From the Street with Alfie: Cowboys and Swimming Caps

Have Gun, Will Travel are not nearly as threatening as their name implies, but they are more than ready to hit the road for little more than the chance to do what they do best.

"We just need enough to pay for gas," frontman Matt Burke reportedly said when asked to play a fan's wedding.

Soon to be one of the most notorious alt-country bands around, these hired guns deliver clap-along, knee-slapping rhythms layered with Dylan-inspired lyrics that navigate a world of metaphor and meaning. Among the usual weaponry of acoustic guitar, drums and bass, the band's arsenal also includes viola, harmonicas, lap steel and banjo.

HGWT's release party for their new CD, Casting Shadows Tall as Giants, kicked off Friday night at Crowbar with support from Nessie, The Diviners and Orlando's Baron Von Bear.

As Baron Von Bear played, couples romantically slow danced to the group's lite-rock sound — at least as romantically as a couple can dance while still clutching their cans of PBR.When Nessie took the stage, a fan told me that she'd been watching the band for 10 years.

"Jesus that makes me feel old," she said, contemplating the second half of her drink.

Will Quinlan & The Diviners followed with music that sounded like a lonesome train traveling through western lands. They painted landscapes with a slide guitar augmented by bare hands pounding out steady rhythms on the drum kit. Between songs, Will ordered and gulped shots of Jameson's Irish Whiskey while harassing the HGWT boys to join him for a song — who cares if they hadn't rehearsed. Quinlan is notorious for not rehearsing, which is partly what makes him so entertaining. That, and Will has the charisma to make slamming his electric guitar on the stage — while seated — look cool. Nate Oliver was the only HGWT member who joined Quinlan, adding a steady hand to the tambourine and backing up believable lyrics like, "spent all my money on whiskey and beer."On Saturday, the Street Team headed to St. Petersburg for the latest packed-to-the-gills art party at ARTpool owned by Marina Williams and Aubrey Bramble. If the Bay area art scene had a mascot, it would be Marina. With an eye for photography, installations, visual art and fashion, she is all over the map and anywhere that has anything to do with art. You can tell

Marina is near if you see partiers strolling around in her trademark 3D glasses, which provide art enthusiasts a new way of looking at their environment. Fittingly, Marina's ARTpool provides a new business design for approaching art galleries/studios. Unlike other galleries that have sprung up in downtown St. Petersburg recently, artists pay a monthly fee to rent wall space in her gallery, but they also receive a hundred percent of the profits from a sale. Local artists must have been privy to the idea, as the narrow gallery was literally stacked to the ceiling with pieces while the floor was bustling with artists eager to talk about their work.

As usual, Marina — as well as her visual art and fashion — was all over the place. She was dressed like a modern art collage in a silver top fit for an ice skater, white debutant gloves, her patented sharp-rimmed glasses, a puffy skirt, colorful tights and a knot of ties. Her designs invert the staples of fashion. Racks contained skirts, vests, purses and dresses, all completely made from men's ties sewn together in striped designs. Jewelry cases housed necklaces and wrist bands made of buttons. Metallic cassette tapes and toy dinosaurs hung from chains fit for hip-hop stars. Models walked around in four of Marina's 20s-style bathing suits, complete with heels, swimming caps, and bouquets of plastic flowers by Shavon. I was hoping for a battle between her classically dressed models and four others in ultra-modern swimsuits by Aleka Phoenix, but it was not to be.Phoenix's models drew stares, continually posing around the gallery like living mannequins. When I got the designer alone, I asked her what was on everyone's mind: Did the suits come equipped with dispensers of baby oil (which was lathered all over the exposed parts of the models), or did customers have to purchase oil separately?

Sunday, Kelly and Trini visited Skipper's to catch the Damon Fowler Group, Christie Lenee's Funk Grass Groove and Kettle Fish. [ed. Headliner Jake Shimabukuro was rescheduled for this Tuesday.] Though I couldn't make it, I've been to Skipper's enough times to know it is impossible not to have a good time. Every Sunday should be spent around an outdoor stage swigging beer, laughing with friends and munching on platters of fried food. Well, there's always next week.


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