March 31- April 9
Cue the klieg lights—the Sarasota Film Festival starts Friday with more than 250 films being screened at Regal Hollywood 20, celebrity red-carpet sightings, Q&As with Diane Lane and Aisha Tyler, block parties and much, much more. The 19th annual film fest opens Friday at the Opera House with the documentary Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton; filmmaker Rory Kennedy will be feted at a tribute luncheon that afternoon.
March 29-April 1
If whiskey is your obsession, this is your weekend. Now in its fifth year, the Whiskey Obsession Festival has grown into the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. The grand tasting is Friday night at Michael’s On East, with more than 250 whiskies to sample. (Pace yourselves!) Saturday night is the big Bourbon Rock & Blues Bash at the Gator Club.
Among the many ways to enjoy the Ringling Museum’s beautiful bayfront grounds, none is more convivial than the annual Wine Walk. Meander from the Visitor Center to the historic Ca d’Zan mansion, sipping wines and enjoying hors d’oeuvres along the way. It’s for a great cause: the Ca d’Zan restoration fund.
Embracing Our Differences
April 1-May 31
Dozens of giant inspirational banners are sprouting around downtown Sarasota’s Bayfront Park for the 14th annual Embracing our Differences art show. A record 10,761 entries from 115 countries were submitted this year. Shown here is Positive Difference by Anamika Bhattacharya of Bangalore, India. On exhibit through May 31.
April 3, 6, 9, 12
Artistic director Bruno Giuranna once more welcomes musicians from around the world—Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Korea—for this celebration of chamber music by such composers as Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Paganini and Mendelssohn. Four concerts take place at the Opera House, April 3, 6, 9 and 12, but you also can sit in on open rehearsals.
March 31, April 1-2
Guest conductor Han-Na Chang conducts the orchestra’s last Masterworks concerts of the season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and the William Tell Overture by Rossini. Guest pianist Bertrand Chamayou will perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
Young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, first prize winner of both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein international piano competitions in 2011 when he was just 20, is joined onstage by his longtime mentor, Sergei Babayan. It’s the final performance of the Sarasota Concert Association’s excellent Great Performers series this season.
March 31-April 30
A one-woman comedy about a precocious 13-year-old who winds up with a dead ex-stepfather on her bedroom floor.
Playwright George Brant, whose harrowing one-woman play, Grounded, was a hit for Anne Hathaway off-Broadway in 2015 (it opened last weekend at Florida Studio Theatre to excellent reviews, like this one from our own Kay Kipling), will join fellow playwright Amlin Gray to read scenes from their plays at a Hermitage Artist Retreat beach reading Friday night. They’ll be joined by writer/director Saschka Unseld, co-founder of Oculus Story Studio, an animated virtual-reality (VR) film studio, who will give you a glimpse at the future of storytelling. Bring your lawn chair.
Readings & Lectures
Food & Drink