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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our seventh calendar year
    PCR #337  (Vol. 7, No. 36)  This edition is for the week of September 4--10, 2006.

Labor Day Magic 2006  by William Moriaty
"Little Miss Sunshine"  by Mike Smith
Suggestion  by Mark Terry
Congratulations, Katherine!...VHS Grindhouse: "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde"  by Andy Lalino
Irony, Defined....Is The Head Dead Yet?...Is Her Name Pronounced Su Li?....My Favorite Films, Part 36: "Superman The Movie"  by Mike Smith
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Labor Day Magic 2006

You may recall the magic I felt last year at this time as described in PCR #287.

Like last year, I started the Labor Day Weekend off with my annual pilgrimage to the St. Petersburg College Planetarium on the evening of Friday September 1st. And like last year, I was blessed with another great planetarium performance by planetarium director Dr. Craig Joseph. In addition, I was also blessed to still see the indefatigable planetarium docent Bob Nizolec whose love for his alma mater of over 30 years ago and his passion for the stars shines as bright as eternity.

Leaving the 7:00 P.M. show elated and enlightened I would drive to my next favorite St. Petersburg haunt, the Biff Burger. But before doing that, I had to tour the neighborhood surrounding the Gibbs Campus of St. Petersburg College.

As one survives into older age, they find so many more things to count their blessings for. When I rode in my 2002 Trans Am, the Nightstalker, down the brick streets of the Eagle Lake neighborhood that borders the College, I enjoyed the grove of South Florida Slash Pines that both shelters the residents and so incredibly well defines the character and sense of place of this beautiful place on Florida's West Coast.

I admired and gave thanks for the big puffy purple and steel gray clouds that I often refer to as "Nolan Canova" skies that are a hallmark of how Florida looks in late summer with the thunderboomers finally moving over the Gulf of Mexico as if chasing the setting sun. When I think of these things I think of Nolan...

I listened to the sound of my tires running over the brick of 7th Avenue North, turned off the radio, punched down my driver's window, and heard the beautiful, yet almost deafening chorus of the cicadas. I then knew that many unicorns were hiding amongst the grove of tropical pines which made me think of my wonderful friend Harry Wise who I would be visiting the next day over in Orlando.

Spook Hill as seen out the window of my Trans Am at Lake Wales, Florida. Photo by Karen Cashon.
Lastly, before reaching 66th Street North, I saw a house that my dear friend Susan Hughes would've fallen in love with. Her passion for '50's and '60's Florida and Googie architecture is joyous to behold. It is when she releases an inner child that finds magic and meaning in in otherwise mundane work a day world.

In a six-block drive I managed to think about three wonderful people that I love dearly who are a gift to me. Twenty years ago that would probably never have happened - - even five years ago for that matter.

At the Biff I ran into another person who has brought magic to my life. My tree planting organization's public relations officer, Jen Thompson. God undeniably did right by me that magical Friday evening.

Saturday September 2nd: Spook Hill and the Sanford Summit IV
On Saturday morning another dear friend of mine and Karen's, Beth Blechschmidt, made a safe sojourn to our Plant City abode from Clearwater to attend the Sanford Summit IV event being held at Sanford residents and Florida Folk Heroes, Art Litka's, and his wife, Treena Kaye's house. Readers may recall the Sanford Summit III at the Halloween Village as the frontpiece to PCR #329.

Someone who was obviously "hanging around" Art Litka's and Treena Kate's humble abode too long!

I defy any ornothologist to identify this hideous denizen seen flying over the Halloween Village!
Karen and Beth and I drove first over to Lake Wales to meet up with our friend Susan Hughes. As Susan wasn't quite ready for us yet, we treated Beth to the Spook Hill experience where the Trans Am appeared to roll up hill.

From there we caravaned to the Sanford home of Florida's Mister Magic Harry Wise where other dear friends Lisa Clardy (F-Bod Studios and Tacky Flix.Com, Brendan McWilliams and his bride to be Anna Everhart had already arrived. We also had the honor to meet the director of the Daytona Beach Paranormal Research Group, Inc., Dr. Doris "Dusty" Smith who has recently authored a new book on a terrifying real-life encounter with the unknown in Central Florida called "Dread and Dead Filled the Dunnam House". Look for Dusty's exploits on the Discovery Channel later this month!

Beth Blechschmidt holds up her camera to get the Halloween Village while Dr. Doris "Dusty" Smith, Treena Kaye and Karen Cashon look on.
From Harry's, the nine of us dodged raindrops of the way to Art and Treena's beautiful residence which is located in a Cabbage Palm savanna east of town. This was to be a late afternoon/early evening affair so that we could behold Art and Treena's Halloween Village at night. As always, Art and Treena were gracious hosts and everyone had a magical and joyous evening. Everything went smoothly except for the weather where we were hoping to get in some serious star-gazing.

After recounting several chilling and spine-tingling tales to me and some of the entourage, our newly-made friend Dr. Smith had to leave early, but not before having us pose for a beautiful group shot taken by Susan Hughes. Harry and I not long afterward ventured into town to pick up pizzas for dinner.

Then night began to fall, and the Halloween Village took on a whole new magical dimension that has to be seen to be believed. Like Susan's Florida and California architecture, Harry's unicorns and Nolan's clouds, Art and Treena's inner child was majestically manifest that evening as it beckoned us to behold its complexity and composition.

But as all good things must come to an end, so did Sanford Summit IV by 11:00 that night. But that would not be the end of a magical Labor Day Weekend.

Group shot of the attendees of the Sanford Summit IV: L-R: Anna Everhart, Brendan McWilliams, Karen Cashon, William Moriaty, Beth Blechschmidt, Lisa Clardy, Harry Wise, Dr. Doris "Dusty" Smith, Treena Kaye and Art Litka. copyright 2006 DBPRG, Inc. Photo by Susan Hughes.

Producer/director Nolan Canova adjusts his camera before queing Jennifer Moore and Gustavo Perez that the film is rolling for a trilogy movie seen in the PCR steaming video teaser titled Milk Crate Scars.
The handsome actor Gustavo Perez and the pretty actress Jennifer Moore posing between takes!
The dynamic duo in a more shaded yet relaxed setting.

The Great Film Shoot, Monday September 4th
Undoubtedly you have already seen the teaser-trailer on the PCR homepage for the trilogy movie that Terence Nuzum, Vinnie Blesi and Nolan Canova are currently in production on, right? No? Better do it now, because it's gonna be hotter than a two-dollar pistol.

I was again blessed to be a part of this latest magic by assisting Nolan and Florida Folk Hero and Tampa based actor Gustavo Perez in Nolan's filming of his part of the trilogy. In this outing, I was formally introduced to Ms. Jennifer Moore, a beautiful actress and person who is starring in the movie with Gustavo Perez. I had initially met Ms. Moore during a filming of Gus's movie "Angora", but there were close to a dozen other actors present during that shoot.

Nolan was seamless in his direction and pacing and Gustavo and Jennifer were truly top-notch in their acting roles. We started out the shoot at a restaurant scene at Westshore Pizza and ended the shoot where the handsome couple were warmly embracing in the sand, surf and mangroves on Gandy beach in St. Petersburg. We capped off the evening with a celebratory dinner at the Durango Steak House on Westshore Boulevard in Tampa.

Of course the truest magic was coming back home to my wife, Karen, and our two cats, Erin and Tezzy.

Such blessings, such magic...

"La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.