Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tintypes, Art, and The King

To finish off 2016, I thought I'd put up some interesting pics of various people.

When my nephew, Jeff, brought his tintype equipment here again in November, he took another pic of me (see this post) and also made them of Duane and Linda.  Since they were both giving their tintypes as Christmas gifts, we didn't want to spoil anything by posting them here.  However... ta-da!  I can now safely post them.  Duane's is cool because it makes her dark hair look silver.

Duane
Linda's came out really nice, too.  Her hair looks much darker than it is in person and her skin looks even fairer.  Linda scanned hers into her computer before she gave the actual tintype to her mom for Christmas.  Unfortunately (the little stinker), she thought she should crop her scan before sending it to me for this post.  I told her that I'll be expecting her to re-scan the entire pic when she sees her mom in Michigan.  I'll replace her cropped one with the entire pic then.

Linda (pic has been cropped)
I love the way that you never know how the lighting is going to come out when Jeff takes these tintypes.  It always makes it interesting.

The next 'person' I'm posting is actually from a piece of art that Duane created and gave me for Christmas.  She knows that I absolutely love Iris Apfel.  If you've never heard of her, she's quite a character.  There's a documentary about her called "Iris" that was made by Albert Maysles not too long before he died.  Albert and his brother David are probably best known for their documentary "Grey Gardens" about Jacqueline Kennedy's aunt and cousin.  I love their work.  Anyway, after I raved about "Iris" and loaned the film to Duane and then to Linda, Duane decided to paint Iris.  I love the result.  I have her hanging over my desk in my home office.

"Iris" by Duane
Iris is well into her 90s and has the most amazing attitude.  She's also quite the fashionista and interviews with her are great fun.

Last, but not least, I came across an old grainy snapshot of one of my aunts when she dated Elvis Presley.  This was before she met my uncle.  (Heh, heh...)  This was taken on the set of one of his movies.  Notice that he either hadn't begun dying his hair that blue/black color yet or he was using his natural color for this movie.  My aunt remains a fan to this day and has fond memories.

My aunt and The King
Well, it's back to work for me.  I didn't realize that my workload was going to be so heavy during the holidays or I would have planned things a little differently.  Here's hoping the new year allows me some breathing room!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New full cast play available on Audible from The Online Stage!



My latest role for The Online Stage has gone live on Audible.  A short drama from Mike Murphy called The Return of Cosmo Draper.  I play the 'wife' in this one.  Once again, lots of fun to participate in one of Mike's radio plays.


Dreaming of days of yore, Tim Porter organizes the return of Cosmo Draper, the town's favorite mayor. Only trouble is, Cosmo's been dead for years, right?

Cast
Old Porter - Noel Badrian
Carr - Bob Neufeld
Porter - Jeff Moon
Wife - Lee Ann Howlett
Husband - Joseph Tabler
Bob - David Prickett
Jed - Marty Kris
Shannon Wolfe - P J Morgan
Clemens - Tovarisch

Audio edited by Amanda Friday

To listen to a sample and/or purchase, check it out on Audible here

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A new tintype photo and another nice review!

My nephew, Jeff Howlett, was back in town again a couple of weeks ago to take tintype photographs at two different venues in Tampa and Dunedin.  You can read about my first tintype Jeff took of me in a previous post here.   This time around I had my eyes opened much wider -- which I made a point of doing since I look a bit like I'm squinting in the first tintype.  It's difficult not to squint or blink due to the bright lights Jeff has to use. 

Jeff's website is here.  He also has another site with a fellow photographer that explains a bit about tintypes here. Jeff had a lot of happy customers at the Tampa Indie Flea.  Many people were having tintypes taken for holiday gifts.






My other bit of news is that I've received another nice review of one of my recordings in Audiofile Magazine.  This one is for The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville by Kathleen B. Casey.

