Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Kelly Day's Firehouse Tavern in Tampa.

I joined Pam Schwartz for a Pulse related interview in Tampa, Florida. After that interview, we decided to head to Ybor City for a drink. Pam claimed that chickens roamed the streets of Tampa which I found hard to believe. When we parked, there were indeed chickens clucking around the parking lot. The wild chicken population that currently resides in Ybor City are direct descendants of the chickens that lived in the backyards of the neighborhoods earliest residents over 100 years ago. Ybor City’s chickens crossing the streets have become a welcome sight for those who live, work and visit the area.

Kelly Day's Firehouse Tavern (1708 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605) is where we decided to park for a bit after the interview. Kelly Day's offers Caribbean-inspired eats in a rustic, tiki bar hut with occasional live music from rock bands to DJs. Formerly the Green Iguana, Kelly Day's claims to have the best burgers in Tampa along with 33 draft beers and 33 bottled beers. An acoustic guitarist was on stage offering classic cover songs. I couldn't resist a quick sketch despite the fact that we were probably here for just a quick drink.

It turned out however that Gasp! The Gasparilla Fringe Festival was going on this week and we couldn't resist seeing what quirky talent Tampa might have to offer. Orlando native Brian Feldman was at the Gasp Festival and I wanted to see how his performance art fit in to the Tampa Arts scene. Just exiting the parking garage was an adventure since there were hundreds of people doing yoga on the lawn in front of the museum where the festival was being held. The festival promised to be a kaleidoscopic circus of theater, dance, music, spoken word, visual art, soundscapes, cabaret, and more. 

In the lobby of the Tampa Museum of Art, Brian Feldman's "Skill Crane Kid" was set up. Brian was located inside one of the skill cranes that you might see at any tacky roadside attraction. Around him was packed plenty of plush toys. For a quarter, you could use a leaver to maneuver the crane and release the metallic jaws to try and retrieve a plush. I decided to try and get a plush Rubix cube. The crane lurched as I played with the joystick. Brain looked nervous that I might try and pluck him out of the machine. I had my eye on the prize however and aimed for the colorful cube. The jaws dropped on the cube and for a moment it seemed like the prize was won. As the chain lifted the jaws, gravity took hold allowing the cube to slip free of the limp clutches of the jaws. AAAArgh! So frustrating. Brian watched and shrugged his shoulders. 

As Pam and I walked away in defeat, Brian's dad suggested that I try my luck one more time. I was hesitant to be lured in again, I'm not someone who ever bets at a race. Brain's dad was insistent however, so I gave it one more try. The person who used the skill crane after me ended up grasping up the cube that I had been aiming for. Ugh! I have absolutely no luck. Despite that I put another quarter in not even thinking about what the prize should be. I considered bonking Brian but the metal jaws dropped without me even considering the target. They clasped around the head of a brown puppy plush and as the jaws rose up, once again the weak clasp started to slip. Brian's hand rose up out of the sea of plush toys and he kept the dog from falling back into the pit. He basically placed the plush in the prize door. I snatched the dog up from the machine and found that I had won a second prize, which was a triangular shaped plush poo.

Pam snuggled the puppy for the rest of the night as we explored the riverfront. The poo kept getting hidden in unexpected places. It has dropped from ceiling fan blades and now resides in the glove box of Pam's truck (for now). The dog has been named Gasp!, and he guards Pam's passenger seats in her truck, but the poo remains unnamed. Who names poo anyway?

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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