Monday, September 29, 2014

Epically amazing classic arcade and pinball museum opening this weekend in Tarpon Springs

The cure for your smartphone-weakened thumbs has arrived.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM

click image TO THE TILT: The interior of the Replay Amusement Museum, which opens Oct. 3. - REPLAY AMUSEMENT MUSEUM
  • Replay Amusement Museum
  • TO THE TILT: The interior of the Replay Amusement Museum, which opens Oct. 3.

All those losers who just buy their sponges at the grocery store finally have a reason to go to Tarpon Springs: Starting Oct. 3, the enclave of Greek immigrants will also be home to one of the most impressive classic video game collections in the United States.

The Replay Amusement Museum will feature over 100 restored classic stand-up games and pinball machines, and enthusiasts will recognize the careful curation that has assembled many of the most respected, beloved, obscure, and off-the-wall machines ever produced. That includes classics like Super Off-Road and Marble Madness, but also strange ducks like the combination pinball and video experiment Baby Pac-Man and the freakishly huge "Hercules" game, which lets four players whack a cue ball around the 18-square-foot playing field.

click image One load of the dozens of classic games being packed into the Tarpon Springs space. - REPLAY AMUSEMENT MUSEUM
  • Replay Amusement Museum
  • One load of the dozens of classic games being packed into the Tarpon Springs space.

The project's website is a marvel in itself, featuring detailed synopses of the museum's holdings, including obscure titles like the Cirqus Voltaire pinball table and more modern standbys like Street Fighter 4. There are also a few less detailed teasers, like the empty profile for this mysterious homemade Minecraft Arcade Edition.

Replay may end up being one of the best entertainment bangs for your buck in the Bay, classic or modern — all games will be set in free-play mode, and an all-day, all-you-can-play adult pass will run only $13.

Local pinball and game aficionados are more than a little excited about the space, which will kick off with a grand opening celebration Oct. 3rd-5th at the 119 Tarpon Avenue location. There's heavy chatter on Facebook of a pre-opening parking lot encampment for those who want to be the first in the door.

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Tampa Bay's weekly literary happenings

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Award-winning author Leslea Newman will be at USF and Brandon Barnes & Noble Wednesday, Oct. 1 reading her new book October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard.
  • Award-winning author Leslea Newman will be at USF and Brandon Barnes & Noble Wednesday, Oct. 1 reading her new book October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard.
Head to Wine Madonna on Monday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., and Get Lit! Keep St. Pete Lit presents an evening of literature, word games and drinking. Part game night, part evening at the bar, plenty of word-minded games will be on hand so attendees can feel like getting lit makes them, well, more lit!

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Florida Orchestra director designate Michael Francis to helm Mozart fest in Cali

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 8:38 AM

ON A HIGH NOTE: Florida Orchestra Director Designate Michael Francis. - MARCOBORGGREVE
  • MarcoBorggreve
  • ON A HIGH NOTE: Florida Orchestra Director Designate Michael Francis.

The Florida Orchestra’s new Music Director Designate Michael Francis gets around.

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The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 7:32 AM

MoNique and other comedians will keep the Sun Dome crowd entertained this Saturday night.
  • Mo'Nique and other comedians will keep the Sun Dome crowd entertained this Saturday night.

This week we have a number of off-night comedy shows to go along with the regular weekend performances. In some cases it's a showcase of local talent. In others it's a chance to see a touring comedians who's in town for a night. There's also magic and puppets, and a traveling groups of headliners, too. If you can't find a show that interests you this weekend, you're not really trying. Here are your best bets for the first weekend in October.

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Tampa Pride makes a comeback

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 7:26 AM

Even if you missed last week’s kick-off event at the Honey Pot, you can still support the historic return of Tampa Pride.

The Sept. 26 fundraiser and launch party — cheekily called “Out of the Storm,” a nod to Ronda Storms, who led the Hillsborough County Commission’s 2005 ban on gay pride recognition in the county — was a great success. But there’s a lot more work that needs to be done, said Carrie West, the group’s president and co-founder.

