Sensory Overload: It's More Than a Party

CL'S signature arts event returns March 24 with a new curator, new partners and four floors of fun (plus more than a bucket of rum).

Jay Giroux is the kind of guy new labels have to be invented for: I call him an "artrepreneur." Artist/designer/businessman/impresario/networker — he combines all of these roles with a genuine belief that if enough creative people connect with one another, their collective clout can change Tampa Bay's cultural landscape for the better.

His visionary outlook was one reason we tapped him to curate this year's Sensory Overload, Creative Loafing's multidisciplinary arts party taking place Sat., March 24 at the Cuban Club in Ybor. That, and his apparently inexhaustible supply of energy and keen sense of who's doing what in the region's arts community. Sensory Overload is itself an artrepreneurial enterprise: Creative Loafing established it as a way of celebrating and raising money for the local arts scene, at the same throwing a big party for our readers and pulling in a few bucks for ourselves. The 2006 edition brought in $1,000 apiece for Blake High School of the Arts, Gibbs High School/Pinellas County Center for the Arts and the Booty Art Expo, all of whom also partnered with us in creating content for the event.

This year, all four floors of the Cuban Club will again pulse with visual, aural and every other kind of sensory energy. Besides the 20-plus artists Jay has assembled (more on them later), we're benefiting from the ears of Jack Spatafora, former CL staffer and estimable music promoter, who wrangled us a killer lineup of bands and DJs. The bill includes The Postmarks, The Soulphonics, Six Parts Seven, Roppongi's Ace, Small Town DJs and DJ Blenda.

And there's more, including several returnees from SO '06. The Moving Current Dance Collective will mix it up on the dance floor; Jobsite Theater Company will be stirring up interest in their upcoming revival of March of the Kitefliers; the Booty Art Expo, this year an art-gallery-on-wheels, will complete the mural-in-progress they began during the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts; and the versatile students and faculty of the International Academy of Design & Technology are doing everything from fashion to interior design to DJing to filmmaking, partnered with 1 Day Films.

And this year brings some wild new additions to the mix, including something that attendees will see even before they get inside the Cuban Club: an artist-designed skateboard ramp in the courtyard, where Skatepark of Tampa denizens will be doing 360s all night long (or trying to).

The tastiest new partner in this extravaganza is the International Cane Spirits Festival 2007, featuring tastings of rums and other cane-based spirits from around the world, talks by master distillers and complementary foods in the Cuban Club's fourth-floor ballroom. Tickets to SO-plus-rumfest cost a little more, but if the festival is anything like last year's in Ybor, it's a must; for this non-aficionado, the rum-tastings were a revelation.

The beneficiaries for Sensory Overload this year are Stepping Stones/Good Community Alliance, a young, not-for-profit organization based in Sulphur Springs (Hillsborough County) that aims to change children's lives through the arts; and Creative Clay, Inc., which has been providing arts education for Pinellas County residents since 1995. Proceeds from all drink purchases (not including tickets to the rumfest) will go to these two nonprofits.

For more information about the visual artists taking part in SO '07, read on: CL's art critic Megan Voeller talked to several of the participants about what to expect. And for a music and dance schedule; a rundown of other attractions; and info on where and how to buy tickets, see details here.

See you at the Cuban Club!

Urban Explorer's Handbook 2007

Sensory Overload Edition

Click here for the other senses

Sensory Overload: The party

Sensory Overload: It's More Than a Party
Urban Explorer's Handbook
CL'S signature arts event returns March 24 with a new curator, new partners and four floors of fun (plus more than a bucket of rum).
Photoshop Tennis, Anyone?
Urban Explorer's Handbook
From skate-pipes to "Orgasmatic," veterans to newbies, there's a wide range of artwork in SO '07
Curated Visual Artists at SO '07
Urban Explorer's Handbook
COURTYARD Craig Kaths, skate ramp Booty Art Expo, live mural painting CANTINA (ground floor) Kim...
Urban Explorer's Handbook
The Musical Lineup Curated by Jack Spatafora/Aestheticized The Cantina (ground floor) 8 p.m.: Rop...

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