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PUBLISHER James Howard EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ray Roa
DIGITAL EDITOR Colin Wolf FOOD CRITIC Jon Palmer Claridge
CONTRIBUTORS John Allman, Jeffery C. Billman, Angelina Bruno, Paul Catala, Gabe Echazabal, Chris Fasick, Julie Garisto, LJ Hilberath, Erin Hughes, Alexandria Jones, Eliot Mayo, Peter Meinke, Nano Riley, Jennifer Ring, Melissa Santell, Cathy Salustri, eaWorld in February, rights SK West Eric Snider,animal Resie Waechter,
tion ................. 5 ory
aiming the practice of keeping wild stion ................. angerous. But even though public 5
INTERNS Chloe Greenberg, Christopher Cann
SeaWorld animal rights any don’t in seeFebruary, a parallel between the kind PHOTOGRAPHERS claiming the practice of keeping wild Nick Cardello, Ashley Dieudonne, Nicole nd the practice of displaying Abbett, animals dangerous. even though public DeFalco, Decker, Phil DeSimone, king for Kimberly tooBut much? Or isDave it time for a Toddsee Fixler, Brian Mahar, Tracythe May,kind Marlo Miller, many don’t a parallel between animals? Javier Ortiz, Jess Phillips, Michael M. Sinclair, Kelsey and the practice of displaying animals Walker, Chip Weiner, James Ostrand asking for too much? Or is it time for a t” animals? SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Anthony Carbone, Scott Zepeda
Music: Tampa Bay Blues Fest ........................... 40
MARKETING, PROMOTIONS AND
Music Week ................................................... EVENTS DIRECTOR 42
Weekend protests saw minimal police presence and were... peaceful.
Alexis Quinn Chamberlain 40 Music: review: Tampa Bay Blues Fest ........................... Concert Artic Monkeys .......................... 42
Demonstrators soldier on in the rain (and pepper spray), p. 11.
Music ................................................... 42 The ListWeek .......................................................... 46 STREET TEAM
Nate Lamb, Liz MacLean, Daniel Nolan, Concert review: Artic Monkeys .......................... 42 Movie reviews ..................................................... 63
Paola Otero, Jason Rivera, Shomy Rodriguez,
TheWill ListAstrology .......................................................... 46 Free ......................................... 64 Abbey Turner
EUCLID MEDIA GROUP
Free Will Astrology......................................... 64 Savage Love ...................................................... 69
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Andrew Zelman Puzzler ........................................................... 66 CHIEF OPERATING OFFICERS Savage Love ...................................................... Chris Keating, Michael Wagner69 VP OF DIGITAL SERVICES Stacy Volhein DIGITAL OPERATIONS COORDINATOR Jaime Monzon
ASTROLOGY....................... 35 SAVAGE LOVE .................... 36
EDITORIAL POLICY — Creative Loafing Tampa is a weekly newspaper covering public issues, the arts and entertainment. In our pages appear views from across the political and social spectrum. They do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher.
CROSSWORD ..................... 37
Creative Loafing Tampa is published by Tampa Weekly, LLC, 204 E. Henderson Ave. Tampa, FL 33602. The newspaper is available free of charge at locations throughout Tampa Bay and online at cltampa.com. Copyright 2020, Tampa Weekly, LLC.
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Movie ........................................................... reviews..................................................... 63 Puzzler 66
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SAY IT LOUDER: It’s time to ante up on our calls for change.
The march forward must lead to real forward progress. By Ray Roa
n Monday, the media and countless mourners filed in and out of a Houston church during a viewing for George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man murdered under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer who now faces seconddegree murder charges. Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked daily protests in cities across the world. For Minneapolis, it brought incendiary rioting. In Tampa Bay, protesters have been marching for nearly two weeks. Our neck of the woods saw looting (the worst of it happening in the University Mall area of Tampa). Teenagers’ faces met pepper spray. There’ve been possibly targeted arrests of event organizers. We’ve even seen the detention of journalists. But as Arielle Stevenson points out in her recap of her walk with St. Pete protesters (p. 16), the demonstrators have plans to do the damn thing every goddamn day. And as so many of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s photographers have shown us, most of the protesting has been peaceful and powerful in a way that we haven’t seen before. It finally feels like there’s change in the air, and as activists of all ages and races march in honor or George Floyd—all while demanding systemic change in the way America polices Black communities—Floyd’s friend Ortierre Lawson reminds us of a stark reality. “No one has ever walked in a black man’s shoes. No one has ever walked in anyone’s shoes. But a black man’s footsteps are hard,” Lawson told NPR. Lawson is an ordained minister, he’s educated and an ex-All-American football player. “If all of us were to walk in the store right now, you know they’re going to look at me first. Just about every black man I know have to watch
their back.” “Most people of other races—even of our own race, the other genders—try to tell us what we’re feeling and what we see,” Lawson added. “We as a country, we as a nation, need to understand and… respect the fact that you have not walked in these shoes, so you do not know our walk. But you can treat me as a human being. That’s the difference.” So we must acknowledge the difference, and making a difference is what this issue tries to address. As NPR’s Eric Deggans pointed out on p. 11, “few media outlets want to have these conversations outside of a crisis, when people are polarized and emotional.” He told CL that there’s a danger in trying to have complex, nuanced conversations at a time when feelings are raw because a huge injustice is in the air. So we didn’t try to solve the problem of racial violence against Black communities. Instead, we offered a history on it (p. 20), showed how protestors are fighting against it (photos on p. 8 and stories on p. 13 and 19), asked community members about action items, and opened two pages up to a local activist and journalist’s pointed argument for reforming Tampa’s police community review board (p. 14). Trying to address the issues that led to George Floyd’s murder is a complicated process, and our nation’s handling of it won’t ever be flawless. On Tuesday, Floyd was buried next to his mother. As his family seeks closure, we have to respect, and move forcefully through, the door his death opened. So many of us could never walk in the footsteps of Black America, but we owe it to the next generation to keep taking steps forward and marching on.
“We owe it to the next generation to keep taking steps forward.”
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PRESS CLUB SKYLER JUNE/PROPER HOUSE GROUP
INNER THOUGHTS: ‘I’m not sure what life, in any city you love, would feel like without having words on paper.’
Proper House founder Ty Rodriguez shares a strong bond with our altweekly. By Ty Rodriguez I have seen important words printed on paper for most of my life. Living in New York City and reading my daily fill from the Village Voice always made me feel like a New Yorker. I proudly went to four shows a week, and the Village Voice gave me an opportunity to plan out my week, work, life and love. There are few tangible gifts like news and information printed on paper. Ones that hold your coffee, care, attention and distraction. They can make you realize what you are missing or in many instances, what may be in store. I’m not sure what life, in any city you love, would feel like without having these words to live by so handy. Moving back to Tampa in the early 2000s was a culture shock for me. The pace, place, structure and attitude was a far cry from anything that I was used to. In the midst of my disarray, I found a familiar friend. I picked up my first Creative Loafing in the foyer of Mise en Place in 2003. At last, I had found what I was looking for. Music, food, events, insight, news and everything else that I was looking for to make me feel as if my new home actually had things happening in it. The look, feel, smell and ink on my finger tips made me realize that I was not too far away from my days in New York and the Village Voice that shaped me. Creative Loafing and I would end up sharing a bond that not many people may know. In
my young and adolescent years (I call them my 30s), I wrote and performed marriage ceremonies for close friends and family. One of these marriages was for a young woman named Taylor Eason. She was a bright, bubbly, breath of fresh air that I had met in her days of sipping wine in the bar at Mise. Eventually meeting her fiance and family, I quickly found out that this paper, Creative Loafing, was owned by her family. It was then that I started to understand why this paper was unique. Locally owned and operated, they put the people and subjects that they were writing about first because that’s what they did in their actual lives. Years later, I have seen this paper grow, evolve, change and elevate a medium in need of help. Creative Loafing continues to shed light on topics that need to be addressed, even if they are not popular. They continue to fight the good fight, one week at a time, by spreading the important message of what is happening in our city and what we can do to support it. I believe the words printed on the pages of CL are important, and that they are printed by good people, then and now. There should never be a time where this is not an option. To me, the voice that started to emerge when I first got back to Tampa has become the very fabric that makes Tampa unique and indistinguishable from any other city. Please help in keeping a piece of Tampa, stay in Tampa.
“CL made me feel as if my new home actually had things happening in it.”
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Keep on marching Photos by CL contributors
hursday’s exchange between protestors and police was the only real stain on a full week of Tampa’s peaceful protests. Demonstrations wound through downtown and Ybor City—even in the rain—over the last few days. Peep snaps from Michael M. Sinclair, Dave Decker, Javier Ortiz, Ashley Dieudonne and Leo Trevino. See all of them via photos.cltampa.com. —Ray Roa
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A ways to go
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Amplified voices need to carry for months and years to make change.
Only sustained energy will create systemic change. By Ray Roa
o the “protest the right way” crowd has finally seen that the shunned San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was indeed engaging in a passive and peaceful protest when he took a knee during the national anthem. But even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knows that he’s getting the memo extremely late. Two weeks ago, horrifying video showing the murder of George Floyd circulated online. In it, the 46-year-old Black man is killed while under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer who now faces second-degree murder charges. In the aftermath, the third precinct of Minnesota’s police department (where said officer and the three who accompanied him at Floyd’s execution) burned at the hands of rioters, whose looting and anger reflected the fire burning inside Americans of all races wholly fed up with militarized police forces and poor policing of the Black community. Brands, banks and foodie influencers started posting the social media activism hashtag du jour. Elected officials and local law enforcement knelt in solidarity with protesters. Being woke to the plight of Black Americans—all subject to two centuries of the residual effects of white colonialism—was in vogue. The staunchest Trump supporters in your life even started warming up to the idea that all lives, even blue ones, couldn’t start to matter until Black ones did. So what is a recovering Kapernick-hater supposed to do when their hearts are changing? That’s complicated. Support Black businesses? Can do. Share that “8 Can’t Wait” Instagram slide? Check. Participate in #BlackoutTuesday (without taking away from #BlackLivesMatter)? Got it. March in a protest or two? Of course, with a rebellious facemask on, too. But change is going to take
even more than that. Two weeks ago, NPR TV Critic and MSNBC contributor Eric Deggans reminded Creative Loafing Tampa Bay to be cognizant of the way the media—especially those in spot news mode since the election of Trump—rushes to stories like Floyd’s. Images of protests, some of which turned violent, still played into cable television’s habit of only covering issues about race and policing when it’s hot news; the coverage has, and always will, serve to keep your eyes on the screen. “There’s a lot of anger and passion. And then these outlets say, ‘Hey let’s talk about the most combustible subject in American history,’ which is how Black people are treated by police officers,” Deggans said. It feels weird and counterintuitive to hear it, but Deggans felt frustration in seeing Van Jones and CNN anchors shouting at the camera. After all, there were already protestors on screen expressing that rage. “What we need from people who are expert commentators is a way to channel that passion and energy into something constructive,” Deggans, who added that he’s just as outraged as every other Black person, said. So where do you start? Maybe it’s on social media, where you can stop sharing memes questioning the motives of looters since they are, in fact, separate from protestors. You might even start calling out the racist Twitter and Facebook posts by your third cousin twice removed. But Dr. Kelli S. Burns, Associate Professor at the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communication at the University of South Florida, told CL that some people aren’t willing to share positions for fear
of retribution from those who don’t agree while “others are willing to take a stand, even when they know they risk losing followers and maybe even those relationships.” And Burns isn’t totally convinced that the never-Kapernicks have had a change of heart. “In this political climate, many people, particularly older demographics, have already committed themselves to a position on a range of topics and, if they hold a strong position, will generally ignore any information that contradicts that position,” Burns added. “Therefore, they will be less likely to move away from their current opinion on a matter and even if they somehow do, probably unwilling to express their change of heart publicly.” OK, so maybe the change happens elsewhere. Scott Elliott, who’s been a voice of unity on community radio station WMNF 88.5-FM for 14 years, told CL that, through private conversations, he’s been able to open a few friends’ ears to the Jim Crow policies that’ve never gone away. He doesn’t condone violence or looting, and believes that some of it was probably provoked by alt-right agitators, but lauded the progress of New York’s potential “Amy Cooper” bill against false reporting of a crime and the re-examination of police force, that wouldn’t have been possible without the actions of protestors. The way Elliott speaks up for the voices of Black Americans like himself is by boycotting companies who donate to candidates who stoke the fires of hatred. He believes it’s possible for people to have a real change of heart, but thinks they should take it to the next level and vote for candidates who support policies that improve the lives of Black Americans. “Make your actions show for it when you go to vote in national and local elections,” Elliott said. But voter decision making is complex, according to Dr. Mary R. Anderson, a professor in the Department of Political Science and
“Make your actions show for it when you go to vote.”
International Studies at University of Tampa. “I don’t know if new BLM sympathizers will become party switchers in the 2020 election,” Anderson, told CL. She said there are so many other factors that go into a voting decision, and while Trump’s approval numbers are slipping, that doesn’t mean past supporters won’t back him come November. “Recognizing Kapernick was protesting political brutality and not the flag is important, but I don’t know if it will lead to a party switch in 2020,” Anderson said, adding that she doesn’t delve into horse race politics. She does, however, wonder if protesters hitting the streets over the last two weeks will actually show up in November. “It’s a turnout game. For Democrats to win in November, they don’t need new BLM sympathizers,” Anderson sadded. “They need those that are already sympathetic to the cause to turn out.” And even if a new energized flock of activists does win at the ballot box, the country, and Tampa Bay, will still have a lot of work to do if it wants to revamp policies that hold police accountable. Even Tampa Mayor Jane Castor— who’s come under fire as her six years as police chief become a liability when it comes to her ability to earn the trust of protestors—knows it. Last Friday, Castor opened a 35-minute press conference with a simple message: “We hear you.” She alluded to the outrage and stories of those who’ve been victims of racial injustice, and she spoke of the open hearts and minds of peaceful protestors. “I want everyone to understand that we hear that voice, but we also want that energy to continue on into fixing those systemic issues that have held down the Black and brown community for so long,” Castor said. “It’s not going to be easy. The problems didn’t arise overnight, and they’re not going to be fixed overnight, but if we come together as a community to address those issues and find real solutions, we will be able to lift our entire community up.”
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Tampa protesters endured pepper spray and staged a weekend of peaceful action.
n downtown Tampa last Thursday evening, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay photographer Ashley Dieudonne followed protesters as they marched, on the sixth straight day of action, from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and around downtown. Dieudonne was also near the I-4/I275 onramp near Perry Harvey Sr. Park where some protesters were hit with pepper spray. At one point, Tampa Police officer B. Scholer was running up behind protesters and spraying them from behind, says Dieudonne. An event organizer, Emadi Okwuosa, was also detained and charged with inciting a riot. Despite the pepper spraying, Dieudonne said the June 4 protests were mostly peaceful, and included an eight-minute moment of silence in honor of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who murdered on May 25 underneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Nearly three hours after our initial email to a city spokesperson the Tampa Police Department Facebook page left a comment on a CL Facebook post asking CL to “tell the full story.” “Protesters in the same group from the past several days again tried to enter the interstate. The female in one of your pictures swung an umbrella at one of our officers and as they were trying to make an arrest, the crowd ran at our officers in an aggressive manner. Officers used the spray to back them up,” the comment read. “Your headline should read, ‘Criminals attacking officers.’” Twitter video shows what appears to be the moment the “female” that “swung an umbrella at one of our officers” was taken down before being subdued by three officers. The next day, TPD released street and body cam videos showing arrest a 17-year-old protester who became knows as “umbrella girl.” On June 5, CL asked about whether or not it was overkill to have three officers subdue someone with an umbrella. “Yes, we anticipate many will think this,” Leneé said. “But had she really poked one of our officers with the end of that tip, could have caused serious damage. She was thrashing the umbrella at them. When she used it in the manner she did, it became a weapon.” More video shows a bystander being pepper sprayed. In the background, you can hear Okwuosa on a bullhorn telling everyone to “abort” and “follow me.” The crowd moved to a nearby parking lot and then towards N. Jefferson
Street. Joel Davis stood next to his box cargo trike as this unfolded, and he told CL he witnessed Okwuosa being “violently body slammed” by officers. Davis, who said he was “just supporting peaceful protests with water, snacks, resources, masks, gloves etc.,” said he hopped off his trike to try and get video of the takedown and was met with police officers who put shotguns (presumably loaded with non-lethal rounds) in his face while saying, “get the fuck out of here or I’m gonna shoot you.” “You can see the dude still pointing his fucking shot gun at me behind the closest cop,” Davis added in his text message exchange with CL. Davis said all of this unfolded about 15-20 minutes into the peaceful march. He said the crowd was trying to go back to Curtis Hixon when the protest organizer started to worry as he noticed people get separated. “I saw the cops pointing him out,” Davis wrote, alluding to Okwuosa. “They were trying to single him out. I told him he needed to run. As soon as he started to run those suv cruisers swarmed us. Probably 40-50 mph barely missed me on the trike.” Davis said the SUVs and cops surrounded Okwuosa. “He was standing upright with hands in the air, only a bullhorn hanging off his neck, and they rushed him and body slammed him. Several cops jumped on him,” Davis said. That’s when Davis tried to pull out his phone. “They ran at me with shotguns, put them directly in my face and starting screaming ‘get out of here mother fucker I’ll shoot you’ just screaming,” Davis added. Davis said he observed Okwuosa, earlier in the evening, addressing a crowd, and begging them to be peaceful, at Curtis Hixon before the march moved out of the park. “He said something to the effect of ‘everyone is watching, tonight they’re gonna see how peaceful we are and how violent the cops are,’” Davis said. “He then had a girl get up and pray for peace and protection and that we would be heard. 20 minutes later the cops started the violence. For no reason.” Tampa Bay Times reporter Josh Fiallo posted that the events described were “the only contentious moment between police and protesters on Thursday.” “Police presence has been minimal since, too,” Fiallo, who followed the protest all night, wrote.
By Ray Roa
EMADI SAYS: Emadi Okwuosa, one of a handful of emerging leaders of Tampa protests, on June 6, 2020. “Meanwhile, protesters have covered a ton of ground.” In an Instagram TV video posted the next morning, Okwuosa detailed some of what happened. Hes said it was disheartening that “700-1000” protesters showed up, “just fighting for equality fighting to be seen,” but ended up having the exchange with Tampa Police despite every effort to be peaceful. “Instead of listening to us, instead of opening your ears and saying, ‘Maybe all these people feel some type of way, maybe I’m doing something wrong,’ and instead you start by tear gassing and everybody with no warning.” The organizer then went on to say that the “umbrella” girl police described in its social media comment was walking at the front of the peaceful protest. “This girl is walking with her umbrella. The police officer grabs the umbrella, and she refuses to let go as she should. That’s her umbrella. Why are you assaulting this girl who is walking
peacefully?,” he said, adding that there was a struggle and the cops pulled her from the crowd and arrested her in front of everyone. “Four cops on a five-foot-five girl,” the organizer said. He then described how pepper spray was deployed to disperse the crowd, adding that he got it on his face. “Imagine this girl who’s laying in that pepper spray being handcuffed with four cops on her. Imagine a 17-year-old girl who was only there for a peaceful protest... I told everyone, it would be a peaceful protest. People took my word for that because it should have been a peaceful protest.” Photos from last weekend show Okwuosa being outfitted with a GoPro camera before leaving Curtis Hixon Park. Protests throughout the weekend, saw minimal police presence and were, you guessed it, peaceful. See extended coverage of these events via cltampa.com/news.
“Everyone is watching, tonight they’re gonna see how peaceful we are.”
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LOOK AWAY: Tampa Police deploy pepper spray on protesters on June 4, 2020.