"Narrator Lee Ann Howlett brings to life an array of American vaudeville stars from the 1890s-1920s whose acts reflect the cultural changes caused by immigration, racial discord, and changing gender roles at that time. With a conversational delivery style, Howlett creates a tough persona for singer Eva Tanguay, emphasizing her strength while performing racy songs of the period. Also portrayed is Julian Eltinge, a top female impersonator whose extreme masculine facade in real life countered speculation that he was gay. Howlett is most enjoyable as Lillyn Brown, a biracial woman who played a black dandy with a top hat, which she removed to display long hair as she sang suggestive songs as a woman. The great Sophie Tucker herself played in blackface, impersonated men and people of other races, and emphasized her Jewishness. Listeners will be intrigued to hear that Lady Gaga is considered a modern gender bender."

The link to the review is here and you can listen to a sample of the book on Audible here
 

Friday, November 11, 2016

A special voice-over project

Today is Veteran's Day.  My father was a veteran of the US Air Force.  He was also a Vietnam veteran although he was not in combat.  Dad was in Vietnam for a one-year tour from the summers of 1966-1967.  He was stationed at Bien Hoa which was about eighteen miles from Saigon.  I know that he served as a 'liaison' to the South Vietnamese Air Force.  That's mostly all I know about his work there.  When I requested a copy of the documents of his time there a few years ago, after Dad had died of what was deemed by the military to be Agent Orange-related cancer, I discovered...  very little.  Almost everything on the documents regarding his duties had been redacted.  I often wonder about this.  After fifty years, it's difficult to come to terms with whatever it is that his family isn't allowed to see.

My youngest sister, Heidi, works as Director of Communications for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Washington DC.  The VVMF needed someone to narrate the voice-over for part of their ongoing education program about the Vietnam war.  I was honored to oblige.  

You can listen to my recording about the history of The Wall and other monuments connected to it by going to the VVMF page here and clicking on 'Virtual Tour' on the right in the descriptive area.

A special Thank You to all who served and are presently serving.  Happy Veteran's Day.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

A free recording and a nice review!

The Online Stage

The group The Online Stage not only produces full-cast audios for Audible but we also record audio that is posted on the Internet Archive where people can listen for free.  I've just had my first 'free' recording with The Online Stage go live on Internet Archive.

I play Mrs. Plinth in this production of the Edith Wharton short story Xingu. 

Mrs. Ballinger and her ladies' Lunch Club believe themselves to be authorities on art, culture, and literature in the small town of Hillbridge. But when celebrated novelist Osric Dane consents to join them for a discussion of her novel The Wings of Death, they find that things seem destined to go awry. 

This dramatic reading of Edith Wharton's hilarious 1916 story features an all-female cast.

Miss Van Vluyck: Libby Stephenson
Mrs. Roby: Amanda Friday
Mrs. Plinth: Lee Ann Howlett 
Mrs. Ballinger: Susan Iannucci
Mrs. Leveret: Jennifer Fournier
Laura Glyde: PJ Morgan
Osric Dane: Nancy German
Narrator: Elizabeth Klett

Besides voicing the narrator and editing Xingu, the talented Elizabeth Klett also edited the production.   

The direct link to the play can be found here

*******************************



In other news, I received a very nice review for my recording of the book Imogene in New Orleans by Hunter Murphy in Audiofile Magazine.

"Narrator Lee Ann Howlett does a rousing job portraying glorious New Orleans and its many residents. When 73-year-old Imogene Deal McGregor; her son, Billy; and his partner, Jackson Miller, arrive, they expect some traditional Southern hospitality but instead find their friend, Glenway Gilbert, dead in his studio. Howlett's Imogene is hilarious, reckless, and determined to help solve the murder. Hypochondriac Billy, with his blood pressure cuff and medical satchel that becomes a weapon, is priceless. Boyfriend Miller looks out for both McGregors while trying to decide which of the many suspects is the murderer. Along the way, they meet praline chef Lena Ward, who has the perfect Southern voice, vocabulary, and personality. Listeners will enjoy an eventful tour and will especially enjoy the fun as one suspect is followed in a horse-drawn carriage."

The review may be found here and if you'd like to listen to a sample and/or purchase the book, it's available on Audible here

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This year's FIVE BY FIVE Celebration of Art


For the second year in a row, George and Duane participated as artists in the Five By Five art show held at the Tampa Museum of Art.  The proceedings from this show benefit the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s individual artist programs.  To see where I blogged about this event last year, check here.  For more information about this event, check out their website with a list of all of the artists and pictures of each work entered here.  I noticed that there are already photos of the event posted on the site -- the show was last Friday night.

