MARIE J. KILKER, Ph.D. — End of 2014 (Fall into Winter) — ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS
This occasional column has nothing to do with reviewing but, rather, recommending. (As many know, I do not agree with Don’s idea of what a reviewer should do, and I do not want to be among those who fill his idea on this site. I do agree, however, with Don’s devotion to promoting the arts; thus, this column.) Let me say, once again, that my writing here is about appreciating efforts and their effects in all the arts, including literature, and especially in Florida’s Sarasota and Manatee Counties and next the Bay Area. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t sometimes go far afield geographically for my items, just as Don does for the publicity and news releases he prints daily. So when I travel, expect me to bring back recommendations on the arts where I’ve been (as you’ll discover below).
THE ONE GOOD THING THAT CAME OUT OF MY HOUSE FLOODING LATE AUGUST: ART CONSERVATION SERVICES OF SARASOTA! Thomas Koether, a Conservator, restores, preserves, and mends paintings, photographs, frames, stretchers, and other redeemable objects of art. He consulted with me about some flood-damaged lithos and photos, along with what it would take to restore them and the costs. Much of his work involves appraisals for insurance purposes but he also surveys collections, tries to mitigate environmental problems for preserving art works, and will give referrals for objects he can’t handle. Tom operates his business at 813 Hudson Ave. (941-366-6194) in Sarasota, where he also has his own work and pieces of his collection in evidence. (A few pieces of his can be purchased.) He is an old fashioned (in the best sense) craftsman with credentials from study at Chicago’s Art Institute and New York and Chicago Universities. His conversation is as interesting as his work. If you have a favorite art work that needs perking up, he could well be your go-to guy.
MY DOCTORS HOSPITAL AND SARASOTA BAY CLUB REHAB STAYS put me in touch with at least one artist who’s renowned among her fellow staff members: Paulina of the 3rd floor Staff of Doctors’ Orthopaedie & Spine Institute (where I had a lumbar spinal implant and laminectomy). Nurse Aide Paulina is a crochet and needlework artist. Each year she crochets two blankets, donating both, but at least one to be sold or auctioned off to benefit breast care. In addition, every fellow hospital caregiver who gives birth there gets a Paulina-made heirloom blanket for her baby. In September, Paulina was also refashioning a wedding dress for a friend who found one on affordable sale with the right basic design but totally non-fitting. Besides reconstructing the dress, Paulina was adding many, many seed pearls to make the artistic design better. Paulina: an artist who deserves recognition outside the hospital!
FRANCE WAS FUN for a week of recuperation. I scouted out things I’d recommend for you to see, especially if you do not navigate French well or at all. Until February, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, a musical based on the film, will be at the major Chatelet Theatre. I was invited to review this but I was already on my way home at press night. My French friend Jacqueline Launay just wrote that she saw it and found it wonderful with all the film’s songs, stunning dance, and both projected and other scenery that moved as fast as the story. It is done in English with French subtitles, a practice being touted by several theaters in Paris lately. The show will move to Broadway next, and I think it will be more expensive. For bargains, you can see Dear Conjunction Players do UNDER MILKWOOD in January at the Theatre de Nesle, all in English. Consult Official des Spectacles or Periscope for other times and places of Dear Conjunction performances or consult them on the web. They also put on a one-man performance about Oscar Wilde on a continual basis but at different sites. Every Friday through Monday evening, you can see HOW TO BECOME A PARISIAN IN ONE HOUR, done by Olivier Giraud at the Theatre Des Nouveautes. See my reviews of Dear Conjunction and of Giraud’s funny show on TotalTheater.com (Criticopia). I also review my favorite troupe, the Theatre du Soleil, that is doing MACBETH at the Cartoucherie in Vincennes (end of one Metro line). It’s in French, but if you know the play, you should have no trouble following it. And the production is spectacular. You will never see a better, more original or unusual one. Very reasonable prices too, as they also are for the dinner sold before each performance. Believe me, anything by this company is a life-changing experience seeing theater.
SHE’LL STICK TO YE by Jack Gilhooley will premiere in a reading at Art Center of Sarasota on January 13. It’s the latest of Jack’s plays concerning James Joyce. The “SHE” in the title is Nora, Joyce’s wife. The title comes from a remark made about her to Joyce by his father before James and Nora were wed. In a very kind act to welcome Sarasota’s newest theater company, URBANITE THEATRE, Jack has offered to bring his play and players for a subsequent reading at the URBANITE (1487 Second Street; 941-321-1397) as a donation toward the group’s settling in. Watch the dailies for details.
FATHOM PRODUCTIONS lead the way in showing films of art exhibits we might never get to see if not at a local cinema. If you saw the film of THE VATICAN MUSEUM in December, you know how much appreciation and knowledge you can enjoyably gain in a Fathom viewing. A New York critic friend writes to ask me to watch for a “visually awesome” 3-hour film that’s “a graduate college course for those who do not understand the value of art—its use and a possible personal meaning.” Among the masters presented is Rubens, who’s so important to The Ringling collection. I haven’t seen this Frederick Wiseman film on the National Gallery listed on Fathom’s web site yet, but I’ll keep looking. Meanwhile, praise Fathom for its plans to bring a whole series of important exhibits asap from European museums, one with cooperation from the Philadelphia Museum. These will be shown at the Regal Hollywood Stadium and the Sarasota IMAX in north and south Sarasota, respectively. If you are a film buff, or just want to recapture childhood memories of a great film you saw in a theater rather than on your home TV screen, try Fathom’s bringing to the theaters just mentioned a full feature of THE WIZARD OF OZ. It’ll be at 2 and 7 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 11 and Wednesday, Jan. 14, it will be done in cooperation with Turner Classic Movies and introduced by Robert Osborne. Good show, Fathom!
AT THE RINGLING, meet new Head Librarian Elisa Hansen, a Sarasotan returning from working in Denmark. Her goal is to promote scholarship through publicizing library requisitions tied to the Museum collections. Are you one of many who do not know of this treasure housed in the Education Building? It’s worth a trip just to look in the stacks. And it’s much more than John Ringling’s collection, good as that is. Elisa hopes to build the library stock with museum-related holdings in art, architecture, performing arts, and the history of gardens. One thing she’s winnowing, though: ephemera. The vertical files are overflowing. So look, or donate, accordingly.
MIKE MARKAVERICH FANS, if you are still wondering if he disappeared from Carragiulio’s, wonder no more. He now performs at Amore by Andrea on Thursday nights on Longboat Key. This is in addition to his longtime usual gigs at Euphemia Haye on weekends and a number of changing spaces regularly. Mike is a jazzy favorite at homes for the aged and infirm when they can get him. I can attest how much he was appreciated on an afternoon at the Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, where I was recuperating. Listen to Mike; he’ll have you feeling better!
WOW, WHAT A LINE-UP OF TALENT at Florida Studio Theatre for AMERICAN PIE, a new cabaret. You’ll see what I mean when you read a program for (and I hope at) the show. It covers an American song “revolution” that happened in response to the “British Invasion” of the 1960s. AMERICAN PIE is named for Don McLean’s 1972 song that was inspirational to many musicians. They were mainly folk-pop Singer-Songwriters who sang and self-accompanied the songs they created. They stressed what their songs had to say, so many were political or at least marked the concerns of their times. These are the kind of musicians Italy produced as singer-authors or, as they are called, cantautori.