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Fringe Florida: Travels among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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Florida is universally known as a popular mainstream destination for spring breakers, retirees, and family vacationers. Yet beyond the Magic Kingdom and sandy beaches, peculiar subcultures bloom and flourish—some playfully kooky, others explicitly kinky. Waddell, who spent two years researching the palmy Florida fringe scene, turns a spotlight on some of the eccentric purveyors who thrive in the remarkably tolerant Sunshine State. One of her legendary subjects is headline-grabbing strip-club owner Joe Redner, a Tampa folk hero and so-called father of the nude lap dance. She cites her background as an alternative beat reporter and her stint as a script researcher for the notorious 1995 sleaze-fest, Showgirls, as proof of her investigative chops in covering offbeat scenes. Waddell also assures readers that she’s no prude, just a voyeur of the unusual, albeit one who would never participate in the swinging or pony play she scrutinizes. Waddell’s reporting is credible, and she possesses a jocose writing style, making Fringe Florida an intriguing guide off the beaten path for those looking to escape life’s winter blahs in any season. --Chris Keech
From the Inside Flap
Florida has a titillating underbelly that few tourists ever see. Beyond the theme parks and the beaches lies a periphery most residents know about but--out of decorum or discomfort?prefer not to discuss. In "Fringe Florida," Lynn Waddell explores the exotic, sensational, and sometimes illicit worlds of the oddest state in the nation.
Waddell takes the reader on a colorful journey to meet the most unconventional of Floridians in unbelievable and spectacular places. At Fetish Con, she befriends furries and pony girls. She travels to Cassadaga, the oldest active Spiritualist community in the South, where trained mediums converse with the dead, and to the Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, where one can eat a hot dog while watching a reenactment of the Crucifixion. She interviews the founder of the Leather & Lace Motorcycle Club, a Daytona Beach-area grandmother who hosts the club's annual gathering, welcoming scores of lady bikers to camp out on the lawn of her subdivision home. At an Animal Amnesty Day outside Busch Gardens, Waddell meets exotic reptile owners who give up their beloved-but no-longer-manageable pets and others who vie to take home the cast-offs.
If you've ever wanted to parade around on a pimped-out swamp buggy amidst a couple thousand beer-swigging mud boggers or fall asleep with a python hissing in your ear, been tempted to bring a Capuchin monkey in a stroller to a Little League game, or contemplated sitting on the beach waiting to be picked up by a UFO but couldn't quite bring yourself to such extremes, "Fringe Florida" is for you.
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Waddell's writing is wonderful, unassuming and honest, and she knows how to weave a compelling story. She is a great observer and manages to dive into these subcultures just deeply enough to bring them to the reader in their entirety, but who doesn't get sucked in so hard that she could lose her keen eye. Respectfully and with an eye for detail she introduces 10 less than usual worlds to the interested reader, and if you, too, are willing to keep an open eye and an open mind, this book will likely delight you as much as it did me.
I must say the moment I saw the cover I thought, this is going to be good. I can tell you I wasn't let down one bit :). Lynn's ability to get people to open up and share parts of their life that I am sure even people close to them might not know is amazing.
I live if Florida and sometimes you forget some of the strange and bizarre things that can be happening around you and also those things that you think... "I want to find out more about that".
If you are interested in going on a journey, this is the book for you!
This book is like a Florida shaped gift basket of nuts. Some sweet honey baked pecans, some cashews and the occasional jaw-cracking nut wrapped in tinfoil you can't quite identify.
If you don't like the nut you are on keep turning pages. A new nut will show up soon. Just like the real Florida.
At some point the nuts in Florida will reach a critical mass and probably get kicked out of the country.
If you have read this book you will be able to nod your head on that day and say "Ah yes, it was inevitable."