Berlin One

While back in Florida, I visited Berlin One, a self-proclaimed art extravaganza taking place at my old haunt, the Ritz in Ybor (I saw more shows there than I can count back in my high school and college years).

A respected and beloved local poet, Brad Morewood, recommended the event to me while I was in town.

Before stopping at the Ritz, I went down the street a bit to the Ybor Arts Colony, a series of studios on the second floor of one the buildings on 7th Avenue, the main drag. I spoke for a bit with Moira Shriver, the wife of the Tampa artist, Jason Shriver, as well as city council candidate, Sara Romeo.

Berlin One itself was crowded with viewers, artists, and designers and enough hipsters to satisfy the most hard core San Francisco scenesters (I notice that ironic moustaches are very popular these days). It felt like my little hometown was growing up.

Ybor City’s artistic glory days were in the 70s, when local artists set up shop in old cigar factories. By the time I came around in 89-90, that scene was already disappearing – the galleries and quirky stores being forced out by clubs and bars catering to overage frat boys.

But maybe, having hit a certain saturation point, something interesting and dare I say – artsy – is coming back?

Moira asked me what I thought about the changes, about how people are trying to take back the area.

I like it. I like it very much.

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