Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lovers Call It Love, Beggars Charity

Early work by Jacques Brel showing the influence of the Catholic youth group he belonged. The freedom of Montmartre in the '60's and its appreciation of art in its streets is celebrated in this video. Yes,there once was a world that celebrated differences and creativity. Are we to be led into complacency and homogenization? You merchants on St. George Street..... Do you feel hostage to your landlord? Are you in business for the money alone? Does a beggar threaten you only by his presence? Was there a time in your life when you didn't think about the almighty dollar? Was there a time that you didn't look around for blame when your P&L is in the red? Leave your prejudices behind. The street artist is not your enemy. Are you so close to your commerce that you do not see the greatness of this small city? Take your eyes off the cash register and look around. Celebrate this City!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh No ! Father Murphy Is Next Door.

In 1973, sixty feet from the Cathedral Doors of the nation's oldest Catholic congregation, this film was being shown at the local movie house located on Cathedral Street where the Greek restaurant is now. Workers recently found this poster up in the attic. A little research shows us that this Rheems guy ( we are pretending that we never heard of him )was a well known porn actor who later changed his last name to Reems, joined a church, went through a 12-step program for booze, got married and settled down. He now owns Reems Real Estate in Park City, as well as the Harry Reems Athletic Club. If you would like more information on the film or the is a link.

Our city is chock a block with history,yeah?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Who´s The Boss?

Mayor of St. Augustine, Joseph ( Hey Momma!) Boles
We are many times amazed at the local thinking that the mayor of St.Augustine "runs the city", is the boss, the big cheese. Joseph Boles himself stated prior to the election that the job is "mainly ceremonial". It is becoming clearer at every Commission meeting that Mr. Boles is somewhat of a bully who seems to be playing to certain people in the constituency. This is simply an observation and not a character judgement. The public service provided by the mayor and commisssion members certainly exceeds the 12000 to 17000 compensation dollars a year dealing with the city´s operation. What may appear as autocratic simply can´t be since this mayor is there for new store openings and award ceremonies.
Here is an explanation of the"weak mayor", commission system of city government that we have in St. Augustine.
City Commission government is a form of municipal government that was once common in the United States, but has fallen out of favor, most cities formerly governed by Commission having switched to the Council-Manager form. Some consider the City Commission as a predecessor of the Council-Manager form. In a city commission government, voters elect a small commission, typically from five to seven members, on a plurality-at-large basis. These commissioners constitute the legislative body of the city and as a group are responsible for taxation, appropriations, ordinances, and other general functions.
Individual commissioners are assigned responsibility for a specific aspect of municipal affairs, such as public works, finance, or public safety. One commissioner is designated to function as chairman or mayor, but this is largely a procedural or ceremonial designation and typically did not involve significant additional powers beyond that exercised by the other commissioners. As such, this form of government blends legislative and executive branch functions in the same body. This form of government is used mostly in the South Florida region.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Painted Sweetlips?!

For a kid in the Midwest, seafood was a square of Mrs Paul's fried fish or Gorton's fish sticks. What kind of fish? Waddya mean? It was fish and it tasted kinda like fish! Sometimes the local church would have a fish fry and cartons of frozen perch or cod fillets would be deep fried and the phony sophisticates amongst us would ask for lemon wedges instead of the catchup bottle. Later we discovered iodine tasting fantail shrimps served at our "good restaurant". Occasionally though we would have fisherman friends bring freshwater perch , bass or trout but as a kid we liked the crispy fried "mystery fish" from Mrs. Paul's or Mc Donalds.

As years passed we discovered fish like Dolphin, Tuna, Pompano, Snapper and Grouper. The last one being kind of the "sandwich favorite". Nothing fancy. just a good fairly dense white meat fish that didn't hold too much oil when deep fried . Beware ow of the following story from today's San Francisco Chronicle. It starts like this :

.Madeira Beach , Fla. -- What the undercover agents ordered, over and over, was the grouper.
What wound up on their plates could stifle anyone's appetite.
The alleged grouper at 17 of 24 local restaurants sampled by the investigators was actually another, less desirable species, according to a DNA analysis conducted for the state attorney general's office and released this month. Asian catfish. Emperor. Painted sweetlips. And twice, types of fish that could not be identified. Continued Here

Goodbye Old Man

(Click on pic for a closer view)
This majestic Live Oak may look healthy, but according to arborists, it is very sick on the inside and is in danger of dropping large branches . It is on the perimeter of the Plaza in front of the Cathedral. There is a season for all things and for this oak it is coming to an end. It is on the dock for removal soon. One of the oldest trees in the Plaza,it is perhaps 200 years old or more.

Art In The Market suggest that a seven foot stump remain and a diorama of Martin Luther King, The St. Augustine Four, and the foot soldiers in the Civil Rights movement be commemorated in bas relief carving around the remaining column (stump). Wood carvers step forward.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Searle's Raid In The Plaza !

In 1668, Capt. Robert Searle and his privateers sailed from Jamaica to loot the silver ingots held in the royal coffers at St. Augustine. Under the cover of night, they slipped into the harbor and attacked the sleeping town, killing sixty people and pillaging government buildings, churches, and homes. The devastation wrought by these bloodthirsty pirates prompted Spain’s Council of the Indies to issue money to build a massive stone fortress on Matanzas Bay to protect the city. The Castillo de San Marcos still stands, an enduring reminder of Florida’s exciting heritage!

