MIRACLE ON 28TH STREET
Recently the Weekly Planet predicted (Music Menu by Scott Harrell, June 21-27) that a musical event would be "more than interesting." I heeded the prophetic words, which turned out to be an understatement. In a humble little recording studio on 28th Street in St. Petersburg, where "lauded regional singer-songwriter" Lorna Bracewell and several musicians from the Florida Orchestra did a benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity, something phenomenal happened.
I wonder if the other hundred or so chosen ones who were there have also realized that we will never be the same? Most of them looked like artsy secular humanist liberals to me, but I heard the name of Jesus mentioned more times in one night than some Unitarian ministers dare to say His name in a year. Not only did I hear His name, but I also felt the Holy Spirit come down so strong it would have knocked my holy-roller Pentecostal grandmother to the floor. A handful of bleeding-heart liberals did Jesus better than a mega-church, and the Carpenter came (into our hearts) to help Habitat for Humanity.
I just went for the feminist rock and the poetry (Venus Jones recited her powerful poem about peace and religious tolerance). I thought Lorna Bracewell would get up on the stage first thing, but she and the Lord had arranged for Him to get His work done "On This Earth" (the name of her movement) first. Composer Cliff Rice had written a heart-wrenching requiem for 11 women who died as a result of domestic violence in St. Petersburg last year. The piece was topped off by a rocking Lorna Bracewell rendition that rivaled anything on Christian radio for its direct appeal to the very heart of God.
First time He showed up in a barn. Who's to say this time He wouldn't pick a little recording studio on 28th Street (owned, incidentally, by a Jewish mother type named Jeanette Goldman)?
SHADES OF GRAY
No, you're not racist (Life Sentences, "Race Track," by Scott Harrell, June 21-27). No one should be surprised that when someone (of any color) dresses and accessorizes based on the look of criminals, people think they might emulate them in other ways. I often feel similarly about overly tattooed white guys, though I know many who are downright nice guys.
As for the other side, no, don't think so either. It's simple Skinnerian philosophy: They've been trained to assume anyone who doesn't share their ethnicity in that area is there for a particular reason. If a woman walks into a shoe store, and the clerks are all males, it's not chauvinistic to assume she's looking for shoes ... even if she only came to visit her boyfriend who works there.
BMW OWNERS HAVE FEELINGS TOO
Recent letters (Going Postal, "Critical Mess," June 21-27) bemoaning the backwards-ness of Tampa compared to St. Petersburg (and elsewhere) are much too quick to dismiss as the root of the problem a "Bayshore clique" of white-collar professionals who should "bring something to the table besides a BMW."
I'm a BMW-driving lawyer who happens to live on Bayshore. I also worked damn hard to get there. In addition, I give at least 10 percent of my income away every year — both locally (Tampa Theatre, TBPAC, WUSF, Sarasota Opera, Tampa Opera League, the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, to name a few); and nationally (Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Campaign Fund, etc). Without that support, we would have even less art than we do now. So let's have any critics of my "lifestyle" step up to the plate in the same manner — and offer something in exchange other than smug, sanctimonious carping about the hand(s) that feed them.
In the "Body Slammed" cover story (June 21-27), we incorrectly stated that the photograph of Pete and Ruth Bollea with Omar Guevara and an unidentified friend was taken in 2004. The photograph was taken in 2001.