Marcus (marcus132) wrote,

Ray Caster's Sarasota: A Pictorial

Although I did live there through the mid-'90s, last week marked my first return to Sarasota, Florida since it became the setting for my fake-journal-turned-book, Caster's Blog: A Geek Love Story.

While I was in town I snapped some pictures of a few of the locations that Caster mentioned during his year of blogging. I was surprised how well my memory of the area landmarks served in some cases, and how poorly it served in others.

Be forewarned: This short pictorial contains many spoilers for the book!

A SCAT bus

This is a SCAT bus (Sarasota County Area Transit), as featured in the thrilling episode where Caster has to ride the bus to Siesta Key to retrieve his car.

The Ringling Circus Museum

This is the main entrance to the "Ringling Museum of Art's Museum of the Circus". Although he didn't realize it at the time, the Ringling Circus Museum is where Caster and HR Julie had their first date.

Discount Auto Parts

Although its real-world location makes no sense to the events of the story, I always pictured the Discount Auto Parts at 21st and Washington to be the store where Shadoe worked. Back in the day the place used to be a real dump, but at some point since I left town it received a major face-lift and became an Advance Discount Auto Parts. A girl working the register at this store once hit on me. Little did she know that she would inspire a fictional love interest years later.

Hollywood 20

Here is a picture of Sarasota's Hollywood 20 Theater. This is where Caster and his friends had all of their movie going adventures, although it is best known in my social circle as the place where uber-usher glide02 used to sneak us in for unlimited free movies.

Hollywood 20 box office

This is the Hollywood 20 box office, where Turbo Dan first met Tory.

The Circle K that wasn't

While we're on the subject of workplaces, this is the Circle K where I always imagined Turbo Dan worked. Much like Shadoe's auto parts store, its location at the corner of US41 and Pearl makes no sense logistically. You may also notice that it is actually a 7-11. My memory does not always serve me as well as it could.

Main Bookshop

Directly across the street from the Hollywood 20 is the Main Bookshop. This is where Caster bought his copy of Coraline, and where Shadoe was going to get a job when she moved back to Florida.

Selby Library

Speaking of Shadoe and books, this is the Selby Library: The place where she donated all of her books upon moving to California. See my previous entry to learn more about what the Selby library can't do to enhance your online hoax.

Golden Apple Dinner Theatre

This is the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, which you may remember as the place where HR Julie took Caster to see Chicago. The Selby Library moved to its current location just before I had moved out of Sarasota, so I didn't realize that it is now directly across the courtyard from the Golden Apple. Had I known this, Caster probably would have spent the whole date pining over his lost love.

Video Library

Here is the Video Library where Caster and HR Julie used to rent all of their movies. As you can see, it is now a Movie Gallery. I don't even know if Video Library still exists in Sarasota. This could have been a potentially damning error if anyone had questioned it, but fortunately nobody did.

Tommy Bahama's

This is the Tommy Bahama's in St. Armands Circle. It was here that Shadoe unwittingly broke poor Caster's heart by telling him about the true nature of her relationship with Turbo Dan.

The 'spot'

Here we see Caster and Shadoe's "spot": A lifeguard stand on Lido Beach. I always imagined that the "spot" was right in front of the twin condos with the ugly bronze sculptural accents, but the last time I was on Lido Beach there was no lifeguard stand there! I guess this can be chalked up to life imitating art.

SRQ Airport

This is the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The name itself is larger than the building. I guess the sprawl of LAX has bloated my expectations of what an airport should look like, but after not seeing ol' SRQ for five years it seemed much smaller than I remembered.

SRQ interior

Here is the place where Shadoe and Caster said their last teary goodbyes as she left for California, "right there between the Mote Marine fish tank and the stupid golf gift shop." If you don't remember that quote, it's because I just slipped it in as I was correcting a few typos that managed to make it into the first edition. So anyone with a paperback marked "Version 2.0" now officially owns a collector's item.

Sarasota County Terrace Building

Although there were more generic fast food restaurants and tangential strip joints to photograph, the last location I got a picture of was the Sarasota County Terrace Building. I'm almost positive that the DMV was in there in '97 or so. I don't have any idea what government business goes on there now, but this is the place where I pictured Caster and Shadoe having their quickie "DMV wedding."

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