Monday, September 15, 2014

The Laugh Tract — who's bringing the funny

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 8:20 AM


It's a pretty full slate this weekend, with theaters, comedy clubs and independent venues all putting on stand-up comedy shows. If you're looking for laughs, you should have no problem finding them this week and weekend. Here's what's on the schedule this week:

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sparks fly at the Tampa Tattoo Arts Convention

The three-day event brought ink and a freaky sideshow to Tampa.

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 10:18 PM

NOT YOUR DAILY GRIND: Reggie Bugmuncher grinds steel into Danny Borneo's face to light his cigarette as part of the Olde City Sideshow from Philadelphia - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • NOT YOUR DAILY GRIND: Reggie Bugmuncher grinds steel into Danny Borneo's face to light his cigarette as part of the Olde City Sideshow from Philadelphia

The Tampa Tattoo Arts Convention ran Friday-Sunday with rows and rows of tattoo artists, tattoo supplies, and a lot of inked up people.

Admittedly I'm a novice. Walking in to it, I felt out of place. I've got a conservative haircut, no scraggly goatee, no piercings, and more importantly no tats. I felt like the new dorky kid on the block walking among the whir and buzz of tattoo machines at the Tampa Convention Center. Every person that I met had more ink than the last, and some were on their way to getting more. But over the course of the night I was able to warm up to the place, and they to me. The convention was one of the coolest things I've seen in a while. 

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Relatably endearing comedy — Gypsy Rep's The Year of Independent Living

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 11:46 AM

LOVE AND MARRIAGE? Dennis Johnson and Crystal Farina.  - GYPSY REPERTORY THEATRE
  • gypsy repertory theatre
  • LOVE AND MARRIAGE? Dennis Johnson and Crystal Farina.

Local director and Gypsy Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Lil Barcaski penned The Year of Independent Living, selected recently as a Main Stage play at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. The play is a pleasant jaunt overall.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Do This — the Weekend Top 10

"Wild" fun for kids and grown-ups, Spathalicious, art on both sides of the Bay, Taste of Dunedin and more.

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 4:07 PM


It's become a local institution in its own right, and the Bricks of Ybor 4th Anniversary is throwin' down in Ybor with a block party all afternoon and evening. The Skatepark of Tampa-owned bar, eatery, art gallery and live music venue, will be closing down the block with art, skate demos and music from Florida's own Surfer Blood. Read here for more details. Read more about what's going in live music tonight here.

WEARABLE ARTISTS: Congrats to Spathose founders George Medeiros and Scott Durfee for six great years.
  • WEARABLE ARTISTS: Congrats to Spathose founders George Medeiros and Scott Durfee for six great years.
The anniversaries don't end. Cheers to George Medeiros and Scott Durfee, who celebrate 6 years of their unique tribal-upcycle-futuristic wearable art dynasty — Spathose — by inviting everyone to their big Spathalicious party tonight at the StationNumberThree in South St. Pete. Read Megan Voeller's Visual Arts feature for more about these iconic Bay area artists.

If you're headed to St. Pete, pop in on the galleries open late for the Beach to Bay Second Saturday Art Walk. Spots like ARTicles, Feathered Serpent, Soft Water Studios, Creative Clay, Duncan McClellan Glass — and several more galleries — have new shows. (We highly recommend Pop Secret: 9:00-5:00.) Plus, Bluelucy's Toons art exhibit has traveled from the gallery's Ybor City location to the downtown St. Pete venue for its final weekend, Saturday 5-10 p.m.
Enjoy some art in Tampa too tonight. The Tampa Tattoo Convention continues to stick it to the man – and woman — at the Tampa Convention Center. Workspace premieres its Boxed group show Saturday night, showcasing 40 artists, some of whom you can mingle with at the reception 6-10 p.m. and an after party at the Independent Bar & Cafe in Tampa. Some notable artists will be appearing in the show, including Daniel Mrgan, Ed Templeton, Don Pendleton, Krystal Ralph, Laura Spencer and Lauren Rasch  (pictured at top). 

Billed as the next great Club Sport Pub Crawl, the Rowdies Pub Crawl will have fans crawl-ing to five different bars, ending at Al Lang Stadium to watch the Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Ottawa Fury FC. Admission to the crawl gets you five free drinks from five different downtown bars, Rowdies swag and a special ticket discount ($10 tickets for pub crawlers). The crawl started at 2 and will end at game time, 7:30. $20. Sat., Sept. 13. Begins at MacDinton’s St Pete, 242 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

Metro Tampa Bay’s festive fund-raising Wild Gala promises to be a wild time with host with the most, Matthew McGee, and guests of honor Rep. Kathy Castor and Equality Florida founder Nadine Smith. Features exotic food and an open bar, live music by bossa nova greats O Som Do Jazz, performance artists, a silent auction and more. Dress in jungle attire and/or dress to impress. $100. Sat., Sept. 13, 7-11 p.m. One Progress Plaza, 200 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Speaking of "wild" ... take the kids to Busch Gardens for Wild Days with “Jungle Jack” Hanna Sunday for autograph signings and special meet and greets. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Not only will there be taste-y offerings prepared by Dunedin’s acclaimed restaurants, the Taste of Dunedin on Sunday also features live music in Pioneer Park throughout the afternoon and arts and crafts booths and demonstrations along Main Street. Everyone who purchases tickets for Taste of Dunedin will have an opportunity to register to win prizes, including a three-day, two night stay in the Penthouse Suite at Beso Del Sol Resort. Tickets start at $20 for 10 samples. Purchase at

