Thursday, September 3, 2015

The story of the St. Pete Beach smuggler

How a '60s teen helped St. Pete Beach go to pot.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 4:50 AM

Did you know that in the late 1960s and early ’70s, copious quantities of marijuana were being trafficked right off the shores of St. Pete Beach by a local teenager?

That would be Mr. Steve Lamb, one of Pinellas County’s most notorious drug smugglers. Lamb’s illicit business was prompted by his desire to fund his favored pastimes of surfing, sunbathing, and partying, though his small-scale sales grew to such a degree that he was buying boatloads of marijuana in the Caribbean and Latin America, then smuggling his bounties into Florida to be sold to customers all over the U.S.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Coastal retro a-go-go — visual tour of vintage St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille

St. Pete Beach harbors a wealth of classic mid-century Vacationland architecture.

Posted By and on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 7:35 PM

GOLF GOD: An Easter Island statue greets visitors to the Polynesian Putter, established in 1966. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • nicole abbett
  • GOLF GOD: An Easter Island statue greets visitors to the Polynesian Putter, established in 1966.
To learn more ...

St. Petersburg Preservation presents Tin Can Tourists in a Roadside Paradise, Thurs., Sept. 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at  Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, and the Roadside Paradise Bus Tour on Sat., Sept. 19, 1-4 p.m. Tour departs from Sunken Gardens.

Those of us who grew up visiting St. Pete Beach since the 1960s remember the quirky attractions that beckoned vacationing families in the 20th Century, such as the Wax Museum that boasted disturbingly lifelike statues of celebrities and the Aquatarium's pre-PETA dolphin shows.

The roadside favorites may be long gone, but we still have the Polynesian Putter and its ominous Easter Island mogul greeting tourists on Gulf Boulevard. The glowing-eyed statue and other fixtures in the area still conjure a bygone time of beach-vacation euphoria with its early- and mid-20th Century architecture and landmarks.

In Pass-A-Grille, such details lend a historic charm to the neighborhood, invoking a time when the invention of air condi- tioning first led to an influx of seasonal residents. Some of the Bay area's oldest and most pristine residences can be found in Pinellas' southernmost beach hamlet, and you can learn more about them by taking walking tour of homes listed by address in a free brochure at the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. 

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From Blacklist to A-List – Harry Lennix to lead master class at the Tampa Bay Theatre Fest this weekend

The actor and acclaimed acting coach and will be sharing his wisdom at HCC-Ybor's Mainstage Theatre.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 6:48 PM

Lennix plays Harold Cooper, Assistant Director of Counterterrorism for the FBI on The Blacklist.
  • Lennix plays Harold Cooper, Assistant Director of Counterterrorism for the FBI on The Blacklist.

Harry Lennix Masters Acting Workshop: Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, Sat,. Sept. 5, 1-6 p.m., HCC-Ybor Mainstage Theatre, 1411 E. 11th Ave., Tampa, $60,

When Harry Lennix comes to Tampa for the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival this weekend, he’ll bring with him wide-ranging expertise in television, film, and theater.

You may know Lennix best as Harold Cooper, assistant director of counterterrorism for the FBI on the NBC series The Blacklist. But his complete screen résumé includes Man of Steel, two of the Matrix movies, the Oscar-winning Ray, and Julie Taymor’s Titus. His theater work stretches from Radio Golf on Broadway to King Hedley II in Los Angeles, and a wide selection of other parts in Chicago and elsewhere. Last year, he founded a movie production company which is close to releasing H4, an all-black version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV (in which Lennix plays the title role) and Revival!, described as a mix of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Wiz (Lennix plays Pontius Pilate). To list his other TV, film and theater credits would fill this whole column.

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TEDx, Helios Jazz Orchestra, Denise Moore and the Selwyn Birchwood Band at The Palladium

The Palladium will keep you swingin' with its September lineup.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Is the rainy weather getting you down? The Palladium Theater in St. Pete has a full schedule of events coming up this month that promises to lift those soggy spirits. Here’s what you have to look forward to in the next few weeks:

TEDx Tampa Bay – Emergence
Hough Hall, Lecture
Sat., Sept. 5, 9am-4pm
Premium $75, General $40

With technology increasing the pace of human’s progress, TEDx has chosen the theme “Emergence” to explore the questions of “What comes next?” and “What is emerging that will change our lives forever?” Between a complimentary yoga session sponsored by Body Electric Yoga, presentations about inspiration, muses, and community engagement, and a performance from Kirtan & World Fusion Music, you’ll surely leave with a nourished spirit. If getting in touch with your spiritual side isn’t enough, general admission gets you a free t-shirt and a swag bag, while premium gets you front row seats and extra freebees. Find out more about this event and the presenters on

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Annual Hemingway days spotlight the arts in Key West

In the thick of the reverie around a legendary author and onetime Florida resident.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 9:24 AM

Hemingway Look-a-Like finalists during the annual Running of the Bulls event. - JAN RODRIGUEZ
  • Jan Rodriguez
  • Hemingway Look-a-Like finalists during the annual Running of the Bulls event.

In the early 1930s, famed author Ernest Hemingway began spending his winters in Key West, Florida and soon after, purchased a home where he would later write one of his many acclaimed novels, To Have and Have Not. Eighty years later, Hemingway’s presence is still hard to miss when visiting the island. Images and mentions of the burly writer can be found everywhere, from museums to gay bars. But every year on the week of July 21st, otherwise known as Hemingway’s birthday, it becomes impossible to ignore the legacy that Hemingway has left behind on the island of Key West as it engages in a week-long celebration of the writer and his time spent on this veritable paradise just eight hours south of Tampa.