The organization needs to raise $70,000 prior to the planned March 28, 2015 celebration. This is the fee amount required by the city of Tampa before any festivities can take place, West said. The group has launched a GoFundMe campaign and is seeking donations.

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Machine in the Ghost uses computers to solve the mystery of artist statements

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 6:45 AM

  • Selina Román
Artists statements usually give gallery attendees an idea of where an artist was coming from when he or she was creating the work displayed. They can be insightful, confusing, and even an interesting combination of both. A new exhibition in Seminole Heights aims to use technology and human creativity to turn the notion of artist statements — which can be overly cerebral and jargon-filled — upside down.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Do This: The Weekend Top 10

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM


The Skeleton Twins
, the much publicized dramedy starring two of showbiz’s funniest darlings, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, opens nationwide this weekend. The SNL vets portray estranged, fraternal twins who cheat death on the same day and find their way back to each other’s good graces. Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell and Joanna Gleason co-star. While some critics have denounced the film’s by-numbers sibling drama formula, most have praised the insightful script by Mark Heyman (Black Swan, The Wrestler) and director Craig Johnson (True Adolescents, Aquarium), along with Wiig and Hader’s empathetic performances. Opens Friday at local theaters, including the majestic Tampa Theatre.

The University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum consistently intrigues and challenges us while presenting a stylish exhibition event. The esteemed USF facility opens its new season and next show, Making Sense, with a reception on Sept. 26, 7-9 p.m. Meet the artists, mingle with other art lovers and enjoy food, drink, music and works by Rochelle Feinstein, Deborah Grant, Iva Gueorguieva (whose 2014 work "Ghost of Water" is pictured above) and Dona Nelson — all artists are reputed for their contemporary painting through a variety of approaches. Feinstein interprets figures of speech and everyday social codes; Grant incorporates historical narratives and imagined experiences and accounts of art history; Gueorguieva creates large-scale compositions with maximum impact, and Nelson creates two-sided paintings that viewers encounter as free-standing forms. Curated by Institute for Research and Art Director Margaret Miller and Megan Voeller, USFCAM’s associate curator of education and CL’s very own award-winning visual art critic. Free admission and open Mondays-Saturdays through Dec. 12, The museum is at 3821 USF Holley Drive, Tampa.

Wordsmith/word geeks, knock back some 99-proof poetry at Yellow Jacket Press’ 7th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour, serving up some of the best poetry and poets in Florida. The event will include 2-for-1 readings featuring: Heather Sellers, winner of the 10th Annual Florida Poets Contest and runner-up Melissa Fair; Aliesa Zoecklein, winner of the 4th Annual Peter Meinke Prize and runner-up Wendy Buffington; and local poets Robert Annis and Brogan Sullivan. The event also kicks off a year of celebrations marking YJP’s 10th anniversary and benefits the publication of the press. With a suggested donation of just $5, YJP’s raffle of literary odds and ends is sure to put any poetry lover in high spirits. Fri., Sept. 26, 7-9 p.m., San Carlos Tavern, 6416 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, (Text by Meredith Myers)

USF's Contemporary Art Museum is not the only museum you can enjoy for free this weekend, thanks to Smithsonian Day Live!. The Museum of Fine Arts, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Bay History Center and several more esteemed institutions are offering free (or deeply discounted) admission on Saturday. Visit the event's website for free tickets.

  • todd bates
See artfully painted automobiles when Carmada pulls up to St. Pete's Bayfront. The event takes place Sat. Sept. 27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Plaza (betw. the Dali and the Mahaffey), St. Petersburg. For up-to-the-minute details, visit Carmada's Facebook page at

If you're in Ybor, attend the Heart 2 Heart rock benefit at Crowbar, where Thx Mgmt Presents & The Purple Heart Memorial Committee, Veterans Memorial Park, 3602 U.S. 301 N, Tampa are hosting a fundraising event to benefit the Purple Heart Memorial on Saturday at 7 p.m. and will feature a night of eclectic bands and impressive prize drawings. Onstage will be DubbTenn (pictured) w/special guests Badda SkatMeteorEYES and Hail Dale, The goal is to make this memorial a reality. $10 minimum door donation; donations can also be made to

In St. Pete, much is going on live music-wise. One of the more exciting and different options, Hyperbolic Chamber Music:1: Works for Cello at the Venture Compound. Read Leilani Polk's feature for details about the adventurous concert series. Also, Zulu Wave is celebrating their CD release at Attic Records.


