Thursday, February 26, 2015

Movie Review — Florida Man finds humanity where we rarely look

Director Sean Dunne gets to know the men we'd prefer to laugh at, and forget.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:41 PM

SEAN DUNNE
  • Sean Dunne
I cued up director Sean Dunne’s Florida Man, released earlier this month, nervous that it would be a condescending point-and-laugh-fest. Its title, after all, is inspired by Twitter accounts and memes preoccupied with just how crazy, violent, stupid, and degenerate Floridians are. An hour-long documentary featuring the same sort of stories could have been just as mean and shallow, and it could have been, with its interviews of a couple dozen old, violent, alcoholic, dead-end Floridian men, regaling the camera with their tales of debauchery and hopelessness.You know these guys – they’re the ones selling palm-frond crucifixes by the roadside, barely staying upright at the bar, swearing at an imaginary enemy in the parking lot.

But there’s a good chance you don’t really know them, because you, like me, are probably too wrapped up in your own challenges and messes and worries to bother. You might agree with one homeless wanderer’s self-assessment: “I’m just one guy. I’m nobody.”

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Gasparilla Arts Month: Gasparilla Festival of the Arts

Art in the open air.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:34 PM

GFoA_profile.jpg

Sat., Feb. 28, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sun., March 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, gasparillaarts.com

Offering a Pollack-like splash of variety in a riverfront setting, the Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts draws nearly a quarter-million art lovers of all ages to downtown Tampa each year. The free two-day fest has acquired acclaim as one of the premier arts events in the Tampa Bay area, ranking among the nation’s leading juried arts festivals that feature both fine and craft art.

Optimally scheduled for the final weekend of February/early March — when pre-springtime breezes chill the Sunshine State — the 45th annual Gasparilla Festival of the Arts allows patrons to stroll rows and rows of ceramic, digital, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor and wood. The juried festival features competitors from across the U.S. and around the world. Works of local young and emerging artists, live entertainment, local food vendors and children’s art areas are also featured. It’s all quite a coup considering that GFoA is a not-for-profit organization managed and operated by volunteers.


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Wanda Sykes to offer parental guidance at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night

Out, married with kids, the comedy star is in top form at 50.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 2:52 PM

HOT MAMA: Expect Wanda Sykes to tell a lot of jokes about parenthood at her Ruth Eckerd show Friday.
  • HOT MAMA: Expect Wanda Sykes to tell a lot of jokes about parenthood at her Ruth Eckerd show Friday.
Wanda Sykes
Fri., Feb. 27, 8 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
 $43-$100, rutheckerdhall.com.

Straight-shooting comedian, human rights-advocate Wanda Sykes has probably the most distinctive female voice in comedy. She's been a puppet with hair rollers on Crank Yankers, made famously sassy cameos on Curb Your Enthusiasm, spoken at the White House Correspondents Dinner and played the smart-ass BFF of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in CBS's The New Adventures of Old Christine. Most recently she's been enjoying most her choice guest spots on Alpha House, the new Garry Trudeau-conceived TV political comedy series on Amazon.

Sykes's delivery is distinctive in that she injects equal parts exuberance and snark as she offers offbeat but common-sense solutions to everyday problems: "To me, political office should be like jury duty," she jokes. You should just get a notice in mail one day and be like, "I’m Secretary of State next month!"

The saucy stand-up celeb will be headlining Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night. Expect to hear plenty of jokes about child-rearing, family foibles and more middle-aged matters from the comedian who turns 51 on March 7.

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Theater review: Butcher Holler Here We Come

A Silver Meteor production assaults the viewer’s perceptions with an immersive, visceral experience.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 10:12 AM

WHISTLING IN THE DARK: Butcher Holler tricks and attacks the senses. It’s not often that I see theater so primordial or so deep.
  • WHISTLING IN THE DARK: Butcher Holler tricks and attacks the senses. It’s not often that I see theater so primordial or so deep.
Butcher Holler Here We Come
Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave., Ybor City, Tampa. 813-300-3585. No more local performances scheduled in the near future. Visit Aztec Economy's website, newyorkisdead.net, for future dates. 
For all the talk about catharsis in the theater, it isn’t very often that you come upon the real thing. But it’s precisely catharsis — the purging of pity and terror from one’s psyche after they’ve been stirred up by a stunning drama — that I felt after watching Aztec Economy’s Butcher Holler Here We Come. This shattering play — “event” might be a better description — was presented last weekend at Ybor City’s Silver Meteor Gallery (in near darkness and very cold weather), and played like a combination nightmare, mystery rite, and horror ride at a depraved theme park. It took place in a center section of the narrow theater, with chairs for the audience lining opposite walls, so the effect was immersive as well as explosive. And though we ostensibly were sharing space with five emotionally challenged coal miners trapped in West Virginia, 1973, there were elements of the show so uncanny and unintelligible, I still don’t know exactly what I experienced. I do know that at the end I felt that cleansing of mind that Aristotle talks about — or was it just relief that the torment was over?

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The birth of Black Amethyst, the return of BlueLucy

A promising new gallery and tattoo studio opens on MLK; Chad Mize and co. are back at it in nomadic fashion, for now.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 7:07 AM

J. MICHAEL TAYLOR/BLACK AMETHYST
  • J. Michael Taylor/Black Amethyst

A few intriguing new developments for Burg art lovers! St. Pete-based artist  J. “Tattoo Titan” Michael Taylor has opened Black Amethyst Tattoo and Fine Art Gallery in the historic Sir Walter building at 689 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. St., St. Petersburg.

