Deep Down In Florida
Muddy Waters
Hard Again
1977 “I’m going down to Gainesville to see an old friend of mine / I’m going down to Florida, where the sun shines damn near everyday.” Waters, identified in an Alligator caption as “a black entertainer,” played a show at The Great Southern Music Hall (The Florida Theater), photographed by John Moran.
((( hogtown blues )))

Gainesville, Florida
Home of the University of Florida, and much more than just another “Sleepy Little Town.”


 dave hogerty ((( video )))
buster o’connor (illustration)

3 am blues

Johnny Hines, a well known street bluesman spent most weekend nights playing downtown, or anywhere along University Avenue. Here, he was caught sleeping (3AM Sunday) after a long Saturday night, in front of the Florida Theater on University.

August 17, 1981
Vol. 74 No. 174
Welcome to Gainesville, and the University of Florida
by Diane Julin
Alligator Staff Writer

Sleepy. Yes, sleepy is a word that accurately describes Gainesville. After all, there’s no subway, no organized crime, not even a short skyscraper. There are no gala world movie premieres or celebrity balls. In fact, the only occasions to which one can wear black tie and tails in Hogtown are the Gainesville High School prom and the university’s Halloween Ball.

This town is strictly blue jeans. The plain kind.

When UF closes for break, you can’t even get stuck in a decent traffic jam. And forget eating out — most restaurants close for “remodeling.” The others simply close without making any excuse at all.

But wait a minute. Are we offending somebody with this depiction of Gainesville?

Sleepy?! SLEEPY! Gainesville’s NOT sleepy!

“It has quiet ambiance,” says the mayor.

“This town is laid back, mellow,” says the co-director of a Gainesville Theater Company.

“We’re not downtown Chicago,” concedes a top UF official. “But we’ve still got charm.”

Part of the city’s charm, Gainesville residents say, is its wealth of interesting people. You want variety? Have we got variety — a Whitman Sampler of people: Frisbee champions, evangelists, cult members, academics, surfers, farmers, jazz lovers, marijuana growers, brain surgeons, New Wave musicians, art junkies, Rastas, and foreigners from all over the world. And that’s just for starters.

There are liberals, lesbians, conservatives, communists, skaters, ROTC soldiers, gays, transvestites, and hippies who wished the sixties never ended. Southerners who wished the Confederacy never surrendered, and scores of weirdos who defy classification, except weirdos. And that’s still only a few.

To get a quick introduction to Gainesville’s multi-faceted personality, the new-in-town should visit the front lawn of UF’s Library West, a comfortably shaded patch of greenish-brown, otherwise known as the Plaza of the Americas.

On a typical sunny afternoon at the Plaza, students are sprinkled on the grass in various stages of undress. Frisbees are dipping, gliding, and soaring. A massage salesman is doing a leisurely trade. Moonies are quietly soliciting membership. Hare Krishnas are serving up drum beats, vegetable surprise and Krishna philosophy for lunch. A concerned student group is distributing “Don’t Nuke the Whales” literature. An unconcerned student group is jeering a bible-waving evangelist. A few people are actually studying.

What brings such an assortment of beings to a small North Florida town surrounded by tiny rural communities? Residents say it’s got to be that good old Florida sunshine mixed with the dynamic atmosphere of a university community. Nobody knows whether so many different people came here because of the openness and creativity in Gainesville, or whether they are responsible for it. Probably a little of both.

One thing, though, is fairly certain. Without UF, the city’s largest employer and biggest influence, Gainesville would be nothing more than your typical North Florida motor lodge of a town.

In other words, a folksy little town that’s nice enough to drive through (albeit slowly because the cops like to catch big city hot-rodders) but you wouldn’t want to roller skate there.
Lucky thing for Gainesville the city fathers stole the university away from nearby Lake City in 1905. Otherwise, this story would be about Lake City. But since it’s about Gainesville, the all-important question is:

What in the Hell is Gainesville, Florida, anyway? For one thing, it’s a place where so many people smoke pot that Gainesville and UF Police generally overlook those who discreetly partake at concerts, in theater parking lots, in bars, or wherever else the tokers happen to be (the police force has to assign priorities, says Colonel Joe Bason of GPD, and frankly, they have bigger fish to fry).

