Best Of 2006

Best of The Bay 2006

How do I find out what the people of any given year are doing, eating, reading, liking, hating?

To see part I of CL3000's letter, click here.

I always turn to Creative Loafing.

Creative Loafing. It’s funny, when I first traveled back to 2006, I thought my Vortex Widget was malfunctioning; the paper had changed its name to Weekly Planet in 1994, and when I saw the Loafing tag reappear I initially wondered if I’d been jaunted back to the wrong year. But everything was on the money; the tabloid returned to the name Creative Loafing in ’06, starting with that year’s Best of the Bay issue.

Whatever it calls itself, the paper helps me to figure out what’s going on, whether I’m in 1988 or 3067. I first came to Tampa after a co-worker at the Bureau for Reconciling Applied Theory with Fact told me that, during the late 20th century, the city was a focal point in some moral-values battle over nude dancing — imagine it, for a while there, nudity was considered obscene! Being a Department of Tasteful Perversion-approved amateur Cathartic Pornographer, I read up on the controversy and decided I had to see it for myself. (During that first trip, I also came face-to-face with one of my personal heroes, Joseph Redner, whom you may remember from your history lessons as the 45th President of the United States of America.)

Since then, I’ve returned again and again. I crashed Jannus Landing in 1989 to watch Anthony Keidis of the Second Middle Ages musical troupe Red Hot Chili Peppers perform in an undergarment designed to contain an infant’s fecal matter. I stumbled into a spectacular old movie house where a gay film festival was playing — at a time when gays and lesbians, amazingly enough, were actually a controversial and oppressed minority. I drank primitive alcoholic beverages, woke up with a hangover, ate now-extinct animals cooked in a now-illegal fashion, and sailed into an ocean and hunted for real fish — so much better than just strapping myself into a VirtuRec Pescador.

And whenever I drop by, I track down Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay issue. It lets me know what people in the community love in every given year; amid all of the constantly fluctuating trends and sights and sounds, certain places and faces can always be depended upon to show up regularly in the Best of the Bay. Over my countless trips back to the Bay, names like Haslam’s and WMNF and Jannus Landing and Vinyl Fever resurface over and over again. In fact, in the 2006 issue, the Planet, er, Loafing staff started electing these perennials to a Hall of Fame.

And believe it or not, centuries later, they’re all still going strong.

Tampa Bay may no longer have McDonald’s or mini-skirts or breathable air — but Skipper’s, it seems, is forever.

— CL3000