A grand opening exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28, from 7 p.m. to midnight, featuring Taylor’s Demigods series of acrylic paintings. The gallery is now open for business with tattoo appointments available daily from noon (booking up quickly, we're told).

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Kevin Hart returns — tickets for second May 8 show go on sale Friday

The blockbuster comedy star headlines downtown Tampa's big venue late May.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 1:22 AM

hart.jpg

Actor-comedian Kevin Hart recently enjoyed a successful hosting stint on SNL and has announced his huge North American arena tour and a new time has been announced for the show. Hart's What Now? Tour will take the award-winning comedian to 45 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada with a stop at Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Fri., May 8. His 7 p.m. show is close to selling out. Tickets for a second 10:30 p.m. performance go on sale at noon Friday, Feb. 27, at whatnowtour.com.

Hart can currently be seen in The Wedding Ringer and in March 2015, will star opposite Will Ferrell in Warner Bros. Pictures' Get Hard. In 2016, he will star in Ride Along 2, the anticipated sequel to last year’s $100 million hit. Other film credits include Top Five, Think Like A Man Too, About Last Night and This Is The End. He is also dipping his toes in the TV pond as executive producer of Real Husbands of Hollywood, which premiered its third season in September on BET.

Hart's comedy tour, Let Me Explain, took him to 90 American cities before hitting countries throughout Europe and Africa. With jokes like "I DON'T have EX's! I have Y's. Like 'Y the hell did I date you?," Hart fills arenas at capacity yearly and is only the second American in history to sell out London’s O2 Arena. 

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SCENE BREAKER: Festival scores star, freeFall scores décor and SaraSolo score = one soloist down

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 2:50 PM

TABLE FOR EIGHT? Bright Lights, Big City at freeFall. - KEVIN TIGHE
  • Kevin Tighe
  • TABLE FOR EIGHT? Bright Lights, Big City at freeFall.


Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theater…

BRIGHT LIGHTS? CHECK. BIG CITY? CHECK. CHEAP TABLES? SCORE! Among other distinctions, freeFall Theatre is famous for immersive audience seating schemes tailored by show, depositing patrons on mismatched institutional day-room chairs for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and funky sofas and pillows for Man of La Mancha. (There’s always traditional riser seating available for patrons who fear proximity to actors.) So the perfect trick for the musical adaptation of Jay McInerney’s 1984 live-fast-die-young novel Bright Lights, Big City opening this weekend was pretty obvious: NYC nightclub seating, ‘80s style, complete with hi-top tables. The problem was that those hi-tops can cost about as much as all the blow that was snorted off them, a stiff bill for an item that would be needed only for a few weeks. Thanks to that post-’80s miracle Craigslist, freeFall propsmaster Timothy Saunders managed to score 14 hi-tops for a grand total of $275, plus two tickets to the show. Which is Reason Number 9 that propspeople are the Greatest American Heroes.

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Treasure Island's CJ on the Island headquarters for CMT's Party Down South

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Crew members inundated CJ's On The Island on Treasure Island during the filming of Party Down South. - CHERIE OKIE
  • Cherie Okie
  • Crew members inundated CJ's On The Island on Treasure Island during the filming of Party Down South.

The self-proclaimed biggest partiers in the South are taking over reality TV once again, at a beach nearby.  Party Down South debuts its third season on CMT at 9 p.m. Thursday. And if you were at CJ's On The Island on Treasure Island this past Monday, you might just be seeing yourself on television hanging out with Daddy, Lyle, Murray, Walt, Lauren, Mattie, Tiffany and new cast member Hannah “Hott Dogg.”


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A Q&A with Dr. Chris Gurrie

The University of Tampa 'speech guy' shares his globe trotting experiences in a brand new one man show, "Searching for a Purpose."

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Dr. Chris Gurrie
  • Dr. Chris Gurrie


While on sabbatical last year, Dr. Chris Gurrie, UT's speech program coordinator and assistant speech professor, traveled around the world looking to rejuvenate his research and take some time time to gain perspective. He discovered so much more along the way.

An active public speaker, Dr. Gurrie was not content to simply complete a customary report in his sabbatical once he returned. Rather he took journal entries and stories, chronicled from every day of his three month odyssey, and assembled them into his own one man show "Searching for a Purpose" to share with an entertain an audience. "Searching for a Purpose" promises songs, stories, laughter, and pondering life's purpose with plenty of audience interaction in between.

I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Gurrie in his office on Tuesday for a sneak preview of his show and how the idea to share his experiences came to him.  His free show premieres next Fri.-Sat., Feb. 27-28, at 8 p.m. at the University of Tampa Reeves Theater.

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The Laugh Tract — Who's Bringing the Funny

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 9:17 AM

Wanda Sykes will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night.
  • Wanda Sykes will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall Friday night.

A couple of well-known funny ladies are in town this weekend. But that's just a part of the comedy schedule. There's also magicians, local comedians and a popular "Jackass" to see.

Here's the list of stand-up comedians hitting stages this weekend.

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