I’m not the party-going type, so when I tell you I’m hitting the circuit, it means something. I’ve had a blast attending past Sarasota Magazine parties at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and I expect this year’s, scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, to be no exception.
Dubbed Glamour in the Garden, the soirée is being promoted as the “best party of the season,” and I believe it. Past events have brought out a who’s-who of local bigwigs and celebrities, and you can’t top the setting: Selby at sunset.
Click on the image below for more details about the event, and to snag your tickets. Tell ‘em M.C. sent you:
If you’re unaware of the myriad offerings of the Women’s Resource Center, a great opportunity to learn more is coming up quickly: On Tues., March 12, the Center hosts its biggest fundraising event of the year — the Renaissance Luncheon — at the Ritz-Carlton.
“For our donors, [the luncheon] lets them know the good programs and services their money is supporting,” Executive Director Janice Zarro explained to me last year. It’s “an opportunity to showcase our values and the impact we are having on our community.”
And that impact is significant.
Each year, nearly 13,000 women take advantage of the Center’s varied programs, which include everything from peer referral counseling, finance education and Excel spreadsheet training to lessons on starting and managing a business. On the personal side, they offer classes in navigating life as a widow, learning yoga, handling divorce, bouncing back from adversity and creating the life you desire – just to name a few.
The Renaissance Luncheon is a cornerstone in helping the Center continue to do what it does for the women of our community and has developed into a can’t-miss event — attracting close to 600 men and women who want to support the Center and draw insights from the outstanding keynote speakers. The theme for this year’s luncheon is “Redefining Balance,” and the keynote speaker is Anne-Marie Slaughter, the author of the much-discussed and controversial 2012 Atlantic essay, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.”
The event begins with boutique shopping at 10:30 a.m., followed at noon by lunch and Slaughter’s talk. It also includes drawings for prizes and a silent auction — some of the goodies include a five-course meal for eight, courtesy of Zest! of Sarasota catering.
A ticket for the luncheon will run you $95; you can purchase one online by clicking here.
We’re so inundated with economic news each day — good news, bad news, who’s up, who’s down — my tendency is to sometimes just ignore the whole shebang, but one of my clients is trying to help folks zero in on the important positive news out there.
Path Financial (whom I’m very proud to call a client) just launched a new Facebook page called the Better News Blog, where the company is plucking out and highlighting important positive stories from around the web. Here’s how Better News defines its mission:
The purpose of the Better News Blog is to share smart, well-sourced, and solidly-researched news articles and stories that stress the positive side of things. While we mostly focus on economic and market issues, we also provide links to general interest stories that we find inspiring or noteworthy.
News outfits, talking heads and high-drama pundits are dedicated to selling “bad” news. The Better News Blog wants to share with you good news you can use instead.
If you’re as in to sharing good news and focusing our energies in positive ways as much as I am (or at least as much as possible!), help me spread the word for my client’s new page by “liking” it on Facebook: Click here and “Like” — and read the positive news coming your way!
Here’s something to put on your calendar: TEDxSarasota, an independently organized version of the famous TED talks that generate online buzz every time a new one’s posted. The speakers for the December event are your usual lineup of usual talking heads until you get to one name some of you might know: Theresa Rose, a former “Sex in the Suburbs” columnist at Creative Loafing, who wrote intrepidly of her peeks into online porn and and the role bleach can play in bring a couple closer, who is now a full-time inspirational performer with a deep passion for hula-hooping. The Hoop Woman, as she is now sometimes billed, is still sharing her intrepid and infectious enthusiasm for life but she’s doing it with a hoola hoop. She’s bound to liven up the event.
On Dec. 12 (12/12/12, get it?), Theresa will be addressing the TEDx throngs and the title of her talk? “The Hoop Revolution: How Joyful Movement Will Transform the World.” She recently posted about the stress of preparing for the event over on her blog; here’s a snippet:
In two weeks, I am going on one of the most important dates of my life, and his name is TED.
