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Now in our seventh calendar year
PCR #303  (Vol. 7, No. 2)  This edition is for the week of January 9--15, 2006.

LA FLORIDIANA
La Floridiana Lite: Florida Tidbits. More Names of Counties. Charlie Carlson Update.  by William Moriaty
MOVIE REVIEW
"Hostel"  by Mike Smith
COUCH POTATO
The Case of Blight on Tampa, or Where is the Public Art?  by Vinnie Blesi
DEADGUY'S DEMENTIA
A Million Half-Truths  by Mike "Deadguy" Scott
MY MIDDLE TOE
The Coffeehouse/Tampa Film Review  by Mark Terry
THE DROW
The Cost of "Freedom"  Dylan Jones
NICHOLAS REX
Rex's Rant: Abramoff....Pat Robertson....Howard Stern...."Hostel"  by Nick King
MATT'S RAIL
Birthday Boy....The Rondos Are Here!!!...Does Jesus Christ Exist  by Matt Drinnenberg
MIKE'S RANT
Dedicated To....Passing On....Speaking of Baseball....My Favorite Films--Chapter 2  by Mike Smith
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Couch Potato Confessions by Vinnie B.

The Case of Blight on Tampa,
or
Where is the Public Art?

I sat relaxing after a stressful week, my feet firmly planted on my desk among the clutter of unorganized papers and unpaid bills. I light a match to smoke my last cigarette, glad that I will have a couple days off. No more seedy relationships or untrustworthy corporate relationships to look into. My name is Phil Marhowlow, private dick.

Margo, my trusty receptionist, busts into the office disturbing my contemplative musings on the shapes of the cigarette smoke in the air. “Mr. Marhowlow, sorry to disturb you, but Penny Public is here to see you, and she says it is important.”

Now Penny Public is one of the leading public figures in town. She has her finely manicured mitts into everything from local politics to the local art scene. The bottom line was she was too important to blow off.

She entered my office smelling of Cuban cigars and expensive perfume. Her perfectly coiffed hair and charming demeanor was everything I had read about her.

“Mr. Marhowlow you are my last hope. Please tell me you can help me. I have heard whisperings around town that there is public art and I need you to investigate.” She cooed in her patented calming speaking voice. “ I get $28 dollars a day plus expenses”, I murmured to her. She slapped a cool crisp “C” note on the desk, licked her lips and turned and left. I picked up the money and held it up to my nose. It smelled of her and of trouble.

I contacted my sometime partner, Dr. Mayhem, an out of work chemist and someone who was good to have around to watch your back. Plus I needed someone to drive me due to some unproven DUI charges. We headed down to the seedy side of town know as Downtown. We drove around aimlessly looking for the alleged public art they were touting as “Lights on Tampa”. We just called it blight on Tampa and eventually found a free place to park.

  Looking for Blight on Tampa (1min, Windows Media, 1.3MB)

We went to the City Hall first, as we knew government corruption had to be involved. We saw pretty sparkling star shape lights on the City Hall building. Is it Public Art or just a waste of tax dollars? Who cares about potholes when the City Hall is pretty?

We move on to see videos of mermaids. We yawn and wonder why none of the downtown restaurants/delis are open. It is 49 degrees out and we could use some java, but only the gyro place is open. Apparently, America’s Next Great City is still just America’s Next OK City.

We make our way to what has been dubbed by local media as “The Exploding Chicken”. It is much more exciting in person. Its placement is all wrong. It needs to be in a park area so you can walk under it. This is not a piece to be seen from afar but needs to be experienced.

  Local artist David Audet explains the Exploding Chicken (2min, Windows Media, 2.31MB)

My partner and I interview two lovely young women from Plant City, who love the idea of having events in downtown Tampa, but after pressing them they admit that most of the blight on Tampa is lame.

With our teeth chattering from the cold we walk over the bridge to the University of Tampa. Here we are overwhelmed to find some real art. Realized by International artist Jorge Orta, http://studioorta.free.fr/jorge_orta.html, it is a wonderful piece of video that moves fluidly along the outside of the historic University of Tampa campus with a emotional music soundtrack.

  University of Tampa campus and soundtack (4min, Windows Media, 4.36MB)

The next day Penny Public visited me. I tell her the bad news. I found no public art in Tampa, however if she would meet me for dinner I had some additional information for her. We made a date for later that night as I lit a cigarette and plopped my feet onto the desk, smirking all the while.



"Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2006 by Vinnie Blesi.  Couch Potato main graphic by Vin Blesi and Nolan Canova. University of Tampa pictures by Vin Blesi.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.