Sunday, January 31, 2010

Giving me the finger?


We spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg with the Friends of Photography, a small group of folks with a passion for photography. While there we had the pleasure to explore three really huge bronze sculptures that are part of the exhibition, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. Botero, born in Columbia in 1932, created The Hand in 1985. The position of the middle finger is particular revealing and pointed and must have some meaning for the artist that I could not uncover. It weighs approximately 2,500 pounds!

Botero explains his use of these "large people", as they are often called by critics, or obese figures and forms thus: "An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it."
You would instantly recognize his paintings and sculptures as they feature unusually large, tremendous, XXX-plus sized women and even some men. Big. Rotund. As in three seats on a commercial jetliner.


A Latin American painter, sculptor, and draftsman, Botero depicts the "comedy of human life—moving or ironic, baroque in expression, sometimes with a mocking observation, and sometimes with a deep, elementary emotion. He has created a world of his own with a particular blend of violence and beauty." In 2005, Botero produced a series over 80 paintings and drawings which depicted the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The current show in St. Petersburg is the first retrospective of his work in North America since 1974. Included are 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings selected from the artist’s private collection. Many works have never been exhibited in public. (The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. John Sillevis from the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, curated the exhibition. ) This show at the MFA runs through April 4th.

Botero's works are collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Hermitage Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn and others.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

She's a Big Gal: Fernando Botero's "Woman Smoking a Cigarette"



We crossed Tampa Bay to spend an afternoon and evening at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg with the Friends of Photography. This small but special group of men and women of all ages brings a passion to their interest in the history of photography, photographers and the medium since its very beginnings in the 19th century. We gathered just before the closing of an exhibit called the Legends of Photography. Many familiar and famous names were represented on the walls. Afterward we gathered at a fine restaurant to continue our great discussion. The group includes some collectors, several well-known photographers, those just started to explore photography, spouses, friends and young couples. I was really looking forward to going because of the unprecedented exhibition at the museum, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. (It runs through April 4.)

A Latin American painter, sculptor, and draftsman , Botero depicts the "comedy of human life—moving or ironic, baroque in expression, sometimes with a mocking observation, and sometimes with a deep, elementary emotion. He has created a world of his own with a particular blend of violence and beauty." This is the first retrospective of his work in North America since 1974. Included are 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings selected from the artist’s private collection. Many works have never been exhibited in public. (The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. John Sillevis from the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, curated the exhibition. )


On the grounds of the museum, located on Beach Drive facing the Vinoy Basin, are three of Botero's largest and best known sculptures. This greatly oversized bronze figure, created in 1987, is called Women Smoking a Cigarette. She is magnificent as are all of his sculptures. Smoking Woman weighs approximately 2,500 pounds!! You've just got to love her. I'll post one or two more in the days ahead.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gasparilla Event Parking: A Bargain Price

There isn't anywhere south of the interstate and Kennedy Boulevard that isn't trying to make a buck from offering parking. These small Cracker-style houses are downtown, right by the Channelside District and the St. Pete Times Forum. $5.00 is pretty good and will be within a few blocks of the giant party that takes place downtown after the Gasparilla parade and go on almost all night.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gasparilla Pirate Cupcakes

Even children's cupcake molds get in the spirit of Gasparilla. These, from Williams-Sonoma, will be a hit at a children's party.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ferocious Pirate: Gasparilla Children's Parade


NOTE Friends: I have been without Internet, television and telephone (via Verizon FIOS) since last Saturday morning. After TWO in-home visits by service reps - Brian Tackitt, a Fiber Network Field Technician - and our Peke did not bite him - is my new best friend), one brand new router (two days to deliver), 2 1/2 hours on my Blackberry cell with repair, I am BACK and could not be happier!!!!!! I feel like a big part of my life stopped at a fiber-optic cable buried in my front lawn. Past that cable that is supposedly connected (!) to my home, we had NO service.

Last Saturday was Tampa's Gasparilla Children's Parade and it was so much fun watching all the parade goers, vendors and vehicle traffic lost in the streets of South Tampa and Hyde Park.

This scary, pint-size pirate took part in the children's parade. Check out his cutlass.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gasparilla Wreath #1: Doors of Hyde Park

The 2010 Gasparilla Children's Parade and Piratechnic Extravaganza is tomorrow. In keeping with the pirate theme, many homes in Tampa are festooned with Gasparilla wreaths and black flags with the skull and crossbones. This coconut head swashbuckler is on a door in Hyde Park, ground zero for tomorrow's parade and next Saturday's main event, the Gasparilla Invasion and Parade that begins on Bayshore Boulevard and continues into downtown. A total of 131 units, including 70 floats and 51 krewes, will take part tomorrow and they estimate as many as 250,000 kids - big and small - will enjoy the day. Next Saturday's main parade could attract 350,000-400,000 spectators.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My kind of winter weather

73 degrees, light clouds and a brisk breeze. Could January and Tampa's winter weather get any nicer than this?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WATERY Wednesday #71



Click HERE to go see other wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the world.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Monochrome Weekend - Vol. 2, Issue 21: You dropped a Krugerrand?


