Street Talk

By staff November 1, 2006



Author and dating guru Lisa Daily dishes out advice to single women.

Lisa Daily, 38, wrote her internationally acclaimed book, Stop Getting Dumped, four years ago. But her career as a dating expert began “on the schoolyard,” she says. “I was always the one giving dating advice to my girlfriends.” Married for eight years and living in Sarasota for just over one, Daily writes columns for more than 100 online dating sites and even appeared in the DVD special features for the 2005 rom-com Hitch. “Maybe I can see some things that people can’t see for themselves,” she says of her success. “Or maybe I just tell people things that their friends wouldn’t tell them.”

What’s the best barometer for prospective mates? Someone who speaks in a way that’s disrespectful to other people is eventually going to speak to you that way. Describe your worst date ever: Through the entire dinner he was telling me about his involvement in the NRA and how every American should carry a gun. It creeped me out, being a single woman. I was just waiting for him to show me a concealed weapon. Where do women frequently go wrong? Women are so worried whether or not a guy likes us we don’t even think about if we like him. If you stop thinking that men are doing you a big favor being there, you’re going to treat yourself differently and you’re going to be treated differently. What can singles look forward to? Starting in 2010, there will actually be a woman shortage [in the United States] in the 25-to-40 age range. A lot more men will be sitting at home crying in their soup about the lack of available women.—Hannah Wallace



Forum: Truth for a Change faces the issues.

Forum: Truth for a Change sees the U.S. in peril. For three years, the local group (started by the late

Week in Review moderator Paul Duke and a group of heavy hitters in education, politics, business and journalism) has brought some of America’s most influential and controversial voices to Sarasota for a dialogue.

We’ve heard New Yorker writer Seymour Hirsch talk about how he broke the Abu Ghraib prison story; Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, discuss trends and how they bode for the midterm elections; columnist Molly Ivins skewer the Bush administration, and author Dan Wakefield talk about his book How the Religious Right Distorts Christianityand Promotes Prejudice and Hate. We asked forum chair Irene Bandy-Hedden, a former Ohio assistant superintendent of public instruction, about the upcoming season, which begins Nov. 1 with a Washington Week in Review panel. (For more information, call 359-8350.)

The group’s name “Truth for a Change” implies that we’re not getting the truth from the government or mainstream media. I’m not sure that’s what we’re trying to say. It’s kind of a double entendre—it’s truth for a change, but it’s also truth for a change, to change things, to think how we could do things better.

Wasn’t Forum formed in part as a response to the 2004 re-election of George Bush? We started well before the election and had our first program in January 2004. I think people were nervous, concerned about civil rights and the economy. It was more the issues than politics.

Forum was one of Paul Duke’s last legacies. What led him to create this? There was a concern about the direction of the country in some important areas such as healthcare, Social Security and the economy. The organizers began to talk about how they might help people understand those issues in a better way, and Paul suggested bringing in experts in those areas to educate the community. It was a group of people, but Paul certainly was an impetus.

But politics played a role? We’ve had people come in and say negative things about the Democrats. It’s not a partisan thing. We’re really progressive and look at all sides of the issues.

How do you get your speakers? We look to the issues that are important at that time. Some of our board members go to the speakers because they know them. Many [speakers] are intrigued by Forum and see it as a chance to talk to a smart group.

How much do you pay speakers? If they’re on a book tour, we don’t pay them anything. The most we’ve paid is $1,000.


Where is the group headed? We’re going to bring in speakers on new issues. We’d like to bring in a speaker on Cuba. We’ve got [New York Times columnist] Frank Rich coming in November.—KimHackett



Inside the visual arts with Mark Ormond.

JANIS LONDRAVILLE, a Venice-based writer who recently did a biography of dancer Paul Swann, is writing a book on artist Jon Corbino (1905-1964), who lived in Sarasota at the end of his life. Londraville began by interviewing family members as well as former students from New York, some of whom settled in Florida. She says one student was so fascinating she may write something just about him. Another, LeRoy Neiman, had fond memories of Corbino as a teacher.

Peter Paul Rubens, whose giant cartoons are one of the draws for visitors to the Ringling Museum, is presumed to have made only one engraving in his life. “After etching one metal plate, he decided to employ others to do the task,” said Michael Cole of the University of Pennsylvania at a recent talk on the exhibition Painter-Etcher, which he organized and which traveled to the Ringling. (He included that one engraving in the exhibition.) During the talk, Ringling associate curator Joanna Weber mentioned that the museum had one of the Rubens prints from the same edition; she planned to check whether this was the third state (version), as was the one in the show, where the words P. Paul Rubens fecit (Rubens made this) were added under the image on the lower right.

Thirty members of the Women Contemporary Artists (WCA) are showing their work at the SouthFloridaMuseum in Bradenton this month to help celebrate the group’s 60th anniversary. (Sally Sloan was one of the first artists to submit her contribution, Myth of Fishes.) Curator Suzanne White says the directive for this exhibit came from former director John Howard. White, who established the theme for the show, says in order for SFM to have an "art" exhibition, the subject matter needed to fall within the scope of its mission —“interpretation of lifeways, waterways and natureways for Florida.”   

