Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Independents Week.

[Charles] Some weeks it's hard to face my inbox. This last week I got two doses of bad news from shops we really like. Mina over at Bohemian Vintage is closing her shop in July and so is Healthy Home in St. Pete. Economic conditions are extremely difficult for indie shops right now without the sort of corporate deep pockets that can keep the big guys in business when a local market is hurting. We hate seeing shops like these go away and just want to re-emphasize how important it is to shop local, and keep what is unique and special about our cities alive. Mina sounds like she is going to be fine as she is heading back to teach, which she loves. The loss is really ours in both cases. Don't get me wrong, it is expensive to risk your savings and put it all out there for people. The individual risk to your heart and pocketbook in having your own business is dangerous.

For a minute though, as we celebrate Independents Week here at Tampa Street Market, try to imagine a world where everything you bought came from Target. Maybe it's not so bad right? We could all wear the same poorly made clothes from a sweatshop. We could all eat the same few frozen dinners each night generated in a factory. We could all watch the same hundred movies they carry or listen to the same bands they support. Yay there's a new Christina Aguilera cd!

A monoculture where you have less and less choice every day is not one that I would want to live in! Let's get out there people! Explore those little indie shops that you've been eyeing and buy a cd from the actual musicians. Try out the glass company down the street or the plumbing store in your neighborhood. Just don't keep putting it off or one day when you finally get around to visiting those places, they will be gone.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Breakneck Speed : Summer Mix 2010

Photo TSM - Ernie Locke of Nervous Turkey - "Preaching the Gospel"

[Charles] One of my friends, April, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had heard any good music lately. I replied with a deer in the headlights look that surprised myself as I heard the sound of thousands of cd's crashing to the floor inside my head. Of course I have tons of music I'm listening to at any given time, but sometimes I have a hard time getting it narrowed down to favorites. I threw out a few titles but then I thought - why not? Get it together and put out a summer mix! I love doing it every year at the end of the year so surely I can come up with a dozen or so new bands and hot tracks that have wiggled their way into my inner jukebox... Easier said than done of course, but here it is two weeks later and I'm pretty psyched about it. I've listened to it a couple of days in a row on repeat and feel like it will at least open some ears and lead to a nice spin for most of my friends. Enough exposition already... here's the tracks -

1. Tokyo Police Club - Breakneck Speed

This a good track to kick it off - it feels like summer with the windows down on those few days it is cool enough to roll em down here. It has that "Let's go ride bikes" feeling that Heather refers to on her blog. This one found me a couple of months ago with simultaneous recommendations from DJ Fuego and Heather of I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. If you don't know Heather's blog then well I understand you're busy but come on even Nick Hornby is a fan so I'd give it a shot. As for DJ Fuego - check her out in town when you get a chance, she's got really awesome musical taste layed over a super chill personality sort of like a tasty Vegan dog with extra smokin hot sauce.

2. Mumford & Sons - Roll Away Your Stone

Everybody says "If you like the Avett Brothers then you'll like them." That may be true but it is really selling both bands short. I love, love, love the Avett Brothers and am unashamed to call them my favorite band right now. They are amazing live and on albums. Mumford and Sons sort of sound like the Avetts do now, but they are nothing like the raw and ragged Avetts of early albums that we fell in love with. The comparisons come more from the passion and feeling that both bands wear on their sleeve. They both are unashamed to share their feelings about love, life, and death. To me they diverge where the Avetts songs come across as intimate rural church tunes and Mumford and Sons songs feel like big church hymns that could fill an ancient cathedral. They seem a little more ambitious in their themes and attacks and that's okay, I'm happy to put both of their cd's on heavy rotation.

3. Gorillaz feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul - Superfast Jellyfish

I love Gorillaz music and this track really nails the vibe that makes them so awesome. It is catchy and groovy with a not too hidden message about the way our world is headed these days. Two spins of this song and you'll be singing along, trust me.

