What's Up Joey? Suncoast weekend wrap-up November 25th

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Listen people, if you want to know what's up, you've come to the right guy. I had an action-packed weekend yet again. I took in some theater, explored a little nightlife, and of course, got the skinny on some celebrity sightings.

My weekend kicked off with my pal Chef Judi for the opening of the new rooftop bar at Eat Here Sarasota. Sean Murphy has transformed that whole corner of Main Street in the last two years, and is now offering a casual, comfortable after work spot with a view that can't be beat.

And at the other end of Main Street, one corner has become the anchor for Sarasota nightlife. Clasico Cafe, on the corner of Main & Palm, has become a late night draw for the younger crowd. Around 11:00, DJs replace the dinner tables as the vibe changes from restaurant to full-on nightclub.

This is just another example that if anyone says there is nothing to do in town, they need to start spending their weekend with yours truly.

I mentioned before that i took in a little theater this weekend, and what i found was an unexpected treat.

Pageant The Musical opened at the Players Theatre on Friday night. Audience members were treated to the hilarious musical where six ladies compete for one crown. The only catch: the ladies aren’t necessarily ladies.


For the last year, drag queen bingo has been a cult hit every Friday night at The Players. One of bingo’s stars, Beneva Fruitville thinks this new musical should sit well with those audiences. “Part of the thing was that we wanted to indoctrinate our bingo crowd into getting them to see shows here at the theater,” says Berry Ayers, the actor who portrays Beneva Fruitville. “So we thought what better way than to star the stars of drag queen bingo in a real musical that was pretty successful. We decided to do Pageant because it’s a perfect musical for all of us, and we all fit the roles really well.”

The musical send up of beauty pageants stars several familiar faces, not that you may recognize them. Among the contestants is artistic director Jeffery Kin. “My thought is that since we already have this idea that bingo works on a monthly basis, what if we did something like this?” says Kin. “Rather than run a full scale musical seven nights in a row, we could spread it so that there is some word of mouth.”

The show will replace drag queen bingo once a month through May; though if the opening night crowd’s response is any indication, Pageant may turn into another hit for The Players.

Beneva Fruitville thinks she knows why it’ll be a hit. “Because of me,” says Ayers. “Because I’m kind of amazing.”

Pageant has its actors compete in the categories of talent, spokesmodel, evening gown, and oh yes… even swimsuit. You missed it this month, but you can look for it in December. With a different winner crowned each night, audiences won't see the same show twice.

With all that excitement happening inside the theater, the outside of the building got my attention too. I caught who I believe to be French street mural artist MTO in the beginning stages of one of his pieces. From what I can tell, it's a larger than life depiction of a man with a squirrel on his shoulder.

I have no idea what it's all supposed to mean, but let's hope no one gets offended by the squirrel and tries to paint over it.

Well, I promised celebrity sightings, and did I ever deliver. Our newest Casey Key resident Rosie O'Donnell surprised audiences at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre this weekend when she popped in to check out a headliner. Rosie agreed to do a standup show of her own at McCurdy's in January, so it looks like I won't have to be lurking in bushes to get my next Rosie sighting.

If you were enjoying a beer Sunday night at Tavern on Main, you may have been sitting next to Harry Potter's arch nemesis. That's right, award winning actor Ralph Fiennes was here this weekend. He enjoyed a beer and posed for a pic, thanks to my pal Kyle Cross.

And fans of HBO's True Blood will be excited to hear that two of its stars, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer were in our zip code this weekend as well. The celeb couple spoke on a panel at Ringling College, led by the gorgeous Hayley Wielgus, and previewed their new film Free Ride, which was shot entirely in Sarasota.

I'm telling you, I'm not sure what was in the water this weekend, but whatever it was, it brought the stars to town.

As always, if you spot a celebrity around town, snap a photo and send it to me here at whatsupjoey@mysuncoast.com.