Gainesville also is a place where the typical restaurant offers sandwiches, wine, and folk (often Jimmy Buffett-like) singers to all those wearing a shirt and shoes (pants are understood).

Gainesville is a place where old businesses fail and new ones sprout up overnight; where transients with hard luck stories of every genre come to hang out; where one of the city police station buildings is hand painted in candy-colored palm trees.

It’s a friendly city, too. People here don’t think you’re totally bananas if you try to strike up a conversation with them on the street. And you can call the mayor by his first name if you want to. At least that’s what Courtland, uhh, Mayor Collier says.

In short, all the comforts of a small town without the small town mentality is what you find here in Gainesville. So say the people who wouldn’t or haven’t lived anywhere else.

But with Gainesville being so far from the big hot spots of the nation — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington — some people claim Gainesville dances to a different beat, usually one that’s long gone out of style in the rest of the country. Take disco for instance. Remember? The rage of the ’70s. In some parts of Gainesville, people still actually disco.

One UF professor who moved to Gainesville from the northeast says he felt completely cut off here from the world. That is, until he got a subscription to his beloved New York Times is two days old by the time it travels from New York to his front stoop. Gainesville is at least two days behind the rest of the nation anyway.

But Marshall New will come to the city’s defense when someone stick his big city nose in the air and labels Gainesville a backwater town. New is a long-time resident and the co-director of the Hippodrome, a regionally known, non-profit professional theater based in Gainesville. New makes periodic jaunts to New York and Chicago to see the newest plays and films, but insists there’s no “information gap” here.

“The cultural community here is the best,” he says. “The most photographers, painters, sculptors, and actors you could ever find. (Gainesville) is liberal and culturally turned on.”

Still, every community has its conservative elements, and Gainesville is no exception. As some newcomers will notice immediately, Gainesville has no porn, no strip club, and no adult bookstore.

The last porno proprietor was run out of town, or at least out of business, back around ’78. More recently, letters poured into the City Commission protesting the new adult entertainment movie channel Escapade that was being made available by University City Cable TV. Orders for a hook up to the channel, however, far outnumbered the hate mail.

All things considered, prudishness is rare in this community. Hey, this city is the site of the annual UF Halloween Ball, that infamous outdoor celebration characterized by public sex, nudity, and drug consumption. Just read the police reports for full details.

In this city, males and females live together in all combinations, in all types of lodgings. The gay and lesbian communities here are unabashedly vocal. And the students go unashamedly half dressed, whatever the weather. With all this, who needs adult bookstores?

Despite all Gainesville has to offer, there is no denying these cold, hard facts: there aren’t nearly enough movie theaters in town, and no broadway plays. The closest thing we have to opera is a barbershop quartet. None of the restaurants are world-renowned. And the downtown is something to sneeze at, being only about two blocks long.

Pshaw, says Mayor Collier, though not exactly in that word. “Maybe you’ll find better entertainment in a big city, but I doubt you’ll find a better quality of life.”



vol. 1 no. 1
florida history (1912-1983)
Much more than just another sleepy, little, North Florida town.
New Student Edition 1981
OPINION (Letters To The Editor)
CONVENIENCE (Is In The Eye of The Beholder)
Gainesville Green (“I’d like to fertilize her buds”)
TOM PETTY (Coming Home)
MUSIC (The Sound of Higher Education)
PREACHERS (On The Green)
In The Beginning/Independence Day (Alt.)
Naked Launch (Pretty As A Florida Picture)
Diamond Teeth Mary (Singing With The Devil’s)
MOVIES (Pop Culture of The Day)

traditionally “insidious”

