HAPPYTOWN 


;The Orlando Food Not Bombs kids would like to clear something up: At the June 27 protest we told you about last week, during which six of their own got arrested for beating drums, they claim they did not use profanity-laced chants. Nor did they use the very lame taunt "Fuck you, Cruddy Dyer."

;;Rather, OFNB used much more enlightened phrasing to make their point: "For the record, here are the chants we were using June 27," stated an OFNB missive delivered to Happytown™ HQ. "‘No justice, no peace, when people cannot eat FOR FREE!' ‘Serve rice, not the rich!' ‘Whose Buddy? NOT OURS!' ‘Food is a right, not a privilege.' ‘Muddy Dyer-rhea, what's the idea?'"

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;(That last one is especially good.)

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;Oh, and OFNB also promised to show up at each and every Buddy Dyer and Patty Sheehan fund-raiser from now to eternity and be a "boisterous [read: annoying] presence." And they'll keep feeding the homeless every Wednesday in Lake Eola Park, whether the mayor and Patty like it or not.

;;The good news? City elections got bumped up to Jan. 29, which means we only have five months of this street theater left to endure.

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;Seriously, is there no publicity stunt for which the trailer-dwellers who populate this city won't fall?

;;Short answer: no. The latest reason to hang your head in shame for being an Orlandoan came July 6 at – where else? – Orlando City Hall, courtesy of a company whose name we won't mention because they suckered every other media outlet into showing up and repeating it. (Yes, they suckered us into showing up too, but we got 'em back by refusing to print their name! In your face, blahblahblah.com!)

;;Let's back up a little. A few days earlier, this company that shall remain unnamed mailed us two cloth bags with giant dollar signs on them. Inside were a couple of cheap pens that broke, a rubber ball and a wad of fake $100 bills. Oh, and of course there was a press release announcing that this company was "infiltrat[ing]" Central Florida by having a stunt man swing down a rope line from the top of City Hall onto an Orlando Police Department SWAT team truck, then emerge with "a briefcase stuffed with thousands of dollars in free money – cash$$$$ which he will hand out to the crowds while the loot lasts!"

;;Naturally, this city swallowed it whole. For the record, said unnamed company looks like some sort of MySpace ripoff – "American Idol on the net," the company says – that will probably fold in seven weeks.

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;The city, the SWAT team and some local television stations all went gung-ho to advertise this "event." As a result, it drew hundreds of people, several TV cameras, one helicopter and, reluctantly, us.

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;Oh, the shame. Yeah, the guy did the thing sliding down the rope, and yeah, he gave away envelopes with $10 and $20 bills – we didn't get one, natch – and we died a little on the inside.

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;Speaking of dying a little, do you remember back in the day when the cognoscenti of the City Beautiful used to throw around fantastic terms like "Hollywood East"? Do you recall how, through a series of gratuitous incentives, little old Cracker Orlando was set to bloom into a Big City with Bright Lights attracting the Spielbergs and Tarantinos of the world to the new celluloid centroplex to drop billions upon billions in our service economy? That sure was funny.

;; Well, as of July 1, the thrill is back, only this time with more tragic undertones. Apparently, Gov. Charlie Crist wants "all you future Steven Spielbergs and Quentin Tarantinos" to come to Florida to film (no sex scenes, though; we don't want to offend the Baptists) and is offering to rebate up to 20 percent of expenses! Which might be cool, except nobody in the league of Spielberg or Tarantino would probably care to dip to the lows of commercials or music videos.

;;Yep, that's right, Florida – and specifically Orlando, through its Economic Development department – is now trying to lure people here to make commercials and music videos ;(no dancing, though; we don't want to offend the Baptists).

;;The deal requires that production companies spend $500,000 or more (individual commercials/videos must cost at least $100,000), and if they do it before Nov. 30, they get 20 percent back. Otherwise, they have until May 31, 2008, to get 15 percent back. And, get this! Florida wants to dole out $25 million!

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;Here at Happytown™ we have it on good word that music videos and commercials are the wave of the future; at least once we get past the DVR factor, and the fact that nobody plays music videos anymore.

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;Do you know what this year is? No, not just the year Lou Pearlman filed for bankruptcy and waddled his fat ass into the federal clink, although that's awesome. In the city of Orlando, it's also the Year of the Fountain!

;;"Since 1888, Lake Eola Park has served as a common place for friends and family to gather in Orlando, and still today the park continues to be a place to enjoy special events, concerts and family gatherings," Buddy Dyer told us in his weekly e-mail blast. The Year of Our Lord 2007 is the 50th anniversary of the Centennial Fountain, which is what we used to call that thing that sits in Lake Eola; since 1966 it has been known as the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain, in honor of the banker who came up with the idea to build it. The city even created a television program – it aired July 8 on WRDQ Channel 27, so you missed it – to tell you everything you never cared to know about the fountain and the lake that surrounds it. It shoots 2,900 gallons of water per minute, in case you're interested, and even if you're not.

;;This week's report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes and Bob Whitby.

; happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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