The Bay Area Arts & Music Organization, or BAAMO as the cool kids call it, is celebrating the very active (if not slightly secretive) Tampa Bay music scene with the release of its sixth compilation entitled Tales of Highways & Low Roads.

Yep, it's a concept album about traveling, with 20 original songs by local (but hardly amateur) bands and musicians. 

Cover photo by famed photographer Burk Uzzle (Car on a Pole)
Laura "BAAMO" Keene is one of the leading forces behind the organization. When asked about the future of BAAMO as CD's and radio stations are being phased out, Laura told me: "There's still plenty of college and community stations. If they're going to keep playing music, I'll do everything I can to get Tampa Bay music into the hands of their listeners."  

And indeed she has put it out there. After a very quick web search I found tracks from the new album on playlists in the Netherlands, Canada, the Virgin Islands, and all over the U.S. 

If you'd like to get in on the fun before too many people know about Tampa  - and it's overrun with hipsters and Republicans -  come out to the CD release party this Saturday at New World Brewery. The music starts at 6 p.m. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011
New World Brewery
1313 E 8th Ave in Ybor City
(813) 248-4969
Door @ 5:00 pm, Music starts promptly at 6:00 pm
$10.00 donation (includes copy of the CD or a download card)

If you don't get out as often as you'd like, or don't know enough fine folks, this is the night to put your roots down.  

Genres range from Americana, Pop, and Indie to Rock 'n' Roll and Reggae and more, so there's some sound for everyone. 


The Hideaway Cafe

Across the bay in St. Pete, good music happens at lots of places, including the Hideaway Cafe, a production studio/listening room whose patrons will shush the heck out of loud mouths if they chat during a performance. For music appreciators only. 

Here's a couple of videos I took at the beginning of the month during the Grant Peeples/Ronny Elliott show April 1st.


WMNF Volunteer Banquet 2011

Dev. Dir/DJ Lounge Laura Taylor & Barry Shalinsky
Volunteers are to WMNF what the sun is to a day at the beach - essential, amazing and priceless. There would be no radio station without its community. 

Sunday afternoon WMNF staffers, volunteers and board members got together to celebrate the radio station and each other down by the river at the Heights

Ronny Elliott & the Rebel 

Michele & Bob Soptei

Lisa Harris (wife of BOD Jeff), Linda Lu, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marcie Finkelstein

New Vol of the Year "J" Griffiths & Jay Alexander

2 of the nicest guy on the planet: Mean Gene Moore & Volunteer of the Year Scott Elliott

Mark & Barb Perfetti. First date: WMNF's Tropical Heatwave

Funny how the volunteers you bond the most with are the ones who precede or follow your time slot. In the last photo I'm posing with Psycho Realms' Rev. Patrick Jones, aka Eldersign and DJ Arth Mawr. 

Back in 2006 I used to host the Pre-Dawn Alternative Monday's at 4 a.m., right after Psycho Realms and before the Monday Morning show with Glen Hatchell. I got to know these swell guys pretty well and they're still some of my favorites. 


Take Back the Night 2011

The Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay presented Take Back the Night last night in Hyde Park Village.

I arrived as they were honoring Rita Peters, Chief of Sex Crimes for the District Attorney’s office. She gave an emotional speech about wearing her heart on her sleeve as she helps victims of abuse win their cases with a 96% success rate. 

I was very happy to get a few moments with Tampa PD Chief Jane Castor. 

As I reported previously, 1 in 6 women are victims of sexual violence, as are 1 in 33 men. 

Clotheslines of shirts hung around the park with messages from victims to their attackers, and in memoriam of women whose lives were lost. 

High Hopes in High Heels board member Laura Fontanills was one of many community volunteers who came out in support of the cause. 


Take Clark Home With You

With a little help from his friends, Clark surpassed his goal of raising $1,500 for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. And he got a muffin named after him. So if you like blueberries (cancer-fighting antioxidant) and white chocolate (white guy euphemism), then take a break at the Bunker in Ybor and treat yourself to a Clark of your very own to savor the sweetness of someone else's hard-won success.  


