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How would you celebrate your 21st birthday?

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  • ticket birthday

    TICKET TURNS 21 BIRTHDAY PARTY: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, $20. Enjoy music from Kettle of Fish, Les McCurdy on the mic, food, cake, giveaways and craft cocktails from creative mixologists. Sarasota Herald-Tribune building, 1741 Main St., Sarasota.

    We're finally legal!

    You don’t know unless you ask, right? In anticipation of Ticket celebrating its 21st birthday Thursday at Herald-Tribune headquarters in downtown Sarasota, we reached out to local luminaries for tales and suggestions regarding a special day of revelry. A rock concert producer, renowned author, talk-show pioneer and burlesque performer were among the interesting individuals who responded to the pressing question: “How would you celebrate if you were turning 21 this week in the greater Sarasota area?” Participants were also asked to include reminiscences about their actual 21st birthday. Enjoy.

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    Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

    Mary Bensel

    “I spent my 21st birthday with the love of my life and wore my first evening gown to a very upscale restaurant in Binghamton, N.Y.; complete with champagne, but I ordered the trout and when it arrived to my dismay it was complete with the head and tail and I had to send it back because I couldn’t stand the poor fish looking at me. To this day every time I eat trout I remember that moment. May Ticket have a happy birthday it can remember decades later!”

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    Entreprenuer

    Jesse Biter

    "When I turned 21 I didn't drink. I didn't take my first drink until I was 25. If I were to recommend to someone who was turning 21 today what to do, I'd suggest Livingston's Amusement Center in Sarasota. I remember going there a lot in my 20s. Most people in their early 20s still enjoy the video games and now Livingston's has go-karts — good stuff!"

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    Candidate for Sarasota City Commission (Photo by Cliff Roles)

    Richard Dorfman

    I spent my 21st birthday ... working the door at a nightclub in Georgetown. As my birthday actually falls on January 1, New Year’s Eve tends to be prologue to a larger event the following day. In this case, I believe it was going to see David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars tour. Way cool. This year I went to the Outback Bowl in Tampa. Stuff changes!

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    Founder of Black Diamond Burlesque

    Laura Daniel Gale

    "As is customary for most of my birthdays, I would celebrate my 21st with an after-dark picnic on Lido Beach, complete with lanterns and fireworks and live music, and my closest friends. My actual 21st was spent at a D.C. restaurant with a certain bass player who shall remain unnamed. You know, to protect the...."

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    Jazz Great

    Dick Hyman

    "If I were 21 again and in Sarasota, I’d be getting ready to marry Julia, which actually happened 65 years ago this June, and maybe take her out to a movie or to a Jazz Club of Sarasota concert. Maybe we’d have dinner at Cafe Baci and go for a showing of “Live From the Met,” which of course we didn’t have back then.  I’d probably be gigging around town, maybe playing in a lounge or restaurant, practicing Beethoven sonatas, trying to figure out what to do next."

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    Artistic Director, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

    Nate Jacobs

    "I think I would throw a house party surround and myself with the people I value the most and celebrate 21 years of being blessed with friendship and love!"

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    Acclaimed Author

    John Jakes

    "If I were single and turning 21 in Sarasota, I’d try to get next to the Scenestress in hopes of being invited to spend an evening as Mr. Date. She knows the music caves and watering holes far better than I do. The actual 21st found my wife and me in Columbus, ready to start my first quarter as a teaching assistant in Ohio State’s English department. Our oldest daughter was born three months later in the university hospital, which charged grad students a princely $5 a day. What we did to celebrate the 21st, if anything, I don’t recall. Probably nothing — we were too poor."

  • austin mckinley

    Filmmaker, Author/Illustrator of Ticket's Squareasota

    Austin McKinley

    "My birthday's two days before Christmas, so it's never been a big party time, nor is it usually in Sarasota. My actual 21st involved two bottles of cheap white wine at a friend's apartment in South Carolina. As far as a fantasy Sarasota do over, it would be summer, and it would be at a rented house."

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    Video Blogger/Web Personality

    Joey Panek

    "When I celebrated my 21st birthday, I asked my parents for one thing: a party van to drive my group of friends for the night. That way, we could all indulge. Because honestly, there is nothing worse than being the only drunken mess in the group. We started with a spaghetti dinner, then hit all of the bars and clubs that downtown Syracuse had to offer. If I could do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. Except maybe the spaghetti. I can't afford all those carbs now."

