Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Have A Face For Radio

At 9AM Thursday October 1, Michael Kahn, special legal counsel to the City of St. Augustine will be on hand for First Coast Connect , Melissa Ross' program on National Public Radio affiliate ,WJCT FM 89.9. Artist Greg Travous aka Suvo will also be in the studio for this discussion and call in show. Whatever position you hold, call the number (904) 549-2937 and make it a lively show.
You may catch the program on streaming audio no matter where you live so try to tune in right here, OK?

Monday, September 28, 2009

City Hall Thriller

"I seen this before, I mean I read about it in a Plastic Man comic!" Rodney was an excitable guy who did sidework cleaning offices after hours. "I was nosin' around the City Hall closets lookin for this awful stink and there they were man!" He was shaking like a child in the rain.
"Hold on Rod ,what are you talking about?"I said, trying to calm him down. "Circe changes Plastic Man into an animal and now I seen it myself. Mr. Harris the City boss was turnin into a big ole hog!"
"Wait a minute!"I interrupted. "Are you trying to tell me that Marvel comics is ripping off story lines from the Iliad?"
"No! I mean ,what am I gonna do? I cant go back there! Man it was creepy.....It looked right at me with this half smile and there was another one half asleep and completely changed lyin' right next to him. That one was real pale, so I think it was the city attorney Mr. Brown!"
Rodney has been known to partake of the giggle juice quite frequently but he seemed stone sober tonight. "Man this has got me wound up like a douche" "What?" I said. "You know, from the Manfred Mann song." "No Rod, I think that it's 'wrapped up like a deuce'. Rod stopped shivering "That doesn't make sense",said Rod. "Well neither does............never mind! Just go home , get some sleep and do not ,I repeat, do not tell anyone what you saw until I talk with you again,Ok? ""You betcha." said Rodney who had fairly composed himself. He squinted and looked beyond my shoulder.I knew what was coming."Hey, I know I owe you a bunch already but you got ten dollars to spare?" I gave Rod two fives knowing that he's going to head over to the nearest guzzle joint on St. George Street. He'll repeat his tale and everyone will laugh except maybe a guy at the end of the bar paying close attention and wearing a city meter reader uniform. Rodney, for my benefit,had the courtesy to head in a westerly direction away from the tavern. He'll double around to the bar a block after he's out of my sight. Poor little guy. He just may have seen his last livestock. Guys like Rodney aren't missed much when they are not around. Let him have his shot and a beer or two. I'll check on him tomorrow at his hundred dollar a week fleabag over off San Marco............To be Contd

It Cant Happen Here?

Painting by YAQUI LEGEND

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mandolin Wind

Last night things were hoppin' at the big old 1890 house on Grove Street where firedancers, musicians, artists, singers , cats, dogs, the high standing and the lowdown (you know who you are) were all mixing it up at Quigley' s party. The sounds of the harmonica, mandolin and Spanish guitars went on until the wee hours. No neighbor complaints and the designated drivers got everyone home, as far as we know. A slight headache this morning will be cured with Tylenol and Krystal's grits with cheese will absorb anything. Who was the person who called out a request for "Muskrat Love" by Captain and Tenile? We may be older and unhip but forget about an invitation next year. Ok , just kidding. everybody loves you...but ....come on!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Do Not Like Lotteries!

I've never bought a state lottery ticket and I sometimes get irritated standing in line waiting, while the sweet old lady blows fifty dollars of her Social Security money on the latest gimmicky promotion to Easy Street. That said, I'm not about to pay seventy five dollars a month to the City of St. Augustine for a chance to set up my art in the slave market, vying for room next to "Rheumy Eyed Joe" or "Snickers", also known as "Crackboy". These guys have every right to be there and it is unfair of the city using the artists as vigilantes ,evicting the homeless.
I will not cite cases here indicating that First Amendment activities cannot be lotterized and licensing schemes are illegal codes that are clearly prior restraints on first amendment activity. Read enough of these cases like I have and you will just throw up your arms and say , "F@#k it. I'm going to the beach!"
The city licensing office had two applicant artists for the six "performer" spots in the market making the first lottery a non exciting event, being that we know the outcome in advance. I was imagining the City Comptroller, Mark Litzinger regally coming down the steps at the designated time of two Pm and reaching into a large fishbowl held by Barbara. The names on the two slips of paper were posted on the outside door as lottery winners . The "winners" then have three hours to get to City Hall to pay the seventy five dollars and get photographed or forfeit their spot for the month. When asked if a person could call on the phone to see if their name is drawn, Barbara was unsure. It did not seem fair that someone in Jacksonville would have to..........wait a minute! Fair?! What am I thinking? This city administration openly and blatantly violates artist's rights by throwing them in jail and I'm grousing about their unfairness? Criminal behaviour is what they are perpetrating and City Manager Harriss and City attorney Brown know it.
So, I've saved myself seventy five bucks and made my own license (see above). It's every bit as valid as theirs, ..........no...., more so, since I didn't force myself to obtain it . *
By the way, like many businesses nowdays, the art selling business is slack as well. So if you are interested in a license of any sort I'd be willing to issue one to you after you give me a good story as to why you need it. Just a small fee. I can be found in the Plaza.
* I have tax certificates in four states ....artists pay taxes too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Archaeology in The Plaza

