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Archive for the ‘Postcards’ Category

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Many know of Gainesville, Florida simple because it’s the home to the Florida Gators football team. Lesser known is the name at the top of the University of Florida football stadium that reads Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.* Griffin was a former UF  who became an orange grove baron in Frostproof, Fla. with an estate worth an estimated hundreds of millions when he died in 1990. He and his family have been significant donors to the school over the years.

Years ago I once produced a video for his extended family and came across footage of an old interview with Griffin that’s always been one of my favorites. Since he started with just 10-acres of oranges he was asked what was the secret of his immense financial success. He smiled and said, “Now I don’t know if I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, it’s just that my successes have outshone my failures.”

I imagine any honest biography would echo that thought. And may it be true of us as well.

In the bottom left corner of the photo I took yesterday are three top Gator players (Danny Wuerffel, Steve Spurrier, and Tim Tebow) who each had their share of successes and failures, but are best known for being Heisman Trophy quarterbacks who also were on national championship teams as a player or coach at Florida.

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*The full name of football stadium is now “Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.” But that’s a mouthful so many just call it by its nickname—”The Swamp.”

Scott W. Smith

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Well it was kinda cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like waves crashin’ on the beach
American Girl/Tom Petty

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This sign for The Florida Motel is the kind of timeless Florida tourism that I love photographing—as I did today.  This weathered sign is located on Highway 441 in Gainesville, Florida not far from the University of Florida campus.

In ten years this sign will probably end up in a Manhatten museum— or a bar in Brooklyn.

Scott W. Smith

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It’s not a hippy hill now—it’s actually a nice bed and breakfast area in Gainesville, Florida. But back in the ’60s and ’70s it got the nickname of the hippy hill because hippies lived in mass quantities in the then run-down Victorian homes on 7th Street.

In the home I photographed above upwards of 30 hippies called this home at one time. Legend has it that Tom Petty lived (crashed?) here for a while in the early days of his musical career when he made his living playing in the college town that’s home to the University of Florida.

Tonight I’m actually staying in a cottage next door that’s part of a different bed and breakfast and that’s where I first heard about Petty’s connection. Two doors down from this B&B is The Magnolia Plantation (photograph below) which before it was restored in 1990 their literature says, “Hippies and college students had inhabited it for 30 years. It was more like Animal House than a Victorian mansion.” They pulled out 20 mattresses and seven couches from this house before the restoration began.

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I don’t know if any former hippies own any of these bed and breakfasts in 2018, but that would make for a pretty interesting story.

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Related article: Gainesville: Where Tom Petty’s Dreams Began by Marty Jourard

Scott W. Smith

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I took this photo in an alley (complete with trash bins) while in St. Petersburg, Florida this week. There are dozens of large murals on buildings throughout the greater downtown area. This one by Derek Donnelly is located in the Northside Alley in the 500 Block of Central Ave. Here’s an interactive map showing where all of the murals are located and the artists who painted them.

Scott W. Smith

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Postcard #159 (Dali Museum)

“The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.”
Salvador Dali

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Quick day trip to St. Petersburg, Florida today where I visited The Dali Museum. Because my mom was a middle school art teacher I grew up looking at Salvador Dali’s work in books. Trust me, looking at his Persistence of Memory as a young child will mess you up.  And if that doesn’t, seeing his film Un Chien Andalou (as I did in film school) will. What I didn’t know until today is Dali had a pre and post-surrealist period body of work.

His work was a mix of philosophy, science, and religion that’s mystified me my entire life. I’ve always said if I ever worked on a Ph.D. dissertation I’d want to do it on the brain and creativity. And I imagine that’s rooted in being exposed to the life and work of Dali and Van Gogh before I was 10-years-old.

P.S. Another thing you can’t get from books is the large size of some of Dali’s paintings.

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Scott W. Smith

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Last week I was on spring break which explains my lack of posts, but tomorrow I’ll pick up writing posts on Ted Hope’s book Hope for Film.  (By the way, Hope is also active on Facebook  @tedhope.fanpage .) 

Here’s my favorite photo I took last week as I kicked around central Florida.

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Scott W. Smith

 

 

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I’ll continue my run of posts on writer/director Greta Gerwig tomorrow but wanted to share a photo I took yesterday of a nicer than average Florida sunset.

As I driving east toward downtown Orlando I saw a man looking to the west with his camera pointed at the sky. “What’s that dude taking pictures of?” I wondered. When I looked into my review mirror I saw the sunset.

Knowing that sunsets fade quickly and that I needed something in the foreground. I drove about 100 yards and just stopped my car in the middle of the street by the Orlando City Stadium and got this shot with my iPhone.

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Scott W. Smith

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