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RIP Eric Beckus March 20, 2014

Posted by zRants in Art, Beaux Arts, Books, Film, Friends, History, Poetry.
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Eric was one of  Tom’s first students at the Beaux Arts school in Pinellas County. He lived the life of an artist, creating wonderful paintings, sculptures, poetry, and music. When I met Eric, he invited me to visit his home, which was filled with his simple life and diet of art. In addition to expressing his own world of fantastic visions, Eric was adapt at repairing the work of other fine artists. He was a museum quality restoration specialist. Museums and galleries entrusted their finest pieces to Eric.

When I last saw Eric he was working on writing a children’s book. He allowed me to shoot some of the illustrations and shared some drafts with me that I will look for. Eric had a great sense of humor. We will try to get more of his work posted, as well as some of his music soon. Meanwhile fest on this. Don’t miss the YouTube footage: http://www.beauxartsbook.com/art/Eric.html



Eric’s Beaux Arts Story, 11/7/06

I first visited the Beaux Arts gallery around 1953. I was a student at St. Petersburg Junior college and I wanted to find a gallery to attempt to exhibit my drawings and watercolors. The galleries in the city were beyond my capabilities as an artist. But the Beaux Arts was and continued to be, a place anyone could be seen at least.

The gallery was an old hotel. It had porches around its perimeter and Pinellas Park was small and quiet. The door was open like a church and I went in. I called out and Tom Reese came from a back room. He came thru a curtain and stood before me in a pose. His shirt was off and he had a chest covered in black hair and his head too was jet black and wavy. He was handsome and muscular with no belly or flab. I knew I wasn’t in a traditional gallery.

Tom sat with me and looked over my small collection of work. He was not caustic in those days although his prize insights were blunt, it was usually the fact. Some art is bad. As if the person set out to make it so.

Each meeting seemed to convince him I could have a show of my poems and pen line watercolors. Finally I did have the show on the side room which was a small gallery for art that could not compose a whole show in the main gallery.

Tom had two watercolors printed in color in the St. Petersburg Times. They were the first color plates used back then. and he had given that all to me. In a sense he saved my life because without his encouragement I would truly be a different person today. He was a saint in the true sense that is a man or woman that subjects themselves to a belief system and is always trying to live up to the rules. The rules of art as well as religion are the same except in regard to the human body. Beaux Arts was freedom to be true to yourself. Tom was the one that first showed me the variety of people I could at last fit in with. this family of artists.

As a man Tom was the man that sells the tickets in a carnival. The ‘Beaux Arts was that to me. As I went in the door, those carnival images painted on trailers were now in a gallery, dignified, not comic book paintings. It was a rarified world with people like carnival people, odd balls with a tent to live under together.

Tom was attracted to fame at an early age. He went to see the famous pianist Paderewsi who was a Polish hero visiting St. Petersburg. He got up early and went to the train station to wait. He got to say hello, and shake hands, and perhaps that handshake, to an 8-year-old boy passed fame, because he never stopped his craving for fame or the talk of famous people. The desire to have the whole world know your name was his burden as well as his reason to be able to see others with the same eye to try to help another get what he knew he could never get.

He was famous but the never felt it was enough. I’m so glad he never achieved the fame he longed for. I wouldn’t have gotten to know him.

- Eric Beckus

Weeds   Horsepeople

Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age June 27, 2013

Posted by zRants in Film, Jim Morrison.
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Hi Mari,

I’m hoping to speak with you about the late Tom Reese in regard to an independent documentary film my wife, Jess, and I are producing about Jim Morrison. I’m flying from Los Angeles to Clearwater and will be in town conducting research and interviews from June 28-July 1.
Jess and I run a two-person production company called Z-Machine. We’re nearly a year into the making of Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age, a full-length documentary film. With BTE, we investigate all aspects of Morrison’s life [including the Doors] and death, but our primary focus is his formative years, a key era that’s seen little serious study. We have access to the Morrison family, including an exclusive first-ever on-camera interview with Jim’s brother, Andy.

Here are a few pertinent BTE links:


Thanks for your time, Mari. I look forward to speaking with you at your earliest convenience.
~ Jeff Finn

Lawrence (Larry) Honaker’s daughter is looking for stories about her dad January 15, 2013

Posted by zRants in Beaux Arts, Music.
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Hi There! I just found your site after hearing a story from my Mom about my late father’s fond remembrances of his time spent at Beaux Arts around 1970/71/72. His name was Lawrence (Larry) Honaker. It was like an unexpected gift dropped from the sky to hear that my father enjoyed spending time and being part of that eclectic creative community. I had hoped to be able to visit it when I travel to Florida, but was saddened to see that Beaux Arts Coffee House is no longer there. Daddy was a musician, but Momma says he talked most about his love for gardening there at the house. He had his little 2 yr old son with him at the time too. It’s wonderful to glimpse this little piece of my Dad’s past when so much of it shrouded in the veils of time. If you happen across any mention of him in your records/stories, it sure would be a wonderful verbal gift to be able to share with my mother and siblings. Blessings of Creativity, Free-expression, and Peace to you all. –  Sarah H.


