10/22/08: Michelle Obama Speech/Gainesville Music Summit

Breakfast, Coffee, Coffee Bars, entertainment, events, Food, Gainesville FL, Hip Hop, jazz, music, Music Conferences, Night Clubs, Politics, rap, Travel

After waking up, I checked out of the hotel, and ate breakfast at 43rd Street Deli and Breakfast, which was really good. I then spent the day going around to record stores, such as Hear Again on University Avenue, where I found a number of jazz CDs that I purchased. Then, wanting a latte, I headed downtown, but Michelle Obama was scheduled to speak at a theater, so downtown was absolute pandemonium, with crowds and lines of people waiting to get in to the event, and police everywhere, as there were rumors of threats.
I walked past a number of sidewalk cafes, and managed to get to a coffee bar, where I purchased a latte, and then a few blocks away, I discovered a gelato bar, and I stopped there to enjoy a chocolate gelato. Finally, my hotel room was ready at the Holiday Inn across from the University of Florida campus, so I checked in, and headed up to the rooftop pool, but I found the water too cold, despite the warm, pretty weather.
Heading to dinner at the Stonewood Tavern, I got a call from the Mississippi raper Skipp Coon regarding his new release, and then after dinner I headed back downtown to the Gainesville Music Summit, which got underway late, as most rap events usually do. Afterwards, I walked around downtown to see if I could find a jazz club. I didn’t, although a neo-soul/funk band was playing at a club a block away. I thought about going inside, but decided against it, and I headed back to the hotel instead and went to bed.

09/27/08: Ocean Boulevard/SMES Day 2, Myrtle Beach

entertainment, events, Hip Hop, music, Music Conferences, Myrtle Beach, rap

There had been an afterparty until 2 AM the night before, and I was convinced that people wouldn’t show up for the conference panel I was supposed to speak on at 10 AM, but I was told that it would go on as scheduled, so I decided that there wasn’t time to eat breakfast away from the hotel, and I went into the restaurant there for breakfast instead.
When I got to the conference room, however, I learned that it had been rescheduled for 7 PM, and there were several rap artists there waiting for me who thought it would be held at 10 AM as scheduled. So we held a little panel discussion about distribution in the foyer in front of the ballroom door, and afterwards, I decided to spend some time in the whirlpool. The sun was out, the wind had died down, and the weather was much warmer.
At noon, I drove down to the River City Cafe in Surfside Beach’s little downtown, since I was told that they had the best hamburgers on the beach. The place was crowded and cute, with an upstairs view of the Surfside Beach pier and beaches, but the burgers, which could have been really great, were only mediocre because of a South Carolina law that requires burgers to be cooked to medium well or above. So, needless to say, my burger was grey throughout, and dry as a bone.
Afterwards, I used my iPhone to locate an internet cafe around the corner, where I ordered a latte, and then I headed back to the hotel for the performance showcases. These ran longer than expected, however, and the 7 PM panel didn’t get under way until nearly 9 PM. By the time it ended at 10:15 PM, it was much too late to go to the Crab House at Barefoot Landing, where I had planned on eating dinner. In fact, to my surprise since Myrtle Beach was a resort area, I soon found it was too late to go anywhere at all. Most restaurants closed at 9:30 or 10 PM, even on weekends, I was told, because this was the off-season. I finally found that TGI Friday’s in Murrell’s Inlet was open, so three rap artists that had been at the panel discussion rode with me and we rode down there to eat a late dinner.
Upon our returning, we learned that there had been a fight outside the hotel, but on the hotel grounds, and the Surfside police had been called. Once again, alcohol seemed to be the catalyst, and the individual who had gotten the worst of the incident had threatened to bring a weapon up to the conference and kill the person who had whipped him. After things had calmed down, there were some conference panelists and attendees in the lobby talking about the Obama candidacy and hip-hop versus gangsta rap. But I was tired, so I headed up to the room and to bed.

09/26/08: Myrtle Beach Days/SMES Day 1

Breakfast, entertainment, events, Food, Hip Hop, music, Myrtle Beach, rap

When I woke up, everything hurt. Especially my elbow, which had hit the pavement hard when I fell. I managed to get up, get dressed and head out to breakfast at Omega Pancake House, which I had seen the night before as I was going to the hotel. After breakfast, I went back to the hotel and registered for the conference. Since I wasn’t scheduled to speak until Saturday, I spent some time in the whirlpool on the pool deck, and then I walked down onto the beach. There was nobody in the water, and after testing it with my feet, I learned why, because the water was icy cold. I started walking south along the beach, noticing birds and shells as I headed down toward the Days Inn hotel to the south.
The weather was cool, but overcast and quite windy, and I walked back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I had scouted out a place called the Liberty Brewhouse at Broadway at the Beach. The restaurant was a brewpub featuring steaks, and was owned by T-Bonz out of Augusta, so I figured it would be good. Getting to Broadway at the Beach proved to be more difficult than I had expected, however, since traffic was backed up for miles because of an incident in front of a McDonald’s where a car had struck a child on a bicycle, and everyone was stopping to look as the ambulance was pulling up. Broadway at the Beach proved to be an elaborate outdoor shopping village built around a manmade lagoon full of catfish, other fish and ducks. One of its anchors was a Hard Rock Cafe built in the shape of a pyramid, and there was a Kiss Coffeehouse (the name and logo licensed from the band), a Tripp’s Family Restaurant, a Crab House, a Key West Bar and Grill, and many interesting shops. I decided to walk around a bit before eating dinner, and I walked through nearly all of the facility, stopping in a few shops to look around. In addition to the shops and restaurants, there were entertainment options like Dragon’s Lair goofy golf, and some sort of Adventure Quest laser game, and a theatre. I soon walked right to the Liberty Brewhouse, and, to my surprise, had no trouble getting a seat. The Liberty Brewhouse brewed their own root beer, which was excellent, and the steak and lobster dinner was really good as well.
Afterwards, I stopped into a Kaldi’s Coffee Bar for a latte, and then drove over to Ocean Boulevard, to drive that way along the Grand Strand back to the hotel. The sun was going down red to the southwest, and I stopped to take a number of pictures. When I arrived back at the hotel, showcases were still in progress, with artists performing and being critiqued by some of the panelists. After that, a beat battle and a freestyle battle were held. Unfortunately, liquor was flowing freely from the hotel bar, and a fight was narrowly averted when one young man who had lost in the freestyle battle complained that another man nearby kept staring at him. Altogether, however, day one of the Southern Music and Entertainment Summit went very well.