Gale Fulton Ross has been painting in Germany and Bellagio, Italy, for the past six months. Saying she “had to get away to get some perspective,” she’ll return for a show in Jacksonville in January organized and curated by Tony Falcone. Falcone says the ThrasherHorneCenter for the Arts in OrangePark is a new performing and visual arts center on the campus of St. John'sRiverCommunity College.

Marni Nixon, the singing voice of Audrey Hepburn in the movie My Fair Lady, will perform next month (Dec. 6) at the Historic Asolo Theater of the RinglingMuseum. The late Hepburn, by the way, had a condo on Longboat Key, and legend has it that the condo board changed the rules so she could keep her two dogs in her apartment.


Pineapple Square hustles to fill those 158 condos, and other groundbreaking news.

After spending two years building support for Pineapple Square—a project with 40 retailers, restaurants and 158 condos—Isaac Property Group CEO John Simon is now engaged in a game of Beat the Clock.

Simon has to have 99 paid condo reservations by the end of the year, and at press time, he was only a third of the way there. The project is scheduled to break ground in January.

“If we can’t sell the residential,” says Simon, “we may have to postpone the project.”

It’s not the way we’re used to hearing Simon talk. He’s been like the Pied Piper the last two years, drawing merchants and city officials into his line of boosters for the Pineapple and Palm Avenue project. But it’s a different real estate market now.

Residential sales are down 50 percent, with enough Multiple Listing Service inventory to last two and a half years. And there are about 700 condos in various stages of construction, with few buyers to be found.

“The residential market is abysmal,” says Simon. “I’ve been hearing horror stories from realtors.”

Still, Simon is hopeful, working a prospect list of 1,300 names of people who were interested in Pineapple condos at one time or another. If he fails and Pineapple Square gets postponed or canceled, that will ripple throughout downtown.

Thinking they would provide overflow for businesses dying to get a piece of the retail action at Pineapple Square, the Isaac Property group also bought two city blocks of property on Lemon wrapping around the 1500 block of Main Street, including Cobblestone Gallery, Tiger Lily and Ma Petite Ami—all now vacant. It also owns the Main Street building occupied by Wolf Camera, a half block from Lemon.

National retailers and restaurants are on the way, Isaac’s people say.

Not knowing the future of Pineapple Square would seem to be a sticking point in lease negotiations, especially since signs in the windows promote the vacant storefronts as “A Future Slice of Pineapple Square.”

“That was my idea,” says Simon of the double-entendre signs.

Without the Pineapple, you have to wonder how valuable the slices will be. Even Simon concedes that.

“People have been lulled into thinking it’s a healthy downtown because they’ve seen all the residences go up,” Simon says. “With the exception of the restaurants, retailers are dying downtown. Without a project like ours, they won’t refill.”

Stuck in the middle of all of this is Marmalade—not the jelly stuff, but the store. The chic salon and clothing store is now in the building that’s supposed to be demolished to make way for Pineapple Square. 

“The issue is, we have a seven-year lease,” says Nicky Mayforth, a statuesque blonde who is Marmalade’s co-owner. “They’ve promised to relocate us [downtown] and make us happy.”

But so far, Mayforth hasn’t been told when or where she’ll move. She’s got plans to change her business mix, getting rid of the clothing and adding more cosmetics and “gifty things,” she says. But that’s on hold until she knows where she’s going.

Simon hasn’t said what will happen with the existing building if Pineapple gets canceled, but it’s hard to imagine that they’d plow a revenue-producing piece of property with no plans to rebuild. The other businesses have already moved out, and only Marmalade and Grateful Fitness remain.

Back on Main Street, the former Linda’s Hallmark site sits vacant, along with a dozen or so other properties. A new breakfast and lunch restaurant opens soon at 1568 Main, and another retailer is in the works for the former Santa Fe Trails gallery at 1429.

Regardless of Pineapple Square, Simon says he’s fixing up the storefronts and moving ahead with filling space on Lemon Avenue properties.




All the vacant property on Main Street has been a boon to art groups who’ve been displaying their work to fill some of the empty windows.

Walking by the 1500 block of Main, you have to do a double take to realize the former Burger King store isn’t an art gallery. Instead of brown paper on the windows, pedestrians recently viewed Michael Sandiford’s photo-painting of psychedelic trees and Max Bullock’s painting of Budweiser silos.

Five other vacant storefronts have also been so tastefully decorated with local art that less observant people would just assume the space is occupied.

“This has been very helpful in bringing people in,” says Ingrid Petri, manager of Art Uptown, a local artist’s cooperative that’s been at 1367 Main for 26 years. Art Uptown has been dressing up the Burger King site for two years now, and Petri says they sold about seven pieces last year and have gotten lots of calls and traffic.

The art changes every three months, sometimes more, sometimes less. A committee of artists decides what to display.

The Greater Main Street Merchant’s Association would like to see other property owners follow suit, but so far they haven’t been successful, says Ernie Ritz, the group’s founder and president.

“There are old owners who have the building up for sale for an arm and a leg,” Ritz says. “And they really don’t care.”

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