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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our ninth calendar year
    PCR #408  (Vol. 9, No. 3)  This edition is for the week of January 14--20, 2008.

The Tampa Film Review for January  by Nolan B. Canova
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 5  by William Moriaty
"Cloverfield"  by Mike Smith
The Top 20 Albums of 2007, Pt. 2: #10--1.  by Terence Nuzum
Goodbye, Vampira  by Andy Lalino
R.I.P. Maila “Vampira” Nurmi 1921-2008  by Lisa Ciurro
Bud Lee: His Trapped Memories Can Still Escape Through Photos  by Paul Guzzo
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part One: In the Town where I was Born...  by ED Tucker
It's Oscar Time! .... So Mj's Available? .... Belated Congratulations .... And The Oscar For 1983 Should Have Gone To  by Mike Smith
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The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 5

A Look at Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Pinellas County
It should come as no surprise that Pinellas County would be the Tampa Bay area's mecca for mid-century modern architecture as one of its most major land booms occurred after the Second World War and lasted until the early 1970's. In addition it is a beach community where image has always played a vital role in the commerce of selling such real estate to resident and vacationer alike.

As has been reported in previous editions of this column, the Tampa Bay area's mid-century modern architecture, with its ranch style homes, Googie restaurants and motels, and Brutalist multi story buildings is dying a slow death. Unlike architectural styles borrowed from the past, mid-century modern was in large part a new creation between the late 1940's and early 1970's. Both at home and in Western Europe it was largely symbolic of post War prosperity, optimism and exploration. It evoked sleek jet-age designs with an incredible use of different materials, colors and textures.

Over time, much of its uniqueness has been its downfall. Many people cling to tradition and their tastes in architecture seems no different. To many people, mid-century modern, particularly Googie, represents a somewhat unsophisticated pop culture kitsch and looks woefully dated. Much of my love for it is for those very reasons! It, along with other mid-century modern forms of architecture, were symbolic a very truly American culture that was still intoxicated with television, the drive in theater, tail-finned automobiles, the X-15, the neighborhood malt shop and an emerging new frontier of space.

Who could not be excited to live in such a time, even with the threat of nuclear annihilation the push of a button away?

With time, our architecture takes the bold step of moving from its description of "frozen music" to humankind's time capsule. This is not to say that the buildings in these next two columns are the Roman Coliseum, the Parthenon or the Gardens of Babylon. But like those creations, these structures are all remnants of what we once were, which is why all reasonable efforts should be made to preserve them whenever possible or practicable.

The photos in this and next week's edition were taken in Pinellas County, Florida between December 26, 2007 and January 2, 2008.

Next week: Our Pinellas County review of fabulous architecture concludes.
One of the most dazzling and elegant examples of mid-century modern architecture is at the Limited Designs building located at 370 N. Clearwater-Largo Road in Clearwater. Here the north building entrance is shown.A view of the showroom area of at the southern portion of the Limited Designs building is shown.
This former Osgood-Cloud Funeral home building at 4691 Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park now sits vacant. This beautiful mid-century modern structure is probably headed for the wrecker's ball as the lot had a "For Sale" sign calling out for a different land use.My personal favorite of the bunch is this incredible Googie structure framed by South Florida Slash Pine trees. It is still in active use as the Taylor Family Funeral Home at 5300 Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park. Even the overcast skies do not diminish my appreciation of this work of art!

"La Floridiana" is ©2008 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 ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.

Much like the former Osgood-Cloud Funeral Home above, this fabulous structure, the Four Coins Restaurant at 2700 34th Street North in St. Petersburg is probably headed for the wreckers ball as the roof line and caution tape shows evidence of a recent fire.