Arts & Entertainment

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The World Cup begins today — what to know, where to watch (w/video)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 3:14 PM

AMERICANS LIKE SOCCER TOO: Dan Kennedy of Tampa band  Soubotz shows off his U.S. national soccer team tattoo by Esben Rey at Bloodline Tattoo.
  • AMERICANS LIKE SOCCER TOO: Dan Kennedy of Tampa band Soubotz shows off his U.S. national soccer team tattoo by Esben Rey at Bloodline Tattoo.

The entire world except three of its most populous nations (China, U.S. and India) has succumbed to World Cup soccer fever. As the controversial monolith that is FIFA takes over Rio de Janeiro in what's been one of the most controversial settings for the tournament (yeah, but wait till FIFA hist oil magnate hub Qatar in 2022), soccer fans everywhere — even a good many here in the U.S. of A., as evidenced above — are downright stoked about the international soccer championship that's beginning today with Brazil vs. Croatia at 4 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.
Fox Sports reports on favorites to win and dark horses, and CL contributor Ray Roa talks about the dark side of FIFA's dominion and World Cup fever.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Escapes for all ages — museums, attractions and beaches

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

SILVER SPRINGS: One of the oldest theme parks, it still has glass bottom boats gliding across crystal clear water. - DANIEL VEINTIMILLA
  • SILVER SPRINGS: One of the oldest theme parks, it still has glass bottom boats gliding across crystal clear water.

Some local and regional favorites for having fun, learning a little and getting in touch with unpaved Florida.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ask the Locals: Artist Evander Preston

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Evander Preston is an artist, recluse, rabble-rouser, beer drinker, Asian food fanatic and shoe whore. At 80, he’s still churning out outlandish projects and turning heads in Pass-a-Grille, where he’s a resident and gallery owner.
A native of St. Pete, the 6-foot-3 enigma has spent his entire life making headlines for his nonconformist art (he’s currently painting a coffin with a pay phone inside); his famous clients (Lauren Bacall and Jimmy Buffett); his handcrafted jewelry (an editor at W Magazine wore one of his necklaces to an event in Switzerland); and his antics (in 2007, he handed out 100 bottles of bourbon to homeless folks hanging around Williams Park).
For three decades Preston ran a music store in downtown St. Pete, where he taught lessons and sold some of the country’s first stock of Yamaha pianos and organs, which explains his collection of antique organs, synthesizers and keyboards.
Preston, who describes himself as “agoraphobic,” admits he’d rather hang out in his treasure trove of a gallery than move among Tampa Bay’s “herd.” He works out of a cluttered cottage studio behind his two-story gallery on 8th Avenue in Pass-a-Grille.
Some folks go to Pass-a-Grille for the sunsets. Other folks go to tour Preston’s gallery, which is home to a Chinese rickshaw, a 1950s motorcycle (with sidecar), a 14-karat-gold mousetrap, countless organs, candelabras, neon signs, Chinese lanterns, masks, jewelry, the artist’s personal shoe collection and a functioning kitchen, complete with a gas wok, Tandoor oven and duck press.
“For years we had parties here every week, big parties for high-paying [jewelry] customers,” Evander says. “I lead a much quieter life now. I drink my beer. I make my art. I have no great aspirations and I don’t care if I sell anything or not. That’s what all rebel artists do.”

Where he goes for a good time: Zack Gross at Z Grille. “Zack is one of my best friends. He custom makes things for me. He’s a real wild man. I don’t hang out with regular people. They bore me to tears. Zack is exotic. His food is exotic and his restaurant is exotic.”

Where he goes to buy beer: The Racetrac at 28th St. N and 22nd Ave. N. “There’s a helluva fun bunch of people there. I go there every day to get my beer. I like watching the cattle drive of people that come in and out. Nobody bothers me. In all the years I’ve been going there nobody has asked me what I do for a living.”

