A Visit to “The Dali Museum” in St. Petersburg, Florida

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By JP Chartier

A visit to “The Dali Museum” in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA is your chance at a glimpse into the strange and mysterious world that is Salvador Dali. The late, great Spanish surrealist lived an enigmatic lifestyle which he cryptically conveyed in his creations – 2,100 of which are housed here.

The Dali Museum has its roots firmly set in the family collection of Reynolds & Elenore Morse. The couple began collecting Dali paintings shortly after they were married back in 1943, and continued collecting Dali’s art for the next four decades, which ultimately culminated in the creation of this museum.

Located at 1 Dali Blvd in the perpetually sunny St. Petersburg, Florida – the Dali Museum finds itself nestled snuggly alongside the beautiful and picturesque shoreline of the Tampa Bay looking like a building in the midst of an intense acid trip! The contrast provided by the surrounding beauty of the shoreline and the surrealist flavor of the building comes across as almost comical at first, but entertaining none the less, and very Dali-like. I just wish they’d paint the damn thing!

The odd-looking building isn’t hard to spot, architect Yann Weymouth made sure of that by designing the building with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which explodes a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma” – which seems to be devouring the building. The “enigma,” is made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass, and at its highest point stands a towering 75 feet, and serves as homage to the dome that adorns Dali’s original museum in Spain.

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Dali Museum, St.Pete, Fl

On the third floor, the Dali houses over 2,100 works, which include 96 oil paintings, spanning the entirety of his career (1904-1989). It is the second largest collection of Dali’s work in the world, only behind that of the “Dali Theatre & Museum” located in his hometown of  Figueras, GIRONA, Spain, which he helped construct. He lived in the museum for the last few years of his life, and is even buried there!

You’ll need to set aside about 3 hours in order to see everything that’s inside and outside of the museum. However, true Dali enthusiasts will want to put aside some extra time so they can really absorb the experience and examine the paintings up close and personal.

You see, a Dali painting isn’t just a painting mind you, if you really look you’ll find brilliantly hidden pictures inside of the picture, and all of his works have meanings attached to them too. So do yourself a favor and take a tour with one of the knowledgeable tour guides, or use a headset, both of which are free, to help guide you with your journey through the museum.

Link to the paintings that are part of the permanent collection  http://thedali.org/exhibits/permanent-collection/

Once inside the gallery, I stare in joyous confusion, albeit with the utmost reverence, at the famous images before me. I imagine the maestro himself sitting restlessly in his favorite chair in front of this very painting, meticulously arranging the paint into the scenes now before my eyes. What an experience it must have been to have witnessed the creation of such art.

Link to a fantastic video about the life of Dali called ” The Life and Art of Salvador Dali – http://youtu.be/GONauCKYj0s

It’s one thing to see a painting in a book, and yet quite another to see it in person. For me, the experience was almost religious in nature. The paintings that I have admired for all these years from afar in various magazines and books were now hanging right before me, only an arm’s length away! To say that I felt lucky was an understatement.

Also inside you’ll find a small cafe named after Dali’s wife, Gala where you can enjoy some light Spanish fare and down a couple of brews to help get you in the mood!

Outside @ the Dali Museum

Dolphin outside Dali Museum

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Wish Tree @ Dali Museum

Before you leave be sure to write a wish on the back of your wristband and tie it to a branch of “The Dali Wish Tree” (pictured above)

 

Ticket prices are $21 USD Adult, Seniors $19, Teens $17, Children $7, Parking $5

So the next time you visit Florida, be sure to include a trip to The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, and get your “freak” on! You’ll be glad you did.

If you have visited the Dali Theatre & Museum in Spain I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

What’s your favorite Dali painting? Mine is the “Geopoliticus Child Watching The Birth Of The New Man” which resides at this museum.

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“I don’t do drugs, I am drugs!”  -Salvador Dali

All pictures taken by JP Chartier except the last two.

 

 

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Jack Kerouac Was Here

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By JP Chartier

Recognized as a pioneer of the “Beat Generation” and for his spontaneous prose, Jack Kerouac paved the way for the hippie movement in the 60’s by challenging the widely held beliefs of the time. He is the author of several famous books, the most famous of which are “On the Road” and “Dharma Bums.”