An argument to revamp Tampa’s police community review board. By Kelly Benjamin
he massive protests sweeping the nation in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement have the power to be transformative. Just a week after protesters set fire to the police precinct where the killers worked, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council voted overwhelmingly to dismantle the police department. “We’re safer without armed, unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting black people.” said Kandace Montgomery, director of the Black Visions Collective. Against the odds, her group pushed to tear down what it sees as systems of oppression in the Twin Cities for years—it now appears on the verge of accomplishing that goal. The concept of dismantling or defunding the police is often misunderstood and seems like a pipe dream to some in a city like Tampa where the current mayor is a former police chief with three decades in the police force. “It really means cities should cut funding for military style weapons and surveillance that are prone to being abused,” James Shaw, Legal Panel Chair for the Greater Tampa Chapter of the ACLU told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “Defund the police is chantable shorthand for sophisticated policy to better public safety in our communities.” For example, In 2013 Camden, New Jersey scrapped its police department and reimagined it with a shift away from expensive police toys and over-policing tactics and toward addressing systemic problems within policing itself (although critics have documented that the change in overt policing gave way to a covert big brother
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surveillance state.) That approach precipitated a sharp decline in crime in the city for several years in a row. Tampa’s police department has taken a markedly different approach. The department ramped up militarization in part thanks to a $50 million federal security grant for the 2012 Repubican National Convention. A portion of that money went toward the purchase of chemical weapons, less-than-lethal ammunition, and an armored swat truck. Over $2 million was used to purchase surveillance cameras. Citizen oversight Five years ago, a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Tampa police had a pattern of targeting Black men for “Biking While Black.” The investigation said that in three years, Tampa police wrote 2,504 bike tickets; 80% of the tickets went to Black people. In response, a group of community leaders, clergy, and concerned neighbors came together to call for a Citizen Review Board of the Tampa Police Department. The coalition was dubbed Tampa for Justice. At the time, the anger in the community was bubbling over, which spurred a U.S. Justice Department investigation that eventually found what everyone already knew to be true: Laws were not equally enforced across the City of Tampa. If you were Black, you were more likely to get harassed and arrested by Tampa police, and this fact strained the relationship between the police and the community. Absolutely nobody
was shocked. In 2018, as she eyed a run at the mayor’s office, Castor called the citations a mistake. Like every police department, Tampa’s police department has issues. When it raided the house of Jason Westcott and murdered him over what turned out to be about $5 worth of weed in 2014, then lied about it, people should have been in the streets. When Arthur Green Jr. died while handcuffed while being sat on by a TPD officer while having a seizure in the middle of Central Avenue in Seminole Heights that same yearthen lied about it, people should have been in the streets. All of this occurred while Jane Castor was Chief of Police. These incidents, and others, should have weighed heavily into the mayor’s race. Instead they got swept under the rug. Tampa For Justice spent months collecting stories of residents from all walks of life, telling their experiences with Tampa Police. The coalition researched policing practices in other cities and reviewed the results of the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The information was presented to city officials along with recommendations that would promote building trust and respect between Tampa neighborhoods and the police, ensuring transparency and accountability of the police, and creating a citizen-led board that could review and oversee Tampa’s policing policies. After extensive conversations with the Tampa City Council in 2015, Tampa for Justice started gaining support for a Citizen Review Board (CRB) in which members would be appointed by each council member—that was much to the chagrin of the Tampa police union, which did everything in its power to monkey wrench the creation of the CRB (even at one point allegedly threatening City Council Chair
“The residents of Tampa demand and deserve reform.”
and sole Black Council member, Frank Reddick with a throat slashing gesture in the council chambers). Just as it looked like the CRB matter would be voted on and passed by the City Council, then Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn stepped in. Up to this point, Buckhorn had been highly dismissive of the idea, stating that he didn’t want the Black Panthers to have a say in how police conduct their business and other dumb shit like that. Suddenly, he had a change of heart and was open to the idea with one caveat: He was in control. He quickly usurped the momentum for the board and announced he would create his own CRB and that he alone would appoint the members. “Politics is a contact sport,” he told Laila Abdelaziz of Tampa for Justice on the day he made his announcement. “Why don’t you go get yourself a nice boyfriend to occupy your time.” As expected, the board Buckhorn created was a total sham. It was led by the police department with no independence. This CRB, which is still in place, can only review closed internal affairs files handpicked by the police. If the board disagrees with any particular police department decision, its only recourse is to dole out a slap on the wrist and a tepid “please try do a little better next time, OK?” Undeterred, Tampa For Justice continued the push for a real Independent Citizen Review Board and vowed to launch a ballot initiative. Unfortunately, the initiative stalled as most members of the coalition that had fought hard for months got burned out and turned to other work, including fighting back against America’s new fascist president. Next steps A lot of policy ideas are floating around during a national crisis that has ripped the scab off the wound that is decades of police violence against American communities of color. Each
idea deserves careful consideration and robust debate in our communities. Citizen Review Boards, when allowed to function independently, are effective bodies that help generate healthy police policies and foster trust between communities that are policed and the police officers entrusted to protect those communities. Tampa’s was purposely built to fail. “It’s time to recreate the Board.” Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes (a former TPD officer for more than two decades), told CL. Last week Gudes made a motion to revisit and restructure the police review board. “It has no power to address the way the police department operates,” Gudes added. “We need a board that works as intended so we can change the culture of law enforcement and gain the trust and respect from the community.” If Jane Castor and Chief Dugan really want to address the legitimate anger and pain being felt in our community as the marches against police violence rage on, perhaps not responding with more violence would be a good start. TPD should resist the temptation to fire upon peaceful protesters with chemical weapons and less-than lethal rounds as they did several times in the last week. TPD should also immediately drop all charges against the more than 60 protesters arrested on “unlawful gathering” charges last Tuesday. CL left a voicemail and text message for former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. We also emailed Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Chief Dugan. Only Dugan replied. Dugan wrote that the current CRB has a public forum during each meeting and continues to encourage input from the community. The next CRB meeting is scheduled for June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Dugan also pointed to a survey conducted by the CRB and the Policing Project at NYU; it went out to some citizens seeking input on the Tampa Police Department. A contract between NYU and the
City of Tampa says, “Total compensation all time and expenses under this Agreement shall not exceed $154,859.” CL asked TPD what the final cost was. “The results [were] presented to the CRB,” Dugan wrote. CL has also requested a copy of the results and a criteria of how respondents were selected. Dugan also said that an internal investigation is conducted by the Tampa Police Professional Standards Bureau each time an officer discharges a firearm. He confirmed that the only cases the CRB gets to look at are a list of closed internal reports handed over by TPD. Tampa for Justice previously asked that the CRB receive a report any time a TPD officer’s firearm is discharged. It also asked that the board have the ability to vote on whether to investigate each report and the ability to investigate any complaints that the CRB receives from the public. When asked whether he’d support a board staffed by an independent attorney, independent investigators, and administrative staff, Dugan responded that TPD is “open to any suggestions that would prove to reassure the community our agency is transparent.” On Wednesday, June 10, the Hillsborough County NAACP and ACLU are holding a joint press conference calling for the restructuring of the board so that it has the independence from TPD and investigatory powers as originally intended. “Reconfiguring the CRB would make a strong statement on the willingness of the police department to develop a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the community,” NAACP President Yvette Lewis told CL. “That relationship does not currently exist. It’s damaged. The residents of Tampa demand and deserve better.” Full disclosure: The author of this post was a member of Tampa For Justice.
“Dismantling or defunding the police is often misunderstood.”
SWORN TO PROTECT: Militarized police during an arrest on June 4, 2020.
cltampa.com | JUNE 11-17, 2020 | 15
Every goddamn day
LONG WALK: Sunday protests demanding St. Pete abolish the police.
Marching with St. Petersburg’s peaceful protesters. By Arielle Stevenson
You know they’re out there by the sound of the helicopters,” someone says. It’s true, protest actions this past week in St. Petersburg are audibly traceable anywhere near downtown by the distinct hum of the news helicopters overhead. The sound of the daily procession through the city demanding, “Black Lives Matter!” It’s Sunday afternoon, 2 p.m., maybe 200 people meet in front of St. Pete’s City Hall and march down First Avenue North to the recently minted $78.5 million dollar police station. City leadership, if present, is not obvious. “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Protesters are peaceful, they hand out cold bottles of gatorade and water, everyone wears a
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mask. Hand sanitizer and granola bars are plentiful. People hold signs that say: Stop Killing. Defund the police. Say his name. ACAB. “Who’s streets? Our streets!” Tuesday afternoon, heat rises from First Avenue North’s traffic-less road as protesters march from the police station and turn south down 16th Street. Born and raised in St. Pete, this is 25-year-old Muriel Thomas’s first protest action. “We just want our voices heard,” she tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “Anyone of us could be the next victim. I just got tired of seeing that.” St. Pete’s police chief Anthony Halloway and Mayor Rick Kriseman went outside to speak with protesters for the first time Tuesday afternoon after four days of marches.
“I see where he’s coming from,” Muriel says of Holloway, “But at the same time, I do believe that peacefully is the way for us all. And that means them, too.” News helicopters follow the group. Cars join behind, traffic slows so protests may proceed. Derby babes skate through the march’s edges, holding signs, chanting, “If we don’t get no justice, we don’t get no peace!” Cynamon Thomas, a local protester who’s Native American Apache, is here to stand in solidarity. “My people have been put down for hundreds of years and subjected to genocide,” she tells CL. “I stand with them as an indigenous person in America, we need to abolish the police state.” At night things seem to get less peaceful and the official record of information from the city and it’s police department seem to be less trustworthy. In the morning on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook, people share videos of
protesters silent on their knees suddenly having to run from smoke bombs from the cops in St. Pete. People screaming as chaos ensues and cops descend in what feels like surreal footage. Police say its protesters provoking, protesters say that’s some bullshit. “We’ve been peaceful for four days,” says Cynamon. Late Sunday night there was a brief barrage of smoke bombs, flashbangs, and nonlethal rounds. She points to a deep red mark on her arm, “that’s from one of the bullets ricocheting. Luckily, I was on my roller skates.” “No justice!, No peace!,” the protesters say. A Black man in acid wash jeans and an open black silk-robe looking shirt with white birds printed on it runs through the crowd with a bullhorn, his voice and energy seemingly endless. Terron Gland, 31, started helping organize daily peaceful protests this week after George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police. Peaceful daily actions are the goal. Montgomery’s Bus
“Montgomery’s bus boycott lasted 381 days.”
slices. Terron’s been hit by a car during the protest earlier that day, a woman in a white Mercedes put her foot on the gas pedal as he was in front trying to get her through the march. She hit Terron and sped off. Police wouldn’t take a report, he says. It took an hour for a medic to come check him. “It wasn’t that bad,” he says. “I wish those motherfuckers would come over here and do their job, that’s all.” “We got it on video,” Terron says. “Trust me, they’ll be hearing about it.” It’s sunset and a group of 100 or so protesters from 34th Street join the group already outside the police station, cheering, chanting: “Who’s lives matter? Black lives matter!,” say the protesters. Everyone gathers on the police department’s exterior. Each person laying face-first on the ground with their arms behind their backs for the nine minutes David Chauvin had his knee to Floyd’s neck, killing him. There’s no sounds but the helicopter above and a single bird chirping. When everyone rises, their voices join: “Say his name, George Floyd! Say her name, Breonna Taylor!” One or two herbal cigarettes are lit. "The cops ain’t coming out here anyway,” as a dude nearby puts it between sweet and heavy puffs. Pinellas Park’s Joker GangGang, the tattooed Joker look alike rapper, takes selfies with protesters. Cops have traffic stopped at each intersection along First Avenue North heading east, crotch rockets flank the march just in case. “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA!” Inching towards the “nouveau-riche” St. Pete, those looking down from balconies above protesters marching downtown don’t cheer. Cellphones are held up quietly in response, bodies stand motionless. None rush to bang pots and pans in support from the plentiful new high rise condos that start at the low 400K range. “Hands up!,” protesters say. “Don’t shoot!” Ty, 25, remembers going to immigration actions with her mother in Ft. Myers as a kid. She was marching Monday when the march greeted snowbirds and tourists along Beach Drive. “You should’ve seen these old white ladies on Beach Drive,” Ty, who would not give a last name because she works at a big cofffee chain, says. “If they’d been wearing pearls, they would’ve been clutching them!” Protesters take a knee on Beach Drive, restaurant patios are flush with families, few masked, mostly looking on in confusion. A shitty white dude walks through the protesters who are kneeling silently, peacefully and says to them, “I want to throw up, this is disgusting, he didn’t mean to do it.” “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Racist cops have got to go!”
