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Sketches of the Super Bowl weekend

Forget about Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Jenny McCarthy. The biggest star here for the Super Bowl was Tony Jam.

Maybe you've never heard of him, but everyone walking Channelside Drive Friday night heard the unique beats Tony Jam crafted with an assortment of plastic buckets, refrigerator vegetable bins, pots and pans.

Jam, a New Yorker who came down for the game, perfected various genres, going from house to hip-hop to techno without missing a beat. In between his drumming, he solicited donations with a sense of humor.

Tony: Knock-Knock

Crowd: Who's there?

Tony: Phillip

Crowd: Phillip Who?

Tony: Phillip my bucket with money.

Tony also asked listeners to pull a few dollars out of their wallets — and put their wallets in the bucket. If you want to get a taste of his rhythms, go to …

I teased Krista Soroka, the game's special events director, about having .38 Special at Tuesday's media party instead one of my hip-hop favorites. But the Southern rockers surpassed my expectations and had everybody Rockin' Into the Night. …

After walking away from Tony Jam, I moved on to the Marriott Waterside so I could catch a cab back to the Times office on Ashley Drive instead of walking in the 50-degree weather. Yes, I'm a Florida native wimp.

I needed to go only a few blocks, but the two guys sharing the cab with me had a slightly longer ride: Orlando. Turns out they had come to Tampa from O-town on a corporate bus, and they were so disenchanted with the Kardashian-McCarthy Leather & Laces Party they hailed a taxi instead of waiting for the bus to depart at 3 a.m.

Their corporate party had supposed VIP access, but the two middle-aged guys said the long lines and barely seen D-list stars left them disappointed. Maybe the three of us are just past our primes, but I totally understood where they were coming from. …

If I had a magic wand, I would eliminate all the Super Bowl week celebrity bashes. I know these soirees prove to be a paradise for promoters, but it seems to me they seldom live up to the hype.

Imagine if the swank clubs and cool venues charged more reasonable prices and simply created an environment where celebs were comfortable mixing with us commoners. I don't know what happens in New York or Hollywood, but most folks here give the elite their space.

Plus, brushes with greatness mean more when they're coincidental. What's better: paying $50 and surprisingly ending up on the dance floor next to Demi Moore, or paying $250 and waiting in line all just to get a glimpse of Diddy?

I still remember seeing Whitney Houston at a restaurant the night before the Super Bowl in 1991, but that was before the trend moved to three-figure entry fees and VIP cabanas. …

The funny thing about covering these parties as a reporter is that when you're searching for celebs, your mind plays tricks on you. Every tall, muscular guy looks like a pro athlete, every sharp-dressed woman looks like a starlet, and every guy with a funny-looking fedora and dreads looks like …

Overall, I think the Super Bowl turned out great for Tampa Bay, but I'm glad it's not here every year.

That's all I'm saying.

Sketches of the Super Bowl weekend 02/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 2, 2009 9:53pm]
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