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Everybody's Business

Beaker Gallery: art over science

It's not your old chemistry lab but there's analogy with its eclectic mix of creations to be observed, says the owner.

By MICHAEL CANNING and AMY SCHERZER
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 27, 2002


NEW DOWNTOWN ART GALLERY: We know why it's called the Beaker Gallery. You remember beakers from high school chemistry class. Objects in which ingredients were measured, mixed, observed.

Nice analogy for an art gallery, right?

"Sure, sounds good to me," said gallery owner Amber Evans.

Well, maybe we're reaching a bit.

In any case, Evans hopes her gallery in the old Beaux Arts Group space at the base of the Park Tower high rise will be a bastion for contemporary art in Tampa.

With the help of a friend, she made a lot of noise with her Nov. 22 gallery opening. Pal and local music veteran Jeff Wood performed with his partner Greg Reinel as a special "performing exhibit." Wood's broken drumsticks still litter the floor where his act, Nutrajet, blasted out their brand of lean punk pop.

Another type of performance art is captured more permanently just a few paces away. The "performance photography" of Tampa artist A.A. Rucci displays photos of him mad-hatting around town. In one, bewildered cops keep a perimeter around him as he crosses the street pulling along a hospital IV stand, wearing nothing but underwear and orange body makeup.

Mernet Larsen's "Walk on a Windy Day" painting depicts rectangular figures reminiscent of those in Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" video, and, in a sure sign of artistic inspiration, a St. Petersburg Times newspaper box.

Other international and local artists, including the ever-compelling USF art professor Richard Beckman, are participating in this mixed media show, titled "Beached/Not Stranded." It runs until Jan. 11.

Beaker Gallery, located at 401 N Ashley Drive (on the northeast corner of the Kennedy intersection) is open Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment.

* * *

MALL OPENINGS: New dining and retail options for South Tampa's great retail axis, WestShore Plaza and International Plaza, are in the offing for 2003.

Scheduled to open in early spring at WestShore are:

Ann Taylor LOFT. Casual women's apparel including shorts, sundresses, Capri pants, jewelry, perfume, shoes, handbags and business wear. The store will even have a loft in it. Who knew Ann had a wild side?

Metropolitan Deluxe. Though hard pressed to match the ambience of its sibling store in Ybor City's historic Centro Espanol building, this mall location will nonetheless offer the company's eclectic blend of personal and home decor items.

Charlotte Russe. Seven thousand square feet of trendy fashions aimed at teens and young women.

Evos. Who would've thought that the scrappy, innovative and overly earnest restaurant would grow beyond its modest Palma Ceia storefront to hold down primo SoHo and New Tampa real estate? And then establish another location in a MALL? Healthy fast food is the concept, with garden veggie burgers, Airfries and fruit smoothies.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro. The restaurant chain boasts traditional Chinese cuisine prepared with herbs and spices imported from the home country.

Scheduled to open at International Plaza:

Z-Gallerie. Opening in the spring, it offers unique lifestyle furnishings and accessories for home and office.

Champps Americana restaurant. Opening in the summer, the Colorado-based chain offers a full menu of Mexican, Chinese and American comfort foods.

Also recently opened at International is Morgan de Toi, contemporary French women's fashions, and Blunauta, women's Italian designer clothing.

* * *

NO MARBLE AT MAGGIE MOO'S: Talks were under way to replace the former Maggie Moo's ice cream shop at Old Hyde Park Village with a Marble Slab Creamery. But they've fallen through, according to village spokesperson Heather LeBrecque. Apparently, the Creamery needs more room.

The Houston-based chain's shtick is mixing the customers' choice of toppings into its homemade ice cream right before their eyes. A Centro Ybor location opened last summer.

LeBrecque says there have been talks with other ice parlors to fill the old Maggie Moo's space.

* * *

NEW GANDY OFFICE SPACE: Perhaps its odd combination of Spanish Mediterranean, neoclassical, and midwestern organic architecture catches your eye right before you zip onto the Gandy Bridge.

If so, then you'll have noticed that the new office building at 4811 W Gandy Blvd. has a 2,010-square-foot vacancy.

Real estate broker Cary McCord says it's zoned for professional or light-retail use. Occupying the buildings other three units are Terminix Commercial and Timeshare Resale.

McCord's number is (727) 723-1612.

-- Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail citytimes@sptimes.com .

THE FIND

Champagne Set

Toast the new year with a champagne set from ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Set of six flutes atop long stems nestle in a glass ice bucket, $64.99 for the set. Watch out: They're bottomless. Keep drinking until the bubbly's gone or put your glass back into the bucket.

-- AMY SCHERZER

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