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Insight into love, sand and Fourth fireworks

Corey Curry's Pro Player Entertainment has made a name for itself by staging parties in some of Tampa's top nightclubs.

Pro Player has drawn weekly crowds at Club Joy in Carrollwood on Friday nights and lured hundreds out for monthly midnight cruises. But Curry's next promotion promises to transcend the boundaries of social class in the black community and bridge the gap between younger and older adults.

It sounds like a music mix that would go from Marvin Gaye to Grandmaster Flash to Public Enemy to Tupac to Nas.

But it's actually something new for Curry: an inspirational play. Thomas Meloncon's The Diary of Black Men, billed as one of the longest-running plays in black theater history, will be performed for three nights at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. (Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 through TicketMaster.)

It's not the first time someone has brought a gospel play to Tampa, but it is the first time Curry has helped coordinate one.

"I've been looking to do a gospel play, and I thought if I was patient, it would fall in my lap," said Curry, who got this chance through a referral from friends at WLLD-FM 98.7. "Gospel plays and inspirational plays do good business in Tampa, and it's good for me because I am in the business of entertaining the city. Now I have something that my mother and my grandparents and all their friends can appreciate."

Curry said the play's message is both humorous and philosophical. Six male stereotypes take the stage and discuss what they believe a woman wants and needs in a man. In the end, you're supposed to have greater insight about how to love a woman and how to understand a man.

If a stage production can deliver on that promise, it's well worth it. I know people who have spent their entire adult lives searching those answers . . . and they're still looking.

More signs of a budding relationship between Bucs receiver Keyshawn Johnson and tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Not only was Keyshawn spotted in London during Williams' semifinal victory over Justine Henin-Hardenne last week, but Williams and Johnson attended the Bucs' Super Bowl ring ceremony at the A La Carte Pavilion last month.

The Temptations once sang If you're living in a glass house, don't throw no stones.

So I really shouldn't complain about the distracting actions of others at Pass-a-Grille beach on the night of the Fourth, since my two boys were staging a world war sand fight. But these are rocks I just have to throw.

Pass-a-Grille is one of the best places to watch fireworks. Not only do you get a perfect view of the St. Pete Beach show, but you also get to see the displays from other beach communities in the distance.

What bothered me, other than Matthew and Ethan trying to plant each other under the shells, were the rank amateurs who brought their cheap roadside fireworks to Pass-a-Grille. Why, it was tantamount to bringing sand to the beach.

Why would anyone think people would want to see (and hear) their annoying little rocket launchers and screamers when the real show is booming in the sky? One parent even chose to throw a set of lighted firecrackers at his kids. (Okay, at that moment, it almost seemed like a good parental control device.)

The point is, instead of bringing fireworks to a fireworks show, why don't you just get a can of Sherwin-Williams and go touch up the The Hallucinogenic Toreador at the Dali Museum?

Okay, I don't want to come across as being completely joyless, so how about a compromise: Let the professionals do their thing for the first 30 minutes after dusk, and then you can spend the rest of the night adding to the revelry. By then, I'll be dragging the boys back to the car.

That's all I'm saying.

_ Ernest Hooper can be reached at 226-3406 or Hoopersptimes.com.

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