photobook | dali museum + demens landing park + intermezzo

Emotionally messy – a series of moods coalescing with the week I traversed St. Petersburg. No mighty minotaur skewered the brain cells, really. I merely slipped on one of those tangles of anxiety which will only recede when dealt multiple uppercuts of patience, persistent patience. I find that leaving town can sometimes relieve both those symptoms and the general jitters of wanderlust. I’m settling into a pattern of weekly local explorations and this acquaintance is a welcome one. St. Pete. Next week, who knows. But it’ll be a lick of freshness.

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//Dali gallery//

The Dali Museum is respected across Tampa Bay and nationally as well for holding eight of Salvador Dali’s “masterworks”* and a touching collection of his other pieces both surrealist and otherwise. My mom and I caught the tail end of the Frida Kahlo exhibit while visiting (Kahlo’s feature concluded on April 17th & hands the scepter to Eduardo Chillida, which starts in May) and while I’m not an enthusiastic fan of her art, I appreciated the personal glimpses lent by the photographic displays across the gallery. Dali, though, enthralled me to no end: his masterful play with vision, shape, juxtaposition, separation, the real and the unreal and the subconsciously real. A dreamworld he brushed into something tangible. His more subtle works too, like a still of a bread loaf nestled in a towel. Maybe my general love of bread tied me to the photo, who knows. Be prepared, whenever you go, to meet an abundance of spectators – my only asterisk to the visit was the crowd. Quiet museums I adore most, listening to the stamp & shuffle of feet stopping and going in slow intervals, photographing without fear of an arm bombing the length of my shot, being able to plant myself on a bench to stare at a work and draw a still of the scene before me. The Dali does not fit this idealistic image. Does that make it unworthy? Absolutely not. If you’re in the St. Pete-Tampa area, you must go.

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//Frida Kahlo exhibit//

The Dali sits along the waterfront & as such my mom and I detoured to Demen’s Landing to picnic beneath a shady tree. Naturally some bro blared rap music on a boombox close by, marring the serenity of watching the bay sashay to its own misty rhythm. We tried tuning it out, though, with conversation and crunchy salads. Watched sailboats and small fishing craft bob atop the waves. A simple hour I needed. Weeks had elapsed since I consented to seeing my family – an unfortunate byproduct of the bane I often discuss here and on social media. I reject loved ones, I aim unfair anger at them, I’m less than pleasant and sometimes confrontational without a cause. Admittedly, mom and I argued during this lunch period. But I rose out of the temporary lull in pleasantry with a new viewpoint, and a greater sense of compassion towards her own emotional tumult. I realized: anger won’t help. Firing the gun of frustration won’t help. Distancing won’t help. More than anything, she needs me close. A warm hand to hold, not a cold shoulder. I must remember this, for myself and others, always.

Somehow, being by the water always leads to a calming revelation. I should spend more time in the company of droplets. Note to self.

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Coffees at Intermezzo tied this outing up. The space is clean but not sparse, an aesthetic lent by the liquor bottle display along the wall (they serve cocktails after 5p!) and the plants sprucing up various corners & tabletops. I get a speakeasy vibe from Intermezzo – not sure if purposeful or not – because of the comfortable lounge chairs supplementing the general table arrangements. We sat in the two pink fixtures before the front windows. I could’ve fallen asleep, arms draped over the rest, back sunk against the cloth. I think mom and I spent all our words and here just relaxed in silent camaraderie. Intermezzo is a place you can do that quite easily. Slow down, ease up, let your worry off its leash to ramble down Central to somewhere it won’t be seen for awhile.

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1. The Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33701

The gift shop is expansive & Cafe Gala dishes up morsels & beverages if you need quick refreshment while browsing the galleries. Outside in the garden, you can attach your wristband on some strands hanging from a large tree to add to the colorful display.

2. Demens Landing Park, Bayshore Dr. & 2nd Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Kids (or you) can run off some extra steam at the playground, and situated along the 14.7 acre expanse are a few pavilions and picnic tables with stunning waterfront views & shady overhangs to blunt the blare of sunlight. The park isn’t large, but comfortable & intimate.

3. Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails, 1111 Central Ave., St Petersburg, FL 33705

The baristas pulled Tandem Coffee’s “West End Blues” in my cappuccino, a rich & creamy blend of Brazil, Colombia & Ethiopia beans. Check out their “espresso mint julip” concoction (I didn’t try it but I’m intrigued) or grab a seat in the evening for a drink. And seriously, sit in those chairs.

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