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Going to Sarasota

Getting there: Sarasota is a 230-mile drive from downtown Miami, mostly along Interstate 75. You can fly into Tampa, a nonstop flight of just over an hour, and drive 55 miles to Sarasota. Flying to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport would require changing planes in Atlanta or Charlotte and more time than it would take to drive.

Information: Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800-800-3906 or 941-957-1877; www.sarasotafl.org.

WHERE TO STAY

Booking via the festival's website, www.ringlingartsfestival.org, offers some hotel discounts.

Hyatt Place, 950 University Dr.; 941-554-5800; http://sarasotabradenton.place.hyatt.com; doubles $107-$119.

Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort, 4711 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key; 941-383-2451; http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/SRQHIHF-Hilton-Longboat-Key-Beachfront-Resort-Florida/index.do; doubles $199-$229.

Hotel Indigo, 1223 Boulevard of the Arts; 877-270-1392; www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/in/1/en/hotel/SRQFL/welcome?start=1; doubles $134-$229.

Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr.; 941-309-2000; www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Sarasota/Default.htm; doubles $199-$379.

WHERE TO EAT

Treviso Restaurant, 5401 Bay Shore Rd. (at the Ringling complex); 941-360-7390; www.trevisorestaurant.com; moderate American cuisine. Entrees $18-$22.

Tommy Bahamas Tropical Cafe, 300 John Ringling Blvd.; 941-388-2888; http://restauranteur.com/tommybahamas/sarasota.htm; upscale Caribbean fare. Entrees $19-$36.

Euphemia Haye, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key; 941-383-3633; www.euphemiahaye.com; upscale American-global cuisine. Entress $20-$49

Columbia Restaurant, 411 St. Armands Circle; 941-388-3987; www.columbiarestaurant.com; moderate Spanish-Cuban menu. Entrees from $17-$29

SARASOTA ARTS

Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail; 800-361-8388; www.asolo.org.

Sarasota Ballet of Florida, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail; 800-361-8388; www.sarasotaballet.org.

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.; 941-366-9000; www.floridastudiotheatre.org.

Sarasota Opera, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.; 888-673-7212; www.sarasotaopera.org.

Sarasota Orchestra, 709 N. Tamiami Trail; 866-508-0611 or www.sarasotaorchestra.org.

-- CHRISTINE DOLEN

Going to the Ringling International Arts Festival

Where: Mertz Theatre, Cook Theatre and Historic Asolo Theater at Ringling Museum of Art complex, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

When: Oct. 7-11

Cost: $10-$30 for individual performances, $170 for four shows, $208 for six, $240 for eight

Info: 941-360-7399 or www.ringlingartsfestival.org

MUSIC

Robert Spano conducts the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra in Liszt's ``Orpheus'' and ``Les Preludes,'' and Beethoven's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4, Op. 58 (the pianist is Pedja Muzijevic), at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Mertz Theatre.

Post-modern showgirl Meow Meow performs ``Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe Tour'' at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8, 10:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 2 and 10:30 p.m. Oct. 10 and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Mertz.

Chamber musicians Anne-Marie McDermott (piano), Jennifer Frautschi (violin), Edward Arron (cello) and Eric Ruske (horn) perform two programs: Program A is Debussy's Sonata for Violin and Piano, the commissioned world premiere of Mason Bates' Horn Trio and Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in D Minor, at 8 p.m. Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9; Program B is Bates' Horn Trio and Dvorák's Piano Trio in F Minor, Op. 65, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11 a.m. Oct. 11 at the Historic Asolo Theater.

DANCE

Israeli choreographer Deganit Shemy & Company perform the festival-commissioned ``Arena'' at 2 p.m. Oct. 8, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Cook Theatre.

Compañia María Pagés performs ``Flamenco y Poesía'' at 2 p.m. Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Mertz.

Montreal choreographer Aszure Barton & Artists perform the world premiere of the festival-commissioned work ``Busk,'' along with OtherShore performing ``The Snow Falls in Winter,'' at 8 p.m. Oct. 8, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Mertz.

THEATER

Natasha Parry and Bruce Meyers perform the Peter Brook-directed ``Love is my sin'' at 2 p.m. Oct. 8, 8 p.m. Oct. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Asolo.

Elevator Repair Service performs the workshop premiere of the festival-commissioned ``The Sun Also Rises'' at 8 p.m. Oct. 8, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Cook.

Ella Hickson's ``Eight,'' a portrait of modern Great Britain told through monologues, will be performed at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8, 10:30 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10, and 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Asolo.

ART EXHIBITIONS

``Louise Fishman Among the Old Masters'' features paintings by the abstract artist installed alongside paintings by old masters in the Ringling's permanent collection galleries, beginning Oct. 7 at the Ringling Museum of Art.

``Venice in the Age of Canaletto'' explores the tensions between the austere cityscapes of Canaletto and the fantasies, religious and historical pictures of his contemporaries Jan. 10, 2010 at the Ringling.

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