May 7, 2020 | By Stephanie Powers
Jeremy Gloff Creates Community Online
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Tampa Bay musician Jeremy Gloff was one of many local artists whose plans had to pivot when the Covid-19 crisis struck. He was set to film a video for the song “Tampa” from his last album The Box. The video was going to include Gloff and friends from the band Navin Ave touring the town in a van they call “Vanna White.”
“The original concept was to ride around in ‘Vanna’ playing music and to visit a bunch of our favorite places and people,” Gloff described in a recent email chat with the Arts Coast Journal.
Obviously, that idea got squashed — so he could scrap it for now or adapt.
“We knew early after the ‘Safer at Home’ order was issued that our video wasn’t going to happen as planned,” he says, “The new concept was born almost immediately.”
Gloff, who works as a Volunteer Supervisor at Feeding Tampa Bay, decided to adjust his vision and keep the video alive with the help of the community.
He called out to his friends, fans and coworkers to send in 5-second videos of themselves during quarantine. He received over 70 responses.
Such an outpouring of support is a representation of why, after growing up in New York, he now calls Tampa home.
“My experience growing up as a gay kid in rural Western New York in the early ‘90s was not easy,” Gloff explains, “Tampa took me into her arms in 1998 and I was immediately accepted 100% and unconditionally as is.”
Gloff’s story makes the video a perfect fit to premiere during the Pride-themed week of the Straz’s new virtual showcase, Tampa Total Request Live.
“Jeremy has been such a ray of light in the community at large,” programming specialist Roxanne Gallo says. “From his years of contributions of talent and time to the music scene to what he does for a living, he shines. This song is about his love for Tampa and we share that love.”
Gallo and co-worker Zachary Hines, Senior Manager of Institutional Marketing at the Straz, came up with the concept of TTRL together and now co-host the Wednesday night online shows.
“As we prepared for the shutdown, we discussed how important it was for us to do everything we can to continue to serve our community,” Gallo adds, “not just our wonderful audience and community at large, but the exceptional local artists that we knew would inevitably take a hit as well.”
Like a lot of us, they are still learning and evolving week to week.
“We’ve been doing different themes every week,” Gallo explains.
After a theme is chosen, they approach local performing artists and musicians that have shown prior interest about contributing a unique piece.
“They then have a few days to send us their submission,” Gallo adds, “We do an interview the next day and Zach edits and pieces it all together.”
So far comedian Rahn Hortman, band Johnny Mile and the Kilometers and singer Demi Nova are among some of the Bay area performers who have contributed.
The list of local celebrities continues with the friends featured in Gloff’s video.
“There’s people repping Shuffle, New World, Ella’s, Crowbar and other places,” Gloff says, “Mel is in there from Mel’s Hot Dogs. Some of my friends from Feeding Tampa Bay.”
Viewers won’t need a special edition DVD to get to see an Easter Egg.
“Flee from WMNF sent in a video from the station and he’s holding the Jeremy Gloff CD 1987 that was released in 2008,” Gloff says.
Friend Bryant Martinez directed the video, after discussing the project during a Dungeons and Dragons game.
Gloff told him, “Here’s almost 100 people. Don’t leave anyone out and the song is just over two minutes.”
Even Tampa Mayor Jane Castor got a spot in the video.
“I love Mayor Castor and wanted her to be represented in this video so badly,” Gloff explains. “I posted my wishes on Facebook hoping a friend of a friend would hook it up.”
And hook it up they did — Castor wraps up the video, a perfect ending to a perfect homage to Tampa.
Explore Jeremy Gloff’s music at jeremygloff.com
Straz Center for the Performing Art’s Tampa Total Request Live series
airs on the Straz Facebook page on Wednesdays at 8 pm
Here’s this week’s episode, featuring “Tampa” by Jeremy Gloff.