Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Spurious Story

The year was 1914. War in Europe was looming and the St. Augustine tourism boom of the previous decades had cooled with the wealthy heading now to Flagler's mega hotels in Palm Beach and Key West. Solicito"Mike"Salvadore had just purchased a Ur-Leica 35 mm camera, the state of the art technology of the time.

Being a forward thinking businessman ,Mike came up with a promotion to enhance the tourist traffic from the north. "Yankees are fascinated with alligators. Let's get the biggest gator out at the farm and make picture postcards." Carriage maker Daniel Pellicer crafted a special "gator chariot" with materials underwritten by the local police department.

A crowd gathered as the gator was carted to the Plaza De La Constitucion , rigged with a rein his massive tail was placed with under the chariot. Mike wore his Sunday best along with a new straw boater from Mason's. The Ur- Leica had a shutter sound that the gator apparently found annoying because as the shutter went off the gator's tail raised the chariot and Mike almost four feet in the air! The gator named "Farouk" took off toward King Street straight down Aviles Ave. to Ponce's Poultry Market ! Farouk had apparently discovered the source of his daily regimen of three chickens. The crowd ran in terror while a few of the local men ran after Farouk. Who knew how fast a gator could run when in the vicinity of unlimited chickens?!

Other than a few scrapes from falling and a semi demolished front room of the market, there was no serious aftermath. The decision to let Farouk devour most of the chickens on ice and the live ones in the front crates was a good one. Very much sated, Farouk fell into an almost comatose slumber and was loaded and transported back to the farm on Anastasia Island.

Mike got a good picture and was a gentleman about the huge bill presented to him by Mr. Ponce. The postcard proved to be popular and is a collector's item today.

Europe Meets the Natives

St. Augustine's 441st Anniversary

On Saturday ,September 2, the country's oldest city celebrates. In 1565 Pedro Menendez and crew reportedly landed in the area near the present day Fountain of Youth Park and Mission Nombre de Dios. A reenactment and Mass will be held on the church grounds where a simulation of the first altar ( above) is located. Activities will be held throughout the day ending with a Concert in the gazebo at the Plaza De La Constitucion. More

Let's not forget that when Menendez arrived here , Chief Seloy and the Timucuan tribe had an already thriving villageof perhaps 1000 residents. More We are not certain but it has been told that Capitan Menendez and his men began staking out property for themselves and accepted from the natives a lodge house for quarters. It took about a year for relationships to reach a breaking point and the Spaniards resettled across the bay to Anastasia island. This has long been considered the first "gated community" in the nation.

There will be no Native American celebrations during this time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The First and Oldest Public Park in the U.S.

Art in the Park was created for those people who have wandered through the beautiful Plaza here in St. Augustine. Some are local and most are visitors from out of town or country. We do not intend this blog to be a complaint board or a forum for malcontents. The world has huge problems with poverty, war and famine. That said, we gotta voice a complaint regarding the City's administration and maintainance of the Plaza De La Constitucion.

The artists licensing issue is still up in the air and the current Mayor was quoted as saying that fines and enforcement are suspended for now. An election is coming up and I'm certain that no one wants to jump into a fray regarding the 1st Amendment. The City has since gone from micro-managing with two pages of "rules" to completely ignoring the Plaza and all activities that occur there. The Summer Concert Series is an excellent activity and adds to the city's ambience. The results of foot traffic from visitors and locals watching the concerts, the Changing of the Guard and shopping is now being ignored by the city. The grass is going to seed and the mulch is not being replaced leaving bare dirt spots throughout. This is minor and perhaps once someone responsible is aware of the conditions, it will be corrected.

There has been discussion amongst vendors over first Amendment rights to display and sell their wares. To be frank, we've gotta inform you that the first Amendment rights to sell goods in public applies strictly to books, publications, paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs. This has nothing to do with the "definition of art", but is a definition of what means of expression is covered under the freedoms of speech and press. We now have individual vendors taking up two hundred square feet of the Plaza, generators running, spewing noise and exhaust, and jewelry, jewelry, jewelry. None of this has anything to do with an artist's First Amendment rights.

The city has walked away from any sort of management of the Plaza.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jerry Garcia Artworks

Jerome "Jerry" Garcia
1942 - 1995

Lithographs and Screenprints

Art in The Market now has estate approved images done by Jerry Garcia. You might remember in the mid eighties a line of neckties decorated with Jerry's art were released . They are still sold in high end men's stores

His art is spontaneous and direct. It can argueably be said that before his music, his art is more so an intimate connection with the man behind the myth.

Come take a look some weekend. Take one home.