Boycott lasted 381 days, he notes. “Black people are being peaceful, and I plan these actions during the daytime purposefully to keep them peaceful,” Terron says. “I wanna see solidarity from the community, from police, legislators and local officials.” Tuesday’s meeting with Kriseman and Holloway only illustrated to Terron how much daily marches are needed. “They came out and kneeled with us, but I don’t really think they care about our community,” he said. “So we’ve got to get out here everyday and show them every day. It took four days and we finally got the chief and fucking mayor to talk to us.” His advice to those in the community is simple: “Get out here now, especially black people,” Terron says. “White people already out here, if we don’t get our own skin color out here then nothing’s gonna change.” The march goes down 16th Street, picking up people along the way, stopping traffic past John Hopkins Middle, eliciting support from car horns, neighbors and businesses near Campbell park. Stopping at 15th Avenue South to kneel, the sister of one of the three girls that died in 2016’s high speed car chase takes a moment to collect herself. She holds a banner with the three girls’ faces on it. “Ashaunti Butler, Dominique Battle and Lanaiya Miller were killed by the police. They stole a car, but they were killed by police and now they don’t want to do nothing about it,” she says, her voice breaking. “15, 16 and 16. They gotta stop.” “When are we gonna do this? Every goddamn day!,” the protesters say. The march continues, horns honk in support that weren’t honking north of Fifth Avenue S, before. The guys working at Out Dat Doe Car Sales, cheer from the fenced car lot. Motorcycles rev their engines as the march turns east down 18th Avenue S. Protesters march past the Uhuru House and Enoch Davis Center as two little boys on a pink four-wheeler ride past pumping their fists in support. “No Trump!,” protesters say. “No KKK! No racist USA!” Local poet and writer DJ grabs the bullhorn at the intersection of 18th Avenue S. “When I was little, my mom used to tell me how the cops arrested my uncle,” he says, “...my father, my grandfather. They arrested everyone who looked like me. I’m tired of being looked at weird, I’m tired of being looked at like a thug.” “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho!,” cry protesters. “These racist cops have got to go!” It’s evening, Old Northeast Pizza’s delivery dude drops off a big stack of pizzas to protesters waiting outside of the police station. Each box has the letters, “ACAB,” inscribed on the inside. Folks cheer and take big bites of steaming hot
HOUSE CALL: Sunday protests land in front of St. Petersburg Police headquarters. “Get off your phones,” Terron calls to the sidewalk gawkers. “Get out in the streets with us.” He warns that while breaking windows might soothe some souls, “You have every right but everyone is filming and you’re probably gonna get got.” The march goes up to Fifth Avenue N., back towards Central Avenue and then the police station. The protest is peaceful still, this reporter isn’t present for what happens next but two reporters are detained that evening, Tampa Bay Times reporters Jay Cridlin (in St. Pete) and Divya Kumar (in Tampa) are zip-tied by police even though press-badged and recognized by law enforcement. More videos of smoke, screams, late night confusion. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” Wednesday afternoon, city leadership in St. Pete and Tampa make apologies, tell stories meant to warm hearts. They say they stand in solidarity with national movements. They call for peace. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
Thursday in St. Pete’s Old Northeast neighborhood, Black Crow is reopening for the first time in weeks and last night’s action is the talk of sidewalk conversation. “The cops kept creeping forward and got really close and we had to keep moving” says a dude named Eric that was there, “At some point someone said that anyone at risk, with kids or pregnant needed to leave and the group split.” Protesters are adapting as the police show their cards. Thursday protests stayed mostly away from the police station. Peaceful protests moved through Old Northeast’s rainy brick roads and down Fourth Street. No arrests were made. As of Friday, all was calm in the march south down Fourth Street towards The Chattaway, and folks were dancing in the street between rain bands. For now, the both police and protesters are locked in step with each other, and our community is intertwined alongside, and it ain’t ending anytime soon. How often are they gonna march? “Every goddamn day!”
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Counter-protester with swastika tattoo tased at Brooksville peace walk. By Christopher Cann
really that showed how mob mentality changes us,” he wrote. Planned speakers included Haddon, Hernando County NAACP Chapter President Paul Douglas and Candidate for U.S. Representative of the 11th District of Florida Dana Cottrell. An unexpected highlight, which has since been viewed online over 9,000 times, came when an unplanned speaker, Florida State University student L’Oréal Meshay, took to the microphone on the steps of the county court and addressed the group of counter-protesters chanting “all lives matter,” by saying, “You are right all lives do matter. You are damn right, all lives matter. And when you say that all lives matter, my brown, black life matters just the fucking same.” After speakers wrapped up with a moment of silence for George Floyd, a 46-year-old, Black Minnesota man who was killed by a white officer that knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, protesters walked silently to Hernando Park. Demonstrators placed signs and flowers at the base of the courthouse steps as they walked away leaving behind phrases in thick ink like “Black Lives Matter,” “I can’t breath,” and “Hopeful for Hernando.” Once in the park, protesters began to form groups based on where their cars were after being recommended to do so by local officers, who said that counter-protesters were still lingering in the area. Some Hernando County Officers personally escorted groups of demonstrators to their vehicles scattered across downtown Brooksville. Haddon, who initiated the peace walk, said that he is running for local government in 2022. In addition, he said a coalition of young, local leaders who want to reshape the county has formed, many of which attended the peace walk. “We want change,” he said. Haddon hinted towards the idea of the peace walk as a starting point for change in Hernando County. Hernando Country still has deep reminders of its racist past, like lynching a record number of black people according to a report by the Equal Justice Initiative, and physical relics like the “hanging tree” and a Confederate statue—both found on the lawn of the County Court. At Friday’s demonstration, the tree rumored to have once been used to hang people provided shelter from the rain to more than 200 protesters below its thick, overarching branches.
“Howell started an altercation and pulled a machete from his pants.”
olice acted as the barriers between protesters and counter-protesters at Friday’s Peace Walk For Black Lives in Brooksville. Over the course of the demonstration, which began at 3 p.m., protesters walked from Hernando Park to the 1913-built County Court and back again. The event ended at 7 p.m., and as demonstrators began leaving, 34-year-old David Howell started an altercation and pulled a machete from his pants, according to a statement released by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Officers then tased Howell, who ran and refused to drop the machete, despite orders to do so. He was arrested and is facing charges for resisting arrest without violence and improper exhibition of a deadly weapon. This was the only instance of escalation beyond verbal name-calling that occurred at the peace-walk. But Howell, who has a swastika tattooed on his chest, was not alone in his counter-protesting. Less than 50 counter-protesters stood across N. Main Street in downtown Brooksville and attempted to drown out speakers that were exchanging stories, experiences and advice over an amplifier placed on the steps of the Beaux-Arts inspired County Court. The peace walk was started by Isaiah Haddon, 20, who was inspired after attending a protest in Tampa; he said he left before things became violent. Haddon worked with local churches, businesses and leaders to create the event aimed to encourage a peaceful dialogue. In addition, he collaborated with local police, especially after posts threatening to kill protesters surfaced online from inside a private Facebook group called “Defend Hernando County.” “I didn’t think I could promise safety to those in attendance without getting advice from some trusted members of the force,” he wrote in an email to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Haddon wrote that before the event started, he and Mitchell Winters, a 23-year-old who helped in the planning of the event, talked with a few of the counter-protesters, one of whom was a musician with a deep love for Johnny Cash. “It was honestly really nice,” he wrote. But, he wrote when the event started “it was like they never met.” “While speaking, we were called the N-word, the phrase ‘Only White is Right’ was shouted at one point and they quite literally said things about some of our speaker’s mothers that I don’t wish to repeat. It was a lightswitch moment
SMALL TOWN STANCE: Protesters at the Brooksville Peace Walk.
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THREE SIMPLE WORDS: Folks of all races can say it.
America’s long history of racial violence. By Jason Old
t’s hard to think of the death of George Floyd as an isolated instance when looking at how seamlessly it fits into the long history of systemic and institutionalized racism in the United States. While this is a daily reality for the African American community, many white Americans are perhaps unaware of the long history of discriminatory policies and racist behavior that disproportionately affects people of color. In order to historically contextualize the longstanding racism that is so pervasive in American society, one must first understand post-Civil War America. Placed within the longer history of racial violence, the recent death of George Floyd is no longer an isolated anomaly, but rather another example of the long-standing institutionalized racism established in the 19th
century that continues to galvanize American society through the present. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, and with the Southern states once again part of the United States, Southern Democrats proceeded to resist any attempt at integrating emancipated slaves into their America. For white Southerners, the end of slavery did not mean any inherent change in their social structure. This was demonstrated most clearly with the South’s overwhelming repudiation of the Freedmen’s Bureau (1865-1872), a government agency that was established by Congress to help millions of former black slaves in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Freedmen’s Bureau’s goal of integrating freed slaves into American society was met with
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so much resistance that President Ulysses S. Grant even considered annexing the Dominican Republic to send all African Americans there. Additionally, Black Codes greatly hampered African Americans freedoms by forcing them into labor contracts with white owners. Choosing not to do so would land them in jail, thereby forfeiting their rights as freed men of color. Racial tensions were further exacerbated by the formation of the secret social fraternity known as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Tennessee during that same time. As this organization grew in popularity through the 19th and later 20th century, their uniforms concealed their identity, providing them with anonymity and the perfect opportunity to commit unimaginable and wide-spread atrocities against people of color, or anyone else they deemed inferior or moral deviants. The KKK quickly became a paramilitary white supremacist force, threatening the lives of African
Americans. In some cases, Klansmen removed their masks, committing these atrocities in broad daylight, as there were no enforceable repercussions against racial violence. They were subsequently deemed a terror organization, prompting the Grant administration to pass the Enforcement Act of 1871 (also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act) in an attempt to curtail the further spread of racial violence. This attempt was short-lived, as the violence continued to break out across the South as other paramilitary groups like The White League and Red Shirts emerged. The Klan resurfaced in full force during the Woodrow Wilson administration (1913-21), and with the 1915 premier of “The Birth of a Nation,” a silent epic drama film that glorified the Ku Klux Klan and demonized African Americans. With the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the “Redemption of the South” put Southern Democrats at the helm of policy making across
“The KKK quickly became a paramilitary white supremacist force.”