On 12/12/12 (World Hoop Day!), I will be delivering a TEDTalk at TEDxSarasota called “The Hoop Revolution: How Joyful Movement Will Transform the World”. As I write this, I am deep in the throes of a five-alarm freak-out, doing my very level best to keep my @!%* together. Within 18 innocent inches of these clicking fingers lays (or is it lies?) my tattered TED script, complete with hoop choreography notes that aren’t even close to being incorporated. I’m terrified that while on my Date of All Dates, I will do one of more of the following: forget everything I am supposed to say, sound like a colossal moron, or experience the greatest fear of all hoopers — drop my hoop. It feels like the three nerve-wracking hours immediately before the biggest night of one’s life, still looking unbelievably scary in the bathroom mirror. We know that eventually we’ll create a miracle and be fabulous, but at that particular moment it seems like we’d all be lucky if we got out of the whole darned thing without wetting ourselves.
Click here to read the rest, and be sure to hit up TEDxSarasota.
Kindness is the one gift that should always be regifted. It’s a gift no one would ever be offended to receive knowing it had first belonged to someone else. And it’s a gift that once made, the giver would undoubtedly only be pleased if you passed it along to someone else.I gave a talk on Friday — 90 or so people in the audience — and spoke at one point about the extraordinary generosity of my Reality Chick, Reality Online, and Sense and the City readers who, over the years, have contributed thousands and thousands of dollars during my annual fundraising drives for All Faiths Food Bank. I told the audience that my fee for the day’s talk was going straight to All Faiths, since every year I donate whatever I earn during the month of November from speaking and newspaper writing fees to All Faiths. (If you’d like to participate in this year’s drive or just learn more, click here.) I spoke about kindness and caring for everyone in our community — about the incredible need many are facing and I related times in my life, too, when I’d been in need and strangers had stepped up to help me.
After my talk, as I was preparing to leave, a woman approached me and pressed a check into my hands. “Your talk today moved me,” she said; and she asked me to make sure to send along her check, which she had just written, with mine when I send it in to All Faiths.
Such an unexpected kindness. Such an appreciated gesture. And her contribution will make a tangible difference to several someones in the upcoming weeks in our community. That’s the perfect regifting scenario: the group was kind enough to hire and pay me to speak; I was kind enough to earmark the fee for All Faiths; a stranger in the audience was kind enough to amplify those kindnesses with her own donation. Who know where this one small strand of kindness — begun when this group was kind enough to invite a column-less columnist to speak — will end?
If you’d like to participate in the MC “Reality” All Faiths Food Bank fundraising drive this year — there are two easy ways to do so:
Online: Visit www.allfaithsfoodbank.org (just write “MC’s Reality drive” in the special instructions box).
Mail: Send a check, with the same notation — MC’s reality drive”, to All Faiths Food Bank, 8171 Blaikie Court, Sarasota, Florida 34240-8321.
If you’d like to learn more about past years’ drives and read stories about giving and receiving … just click here.
Despite all the hoopla about the improving economy, Sarasota is in the midst of yet another round of small business closures, and we’re losing several spots that have defined this city for years, if not decades:
- Sarasota Hardware: This local hardware shop has been a fixture on Main Street since 1934, but it’s closing its doors because of the sharp decline in contractor business over the last few years. Kind of amazing it held out for so long against the Home Depots of the world.
- Super Value Nutrition: Right down Main from Sarasota Hardware, this lil vitamin shop isn’t closing for good, just packing up and heading down to the Landings. Still, it’s a huge blow for all those who wish Sarasota’s downtown could be more walkable and liveable. Where else in the downtown core can you grab commissary items on the go?
- Media on Main: The combination computer store/bookstore/café that replaced the much-loved and much-missed Sarasota News & Books has been dark for ages, leaving one of downtown’s prettiest spots (right on the corner of Main and Palm) vacant. A shame.
- The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre: This for-profit dinner theater had been entertaining Sarasota audiences in the heart of downtown (right off of Main — notice a trend?) for four decades, but the theater was evicted last month. The venue had been struggling to get by for years, but to see an eviction notice posted outside is crushing.