  • cliff

    Contributing Editor, Sarasota Magazine; Owner, VP Social Consulting (Photo by Cliff Roles)

    Veronica Pastore

    "While I spent my actual 21st birthday in a dirty dive bar in Kansas surrounded by friends and doing copious amounts of shots, if I were celebrating my 21st today in Sarasota, I'd definitely enjoy it on the beach! Hopefully the weather would be nice, and we'd pack up snacks from Publix, chairs, music and sunscreen and just relax and laugh and take in one of Sarasota's greatest treasures."

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    Chef/Owner Darwin's on 4th, Owner/Operator Darwin's Brewing Company

    Darwin Santa Maria

    "On my 21st, I got a tattoo reflecting my dedication to all things culinary. After four hours of pain, I started the night with dinner at Michael's on East, where I was working as a chef. I met with friends there then we went dancing at In Extremis in the Quay. My friends gave me the goal to meet 21 people or get 21 phone numbers — I did neither. Instead, I got 21 kisses. Then we had a late night bite at Denny's, which I'm embarrassed to admit as a chef, and finished things off on my parent's boat at Marina Jack's. If I was celebrating my 21st today in Sarasota, I'd be at Darwin's on 4th and let my chefs cook something special for me. I always spend my birthday in my restaurant because I love what I do and take really pride in it."

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    Television Personality

    Jerry Springer

    "If I were turning 21 today — if only — I'd get up in the morning, go to Starbucks, rent a boat if I didn't have one, ride the Intracoastal or tackle the Gulf; enjoy the sunset on the beach with a girlfriend — if I didn't have one I'd beg for one — take her to dinner and then meet up with friends at some of the bars downtown. My actual 21st birthday was back in 1965. I was a senior in college at Tulane University in New Orleans. I had just been accepted to Law School at Northwestern University. To celebrate that and my birthday,  my friends and I spent much of the night down in the French Quarter. Enough said."

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    Concert Producer

    Barbara Strauss

    "On my 21st I lived in Boulder (Colo.) and had 21 good friends go to the Red Lion and had 21 bottles of Dom Perignon. Haven't had a drink in 26 years. Ha ha, how times have changed. If I was 21 this year, I would pick 21 good friends and celebrate the moment. We are all here on borrowed time and after being in St. Louis as a consultant I would be happy to do it any place in Sarasota. We live in paradise!"

  • tim wilkins

    Comedian

    Tim Wilkins

    "I moved here in '94 so I feel kind of like Ticket's stepdad. I was here for most of its life, I've watched it grow, it just hasn't asked to borrow my car or money yet. I turned 21 in L.A. and had been a comedy junkie and fledgling standup for about five years. I had a fake ID that I was using for the purpose of getting in to comedy clubs more than to get beer for parties. While celebrating my 21st birthday at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, comedians were wishing me a happy day and the club owner was bringing over a free drink when he asked what birthday it was. He blew a gasket when he found out I was just now turning 21 and had been in his club for four years. We had a good laugh and he charged me for my birthday drink."

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    Executive Director, Realize Bradenton

    Johnette Isham

    "My birthday is in March, so I would invite a bunch of my friends to catch a free Music in the Park concert at the Mosaic Amphitheater on the Bradenton Riverwalk and then head over to Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar for some drinks and dancing. My 21st birthday celebration was not a big deal since at the time I was a senior at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and working on my thesis project, so no partying for me and at that time the legal drinking age was 18, so turning 21 was not really a big deal."

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    Comedy Club Co-Owner, Stand-Up Comic

    Les McCurdy

    Well, when I turned 21 I had a party at my apartment and I had just broken up with my "first love" girlfriend so I was pretty much in the mood for a coma and I think I almost accomplished it. So if we went with my 21st the b-day party theme it would end at Sarasota Memorial or in a bush with three homeless folks. Now my 18th was what you would normally think of as the 21st since in 1973 that was the legal drinking age. I can sum that event up in three very popular words of that time period, "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll." If it happened here and I was a dude named Ticket, I would have a birthday pub crawl and all my friends would have a "Ticket to Ride". We start with Happy Hour at O'Leary's, sunset at Marina Jacks, Apps & Vino with the Caragiulos, then hit every drinking establishment down Main Street stopping for a Burger at
    Patricks shots at Mattisons and Gator ending with dancing wildly in front of Twinkle and The Boys at Eat Here and personally violating the noise ordinace. Then, hopefully ending the evening in a million-dollar condo having sex on a balcony with a beautiful buxom little beach blonde hottie named Pamela, who would have either been my girlfriend at the time or was so taken with my wild-eyed charm she took me home to "Take Care of Me." Hangover brunch the next afternoon at The Lido Beach Resort. Top that Klauber & Mancini!

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