riots in 1992 that rocked the nation. However, instead of the national discourse and the media focusing on systemic racism, the attention was directed towards the riots, thereby effectively silencing Black voices and quelling Black agency. For the African American community, there seems to be no permissible way to effectively express their grievances, even nonviolently. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players who stood in solidarity with him provide a more recent case in point. His nonviolent protest to the national anthem in 2016, an anthem that for him embodies a legacy of slavery, institutionalized racism, and white dominance, was met with harsh criticism by the press and those who felt threatened by him exercising his right to free speech. While white Southerners continue to brandish the confederate flag as a mark of national pride, Kaepernick was ostracized and alienated, as his peaceful protest was considered un-American and unpatriotic. Reframing this peaceful protest as an attack on national identity (i.e. the flag) is indicative of the unfettered power of white elite knowledge production and their ability to control the national narrative. Echoes of 19th century Klan terrorism rang eerily similar with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young African American male who was executed in broad daylight on February 23, 2020 in Glynn County, Georgia by two individuals with white supremacist proclivities. While there have been innumerable examples of unthinkable atrocities committed against the African American community at the hands of radicalized white supremacists since 1865, Americans are now faced with another tragic race-related event: the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd’s unjustifiable murder is yet another example of the long-standing racism and cultural domination that is so intricately sewn into the fabric of American society. How can we move beyond the galvanizing racism and hatred that is so ubiquitous in American society? While the Black community once again mourns the loss of one of its members due to police brutality, this should also be a call to action for white Americans to educate themselves of the long history of oppression, subordination, and discrimination against minorities; to stand in solidarity with the African American community; and to demand a better America for all. An America that eschews the centuries-long policies of racial domination and subordination. An America that rejects the exploitative economic model that Martin Luther King Jr. described as “socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for everyone else.” An America that embraces diversity. And finally, an America that prioritizes racial equality and punishes racial injustice. That would undoubtedly make America great—not “again,” but for the first time in its history.
“Demand a better America for all.”
the U.S. South once again. This “redemption” served to reunite the South in their attempt at undermining equality, and Southern policy makers wasted no time legislating and enacting discriminatory policies intended to limit Black participation in the political process. Many of these policies and subsequent Jim Crow laws— laws legislated by white southerners at the end of the Reconstruction Period designed to encode racial segregation—served to disproportionately disenfranchise people of color by keeping white and black people separate from one another and endow a sense of inferiority amongst African Americans that reverberated for generations. Enshrining segregation into law in 1896, the court case Plessy v. Ferguson declared that segregation in public spaces was constitutional as long as both spaces were equal in quality (i.e. separate but equal). Not only were African Americans unable to sit next to whites or use the same facilities, but voter suppression laws and mob-enacted lynching were utilized to rob African Americans of their voice and keep them from acting out. The Brown v. The Board of Education court case in 1952-54 would make segregation in public schools unconstitutional. With Jim Crow laws being enforced until 1965, it was arguably the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s that brought about a small measure of social reform. These social reforms, however, did little to ameliorate the abject poverty and mitigate the socioeconomic misery plaguing the African American community. The plight of the African American community was eloquently articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His diatribes and sermons condemned the racist policies in America that subordinate people of color and the exploitative capitalist economic model of the United State that locks them into a perpetual cycle of poverty. In a speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Board in 1967, King decried the “evils of capitalism” as being “as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.” King saw that the poverty engrained in many communities was the result of decades of racist policies and sought direct government action and relief to rectify these issues. This is evidenced in the Poor People’s March he was working on at the time of his death on April 4, 1968. The struggle for equal rights would continue for decades to come. On March 3, 1991 Rodney King, a black man, was brutally beaten with batons for 15 minutes by the Los Angeles Police Department. King had been on parole for robbery, and fled and resisted arrest in a high-speed chase. Once apprehended, King was met with a disproportionate level of force. Nevertheless, the perpetrators were acquitted and went unpunished. The indiscriminate and unnecessary beating of Rodney King, along with the lack of justice for his perpetrators, set off a series of
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The guardrails of democracy have been slowly eroded rather than eviscerated.
espite the recent proliferation of memes, the early 20th-century novelist Sinclair Lewis probably never said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” But he would have endorsed the sentiment. Watching Hitler’s rise to power in Europe while the antisemitic Father Charles Coughlin and the swaggering, dictatorial populist Louisiana Senator Huey “The Kingfish” Long ascended in the U.S., Lewis cobbled together a dystopian near-future for his novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” which envisioned a Kingfish-like politician winning the presidency on promises to lift up the Forgotten Men—the white working class—and installing a totalitarian regime wrapped in Americana, including a Gestapotype force called the Minute Men. Before Lewis’s antagonist, Buzz Windrop, took office, liberals fretted about his autocratic tendencies, but their concerns were deemed alarmist—a fascist dictatorship couldn’t happen in America. This was a pervading sensibility in the mid-’30s. In October 1935, the month Lewis’s novel was published, the newspaperman William Randolph Hearst brushed aside anxieties about creeping fascism. That word, he argued, was merely a pejorative aimed at patriots: “Whenever you hear a prominent American called a ‘Fascist,’ you can usually make up your mind that the man is simply a LOYAL CITIZEN WHO STANDS FOR AMERICANISM.” “It Can’t Happen Here,” which quickly became a best-seller, was a warning about that complacency. What Lewis understood was that there is nothing magical about the Constitution. The document itself has no power. It binds the country only so long as we agree to its tenets— that there should be three separate but equal branches of government; that there should be freedom of speech, religion, and press; that all people are guaranteed equal rights under the law, and so on. Our democracy is undergirded by norms more fragile than we’d like to think. Huey Long was assassinated in September 1935, and his planned bid for the Democratic nomination never materialized. FDR was reelected, and the liberal world order remained intact. Within a decade, Hitler was dead and fascism was defeated. Eighty-one years and one month after its debut, “It Can’t Happen Here” became popular
again. Within a week of Donald Trump’s election, the book sold out on Amazon. There were significant differences between the fictional Windrop and the stranger-than-fiction president-elect— Windrop was a quasi-socialist—but there were more than a few similarities, too: Windrop reveled in big rallies. He had a propaganda machine that sought to invent its own reality. He made direct appeals to racial animus, scapegoating Blacks and Jews for the country’s ills. And liberals had spent months before the elections fretting about his illiberal tendencies, their concerns dismissed as alarmist. Upon taking office, Trump didn’t immediately imprison dissenters or dissolve states or label Congress advisory, as Windrop did. But he’s shown an affinity for autocrats. He’s expansively wielded executive power, like when he diverted military funds to a border wall under the guise of a national emergency. And he’s often blustered like an authoritarian, even when he didn’t follow through. Over the last three-and-a-half years, the guardrails of democracy have been slowly eroded rather than eviscerated, like the proverbial frog in boiling water. Amid the constant chaos of the Trump administration—the Mueller probe, the Twitter bellicosity, the impeachment and Trump’s recriminations—we became inured to these encroachments on the rule of law and numb to statements and deeds that would have generated weeks of outrage in any prior administration but barely register now. (The president has been relentlessly pushing a baseless conspiracy theory that a media critic is a murderer, and it’s little more than background noise.) Throughout history, the political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have written, authoritarians try to do three things: capture the referees, sideline key players, and change the rules. Trump has done all three: He’s tried to capture the referees by purging his administration of the disloyal, most recently inspectors general who conducted investigations he didn’t like. He’s sought to sideline key players by intimidating the media, including by bullying the Post Office to charge Amazon more because he has a grudge against the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. And he’s tried to change the rules by claiming that efforts to expand voter access are rigged against him and having Attorney General William Barr game
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By Jeffrey C. Billman
IS THIS THING ON? Trump on June 1, 2020, outside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. the justice system for his allies. But two recent events have put this squarely into focus. The first came on May 28, when Trump signed an executive order targeting social media platforms because one of them dared to (meekly) fact-check one of his false statements. (Sideline key players? Check. Change the rules? Check.) Two days earlier, Twitter had appended a note to two tweets directing people to accurate information about voting by mail, which set the president off. The next day, the U.S. eclipsed 100,000 COVID deaths, which he didn’t deign to recognize; he did, however, promise an executive order reining in Twitter for its offense. The order, likely unconstitutional, seeks to treat social media platforms that regulate speech in any way as publishers rather than content hosts, making them liable for whatever their users post. (The irony is that, under that
standard, Twitter would likely have to ban the president.) This is, in short, the president using the federal government’s regulatory apparatus to force private companies to allow him to spread propaganda and disinformation during the upcoming campaign. The second, of course, is when Barr had federal agents use pepper spray and rubber bullets to clear legally assembled peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Square so that the president could stage an awkward photo op with a Bible in front of a boardedup church. This, just after he pledged to sic the U.S. military on unruly cities, because he is “your president of law and order.” It’s that last scene that brought out the Sinclair Lewis memes. Perhaps it’s too much to call it fascism, even if it’s cloaked in pseudopatriotism and holding a Bible aloft. But it doesn’t feel like a healthy democracy, either.
“Our democracy is undergirded by norms more fragile than we’d like to think.”
Shit Happened FRIDAY 05
MONDAY 08 ASHLEY DIEUDONNE
A counter-protester, 34-year-old David Howell, who has a swastika tattooed on his chest, started an altercation and pulled a machete from his pants, at a Brooksville peace walk. The Nazi was tased, bro.
Ybor City Irish Pub puts BLM support messages on its boarded up windows after a co-owner goes on a social media tirade against protestors. He might want to research the socialist politics of the guy his bar’s named after.
Tampa Bay Aldis are selling a full-face snorkel that could certainly help protect your face in various situations, like, maybe when you’re just in the kitchen making tea and something goes wrong with a kettle. And then maybe some pepper sprays everywhere.
Last month, a fire destroyed an athletics storage shed housing gear for Tampa’s Howard W. Blake High School football team, but Gronk says he’s going to replace it all. I can’t wait to buy that guy a beer. St. Petersburg tattoo shop Fredo Ink & Co. offers to cover up any racist tattoo for free, no questions asked. Just because your ex was a racist doesn’t mean you can get their name inked over though.
Read about more shit happening in real time via cltampa.com/news.
cltampa.com | JUNE 11-17, 2020 | 23
24 | JUNE 11-17, 2020 | cltampa.com
RESTAURANTS RECIPES DINING GUIDES
Chef Jeannie Pierola on Edison renovation, personal pandemic struggles.
cclaimed chef Jeannie Pierola was riding high as she celebrated the new year. Her new restaurant, Counter Culture, had just opened and the food cognoscenti were buzzing. Her flagship, Edison: Food + Drink Lab, was so busy that there was no good time to begin a long-planned renovation; new stoves sitting in storage for nearly a year would just have to gather more dust. And business was steady at Swigamajig, her casual Sparkman Wharf dive bar and fish kitchen. On March 9, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s 4.5 star rave review for Counter Culture was posted online, but by the time the print issue with her smiling visage on the cover in crisp chef’s whites hit the streets everything changed. “We closed on March 18 (her birthday) but our business,” tells CL while her pitch rises as she elongates a lilting word, “literally . . . fell apart on the 10th or 11th. We had to lay off 130 people; we had three restaurants go to zero income in 24 hours.” Unfortunately, Pierola also reports that despite having insurance to cover losses from a government mandated shutdown, she’s having to file suit after a quick, blanket denial of her claim. She barely got started with the peak season, which runs from February to Mother’s Day, and calculates the losses at over $600K. Sadly, Chef Pierola is not alone. The statistics are not pretty. The National Restaurant Association says two out of three hospitality industry employees have been laid off or furloughed, totaling more than 8 million workers. Four in 10 restaurants are closed with an expected loss of $240 billion in 2020. TV celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern predicts that without significant intervention, the pandemic is a 60-80% extinction event. A federal restaurant stabilization project is the key. “We need to keep them open for what is going to be an awful recession or a depression. It’s going to be a long time before consumer confidence is there,” Zimmern warns. “PPP is an eight-week band-aid for an 18 month problem. At a minimum, the restaurant industry needs
an extension to 24 weeks.” He notes that banks and airlines have been saved by bailouts and that there are 500K independent restaurants generating nearly a trillion dollars in sales in America, representing 4% of GDP—only the U.S Defense Department is a bigger employer. “We want recognition as an industry,” Zimmern adds. Today the entire ecosystem which restaurants support—the farmers, producers, distributors, local communities, and others—is facing a severe crisis. The local industry, however, sticks together. Pierola reports that “I’m on a group call with about 30 chefs and restaurateurs from the area. You just hear them echoing the same thing. Everybody’s freaking out; it’s been a really tough journey.” The Restorative, which I profiled in April, reports that business has slowed as more Dunedin restaurants opened, but it is now seating some diners and is confident that, combined with the takeout menu, it will pull through. Pierola says Counter Culture’s “takeout was slow starting, but people are embracing it. It’s getting employees back to work and that feels good.” Pierola is lucky that the dining room at Counter Culture is the “polar opposite” of Edison and says, “The tables are spread out. It’s very easy in the dining room to put people six-feet apart.” Plus, she adds, that “people are gravitating toward the patio for sure and they’re definitely drinking!” Even so, she’s only been able to re-employ about half of the pre-pandemic staff. Ever the optimist, she reports that “we’ve been planning a remodel at Edison since probably a year-anda-half ago. We never had the downtime. It’s so weird that it took a freaking pandemic to free us up to do it.” The shutdown presented an opportunity to implement the plan. “I can’t say enough about our landlord. He’s really invested in helping us get open. I can’t wait for people to see what Edison’s gonna look like; we are really refreshing the entire space,”
By Jon Palmer Claridge
BRAIN FOODIE: Chef Jeannie Pierola of Edison, Counter Culture and Swigamajig. Pierola says, adding that the back door at Edison has been turned into a full patio. “The furniture comes tomorrow. I’m ready to slow roll it.” Edison’s capacity is normally 140 people. “If we can do 40 to 50 people on the weekends that will keep us going,” Pierola explains. “The real game plan is just surviving and getting to the other side. I feel very blessed that all of our landlords are trying to be helpful. All we can do now is be kind and patient. I’m not known for a great amount of patience. Survival is a mental test.” The economics of running a restaurant are an amorphous puzzle. “It requires discipline and an awareness of history of how your sales work,” Pierola says. Sadly, there’s no history for a pandemic. Slow is 30% and 50% is survivable. Full tilt gives you some money to put away to get through
the summer. “It’s otherworldly to recognize that all over the globe people are going ‘there’s this virus’ . . . what do we do?,” Pierola asks. Even as the Bay area celebrates limited reopenings, it must be mindful of how a pandemic unfolds. “The vast majority of what’s going to happen is yet to come,” warns Michael Osterholm, esteemed University of Minnesota epidemiologist who predicted the current situation as early as January 20. “We’re going to have a lot of additional interaction with this virus that we’re not gonna want to have.” Support our local restaurants, but as you do please show respect for others and wear a mask. Wash your hands often, especially before and after a public meal. And be vigilant to keep physical distance to protect yourself and others.
“It’s been a really tough journey.”
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MOVIES THEATER ART CULTURE
The joy of Pride
St. Pete Pride’s parade is canceled, but the art show goes on at Mize Gallery.
s you’ve probably heard, St. Pete Pride canceled the parade this year due to COVID-19. Echeverry, Cole Foust, Jay Hoff, Chad Jacobs, But what about all those satellite events? Lucky LeRoy, Diran Lyons, Cake Marques, Ever since Chad Mize opened his new gallery Michael McGrath, Spencer Meyers, Chad Mize, in St. Petersburg’s historic Uptown neighbor- Juliane Montoya, Andrea Pawlisz, Kurt Piazza, hood in 2018, I’ve looked forward to his annual Gabriel Ramos, Matthew Schlagbaum, Justin Pride art show. It started with “Pride and Joy” Sears, Dylan Todd, and Angela Warren. About in 2018, which I affectionately described as full half of these artists, recruited by the show’s coof glitter and rainbows. That curator, Kurt Piazza, have never same year, John Gascot curated shown at Mize Gallery before. dual LGBTQ-themed arts show “I was thrilled when Chad at Cider Press Café and Emerald asked me to co-curate his annual Pride show,” Piazza Bar in St. Pete. Also in 2018, the Morean Arts Center hosted its said in a statement. “He was first pride-themed pop-up art show. It was kind familiar with my background as a curator and of a banner year for LGBTQ artists in St. Pete. wanted me to bring some of the LGBTQ+ artIn 2020, with COVID-19 cases feeling spiky, ists I’ve worked with and who haven’t shown at the field’s narrowed to a single Pride art show Mize before. Likewise, as an artist who identi(that we know of): Chad Mize’s “Don’t Ask. Do fies as LGBTQ+, he also invited me to show my Tell.” own work.” While many galleries struggled to host Finally, after three months of showing work art shows online under Florida’s stay-at-home online, Mize feels like he’s ready to host “Don’t orders, MIZE Gallery had a virtual presence Ask. Do Tell.” with weekend gallery hours—on from the beginning. If you hop onto the MIZE Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. If you plan on visiting Gallery website, you’ll see online documentation the gallery in-person, Mize recommends wearof Mize-curated exhibitions ing a mask. dating back to 2010, when he “And be creative with your was at Blue Lucy. mask,” he added. While we stayed safe at Technically, COVID-19 home in April and May, Mize added another hasn’t gone anywhere, which is why Mize isn’t aspect to his online presence, conducting virtual hosting an opening reception for “Don’t Ask. Do tours of MIZE Gallery exhibits and broadcast- Tell.” Staggered gallery visits over a month-long ing them online via Facebook Live. period are much safer than a crowded opening “It’s actually been pretty successful,” Mize reception where everyone arrives at once. told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “We sold It’s been a bad year for America. African like 12 pieces from each show, so people are American communities are grieving the loss of responding positively. Even when we get back George Floyd and Breonna Taylor due to police to a somewhat normal state, I’m probably still brutality. The LGBTQ community is watching going to be doing those virtual experiences, the Trump administration quietly try to roll because I’ve been tapping into a broader range back gay rights by re-defining sex discriminaof people.” tion to exclude LGBTQ Don’t Ask. Do Tell. By the time June individuals (Right now June 19-July 5 rolled around, and MIZE Gallery, 689 Dr. MLK Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg. they’re trying to deny 727-251-8529, chadmize.com local galleries started healthcare to LGBT re-opening, Mize was individuals during the ready. COVID-19 pandemic). And everyone is still doing “With the curation process, we call for the art their best to cope with COVID-19 in the absence months prior…so the artists are already work- of a vaccine. ing on their pieces at this point,” Mize told CL. A Pride art show couldn’t possibly be an antiTwenty-one artists are participating in dote to all the horrible shit that’s happening in “Don’t Ask. Do Tell.”: Saumitra Chandratreya, our country right now, but it’s a much-needed Christian Cortes, Perry deVick, Santiago bright spot.
By Jennifer Ring
“Be creative with your mask.”
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: “Reimagining Albrecht Durer’s Self-Portrait” by Diran Lyons.
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BRITTON PLAZA, TAMPA
Tampa rapper BC returns with an eerily timely concept album.
MICHAEL M. SINCLAIR
REVIEWS PROFILES MUSIC WEEK
By Ray Roa
f there was ever an emcee to write a soundtrack for the moment when a global pandemic met a social revolution on the mat, then it’s BC. The 45-year-old Tampa rapper fell in love with jiu jitsu nearly a decade ago, but he’s been grappling with the state of the world we’re in since releasing Time Pieces Part 1: Time Capsule in 2009. Eleven years later, BC is back with Time Pieces 3: The Sky, a 24-track sci-fi concept album whose album art features the Tampa skyline and an homage to the “Battle Angel Alita” cyberpunk manga. TP3’s sound is for fans of New York label Def Jux, Brooklyn trio Company Flow and Aesop Rock. It’s for the kids who grew to love Del the Funky Homosapien and Freestyle Fellowship but not they bowed down to the bombasticity of LL Cool J’s Radio and Bigger and Deffer. It’s themes are for listeners weird enough to rock with Midwest shock rapper Tech N9ne and the kids who’re also totally cool with spending a weekend stoned while watching “Dune” or “Total Recall.” It’s also for the ones who wonder why public schools teach about Martin Luther King Jr., but not Malcom X. Lyrically, TP3, which was mastered by Mudd Buddha less than a month ago, is as dense and unrelenting as anything else BC’s ever put out, but it’s also eerily on point with current events despite being in the works since 2013. “I think it is crazy to listen to his lyrics and realize that he wrote them well before there was a pandemic or the current protests going on all over the country,” Jerry "Lazy" Dufrain, owner of Orpheum and bonafide Tampa hip-hop head, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “Maybe he really is a time traveler from the future.” That’s not an accident. BC told CL that he’s the kind of person who’ll keep adding to and tweaking a project even as it’s in its final stages, right until the end. “It’s a science-fiction kind of album, but it is very allegorical in the sense that all these sci-fi things are metaphors for things that are happening today,” he said. “So there’s always some news event that happens that I want to get in there. At some point I just had to stop myself. I had to be like, ‘OK, this thing is 24 songs deep...
