WEDU Arts Plus


Episode 914

St. Petersburg artist David Charlton, or Top Hat Dave, aims to provide an artistic experience. Professional ice skater Stephanee Grosscup shares her love and talent for the artistic sport. A Houston, Texas, based duo is transforming vintage American road maps to compose geographic portraits of queer culture. Jazz pianist Eddie Moore cultivates his talents as a performer, band leader and educator.

AIRED: July 30, 2020 | 0:26:45

(upbeat music)

- [Narrator] This is a production of WEDU PBS

Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota.

Major funding for WEDU Arts Plus

is provided through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation

by an arts loving donor

who encourages others to support your PBS station WEDU

and by the Pinellas Community Foundation,

Giving Humanity a Hand Since 1969

- [Dalia] In this edition of WEDU Arts Plus,

a St. Petersburg artists lives life to the fullest.

- [David] It's like an adventure in chasing mountain peaks.

I appreciate the journey.

- [Dalia] A career on ice.

- If I'm not doing any kind of choreography,

I'm usually just teaching someone.

And that would be I'm teaching anyone

from the smallest beginner,

through an adult who might be in their eighties.

- [Dalia] Transforming maps.

- [Jake] Over the course of developing

these over the next few years,

we started to layer graphic images across that

and to figure out like what are the images

that make our sense of place.

- [Dalia] And freeing up the jazz idiom.

- I'm kind of the instigator to where like okay I know

that this is what it says to do,

but I'm gonna do this and this and this

and see what everyone does.

- It's all coming up next

on WEDU Arts Plus.

(lively jazz music)

- Hi, I'm Dalia Colon

and this is WEDU Arts Plus.

David Top Hat Charlton

is known by many names

and he has many talents.

He's leaving his Mark on all kinds of places,

the sides of buildings, canvas,

and even on skin.

(calm music)

- My grandparents had a laundromat center

in a tiny little Valley town in Idaho.

So wanderers and travelers would come

to the laundromat center

where I spent most of my time as a child.

And I would see bikers come through just covered in tattoos.

So innately mimicking as most children do,

I would draw all over myself, my friends

and then that was kind of unconsciously unaware.

However speeding up into my early teens,

I became more aware of what a tattoo actually was.

And after receiving my first tattoo at the age of 15,

I was kind of hooked from there.

The human body is a very three dimensional figure

that has a lot of form and shape and flow to it.

So prior to tattooing,

I took Human Physiology classes

'cause I've always had a deep appreciation

and fascination for the human body

and how magical it is,

which translates later on into the art form

of taking a flat motionless image,

and then understanding certain principles

from the art realm as well as the anatomy realm

and putting them together

to where when the client wears a piece of art

or the tattoo, it's there to fit,

flatter and flow and compliment whichever area it is.

And designed according with the muscle striations,

whether it's the joint or the arm,

it should almost seamlessly be a part of them.

When the client comes in,

this is where the accountability and responsibility

of the artist comes in to confidently

say yes or no but also kindly educate the clients

because the clients are collectors.

They don't innately understand everything

that the artist does.

Tattoo artists it's up to us

to remember what it was like to be a collector and a client.

So just slow the role, be patient

and kind and communicate with them

why some things work,

why something don't work,

and then also ultimately educate them

on how to take their concept

and transform that into not only a tattoo,

but something that's going to age well

and grow well with them in the skin.

Because unlike any other medium,

the skin is a living, breathing, changing,

I guess "canvas" so to speak.

Where unlike paper or canvas

that'll stay the same,

you have to take certain principles and steps

to make sure that the ink doesn't settle

and move and bleed together over time.

- I was always drawn to Norse mythology,

especially with the Celtic nodding or designs

and the shading.

And then the thing that was super important to me

was that I didn't want to have a tattoo

that I could in a couple of years bump

into someone and suddenly they have the exact same thing.

David's work just spoke to me really, really well,

just because it's unique.

It's his own piece of artwork that he made

from scratch just straight out of his creativity.

He didn't even know show me the artwork

when I showed up the first day,

he just kind of told me,

Hey, I got something really good.

I know you're gonna love it.

And it's been like that ever since.

But I had known

that he's gonna make it his art

and he's gonna make sure

that it's like done as flawlessly

as he's capable of doing.

It's just absolute satisfaction.

(soft music)

- Tattooing was definitely like

the main corridor slash doorway

that opened up other venues.

