Things to Do

What to Do in Sarasota This Weekend

The FabAF-IFF Music & Arts Festival, new shows at Selby Gardens, Venice Theatre , FST and more.

By Kay Kipling September 23, 2021

Bertha Palmer’s Sunken Garden and Pergola at Historic Spanish Point

Bertha Palmer’s Sunken Garden and Pergola at Historic Spanish Point

Editor’s note: In-person events are subject to change. Please check before venturing out.

FabAF-IFF Music & Arts Festival

Sept. 23-Oct. 2

This celebration of arts, music and drag (presented by the Fabulous Arts Foundation, formerly the Harvey Milk Festival) kicks off tonight, Sept. 23, in the Rosemary District with an art installation and launch party designed around a parallel universe: Queer Utopia. It continues with “A Night of Dance & Exploration” Friday at the Players Studio and an all-day-into-the-evening music and arts fest Saturday. Then come movie screenings related to the LGBTQ+ experience, Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 2. For full details and ticket info, visit

Key Chorale: Shout Glory!

Sept. 25 and 26

The symphonic chorus begins its season with this gospel revival, a feel-good concert also featuring The Stephen Lynerd Group and Jamal Sarikoki on the Hammond B-3 organ, Saturday at the Sailor Circus Arena and Sunday at Grace Community Church in Lakewood Ranch. All singers and staff are fully vaccinated, and masks will be required for singers and patrons on concert days. Learn more at or call (941) 552-8768.

Venice Theatre: Almost, Maine and Irma Vep

Sept. 24-Oct. 10

VT patrons can get a double feature of sorts with these two plays. The first, weaving the stories of nine couples falling in and out of love, takes the mainstage; the second, a two-actor spoof of “penny dreadful” melodramas that depends on lightning-quick costume changes and character transformations, can be seen in the smaller Pinkerton Theatre. Tickets, (941) 488-1115 or

Selby Gardens' Historic Spanish Point Campus: Seeing the Invisible

Opening Sept. 25

This unprecedented augmented reality exhibition premieres at Selby's HSP campus as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries, and it features works by more than a dozen international artists, including Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, Mohammed Kazem, Pamela Rosenkranz and more. Visitors engage with the exhibit via an app downloadable to smartphones and tablets; the show simultaneously premieres in Denver, Jerusalem, Ontario, Melbourne, Australia and other cities. Find out more at

Sarasota Orchestra Chamber Soiree

Sept. 26

The orchestra launches this season’s soiree series with “Music of Youth,” inspired by poet Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” On the playbill: Josef Suk’s Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op 1; Janacek’s Mladi (Youth); Kenji Bunch’s Shout Chorus ; and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 12. At 4 p.m. at Holley Hall; visit or call (941) 953-3434 for tickets.

Florida Studio Theatre: The Wanderers

Starting Sept. 29

Lots of musical memories on tap here with a show that recalls the harmonies of some of the top vocal ensembles of the 1950 and 1960s. With a cast of four plus pianist Jim Prosser, it's a piece of time travel. Kicking off FST's winter cabaret series, in the Court Cabaret. For tickets, call (941) 366-9000 or visit

Classical Albums LIVE: Led Zeppelin II

Sept. 24

Led Zep fans will revel in this concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, which brings the legendary band’s music from this 1969 album to life, note for note, cut for cut, starting at 8 p.m. Get your tickets at or through the box office, (941) 263-6799.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat: Artists and Thinkers

Sept. 23

The Manasota Key retreat’s “Intimate Conversation Series” commences at 7 p.m. tonight, Sept. 23, with a chat between Hermitage curator Limor Tomer (general manager of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s concerts and lectures) and jazz musician and Hermitage Fellow Luke Stewart, a multi-instrumentalist and composer. This online event is free with a $5 per household registration fee; sign up at

Bazaar Book Fair

Sept. 25

Enjoy food for the mind and the body at this fair at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime, which welcomes more than a dozen local authors. Meet the writers, listen to live music, shop 40 local vendors and dine on items from Hamlet’s Eatery. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 821 Apricot Ave.; check it out at

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