Thursday, December 3, 2009

Up Is Down, In Is Out, Cats And Dogs Living Together; It Must Be Sarasota

In another sure sign of either (a) the imminent return of Sarasota to its halcyon days of making twisted social logic seem somehow normal, or (b) the looming cataclysmic apocalypse which will end life on earth as we know it, the polar opposites of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and a Goodwill Store have achieved planetary alignment to signal one or the other. Or maybe both.

First, the Ritz has acknowledged the presence of a global economic downturn. But, the really big news is that haute hotel has announced that because of that global economic downturn, they are offering an alternative to their $37.50/two martini 'executive' lunch special: burgers and shakes.

And not those $150 Kobe burgers either, we're talking $6-$9 burgers, dogs and shakes at the quaintly named Bayview Burger Bar, located on their waterfront patio. "In a nod to the workingmen of old," said the Ritz-Carlton Vice-President of Haughtiness, Llewelyn Hucclecote-Tewkesbury, "we have faithfully reproduced a typical American burger joint where our extensive research has shown that workingmen formerly patronized, although, naturally, we hope to God that no actual workingmen would frequent our establishment."

Special hypo-allergenic dust and grease developed by Disney Studios is used throughout the blue-collar bistro to recreate authenticity. Watch out! Every half-hour, an animatronic cockroach scurries across the floor to the delight of patrons.

Hucclecote-Tewksebury noted that the prices of the sandwiches did not include condiments, buns, plates, silverware or table service, which were an additional charge, as were glasses, straws and napkins for the milkshakes. A $15 surcharge would also be added to the valet parking service for Bayview patrons.

Just as strange as it is for the Ritz-Carlton to be soft-pedaling its glitz and glamor, another institution at the other end of the economic spectrum is attempting to burnish its image. Long an embarrassment to the conspicuous consumption that made Sarasota what it is today, Goodwill Industries has recently converted one of its stores into an art gallery. Of sorts.

The Goodwill Store along Clark Rd., now known as Le Galleria d'Arte de Benevolenza, will offer artwork donated by some of Sarasota's toniest collectors, who were forced to flee town when authorities began to close in on their various fraudulent enterprises, from our beloved- rogue securities scammers to mortgage malfeasants to real estate rapscallions.

The renovation of the site, including the ornate gardens and imported fountains and statuary on the surrounding exquisitely-manicured lawn, topped the $7 million mark, which was funded by a grant from the Help the Sarasota Homeless Coalition.

Manager of the new galleria, Castiglione Chiaverase, led the rapt audience of reporters through the newly-remodeled store. "There are those short-sighted individuals in our community that would take exception to spending $7 million to update a Goodwill Store. I can assure you that those individuals were not invited here today," said Chiaverase.

Visitors enter the new Goodwill Store through its dramatic grand foyer, replete with imported Italian marble flooring and original statuary.

A view of a secondary hallway off the main gallery, which connects to the Italianate Revival donation drop-off porte-cochere.

When one reporter asked how there could be three seemingly-identical Matisse Still Life With Geraniums, all tagged as originals and signed by the artist, each for sale at $29.95, Chiaverase sniffed, "This is Sarasota, sir. We do not question our benefactors. If they say our investments will earn 60% yearly or that these are all originals, we take them at their word."


  1. The "Diner" should also have polished acrylic replica gum stuck under the seats!

  2. What Billy Joel would have written if he was here instead of in Allentown, PA:

    Well we're living here in Cougar Town
    And they're closing all the galleries down
    Out in Bradenton they're killing time
    Filling out forms
    Standing in line.

    Well our fathers fought the Second World War
    Spent their weekends on the Longboat shore
    Met our mothers at the USO
    Asked them to dance
    Danced with them slow
    And we're living here in Cougar Town.

    But the restlessness was handed down
    And it's getting very hard to staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
    aaaaaaah aaahhhhh ooooooooh ooooooh ohhhhhhh.

    Well we're waiting here in Cougar Town
    For the Florida we never found
    For the promises our teachers gave
    If we worked hard
    If we behaved.

    So the graduations hang on the wall
    But they never really helped us at all
    No they never taught us what was real
    Pot or coke,
    How to steal.

    And we're waiting here in Cougar Town.
    But they've taken all the shores of the bay
    And the working people crawled awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaah.

    Every child had a pretty good shot
    To get at least as far as their old man got.
    If something happened on the way to that place
    They threw an American flag in our face, oh oh oh.

    Well I'm living here in Cougar Town
    And it's hard to keep a good man down.
    But I won't be getting up todaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy
    aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaaaah aaaaaaaaah.