Hinks and Elaine Shimberg were there. So were Bill and Barbara Starkey. Sandy and Michael Freedman and Betty Castor and Sam Bell. But most of Tampa's social regulars didn't show up for Tampa AIDS Network's 10th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night. It was their loss.
Some 500 people did show and proved, once again, that this town is developing some depth in the mover-and-shaker department.
Highlights included singer and hoofer Rick Castillo, out of the hospital only a few days, stopping the show with a version of Begin the Beguine, and a quietly stirring speech by Ron Nyswaner, author of the screenplay Philadelphia. Nyswaner tried to counter the growing specter of righteous intolerance with a simple message that love is still the most important family value.
He also had a message for the four county commissioners who eliminated sexual orientation from the county's human-rights ordinance _ "I love you and forgive you. But your gay waiter hasn't forgiven you."
If I was Joe, Dottie, Jim and Chris I'd think twice about dining out anytime soon.
Official ankle bracelets: State Sen. Charlie Crist said he's been hearing a lot about Sam Cooke lately. Cooke, of course, was the '60s soul sensation who recorded Charlie's new theme song _ "OOH! AHH! That's the sound of the man, working on the chain gang. . ."
Speaking to the Tiger Bay Club on Friday, Crist waved away criticism that the chain gang issue is more about politics than punishment. Harry Singletary, who runs the state's prisons, thinks chaining prisoners individually, not together, is more efficient. What happens, he wonders, when one prisoner has to go to the bathroom?
Crist says he wants his chain gangs to fit the Webster's Dictionary definition that reads "chained together." It's more secure, he says, and more uncomfortable. As for the bathroom question, Crist takes the Rhett Butler approach. Frankly, he doesn't give a damn.
Hot stuff in cool places: The summer movie fare this season is pretty lame, all archvillains and bizarre bombers, mixed with a little Middle-American adultery. I'm for spending the summer in a dark, cool place, but it doesn't have to be the multiplex. Two Tampa theater companies are offering some very hot summer fare.
Tampa Tongues Two, by Hillsborough Moving Company, is a mixed bag, but there are lots of laughs, some touching moments and John Huls. Huls is possibly the funniest man in the world, at least in our portion of it.
Stageworks has extended the run of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, Terrence McNally's look at low-rent love. It's well-written, well-staged and well-acted. More than I can say for most of the Hollywood blow-'em-ups this season.
Tampa Tongues Two is at the Off-Center Theater inside the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Stageworks is at Falk Theatre. Both are heavily air-conditioned and run Thursday through Sunday.
Constitutional conservative: Who else would you expect at a Congressional hearing on the Christian Coalition's proposed constitutional amendment on "religious equality" but Joe Redner? Sure enough, there was Redner, with jelled hair, business suit and American flag tie _ along with his legal and TV sidekick, Luke Lirot. When a reporter asked Mr. Mons what he was doing at Republican Charles Canady's conservative road show at Jefferson High, Redner replied, "I kind of like the Constitution we have." Me too.
Call Paul Wilborn with an idea for the column at 226-3346.