4. The Dead Weather - The Difference Between Us

I trust my buddy Stacey for recommendations and I trust Jack White to push the envelope so here you go. I like this track and didn't like a lot of the others on the cd. It does grow on you though and it feels like that dark vibe that seems to overshadow the news this summer.

5. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Paris (Ooh La La)

This is another catchy song by a new "chick rock" band but trust me, they don't pull any punches and guess what you'll be singing along with this one too.

6. The Ettes - Crown of Age

Missed these ladies at Heatwave this year, but I like this song and love rolling down the windows and hitting 11 on the volume. Enjoy this one, just try and not crank it, I dare you...

7. Passion Pit - Little Secrets

These guys put out a cd that has been beating around in my head since late last year but they were just in town at the Ritz and I missed it. Oh well, I'm guessing seeing this one in person might not improve it because I'm guessing they draw a crowd of annoying frat boys and hipsters. Sounds mighty fine in my car though.

8. Sin Fang Bous - Catch the Light

Heard this one day and it just caught my ear. I like it, it has a nice outside summer feel to it. This one would be nice on the lawn at Bonnaroo or Suwannee.

9. Josh Ritter - Change of Time

I like this guy and picking one song is sort of unfair but really this song is sad and sweet and hopeful all at the same time and isn't that really what life is like anyway?

10. Good Old War - Coney Island

I just blogged about these guys being in town at the Orpheum but I originally had them slated in for this spot before they cemented it at the show. Like I said in that post, these guys are comfortable and fun and heartfelt, and this song makes me think about how a town can break your heart and drag you back just like Tampa does all the time...

11. Gaslight Anthem - The Diamond Church Street Choir

Thank Elawgrrl for this one although I'm glad she insisted I check it out! Everybody wants to compare these guys to Springsteen but who cares? They are really good! This song is exactly what true American music sounds like to me (not that garbage that Toby Keith and the like pander with). Its rock and outdoors, maybe the sort of thing you'd sing along and picnic to and then they'd shoot some fireworks off on the 4th of July. Definitely worth giving a chance to listen.

12. Frightened Rabbit - The Loneliness and the Scream

These guys actually sound more like the Avetts than most bands compared to them, but I'm really hooked on their sound. This one just haunts me for some reason. I heard them one morning on WMNF and had to find every song I could of theirs. Hope you like it.

13. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

I'm a late adopter on Arcade Fire but I have some misgivings about bands with too much buzz from that hipster crowd. That being said, this is pretty awesome. I'm still letting them grow on me but I know it's just a matter of time.

14. Josh Rouse - I Will Live On Islands

It's like he bottled Paul Simon in Africa and uncorked him in the BVI. I love this song. It is impossible not to smile and sing a long to this story about a guy wrongly imprisoned and who just wants to be set free. It's a great island vibey one and might even have you shaking your hips a bit!

That's it folks. I don't know how to post all the files and all that but if I figure it out I'll post em here. Until then, let me know if you want a copy and I'll "burn one down" and give it to you when I see you. Hope you enjoy the mix and that it livens up your summer...

Etsy Front Page Today!

View an Etsy Front Page Treasury List - The Vault on Craft Cult

View an Etsy Front Page Treasury List - The Vault on Craft Cult

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New batch of garden art has just arrived!

Chi Chi Amor Summer Sale!

Neocon Gallery from Core77

Photo from Arktura

[Charles]This month is the Neocon show which sounds like some sort of Matrix get together but which is actually a convention so commercial furniture companies can show off what's new and exciting. I was snoozing my way through "new" cubicle designs when I smacked right into Arktura's designs which look a lot like the sort of things we at TSM would love to make. Lots of detail on a simple and sustainable framework of standard issue items like benches and tables. Here's the link if you'd like to check them out...

Also, here's the link to the whole Core77 gallery blog post

Enjoy the diversion and inspiration!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good Old War at the Orpheum - "It takes a lot of maracas..."

