Archive for the ‘Newspaper Articles’ Category

M*O*S*H 
December 22, 2010

Mosh pitST. PETERSBURG – We shared moments over the past two minutes as intimate as lovers. And Alex and I were just now exchanging names.

Well, barely. Talking was harder than breathing. And breathing was impossible.

We hunched over, heads bowed, reduced to violent, concussive coughs, trying yet failing to mine some refreshment from this steaming soup. One hundred yards from Tampa Bay and I’m somehow drowning on dry land.

Summertime Florida’s daily visitor was nothing but a frustrating tease, a sick joke. It threatened an appearance, a hope-inspiring glimpse of its slip, so we coveted the darkening clouds, the heat index ramping to three digits.

But no shower today, not a chance, not for us. The cloud cover barely softened the debilitating heat. We knew the truth: We had bowed down to false gods who blared punk rock, and this was our penance. Painful enough in the afternoon, it now was early evening, and the Vinoy Park heat had conquered me.

I spat again.

The hulking Alex Nodderal, at 6 feet 2 a brick wall, got his voice back first – one benefit of being 22 years old. He pulled his West Coast Choppers T-shirt away from his thick chest, analyzed it and, smiling at me, said:

“That blood can’t all be mine.” (more…)

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Rick is rejected by eHarmony — TWICE.
December 1, 2010

You may have seen the commercial: Smiling guy looks through a magazine that resembles Playboy. Closes it, shrugs, and says, “Nope. Still gay.”

Rick with a prohibited symbol over his faceA red “brand” slams down:

REJECTED BY eHarmony.

Then, a voiceover:

“Who knows why eHarmony has rejected over a million people looking for love? But at Chemistry.com, you can come as you are . . .”

So goes the assault on eHarmony.com, a popular online “matching” site, by its newest competitor.

The ad shades the truth a hair: If you’re gay or lesbian, eHarmony won’t consider you long enough to reject you; the site doesn’t do same-sex matching. Chemistry.com does.

If you’re straight – which you must specify upfront – eHarmony then allows you to answer more than 250 questions about yourself.

But not everyone who completes eHarmony’s questionnaire gets to use its services.

* * *

A few months ago, after friends related their experiences with dates set up through eHarmony, I decided to give it a try.

After an hour of rating myself on hundreds of criteria, I was dying for the ordeal to end. Still, I carefully considered the questions and statements, answering them honestly.

Finally, I reached the penultimate page and hit “save and continue.” Bring on the ladies.

The next page read:

Unable to Match You at This Time

(more…)

Inspiration and insanity on open mic night (featuring Geri X and Stick Martin)
June 5, 2010

Geri X on the cover of Creative Loafing, 2009

Here's Geri X on the cover of Creative Loafing in 2009, four years after the events portrayed in this article. There was a great pic of Geri with the original article, but I'm not going to pay the Times to use it.

Open mic night has begun at Javatropolis, and if the song’s chorus is any indication, the delicately pretty teenager onstage just might be singing a heartfelt ballad about . . . Mao Tse-tung.

Okay, so it turns out this particular chorus, at least on this particular Tuesday night, is no indication. The chorus’ repeated phrase actually is “Bil Si Tam,” also the song’s title. It’s definitely not Mao Tse-tung, confirms Geri Micheva, the song’s composer and performer.

To be safe, Geri, who performs as Geri X, writes it down: Bil Si Tam (You’ve Been There). She dots the I’s with X’s, just like every nice little high school sophomore should. And she highlights a single, but wide, stretch of her long brown hair with neon green coloring, just like every nice little high school . . .

Hey, wait a minute. Geri’s not so easily categorized. And really she wouldn’t be hanging out on Tuesday night with this crowd if she was.

Not with Carson. Not with A.J.

And definitely not with Stick.

(more…)

Lucinda Williams concert review (archives, 2004)
May 20, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG – Six songs into her show Tuesday at Jannus Landing, Lucinda Williams and her band began to hear calls from fans for some up-tempo favorites.

Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams

“We’ll do Changed the Locks and Joy,” she responded, chastising the crowd in good-natured fashion. “We’ve got to work up to it. Y’all just chill out.”

Williams didn’t follow with “like us,” but it would have been appropriate. While she performed selections from her remarkable catalog of blues, country, rock and folk songs in fine form, Williams opened the show in such a relaxed manner that some in the packed courtyard grew restless.

Perhaps the crowd’s calls had some effect, because Williams shattered the leisurely tone with grooving renditions of I Lost It, Still I Long For Your Kiss and Righteously, the latter the lead single from 2003’s Grammy-nominated World Without Tears.

