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Columns

Music and art to meld in Ybor City

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published January 18, 2007


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Next time your kid colors on the wall, think about Matt Callahan.

Callahan does murals for a living, and his work can be seen at a number of venues around Tampa Bay, from Splitsville and Stump's Supper Club at Channelside to Chiaramonte Elementary in South Tampa.

And yes, the Tallahassee native and founder of Man Made Murals did, as a child, color on the wall.

See, you never know.

These days, Callahan is looking to color Tampa's nightlife in a different hue. On Saturday night, Man Made Murals will team with Slim Pickens Records for L.I.V.I.N., an event at the Ybor City's Cigar Theater, 2008 Angel Oliva St., that will bring together a variety of art forms and musical styles.

"We're going to have art in all forms, including a performance piece," Callahan said. "We're going to have live bands, a DJ and a rapper on the mike. It's going to be a celebration of art and music, and I think Tampa needs it."

The art will range from sculptures to acrylic and oil works. Callahan, who teaches at Southwest Florida College, also will allow some students to display designs.

The musicians will include Bad Kat, an Athens-based rapper. Callahan said late into the night, Bad Kat will team with local bands for a unusual musical collaboration.

"We're looking to draw all forms of people, from the high-end art buyer to the skate art kid," Callahan said. "I think people are going to walk away looking forward to this being bigger and better every year."

The party runs from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Admission is $20 and includes unlimited beer.

- - -

More than a year ago, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, campaigned with the promise of expanding access to higher education. Exhibits A and B in her pitch were German Castro and Jill Mitchell, two local students who worried about the long-term impact of rising tuition and higher interest rates on student loans.

On Wednesday, Castor was part of the Democratic charge in the House to pass a bill that would cut in half interest rates on subsidized loans for undergraduate students over the next five years. Proponents estimate the bill would save 5.5-million undergraduate students an average of $4,400 each.

That's music to the ears of students, not to mention their parents. And hopefully, more collegians will involve themselves in the election process now that they realize something good can come from it.

Although the bill faced opposition from lending institutions, it was expected to pass as of late Wednesday. Kudos to Castor for following through on a promise.

- - -

Kudos also go to Columbia Restaurant president Richard Gonzmart, who is staging the inaugural "Andrea's Sip For Life" Wine Tasting event Friday at the Ybor City State Museum.

The event includes tapas from Columbia and more than 150 Spanish wines. Proceeds will benefit the A.D. Fund at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa.

The fund is named after Andrea Dicks Hartley, a 30-year-old mother who died from sarcoma cancer, leaving behind a 21/2-year-old daughter.

When it comes to finding a cure to cancer, everyone should be willing to offer a toast.

That's all I'm saying.

Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406.

[Last modified January 18, 2007, 05:57:06]


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