I cannot paint. I mean, I can: The walls in my home have 100 percent coverage, and some of them even have nifty Pinterest-style finishes. But painting as an art form? Not so much. Same goes for dancing (I can’t even do “awkward white woman” in a club, which is why I haven’t been in one since 911 was a thing) and singing (I’ve stage managed the hell out of some operas, though, which is always fun for someone who doesn’t sight-read music).
My artistic inabilities have manifested themselves in a deep appreciation for the creative. Our home has some beautiful local art, and I live in a town (Gulfport) with a definite bent toward the visual and written arts. There’s a saying: Those who can’t, teach. I disagree. In my case, those who can’t surround themselves by those who can, which is what I have done.
As I join the CL team, I’m already surrounded by some of the best artistic minds in Tampa Bay: Peter Meinke, Megan Voeller and Mark Leib all spring to mind immediately, plus an array of terrific contributors with expertise on everything from movies to modern dance to video games. Outgoing editor Julie Garisto left me a rich legacy of writers and content to get me started, and I thank her. She’s going to continue covering various arts events, so you’ll still see her name on our roster of writers. My job, as the new Arts & Entertainment editor, will be to curate their contributions and make sure each issue has something for everyone — like five great reasons to tune into Amazon Prime, or which local shows (whether art, stage or stand-up) are must-sees this spring. (To help you in that regard, look for our annual Spring Arts Preview on Jan. 14.)
The online edition of the Arts & Entertainment section will expand over the next year as well, with regular online features you’ll only find on our website. These features will run a gamut of topics, from art openings to walking tours.
While I cannot paint or draw or sing or dance or act, I can tell people’s stories. Later this year, the University Press of Florida will publish my travel narrative about recreating the Depression-era driving tours of Florida. I traveled 5,000 miles around the state, and the one theme that surfaced repeatedly was this: Florida has a rich cache of stories. Just this year for CL, I found two I won't forget: one about a couple navigating end-of-life decisions while trying to celebrate Christmas and the other about a middle-aged Apple tech support guru who dresses like a clone trooper.
As A&E Editor, I see my job as not only showcasing the amazing creative forces pumping through Tampa Bay, but as discovering and telling your stories with the attention and respect they deserve.
Which brings me to the most important component, of course: you. I want you to share your stories. I’ve followed Creative Loafing since 1988, when it launched in Tampa. I was a sophomore at Clearwater High, and for my entire adult life, CL has been the go-to paper for what to do and where to do it. After covering hyper-local news and features at Gulfport's The Gabber for almost 13 years and freelancing for a bevy of other publications, I’m thrilled to find a home at Creative Loafing, and I look forward to continuing CL’s legacy of shedding light on the best of Tampa Bay.
PS: Many people ask me how to pronounce my last name. Officially speaking, as in the original Italian, the “lust” in “Salustri” rhymes with “goosed," but my family pronounces it like the English word “lust,” which led, as you can imagine, to many joyous childhood jests. But I really, truly, profoundly don’t give a rat’s red ass what you call me. Just don’t call me late for dinner.
[Editor’s Note: Cathy is not responsible for the bad vaudeville-era punchline.]
Contact Cathy at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @CathySalustri or @CL_Arts. She also has a Facebook page: Facebook.com/SalustriCathy. Get your event included in our A&E listings by filling out the form at cltampa.com/submit event or email your info to [email protected].