Two-thirds of Floridians weren’t born here. We shed pantyhose, fur coats, and crazy relatives in hopes of finding a new self – whatever we thought we couldn’t be in the cloudier place we are from. We wear latex super hero suits, ride mattresses pulled behind four-wheel drives, have pet snakes longer than our cars, put our faith in space aliens, and talk to our dead pets through mediums. Nothing seems impossible.
Florida seduces visitors and new residents with the promise of being a magical and exotic wonderland. After all, it’s a place where prehistoric reptiles still thrive and Mickey Mouse has a full-time job.
The state’s quirkiness often lands it at the end of late night comedians’ punchlines. “News of the Weird” Fark.com, and several in-state bloggers devote countless hours to posting strange tidbits from Florida police blotters – woman arrested for beating husband with chicken wings, man tried to pay parking ticket with crack, and on and on. But as always, life is more complex than what’s in the daily news. It’s the residents who live on the fringe of the mainstream that make Florida truly special – the bikers, the human ponies, the nudists, the millions who come here and leave their inhibitions at the state line.
The critically acclaimed book Fringe Florida: Travels Among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles goes beyond the headlines and takes readers on a journey into the heart of these odd, and sometimes illicit worlds of America’s strangest state.
Released by University Press of Florida in 2013, Fringe Florida can be purchased from this website or found at mainstream and independent bookstores around the nation.
The accompanying blog includes Fringe outtakes and updates on my Fringe journey. Please feel free to ask questions and share you own experiences and knowledge of fringe.
Parental discretion advised. While many topics are G-rated, others are sexual and may be shocking.