Author Paul Wilborn and photographer/filmmaker David Audet will share stories, photos and graphics at an event that celebrates the publication of Wilborn’s new book, Cigar City: Tales From a 1980s Creative Ghetto, publishedApril 1, 2019 by St. Petersburg Press.
Cigar City is a collection of linked short stories about the young artists, writers, poets, musicians and actors who inhabited Tampa’s Ybor City in the 1980s. Drawn by urban authenticity and cheap rents, they created a surreal, chaotic, arts scene set against the backdrop of the empty cigar factories and shotgun shacks of Tampa’s immigrant district. The Ybor scene drew international artists like James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, Chuck Close, among many others and mirrored what was happening at the same time in other districts, including New York’s Alphabet City.
The stories are fictional but they capture the spirit of the district during that vibrant period. Photographs and graphics by Audet and Bud Lee, the internationally known photographer who was at the center of the Ybor arts renaissance, illustrate Cigar City.
Both Wilborn and Audet worked closely with Lee, a photographer for Life, Esquire, Rolling Stone and other major publications. The three were among the founding members of the Artists and Writers Group, which produced surreal, multi-media arts events in Tampa and Sarasota, which drew thousands of revelers. They also produced the literary and arts journal, Tabloid. Lee died in 2015.
As a journalist, Wilborn won top writing awards while working for the St. Petersburg Times, the Tampa Tribune and the Associated Press. He is executive director of the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. Cigar City is his first work of fiction.
Audet is a photographer, filmmaker and teacher. He has continued to produce literary, film and other events under the non-profit Artists and Writers Group, including the annual Cuban Sandwich Show, Deep Carnivale and the Ybor
Festival of the Moving Image.
This event will include readings by Wilborn, and photos and graphics from the era by Audet and Lee.