EMILY's List

Former Tampa City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena and Stephanie Schriock
“Early money is like yeast,” EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock told me Sunday, explaining the organization's acronym and their theory on fundraising, which is basically that it takes money to make even more money. 

EMILY's List began in 1985, a basement full of  women in Washington D.C., pooling their resources and address books to raise money for pro-choice Democratic candidates. 

According to their website they've raised over $82,705,257 for candidates since they started. Schriock was in town raising money for their training & recruitment programs, open to women in local, state and national politics or aspiring to be. 

Despite growing into one of the biggest political action committeeswomen make up only 17% of Congress. (While women make up 50.7% of this country, according to a 2009 Census estimate.) How can politicians represent the public if they don't resemble the public? 

I had such a great conversation with Stephanie about the work she does at EMILY's List that I produced an extended interview as well as a short radio version that aired Monday on 88.5 WMNF. 


Something to Talk About

"Yeah, I just want to ask how many people here has NOT had sex with my husband? "
My attempt to go shoeless for one day was almost a complete failure. Just getting out of bed that morning and having my feet hit the bare wood floor sans house slippers gave me the willies (and I had swept the entire house the day before to gear up). 

I intended to soldier on. I had an interview (reporting, not job prospect) that morning. I got dolled up in my prettiest suit thinking it would be a trade off for showing up with my feet bare. 

But that was the day it poured down barrels, and I could not bring myself to have dripping wet, muddy feet in the lobby of a local non-profit. So I comprised with flip flops. 

Now, having been a college kid within the last decade, I know that most young people consider flips to be acceptable from school to church to the White House. Personally I have never stopped thinking of them as more than shower shoes.

Luckily I got to explain myself and my choice of footwear to the executive director I was meeting with, so not only did I look like less of an idiot, but I got to initiate a conversation about the naked-footed plight of TOMS Shoes. I wore my disgustingly comfy sneakers for the rest of the day. 

That next evening on Q, a CBC radio program (via WUSF), I heard about a new challenge that would suit me better and not put me at risk of getting a parasite. Writer Lauren Frey Daisley spoke about her recent article in Salon about giving up snark for a month. 

With the current polarized climate led by jackass politicians, both sides are making it way too easy to get angry and talk trash. But as Lauren said on the radio show, that kind of talk tends to have a negative effect on the speaker. 

Stress levels raise as we rile ourselves up and piss off or hurt our friends on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum. By getting back to "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," we can focus our energy away from pointless complaining and spend our time being productive instead. Which always makes me feel better. 


Inside the Outbreaks

Thanks in part to the Science Challenge 2011, several months ago I picked up Inside the Outbreaks by Mark Pendergrast.

It's about the CDC's elite team of medical detectives, and very

The book opens with a parable about two doctors, a clinician (who practices medicine) and an epidemiologist (who studies patterns of diseases).

The two were walking to the side of a lazy river, but as they approached noticed it was full of unconscious bodies. They pulled a few out but there were too many to keep up. The researcher decided to run upriver to the surprise of the other doctor.

"Where are you going?" He yells. "Help me save these people!" Without stopping, she yells back, "I'm going upstream to find out why they're falling in!" 
Inside the Outbreaks is a chain of hundreds of vignettes on myriad researchers and diseases. It begins in 1951 with Alexander Langmuir addressing how the Korean War spurred Korean hemorrhagic fever ("...spread by rodents, not Communists.") in American soldiers, which Langmuir said necessitated a medical response team at the Communicable Disease Center (now the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in Atlanta.

Langmuir got the funding needed to begin the Epidemic Intelligence Service, or EIS, a two-year program which many young doctors took as a way of avoiding mandatory military service.

The book covers contaminated church picnics, malaria, and explains how the poor neighborhood of Chandler Branch, WV had a lower rate of polio infection than that of its upscale neighbors because:
"Cesspools dumped into" Chandler Branch's drinking supply, thus "most babies were immune to polio."
Other stories were of children eating lead paint chips & breathing in lead particles from smelting factories, clusters of suburban leukemia, hospital infections, aspirin makers in denial of  Reye's syndrome for decades, the fear of Ebola & swine flu, liquid diets that caused starvation, polluted water caused by PCB's, PVC's, DDT, and more.

