Author Topic: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.  (Read 12970 times)

stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2014, 06:38:05 PM »
At six thirty the park had lost 75% of the people who were there at 530.

Now the City Employees are venturing outside and there are people posing for photos in front of the fountain.  There are small (very small) little groups scattered around the park, and the library closes at 7pm.
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #61 on: July 24, 2014, 03:16:26 PM »
Return of the Street Preachers.

For the past couple of days, one of the most uniquely southern forms of entertainment has returned to the Park.  The Street Preacher (or sidewalk preacher, or street corner preacher)

Literally some of the finest vernacular oratory since the dawn of the Republic is associated with these passionate performers, and the tradition is hundreds of years old.

They've been mostly absent from the park for the past couple of years, but in the hey day of the Street Preacher in Hemming Plaza, they were thick on the ground.

They have just a few needs.  Two, actually.  A bible and a raised place upon which to stand, and the corners of the fountains and the planters have always provided the performance stage.  Street preachers bring their own bibles, which i suspect are grown from stem cells beginning when the preacher is at age 22.

Now during the height of the Street Preaching phenomenon, the four best preachers were always taking position at each of the four corners of the park, and usually there was a second string, (but soon to be first string) player that worked the middle.

Around each of the main stage corner preachers there would always be a tight cluster of Amen Chorus members, and interested bystanders.  Sometimes the amens from one corner, and sometimes from another, and sometimes the Amens were coming from all directions.  Amens, hallelujahs and dollars in the offering plates were a sore source of competition, although if you asked any of them, they were just competing for lost souls to be won to the kingdom of god.

By turns frightening, inspiring, emotional, hilarious, and commonsensical, Street Preachers added to the color and riot of downtown life for decades.

They dried up about 18 years ago, when Hemming Park finally died a dismal death.

More is the pity in my opinion.

But today there is a lone preacher shouting in the wilderness, and to my ears it sounds like the first chirping of a returning springtime after a long winter.  The curious mixture of traditional black english and rote Baptist phrase making is as effective and spellbinding as it ever was.

A few differences though, and they were very odd.

The preacher is preaching to the masses, with the traditional cluster of onlookers, but he is also being video recorded by a rather traditional looking preacher with an "I Love Jesus" t shirt (to 'fit in' with regular folk, I suspect.)

There is also a younger woman, patiently holding an iPhone camera recording as well.

I find out that they are live casting the performance.

Interesting.
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Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2014, 03:49:40 PM »
....I mean where do you go if you have an iron cross tattoo, speak backwoods, have hunted your own food, have pork chop side burns, are 23 years old and like to drink budweiser with your boyfriend?

The Bootrack (so I've heard ;) )
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2014, 04:24:08 PM »
....I mean where do you go if you have an iron cross tattoo, speak backwoods, have hunted your own food, have pork chop side burns, are 23 years old and like to drink budweiser with your boyfriend?

The Bootrack (so I've heard ;) )

yeah, not so much.  Its for fifty year old cigar smoking leather daddies and people to whom denim and rawhide are fetishes rather than simply part of their background.
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #64 on: July 25, 2014, 09:25:08 AM »
The Men Playing Chess are not, Repeat: NOT Homeless.

In an embarrassing and somewhat amusing encounter yesterday, My young nephew, Gage Preston, Lizzie Kaiser and a photographer named Mario were out getting some photos of the people in the park----which we've been very respectful and circumspect about.---- when we finally made contact with some of the chess players.

Now most of the chess players are older black gentlemen, much like public chessgames in San Francisco down in Union Square.  There has to be some associated sub culture of speed-chess-playing-old-guys running throughout the civil rights generation of african americans.  But most older white guys simply do not know the moves and stratagems that allow you to win with speed and alacrity.

Thanks to some of the surrounding cranks, there is this idea that if you are in the park, clearly you are homeless and on the verge of panhandling.  if not actively pissing your pants or passing out dead drunk in front of Jerry Moran's pasta emporium La Cena (more on that later, btw.  Funny explosive commentary on Jerry from the patrons of Hemming)

Anyways, they've been photographed, earnestly offered food and money, sympathetically directed to social services, glared at angrily by random park improvers, avoided assiduously by people frightened of the dreadful reputation of the Criminal Hemming Park Chess Gang and the like. 

In reality the chess players have jobs or are retired.  Not that they have to justify being on earth, or breathing its oxygen, or taking up space on public property-----but for purposes of irony, keep that in mind.

As a result of all the sympathy and handwringing revolving around a relatively understandable goal: winning a chess game to while away a few of your retirement hours, a local photographer (who shall remain nameless) did a photo opening up in New York City about a year ago featuring a shot called 'Homeless Man in Park".

In the shot was a New York City Native, (also comfortably employed) sitting down to the challenge of playing the game with one of the park chess masters.  He was unaware that he was being photographed, and also unaware that the photo show was being mounted in NYC.

That is, until his family called him, with endless tones of love and understanding, tearfully letting him know that he could 'Come on Home".  When he asked what they were talking about, they gave him every opportunity to tell them that he was homeless, couching the questions in 'hard times' and the like.

When he assured them that he was fine, getting along pretty well here in Florida, gainfully employed, nice house etc, they broke down and let him know the truth.

They had just seen a photo documentary show (the photography exhibit above mentioned) in NYC, and they recognized him from the photo, and they didn't want him to be homeless any more.

Imagine explaining that to your elderly parents. ;)
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 09:35:12 AM by stephendare »
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JaxNative68

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #65 on: July 25, 2014, 01:28:12 PM »
Stephen, you have been in the park a lot lately.  Are you sure you are not homeless?  You can level with us...

stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #66 on: July 25, 2014, 03:09:04 PM »
Stephen, you have been in the park a lot lately.  Are you sure you are not homeless?  You can level with us...

lol.  Im going to be in the park for a few weeks longer, I think. Its actually a fascinating and stimulating place.
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IrvAdams

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #67 on: July 25, 2014, 03:22:07 PM »
Maybe your observations will help people conquer their fear of the unknown and then be willing to visit and enjoy their public park again. It has been a centrally located meeting place for well over a hundred years, and it belongs to us all.
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #68 on: July 28, 2014, 05:59:39 PM »

People playing Chess in the park.
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #69 on: July 28, 2014, 06:02:48 PM »

The Brick Coffeehouse is about the only place downtown that you can find drinkable coffee and espresso drinks.

Its in the Ed Ball Building, and I find that I've been there quite often recently as I seriously need coffee while in Hemming Park.
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #70 on: July 28, 2014, 06:03:59 PM »

another angle of the chess players
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #71 on: July 28, 2014, 06:05:58 PM »

Beth (21) and John Ray (23).

Beth has a two year old, and John Ray was pretty much raised at First Baptist, having performed with the choir through much of his childhood.  He's gone on trips to Argentina with the music program.
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #72 on: July 28, 2014, 06:08:08 PM »






Louis (29), the charismatic center of the alpha 'family', and easily the most liked and sociable person in Hemming.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #73 on: July 28, 2014, 06:09:22 PM »

A young man and his family over by the Hot Dog Stand. 
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stephendare

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Re: Stephen Dare's Hemming Park Liveblog: Bigger, Longer and Unredacted.
« Reply #74 on: July 28, 2014, 06:20:55 PM »


This guy has a gorgeously latin accented way of speaking.  He is close friends with Louis and also at the center of the Alpha family.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love