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Weekender: Sarasota, Florida

WHAT TO DO
Arts
John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Tours of Cà d'Zan start at 9:45 a.m., with John Ringling's great room as the ultimate spectacle: giant carved walnut doors lead to a 40-by-40-foot chamber lit by chandeliers from the original Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Mable Ringling's rose garden, begun in 1913, also makes an impression. Beside it is the Ringling Circus Museum, created after Ringling's death in 1936, and filled with parade wagons, props, costumes, and vintage posters. Don't miss the art museum, with its 600-plus paintings, classical antiquities, and European decorative arts. Through January 5, "Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession" is on display. 5401 Bay Shore Rd.; 941/359-5700; www.ringling.org; admission $15.
Towles Court Artist Colony Forty Sarasota artists work and show their paintings, ceramics, and painted furniture in this funky cluster of bungalows first built in the 1920's. A gallery walk and open house held on the third Friday evening of every month allows visitors to meet the artists. 1938 Adams Lane; 941/955-4546; www.towlescourt.com.

Galleries
Dozens of galleries line Palm Avenue and Main Street. On one short block of South Palm Avenue alone there are six galleries (including Galleria Silecchia, 888/366-7414; the Hodgell Gallery, 941/366-1146; and Chasen Galleries, 800/524-2736). At the Sarasota Art & Antique Center (640 S. Washington Blvd.; 941/957-1110; www.crissy.com), the main showroom of the Crissy Galleries is filled with furniture culled from local estates.

Entertainment
Asolo Theatre Festival The Mertz Theatre, a 1903 Scottish opera house that was brought to Sarasota in the 1990's, is home to Sarasota's oldest professional repertory troupe. This month, the Mertz stages Inherit the Wind, You Never Can Tell, and Brighton Beach Memoirs. FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail; 800/361-8388; www.asolo.org.
Sarasota Film Festival From January 24 through February 2, the festival will celebrate its fifth season by presenting nearly 200 films and shorts at the 20-screen Regal Cinemas Hollywood on Main Street. Seminars and panel discussions are open to the public. Past guests have included Rod Steiger, Alan Alda, Ismail Merchant, and Sydney Pollack. 941/364-9514; www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall More than 120 performances are held here each year; November and December bring the Capitol Steps comedy group, the Georgian State Dance Company, and the Broadway revue Fosse. 777 N. Tamiami Trail; 800/826-9303; www.vanwezel.org.

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