For more than four decades, the Tampa Tribune’s Steve Otto coined names for the people, places and things identified with Tampa, from the “Big Guava” to “Boliche Boulevard” to the “exploding chicken.”
Now, it’s Otto’s turn to be on the receiving end of some name calling, and his friends promise they won’t be holding back.
Skipper’s Smokehouse is hosting the Otto Palooza retirement party Sunday for the now semi-retired columnist, with bands, food, and — most importantly — about a dozen of Otto’s pals and former colleagues roasting him between songs.
“Let’s just put it this way, he does leave himself wide open,” said Scott “Pinetop” Peterson, who will perform with The Quivering Rhythm Hounds and also organized the event. “I’ll definitely be abusing him about his annual chili contest. One year one of the winners used emu meat ... I had a hard time visualizing cowboys in the 1800s shooting emus to make chili.”
Peterson will also be bringing along the eerie “mojo hand,” a talisman he credits with giving the Celebrity All-Stars their first win in 25 years at Otto’s annual charity “beep ball” game. The hand in a jar has found its way into Otto’s column more than once.
“Let’s just say the hand might have some special sign language for him this time, though,” Peterson said.
Otto Palooza begins at 4 p.m. The Johnny G Lyon Band and The Lint Rollers will also perform.
There is a suggested donation of $5 for admission, and bowls of chili will be sold for $5 each. Proceeds will go to Otto’s chosen charity, the Judeo Christian Health Clinic.