On March 3, 2007, join us in reenacting Searle’s raid in Old Towne San Agustin, the site of the original attack. A 17th century-style encampment will be open to the public at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. Come see what life was like in 17th century Florida! Watch as grown men play with blank muskets and get buzzed on grog. More

New Age

Author James Redfield will present and discuss the St. Augustine filmed ‘Celestine Prophecy’ at Flagler College's upcoming Writer-in-Residence Program . Attempts will be made to levitate and fly around the auditorium.
February 28, 2007 .
Fee: Free

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Back To The Future

Note the 1997 date on this news story. It pays to be informed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Outdoor Mischief

Karl has noticed an interesting item from tonight's agenda for the City Commission Meeting:

Discussion of proposed Ordinance prohibiting certain outdoor activities – Mayor Boles.

We are curious? Outdoor activities? Leaf burning ?Lawn Darts? Nude Wrestling? We can hardly wait to find out what outdoor activities will be prohibited to us? Maybe this is coming?Stay tuned. Karl is sending a friend to the meeting. His concern has to do with know............relieving himself on the planters in the Plaza. He loves doing that! (sometimes on the Confederate Monument as well.....yes officer, behind the security chain!)

February 14 update: Mayor "Don´t Talk About My Mama" Boles was concerned about citizens and dogs relieving themselves #1 and #2 in the Plaza. Karl wants it known that he has a guy to pick up his ....ahem, ...stuff.

The Power Of Ink

Japanese politician takes own life over a missing stroke in a cartoon (1992)
A cartoon published by the Asahi magazine in Tokyo, angered a Japanese politician so much that he killed himself in public. Shusuke Nomura was running for a seat in the upper house of parliament with his Wind Party, when Asahi published a cartoon with a single stroke missing from the word kaze (wind). Without that stroke, the meaning of the character changes to shira-mi, or lice, a rather undignified designation for a party. Nomura went to protest the cartoon at Asahi's headquarters. He stood up in the middle of a meeting with newspaper executives, said the traditional Japanese pre-suicide words for honor, bowed in the direction of the Imperial Palace, and shot himself with a pair of pistols.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Art Is Paint On Canvas, Period! (ok,maybe paper)

NYC Parks Dept Backs Down

ecently the Art of Asian Calligraphy was declared art that does not have constitutional protection according to NyC officials. Is this a case of ethnocentrism? In New York City for pity's sake! They have since backed down on this bureaucratic censoring.

Events in the Plaza ( ejecting a tapestry artist) indicate that some in power in
the City of St. Augustine and it's gallery owning Mayor Joseph"I Wanna Make Mom Proud" Boles want to rid artists and artwork out of the Plaza.
The Mayor is on record that he doesn't want to see galleries set up in the plaza. This is what we do, Joe! Give it another name if you like.This ejection of Sala (Link) is a mistake and we ask the city to correct this injustice. The City is giving the perception that rather than rationally discuss a perceived problem they would rather play the role of "bully". This situation must be resolved. Meanwhile here is the story from up North.

Downtown Express
Volume 19 Issue 36 January 19 - 25, 2007

Artists, not cops know what is art"Is calligraphy art? The N.Y.P.D. says no." We suspect our headline last week raised the eyebrows of some of our readers, who like many Americans, place a high value on the Constitution and freedom of speech. We hope the mayor, the Police and Parks Departments also were shocked to read about the consequences of their ridiculous policy.

Our article was about Xu Zi, a calligrapher who sold her work in Battery Park up until last month, when she was shown a police order giving her two choices in effect: alter her art to meet police specifications or stop selling in the park.

Was her work obscene or likely to provoke violent reactions from reasonable people? No. It was the ancient art of calligraphy which Xu Zi began learning from her grandfather when she was a girl. She was asked to leave because a Parks Enforcement Patrol officer, applying a police order, determined that Xu Zi's work was not art.

Had she drawn flowers or some other picture near the lettering, she could have stayed in the park, but she didn't like the idea of the government dictating what kind of art she could do. Our Founding Fathers worried about that kind of stuff too, which is why they wrote the Bill of Rights.

The police order is a reaction to a Supreme Court decision granting First Amendment protections to vendors who sell art. We acknowledge the need for some vendor regulations and the enormous difficulty of setting up such a system while maintaining Constitutional guarantees. That challenge however, cannot be an excuse for allowing people with guns and badges to be the final arbiter for what constitutes art, because that poses a threat to one of our bedrock principles: free expression.

Vendors have created congestion problems in Soho and some parks and a free-for-all is not a solution. But clearly artists selling their own work should not have to submit their work to police to determine whether or not it's art.

Our opinion on the art is as irrelevant as the N.Y.P.D.'s, but it is worth noting that one of the ironies of the policy is that a clear art form, traditional calligraphy, is banned while rudimentary flowers or other drawings of questionable quality with the lettering is allowed. Any rules allowing art will have to accept the good, bad and ugly as well as work that may not seem like art to all.

The police department's Operations Order # 39 must be rescinded immediately and the city's Police and Parks Departments should begin consulting with artists, community leaders, business owners, vendors and First Amendment attorneys to come up with a sensible set of rules. It would be a much smarter strategy for the city rather than waiting to lose another federal lawsuit.