Since I had been constantly on a pursuit after moving

from Idaho to Florida,

like tattooing and learning that

and then approaching the art forms and still doing that.

It's like an adventure in chasing mountain peaks.

I appreciate the journey.

And then about a handful of years ago,

a friend of mine over in Cocoa Beach,

had a box of cans.

I was able to realize the amount of coverage

that I could achieve in very little time

with spray paint,

was just phenomenal.

It bit me and I just had that itch.

There's something magical about

not touching whatever it is

that you're actually applying a picture to.

'Cause tattoos are so precise,

there's no room for error.

You're like there,

you can't erase but with art it

was like taking all the leashes and the safeties off,

and it's just like,

Bob Ross would say,

"Happy accidents".

You know there's no mistakes.

And then it's paint

so it's like if you make a mistake

or happy accident you paint over it.

Can't do that with tattooing.

I wanna provide a sanctuary,

a space where individuals can get a glimpse

of what it's like

to feel what an artist feels

when they're in that creative moment.

So I made the decision to do a private studio,

because that's the endeavor I'm still pursuing is

that path of an artist.

And tattooing is just one of the main foundational mediums

that has spring pointed me into now.

I would say right now,

my hobbies consist of more childlike recess time activities

and rock climbing's really got

my inner child right now because of the slight addiction

to failure and being like "I can't do that now"

but through discipline and practice,

like I wish I could do that,

I think I can do that

I just did that.

I view it as an art form I guess.

Everything's an art form that's my core.

The series I'm working on is Geishas and Samurais.

They're both artists in their own right.

Their own art forms on a daily basis,

they wake up and devote themselves to the perfection

of whatever it is they decide to pursue.

And the mindfulness that those art forms practice

is also implemented into the mindfulness

of tattooing and spray painting.

- To learn more,

check out

Stephanee Grosscup has been skating for over 40 years.

She uses her love and talent

for ice skating to inspire others.

- I think the reason that I am driven to skate

and the reason I've got such great passion for ice skating

is there is a feeling that happens when you

are an ice skater

and you've ice skated for such a long time,

that you actually feel like you're flying.

(orchestra music)

My name is Stephanee Grosscup.

I'm from salt Lake city, Utah

and my occupation

is an ice skating choreographer slash skating instructor.

I was nine years old when I started ice skating.

I had the fortunate experience

that the first time I was ever on ice was

at the historic and beautiful outdoor ice rink

in Sun Valley, Idaho.

And it was in the spring.

And truly there is where I felt

that I was free and that I was flying

and that I just knew what I wanted

to do at such an early age.

As I went through the competitive years,

which all ice skaters do once they start,

I competed for probably about eight years,

but I'd had some experiences probably

about the time I was maybe 15, 16 years old

in the sun Valley ice skating shows in the summer.

And I at that point started to realize

what I wanted the most out of ice skating

was to be in show business.

And that I wanted to be able to tour America

and various other parts of the world

with big ice skating shows.

So I got out of competitive skating

and started doing a little bit of teaching,

probably around the time I was 19 years old.

And by the time I was 20,

I joined Ice Follies Holiday on Ice

and never looked back.

My career has spanned probably

about a 30 to 35 year period of being either

in an ice skating show,

being a choreographer for individuals,

being a choreographer for big ice skating shows,

and or just instructing.

If I'm not doing any kind of choreography,

I'm usually just teaching someone.

And that would be I'm teaching anyone

from the smallest beginner

all the way up through an adult

who might be in their eighties.

In ice skating there are so many career paths

that a person can take.

Most people think that in order to succeed in ice skating,

you either have to be a national champion,

a world champion or Olympic champion.

However that is very untrue.

Most skaters, if they have not become a national champion

or an Olympic champion or world champion,

they wanna go into show business.

So if I met a young five-year-old, six-year-old,

10-year-old teenager who had this great love

and joy of ice skating,

I would say my main advice

to you would be this,

realize that when it comes to that point

where let's say your initial dream was

to become an Olympic champion

and that dream does not pan out in the long run,

just know that this doesn't mean

that all the work and all the time

and all the effort and the sacrifice

that you've made since you were a small child

and now let's say you're a college student wanting

to do something with your ice skating.

Just know that that doesn't mean that it's over.

That you can go on in ice skating

and have an incredible career.