By the time Kerouac moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1968, he was a notorious drunk and only a shell of his former self. All the years of hard living and even harder drinking had taken a toll on him, causing him to remark once that “St. Petersburg is a good place to come die.”‘

And that’s exactly what he did.

While living here in St. Petersburg, Kerouac did a lot of his drinking at a dive bar called “The Flamingo.” It’s the place that Kerouac is said to have had his final drink before being rushed to the hospital the next day Oct. 20, 1969 for internal bleeding.

Two weeks prior, Kerouac had taken a horrible beating in a bar brawl at another St. Petersburg bar, long ago torn down, called the “Cactus Bar.” The fight, along with a terribly damaged liver, were just too much for the 47-year-old iconoclast, he died the next day Oct. 21, 1969 at the hospital.

Finding myself in St. Petersburg riding my bicycle, I decided I would seek out Jack Kerouac’s famous watering hole “The Flamingo,” and go in and have a drink to Ole Jack’s memory.

The bar is a small unassuming place just outside downtown St. Pete on 9th Street. There are a few plastic tables and chairs out front and a large picture of Kerouac in one of the windows.

So I chained my bicycle to a pole outside and went in. Upon entering the front door, I noticed a wall covered with Kerouac newspaper clippings and pictures. After reading a few, I continued onward to the “U-shaped bar and grabbed a corner bar stool. There were a handful of locals intently watching a program on the blaring tv over the bar.

I ordered the “Jack Kerouac Special,” which is a shot of whiskey chased with a wash of beer (Jack’s usual) and settled in for a warm conversation with the bartender about the man I so admire. I asked her where Jack would sit when he came here, and she told me – “Believe it or not, he used to sit right in that very stool you’re sitting in now.”

Looking like a wide-eyed, star-struck teenage girl I’m sure, I replied, “No shit? Really?”

“Yeah, no shit” she answered. “Those are still the original bar stools, the owner never replaced them.”

How cool is that? I was sitting in the very stool that Kerouac used to sit in and get plastered. So it only seemed logical that I do what Jack would have done and ordered another “Jack Kerouac Special.” …And then another.

I must admit, this little place sure has character! I got a warm, nostalgic feeling while sitting amongst the nicotine stained wood and sun bleached newspaper clippings. If only these walls could talk I thought to myself…

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A few miles from “The Flamingo” is Kerouac’s last home. He spent the last 11 months of his life here with his sick mother and his wife. It is said that the wooden desk he wrote all his books at still resides inside.

Jack Kerouac's second St. Pete home

I will leave you on this fine day with the words of Jack Kerouac himself, “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain!”

Please share any Jack Kerouac thoughts or memories you have in the comments section below…

“Less” Is the New “More”

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By JP Chartier

Voluntary Simplification is a growing trend populated by those who have said ENOUGH! Enough of the debt, enough of the accumulation of uneeded stuff, enough of the insanity of it all. They want an escape from the excesses that the modern world so readily provides. They have had enough of the clutter, enough of the debt, enough of all the distractions and the stress that come from the accumulation of so much unecessary stuff.

These “enlightened” folks have realized a very important truth – more shit doesn’t equal more happiness. In fact, they have found quite the opposite is true –  less things in their life to worry about means more time to spend on what’s really important.

This growing trend isn’t necessarily born out of poverty, it comes from the understanding that more and more “stuff” will not put a smile on your face like the feeling of freedom you get by getting rid of it.

Something interesting has happened to me over the years, I have found that my desire to own less has become more valuable than actually owning less. In a society that promotes consumerism every chance it gets, the real battle for me was to remove myself from the incessant desire for more.

One of the wonderful side-effects of minimalism that I’ve noticed is APPRECIATION. My appreciation level for everything has increased exponentially. I have found that when I do eat an extravegant meal or go somewhere fancy, my appreciation level is much higher than it previously was.

Here are a few areas of your life that can be minimalized:

  1. Possessions
  2. Time commitments
  3. Debt
  4. Artificial ingredients/Processed foods
  5. Screen time
  6. Multitasking

I look at minimalism less about what I remove and more about what I add, like contentment and peace of mind. I came to the realization that my life is far too valuable to waste chasing possessions and I hope yours is too!

Have you reached your tipping point yet? Are you finding it hard to breathe from the weight of all your possessions?

If you answered yes, then come on over to the other side, the “Less Is The New More” side, and start enjoying what’s really important in your life.