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Ask the Locals: Artist Duncan McClellan

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Four years ago, glass artist Duncan McClellan moved his studio, gallery and home into a former tomato packing plant on the industrial fringes of downtown St. Petersburg. His arrival helped birth a new kind of artist colony, aptly dubbed the Warehouse Arts District.
McClellan, who serves as the director of the district’s non-profit membership organization, doubles as the area’s unofficial welcoming committee. His courtyard soirees and gallery openings serve as a coming-together of artists, art lovers, misfits, glitterati and community leaders. His 10,000-square-foot compound borders St. Pete’s Grand Central Business District and includes a hot shop, which regularly hosts classes, glass-blowing demonstrations and visiting artists.
The second American invited to study and work at the famed ARS Studio in Murano, Italy, McClellan is revered for his intricate engraving techniques. His work is in galleries and collections all over the world. In January 2013, he launched the DMG School Project, an educational outreach program designed to bring glassmaking classes and demonstrations to communities, colleges and schools.

Best business lunch: Ca Cafe. “It’s in the same historic train station as the St. Petersburg Clay Company. It’s easy. It’s next door and they make a great Cuban sandwich.”

Favorite place to people-watch: 400 Beach Drive. “Beach Drive between 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue in downtown St. Pete is the most entertaining corner in downtown St. Pete. You can sit within the safety of 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, drink a cocktail and watch the flow of tourists and local pedestrians. You also can’t beat the view of the water and The Vinoy.”

Where he puts up visiting artists: The Hollander Hotel. “It’s a hip refurbished place with a cozy bar and great live music.”

Where he goes to view art: The Warehouse Arts District. “We’re not exactly on the beaten path. There are 224 artists within one square mile. I couldn’t have a gallery, a hot shop and two court yards if it were on the beaten path.”

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Ask the Locals: Paul Wilborn & Eugenie Bondurant, arts exec & actress

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:18 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Paul Wilborn is executive director of the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College. Under his direction, the Palladium has made upgrades to its 1926 digs, added an intimate cabaret series, and entered into rich cultural partnerships with the Florida Orchestra and American Stage Theatre Company. A Tampa native, Wilborn was a founding member of Ybor City’s Artists and Writers Ball, the cheeky underground alternative to Tampa’s high-society Gasparilla Pirate Festival parties. He’s also a cabaret entertainer, bandleader and co-founder of Guavaween, the outlandish costume party and parade that each October draws around 100,000 people to Ybor City. A former reporter and columnist for the Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times and the Associated Press in Los Angeles, Wilborn had a four-year stint as Tampa’s manager of creative industries, hired by then-Mayor Pam Iorio to champion artists and spur prosperity among local arts organizations.
His wife, Eugenie Bondurant, is an actress and teacher. For 10 years she’s led an on-camera acting program at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and taught acting for 12 years at Beverly Hills Studios, where many of her former students, including actress Jessica Alba, went on to become Hollywood stars. A New Orleans native and former runway model, Bondurant worked for decades as an actress in Los Angeles, appearing in movies (Fight Club, Space Truckers) and TV shows (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frasier). She’s a co-founder of The Radio Theatre Project, a live radio theater show presented in collaboration with The Studio@620 and WMNF Community Radio.
Bondurant and Wilborn live in a 1913 home in St. Petersburg’s historic Old Southeast neighborhood. When they’re not up to their neck in home repairs or combing St. Pete for antiques, they’re performing together in Wilborn’s American Songbook Series at American Stage.

Best place to pick up fresh greens: City Produce. Eugenie: “I get their old marked-down tomatoes for tomato sauce because I’m so cheap. They’ve got everything there — six different kinds of feta cheese, baklava, it’s amazing.”

Most peaceful spot in St. Pete: Lassing Park. Paul: “It’s like our secret little park. There’s low tide twice a day and I can walk right out into the bay. There are hundreds of sea birds. You can see as far as Ruskin. When I’m trying to work out a problem I’ll walk to Lassing Park and clear my head.”

Best South St. Pete diner: Munch’s. Paul: “It’s a classic St. Pete eatery. If they see you walk in they immediately know what you’re going to order and how to make your drink. On Tuesdays they serve their famous fried chicken.”

