appear on businesses with special offers from 10 AM to 8 PM to all those who served in the military. Jungle Gardens in Sarasota will offer a free entry with one paid entry to anyone who served. They are open today for this special from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Summer is a time to enjoy Sarasota

It is the unofficial start to summer, a good time to start making plans for some of the summer activities and events that are coming our way.

The Sarasota Music Festival officially starts next Sunday, a three week series of concerts by professional and highly talented student musicians. The first concert is the Artist Showcase on June 8. A different Artist Showcase will be performed each Thursday during the festival in Holley Hall beginning at 4:30 PM. Beginning at 8 PM each week in the Sarasota Opera House, chamber music will fill the air in the Friday Festival series. The Saturday Symphony series each week at 8 PM in the Opera House is an ongoing tradition.

Over 500 students nationwide auditioned for 60 spots in the Rising Star series of movements and chamber music. These ensembles of students will perform on different days in Holley Hall. Renowned scholar, educator and pianist, Robert Levin will give an insightful lecture, Saturday, June 17 in Holley Hall starting at 1:30 PM. I will write more about the festival next Monday in my REALTALKplus™ article. Tickets are available from their Music Festival website.

Thousands trek to Sarasota, Independence Day weekend, for the annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix races with best viewing on Lido Beach. The race dates are Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, but the activities surrounding the Grand Prix begin June 24 with the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic at The Meadows Country Club. There is a car show planned on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch, a Boat & Personal Watercraft "Fun Run" at Marina Jack and on June 28 there are two events, “The Friendliest Catch” Fishing Tournament that is by invitation only at the Sarasota Outboard Club on City Island, and the Grand Prix Comedy Night special at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre featuring comedian John Carfi. This year the AquaX and P1 Superstock races will be streamed live on Facebook. I will provide more information in my REALTALKplus™ article that week, June 19.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, local theaters, farmers markets, festivals, fireworks and concert activities are all listed on our upcoming events page. Take civic pride in the events of today and enjoy the summer.

Last week I listed a wonderful penthouse in Marina Tower ideally located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, this one-of-a-kind residence is a showcase of panoramic views overlooking the bay, Gulf of Mexico, a bustling city life and Marina Jack. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Longboat Key prepares for the storm season

by Roger Pettingell

Friday Seminar is a prelude to season

Forums to include FEMA, weather and Red Cross services

Loose Sailboat
Don't forget your boat - Batten down the hatches.

Although we have been fortunate to be out of the direct paths of hurricanes for many years, last year’s Hurricane Matthew and Hermine sent a message to us that we should prepare for the season that officially begins next Thursday on June 1. The potential development of an El Niño effect should raise awareness for the possibility of a major storm.

In a Tropical Meteorology Project report issued by Colorado State University, 2017 is expected to have a lower level of activity with 11 named storms, four of those may develop into hurricanes. The cause for concern is that they included a one in four chance that one of those storms will hit Florida this year.

During the peak season from August to September it is expected that El Niño will weaken, but that may not be good news. Since El Niño refers to warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific, the westerly winds it creates in the Atlantic has an opposite effect, reducing the chances of developing storms in our section of the planet. If they become strong during these peak months we could have an early end to the hurricane season. The expected weaker to moderate El Niño prolongs the season.

Preparedness is key for the keys

Longboat Key has had an initiative the last 14 years to provide its residents with the most up-to-date information on the subject. This year special guests headline their annual Disaster Preparedness Seminar this Friday in the Resort at Longboat Key Club, Harbourside Ballroom. Government programs, weather patterns and disaster relief forums will be led by Craig Fugate, Bob Harrigan and Steven Guetschow.

Craig is the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management. As keynote speaker he will be able to best discuss the role of those two agencies in emergencies. A request for FEMA is initiated by the governor to act on any disaster that overwhelms the resources of the state. They can assist to provide communications, transportation, security and financial relief in times of a disaster.

Bob is a meteorologist with our local ABC affiliate on Channel 7 news. He has a nice ability to translate the complexities of the weather to an audience for understanding as to how they track and what may happen in a storm. Steven represents the American Red Cross, he is the acting disaster program manager for Southwest Florida. The Red Cross is instrumental in providing assistance to residents in times of a disaster. The three-hour seminar starts at 3:15 p.m. but reservations must be made by calling (941) 383-2466. There are special gifts for the first 125 to register for this free event.

Mike Mailliard of MIC Insurance shares some ideas on protecting your valuable assets in REALTALK™ #92.

In my REALTALKplus™ article June 20, 2016, I outlined more preparations for hurricanes. The information holds true for this year. In that article there is information on local shelters in Manatee and Sarasota counties. There is a link to my REALTALK™ #92 video, the second of a two-part series in which Mike Mailliard of MIC Insurance on Longboat Key discussed the steps that are necessary to ensure the safety of critical documents and 20 to 30 irreplaceable personal items.

There is information in that article on what to pack in times of an emergency. In all cases it may go without saying that your personal preparation for emergencies should not wait, they should be laid out well in advance. In times of a disaster, good preparation will be key to saving your heirlooms and possibly your life. You can start with a good communications plan, that may be the first to break in a storm.

Sarasota has links on its website for hurricane preparations which include what to do before a storm approaches to links for disaster relief if a storm destroys property. The Manatee County website has similar links and information on the history of hurricanes in Florida.

So, on November 30 we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we avoided a direct hit from a major storm or hurricane. The only hurricane we will have survived is the one that was poured in a glass with ice.

Theaters in the arts cultural city, Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Variety in Sarasota's performing arts

Most venues within walking distance downtown

Entrance to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Top celebrities perform here in over 100 events each year.