Remembering George McGovern October 22, 2012

Posted by zRants in Uncategorized.
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I want to share this bi-paritsan moment from a 1972 performance of “Republicans for McGovern-Shriver,” sent to me by a friend who performed at the event in Florida, when the anti-war movement was at its peak. http://beauxartisans.wordpress.com/
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

In Honor of George McGovern October 22, 2012

Posted by zRants in Beaux Arts, Music, Politics.
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In honor of George McGovern, I post this photo from 1972. L to R: Caitlin
Johnson, Barry Simms (Vietnam vet, US Army), Llyn French, Charles Futch,
Holly Gwinn Graham, Bill Dreyer (2x Vietnam vet, USMC). “Republicans for
McGovern-Shriver,” Williams Park bandshell, St. Petersburg, FL. Not all of
us were Repubs, and I do not recall what songs we did, but I was proud to be
for McGovern and against the war… all wars.

- Llyn French

There’s a way to live with Earth, and a way not to live with Earth.  We choose the way of Earth.
- John Trudell (1946 -), patriot of 
the indigenous nations of the Western hemisphere

Happy Birthday Tom July 19, 2012

Posted by zRants in Beaux Arts, Friends, History.
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New photos on https://www.facebook.com/christian.skillman

Click on photos https://www.facebook.com/christian.skillman/photos


JoEllen Schilke April 12, 2012

Posted by zRants in Beaux Arts, Friends, New Beaux Arts.
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1 comment so far

Dear Friends of Beaux Arts,

On Tuesday, April 10, The Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg)  Times had an obituary for; Donald Joseph Schilke, JoEllens’ dad. Since many of you know JoEllen through her now-closed Globe Coffee Lounge in St. Petersburg and know how supportive she was for Beaux Arts and the people who went to the Globe after Beaux Arts, I am passing on this information. I am asking you to please show support for JoEllen at this time in her life. The online Guestbook is at www.andersonmcqueen.com.

The Memorial Service will be 1 pm on Saturday, April 21, at Anderson-Mcqueen Funeral Homes, 2201 Dr. ML King St. North, St Petersburg. The obituary suggests that instead of flowers, please consider donating to WMNF, 1210 E. MLK Jr. Blvd., Tampa FL 33603. (JoEllen has a long-time show there named ‘Art In Your Ear’  and she is now a full-time employee there working as Volunteer Coordinator, Outreach, and lots of other tasks). If you are able to make a donation to the station,  please consider mentioning Beaux Arts so JoEllen is aware of that.
Also, please feel free to mention this to any people you know who have been to the Globe or Beaux Arts.

I used to see her dad at the Globe frequently, and he was always a friendly man. And, JoEllen also sponsored a Benefit for Tom Reese, when he first went into the hospital. We owe a lot to JoEllen.

Thank you!

Malcolm Johnson

March 12, 2012

Posted by zRants in Film, Kerouac.
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Warren Hellman Public Celebration February 19, 2012

Posted by zRants in Music.
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If you can get it, this concert may bring back a few memories. It is streaming live now, but it should be here for a while. It is a tribute to Warren Hellman, who brought us free music in the park for years, and has left the financing for another 15 years. We love you Warrnen!


Old Crow Medicine Show is particularly good. I’m listening to them now.     

Meeting Old Beaux Arts People January 29, 2012

Posted by zRants in Beaux Arts, Friends, Kerouac.
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Last night I went to a new Open Mike at Book Lovers shop on Central Ave in St. Pete. It was the first time I had been there. I met two men who were regulars at St. Pete and one woman I had never met before. She was living in Sarasota at the time when she would drive up to Pinellas Park to go to Beaux Arts. She said she was 16 when she started going to BA. Her name is Beth Jackson. At the open mike, she read her poetry and sang acapella in a Southern style, with a tinge of Gospel. She said that she had been a professional singer, and I believe her! She was very friendly, but I did not get to talk to her a lot because of the show in progress. I think she would be happy to compare notes with you. I am sure that I will see her again at the open mike ( It is held every two weeks on a Wednesday evening). There were about 16 people at the open mike and I enjoyed it because it was more like Beaux Arts than others that are held in bars, etc.
     Bookmark: www.ontheroadmoviefans.blogspot.com . They are reporting that the new “On The Road’ movie is going to be released in France, May 23. No mention yet about the United States.
Malcolm Johnson

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