George and Duane -- our 2 'artistes'
This year we actually arrived before the show started.  George and Duane got their 'artist' stickers and were admitted for free.  Linda and I each paid $10.  All the art was priced at $25 and it was going fast by the time the line where we were standing got in the door.  A free-for-all!

Here are the 2 photographs that George entered:

George - photo no.1
George - photo no.2
Here's the piece Duane entered.  It's mixed media...
Duane's mixed media piece
We also managed to do a little shopping of our own.  Duane bought this painting:

Duane's purchase
Linda bought this work that is actually made from wax:

Linda's selection

Last year I bought two photographs but this year I purchased an acrylic and a watercolor:

Lee Ann's watercolor purchase
Lee Ann's acrylic purchase
This is a fun event to attend and it's for such a worthy cause.  I took a few pictures of the crowd but I'm still better with my digital camera than I am at taking pics with my smartphone.

Crowd during the show
Not much room to move around the art.
One of the performing artists.
Pic of the first row of art.  If you look closely, you can actually see both of George's photos in the center.
We had a great time despite stepping on other people's toes and having our own trod on.  I'll suspect we'll be back next year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two new recordings on Audible!

Two of my latest recordings went on sale on Audible yesterday.  The first one is a biography/memoir of a woman who joined the Florida Highway Patrol in the 1980s --  Behind Her Miami Badge: Undercover, the Cocaine Wars, and Life in the Fast Lane by Floy Turner and Sherrie Clark.  It was an honor to be the 'voice' of Floy Turner.  She's a courageous, honorable, and funny lady.

"Miami's vice cops, move over. There's a new sheriff in town, rather a feisty Florida Highway Patrol Trooper named Floy Turner, who juggles motherhood with fighting crime. With refreshing authenticity and transparency, Turner doesn't hold back as she tells her stranger-than-fiction, true-to-life anecdotes of what goes on behind the badge in drug-ridden 1980s Miami when cocaine was king and her town housed one of the major drug hubs in the country. Whether it's Turner's first night on patrol facing the barrel of a gun, the bloodiest day in FBI History, hilarious undercover assignments, conversing with infamous serial killer Aileen Wournos, personally and professionally experiencing the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, and fighting the Miami cocaine wars with the DEA, FBI, and FDLE, Behind Her Miami Badge: Undercover, the Cocaine Wars, and Life in the Fast Lane is an action-packed audiobook that will bring tears to your eyes, either from laughing so hard at the humor or crying at the tragedies." 

Listen to a sample and/or purchase the book here.







The second recording is a radio play by Mike Murphy called Like.  This is a full-cast recording from The Online Stage and was a lot of fun to make.  It's basically a spoof of Facebook and what happens to one unsuspecting member when 'pals' start showing up at her house.

One woman learns the consequences of having a PlaceNook account when all her "friends" show up on her doorstep unannounced.
Cast:
Nicole - KG Cross
Tommy - Andy Harrington
Henrietta - Leanne Yau
Sgt. Connors - Ben Stevens
Woman - Jennifer Fournier
Woman 2 - Lee Ann Howlett
Lavinia - Susan Iannucci
Audio edited by Amanda Friday.

To listen to a sample and/or purchase, check here.

Now, it's time to get back to work!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Another 'Day in Dunedin'

A few directions...

I've posted here before about how much Duane, Linda, and I enjoy shopping in small towns nearby and Dunedin is a favorite.  We decided it was time to head back over there and have a nice relaxing day of shopping and eating.  Of course, the heat was scalding but you wait forever in Florida for truly 'nice' (i.e., cool) days, so we sucked it up and ventured out.

Naturally, we had to have coffee and treats before starting the day, so we stopped at the Dunedin Coffee & Bakery Company just off of Main Street.  Charming bakery and coffee shop with delicious treats and decorated with artwork by locals that you can buy.  In the building next to the one with the bakery is a set of shops with some interesting sculpture climbing up the front.  Had to get a pic of that.

'Climbing' sculpture on shopfront.
 

