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Rex Sorgatz

The Grey Album is less great in retrospect

aug 5
2001

I Still Hate Florida

I'm finally back from Tampa/St. Petersburg. I can now safely say that, should Texas secede, Florida would be the worst place in America to land your spaceship. When you read that Tampa and St. Petersburg are the second- and fourth-biggest cities in Florida, respectively, it doesn't seem possible looking at their vacuous downtowns. But then you encounter The Sprawl. Sprawl not so much of living, but of non-living, of tourism. Sprawl so expansive that you wonder how they break up the communities. "Is this a suburb of Tampa?" "A suburb of St. Pete's?" "It's own city?" "Where does Orlando start?"

Okay, so some of my disgust of Florida is self-disgust. I'm dumb. I'm a really dumb Midwesterner. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Oh, hell, I'll just say it: I lost my glasses in the Gulf. Yup, went down for a dip, and swoosh, wiped those goddamn trendy Italian frames right off my stupid face. This turned a grumpy Rex even grumpier. Forced to find a new pair of glasses on a Saturday in Southwestern Florida, I found the only open frame shop: Lens Crafters in the mall. Miraculously, Mr. Yuptown Eurotrash found some wearable spectacles at what is essentially the J.C.Penney's of optical fashion.

The good parts of the trip? I truly enjoyed the Salvador Dali Museum. My persistent feeling that Dali is basically a charlatan was in no way rectified by seeing his life-work in perspective -- in fact, seeing his catch-a-trend late-work only re-emphasized it. But the Dali Museum did elevate one unconscious thought into consciousness: maybe it's the paranoid-critical method, but the Dali Museum made me admit that the museum store can be more fun than the museum. Sure, Dali is the example that makes this absurd consumerist claim seem possible (and it's probably more valid in Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum). But while looking at precise paintings of melting clocks did nothing for me cognitively, an actual melting clock seemed like something I should have. Should own. It even said something about me, and I don't necessarily mean that in some sorta banal Jeff Koons-ish material-identity way.

What else? Ybor city looked like it might've been okay, but didn't really hang out there. Maybe I was afraid of the cameras. Maybe I was afraid that it would just be another cool place devoured by yuppies and frat kids.

Oh, yeah, Poynter is cool too.

I'll try to put up some photos soon.




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