I have had the distinct and relatively rare pleasure of experiencing Creative Loafing/Weekly Planet from a wide variety of perspectives over the last two decades and change. As a casual reader. As a dedicated reader, a fan, a supporter of the community CL represents. As a member of the editorial inner circle. As a guy who used to work there. And, currently, as a freelance contributor — a member of the editorial outer circle with privileges, you might say.
Like a lot of young Bay area musicians, I first got in the habit of picking up the paper in order to see my band’s name in print. A decade later, when I picked it up in order to see my first byline in its pages, CL was a deeply entrenched element of my identity — for me, the alternative weekly wasn’t a holdover from the countercultural explosion of the late ‘60s; it was a very current guide to everything creative, disruptive, independently active people were doing.
It was weekly reinforcement that I need look no further than my adopted hometown for inspiration, for entertainment, for provocative political discourse. That fuck New York, look what the hell is going on right here, right now.
I’m irresponsible. I’m a cretin. I’m really totally busy.
Anyhoo, here’s the piece I did for Creative Loafing on Tampa Bay community radio station WMNF 88.5‘s annual Tropical Heatwave music festival. I’m a big supporter of WMNF, not because I love every program on the station’s roster, but because I love the fact that the station exists. They’ve got another fund drive coming up, so if you can afford to give a little, please do.
Neighborhoods — real neighborhoods, as opposed to gated communities or arbitrarily designated areas like “New Forest Lawn Ridge Beautiful” — are defined by the experiences of their residents, and the non-residents that are drawn there. Collective experiences, sure, but also individual experiences; one of the things that makes a great neighborhood great is that people experience it differently, but those different experiences are overwhelmingly positive.
For instance, we can all agree that Seminole Heights is funky, or eclectic, or artsy, or in transition, or whatever. I only lived in the area briefly during the mid-’90s, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time there. And while my experiences there will be specifically different than those of someone who’s moved to the neighborhood since, let’s say, The Independent opened, they are also probably somewhat similar in a general sense.
Let’s find out, via a good old-fashioned springtime scavenger hunt. How many of the following dozen places and things that have defined my Seminole Heights experiences are familiar to you? Or, if they aren’t, how many degrees are they separated from your personal knowledge? I’d wager not many, and I’d be interested in knowing.
Scott Harrell has written for Creative Loafing, RADAR, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, the Bradenton Herald, Naughty America and more. He lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida and enjoys creating awkward silences during dinner with strangers.
A sincere message for everyone not working today: Feel free to suck it. That is all.about 2 hours ago