And if you have that joy in your heart,

that you remember that you had

when you first started ice skating,

if you can always keep that joy

and that spirit alive inside of you,

that you had when you were a child,

you can take this career as far as you wanna take it.

There are so many different career paths

an ice skater can take if they choose

to have to stay in skating

and to allow skating to morph and change

throughout the years that they want

to keep being an ice skater

or being involved in the sport.

I mean I've been in the sport now for,

Oh my gosh this is going on about 46 years.

And it just keeps changing and growing.

And I figure as long as my career keeps changing

and growing and I can continue to reinvent myself

in this sport one way shape or another,

I'm gonna stay in it as long as I possibly can.

- For more information visit

Think paper maps are a thing of the past?

A Houston, Texas based artistic duo

is making them relevant again.

And in the process,

they're composing geographic portraits

of American queer culture.

(soft music)

- We met each other working together.

We started dating working together

and we never really divorced that working together

and being in a relationship

that just continued from the beginning.

So it's constantly collaborative in that way.

We went and saw a show

that was called " The Bodies Exhibit "

that was touring around the world

and it's an ethically,

enormously problematic human rights atrocity

as far as I can tell.

But in one of those rooms,

they had the human vascular system

and pulmonary system excised

from the rest of the body.

And so there was nothing but this network,

this lacy network of transportation networks

that would just go through the human body.

And it was a total revelation to us of like,

Oh my God, you can look at the human body this way

as these conduits and these roadways.

- And so finding that sort of corporeal body ness

of maps felt like

a really juicy thing to mine.

- And it was a learning curve.

I mean when you say trial and error

is mostly error at first,

and then you know eventually it gets okay.

There's only one time that we've messed up

so badly that we had to just throw the map out.

It was a piece that had text in it

and I just went right through

and cut out the positive space in the art

and there's no recovery from that.

Like there's just nothing you can do.

So we chucked that one

(soft music)

And then over the course of developing

these over the next few years,

we started to layer graphic images across that

and to figure out like what are the images

that make our sense of place,

that make us like know who we are connected

to where we're from.

And so that went you know

to the realm of like suburban iconography

to Western iconography,

to a series that used vintage erotica for the longest time,

the only really positive imagery of gay men

in the West was in erotica.

And so we were using materials

from like Bob Mizer's work in LA

to kind of lay those across these Western landscapes

and then cut out everything,

leaving that vascular network in there.

(soft music)

- The piece that top it up is the 50 States:Wyoming.

In the course of making that piece,

we didn't know we were making a Wyoming piece yet.

We were making a piece about Western iconography

and in the course of that,

we stumbled across this 19th century narrative

of a Scottish Lord

and a party of a hundred presumably same sex attracted men

led by William Drummond Stewart and his lover

before they had even finished surveying the Oregon trail.

There was this band of a hundred,

probably gay men throwing a party

on the shores of a Lake.

It utterly shifts the way

that you understand what it means to stand there.

It's a paradigm shift in your experience

of the land and your sense of agency

and your sense of belonging.

- So over the course of 2014 and 2015,

Nick and I retraced their journey

from st. Louis up to Wyoming,

with these microcrystalline wax panels,

covering queered cowboy iconography.

And we'd stop at 80 mile intervals along the way,

cover them with a soil sample

and then drive over that with our truck,

leaving a kind of imprint of our record along their journey,

along this pilgrimage.

These narratives have to be shaping how we understand

our place in the world.

And we have to use our power as artists

to take it and to amplify these histories

as much as we can because otherwise other people

get to dominate the narratives

that we understand ourselves with.

And I don't want that.

I don't want other kids to have

to grow up not having these images

to understand themselves in.

(soft music)

- To find out more go to

Jazz pianist, Eddie Moore's diverse talents

keep him very busy.

This performer, educator and band leader

makes his home in Kansas city, Missouri,

where he's cultivating a very personal jazz scene.

- When I sit down and write,

I kind of just come to the table with like a clean slate.

(piano playing)

I be like Oh don't like that,

I like the first tune

(piano playing)


(piano playing)

And it can be like a whole tune for me.

You know you just start to hear and piece things together

and then I'll come at it like a jazz

like okay well I can take this

and like split it up like this

and then maybe like format some things.

- [Narrator] Welcome to the musical mind of Eddy Moore.

Piano player since the age of four,

Eddie grew up in Houston.

Graduated from Texas Southern,

then headed to UMKC in 2010 to get

his Masters with Bobby Watson.