The City of St. Augustine is soon to bury some power lines in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Prior to this excavation, the archaeology people are doing some sample digs in the area. The first dug pit is on the east side of the Plaza with the Episcopal Church just across King Street. Look closely at the bottom left of the picture and you can see an archaeologist digging . That's him to the left of the bucket. Nothing much found so far, but the layers indicate that the original Plaza "floor" (1588) was about three feet lower than it is now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodbye Mary

Mary Travers (1936 - 2009) died of leukemia today.She was one third of Peter Paul and Mary.Generation X and Generation Y may not know them but those of us who are the early baby boomers (starting in 1946) remember them well. Mary was the cool looking blonde between the hip, goateed, suit wearin' acoustic guitar players.Singularly they were good , together they were fantastic (like Lennon & McCartney)They had strong beliefs behind their "message" music and lived accordingly.Just look at Mary singin up there.....I'm an infatuated fourteen year old again.She was something wasn't she?

Bad Pollster..Dana St. Clair

At Monday night's circus of a City commission meeting, hired gun ,self styled constitutional expert Michael Kahn had newly appointed Heritage and Tourism director Dana St. Clair give sworn testimony that the artists in the Plaza detract from the "visitor experience." St. Clair stated that he has talked with many tourists and he found none that approved of artists in the Plaza. He specifically referred to the artists...not the merchandise vendors. According to a number of locals, Mr St. Clair has a habit of "grossly mislead(ing) the public and to infiltrate government both with misrepresentations and by seeking public office in yet one more attempt to better care for his business."Here and Here
Mr. St. Clair no doubt was part of the VIP entourage a few weeks ago when Haiti's ambassador to Washington, Raymond Joseph was in town for a commemoration of Haitian General Georges Biassou*
ater in the evening, Ambassador Joseph, a soft spoken gentlemen, sought out the three artists exiled away to the SW corner of the Plaza, apart from the flea market vendors. His entourage, with state senators and local politicos, passed by earlier and he saw something that interested him.
Mr. Joseph's wife wife is an accomplished artist and we discussed Haitian Art,Hypolite, the artistic influence of Rousseau and the old Hotel Oloffson.He purchased a colorful painting of a fish for his wife, promising that it would hang in his home in Washington as a memory of his stay in St. Augustine. Avoiding the flea market vendors her returned to his room at Casa Monica with the painting.
So we ask you Mr.St. Clair....do you think that Ambassador Howard's "visitor experience" was marred by the three artists in the Plaza?

*According to Wenda Parkinson (1978). in her book,"This Gilded African. "London: Quartet Books ,the General bought a large plantation near St. Augustine farmed, ironically, by slaves, but he drank both his land and his money away and died in a brawl when drunk as was his usual state. What say we leave that off the plaque.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Counterfeits

Donald Crichlow, Nancy Sikes-Klein, Joseph Boles, Errol Jones, Leanna Freeman
City of St. Augustine City Commission

"You must pay for conformity. All goes well as long as you run with conformists. But you, who are honest men in other particulars, know that there is alive somewhere a man whose honesty reaches to this point also, that he shall not kneel to false gods, and, on the day when you meet him, you sink into the class of counterfeits."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)


Very Sad

The City Commission last night voted unanimously to prohibit artistry (the creation of visual art) and art sales in the nation's oldest park, The Plaza de la Constitucion. An amendment was made to refer to visual artists as "street performers" and this seems to satisfly the commission. The Federal courts protect visual artists and their wares as "fully protected" First amendment wise whereas street performers do not have such protection. This is their awkward way of defying a recent Federal Court order.
These meetings and the three minute public comments beforehand are simply an illusion of public participation. The commissioners who are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution purposely vote in a blatantly unconstitutional "law" knowing that the artists have limited resources and energy to take it to court again. If we did...they would lose and once again write an illegal ordinance......after all it's not their money.
According to a bronze plaque in the S.E. corner of the Plaza,the Plaza de la Constitucion is where the British hung John Adams in effigy, yet they permitted the Patriot captors to celebrate the Fourth of July in the same location. Martin Luther King rallied his supporters there in '64 and the infamous KKK held nightime rallys against equal rights during the same time period. Recently, President Obama's inauguration was celebrated in The Plaza. One commissioner called it a "partisan "rally and wanted to disallow it. As the Supreme Court has written "Public parks are quintessential public forums where citizens may engage in constitutionally protected expression"
To those who continually harp that the sale of artwork is "commercial activity" and is not permitted, we say......this is opinion contrary to well established case law. Your "opinion" does not change this.

Friday, September 11, 2009