Honorable mention: Ira Glass is sold out at the Mahaffey tonight, but he and WUSF Public Radio both deserve a shout out for bringing a little of This American Life to St. Pete.  Read my interview with the radio icon here. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Do This — art events on both sides of the Bay this weekend

From big and crowded to intimate and weird, there's plenty of inspirational eye candy to check out.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Through Our Eyes: Midtown and Beyond 2014, a great annual tradition that showcases the works of budding artists and photographers, celebrates its 10-year anniversary at the Studio@620, which also celebrates a big decade, too. 

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Does your nonprofit need a boost? Leadership St. Pete may be able to help

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

This just in: The Leadership St Pete Class of 2015, a program of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, is looking for a non-profit organization to assist for its class project. 

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Theater review: The Chosen at American Stage

American Stage’s production will move more than a select few.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM

FATHERS AND SONS: The Chosen stars, from left, David Sitler, David Friedman, Dan Matisa, Justin LeVine and Joseph Parra. - CHAD JACOBS
  • FATHERS AND SONS: The Chosen stars, from left, David Sitler, David Friedman, Dan Matisa, Justin LeVine and Joseph Parra.

The Chosen
Runs through Sept. 28 at American Stage, 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 163 Third St. N.
St. Petersburg, $39-$49, $20 student, $10 student rush,

What’s really remarkable about Chaim Potok/Aaron Posner’s The Chosen is just how much ground it covers in only two acts.

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This American pioneer — an interview with Ira Glass

The radio host has reinvented radio for two decades and isn't nearly finished.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 12:39 AM


Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass
Sat., Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. Tickets start at $23 but are now sold out.

Characteristically nasal and sympathetic, the voice of This American Life host Ira Glass has won over roughly 3 million fans since his first radio show aired nearly 19 years ago. Glass’ weekly storytelling hour takes listeners into the lives of seemingly ordinary people with interviews and narratives, recounting remarkable situations that unfold where least expected. Each segment reveals surprises, twists of fate and moments of suspense, enhanced by the show’s music and clever pacing.

CL caught up with Glass to find out more about his upcoming live appearance presented by WUSF Public Radio 89.7 FM. and his prolific career, which lately involves performing in a stage revue, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, with dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass. The unique spectacle replete with bubbles, confetti and choreography debuts on Broadway Sept. 12.  

Plus, Glass has created a brand new podcast series with a brand new format, Serial, coming very soon this Fall.

Understandably, his solo live tour, if you can even call it that, isn’t all that rigorous. “Every three or four weeks I go to a public radio station and give a talk as a way to build an audience for the show, and so I give a version of this talk all the time. Just to keep it fresh for me, I’m always swapping in new material, recent stuff that’s happened.”

IRA, THE SHOWMAN: From left, Monica Bill Barnes, Glass and Anna Bass perform in Three Acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host. - DAVID BAZEMORE
  • IRA, THE SHOWMAN: From left, Monica Bill Barnes, Glass and Anna Bass perform in Three Acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host.

What’s involved with the new live show? “Basically I stand onstage and I have an iPad. I have quotes and music and sounds from different stories and I re-create the sound of the radio show. ... I’ll be talking about the radio show and why it’s made so differently from other things on the radio. Really, it’s just an excuse to play really funny and really emotional clips, and tell a set of really great stories.”

Glass may have a knack for storytelling, but he doesn’t have a lot of control in determining outcomes. Many stories just don’t pan out and make it onto an episode of This American Life. A few others hit the jackpot.

One episode, “Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde,” re-aired last month. The show spotlighted a physician who hears there’s another doctor by the same last name who killed his own father.

“He starts to look into it, and it just doesn’t make sense,” recalls Glass. “Everybody says he’s such a sweet guy. How could he kill someone? We started following it with him not sure where it would end up. During the course of the reporting, he and reporter, they crack the case and find out stuff that didn’t come up in trial and could have exonerated him. So sometimes we go into things not knowing if we’re going to find anything at all, and get very, very lucky.”

A tendency to be self-effacing and nebbish intonations aside, there’s more to Ira Glass than meets the ear. He is a force of nature as well as an expert curator of humanity. Glass’ keen sense of intuition and willingness to take risks, and die-hard work ethic, paint a picture of a focused, shrewd and dynamic media pioneer.

His foray into TV land (2007-09) turned out to be a bigger letdown than expected. Glass, however, enjoyed some success while the This American Life TV series lasted. “We did a show for two seasons, won a couple of Emmys and were asked to be taken off of television,” he tosses of with a mock-snotty tone.