Then starts soaking up as much jazz as possible.

- I went to The Blue Room session

and I was just like blown away.

You know all my friends,

people that are now my friends,

just seeing them like play like that.

Den City jam sessions

I think are like some of the best in the world.

Like the comradery is still there,

but it's still like pretty serious.

- [Narrator] And potentially pretty intimidating.

Unless like Moore your other youthful passion

involved skateboards and roller blades.

- We were doing that at a time

where skate parks weren't popular.

So we were finding spots at office buildings.

When you grow up with that life you're not really afraid

to get hurt if you're jumping off buildings

and (laughs) you know.

(piano playing)

And even when I play, like,

I'm kind of the instigator to where like,

okay well, I know that this is what it says to do,

but I'm gonna do this and this and this

and see what everyone does.

Some people might get mad

and be like,

"Hey man, like don't do that"

And then (indistinct)

(jazz music)

- [Narrator] The life of a modern jazz man

calls for making music in many configurations.

Thus you might find Eddie Moore

all over the keyboards with Project H

(jazz music)

Or taking an even rockier road

with the band various blog.

(instruments playing)

This particular night finds him

in a considerably more traditional mode.

Leading the trio upstairs at the Kill Devil Club.

It's got a baby grand he loves to get his hands on.

- You know when I hear jazz now,

I'm not really listening

to what someone's playing like for the notes.

You know you're playing to the tendencies

of your personality,

you're communicating with these other gentlemen,

how you would maybe communicate verbally.

I try to go for a lot of veracism and like lyricism,

Not really a virtual virtuosic player.

I mean not that I "Oh, they don't have chops"

but just trying to play things that I hear

and stay true to that.

And then being able to hear more and more and more.

I've been really paying attention

to telling a bigger story that might start off like

in the soul like introducing yourself

to the audience orally,

like maybe you wanna come in burning.


But that'd be like us meeting for the first time like

"Hey buddy how you doing (mumbles rapidly)"

And then you're like, " Man, this dude is crazy "

You know opposed to like a normal conversation.

- [Narrator] But here's the gig

this piano man finds most fulfilling.

For the last year or so,

the Tank Room on Grand has been an outlet

for his band "The Outer Circle."

Playing for an audience that's open to strings

of RnB and even hip hop that slipped

into their musical mix.

- Jazz can never stay the same.

I've always just understood

that it's a music of assigned period.

Which is why there's so many different forms of jazz.

We're all rhythm section players.

So there's no horn, there's no vocals,

there's no one that I have to like guide.

And so it works out pretty well.

- [Narrator] The Outer Circle released

its third recording last fall,

to the kinds of positive reviews

that also greeted the first two,

including praise for their debut

from the Jazz Bible Downbeat.

But finding places around town

to play the music has proven elusive,

especially after Take Five Coffee and Bar

in Leawood closed last year.

Seems the city most visible jazz venues just

aren't booking this brand of improvisation.

- I'm not hard headed,

but we are playing jazz.

And so I do think especially as an African American,

it's like this is rebel music.

What works for me might not work for someone else.

But I kind of refuse to hear that like,

people don't want to hear this

or there's not an audience for this

or like the end of the day,

that means that money can't be made off this.

Pure jazz musicians still like

" None of us got into this business to be rich."

Like that's not even.

And so I just kind of find what works for me man.

I think the goal is to like figure out a way

to stay here, but be all over.

One would say you'd need to travel,

blow up somewhere else to have respect of home.

A lot of us are traveling and I think

that's important just reading about the history

of Kansas City they were doing residencies with groups

where like Kansas City group would go

to the East Coast for two weeks.

And then an East Coast group would like

have a residency in Kansas City.

You think about what that does

for the scene and the listener.

It's like Oh,

now they get to hear like all this crazy music

in their living room.

(piano playing)

That's the thing I don't really want to move.

I'll just do whatever that's best for me.

But the goal is to stay here.

(piano playing)

- To hear more visit

And that wraps it up

for this edition of WEDU Arts Plus.

For more arts and culture visit

Until next time,

I'm Dalia Colon.

Thanks for watching.

(intense music)

- [Narrator] Major funding for WEDU Arts Plus

is provided through The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

by an arts loving donor

who encourages others to support your PBS station WEDU

and by the Pinellas Community Foundation,

Giving Humanity a Hand Since 1969.

(upbeat music)