you’ve done too much, just put this thing out.’” Woven within the album’s overarching theme—an internal fight, and a message for the woman and child who pulls the protagonist through it—are stacks of samples, skits, panned audio and a message that global citizens need to work, individually and together, to make the world a better place. And those who might mistake that notion for something trite or kumbaya, should just tune into how BC lays the situation out in a song like “Don’t Look Down.” On it, vocalist and songwriter Rochelle Siddiq—who’s all over the LP, along with local favorites like DJ Qeys, Wally Clark, Jon Ditty, DJ Hurley and more—helps BC paint the picture of a mother explaining life on earth to her precocious, precious offspring. BC had the concept for the song before he knew that his daughter was on the way; it almost didn’t make the album, but her arrival last August made the track essential. “I realized that at a certain point I would have to have conversations about how I look at the world with my daughter. Especially how I speak to her about being African American, or at least part-African American,” he said of his kid, who’s half-Italian. BC’s going to teach her about Black Americans’ rich history of achievement and how to celebrate it. She’ll know how Black people played a role in building this country, but she’ll also get “the talk” that every Black kid in America gets about contact with police. “On the song, I had to think about how I’d speak to her about prejudices of all kinds, you know, sexism, homophobia, all of that,” BC added. “How to treat people, and in classism as well. So, that song became really important to me in that sense.” Most important on the LP—like it’s been throughout the course of a career that’s seen BC become more cerebral throughout the releasesof eight albums, remix LPs and mixtapes—is the emcee’s unwillingness to water down a message in favor of a catchy hook. BC can certainly relate to the power and feeling of release that an N.W.A. or Public Enemy song provides, but he also knows that Black Americans had long grown fatigued by 1991 when Rodney King was captured on tape being
RISING TIDE: BC, a member of Tampa rap group Red Tide, is back with a new solo album. brutally beaten down by the same L.A. law enforcement Ice Cube and his bandmates were rapping about three years prior. On album highlight “Blitzophrenia,” BC raps that “nuance never made a good protest anthem.” He told CL that he’s encouraged by seeing so many faces, from every race, marching against—and saying “enough is enough” to—the racial violence that’s held down Black Americans for centuries. He’s hopeful that the action will lead to the change he’s trying to rap about on TP3. He said the track’s first producer thought he was speaking against his leftist ideals. But what BC was alluding to was that the answer isn’t always that Republicans are all bad, or that Democrats are all bad, or that it’s all Trump’s fault or it’s all this person’s fault.
For BC, the truth is often somewhere in the middle of a nuanced conversation. “It sounds great to say, ‘Fuck tha police’ in a song,” BC explained. He knows a thing or two about that, too. When he lived on Cass Street, north of Kennedy, before NoHo became a mini-Hyde Park, he constantly drove by Black men stopped on bicycles. “It doesn’t sound good to say, ‘What makes police better is representational policing where, if you have a black community you have that proportion of black cops,’” he added. “That’s a complex answer.” And that’s why he’s given Tampa hip-hop fans a complex album that’s—for better or worse—exactly what we need to hear right now.
“Nuance never made a good protest anthem.”
cltampa.com | JUNE 11-17, 2020 | 31
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ANTHONY MARTINO C/O GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL
RIDING WITH THE QUEEN: Queen of Ex is booked for one of Crowbar’s comeback concerts.
Crowbar, Ruth Eckerd Hall lead the return of original live music. By Chloe Greenberg and Ray Roa
riginal live music is back, but national touring acts are still reluctant to get on the road, so the live scene’s return is being driven by locals. On June 3 Ruth Eckerd Hall announced plans to make it the first major Bay area venue to experiment with socially-distanced concerts. The show—a June 11 gig from Greg Billings— is set for Ruth Eckerd Hall’s just-renovated grand lobby. The Clearwater concert hall can normally pack in just over 2,000 concertgoers, but Billings’ gig will see an audience seated at roughly 20 tables of four. Tables were $40, and demand was so high that Billings is now playing four shows total. The show announcements came after Gov. Ron DeSantis released his Phase II guidelines, which allowed for the reopening of concert halls at 50% capacity. Social distancing measures must be adopted, including a six-foot gap between parties. But Ruth Eckerd Hall isn’t the only place hosting seated concert goers taking in original live music. At Seminole Heights restaurant Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, guests can now book reservation-only, seated dinner shows; the June music calendar for Ella’s looks a lot like it did before Covid-19 precautions started to cripple local businesses (Beartoe, Tiny Terror and Daryl Hance are all scheduled over the next week). The Hideaway Cafe, one of the first local venues to find a way to keep revenue coming in despite social distancing regulations, is humming, and DJs—including Charles Ku, who was one of the first to stop gigging in the wake of the coronavirus—are back at their “new normal” residencies. EDM stronghold The Ritz Ybor is even restarting its #Pound Fridays series on June 12. A few blocks down Seventh Avenue, Orpheum (which was operating as a package store during the crisis lockdown) brought back its popular Saturday Sink-Or-Swim event. At The Attic, Forest Hoffar is reopening Ybor City's best listening room on June 20. Even jazz singer and
pianist Kitty Daniels is back at her Donatello residency. The surest sign of a jumpstart for original, local live music is the announcement of two comeback shows at Ybor's Crowbar, which saw its calendar (one of the busiest in the Bay area) wrecked by the pandemic, causing an estimated $400,000 in lost gross revenue according to co-owner Tom DeGeorge. Crowbar’s first show back is on June 20 and will feature surf-noir band FayRoy, rappers Acyh, Queen of Ex and Sam E Hues, plus songwriters Shawn Kyle and Lauris Vidal. The second is on June 27 with Americana favorites Have Gun, Will Travel plus Will Quinlan and the Holy Slow Train alongside rock favorite Bangarang, rapper Mike Mass, songwriters Acho Brother and Kristopher James, and DJ Qeys. No cash will be taken at the door, and the first opportunity to buy tickets to the shows will go to folks who donated money for commemorative T-shirts that helped put money in the pockets of Crowbar’s out-of-work bar staff. The first two concerts will also be live-streamed, according to a social media announcement by DeGeorge. In a text, DeGeorge told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that his venue, which can normally host a combined indoor-outdoor capacity of just over 300, will only allow 150 through its doors for the June 20 and June 27 shows, along with the returns of Ol’ Dirty Sundays (June 28) and Crowbar’s infamous Hot Dog Party (July 3). DeGeorge doesn’t see national acts even trying to return until the fall, so his challenge now is to book shows with high enough quality to sustain the bar until then. “We have several challenges ahead of us but I’ve been thinking of the long game since the beginning so I look forward to taking the next step in this fight,” DeGeorge said. “We’ll get through this and honestly I’m just thankful for the opportunity to get back in the game.”
cltampa.com | JUNE 11-17, 2020 | 33
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Gemini The twins.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): According to novelist Octavia E. Butler, “Positive obsession is about not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” That’s what I wish for you in the coming weeks, Gemini: positive obsession. It’s also what I expect! My analysis of the astrological omens suggests that you will have the pluck and craftiness necessary to veer away from murky, disturbing versions of obsession. Instead, you’ll embrace the exhilarating kind of obsession that buoys your spirit in moments of uncertainty. I foresee you making progress on your most important labor of love.
receive the blessings you ask for. And I hope— in fact, I predict—that when you receive the blessings, you will then aggressively seek the help of God or Life or your deepest wisdom to make good use of them.
in the coming weeks your explorations of your past will feel far more like the latter—a gift and blessing that helps you understand aspects of your history that have always been mysterious or murky.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I was hiking under a blue sky in a favorite natural location: the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco, where sublime vistas provide views of ocean and moun-
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you’re primed to navigate your way through a sweetly gritty, tenderly transformative, epically meaningful turning point in the his-
CANCER (June 21-July 22): William Thomson, also known as Lord Kelvin (1824–1907), was a Cancerian physicist and mathematician who contributed to the understanding of thermodynamics and other areas of scientific and engineering knowledge. Despite his considerable intelligence, however, he was myopic about the possibility that humans might one day fly through the air while seated inside of machines. In a 1902 interview—a year before the Wright Brothers’ breakthrough experiment—he declared, “No aeroplane will ever be successful.” I suspect you could be on the verge of passing through a Lord Kelvin phase, Cancerian. You may at times be highly insightful and at other times curiously mistaken. So I urge you to be humbly confident and confidently humble! LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Author Marianne Williamson tells us, “Spiritual growth involves giving up the stories of your past so the universe can write a new one.” And what exactly does it mean to “give up the stories of your past”? Here’s what I think: 1. Don’t assume that experiences you’ve had before will be repeated in the future. 2. Don’t assume that your ideas about the nature of your destiny will always be true. 3. Even good things that have happened before may be small and limited compared to the good things that could happen for you in the years to come. 4. Fully embrace the truth that the inherent nature of existence is endless transformation—which is why it’s right and natural for you to ceaselessly outgrow the old plot lines of your life story and embrace new ones. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Philosopher and astrologer Marsilio Ficino wrote, “Mortals ask God for good things every day, but they never pray that they may make good use of them.” I hope that in the coming weeks, you Virgos will disprove that cynical view of human beings. As I see it, you will be more likely than usual to actually
nourish others. I urge you to make a special point to converse with people like this in the near future. In my estimation, you will benefit from intense doses of empathetic nurturing. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Lake Elsinore is a city in southwestern California. Last spring, torrential rains there caused a “superbloom” of poppies. Millions of the golden-orange wildflowers covered many acres of Walker Canyon. They attracted another outbreak of beauty: thousands of painted lady butterflies, which came to visit. The magnificent explosion was so vast, it was visible from a satellite high above the earth. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re experiencing a metaphorical superbloom of your own right now, Aquarius. I hope you will find constructive ways to channel that gorgeous fertility. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Lucumi is an Afro-American religion with Yoruban roots. Its practitioners worship their ancestors, and seek regular contact and communion with them. According to Lucumi priestess Luisah Teish, “Sometimes the ancestors deem certain information so important that they send it to the subconscious mind without being consciously asked.” It’s my belief that all of us, whether or not we’re members of the Lucumi religion, can be in touch with the spirits of our ancestors if we would like to be—and receive useful guidance and insight from them. The coming weeks will be a time when you Pisceans are especially likely to enjoy this breakthrough. It’s more likely to happen if you have an intention to instigate it, but it may come to pass even if you don’t seek it.
