BIBLIOGRINDAdventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture
Arts & Ent Features
For a few dozen weeks, I wrote arts & entertainment pieces for the Suncoast News, a small biweekly paper “up-country” of Tampa, Fla., where the main drag has quite a few live-music venues, and a thriving arts community exists and grows in stature as the years roll on. These were not criticism pieces, but highlights for the artist or act, a town-crier piece for the community to get off their screened porch chairs and discover what the surrounding communities had on tap besides sun, the beach, and lots of palm tree trimming sessions.
I wrote pieces on upcoming sculpture exhibits, the hottest tribute band to rock through town, or the ever-present local country music stars. Sometimes a celebrity artist came to town who just as equally wanted to discuss her latest work. Peter Max, ’70s pop art icon, granted me an interview. His agent said Peter had little time, and that Peter would call me. When Peter got on the phone, we hit it off right away. I had a list of questions which—I had hoped—would draw the artist into some equally insightful answers. We talked for nearly an hour; a week later, I met him at the gallery, where we toasted his continued success after 40 years.
Trolling for little gems like Mr. Max never sullied my sight on the local boys & girls done good. Along the way, I met passionate musicians and artists who scraped out a sideline living doing what they loved while all the rest was just life happening around their art. “It’s all about the journey,” as one guitarist told me. He’d been playing for 25 years, lived in a small house in Tampa, and would not have traded what he had now with another 10 years touring Europe, living the Rock’n'Roll lifestyle.
Though a bit rough in their home-made transition from newsprint to web image, click the thumbnails to read the pieces.