(more…)

Teen’s pencil toss turns into felony charge (archives, 2005)
May 16, 2010

Patrick Ortiz with his mother, Theresa

Patrick Ortiz with his mother, Theresa

SPRING HILL – What Patrick Ortiz did Tuesday morning got him taken from Fox Chapel Middle School in handcuffs and booked at Hernando County Jail.

It got him suspended from school.

It got him three weeks of house arrest.

It got him charged with a third-degree felony.

And it could get him expelled.

He is charged with battery on a school employee. A Hernando County Sheriff’s Office arrest report details the allegations.

In the section “Weapons,” under the heading “Weapon Type,” the report notes:

“Other.”

Under “Caliber,” it states:

“Pencil.”

Patrick, 15, faces a felony charge because he tossed a mechanical pencil that struck a school custodian in the shoulder. The custodian, Kevin Gable, was not injured. According to the report, he did sustain a “small pencil mark on (his) T-shirt, on the right sleeve.”

As for the “weapon,” it disappeared, according to the report: “The pencil in question was unable to be located at the scene.”

(more…)

Valentine’s Day cheaters article (2006)
May 10, 2010

Broken Heart(Originally published February 14, 2006)

On Valentine’s Day, the businessman was determined to be with the woman he loved.

That woman, unfortunately, was not his wife.

The lovebirds nestled in a corner booth at an Italian restaurant in Dunedin, showing little discretion.

Lips locked on lips, on wrists, on ears, shoulders, necks. Hands disappeared into clothing.

They could be seen by diners at only two tables.

At one sat private investigator Kevin Collins, hired by the businessman’s wife. At the other, coincidentally, sat the imperceptive adulterer’s boss.

“(He) asked his boss to recommend a place to take his wife,” Collins recalled. “But he takes his girlfriend. He doesn’t think his boss might go there with his (own) wife on Valentine’s Day?” (more…)

American Idol: Kelly Clarkson / Clay Aiken review (2004)
May 9, 2010

(Originally published February 28, 2004)

TAMPA – Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken followed starmaking turns on American Idol with top-selling singles and albums. Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum, they tested whether their talents could resonate beyond the confines of the TV screen.

It wasn’t presented to be a competition, but come on – these two got their careers from a competition. And while Clarkson was the first American Idol champion, Aiken – the second-season runnerup – easily stole the show.Kelly Clarkson

The co-headliners followed opening act The Neu Sisters with separate sets, except for a show-capping duet of Journey’s Open Arms. They alternate the opening and closing slots each night.

Clarkson was first up Friday, and her set played nothing like a true headlining gig. Instead, it was largely rushed and graceless. (more…)

From the Archives: A look behind the scenes of Fueled By Ramen
April 28, 2010

Fueled By Ramen logo(Another archive posting today. This is a short article about Fueled by Ramen Records, which launched the careers of Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Cobra Starship and Paramore, among others.)

By RICK GERSHMAN
Published May 29, 2005

TAMPA – Maybe this is what Dorothy thought when Toto pulled back the curtain.

It’s true that John Janick, president, CEO and co-founder of Fueled By Ramen Records, is no Wizard of Oz. He’s tall, lean, casually handsome.

But a visit to this hot independent label, which has helped launch alt-rock bands like Jimmy Eat World and Yellowcard to mainstream success, isn’t what you might expect.

For one thing, it’s buried in the very back of a drab industrial office park just north of Tampa International Airport.

For another, label co-founder Janick – who signed this crew of (mostly) punk rockers and calls many of them friends – is an unassuming, preppy-looking guy with an MBA.

But that’s how it works at Fueled By Ramen, whose success is a testament to the growing power of the Internet to help musicians reach fans directly, sometimes without the old starmaker machinery of radio airplay, hit singles and slick marketing.

The label was co-founded by Vinnie Fiorello, the drummer-lyricist for the band Less Than Jake, but that band’s own success means Janick usually runs the Tampa operation.

“John has the qualities that I don’t have and vice versa,” Fiorello said. “I travel a lot with Less Than Jake and I trust him with my name and reputation (associated) with Fueled By Ramen.”

The label’s already-strong cachet with young bands and fans is getting a boost by the success story of Fall Out Boy. (more…)

From the Archives: Seed of Chucky, the worst major-studio release EVER.
April 26, 2010

Seed of Chucky poster

This cool teaser poster is 100 times more interesting than anything in the film.

(Originally published May 2005.)

When a movie studio knows it has a stinker, it screens it for critics at the last minute, hoping to snag some quick box office before the truth gets out.

For Seed of Chucky, Universal subsidiary Rogue Pictures actually banned reviewers from its 11th-hour preview.

Now, nobody should expect art from this, the fifth film in the Child’s Play killer doll franchise. But a Friday matinée showed that this could very well be the worst movie ever released by a major studio.

Not just the worst Chucky flick. Not just the worst film of 2004. Worst ever. (more…)