The 35th annual Hemingway Days celebration took place July 21-26 this year and had no shortage of happenings that highlighted the profound legacy left behind by the writer lovingly referred to as “Papa” in those parts. Events range from wacky and unpredictable to more serious and informative ones, but each event made clear the fact that Key West was an inspirational location for Hemingway, and continues to inspire the artists that choose to carry out their careers there today.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Remembering Wes Craven

Reflections on how the horror icon shaped and reshaped a genre.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 10:59 AM

'SCREAM' MASTER: Publicity shot of Wes Craven (1939-2015).
  • 'SCREAM' MASTER: Publicity shot of Wes Craven (1939-2015).

Wes Craven died Aug. 30 of brain cancer. Over his 40-year career his work ranged from porn to Eddie Murphy comedies to Meryl Streep biopics, but his legacy has long been written: he redefined mainstream horror with acuity and smarts. Not once, either, but multiple times.

In 1972, Craven’s debut, The Last House on the Left transmuted Bergman’s The Virgin Spring into a brutal, queasy rape-revenge film, in the process laying the groundwork for future critical reevaluations of the genre. He took Bergman and stripped away the Swedish master’s austere style, leaving only the depravity and moral torsion at the core of the story. Critic Carol Clover would pick up on this and, in her 1992 book Men, Women, and Chain Saws, argued that exploitation films were more honest than their more “respectable” counterparts. Last House on the Left begat I Spit on Your Grave, Thriller — A Cruel Picture and more. With Peckinpah’s 1971 Straw Dogs it drew up blueprints for rape-revenge film that are still in use today.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Juston McKinney and Colin Kane lead the pack of comedians in town this week.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 10:08 AM

Colin Kane plays offense at Side Splitters this weekend
  • Colin Kane plays offense at Side Splitters this weekend

Local showcases, dirty comedians, traveling headliners and free shows are all on tap this weekend. If you're sick of storm warnings and 130 percent chances of rain, maybe it's time to laugh a little. So pick your show and enjoy some live comedy. Besides, you already have plenty of water and plywood for next week's storm, don't you?

Here's the comedy roster for this week:

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Sleepytime tea with a jet-lagged Patton Oswalt

The TV and film star headlined the Straz to standing ovations Saturday night.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Local musician Andy Stern met Patton Oswalt by the Straz's stage door after Saturday night's show. The headlining comedian, who was posing for photos with all the fans who waitied for him, inquired about Stern's thumb injury. - COURTESY OF ANDY STERN
  • courtesy of Andy Stern
  • Local musician Andy Stern met Patton Oswalt by the Straz's stage door after Saturday night's show. The headlining comedian, who was posing for photos with all the fans who waitied for him, inquired about Stern's thumb injury.

Patton Oswalt, or as he referred to himself, "Sleepy McGee," headlined the Straz in a bit of a daze Saturday night, apologizing for his jetlagged state and repeatedly pining for the Ambien awaiting him at his hotel room. The show at Straz's Morsani Hall was Oswalt's only stop in Florida, which he dutifully ridiculed as America's "droopy ball sack" and called the Mordor of the United States.

The comedian's tour re-commences on Sept. 10, taking him from St. Louis to Denver to Dallas and New Orleans. No doubt there will be more Ambien in his future.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Do This: The Weekend Top 10

Patton Oswalt, Wearable Art, Geri X's CD release and more.

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 1:28 PM

SPACE-AGE RUNWAY: See some far-out looks at Wearable Art 11.
  • SPACE-AGE RUNWAY: See some far-out looks at Wearable Art 11.

It's a big weekend for people of all tastes and lifestyles. Venture out and see something new. It can't hurt and you might survive an evening without some STD* spilling beer on your shoes. (*South Tampa Douche for you visitors and transplants).
Patton Oswalt headlines the Straz.
  • Patton Oswalt headlines the Straz.

Patton Oswalt is here! Comedy’s most eloquent complainer brings his whacked-out analogies to the Straz Center. Now a family man, the veteran comedian jokes about relatable but scary topics like the Birthday Clown from Hell and his daughter’s Tiananmen Square moment. Sat., Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m. Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, Tampa. $30-$50.

Don we know our cray apparel: Lina Teixera’s fabulous works will be once again featured Saturday night at Dunedin Fine Art Center’s Wearable Art 11 fashion show, which celebrates a decade plus with an exhibition of paintings “Robed in Fable,” by Steven Kenny and and runway presentations by Michael Ian Anzures and DemiGod, Stephanie Arner, Mark Byrne, Melissa Dolce, the Garden Fairies, Jeanne Halle, Julian Hartzog, Johnny Hunt, Shelby Pogue and Lina Teixeira. The event kicks off with a pre-party (music provided by DJ Muggles Malone) at 7 p.m. followed by the Runway Show at 8:30 p.m. and after-party (music provided by Luxury Mane) at 9:30 p.m. Wearable Art is Sat., Aug. 29, at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. $20, $40 or $75;

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Movie Review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl is worth a peek

1970s in San Fran? You know there's going to be sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 11:28 PM


The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Opens at AMC Regency 20 Brandon and AMC Veterans 24 on Aug 28.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Based on the Phoebe Gloeckner novel of the same name, The Diary of a Teenage Girl follows the intense, provocative and unwavering coming-of-age story of 15-year-old girl growing up in the mid-70s in San Francisco. Writer and director Marielle Heller has already garnered much attention for this film, being featured in the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and the New Directors/New Films.

Minnie Goetze, played by British actress Bel Powley, is slowly finding her voice in the world through exploring her own sexuality. To get an idea of how brutally honest and upfront it  gets, within the first minute of the film Minnie exclaims to us in her internal dialogue, “I had sex today. Holy shit.”

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