How do you spend your Friday nights?
It’s changed over the years for me. In high school, I was part of the half-time show and on the sidelines doing gymnastics during the game. I like to joke and say that my senior year our team blew a perfect season by beating North Miami high 60-2 on the last game of the year. We really did win that game by that margin – a safety when the center snapped the ball over the punter’s head – but the rest of the season wasn’t really that bad.
I spent over ten years when my kids were in junior high and high school, and a few year beyond that announcing half time shows for one of the finest high school band programs around, and that includes my high school. Our Carol City band and director Cliff Colnot were the absolute cream of Miami Dade high school marching bands.
Ditto the program Ross Brower built at Haslett High School in Michigan. I’m proud of my association with this fine program. It was an honor to promote them and announce their shows, and the kids I got to know were, and still are, awesome. And you guys – please stop calling me Mister Roth! My gosh, but you’re all over thirty now, please call me Dave. All except Rick. He still has to call me Mister Roth.
So – what’s a guy knocking on sixty’s door do on a Friday night these days? Most of the time I go to the Progress Energy Art Gallery in New Port Richey, Florida. From 6:30-8:30 most Friday nights, director Nancy Ciesla generously opens the doors of the gallery to writers and poets. The second and fourth Fridays are reserved for local poets to come read their work, and the third Friday features a local author.
Tonight was special. Poet William Boden mixed sight and sound as he read selections, some of them very moving, from his four published chapbooks. Former St. Louis Detective Ken Dye followed Mr. Boden, reading snippets from his first book, Shadow of the Arch, a collection of stories highlighting his career as an undercover narcotics Detective.
Ok, so it’s light duty after announcing a halftime show in the Pontiac Silverdome, but even when writers and poets are just sitting around telling stories, it beats most Friday night television.
Hey – you think you can get Tom Selleck’s autograph on a script from Blue Bloods? Not only do nights like this afford you a little culture – you can peruse the gallery before and after the talks, but you can talk to the featured writers in a very intimate setting, buy their book(s), get them signed, and admission is FREE! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – these are good writers telling good stories and telling them extremely well, and they live right in your back yard, not just here in NPR, but everywhere. You just have to look, and Friday night is as good a time as any.
Progress Energy Art Gallery is located at 6231 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, Florida, 34652.