Although the shops on Main Street in the center of downtown are very nice, we thought it would be fun to search out some of the shops a little farther out.  I particularly wanted to visit a shop called Roadside Attraction that my nephew Jeff used as one of the venues to take his tintypes last July.  Jeff said it was a cool shop and we weren't disappointed.  Great vintage furniture, decor, vinyl, jewelry -- you name it.  I bought a carved white Bakelite bracelet and Linda purchased a set of pretty pink glassware.  It was nice meeting the owner, Carol, who wanted to know when Jeff was coming back!  I told her I hoped it would be soon.  The only pic I took of this shop that turned out (still not used to using the camera on my phone) was this one of the front of the store.  It was originally a pretty large old house and meanders to the sides and way back with tons of rooms all filled with goodies.  

Front of Roadside Attraction.

Some of the other stores we shopped were Lafayette & Rushford Home -- always a nice stop, Linda purchased some beautiful notecards, The Feathered Nest Design Studio, The Twice as Nice Ladies Consignment Boutique, The Key West Express Boutique -- Duane found a cute long-sleeve tee there -- great selection of clothing & accessories -- must return, Sleeperwoods -- a shop that sells goods from Africa -- Linda bought a beautiful box with lid made from a gourd and Duane purchased a turquoise pendant, and  Waterside Furnishings -- another place we loved -- I bought an authentic sea urchin shell and Linda purchased a card and left her info regarding a glass cabinet that she's interested in.

Consignment shop and art gallery side-by-side.

We took a break for lunch and ate at the Downtown Dunedin Deli & Grill and couldn't leave town without stopping at Strachan's Homemade Ice Cream for a 'to-go' dessert.  Their ice cream, fudge, and cakes and pies are to-die-for.  I had some ice cream but bought a small tub of their chocolate fudge for George.

We were pretty pooped (mostly from the heat) but had a great time.  We'll definitely be returning to Dunedin.

My purchases.

Duane's buys.
Linda's new stuff.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My first role with The Online Stage


I was thrilled to be invited by Denis Daly, the director of The Online Stage, to become a part of the company a few months ago.  Today my first performance with TOS went live on Audible.  This is a short piece by Russian author Alexander Ostrovsky and is basically a comedy.  I play Serafima Karpovna.


Incompatibility of Temper: Three Pictures of Moscow Life by Alexander Ostrovsky
Translated by Ethel Voynich
Presented by the Online Stage
Alexander Ostrovsky was the premier Russian dramatist before Chekov, and a true master of realistic satire. His Incompatibility of Temper consists of three sections or "Pictures of Moscow life."
Despite its patina of humor, the work is a merciless exposé of the commercial middle class dishonesty, and the convenient immorality hiding behind social conventions, which are characteristic of a developing urban society. The most noble character, Serafima, is a compelling mixture of naïveté, whimsicality, sentimentality, and obstinate practicality - one of the finest character portraits in Russian drama.

I was very happy to work with a full cast in this production.  If live theater is your thing, please check out the sample and/or purchase the play here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

New recording out today on Audible!

I recorded a short biography of Harriet Tubman which was released for sale on Audible today.   I've been fascinated by Harriet's life since reading the book Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling when I was a kid.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery around 1820. This biography by Elizabeth Ross Haynes was published just eight years after Harriet's death (1913) as a part of her book Unsung Heroes. Over the years Ms. Tubman's legacy as a former slave, an abolitionist, a humanitarian, a suffragette, and a spy and agent for the US Army has grown. Beginning in 2020 her face will grace the US $20 dollar bill. There is also a collection of Harriet Tubman artifacts housed in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

To listen to a sample and/or purchase the book head to Audible here.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Christmas in July Shop Hop in 'the Heights'


I've mentioned many times that Duane lives in one of the most fun parts of town to shop.  There are a number of small businesses and restaurants in Seminole Heights (or 'the Heights' as it is starting to be called) which is an older neighborhood filled with charming bungalows and mid-century modern homes. 

For the past several years, the neighborhood shops have had a Christmas Shop Hop in late November as part of the Shop Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Last summer, several of the shop owners decided to start a 'Christmas in July' shop hop and Duane, Linda, and I went.  It was fun and both Duane and Linda won prizes from the drawings held at some of the stores.  This year, the summer hop started yesterday (Friday) and continues through tomorrow (Sunday).  We always like to go on the first day of the hop -- Friday -- so we went yesterday.