Best architectural salvage yard: Schiller’s in Tampa. Eugenie: “When fixing up a historic house it’s important to keep within the time period, and Schiller’s is great for finding old stuff. I found some great window locks and handles there.”

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Ask the Locals: Bob Devin Jones of The Studio@620

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:17 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
Bob Devin Jones is an artistic force of nature. He and David Ellis opened The Studio@620 in 2004 — the Paleozoic era of downtown St. Pete’s offbeat art scene.
When Jones, a Los Angeles native, playwright, actor and director, cut the ribbon on the spare venue at 620 1st Avenue South, no one knew how beloved the place (and Jones) would become. Now in its 10th season, the Studio@620 is likened to Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y — an equal-opportunity space for culturally diverse and provocative art, music and theater.
Jones is not only an artist. He’s a trendsetter. A St. Petersburg resident since 1997, he’s lived in the city’s Historic Old Southeast neighborhood since long before it came into vogue. He’s on the boards of American Stage Theatre Company, Creative Clay and First Night. He’s the recipient of countless awards and grants, including Bank of America’s 2005 Hero Award.
An urbanite through and through, Jones is not likely to be found kayaking the Hillsborough River. When asked where he goes to commune with nature, the artist shrugs and says, “Some people go hiking and camping. I go to New York City or Philadelphia. I’m like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. I want to be where the people are.”

What he listens to in his car: The Spirit FM 90.5 and US 103.5. “Spirit FM is a Christian radio station, but so many of the songs are knock-offs of pop songs. They’re even doing rap now. It makes me laugh. I like the country station, too. Because I’m a storyteller, I’m drawn to these plaintive country ballads. I also like that they encourage you to belt out phrases like ‘Live like you were dying.’ What the hell does that mean?”

Where he goes to talk shop: Kahwa Coffee on 2nd Avenue S. in St. Pete. “Kahwa is the breath of St. Pete. You almost need to be culturally literate to hang out there. I meet a lot of people and get a lot of work done there.”

How he starts (almost) every morning: A breakfast sandwich at Banyan Café. “I crave, or perhaps require a certain amount of routine. Most of the time I’m a very improvisational person, kind of like a long sax solo by Coltrane. To keep everything else in line I live by certain rituals. The egg sandwich at Banyan is one of those.”

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Ask the Locals: Mary Mulhern, Tampa City Councilwoman

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:16 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Mary Mulhern has served as a Tampa City Councilwoman for seven years. A Democrat, she was elected in 2007 to the District 2 seat after spending 13 years as the Art Administrator for the Art Institute of Chicago. A native of Detroit, Mich., Mulhern owned a fine arts management company and a graphic design and copyrighting business before getting involved in Tampa politics.
During her time in office Mulhern has made waves as a pragmatic progressive, speaking out against the city’s panhandling ban and the $2 million purchase of surveillance cameras in preparation for the Republican National Convention. She has one year left in her second term.
The 55-year-old mother of two is an artist and freelance journalist (she served as a visual art critic for Creative Loafing when it was the Weekly Planet). She serves on the boards of multiple organizations, including the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Hillsborough Head Start Community Foundation, Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, City Council Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee and Florida Green.
She and her husband, WMNF Community Radio co-founder Cameron Dilley, live in South Tampa.

Favorite appetizer menu: SideBern’s. “I like to go there for happy hour. It’s in my neighborhood and they have really affordable hors d’oeuvres that you can make a meal out of.”

Favorite place to meet up with friends: Mad Dogs and Englishmen. “They’ve got really good pub food and it has a nice little patio outside. It’s very cozy. You feel like you’re in England, minus the palm trees. I don’t drink, so my favorite watering holes have to have good food.”

Favorite place to be at sundown: Bayshore Boulevard. “Even though it’s facing east the reflection of the sunset in the clouds is so beautiful. It gives you a different kind of perspective. The colors of the clouds and the buildings in that reflection are fantastic.”

Favorite local celebrity: Joe Maddon. “I’m a big baseball fan and he’s just a solid person, such a good, good guy … and an awesome manager.”

