A festival in Sarasota honoring a city commissioner from San Francisco may sound like a strange concept, but Harvey Milk was not an ordinary politician.
Sarasota's Harvey Milk Festival, which honors Milk's spirit and legacy, is now in its seventh year of drawing crowds to downtown Sarasota with its distinctive blend of art and music. This year's festival runs for three days beginning Thursday.
The opening night focuses on live art, with a performance installation titled "High Resolution Paradise" by artist Belaxis Buil. Buil, according to the festival organizers, "will perform a feat of fashion accompanied by an ensemble of six dancers."
Friday night's big event is a theater presentation at Florida Studio Theatre. Octavio Campos, a Miami-based, internationally known performance artist (he bills himself as a "creative instigator"), will present his work "America's Next President." It starts at 7 p.m. in FST's Keating Theatre, and there's a mixer that starts at 6 p.m. in an adjacent room.
The biggest event of the festival is set for Saturday at High Points Park. The festival's free music festival gets going at 2:30 p.m. and continues until just before midnight, with 10 live bands, including Pompeya from Russia and New York City bands Avan Lava and PWR BTTM.
The music ranges from disco and pop to punk. It's an intentionally stylistically varied lineup to pay homage to Milk's devotion to diversity.
Details: May 12- 14, Five Points Park, 1551 First St., Sarasota, and other locations. Tickets: Free-$15, depending on event. Information: harveymilkfestival.org.
-- Marty Clear