It's fun to see the various stores with Christmas decor out and Christmas music playing when it's in the 90s outside.  They also offer sweets and drinks for their customers -- always a pleasure to partake.  We started with Cleanse Apothecary where I found a Christmas present for one of my sisters and Duane purchased handmade soap.  Linda bought some Bliss foot cream.  Then we headed next door to the Urban Bungalow which you literally just cross a doorway from Cleanse Apothecary to enter.  Urban Bungalow is another fun place to shop.  I bought a clever little two sided measuring cup and Duane picked up a Seminole Heights dishtowel and also special ordered a pillow with her zip code on it.

After we left Urban Bungalow, we headed down the street to Frolic Exchange where it's always fun to see what the owner has added to her shop.  Besides vintage clothing, jewelry, and home decor, there's also a plant section where I've purchased two century plants which are still thriving in my backyard.  I was tempted by a really cute handmade pillow with white and green stripes stamped with black cactuses (cacti?) but I couldn't make up my mind.  Our next stop was D & D Antiques and more where it's always fun to talk to the owner, Debra.  All three us ended up making purchases at D & D.  I bought a pale pink glass dessert plate in a pattern I hadn't come across before.  Linda bought a framed original watercolor along with some vintage glass Christmas ornaments.  (Her two kitties broke several last Christmas so she has to replace when necessary.)  Duane made the largest purchase but I don't have a picture.  She bought a Queen Anne display case table that has a painted distressed white finish.  She plans to put it in her living room to replace a large heavy coffee table that she'd like to sell or give to a new home.

After leaving Debra's place, we headed to our buddy David's store, A Modern Line.  David's place was actually pretty bare.  He's been in the process of having a big sale to move in more items.  Poor Linda missed out on a piece of art that she had been eyeing for some time.  David had just sold it earlier in the week.  Oh, well, we all know it happens in shops where everything is one of a kind.  I was very tempted to purchase a small hand drawn picture of a mid-century modern house.  I'll need to think about it since I would want to re-frame it and it would probably go in my guest room.  If I lose out, then that's the chance I'll take!

After A Modern Line, we were starving -- despite starting our day at Starbucks and imbibing at the various shops -- so we headed to one of our favorite places to eat, The Front Porch.  This is such a great place to eat.  It's in a very old house that dates to 1898 and it has a fun ambiance and great food.

We made it a leisurely lunch and then finally headed home.  Our purchases are below.  The wrapped item is a Christmas gift for someone in my family so it's a secret in case my sister reads this post.

Our purchases for the day.
     

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Tampa Indie Flea and Tintype Photography


The third Sunday of each month, the old Rialto Theatre in Tampa hosts the Indie Flea for all types of arts and crafts.  The artists have to go through a submission process and, even if accepted, there isn't enough room for everyone each month so sometimes people have to wait for the next month in order to be able to show their wares.

The Rialto was built in 1926 and was originally a movie theater.  It went through a number of changes over the years as different businesses used the building and was also simply closed down a couple of times.  Now, though, it has become a venue for events like the Indie Flea, weddings, parties, etc.

Yesterday was only the second time I've been to the Indie Flea.  Duane and I went to it last December (it was so packed you could barely move!) and Linda and I went yesterday.  Since it's so darned hot in Florida right now -- the 90s every day -- I only went because my nephew, Jeff Howlett, was visiting us and he was taking tintype photos at the Indie Flea.

The Rialto has a couple of different rooms.  One is the main area where the theatre had been.  See below:

Vendors in the main room.


Looking through the entrance to the whitewashed brick in the back.
Linda and I went early -- due to complaints about the crowding, you can do that now for a fee -- and I'm really glad we did.  George went later in the day to help Jeff (Jeff's assistant couldn't make it down for the trip from South Carolina) while he was busy taking pics and developing the plates.

Jeff -- all set up to do his thing!
Jeff took a tintype of me while I was there.  I don't know how he stood the heat!  The section of the Rialto where he was located was blisteringly hot.  They don't have air conditioning in that smaller section -- just a big industrial fan.  Yikes.  With the hot lights necessary to take the tintypes and the Florida heat -- it was brutal.  Most people didn't seem to mind it, though.

