Saturday, February 14, 2015

Phil's new home

Last night Phil found his peeps at a "new to us" venue called Fogartyville.  Here is a little blurb about the place-

Fogartyville is a special gathering place for those who truly appreciate music and community. Nothing draws people together like a shared musical experience, and nowhere is there a more welcoming environment for audiences and musicians than the vibrant and diverse community that is the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center. The Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center is a project of the Peace Education and Action Center and is a gathering place where art, culture, music and politics intentionally collide to inspire social change.

here are a couple of photos from a blog post - to give you an idea of the venue-

and here is probably more than you ever needed to know about the room:
Our 2400 sq ft acoustically insulated venue comfortably seats 110 persons. We feature a 170 sq ft stage (32" high) with professional lighting, 3 stage monitors, 2 flying Mackie SRM450's and one JBL EON 10" for distributed sound. We have 2 subwoofers and sound is run from the front of house using a Mackie DL1608 digital mixer operated by an experienced sound team. (LOL)

but what this meant to us was that we weren't going to this place with our 15,000 new best friends...

we were there to hear Roy Book Binder play - here is the blurb about him-
Roy Book Binder is a living treasure of American Blues, Ragtime and Old Timey music. He is the epitome of the singing, songwriting, storytelling Bluesman troubadour. From the early sixties Roy became a student and friend of the Rev. Gary Davis and it was from these early days he became equally at home with Blues and Ragtime. He is known to shift from open tunings to slide arrangements set to his original and sometimes quirky tongue in cheek compositions, with both traditional and self-styled licks, drawing on many musical influences. He will be accompanied by Frank Bowman on the clarinet.

here are his publicity photos:

sponsored by a local radio station - 

we were seated at the front left hand side of the stage and had two lovely table mates (Nancy & Judy from Park Slope, Brooklyn NY) and then we heard from Roy  - who was later joined by the clarinet player Frank Bowman-

we were the first to arrive - not knowing the system (they give you a reserved table if you buy tickets in advance) - so we had plenty of time - especially since Roy didn't start until almost 8:30 (for an 8pm concert) - however he did play for two hours with only one short intermission and he IS 73 years old so I cut him a bit of slack...

here is the crowd last night - sorry about the pixelation- but it was dark and I only had my cell phone camera-

my review: entertaining old guy - with easy to listen to music but a lot of it seemed the same to me- and I know I wasn't imaging it when he closed with a song he had already played (it wasn't like I knew any of his music and would have gotten confused about it...LOL)

so a big yes on the venue- and a small yes on the performers- sure would be nice to see The Tillers here.... AND

when looking for photos and facts on the Internet I came across this amazing story just by happenstance- so I don't know why the place is called Fogartyville since it is in Sarasota but here is some fun information about the real Fogartyville... ALL quoted from an article in the BRADENTON TIMES by MERAB-MICHAL FAVORITE

They Called it Fogartyville (an article in the Bradenton Times by Merab-Michal Favorite)

Captain John Fogarty blew into the Manatee River section during a storm. After the gale had passed, he and his crew sailed upriver in search of a village they had heard of called Manatee. There they provisioned the ship for the rest of the voyage, and departed. But something about the Manatee River had impressed Fogarty, and he would one day return and create the town of Fogartyville.

Within two years Fogarty had returned with brothers Tole, and William Henry (Bill). The brothers built a family home and boatworks, starting what they began referring to as Fogartyville, which is located at the Manatee River at the end of present-day 26th Street. In the ensuing years the brothers developed a thriving business with the construction of (fishing) smacks, schooners, sloops and yawls as well as some smaller boats

The Fogarty’s also built the first dry dock on the river with the help of another captain from Key West. By 1880, at least 30 families had settled in Fogartyville. But because Manatee Ave. was not yet constructed, their primary means of transportation was by boat. Hundreds of boats came out of the Fogartyville Boatworks. They also exported smoked mullet as far away as New Orleans.  

In 1885, a bridge across Jacques’ Creek and one across Ware’s Creek completed a road from Manatee to Fogartyville called Manatee Ave.; by 1895 the population in the small village had reached 100. The sons and daughters of the four original Fogartys grew up and became captains and boat builders and married others from around the small community. In 1899, Fogartyville obtained its first post office with J. Howard Gray appointed as first postmaster and Captain John Fogarty serving as the last before the post office closed its doors in 1915.

The founding fathers began to pass away one by one in the early 1900s, then in 1903 Braidentown became incorporated and extended its western borders to include Fogartyville – the small boat building town was beginning to lose its identity. By the 1920s, it was known only as West Bradenton.

here is an historical photo from the newspaper -

and I realized I had a photo from the South Florida Museum of the Fogarty Boat Works- 

so now I have a story to go with that photo- and in another strange coincidence just last Monday my teacher of Maritime History had recommended looking for Merab-Michal Favorite's articles as worth checking into to... or looking out for... or catching up with...

in any event I just "ran across it"- LOL --- tonight we are off to Seminole (who knew where it was before today?) for a house concert starring a Phil favorite Tim Grimm... so this week Phil is in hog heaven with the music - me not so much... and that's on top of having to reschedule the Wednesday night theater tickets... so my birthday week has not exactly been a celebration I would have planned - but I did get a google doodle for my birthday! which I thought was pretty darn cool!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

a purple cow...

apparently Van Wezel- our local performing arts hall is referred to as "the purple cow" -not sure exactly how this came about because it is clearly not a cow nor is it cow shaped - LOL - however IT IS PURPLE! very purple, overwhelmingly purple... seriously purple... and this is coming from someone who has had a purple front door to not one but two houses and who never painted them purple - they just came that way....

but more information to put everything in context- and let's start with a couple of photos from this morning's tour (part of my Arts Class at USF)---

you can see it is large and it is purple inside and out....