If you sometimes think the world looks better in black and white, and every shade of gray, go see some of the most interesting people and places HERE at Monochrome Maniacs!


It's made possible each week by
Aileni.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Water Sprites: Bern's Park


This is the statuary and fountain ready to be unveiled at the new Bern's Park on South Howard Avenue. The park is located south of Kennedy Boulevard and two blocks from Bayshore Boulevard and is named in honor of Bern Laxer, famed restaurateur and founder of Tampa's world renowned Bern's Steak House.

A report from Bay News 9 on Bright House said this about the park:

"More than half a century after Bern Laxer opened his steak house, the city is preparing to unveil Bern's Park. The park will bear the name of Laxer, who died in 2004, ... The park has been in the works since 2003, and has been spearheaded by planner Laurie Potier-Brown. The first phase of the project is set to be completed in a couple of weeks."

"It does entail these beautiful walkways that will be lined in brick, and the fountain, which will be two-tiered," Potier-Brown said. The fountain will be the first in Tampa to use reclaimed water."We're placing eight benches surrounding the fountain, so people can enjoy the fountain at night," she said. "There will be lights on the sculpture and the water will be flowing."David Laxer said his father would have approved of the park."He's the type of person that would really enjoy that park a lot," he said. "Life sometimes gets a little bit too fast, and you need to just sit back and enjoy it."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Theme Day: BEST OF 2009 - Skywatch Friday Season 4, Episode 27

Today is Theme Day when we get to choose our best photo of 2009.

I took this photo for Monochrome Weekend of Tampa's Ballast Point Pier. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day, bright and warm. Giant puffy clouds filled the blue sky and climbed forever. The sea gulls were swooping in to try and score some fisherman's bait or a fish left on the pier. I also took this scene in color but I felt the black and white captured it best.

To see the Best Photos of 2009 from around the City Daily Photo world,
click here to view thumbnails for all participants.



Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies...even the cold wintry ones that can be so gray and mysterious. It's always an amazing show and all brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beach grasses don't mind the chill

Cypress Point Park was cool and breezy in the late afternoon but there were folks walking on the sand and waiting for the sunset.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

COLD Car Wash

I know many parts of the country don't have car washes like we do here in Tampa. I think it's the warmer climates that support the large wash/wax/detail operations. With the muck, snow, ice and slush on your roads your cars can get mighty ugly about now. Our latest "deep freeze" here on Florida's sunny Gulf Coast hasn't kept drivers from wanting a bright clean car. The washes are still operating and doing a brisk business. Notice that the the attendants are well insulated against the cold - a very unusual sight for Tampa.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is This An Odd-Shaped Elephant?

This isn't some new public art project or an elephant carcass someone is trying to hide. Of course not. Everyone in this part of Florida knows that when freezing temperatures are forecast you go through your linen closet and get every old sheet, blanket and towel - oh, and tarps, too - to encase your delicate, tropical landscaping. The covering is supposed to go to the ground to keep the warmth in and around the plants. These are (or were) palms, crotons and liriope.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Heater? For sale?

This man was standing at an intersection on South Dale Mabry Highway at about 2:00. He's right in front of a very large Home Depot store. I don't know if he's selling this heater (balanced on an old chair), or trying to find kerosene or something to make it work. The container looks like one used for gas for lawnmowers, so I am baffled as to exactly what he's doing. Except freezing in our cold weather. When the temperatures drop here, mankind starts acting a bit weird.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Pirate Flags Are Flying


When pirate flags and elaborate feather-bedecked wreaths begin to appear on homes in South Tampa neighborhoods you know that the city's annual Gasparilla pirate invasion and parade are growing near. This year the huge celebration is January 30th. A parade that's more kid friendly is the January 23rd.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Season 4 Episode 26: It's not blue anymore


Isn't this a snow sky? It sure looks like one to me and with the temp dropping into the 20s here in the morning I think six layers of coats and sweaters may be the uniform if we venture out. I've shot this cityscape of Tampa before and even posted a shot yesterday of our downtown to show-off Tampa's brilliant, even sparkling clear blue sky. Well, this is a scene taken today from a little further out on the channel from Davis Islands. No shade of blue can be seen. It's a cold, gray and foreboding picture.