I really like the pic Jeff took of me.  I only wish I hadn't squinted so much.  Despite having brown eyes, they're very sensitive to light and it was difficult to keep them open very wide.  I've seen pics Jeff has taken with people who almost look 'buggy-eyed' and I have no idea how they can look into the lights like that.

My tintype.  I'll treasure it.

Linda and I also purchased a few small items from other vendors.  I bought a couple of porcupine needles (I think they're beautiful) along with a drop pendant made of howlite.  Linda purchased a pretty handmade trinket bowl and a set of pins with original art on them.  The pics I took for this post are from my new smart phone.  I definitely prefer using my Canon camera and think I'll go back to that for future posts.  Either that or I'll have to get better using the camera on my Samsung phone.

Our purchases.

Jeff headed back home to South Carolina -- he lives near the SC/NC border and works in Charlotte.  He's a very talented photographer and there aren't many people around who make tintypes.  His website is here:  Howlermano Photography.   I've mentioned him on posts here before.  He directed the music documentary A Band Called Death.  If you haven't seen it, it's a wonderful film.

We enjoyed having Jeff for a few days and hope to have him back soon or head up to Charlotte... 

Monday, July 11, 2016

"The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man" is now live on Audible!

My latest release on Audible is a very interesting look at the role reversals of vaudeville entertainers.  The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville by Kathleen B. Casey is a mixture of arts & entertainment, and history.

"In this lively and enlightening study, Kathleen B. Casey explores the ways in which the gender- and race-bending spectacles of vaudeville dramatized the economic, technological, social, and cultural upheaval that gripped the United States in the early 20th century. She focuses on four key performers. Eva Tanguay, known as "The I Don't Care Girl", was loved for her defiance of Victorian decorum, linking white womanliness to animalistic savagery at a time when racial and gender ideologies were undergoing significant reconstruction. In contrast, Julian Eltinge, the era's foremost female impersonator, used race to exaggerate notions of manliness and femininity in a way that reinforced traditional norms more than it undermined them. Lillyn Brown, a biracial woman who portrayed a cosmopolitan black male dandy while singing about an antebellum southern past, offered her audiences, black and white, starkly different visual and aural messages about race and gender. Finally, Sophie Tucker, who often performed in blackface during the early years of her long and heralded career, strategically played with prevailing ideologies by alternately portraying herself as white, Jewish, black, manly, and womanly, while managing, remarkably, to convince audiences that these identities could coexist within one body."

To listen to a sample or purchase, head to Audible here

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Winners of 'June is Audiobook Month' drawing!


Well, another June has passed and I held my drawing for my audiobook giveaway originally posted here.   As usual, I had my husband, George, select from the names on slips of paper from a bowl (very scientific).


OK, so this picture is actually from the first year I held a drawing.  Now George just pulls torn scraps of paper from a Tupperware bowl but this picture looks so much nicer.

Without further ado, this year's 10 winners are:  nrlymrtl, Todd Vogel, Leslie Fisher, Michael Flanagan, skinmaan, jmcgaugh, Megan, Pauline Wiles, Julie Valerie, and Sandie Docker.  Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who entered!

The winners have all been notified but if you see your name here and haven't received an email, please let me know.

Same time, next year!  Until then -- keep listening!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My latest recording -- a cozy mystery -- is for sale on Audible!

I've been busy recording several books in the past two months.  One of them went on sale a couple of days ago.  It's a cozy mystery set in New Orleans and it was a lot of fun to record.  It's called Imogene in New Orleans by Hunter Murphy. 

At the ripe age of 73, Imogene Deal McGregor has a penchant for following her own instincts, as well as more grit and spunk than her hypochondriac son, Billy McGregor, and Billy's impulsive partner Jackson can handle. The boys take Imogene to New Orleans with their devilishly handsome English bulldog Goose, hoping to visit friends and attend a second line parade, but moments after arriving in the French Quarter, they find their friend Glenway Gilbert murdered in his art gallery. Immediately, Imogene and the boys run into a temperamental and ethically-challenged lieutenant who appears hell-bent on neglecting the crime, compelling them to seek answers themselves. As they delve into Glenway Gilbert's murder, Imogene and the boys realize the deceased artist was surrounded by suspicious friends and lovers. With Goose the bulldog by their side, Jackson and Billy seek answers among old friends and new enemies, while Imogene follows her own ideas on the case. But the sooner they solve the murder, the sooner they can get back to catching beads and eating pralines. 

