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From reviews of Ybor City Chronicles:
"[Ybor City Chronicles] reads like oral history, behind which one senses a practiced storyteller--a big, hearty, entertaining fellow who can talk about himself for hours, and does. . . . He can make you laugh out loud in a room alone."-- Washington Post
"Dr. Pacheco is enthralled by the memory of a neighborhood of family and friends inextricably tied together by custom, values, and concerns. It is these traits that make his anecdotes worth relating."-- New York Times Book Review
"Ferdie Pacheco is an artist. His oils are lush and rich, full of the color and life of his times. They are vibrant and alive--almost as if Grandma Moses were to eat a plate of boliche and swallow three cups of café solo before sitting down to paint. . . . [And] he is a storyteller. . . . Ybor City Chronicles is a moment lifted out of the past. . . . It is told with style and gusto and more than a little love, [and] we owe a debt of thanks to Ferdie Pacheco."-- Tampa Tribune
Ferdie Pacheco has done it again. In Ybor City Chronicles (UPF, 1994) he brought to life the immigrant utopia that was Tampa’s Ybor City in his childhood. In The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook (UPF, 1995), he and coauthor Adela Hernandez Gonzmart created something more than a cookbook, highlighting the recipes, history, and personalities behind of one of America’s most famous Spanish restaurants.
Now, in Pacheco’s Art of Ybor City, the Renaissance man and bon vivant best known as Muhammad Ali’s "Fight Doctor"--a man who has also worn the hats of family physician, Emmy award-winning boxing commentator, historian, playwright, screenplay writer, and author of five books--here offers 33 of the paintings that have established his reputation as an artist.
In these full-color reproductions we see the Ybor City of the 1930s and ’40s that inspired Pacheco from the beginning. With the same flare and storyteller’s gift evident in Ybor City Chronicles and The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook, he narrates the unpredictable course of his development as an artist and tells the story behind each painting in this collection.
In the bright muralist-style colors that have become his stock-in-trade, Pacheco renders a storehouse of memories too vivid ever to grow dull. So long as he has hold of us, there is no Ybor City more real than this one--with its cigar factories, palm trees, bolita gangsters, trolley cars, clubs and diners and cafés, and the Spaniards, Cubans, Sicilians, and oddball personalities who walk its red-bricked streets.
Picture book, memoir, history lesson, and portrait of the artist, Pacheco’s Art of Ybor City is four books in one. Together they do what only art can: they turn memory, love, and nostalgia into a city you can visit.
Ferdie Pacheco is the author of Ybor City Chronicles (UPF, 1994), The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook (with Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, UPF, 1995), Muhammad Ali: A View from the Corner, Fight Doctor, and Renegade Lightning. His art has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Miami Herald, USA Today, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and many others. Exhibits of his award-winning paintings have appeared in New York, London, Paris, Marseilles, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa, and Miami, where he now lives with his wife, Luisita Sevilla.