t a i n . t o r y o f Although I was in a good mood, at your relationship with your favorone point I spied empty Budweiser ite collaborator or collaborators. If cans amidst the wild jewelflowers. that sounds too intense, you could at “What kind of nature-hater was so least accomplish an interesting, stimucareless as to despoil this wonderland”? lating, educational shift in the way you fit I fumed. For a few moments I was consumed together with your best ally or allies. It’s up to with rage and forgot where I was. By the time you, Sagittarius. How much love and intimacy I recovered my bearings, the bobcat and red- and synergy can you handle? I won’t judge you tailed hawk I’d previously been observing had harshly if you’d prefer to seek the milder version disappeared. That made of deepening right now. me sad. My anger was Besides, you’ll probably justified but wasteful, get a chance to go further irrelevant, and distractlater this year. ing. It caused me to lose By Rob Brezsny touch with some glorious CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. beauty. Don’t be like me in the coming days, 19): Actor Emma Thompson tells us, “I wish Libra. Keep your eyes on the prize. I wouldn’t have to say this, but I really like human beings who have suffered. They’re SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “I have more memo- kinder.” Adding to what she observes, I’ll say ries than if I were a thousand years old,” wrote that for many people, their suffering has also poet Charles Baudelaire. Was he bragging or made them smarter and more soulful and more complaining? Did the weight of his past feel compassionate. Not always, but often, it’s the like a burden or did it exhilarate him and pain they’ve suffered that has helped turn them dynamize his creative powers? I’m hoping that into thoughtful companions who know how to
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
ARIES (March 21-April 19): During her 90 years on the planet, actor and singer Marlene Dietrich reinvented herself numerous times. She had superb insight into the nature of shifting rhythms, and a knack for gauging the right moment to adapt and transform. Good timing, she said, came naturally to people like her, as well as for “aerialists, jugglers, diplomats, publicists, generals, prize-fighters, revolutionists, financiers, and lovers.” I would add one further category to her list: the Aries tribe. Make maximum use of your talent in the coming weeks. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Author and theologian Frederick Buechner writes, “There is treasure buried in the field of every one of our days, even the bleakest or dullest, and it is our business to keep our eyes peeled for it.” In alignment with current astrological potentials, Taurus, I’ll name that as your key theme. More than usual, breakthroughs and revelations and catalysts are likely to be available to you in the midst of the daily slog—even when you’re feeling bored. Make it your business to be on high alert for them.
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Streamers By Dan Savage
ey, everybody: We had our first Savage Love Livestream event last Thursday night and I had such a blast! A huge crowd of Savage Love readers and Savage Lovecast listeners got together on Zoom for a live online Q&A that raised more than $14,000 for Northwest Harvest, an organization that supports food banks in my home state. I got more questions than I could answer in our allotted time and so I’m going to answer as many as I can squeeze into this week’s column. Read more via cltampa.com. Is it a red flag or sign of deeper attachment or commitment issues if your long-term partner never tells you he loves you? I’ve heard people describe relationships that were three months old as “LTRs.” Assuming you’re not one of those people—assuming you’ve been with this guy for more than a year—and you’ve already said “I love you” to him and he hasn’t said it back, well, that’s a bad sign. But I wouldn’t describe it as a red flag. Early warning signs for physical or emotional abuse are red flags; not hearing “I love you” from someone you’d like to hear that from does suck, I know (because I’ve been there), but it’s not a sign that you’re in danger, girl. It’s also not proof your partner has attachment or commitment issues; he just might not be interested in attaching or committing to you. But whatever the case might be, if you’re unhappy being with someone who can’t bring himself to say “I love you” then you shouldn’t be with that person.
your future MIL is liking and commenting on her photos. You fiancé’s mom is an adult and she can follow anyone she likes on Instagram. And if you don’t want her to think you’re the toxic one, you won’t address this with her. Be the change you wanna see in your fiancé’s ex: let it go. My wife and I are lesbians who just found out we’re having a baby boy! We’re super excited but had some penis questions. My wife wants to circumcise our son because she says that if he’s uncircumcised he’ll get made fun of in the locker room. Does this happen? How often do boys look at each other’s dicks growing up? The circumcision rate among newborn boys has been falling for decades and now only a little more than half of boys are circumcised at birth. So even if boys were comparing their dicks in locker rooms—and they’re not—your son won’t be alone. And for the record: the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend the procedure, and the supposed health benefits— a lower risk for urinary tract infections and a lower risk for some sexually transmitted infections—aren’t a convincing argument in favor of the routine circumcision of male infants. And while the complication rate is low (1.5%), those complications can range from easily treatable infections to “amputation of the glans,” “necrosis of the penis,” and “death.” Risking your son’s life and most important limb to spare him a moment’s awkwardness in a locker room seems unreasonable to me—particularly since your son can’t consent.
Is there a safe way to date/be slutty now? Will there ever be again? I’m poly but live alone so I haven’t had sex in twelve weeks. HELP! While health officials in most places are urging all to only have sex with people we live with— mom and dad excepted—over in the Netherlands health officials are advising single and horny Dutch people to find “sex buddies.” One sex buddy per person, someone you can meet up with for sex, ideally someone who isn’t interacting with too many other people. If you can find someone you trust—and if you are someone who can be trusted—you could go Dutch. My fiancé has an ex-girlfriend who just can’t let it go. He’s blocked her on social media but his mother still follows his ex and is friends with her and they interact at least monthly. Likes, comments, etc. Can I address the issue with his mom or is that just somewhere you don’t go? Why are you monitoring your fiancé’s ex-girlfriend’s social media? I mean, if you weren’t lurking on her Instagram, you wouldn’t know
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I’m a bisexual male in California. When is the right time to tell someone I just started dating that I’m bisexual? And how? Mention your bisexuality on dating apps—which is where most couples meet these days—and you won’t have to tell someone you’re bisexual after you’ve started dating them. If you meet someone the old fashioned way (school, work, through friends), tell ‘em right away. It’s nothing you should be ashamed of or have to roll out carefully. And being with someone can’t embrace and celebrate your sexuality is bad for your mental health; the more out you are about being bi, the lower your odds of winding up with someone who has a problem with it. It ups your odds of winding up with someone who fetishizes your bisexuality, of course, but if you had to choose between a partner who disapproves (and polices) and a partner who drools (and wants to watch), you’re gonna way better off with the droolers. Cis poly woman here. My quarantine sexpod contains me and my two male partners. We’ll call them A and B. My partner B has another female partner that we’ll call C. Since we’re already “connected” anyway, would it change
anything for me to have a threesome with B and C? If B is fucking C and then coming home and fucking you and then you’re running down the hall to A, then C is essentially already in your sexpod. The bigger your sexpod, the more people you’re in contact with, the greater your risk of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. Ideally C would move in with you and A and B if you’re all going to be fucking each other. But not having a threesome with B and C while B is out there fucking C won’t protect you and A from whatever B might bring home from C. Longtime listener and magnum subscriber! We will keep this short: We are in a happy monogamish marriage and have heard one is not supposed to share toys under any circumstances. What are your thoughts on this? One shouldn’t share a toy one hasn’t cleaned— and one should make sure one’s toys aren’t made of porous materials that are hard or impossible to clean. But if one has, say, a silicone toy that
can be run through a dishwasher, well, one can share that toy. A fluid-bonded couple can safely share toys during sex, of course, so long as toys aren’t going from assholes to vaginas between cleanings. You also shouldn’t put a dildo in your spouse and then turn and stick it in your very special guest star. But if you obey those simple rules—clean toys, no ass-to-vag, no used toys in thirds or toys used by thirds in primaries—it’s safe to share your toys. Okay, thank you again to everyone who bought a ticket to the Savage Love Livestream! All proceeds—every single cent raised—went to Northwest Harvest. If anyone reading this in a donating mood right now, you can donate to Northwest Harvest directly at northwestharvest.org/donate. Contact email@example.com. Follow @ FakeDanSavage on Twitter, and bookmark savagelovecast.com.
creative loafing puzzler BACKUP CREW 62 Leg bones 64 Sandwich joints by Merl Reagle 1 6 10 15 19 20 21 22 23 25 27 28 29 30 31 33 34 36 38 40 43 44 46 48 49 50 52 53 54 58 59 61
65 ACROSS Away from each 66 other Con Skinny husband 67 of rhyme 69 Abbr. on a bank 70 window Writer Ephron 73 Big horn 74 Eagles’ home: abbr. Heavenly bear 77 Actress-turned-bird watcher? 78 Actor-turned-animal 79 lover? 80 Singer-turnedangler? 81 Go to the plate 82 Cigars 84 One to grow on Louisiana wet spot “Sorry, I 88 already ___” County events 90 False alarm 91 Nursing a grudge 93 Frame of reference: abbr. 94 Goes up in flames 95 Actress-turned96 streetcar 98 conductor? 99 Home of the Heat Len of Dancing with 103 the Stars 104 Dye vessels Rocket launcher, commonly 108 Streets avec cafés Freud notion Actor-turnedcomputer inventor? Korbut of the 1972 Olympics Snails and such 110 Brand of acid reliever
112 Circle parts 113 Lessen Worrisome engine 114 Containing minimal fat sounds 115 Large African city 1958 witchcraft classic, Curse of 116 Sports bar shout 117 Geisel’s pen name the ___ 118 Safety org. Young swan 119 Japanese city Indian princess In a very calm DOWN manner First name in maps 1 Wd. ending in -ic or -ish French 2 Hatchery sound painter-turned3 Insect wings late sleeper? 4 Welcomes, as the Bud’s bud in 40s New Year 50s comedy 5 Basemen, at times Grade determiner 6 Regal mount Adorable person 7 Sugar shape Name in a 8 Cain’s victim high-rise hoist 9 Womenfolk with Building addition young 'uns Little bloodsuckers 10 Graffiti writer Writer11 Picture in the comediennepaper turned-gardener? 12 Josh “Ooh look, ___!” 13 Frothy orders (shopper’s remark) 14 Toothpaste target Tee preceder 15 Chocolate treat Church section 16 Wolfgang’s 3 Believers in 17 “Oh, okay” Valhalla 18 Jam ingredients? Estrada and Satie 24 Seeded or Arts deg. unseeded breads Power mower part 26 Indian carving Stake in the game 28 Scourge of Liquid used in Springfield plastics 31 There’s one Dapper dude on DDT TV Batman 32 Postman’s co-star-turnedresponsibility gunslinger? 34 Tierra del ___ Musical 35 Nerdy actorstar-turnedturnedgardener? entomologist? (actually, this 36 Adam’s third son was his real last et al. name before he 37 Hermosillo home changed it) 39 Bones Actor-turned40 Former film actor? (if that’s critic-turnedplumber? possible)
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A R S O N
89 Mt. Whitney’s range 92 Bamboo lovers 94 ___’acte (intermission) 95 Defiant 97 None But the Lonely Heart screenwriter and director 98 Confrontation location 99 Carriage 100 Ripped 101 Blue Triangle grp. 102 Dresden’s river 104 Stinging bunch 105 Conservative state 106 Puccini piece 107 Cohere as a concept 109 Parfum, mostly 110 Mideast org. 111 Mauna ___
Solution to Men at Play P A O L O
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