- Circle Books: You know how much I love bookstores, particularly independent ones that carry unique titles, the kinds of places where you can always hear a friendly recommendation from behind the counter. So I was beyond bummed to find out that St. Armands’ Circle Books has shut its doors. It was a beacon of intelligent life in an otherwise drab outdoor shopping mall, and it will be missed. Besides just slinging books, Circle worked with organizations like Forum Truth to bring in sharp authors for lectures and book-signings. Sarasota’s intellectual life just got a little duller.
So it goes, I guess. Let’s just hope that some smart entrepreneurs take up the challenge and fill these voids. Sarasota is losing a huge chunk of its history and its character, and we should do everything we can to keep our city from turning into one giant, bland strip mall.
The Sarasota News Leader — a new, online-only local news outlet I blogged about back in June — recently hit another milestone, when it unveiled its first full e-edition — a long compendium of important stories about what’s happening in Sarasota County.
You can read the publication on all your tablet devices, or you can flip through the pages online. You can even download a full PDF version of each issue. All for free. Just head to sarasotanewsleader.com and sign up, and they’ll send you the new issue first thing every Friday morning.
This week’s issue is full of good stuff: Cooper Levey-Baker on the county’s move to reexamine its Noise Ordinance, Rachel Brown Hackney on proposed charter schools not meeting state curriculum standards and Stan Zimmerman on deleted emails down at City Hall. Sign up, and don’t miss another issue.
Seasoned M.C. readers know the name Gary Halperin: He’s the certified professional-level Kripalu Yoga teacher whose classes have helped me develop mental clarity, emotional satisfaction, and psychological calm (um, right — tell that to my cats when they’re meowing at 6:15 in the morning!). Gary recently emailed me to tell me about a new special he’s running for yoga beginners — starting Sept. 6, and if you mention this blog, there’s a free class in it for you! (read below)
The class will teach standard yoga postures, emphasizing body awareness and safety. Have you been intimidated by yoga before? Thought about joining a class but just couldn’t pull the trigger? Then Gary’s the man for you.
The lessons kick off at 6:45 p.m. this Thurs., Sept. 6, and continue 6:45-7:45 p.m. each Thursday in September. The classes are held at The Radiance Center, 2868 Ringling Blvd., in the Gold Tree Plaza. The four-class session is $40, and be sure to mention my blog to Gary. That shout-out will get you one free class on top of the beginner series — you just have to mention this blog when you register. Not a bad deal at all!
The day after covering Mitt Romney’s official acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination in Tampa, independent radio stalwart Amy Goodman and her co-author, Denis Moynihan, drove south to Sarasota, to pay a visit to WSLR 96.5 LPFM and to promote their new book, The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope.
For many years, Goodman has hosted Democracy Now!, a radio program dedicated to covering social and economic justice movements. The program is broadcast all around the country by independent radio stations; WSLR plays it at 2 p.m. each weekday.
Goodman spoke at WSLR for more than an hour to a crowd that numbered well over 100. She talked about her recent work covering the Republican National Convention — focusing on her efforts to question oil billionaire David Koch and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and criticizing the mainstream media for not aggressively investigating the intersection of money and politics.
In fact, while Goodman spent plenty of time lambasting America’s corrupt political system and praising progressive grassroots causes, her main target was the media, and, in particular, corporate ownership. The “silenced majority” that gives her book her title are the poor and marginalized in our society, as well as the victims of war worldwide, she said. Goodman blamed the media for shutting out dissenting voices, and broadcasting only those that don’t challenge corporate power.
Talking about national politics, she made a salient point about how progressive causes seemed to relax after the election of Barack Obama, which opened the door for an enormous right-wing backlash, and allowed Democratic leaders to back away from campaign promises they had made. The lesson? Grassroots movements can never give up, and must always be aggressive in demanding change.
Goodman and Moynihan’s Sarasota stop was the first in a 100-city trip to promote the new book. They’ll be in Charlotte, N.C., this week, covering the Democratic National Convention with the same zeal with which they approached the Republican gathering. Give ‘em hell, Amy.