Famed local do-gooders 13 Ugly Men threw a killer costume party Halloween night at the newly renovated Sheraton Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. Amy Winehouses, Hugh Hefners, Slashes, Sarah Palins, awesomely naughty nurses and scores of smokin'-hot she-devils populated the estimated crowd of 2,000. If you were a dude on the prowl, it was the place to be. About 70 percent of the attendees were women, the vast majority being, well, babes.
I played it all stealthy behind a Venetian mask and spent quality time hanging with fellow Gaither High School class-of-'96er Lance Ponton, who rocked a crowd-pleasing Pee Wee Herman outfit. He organized the event with his fellow Ugly Men and plans to hold it at the Sheraton again next year due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback he received from attendees.
Ponton's personal VIP section remained superbly stocked with Ketel One, Red Bull and fine women throughout the evening. The get-your-freak-on costume party (which benefited the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay) continued to wickedly rage when a couple female partiers and I jumped in a cab around 1:15 a.m. We headed back to SoHo for a nightcap at MacDinton's. Good times.
After rising around noon Saturday and lumbering through a hellish hangover, I cruised over to St. Petersburg and caught a ride with my editor Eric Snider to the Sarasota Blues Festival. The highlight of the evening? Nasty-as-he-wants-to-be soul man Bobby Rush and his bevy of unbelievably voluptuous dancers. These women, wearing painted-on leotards, took "junk in the trunk" to a whole new level of largesse. "What's she got in there?" someone exclaimed. "A 5-year-old?" The post-concert revelry included a gathering on Siesta Key at the place of my former co-worker Amanda Schurr. Everyone passed out except local blues hero Damon Fowler and I. We killed a bottle of vodka while working on a honky-tonk number called "Happy Hour." If memory serves, we were making progress until I dipped into X-rated territory. "Hey, baby come on over here and let me fill your glass," I bellowed. "How much more ya need 'fore I can give it to ya in the ..."
Damon: "I don't think that's gonna cut it, Wade."
I finally crashed around 5 a.m., which made attending the Jimmy Buffett gig for Obama Sunday a bit trying — I couldn't even stomach a margarita. An eclectic, highly energized crowd swarmed the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa to catch the "Last Chance for Change Rally." Florida's most famous singer/songwriter delivered the "Vote Obama" message with minimal preaching, opting instead to simply perform his sing-along hits and occasionally pepper 'em with Obama references. For instance, on "Come Monday," Buffett sang, "I think I'm going to the land of change."
The all-ages audience included first-time voters Jordan Orr and Kaleb Goare. Both men are 18-year-olds living in Lakeland. Neither is a particularly huge Buffett fan, but both planned to vote for Obama on Tuesday. "I look at Obama, and I think of the American dream," Orr said. "I'm so excited to be able to vote for him."
Now let's just hope Obama is the president-elect when this column runs!
Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to Whiskey Joe's on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, which held a heavily attended, boozy bacchanal last Wednesday. We — as in me and my fellow felons — arrived around 6:15 and stayed well into the pay-for-your-drinks time. The food — burger sliders, pulled pork, oysters, calamari, chicken pizza, ribs and some other stuff I can't recall — was excellent, especially after all the free sparkling wine, cabernet, chardonnay, rum runners, pear martinis, beer and some sort of steaming coffee-vodka combo that rocked.
I also enjoyed a fruity concoction. Whiskey's Joe's is on the water, which makes drinking a fruity drink acceptable. The unique libation is called a "Twisted Martini." It's barkeep Eric Roberts' signature creation. He was kind enough to pass along the recipe:
1 oz. Midori
1 oz. O.J.
1 oz. flavored Vodka
1 oz. cranberry juice
3/4 oz. Blue Curacao
In one mixing tin, chill, shake and strain Midori and O.J. into martini glass. Then chill, shake and strain vodka and cranberry over a cherry as to layer on top of Midori and orange juice. Then add Blue Curacao to side of glass, and it will sink to the bottom of the drink.
Garnish with whatever you like, but keep it on the rim, or the layers will mix.
Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grille, 7720 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, 813-281-0770, whiskeyjoestampa.com.