Posts Tagged ‘Ybor City’

Black people love Ken Apperson: How a skinny white boy gets down

July 1, 2010

If I know anything as an honorary black person, I know that black people don’t fake feeling music. There’s no such thing as a polite head-bob; something has to seep inside of them [us] and make them [us] move. And the crowd at Green Iguana in Ybor last Thursday … they [we] were feelin’ it.

Ken Apperson. Local musician. Skinny white boy. Within five minutes of watching his set, you can tell that he’s not just playing music, but that he is music. It’s rare that you find someone who has a voice that is just as much of an instrument as the guitar strapped to his chest. He slips seamlessly between a velvety tenor and a falsetto that will subtly strip your clothes off. Speaking of, the way his fingers work his guitar suggests that he may or may not be a ferocious lover. It’s really not up to me to say. Cigarette, anyone?

Ken plays some covers. Anyone can play covers, right? Not the way he does. Ken plays some hip-hop. On guitar. It’s fascinating to watch, really. It takes a special kind of talent to take a hard-hitting song that is notorious for being overproduced and synthetic, and translate it into a Maroon 5-ish type track that is something else entirely. You should see what he does with “Lollipop.” Weezy F would choke on his AutoTune plugin. More so than covers, however, Ken’s heart lies within his original tracks like “Keep Dreaming.”

Ken is a true artist. Starting at the age of 16, on his mom’s “piece of shit, no-name acoustic,” Ken taught himself the basics. With the help of the Internet, he played that guitar until his fingers bled. His mom got him lessons for his next birthday, and within a year, he was the one doing the teaching. Hailing from St. Louis, music was the thing that brought Ken to Tampa when he was 21.

And now Tampa’s lucky to have him. Here’s his upcoming local schedule for the month of July:

7/2 Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, Tampa 4:30-8:30 p.m.

7/2 JJ’s Cafe and Bar, Ybor 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

7/9 Green Iguana, Ybor 5-8 p.m.

7/9 JJ’s Cafe and Bar, Ybor 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

7/10 Green Iguana, Ybor 1-5 p.m.

7/13 Channelside Courtyard 4-8 p.m.

7/15 Centro Cantina, Ybor 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

7/16 Palm Pavilion, Clearwater 1-5 p.m.

7/16 JJ’s Cafe And Bar, Ybor 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

7/22 Green Iguana, Ybor 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

7/23 JJ’s Cafe And Bar, Ybor 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

7/24 Jannus Landing Rock for Research

7/30 Havana Room, St. Pete 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

If you can’t make it to one of those shows, you can find Ken every Sunday at TinaTapas in Channelside from 6 to 10 p.m..

Don’t let the contagious smile and the boyish charm fool you, Ken Apperson gets down to business. Call him, and he can make it juicy for ya. Yeah, I’ll take that cigarette now.

[To read at Creative Loafing, click here.]


A late-night encounter with TBPD: The ballad of the white lines

May 28, 2010

I was returning home to Ybor City when my drunk friend in the passenger seat, whom I was designated-driving, decided that she wanted pizza. Being a Saturday at 2 A.M. in Ybor, parking on the street was scarce. I had already looped around the block once, and was on my second go-round. Suddenly, I see a police officer following in my rear-view mirror. Being the cautious driver that I am, I already had my seat belt fastened and was obeying the speed limit. I tell my friend of the officer behind us. “Do you think he’s gonna pull us over?!” she asks frantically. “No. I’m not doing anything wrong,” I calmly reply.

I pull up to a red light where I need to make a right turn. Turn signal already on, I come to a complete stop where I remain for roughly four seconds for good measure. I know that the cops are looking for any reason to write tickets, and rolling through a red light was not going to be my demise. After my lengthy and pronounced stop, I make the right turn. One second later, there are red and blue flashing lights behind me.

What the fuck?!” rings in my head as I pull to the shoulder of the road. The police officer comes up, flashlight ablaze, and sticks his cop-face in the window. “License, registration and proof of insurance.” Seeing as how I was driving my friend’s car, I let her take care of the last two while I handed over my license. While she was rummaging through her glove compartment, Cop-Face starts shining his flashlight all in the car – mostly in the backseat. “What the fuck?!” is still on repeat as he takes the needed-information back to his car.

Seeing as how he never told me why he pulled me over, my mind is going a thousand miles an hour. We wait. And wait. And wait some more. Close to an hour passes before he returns. “Would you consent to a search?” he asks. My mind: “WTF?!” My mouth: “Uhhhh, sure. I mean, okay.” I didn’t understand this request, but I had nothing to hide, so of course I complied. “Step out of the car, ma’am,” Cop-Face instructs.

I get out. “Ms. Bishop, the reason why I pulled you over is because someone came up to me in the street and reported to me that you girls were doing cocaine at stoplights.”

My jaw drops.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No, ma’am. And when something as serious as that is reported, we have to take all cautionary measures.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I’ve never done cocaine in my life, never even tried it, so the fact that this was happening was absolutely absurd. And even if I did do it, bumping lines down Seventh Avenue wouldn’t exactly be my setting-of-choice. Cop-Face instructs me to walk over to the sidewalk where a female officer was waiting to give me a frisking. I tell her how ridiculous this situation is, and she laughs as she gets to Second Base with me. She finds nothing on us. Cop-Face and his buddy find nothing in the car. Female Officer tells us not to worry, and that as soon as they tie up some loose ends in the Cop-Mobile, we’ll be free to go.

I thank the Universe and decide that this will be a funny story to tell the next day.

I get back in the driver’s seat and wait for Cop-Face to return with my ID. Thirty minutes pass before he shows back up.

“Alright, Ms. Bishop, I’m issuing you a traffic citation for stopping in front of the white line at the stoplight. Those lines are there for a reason, and you need to stop completely behind them.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Please sign at the bottom. You’re not admitting fault, you’re just saying that you received this citation. You can either pay the ticket or try to fight it in court. But I assure you, Ms. Bishop, if you try to fight it, I will be there and you will lose.”

“Well, how much is the ticket?”

“Two-hundred and sixteen dollars.”

Ahhhh, the post-nasal drip of Justice.

[to read at Creative Loafing, click here.]

the roosevelt – ybor city.

April 23, 2010

design by efren rebugio, jr. // copy by courtney bishop.