Just when I thought I had enough bad news, then came relief with the eradication of polio in the U.S. and a race to end smallpox in the rest of the world - only to have the emergence of a brand new disease called AIDS (which was traced back to WWII. Who knew?!).

There's also bad decisions, the politics of abortion, batches of bad polio vaccine, unethical testing on Africans, African Americans, and the heinous Jim Crow treatment of the first black EIS officer Bernie Challenor in 1965 that led him to seek overseas assignments. (He would later become the dean of the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.)

I've been hemming and hawing about grad school for several years now and I think public health might be the thing. It's a good combination of my top three favorite things: communications, health and education.

I'm glad I've always ignored advice like: "Focus on one thing." Out of all the problems around here that need fixin', good health is required before anything else can be done. I'll keep you posted...


Week of Health

We are smack in the middle of National Public Health Week and Thursday is World Health Day

College of Public Health has a bunch of activities going on this week (calendar here), from bike safety to film screenings to blood donation. Public health really is the whole shebang. 

I love this year's slogan "Safety is NO Accident." Many moons ago I trained to be a bus driver in the suburbs of Seattle.  I still remember how adamant my trainer was about referring to accidents as crashes. He said there was no such thing as an accident, and because we were the professionals and the biggest vehicle on the roads, we had to drive so well that we'd be able to prevent bad drivers from crashing into us. 

It sounded unreasonable at first, but I'd come to appreciate the accountability of the dedicated bus drivers. I'm a pretty responsible driver today because of them. 

TOMS: One for One


One Day Without Shoes

I'm tempted to go barefoot all day tomorrow in observance of "One Day Without Shoes."  I have a full day of reporting & tutoring (but at least I'm not working in a public building).

I have no natural arches so being shoeless is a challenge for me, never mind the 'ick' factor of stepping on stuff and having people see my weird feet.

But the point of the day is to raise awareness about the children around the world who are too poor for shoes and go barefoot every day. If I don't wimp out, this will be a great way to challenge myself, raise awareness and lead by example.

Welcome to the Working Week

This morning Ronny and I sat in for regular Monday Morning Show host Glen Hatchell on 88.5 WMNF. Music of this sort doesn't usually win industry awards or find its way onto corporate radio play lists, but you don't need a mass comm degree to know that this is the soulful stuff with the power to change the world for the better. 

Thanks to my partner (in justice & life) Ronny for putting this set together on short notice. Our show will be available in the online archives for the next week.

Dave Bartholomew The Monkey Speaks His Mind Highlight Crescent City
Josh Rouse Bienvenido El Turista
Johnny cash Memories Are Made Of This  Unchained
Josh Rouse It's The Nighttime Nashville
June Carter Cash I Used To Be Somebody Press On
King Pins  It Won't Be This Way  Always
Keely Smith I Wish You Love Spotlight On
Ramsay Midwood Light Foot Larry Buys A Lighter
The Band  w/ Van Morrison  4%  Pantomime
Delta Rhythm Boys Dry Bones I Dreamt I Dwelt In Harlem
Bonnie Raitt & Was (Not Was) Baby Mine
Dennis Wilson He's A Bum Bamboo
Dick Holler & The Holidays Double Shot Of My Baby's Love
Mae West A Guy What Takes His Time  Come Up And See Me
Mavis Staples We Shall Not Be Moved  We'll Never Turn Back
Ray Charles I Got A Woman Birth Of Soul 2
Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry Down By The Riverside
Steppin' In It The Ghost Of Richard Manuel Simple Tunes for Troubled Times
Ike & Tina Turner You Can't Miss Nothing That You Never Had The Kent Years
M. Ward Rave On Hold Time
M. G. Greaves  Fight Of The Century Fight Of The Century
Raul Malo San Antonio Baby Sinners & Saints
Charlie Louvin  Great Atomic Power  Hillbilly Music, Thank God
Buck Owens Maid In Japan
Marty Fouts Working poor Labor & Love
Oliver Morgan Who Shot The Lala
Prince Lala Things Have Changed
Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy Swing Along Chillun Trail Of The Lonesome Pines
Ray Smith Ray Smith Travelin' With Ray
The Movers Birmingham
Kevin So Tonight Life Solo Akoustic
Steve Earle Steve's Hammer (For Pete) Washington Square
Robbie Fulks I Push Right Over South Mouth
Donovan Universal Soldier
Nick Lowe Where's My Everything
The Youngbloods Grizzly Bear Get Together
Johnny Cash Last night I had the strangest dream At Madison Square Garden
The Viscounts  Harlem Nocturne
Lula Reed Watch Dog Blue & Moody
Ken Nordine Chartreuse    Colors
Chip Taylor I Want The Real Thing Chip Taylor's Last Chance
Vienna Teng Grandmother Song Inland Territory
Warren Zevon  Heartache Spoken Here  Mr. Bad Example
Cliff Edwards When I See An Elephant Fly Disney Collection
Chuck Berry Dear Dad  In London
Clarence Henry I Don't Know Why Ain't Got No Home
Ronny Elliott Letter From A Birmingham Jail Poisonville