Visit Skywatch Friday to see the beauty and wonders of the world's most magnificent skies...even the cold wintry ones that can be so alutrirng and myterious. It's always an amazing show and all brought to you by Skywatchers from all over the planet.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tampa's Bright Blue Winter Sky

I know it seems whiny to all of you living in most parts of the country but Tampa's (and Florida's) long run of freezing temperatures is most unusual. (So much for "global warming.") I don't think any of you up north are shedding any tears for us...they'd freeze. LOL. I just took this shot from the side of Tampa General Hospital located on Davis Islands. Two fishermen were crossing in front of me in a small skiff and were bundled for the cold. Today's high of 58 is a momentary break in a week or more of below normal temperatures. Saturday is forecast to be a high of 49 and an icy low of 29. Of course, the sky will be brilliant blue, not a hint of clouds. The air is so clear, crisp, clean and invigorating it's an amazing scene. And wonderful to breath in. The beaches would be outstanding right now but a bit chilly. I bet there are plenty of our Canadian friends sunning themselves right this very moment, Mojito in hand, sunblock on their noses.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

WATERY Wednesday #69: A wintry evening sky

This pond on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, located directly across the street from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headquarters and training center, always surprises me for its quiet beauty, Florida waterbirds and alligators.

Click HERE to see wonderfully creative, very wet and Watery Wednesday images from around the world.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ludwig van Beethoven


I did not post yesterday. It was the first time I was unable to use my computer to get online and it all happened unexpectedly. I have made slight references to some major work we discovered had to be done to our 80 year-old "historic" home. Tell-tale signs that something was occurring to the structure old the old, wood-frame house became very apparent in early November. Following meetings and inspections with contractors and an engineer, it was determined that immediate repair had to begin that has involved what amounts to one half of our exterior walls. Of course that led to interior walls and ceilings...and electrical. Yesterday, the incoming Verizon Fios line was disconnected. Not knowingly, carpenters shut down our telephone, television and Internet. (Good thing we have BlackBerry and cell phones although trying to reach emergency repair for Verizon via the Internet is a frustrating experience.) Suffice it to say, they came at 8:00 am this morning and moved our inside Verizon service box and rewired it. I am up online again and the TV is back on.

The photo I posted is of a corner of our living room with new wall board, plaster, wood trim, and a charming bust of a sour-puss Beethoven that my son (an architect living in Georgia), who was here from Christmas through New Year's, placed on our mantle last night so that it would be safe from workmen demolishing walls, etc., etc.

I have exhaustively recorded the construction work that has now reached 5 weeks. After today, I will not post another of our "Money Pit" project. I promise!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Monochrome Weekend - Vol. 2, Issue 19: Welcome into the Heavenly World


This headstone is in Tampa's oldest cemetery, Oaklawn. The deceased appears from the barely-legible carving to have lived from 1854 to 1888. The part I like is the hands shaking. Apparently, every headstone symbol has meaning. According to the website Cemeteries and Cemetery Symbols, "A handshake symbol on a tombstone usually signifies a welcome into the heavenly world. Sometimes you may see this as a symbol of matrimony on the grave marker of a married couple. If it’s a marriage symbol you may notice that one cuff will look masculine and the other, feminine."

If you love to see your world in black and white go visit some of the most interesting people and places HERE at Monochrome Maniacs!


It's made possible each week by
Aileni.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Every Order Counts!

A small section of a huge, warehouse-size mural on the Amazon Hose and Rubber building located on 50th Street in East Tampa. This mural, all crated as if it's a series of comic strip sections, is extremely well executed and each section relates to the company's business and customers.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Theme Day - CHANGE: Raw Ingredients



This fine bottle of bubbly and meal is in celebration of the new year, a new decade and my wedding anniversary. Plus, it also clearly demonstrates real CHANGE, as in our City Daily Photo Theme for January 1, 2010. Taken from the cookbook Giada's Kitchen - New Italian Favorites, this inventive and entertaining (and gorgeous) chef, Giada De Laurentiis features page after page of the best regional food on earth...Italian! This meal was accompanied by glasses of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne, a brilliant combination if I do say so. Starting from fresh raw ingredients, including a half pound of shrimp (yummm!), everything was changed as if by magic into an entree Giada calls Linguine Shrimp and Lemon Oil. The main course and oh-so-delicious salad were made by my very own Head Chef, the exquisite Mrs. Tampa DP in celebration of the new year and 28 years of marriage. Every morsel of this meal, and every drop of champagne, was magnifique!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in the City Daily Photo January 1, 2010 Theme Day.