“College Life”
Terence Boylan 
1977 — What president A.A. Murphree, the preacher, warned all new, white, male students to avoid.

stan badz

They called themselves the “Cosmic Sens Patrol,” local growers who brought a one-pound, three-foot sample of their agricultural product to the Halloween Ball (or “Festival,” as the university prefers).

independent florida alligator

St. Augustine’s Catholic — Religious Neighbors (Michael Gannon)
Old College Inn
Arcade — When Space Invaders Ruled The World.
Renaissance Fair — Ice Cream, Relaxation, and Sidewalk Massage
Hyde & Zeke’s — Music Education, Affordable Tunes, Artistic Covers, and liner notes with complete information and a communicative purpose. All that for $1.

Burrito Brothers

Krispy Kreme
Nell’s Beverages

Cafe Gardens
Frisch’s Big Boy
Steak ‘n’ Shake
Krishna-made curry spiced potatoes on The Plaza of The Americas.


sandy felsenthal

Christmas break

Sometimes even Santa Claus needs a break from the seemingly endless demands of eager children with visions of what’s to come Christmas morning. Under the guise of a reindeer feeding time, this Kris Kringle takes a short, but well deserved, timeout this week at the Oaks Mall.


dave hogerty

Hopefully Home for Christmas

Harry Resnick, 82, was hitchhiking at University Avenue onramp to I-75. Starting in Miami, he was hoping to make it to Baltimore to see his son before Christmas.


dave hogerty

Last Box Standing

A once familiar, bright orange Alligator box standing on Waldo Road.


“College Life”
Terence Boylan 
1977 — 
((( song )))

university of florida



“The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks”
The Long Run (September 24, 1979)
1979Hip-Hop Happens 
((( local tunes )))

dave hogerty

When the Eagles call out “gator” in their song “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks,” they’re referring to a fraternity party dance made popular at the University of Florida, recalled in the lyric by Eagle Don Felder who had grown up in Gainesville. In a “Drive Around Hometown” MTV feature (1985), Tom Petty talks about the time in the early 1970s when he and his band Mudcrutch were in a fight with a bunch of fraternity brothers, whose house party Tom and the band was playing. He goes on to say if it hadn’t been for Felder stepping in as a peace maker, he would have gotten his ass kicked.

Century Tower
University Auditorium

Reitz Union (Lawn)
Tigert Hall
University Gallery
University Museum
Libraries East & West

The Hub
Weimer Hall
Reitz Union
The Rathskeller
Lake Alice (Field)

Up On The Roof

dave hogerty

Alligator Offices The Alligator photographers’ darkroom was across the hall and upstairs from the newsroom, with the convenient feature of having a door to the Old College Inn roof, with a view across University Avenue, of both Florida Field and the O’Connell Center. On this day, the roof made for a studio for an impromptu fashion shoot. Impromptu because the dresses worn by Alligator reporters/editors Lisanne Renner and Theresa DeFino for the picture were like any other day. Noticeable was both their excellent eye for thrift-store shopping.

President’s Mansion
The Brown House
Living Room (Communal record collection, silent sports on the television, and a well packed bong.)
Pipeline (Cable Radio/obscure, bootleg, live recordings — by request)
WUFT (College Radio/Journalism School)
Murphree Area (Tennis/Racketball Courts)
Florida Field (How UF turned a beautiful, oak-shaded stadium into an obnoxious, artificially intelligent “Swamp.”) 
O’Connell Center
Florida Gym

bob self

the outskirts 

dave hogerty






“Money For Nothing”
Dire Straits  w/Sting 
Brothers In Arms
1985 — 
((( song )))

1981 — THE LAUNCH OF MTV (1:11)


dave hogerty

Seeing the future

A once familiar, bright orange Alligator box standing on Waldo Road.

April 12, 1981 — STS-1

alligator contents
page 1.
florida history (1912-1983)

Vol 1. No.1 (Murphree’s Opening Message)