From the Street with Alfie: Skipper's and Dave's Aqua Lounge

"I read your stuff when I'm using the bathroom," Bobby Sellarole told me. "You look taller in print."

At that moment I knew the fame-bus had arrived to pick me up. My writing had risen from crude jokes written on stall walls to genuine bathroom literature. Next thing you know kidnappers will be clipping my articles to compose ransom notes.

Ego aside, I had a job to do at Skipper's Smokehouse, which in my estimation was to document the action and meet a few women.

"I can't believe you asked to take a picture of the only girl in here without a bra while she hula-hooped," Emma said, criticizing my journalistic ethic.

I wasn't the only one at Skipper's with an eye out for what I liked.

"The dirtier the better," Chrissy Auger said, explaining the appeal of Skipper's and the neo-hippies it attracts.

This isn't to say that Skipper's is exclusively a gypsy outpost. All kinds came out to hear Tim Reynolds & TR3. The dancing deck was flooded with people waggling around like octopuses on land — albeit stoned octopuses.

Saturday, the street team took our act across the bay to Dave's Aqua Lounge where BAAMO was raising money to send local musicians to SXSW. The bar felt like a small town honky-tonk lit with neon beer lights and cigarette ends.

"Who has seen a skinny white girl with an acoustic guitar rap before," asked Lorna Bracewell as she broke into a booty shaking version of "The Hokey-Pokey."

It was a mixed up kind of night where anything goes. Have Gun, Will Travel was up next, breaking out a few wailing harmonica riffs between wandering metaphors that Dylan would envy. The group has a modern folk sound with a clap-along style you can dance to.

Between sets I met a biker who claimed he had a stylist for his mullet. Every person, every picture on the wall, every name scratched on a table, had its own story. CL's cameraman Zach and I chose to tell the story of the men's bathroom. We were conducting an in-depth report on the kinds of guys who'd pump four quarters into the truck-stop style vending machines to get condoms that haven't been made in ten years. Turned out we were those guys. But we only had one quarter, which limited our selection to the slot labeled with a sharpie: Drakkar Noir.

"It's all over me," Zach shouted when a cloud of the cologne spewed from the rusted dispenser onto his camera. "I smell like 1975."

We evacuated the bathroom for the alley where Zack blew cigarette smoke on the affected area. The alley behind Dave's was a kind of VIP lounge filled with musicians and scenesters who were blowing smoke, swigging beer, and talking shit.

After The Ditchflowers finished off the night, Zach and I fell into talk with the last two ladies at the bar. Somehow the four of us, and a few random band members, ended up having a powwow in the women's restroom. It was all very glamorous, but what do you expect from a writer of distinguished bathroom literature.


Follow Alfie on Twitter , Facebook , or at shawnalff.com
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