In the mood for an international encounter but can't afford a plane trip? Head to the Florida State Fairgrounds for a little bit of India to celebrate the annual Hindu festival of Navratri  Sept. 26-27, 8 p.m. and Oct. 3-4, 8 p.m. Admission is $15 per day, $10 for seniors and students with ID and free for Gujarati Samaj members. Parking is $6 a car or $12 per RV or bus. Visit for more information on Indian cultural events in the Bay area.

Shake, shimmy and twist the night away for a great cause at Tempus Projects' End of Summer Dance Party Saturday night. Gabe Echazabal DJs Tempus Projects’ mini-fundraiser dance party 9 p.m. to midnight. The high-spirited shindig promises old school fun; no phones and cameras (so folks can shake it without fear of photo taggage). $5.

If that weren't enough dance for you, The History House offers a compelling cultural examination of life growing up Latin, offering a multimedia showcase of flamenco and contemporary forms. Shows and discussions take place Friday and Saturday at HCC-Ybor.

Honorable mentions

Black on Black Rhyme Tampa
, the latest incarnation of an ongoing spoken word tradition founded locally/regionally by Walter “Wally B” Jennings , James “J-Bizzle” Hillsman, and L.I.F.E., can be enjoyed 8 p.m. on Sunday at Alez Haitian Cuisine, 1428 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa — Best of the Bay winner of Best Place to Get Authentic Haitian Cuisine


Take the kids to Lowry Park Zoo for Zoo Boo Shriek Peek, Sept. 26-27, 7-11 p.m. The discounted preview weekend offers the seasonal attraction's haunted houses and trails, displays and lights.This year’s theme for Zoo Boo is London Frightmare. Admission is $12 during Shriek Peek Weekend.

Alleviate that back-to-work/school feeling Sunday night with some laughs. "Comedian, tall guy and life aficionado" Devin Seibold (pictured) takes the mic at Side Splitters. The 6-foot-6 former middle school teacher goes on 7-8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10-$12.

It's time again for the always fun and convivial Pub Bike Ride. The ride this Sunday leaves Yeoman's Road at 6 p.m. and heads off to stops around Davis Islands and UT area.

Celebrate Oktoberfest: One of the area's most authentic seasonal German festivals gets its oom pah pah beginning this weekend and continuing Fridays-Sundays through mid-October. 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Value of a free national museum day? Priceless.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM

BRING THE KIDS: The Tampa Museum of Art will feature its Free Family Day with a slew of activities and entertainment. - WIKI COMMONS
  • BRING THE KIDS: The Tampa Museum of Art will feature its Free Family Day with a slew of activities and entertainment.

Once a year the nation’s biggest museum sponsors a holiday that allows other institutions across the nation a chance to do what they do daily — let people in for free (or for reduced admission). This Saturday, Sept. 27, the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! blesses us with many locally participating museums, and many have scheduled additional programming to celebrate and add more bang to your un-spent buck.

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Theater profile: Actor Nathan Jokela

A look at local actor on the fast track.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

BALLYHOOED ACTOR: Nathan Jokela with Katie Castonguay in Jobsite’s Last Night of Ballyhoo. -  - CRAWFORD LONG
  • BALLYHOOED ACTOR: Nathan Jokela with Katie Castonguay in Jobsite’s Last Night of Ballyhoo.

Nathan Jokela has rapidly become the Tampa Bay area’s favorite leading man. It started just over a year ago, when he played George in Stageworks’ Of Mice and Men, continued last May, when he portrayed Brick in Tampa Rep’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and is going on this very weekend, when he’ll be acting as Joe Farkas in Jobsite Theater’s continuing The Last Night of Ballyhoo.

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