There are plenty of reasons to visit Tarpon Springs, and they’re not all on the sponge docks. Right now, as the world commemorates the summer of 1969 and, coming up next week, the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it’d be a great time to check out Comin’ Back to Me: The Music and Spirit of ’69 — A Tribute to Marty Balin at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.
Balin, founder and lead vocalist of Jefferson Airplane and a key member of Jefferson Starship, died last year in Tampa, where he had a home, at the age of 76. A painter as well as a musician — he composed some of the most indelible songs in the repertoire of both Jefferson incarnations, including the haunting tune referenced in the title of this exhibition — he created portraits of numerous rock legends that are on display at the museum along with items from his personal archives and psychedelic concert posters.
The exhibition also explores 1969 as a pinnacle year for music festivals, such as Woodstock (where the Airplane played an electrifying Sunday-morning set) and Altamonte (where Balin was knocked unconscious trying to break up a brawl), as well as the Beatles, space exploration, civil rights and world events.
PS: If you’re like me and you love the song “Comin’ Back to Me,” I’m sorry/not sorry for getting that earworm stuck in your head like it is right now in mine.
Comin’ Back to Me: The Music and Spirit of ’69 — A Tribute to Marty Balin, through 9/22 at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 E. Klosterman Rd., Tarpon Springs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tues./Wed./Thurs. and Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday; 1 -5 p.m., Sunday. 727-712-LRMA (5762), leeparattner.org.
Pictured above: Marty Balin’s painting of Jefferson Airplane, date unknown, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 48 in., courtesy of Susan Joy Balin.