here are some miscellaneous facts about the Van Wezel that I learned today-in the order that I noted them on my phone memo- some of these I will return to but for now- just glance over them-

  • Van Wezel is owned and controlled by the City of Sarasota 
  • Building began in 1968 and the first show opened in January of 1970 
  • Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel was the first show 
  • The art collection is owned by the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota and is displayed at the Van Wezel The cost of the project in 1968-70 was 2.9 million and there was a 400K overrun from the 2.5 million bond issue - it was made up by the Van Wezels in exchange for the naming rights 
  • The Architect was Peters of the Taliesin Studios- the son-in-law of Frank Lloyd Wright  
  • the original build out had to be substantially modified to meet the budget in 1968-70 of 2.9 million 
  • therefore a renovation was undertaken in 1993 which cost 20 million but put the hall completely back to the original size and design 
  • At that time the roof in theater was raised and stage area was also enlarged (now the only show that can't be handled is Lion King) 
  • Stage door is bayside/left 
  • Color and zigzag pattern is shell based from Mrs FLW 
  • 13 dressing rooms downstairs one up right off stage 
  • 3 dock doors for loading 
  • Continental seating - no aisle
  • Less than 4 minutes to evacuate through 18 doors 
  • 1736 people seating 
  • 92 ft high back stage 
  • Only the front curtains are motorized everything else hand driven 
  • 11 people in administration including education dept. 
  • Van Wezel Foundation is the fund raising arm - they buy buses to transport students to the hall 
  • 80k for new curtain 
  • 550 volunteers 60 ushers needed for each show 
  • Ushers cannot cross over a patron to get to an open seat 
  • Petunia is the name of the purple cow 

working backwards at this point- here is Petunia- above

as noted above - there are 18 exit doors for the 1736 seat auditorium and the fire evacuation can be done in 4 minutes- however- the lack of a center aisle (known as continental seating) drives the patrons wild because inevitably the folks seated exactly in the center come last and every time someone comes for a seat inward from yours you must stand up to let them go by-

some photos of back stage- limited touring today because hot shot Harry Connick was playing tonight and his crew was occupying the green room (we could only look in as we were hurried past it) and they freaked out about photos- LOL- like we were stealing state secrets LOL- wonder if Harry's wearing the white shirt or the white shirt tonight? LOL

in the piano storage- two Steinways and a Yamaha along with a harpsichord and one other piano type instrument -

one piano tuner works there full time -

these rubberized mats are rolled out on the floor of the stage when the ballet or dancing or gymnastics or any kind of acrobatic acts perform - it is non slip and soft on the feet when landing from leaps and bounds (so to speak)

the piano room is right across from the orchestra pit which can be raised and lowered into the auditorium

this dressing room was one of thirteen downstairs - the star's dressing room is upstairs immediately off stage-

here's a "funny" story- a wardrobe person was steaming a costume during the production of a show one night and set off the fire alarms - the place had to be completely evacuated in the middle of the show- now in "wardrobe" which looks exactly like a hotel laundry room - there is a sign warning them not to do this again!

back upstairs some of the wonderful art collection of the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota which is displayed in the Van Wezel's lobby-


the  collage below comes from the Fine Arts Society's web page and you can find much more detail about all of the paintings and other works there-

above their photo- mine was marred by the glare of the lighting- but here is the detail from alongside the painting in the VW

as we ended the tour we returned to the Grand Foyer - to see the inspiration for the design and the color of the VW-

below photos from the Internet-

here is some press info that pulls it together better than my bullet points above-

Set along Sarasota's beautiful bayfront, the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been entertaining audiences with a variety of music, dance, theater and comedy for more than 42 years. 
Built in 1968 with funds from a city bond referendum and a bequest from philanthropists Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the Van Wezel opened its doors in 1970 with a production of Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, the Hall has welcomed a broad range of performers and shows, including world-class symphonies, both classical and modern dance companies, jazz artists, pop legends, Comedy and Broadway.

With its renovation in 2000, the Hall contains 25,000 more square feet than before; larger lobbies and Grand Foyer, more restrooms, a new stagehouse, the latest in sound and lighting systems, and an Education Center. The 1,736-seat Hall is completely compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is owned and operated by the City of Sarasota.

The 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer comfortably seats 35-350, and opens onto the Terrace and Bayfront lawn, accommodating an additional 1500. Smaller groups can enjoy the Selby Education Center, Founders Lounge and Greenroom with seating for up to 30 in small groups or breakout sessions. 

The Van Wezel's seashell design was conceived by William Wesley Peters of Taliesin Associated Architects of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. This design actually came from two seashells from the Sea of Japan, which are permanently displayed in the Hall. The lavender and purple color scheme selected by Wright's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, has helped to make the building a Sarasota landmark.

Renowned for his innovative organic structures, Van Wezel architect William Wesley Peters holds a vital place in the history of 20th Century American architecture.  A chief architect at Taliesin Associated Architects of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Peters collaborated with Wright for more than a quarter century on projects including Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum.  

Many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s basic architectural philosophies are clearly evident in the work his son-in-law created. "It was designed based on the relationship to nature and with the site; the roof based on a seashell, opening the building to views of Sarasota Bay, the dramatic interior spaces, and use of humble materials to achieve an unexpected richness. They all add up to a ‘celebration of circumstance,’ as Frank Lloyd Wright said of other designs."

LOL - and I even got into the purple motif ! We have heard several concerts at this venue and the acoustics are marvelous- last year we heard the Haifa Symphony and also Joshua Bell with the Academy of St Martin's - both fabulous concerts! So despite the annoyance of the "no aisle" seating - once you are in and listening to the performance, it is a delightful venue.