In honor of Guavaween, that giant street party scheduled for Saturday in Ybor City, we caught up with Paul Wilborn, one of the event's co-founders, just part of his work in the cultural community dating back more than two decades. Wilborn, 57, is currently executive director of the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. He has been a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune and manager of creative industries for the city of Tampa. You can catch the Renaissance man tonight during the last performance of Love and Other Natural Disasters, at American Stage in St. Petersburg. The cabaret show includes Wilborn on piano and vocals, his wife, Eugenie Bondurant, on vocals, Frank Bowman on sax and clarinet and Harlan Brown on drums. What is on your nightstand?
The Portable Graham Greene. I had read The Third Man and The Quiet American, and I bought this reader. It's got two novels and several short stories. What I love about Graham Greene is that his writing takes you to foreign places, but you see it through his characters that are Westerners. They're from the West, and they're figuring out foreign places. As a reporter, I understand that view.
I also read a lot on the American Songbook for my cabaret show. I'm extremely interested in music from the '20s, '30s and '40s. I have The Voodoo That They Did So Well (The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage) by Stefan Kanfer. It's got stories about the Gershwin brothers, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and other greats. Finally, I've got The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst. Reporters, ex-pats, espionage and doomed romance in pre-WWII France.
When it comes to Halloween, what is the scariest book you've read?
One of the scariest I remember is when I read Amityville Horror. I was housesitting in a big house, a mansion. I felt like I was actually in that Amityville house. I was 28 years old too. But, hey, I'm a normal, rational guy.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer