The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Forsooth and stuff!

Hark! I see an end to my not-able-to-get-online-with-any regularity- misery, lo, somewhere between here and the horizon. I have been occupied recently with other matters -- including the survival of a friend, Thomas Bruce Reese, he of Beaux Arts Gallery and Coffeehouse fame (see reeseart.com ), and since the benefit held downtown St. Petersburg to help him out a bit yesterday, I can move on to other things in my head -- but not without a few words about the benefit itself. Tom's claim to have the Oldest Continuous Coffeehouse in the area -- indeed, possibly in the country, perhaps even the planet -- means that when there is a benefit held for him, the oldest hippies and folk singers known to man will emerge from the dens of their present lives and wander in, play music or recite poems, tell stories, and mingle with their comtemporaries. It was held at a small and yet wonderful location, The Globe Coffee House on First Avenue North and Fifth Street North, St. Petersburg -- a place normally closed on Sundays, and, when open, a place of comfort for many young folk - some arriving on skateboard and others afoot, and some with laptops tucked under their arms. Makers of fine coffee and coffee drinks, a wonderful raspberry tea, and sweet things that appeared to be lovingly baked by the proprietoress herself, The Globe heard the need -- and opened its doors to the old hippies and folkies and poets who crammed into the place yesterday. Some performed -- many chose to not perform but to 'audience' -- a role some play better than others, but which is necessary to make any such gathering a success. And I don't know the figures, but I think the gathering was a success. Funds were raised, memories were jostled, and friendships renewed. Coffee was consumed in many forms and flavorings, and nowhere was there the ugly head of commercialism or blatant headline success -- although many of the participants had had their own successes, and though some with the blatant headline successes who had passed through the various Beaux Arts doors who are now deceased (Marilyn Monroe bought art from Tom Reese. Jim Morrison (of the Doors) passed through while going to college and staying with his (I believe) grandmother; while Kerouac and others had visited ("Go write something new!" Tom is reported to have told Kerouac) -- there was no one who had 'sold out' or who had not given themselves over to making the best of whatever talent they had been given -- and the skills Mr. Thomas Bruce Reese helped them to hone.

I am hoping there will be another one of these soon. There are a lot of old hippies and folkies and poets around, and with young folks taking over all the good places these days, it is nice to have a gathering where the artists and audiences combine with one purpose in mind -- having some fun and taking care of an old friend/mentor/legend.

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