The Other Side of the Ocean

I've had a busy week doing the usual do-goodery, work and dodging tornadoes. I've also been entertaining a couple of friends from Ireland who are visiting the U.S. for the first time.

George & Manda 
Ronny met Manda and George several years ago when he played the Belladrum Festival in Scotland. The working class couple (social worker and union organizer) had won a pair of tickets to the festival, and when Ronny later toured Ireland he stayed with them at their home in Coleraine

The like-minded couple told me this week about Ireland's (great) ban on plastic bags, (sad) intolerance of pit bulls and their Wal-Mart-owned Asda chains stores.

I shared with them books by Native American author Sherman Alexie, pancakes with maple syrup and walking tours of Davis Islands and Ybor City.

We laughed (and cried) about corrupt humans/politicians in both our countries and around the world.  

As a high school U2 fangirl, I became obsessed with Irish culture. I read (okay, watched) In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot. My obsession gave way to my eventual obsessions with other war-torn cultures like Viet Nam, Kosovo, Sudan and Iraq. 

Manda told great stories about living their lives in Northern Ireland despite "the troubles." She had gone on a bus trip to Southern Ireland and as often happened on long trips, she got motion sickness. When the bus was stopped by British soldiers, Manda ran to the front of the bus and opened a window in just enough time to stick her head out before she threw up. It splattered at the feet of one young soldier. Her friend yelled from the back of the bus: "That's no way to show your politics, Manda!"

Another time there was a wedding in Belfast. Because of barricades around town, Manda was late bringing the flowers. The bride's 8-and-a-half month pregnant sister went into labor. When the wedding was over, the happy couple had to plow through a field in their small car to get to the airport on time for their honeymoon flight, but once they were back on the road the car broke down, so George walked to the next town for a cab. They just barely made their flight. 

Meeting Manda and George has reminded me that we humans certainly have more in common than not. With our love of food, humanity, and Ronny Elliott, I particularly have a lot in common with Manda and George. 

After meeting them, Ronny wrote the song "When the Showbands Played Coleraine." 

Mandy's got her hair up and her best Eartha Kitt look and she's okay 'til two a.m. George has got what's left of a paycheck in his billfold and a wink that says, "I don't give a damn!" We may as well stay for a few more songs. We've already missed the half past train. Mandy and George were dancing on clouds when the showbands played Coleraine.

Weekend To Do List


Downtown Tampa 
  • Museum Makeover Day! Get a makeover with vegan-friendly Arbonne products and support the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. 

St. Pete



  • My house - Usually I stay home and watch Are You Being Served so I'm out of suggestions for this evening.


  • North Tampa - Sue Wilson's documentary Broadcast Blues explains why the media is failing American citizens and endangering our democracy.