The opportunities for attending a play, musical or concert downtown is pleasantly astonishing. That is one reason why voters of American Style Magazine ranked Sarasota as the top arts destinations in the nation for populations of 100,000 or less. The histories of the venues are as intriguing as the performances themselves, starting with one of the most notable in the area, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Performances at the Van Wezel are scheduled year round and are mostly one-day shows from well-known stars that are on a route that includes The Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. With over 100 performances scheduled this year, more than half are of cultural significance with ballet, Sarasota orchestra and town hall lectures. More than 25,000 students in the neighboring four counties are introduced to the arts each year here.

Attending a show at the Van Wezel is an experience in itself. Arrive early to stroll the banks of Sarasota Bay or socialize with others with fine dining at Mattison's Bayside. Even the color of hall is a sample of royalty, a purple and violet combination suggested by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, the widow of famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Although there are 1,736 seats in the hall, the more popular artists do sell out their shows. The future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is in question as community leaders discuss the acres of property on the bayfront, either to replace the building constructed in 1969 or to design a downtown community that includes this historic structure.

Long tradition of opera at the Sarasota Opera House

Sarasota Opera House
The Sarasota Opera House, open since 1926.

You can walk among the theaters in downtown Sarasota, some that are close to the Van Wezel. The Sarasota Opera House is host to operas, a venue for the annual Sarasota Film Venue each April or the upcoming Sarasota Music Festival, June 8-24. Opened originally in 1926, the building that seats 1,119 patrons was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Currently the opera house is owned by the Sarasota Opera Association, it was once used as a performance hall that included stars such as Will Rogers and Elvis Presley. The Greatest Show on Earth movie had its world premiere at the opera house in 1952 with its stars Charlton Heston and Dorothy Lamour in attendance. The summer HD at the Opera House series begins its run May 21 with high definition operas, ballets and plays including The Marriage of Figaro, Tristan and Isolde, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Swan Lake and Macbeth.

The Players Centre for the Performing Arts seeks a new beginning

Across Tamiami Trail near the Van Wezel is the Players Centre for the Performing Arts with more than 86 years of performances in downtown Sarasota. Actors bring some of the best Broadway plays of the day to the stage with daily performances. Their Summer Sizzler Series begins June 14 and includes such plays as Beau Jest, The Marvelous Wonderettes and Arsenic and Old Lace. The series concludes with the premiere of the New Play Festival winner, Mammoth Bones, August 22-27. The organization may lose its downtown location, having put the building up for sale this month. Its plans are for a three-theatre complex in Lakewood Ranch to be built within three years.

Social gatherings for the arts with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

REALTALK interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in REALTALK™ #101.

Nearby is the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe on 10th Way downtown, entertaining audiences with plays and musical performances by talented local actors. It was founded in 1999 by its current artistic director, Nate Jacobs. The WBTT is expanding also with its current Heart & Soul Campaign that is raising funds for a new performance hall that will accommodate more guests and continue to sell out their shows. A popular show each December is the Black Nativity which has become a tradition of the troupe. Nate Jacobs adapted this show from the poetry of Langston Hughes. Currently running is the play, Dearly Departed, a comedy about a funeral for the family’s departed father. I proudly sit on the board of directors for the WBTT.

A village of theaters within a city at Florida Studio Theatre

A number of theaters in one block comprise the Florida Studio Theatre complex of Keating, Gompertz, Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets, and Bowne's Lab Theatre. Since 1973 the theaters provide the heart for a series of mainstage productions, cabarets, education and new play development in contemporary settings. Every Saturday the FST Improv Troupe delight audiences with their improvisational comedy shows. Now in its ninth year, FST invites improv troupes from around the globe to the Sarasota Improv Festival for three days. This year, July 13-15, there are 22 troupes competing in the festival.

Historic Asolo, Cook and Mertz at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts

On the grounds of the Ringling Museum is the home of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, a series of three theaters. Originally constructed in 1798 in the Italian town that bears its name, for 132 years the Historic Asolo Theater was the home of famed Italian actors and actresses when it was dismantled in 1930 and placed in storage. Following World War II the Ringling purchased the theater and its four tiers of seats to be placed on the grounds of the museum. There it remained in a gallery until the late 50s when it was reconstructed as a home for modern theatre. It was moved once again to its current location on Bay Shore Road on the museum grounds and renamed the Historic Asolo Theater. The building will be closed to tours and performances through June 1, as the new Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion is in construction next to it. The first performance is scheduled June 13 through July 29 with Bello Nock, a comedic acrobat in IncrediBello!

Asolo Repertory Theatre
The world premiere of Beatsville is the current repertory production in the Mertz Theatre.

Across the street are the Mertz and Cook theatres, home of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. The Mertz Theatre has a similar history as the Historic Asolo Theater, first constructed as an opera house in Dunfermline, Scotland where it stood for 86 years before it was purchased for the Ringling and moved here in 1903. The 500-seat theatre is in use primarily for plays by the Asolo Repertory company, a group of professional actors. The smaller 161-seat Cook Theatre in the same building is used as a theater for small-cast repertory shows and for the Florida State University MFA Acting program. No more than 12 students are admitted to this storied College of Fine Arts program that has been training actors for 40 years. The Theatre is named after Jane Bancroft Cook, a philanthropist and heir to the family owned Dow Jones & Company, where she served on its board for 36 years before her death in 2002.

There are other theaters and cinemas in the area and many more from Bradenton to Venice, the heritage this city has for arts and entertainment date back to John Ringling and his circus. It is one of the many reasons that many people take up residence here in this part of sunny Florida. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

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