Photo from Elawgrrl (although technically I'm pretty sure this was taken by yours truly on her Hipstamatic phone camera)

[Charles] As soon as I got to the Good Old War show at the Orpheum I knew I had made a good choice with my after hours freetime on Friday night. Maybe it was the lack of an extremely packed house that helped my comfort level with crowds, maybe it was the smiles from my buddies Nicole and Andy that spotted me on my way in, and maybe it was the post-rock alt to alt-country three piece band that was playing their hearts out on the stage to a respectable cluster of dedicated fans. In any case, I was immediately relaxed and happy and, with a grin that would be hard to recreate on Monday morning, I skipped my traditional first trip to the bar and headed right in to the front of the crowd with the ultimate rock expert Nicole.

"Elawgrrl", as she is known to most of the hundreds of bands that she has photographed in her "other job" of live music photog, was my ticket to a good spot in the crowd. We snaked our way through the crowd from a not so obvious sideways tack and even though I had to squeeze and push a little, most everyone was pretty forgiving about letting me through. I was about three people back in the center and I was completely surrounded by fans of the band that knew every word. I was heartened to see that they weren't the sort of annoying frat boys that typically latch on to bands like this, but more of the thoughtful rocker guys and girls that have a soft side and aren't afraid to sing along with PBR in hand to lyrics like "All of my dreams, hope they won't leave me too."

I loved it. I loved being in the middle of all of it. The drummer comes around at one point and grabs an accordion for a few songs, and the front man even shook the maracas during one song (this led to me and Andy's post-review snickering about the fact that it takes some maracas to shake the maracas in a band.) It does though, and these guys were completely comfortable with who they were. They seemed completely happy to play to a small crowd in a small bar. They played "Coney Island" - the song that even I knew - and they were in no hurry to shut down when the show was over. They wandered out into that warm gooey center of the crowd and headed up a sing-a-long to a few well worn crowd-pleasers including Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" with their Tampa Bay friends.

As we chatted at the bar after it was all over, I couldn't help but wondering aloud to Andy and Nicole that if you weren't so worried about having millions of fans around the world, wouldn't it be nice to have 100 really dedicated fans in every town? Thanks Good Old War for a really great night - maybe we should move that number up to 101 in Tampa - I'd be happy to sing along with you guys anytime...

Here's a blogger that's posted "Coney Island" if this post got you wondering what they sound like...

Etsy Party Wrap Up

Everything came together for a great party on Friday night at Tempus Projects with artists and crafters aplenty. It was totally DIY and chaotic and unpretentious and fun! Everyone was so happy to be out and not getting rained on with friends and like minded folks that we could have been in the East Village instead of in our little village of Seminole Heights. The cupcakes were amazing - Carbombs and Mojitos YES! The art was cool - although there was definitely wallspace for more the next time. The crafters were so happy and appreciative to be out. People packed the little craft tables and seemed to really enjoy being out with friends without all the high pressure snobbery that comes with some of the gallery shows on a Friday night. We met lots of people who'd never heard of our little shop and we also ran into tons of friends that we reconnected with. We can't wait for the next one.

Here's the photos on our Flickr page for your enjoyment...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Etsy Party tonight at Tempus Projects

Photo from darkcycleclothing on Etsy (the organizer of tonight's party)
[Charles] Looks like tonight's little meetup of Etsy makers has turned into a huge scale shindig. Last night we stopped by Tempus to meet Coryn Enfinger from darkcycleclothing and chatted a bit while they hurriedly greeted folks and planned out vendor space. There are over 250 people on Facebook that say they will be there, there are over 130 artists that RSVP'd on Meetup, and well even if only half of those folks break away from their computer screens for a few hours it should be a massive turnout for the smallish gallery space on Florida Avenue in Seminole Heights. They are setting up 25 or so vendors outside around the courtyard space and there is first come first served wall space in the converted garage that Tempus uses for all their shows.