In 2009, the Showtime series aired an episode that took place in Tampa, spotlighting a 20-something named Michael Phillips, who had an illness that robbed him of almost all of his motor skills. Glass says he chose not to milk the story for its obvious tragedies. He instead found the universal and the relatable — Phillips was an adult who no longer wanted to live with his mom.

“(Michael) was showing me the only way he could talk at the time,” Glass recalls. “He would type with his thumb, then the computer would say the words out loud,” Glass recalled. “We had some of the stuff he had written in emails — he’s a really funny, wonderful, smart writer (his blog, still current, is at I asked him on tape, if we could get someone to read your words, who would you want to do it? He said either Ed Norton or Johnny Depp.”

Ed Norton couldn’t do it. Glass can’t remember why. “I didn’t even try for Johnny Depp,” he says. “‘That’s crazy talk, right?’ And then the head of the Showtime Network at the time, Bob Greenblatt, said (voice goes up an octave), “No, no, I think Johnny Depp might be into it!” ... Then he gave me the contact info for how to reach Johnny Depp’s people. And literally it was the sort of thing where, like, I wrote up an email where I said, “Check out some of this writing and look at the way he describes his life. Specifically, we’re not going to do this sort of maudlin, corny, poor-guy story. It’s about the opposite of that. And would you be game? I got an email back in 15 minutes. He was game.”

Glass’ power of persuasion no doubt helped him land two new and unconventional projects. The stage show with the dancers, he says, is “super-fun.” Glass recounted to The New York Times that, when he arrived for a run-through of the finale, he received a warning that there would be “a lot of confetti,” to which he replied, “I welcome that.”

The podcast is quite another departure. “The biggest difference is that instead of coming back to a different theme each week, on Serial, we not only come back to the same theme, but the exact same story,” Glass shares. “We tell you the next chapter of the story. It’s an ongoing, true story. In the case of the first season’s show, it’s about a murder, and the whole thing is one long whodunit. The idea of it is that you get caught up in the characters and the situations and the world of it the same way that you would with House of Cards and Game of Thrones. You just want to find out what happens next.”

When asked how he got his gift of gab, Glass doesn’t have an answer but offers an explanation. “I don’t know. I think that in real life, I’m not as easy and comfortable as I seem on the radio. In real life, I have the same amount of awkwardness, maybe even more. And if you think of someone who’d go to the trouble to figure out how to manufacture a relaxed conversation on the air, it would only be somebody who has trouble doing it in real life. If anything the radio is a controlled space and controllable. ... It’s easier to talk to someone on the radio than it is to stumble through life the way that most of us do, me included. And also, the advantage of being on the radio is that we get to edit so any dumbass thing I say that doesn’t make sense or makes the person go like (imitating a drunk voice), ‘uh, I don’t know.’ If it’s not entertaining or interesting, we can cut it out. So I feel like the person I am is me but it’s an edited version of me, for sure.”

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Visual Arts Preview: Spathalicious

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 11:35 PM

FLIGHT FANCY: Promotional photo featuring Spathose merchandise and photography of Steven Le. - STEVEN LE
  • FLIGHT FANCY: Promotional photo featuring Spathose merchandise and photography of Steven Le.

Spathalicious: Sat., Sept. 13, 5-10 p.m. at Station NumberThree, 2701 Fifth Ave. S., St. Petersburg,

When Scott Durfee and George Medeiros moved to St. Petersburg eight years ago, they didn’t think twice about decorating their yard with planters and lawn sculptures made from palm tree spathes. With Durfee’s family background in floristry and the couple’s shared interest in home design, gathering up the woody flower pods — a uniquely Florida sight in the eyes of two New Englanders — and handcrafting them into cool things that neighbors admired just seemed natural. At the height of their experimentation, they adorned their front yard with a Christmastime display of painted spathes and gold-and-purple lights and dubbed it “Gay Bethlehem.”

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Pop Secret: 9:00-5:00 showcases the Bay's young art fringe

A one-night show you don't deserve to miss.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Jen Sandwich - JEN SANDWICH
  • Jen Sandwich
  • Jen Sandwich
Who doesn't love youth, and youthful energy, and the cascades of experimentation and poor interpersonal skills that come with it?

On Sept. 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. at 163 Fifth Ave N.E. in St. Pete, a half-dozen of Tampa Bay's most adventurous and socially maladjusted young artists come together to present a one-night extravaganza of painting, drawing, and standing in the corner looking at their phone.  

Organized by USF art student Rachel Coderre, the exhibit includes Jen Sandwich, a recent returnee from that other Bay Area; Brad Kokay, collagist and erstwhile art director of the Venture Compound; omnipresent nudie-subverter Femily Killer; and colorform abstractionist Georgia Hourdas.

The show will be up for one night only, so don't sleep. But along with its transient nature, maybe the boldest thing about the show is that it crosses both the bridge and some local art culture boundaries, mixing creators associated with the hardline grassroots Venture Compound, St. Pete's bar-gallery circuit, and Tampa's moderately more upwardly mobile Tempus/Quaid locus.

Join the event on Facebook here.

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