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Sarasota's international arts fest

Meowmeow209051422528 If you're willing to hit the road in search of artistic thrills, you might want to block out Oct. 7-11 for a trip to Sarasota.  That's when the inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival, a collaborative multidisciplinary event created by New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center and Sarasota's John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, unfolds in the elegant environs of Florida State University's  66-acre cultural campus on Sarasota Bay.

What's on the bill?  The celebration kicks off with an opening night concert by the Florida State University Symphony, conducted by Robert Spano and featuring pianist Pedja Muzijevic (8:30 p.m. Oct. 7). Ella Hickson's play Eight, an Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, paints a portrait of modern Great Britain through monologues (Oct. 8-11). You can also catch the world premiere of  Elevator Repair Service's take on Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (Oct. 8-11), a piece commissioned by the festival.

Renowned director Peter Brook's production Love is my sin, featuring longtime Brook collaborators Natasha Parry and Bruce Meyers, is woven from Shakespeare's sonnets (Oct. 8-11).  Chamber music performed by pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Edward Arron and horn player Erick Ruske takes place in two programs (Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 10-11).  Meow Meow (pictured here) brings her "post-modern showgirl" allure to Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe Tour (Oct. 8-11).

Deganit Shemy & Company debut Arena, a new dance piece commissioned by the festival.  Spain's Compañia María Pagés brings Flamenco y Poesía to the festival (Oct. 8-11).  Canada's Azure Barton & Artists premiere the festival-commissioned  dance piece Busk,while the American company OtherShore performs The Snow Falls in Winter (Oct. 8-10). 

Tickets for most performances range from $10 to $30, and you can save 15 percent if you go to four performances, 20 percent for six, 25 percent for eight.  Seems like a bargain: See-it-first art just a little over three hours away from South Florida.

For information, phone 941-360-7399 or visit the festival's web site.