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RIAF to host a stylish soiree

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RIAF closing night pic PR

The Ringling International Arts Festival's closing night party is Saturday in the museum courtyard. COURTESY PHOTO

The fifth annual Ringling International Arts Festival opened Wednesday with a gala featuring world-famous flamenco dancer Rocío Molina. Tickets were $500. On Saturday, though, you can attend the closing night party held in the wonderfully regal museum courtyard for a mere fraction of that price, even if you upgrade to the VIP treatment that includes a food and booze spread by Treviso. Saturday evening will be a stylish salute to the high arts, with perhaps a little bumping and grinding when the DJ or band starts blasting a hot jam.

Starting today, RIAF includes the Leev Theater Group's “Hamlet, Prince of Grief,” the Belarus Free Theatre's "Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker," Tere O'Connor Dance and pianist Stephen Prutsman and the Aeolus Quartet performing to a Buster Keaton film. All these artists are expected at the closing night party. Plus, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the handsome dance icon and star of the final season of “Sex and the City,” whose Baryshnikov Arts Center provided programming for the Ringling International Arts Festival, is always a possibility. He has been spotted sipping a drink or two at previous RIAF parties.

RIAF closing night HT

Party-goers dancer while the Dirty Dozen Brass Band out of NOLA plays during the 4th annual Ringling International Arts Festival New Orleans-style party in the museum courtyard in Sarasota, Fla., at Ringling Museum on Saturday, October 13, 2012. / (October 13, 2012; Corespondent Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson)

“I always think one of the happiest things that happens with any project are the aspects that emerge that you didn’t plan for or didn’t anticipate and one of those things is this sort of festive mood that takes over during the course of the festival,” said Dwight Currie, associate director of collections and programs at The Ringling. “The artists have arrived Saturday through Monday and they have travelled literally halfway around globe and immediately go into rehearsals and then four performances over three days. The closing night party is a release and celebration that they embrace.”

The fashionable soiree in the museum will feature local DJ Fitz Otis and Big Apple-based band New York Minute. Both acts will be performing hits from the past and present, ebullient songs propelled by sexy, danceable beats. While not moving and grooving to the music, attendees might want to take part in high fashion-themed interactive photo shoots, or take advantage access to the museum galleries

The closing night party coincides with the recent opening of the “Icons of Style” exhibition, which features clothes created by celebrity designers such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and John Galliano for Dior. There will be evening gowns designed for Princess Diana, Barbra Streisand, Kirsten Dunst, and Barbara Bush.

There will also be work by fashion photographers such as Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. In keeping with the “Icons of Style” theme, Saturday’s attendees are encouraged to exhibit their own flashy party-wear at the bash that includes a spectacular fireworks display over Sarasota Bay that lasts about 10 minutes.

“I don’t think of myself as stylish but it’s always great fun to be at an event where people are encouraged to dress to the nines,” Currie said. “It’s always great to see people completely decked out for the night and just getting into it.”

RIAF Closing Night Party
6:30-10 p.m. Saturday; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; 5401 Bay Shore Road; Sarasota; $40; $75 (include specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres); 360-7399; ringling.org.

RIAF Closing Night Party
6:30-10 p.m. Saturday; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; 5401 Bay Shore Road; Sarasota; $40; $75 (include specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres); 360-7399; ringling.org.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: October 16, 2013
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