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Ask the Locals: Todd Smith, Tampa Museum of Art executive director

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Todd Smith is executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art. He was hired in 2008 just as the museum was breaking ground on a $32.5-million building on the bank of the Hillsborough River. At the time of his arrival, the 35-year-old museum was without a permanent executive director, vexed with growing pains, and beleaguered by years of administrative turmoil.
Smith, the former executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C., brought stability, warmth and progressive programming to the institution. Under his leadership, the Museum has launched unprecedented collaborations with St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts and the University of South Florida, as well as scored major exhibitions of work by Degas, Matisse and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
At 66,000 square feet, the new museum — an electronic jewel box atop a glass pedestal — is now on the national map thanks to an American Architecture Award, multiple shout-outs in USA Today and Smith’s inclusive approach to museum management.
“If I ever left Tampa Bay the thing I’d miss most would be the [LED] lights on the building,” Smith says. “They’re just magical, and they’ve changed the way people see art and architecture in the city.”

Favorite place to root for a hat trick: Tampa Bay Lightning games. “It’s truly one of the best sports experiences in town because it’s entertaining. They’ve done a great job of making it as much about the sport as it is about the fun. I used to live in North Dakota, so I love things that are cold and on ice. It’s not something a tourist would think to do when they come to Florida.”

Favorite reading nook: The Oxford Exchange Bookstore. “Most of the time when I’m reading I use my iPad for convenience’s sake. When I want to actually feel and handle a book I go to the Oxford Exchange. What they do there is pretty remarkable as far as curating goes. You really make connections with the books on the shelves.”

Favorite date night restaurant: Bianchi's Enoteca. “It’s a very small, intimate place. They’ve got some of the best wine in town … good champagne, great pasta. It’s very understated and simple. They focus on importing good ingredients and great wine.”

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Ask the Locals: Kari Goetz of Tampa International Airport and Jobsite Theater

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:05 PM

  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Kari Goetz is the director of marketing at Tampa International Airport and an artistic associate and board member at Jobsite Theater, the resident theater company at the Shimberg Playhouse in the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

An actress since childhood, Goetz, 38, cut her teeth on The New Mickey Mouse Club alongside Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell. After earning a degree in theater from the University of Florida, Goetz spent five years in California hamming it up with Second City, a legendary sketch comedy theater in Los Angeles.
Burned out on L.A.’s entertainment scene, she returned to Florida in 2004 to get involved with Jobsite, which was co-founded in 1998 by friend and fellow UF alum David M. Jenkins. Now in her 10th season with the company, Goetz is virtually a household name in the Tampa theater world. Her plucky 2012 performance as a clever canine in the Stageworks production of Sylvia earned her a Jeff Norton Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and she co-directed Crimes of the Heart for the company’s 2013-2014 season.

The tireless Goetz, who is also a board member at Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, has taught improv for seven years to business students at the University of South Florida, where she is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Organizational Communication. A proud resident of Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood and married to attorney Crawford Long, she’s going to need a break soon: she’s about to have her first child, a boy, in June.

Best airport souvenir: Cigar City Brewing t-shirts. “I have a habit of buying them for my friends. They’re cool and not your usual souvenir gift.”

Favorite place to grab a drink after landing: First Flight Wine Bar. “You don’t have to twist my arm too tight to get me down to First Flight. It’s run by Mise en Place, so it’s very classy.”

Best place to achieve Zen at the airport: The 9th floor of the parking garage. “You get a nice 360 of the area. There are no announcements, no busy travelers. It’s calm, quiet and you can watch plans take off and land.”

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Super Bowl for the carnival industry: The IISA Trade Show in Gibsonton

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Throngs of curious carnival folks trekked thousands of miles last week to browse the bedazzled confines of Gibsonton’s International Independent Showman’s Association (IISA) trade show, which hosted over 300 industry-related national and international vendors.

In a seven-day span highighted by award shows, balls, a golf tournament and industry seminars, attendees came to see the latest and greatest in rides, food, carnival games and overall industry innovations.

“It’s like our Super Bowl,” Ray Siulc said of the largest trade show in the carnival industry. “You can see it and sell it here first.”

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