To listen to a sample or to purchase, head to Audible here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Antiquing in The Burg

Whenever my family visited Florida between moves when I was growing up, I always remembered St. Petersburg as being where elderly people lived.  In fact, St. Pete was known for its green benches around the city where you often saw older people sitting and enjoying the sun.  Duane grew up in Tampa and she recalled St. Pete being referred to as a place for 'newlyweds and the nearly dead.'  I had heard the term 'God's Waiting Room' more than once.  Boy, have things changed.

Linda, Duane, and I decided to go antiquing in St. Pete today.  My nephew Sam and his girlfriend Samantha live there and Samantha gave us a heads up on her favorite shops on Central Avenue.  These shops were terrific.  We went to Lion's Paw Antiques & Collectables, Paper Street Market, Furnish Me Vintage, White Owl Market, Janet's Antiques, and a few others that we came across nearby.

The stores were gearing up for the LGBT Pride Parade to be held tomorrow (Saturday) and the streets were very festive with the rainbow logos all around and discounts in some stores in honor of LGBT Pride Month.

Flag and Tee shirt displaying LGBT Pride.


Pretty white street lights down Central Ave.

St. Pete is now officially a 'Hipster Haven' with smoke shops like this one interspersed with antique shops and lots of great local places to eat.


This acupuncture shop below was next door to the smoke shop.   I accidentally cut off part of the print on the window -- 'Sticking It to The Man Since 2009!'


There were murals all over the place on the sides of the various buildings.  I couldn't get all of the one below because it was so large and I couldn't go much farther back in the parking lot.

Really BIG mural.

Central Avenue in St. Pete is also home to Haslam's Book Store -- the largest new and used book store in Florida.  It's been around since 1933.


We didn't go into Haslam's because we tend to spend so much time in book stores and today we were strictly looking at antiques and collectibles.  Mid-morning we had a nice coffee/tea and snack at a local place called the Genaro Coffee Company.  The owner waited on us and the iced coffee (mine) and teas (Linda and Duane) were terrific along with the homemade muffins (all three of us).

After a LOT of walking through the byzantine shops we were ready for lunch around 2pm.  We chose the Community Cafe which turned out to be a great choice.  It's a vegan cafe with freshly made wraps, sandwiches, and soups.  The desserts looked good, too, especially the orange dreamsicle cupcakes, but we were pretty stuffed after our meal.  Plus they constantly have art exhibits hanging in the shop.  The themes vary but this theme was "I Love the 80s" and I had to buy the digital print by artist Peter Charbonneau of Robert Smith of The Cure -- one of my all-time fave bands.   Unfortunately, I can't bring it home until the show has ended but it's SOLD now -- to moi.  I may hang it in our powder room for fun.

My new piece of art!

Here are Linda and Duane's purchases from a couple of the antique shops.  Linda bought the set of verdigris candle holders and Duane added another piece to her Delftware collection.  She also found the three vintage forks that have been repurposed as hanging hooks.  Duane plans to hang them in her kitchen when she's finished remodeling, as part of her finishing touches.

Linda and Duane's purchases.

Well, we know why St. Pete is called 'The Burg' now.  It has a thriving art scene and a great mix of residents.  Too bad we'll miss the LGBT parade.  One shop owner told us that there are usually girls who come into the shop dressed in paint.  ONLY paint.  Sounds like a hoot!  We're with them in spirit even if we're across the bridge.

Oh, I had to take a pic of this sculpture on top of a building on the way up the ramp of the Interstate.  Hmm... more art from The Burg.  We'll definitely be hitting Central Avenue again in the future for more shopping and eating.

"Easy, big fella!"

P.S.  Linda sent me a pic of where she placed her candle holders -- on her teak sofa table.  They look great.