We will be there with some of our latest pieces of furniture, but the main attraction is meeting all the other artists and talking shop with a growing community of people that are taking solid steps toward a new marketplace. If you don't know Etsy yet, well I'm sorry but I'll give you the short version. It's an online marketplace built around giving crafty people a place to sell their wares to anyone in the world. Say you like making toe rings from the palm fronds in your yard and you've always wanted to sell them but you don't have time or know how to market yourself to stores. Etsy allows makers to bring their products to market and it can be a few items or thousands. The website is already made (it's sort of like Ebay but you pay for things outright - no auction) so you just have to be good about describing what you make and taking photos of it. Then you can sell anything that you make, even things that are made from something else. Also you can sell vintage items like clothing. The artistry of individuals is where Etsy really shines - we've purchased earrings from an artist in Australia and these sort of small items that are easy to ship are really the best sellers on Etsy. Go check it out if you haven't and just do a search. You can search based on types of items or materials - like steel? or marble? how about Tampa artists only? Do a local search. It's a pretty amazing tool.

Anyway, the point is, tonight come meet some of those amazing artists that are reshaping our handmade world through this website in person. Tonight you can chat them up about how it works or how they make things. You might even fall in love with someone's art that lives right down the street from you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hand Painted Industrial Cottage Table by TSM $425

Modern Bench by TSM $325

Vintage Blue Dresser $325

Parsons Bench

Mobile Pop Shopping

Photo from Lisa Smith at Core77
[Charles] Rents go up. Sales go down. Next thing you know you are looking for a moving truck. But what if the moving truck was how you showcased your designs so that you could work in super cheap rent space somewhere and bring it to the people when you're ready? I've thought about this before. On slow days at the shop it seems pretty appealing, but I've never seen it in action before like this. Check out these guys in Chicago that display at Neocon to showcase small designers.

The rest of the story is at Core77 after the jump...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Get Dirty Tonight at TMA

[Charles] Photo from FromTheEarthPottery

Need something to kick off your weekend right? Check out a great show tonight with a few of our favorite local artists at the new museum.

From the TMA website:


Get Dirty with Friends while we explore nature with artists Clay Lipsky (, Wesley Allen (, Rudolph Lopez (, and Daniel Mrgan (

Dirty will be held Friday, June 4, 2010 from 7:30pm to 10:00pm at the Tampa Museum of Art and will feature Art of Sound by Josh Wilkins, hors d'ouevres my Mise en Place, and cash bar. The event is FREE for Friends, $5 for Members, and $10 for Non members.

Friends is a volunteer group made up of current museum members and created to promote and support the Tampa Museum of Art . Friends hosts and assists with special events to raise funds for educational programs and acquisitions. Now, for $25 added to your membership, you can be a Friend.

For more information, please or call 813.421.8370.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some good news on Mulch not Methane!

[Charles] Way to go folks! By signing petitions, faxing letters, and writing emails to the Governor's office without relenting we have all helped stop the ridiculous HB 569 that was slated to force mulch into our landfills. Thanks to everyone that helped out and did their part. This is truly the best way that we can make a difference for our world. If there is one thing that we have learned from this, it is the power of our voice when we work together. Now let's turn that energy to getting our politicians to work on alternative energy and stop destroying our world with greedy grabs of fossil fuels. The oil is only miles from Pensacola and the corporate rats that spilled it certainly aren't spending all their profits to protect our beaches. We are the ones we've been waiting for. Keep up the fight!

In related garden news from our neighbors in Tampa Heights...

Help Tampa's next community garden win $25,000 in startup funding! Click here to vote for Tampa Height Community Garden in the Nature's Path Gardens for Good Contest. The Tampa Heights Community Garden is a collaboration between the Tampa Garden Club, Metropolitan Ministries, Tampa Heights Junior and “senior” Civic Associations; and Tampa Heights Neighborhood Plan Stewardship Team.

"Manure" Photo from Green Florida