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Opening Remarks

News and Notes from the Best Place on Earth

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Good sense prevailed when Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson caught up with Anthony O’Shae—vocalist for the Beachcomber Music Awards winning band Continuum—at the Fort Walton Beach Landing during Billy Bowlegs weekend. Because neither of them dressed or talked like pirates. Also, nice photo bomb, new guy!

The Best of the Emerald Coast ballots for 2016 are in the current issue of Emerald Coast magazine, and I strongly recommend that you vote for the Beachcomber Music Awards for Best Local Event. Speaking of the BMAs, we have some exciting things in the works for our 2017 event—new location, more complicated and time-consuming nominating process, etc. Stay tuned.


Beachcomberland rap/hip-hop artist Chris Carter has a new album out on Bandcamp, Action Figure. The guys from Strange Tang had a hand in the production, so you know it’s gonna be killer.


LuLu’s Destin’s Bay Bash one-year anniversary event on June 11 was terrific, and it was a real pleasure to meet and chat with New Orleans great Glen David Andrews. He and his band gave a helluva performance, wisely opting to leave the stage at one point and lead a second line with all the folks at ground level.


Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hasn’t banned The Beachcomber from his press events yet, but we haven’t given up hope.


One of our favorite breakfast spots, Asiago’s Skillet on Okaloosa Island, just opened a second location in Destin. It’s right on 98 next to another of our favorites, Landshark’s Pizza. Asiago’s hours are midnight to noon, which fits perfectly with most of our readers’ schedules.


Occasional Beachcomber contributor and cover artist Lesha Maureen Porche is offering drawing lessons—two hours for just 25 bucks. You can find her on Facebook, or hit me up at, because I’m thinking about signing up, too.


I missed a couple important birthdays in our last issue. Not a big deal, you say, but the pair in question was this publication’s longtime contributors Bruce Collier and Nikki Hedrick. Sorry, Bruce—I’ll make it up to you by sending you one each from this issue’s Scotch whiskey (or is it whisky?) picks. Nikki, I’m working on those backstage passes to this fall’s Anthrax show.


Congrats to Act4Murder, who finally got some recognition at this year’s Billy Bowlegs parade in Fort Walton Beach. We—okay, I am part of the group, and this is more shameless self-promotion, plus I’m the only guy who can fit into the pirate costume—placed third in the floats category, behind two fine entities that probably worked even harder than we did.


One of my childhood heroes passed away just as this issue was being prepared. If you grew up in the ‘70s, Muhammad Ali was unavoidable. Of the many tributes that dominated social media after June 3, my favorite was this, from Beachcomber Music Awards nominee and blues great Joe Fingas:


Twenty-four hours ago, I finished my last gig of the night and, as is my custom, I tuned my car’s radio the 24-hour sports station. That’s when I heard, “Muhammad Ali is dead.”


I turned off the program. I was in no mood for the opinions of the host or those folks calling in to pay respects on the air.


I pulled into the Tom Thumb, got out of my car and went into the store. I bought a 32-ounce cold fountain something or another. Then I walked back to my ride, settled into the driver’s seat, secured my drink and put the key into the ignition.


That’s when I started to cry. Not for long. Just some tears, a couple of sobs and a sigh. Not for long. But I was weeping for Ali.


Just like a lot of other folks. Those people waiting to reminisce on the all-night talk show, for instance. Just like my friend who sent me this text—“I want to talk to you about the Greatest.”


I didn’t text him back.


Don’t know if I will.


I’ve just been Rope-a-Doped.


It’s time to take a knee.


Thanks, Joe, for saying what I couldn’t.

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