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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A feast for the ears: Four food-centric party scenarios & playlists for each.

Leilani Polk helps craft the perfect soundtrack to your next summer food-fest.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Iggy Azalea
  • Iggy Azalea

Even if your occasion only vaguely resembles the ones I’ve described below, the playlists I’ve put together – or at least some of the songs recommended – should work for you regardless. Or, perhaps these’ll inspire an idea for a party you should be throwing, or simply turn you onto some songs you should be vibing. Enjoy.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The boundary-pushing rock poster art of St. Pete-based Greg "Stainboy" Reinel

"A real piece of art, that stuff is timeless. No one's going to be collecting digital files 20 years from now."

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Greg "Stainboy" Reinel - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • Greg "Stainboy" Reinel
Greg “Stainboy” Reinel has been practicing silkscreen print traditions for more than two decades, one of those resilient rock poster artists who've transformed the typical gig advertisement into limited-edition runs of signed and numbered posters sought after by collectors. He’s kept up with the graphic design programs that are used by every savvy promoter these days, though he views them as just another tool to help him make his art.

“Drawing is everything,” says Reinel. “The best digital artists are great artists without a computer. I have nothing against digital art — I use a lot of digital stuff. But to me, it’s just another pencil. My computer breaks down, I can still make art.”

I chatted with Reinel over coffee at Kahwa last week. The 49-year-old artist, who settled in St. Petersburg last year (he was born in Bradenton but his family moved around a lot), looks like a well-aged British punk rocker with his spiky dark-rooted, fading-bleached hair and sharp leather outerwear. His good-natured, refreshingly brash attitude matches his audacious poster style. 

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hyde Park Cafe keeps the underground house music scene alive in SoHo

CL looks at a local venue with international cred and the people who keep it relevant.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Peel away SoHo’s protective outer layer of partying and posturing, and you’ll find an entire underground house-music scene that has existed for two decades, and took root with the opening of Hyde Park Café in 1995.

HPC resident Brian Busto runs Serious Soul on Fridays from the Velociti room. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • HPC resident Brian Busto runs Serious Soul on Fridays from the Velociti room.
Through highs, lows, and typical ebb-and-flows, Hyde Park Café has endured, not only becoming a fixture of the SoHo landscape and the vital core of the local underground house scene, but also developing an international reputation as a preferred destination for house and techno DJs to play in Florida.

HPC owner Tommy Ortiz operated the club in virtual obscurity for its first five years, barely managing to stay afloat as he attempted to foster a nightlife scene in SoHo, and throw a weekly underground house-music party featuring the artist who’d originally introduced Ortiz to the genre, DJ Jask (still an HPC resident to this day).

“My bathrooms didn’t even work for a while,” he says.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival launches this weekend

Arts crusaders Kiaralinda and Todd Ramquist present a new major music fest in Safety Harbor.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Tucked almost out of sight in northeast Pinellas, Safety Harbor offers bayfront views and scenic parks, a quaint Main Street and early 20th century bungalows that line shady, hilly two-lane roads. It's known as a quiet town, but a buzz of new activity has been tinkering with Safety Harbor’s sleepy reputation.

At the waterfront park behind the town’s famous Resort and Spa, the Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival will give North Pinellas its first major concert festival that isn’t strictly a blues or jazz fest — a sprawling, eclectic three-day event with Grammy-winning headliners, food trucks, a fashion show and performance art that should appeal to music lovers of all ages.

Artist/decorating company Beautiful Streamers will provide their dreamy touches, and circus arts performers will twirl and defy gravity.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Florida Listening Room Festival expands to an office near you.

The living room concerts-spawned fest brings musical cheer to local workplaces this April.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Not to be confused with the punk and hardcore-oriented DIY house shows, living room concerts are acoustic-oriented affairs with audiences that seek a quieter, more intimate live music experience than typically found in bars and clubs. Hence the name of venues that cater to these audiences, listening rooms, and the title of the multi-day event that brings a range of artists to private house concerts around the area in April — the Florida Listening Room Festival (FLiRF). The Listening Room Festival was founded and organized by singer-songwriter Fran Snyder, also the music entrepreneur behind ConcertsInYourHome.com, and in its third year, he introduces Office Concerts, a brand new performance concept held in conjunction with the 2014 fest.

Ed Woltil at the CL Offices, before he coerced us into getting closer...
  • Ed Woltil at the CL Offices, before he coerced us into getting closer...
Last Friday, March 7, the CL staff was treated to an Office Concert performance by Ditchflowers primary Ed Woltil, who’d just released his debut solo outing of warm and easy pop-and-folk-oriented rock tunes, Paper Boats. Woltil strummed and plucked melodies on acoustic guitar, his strong, lightly husky vocal quality reminiscent of George Harrison with a touch of Sondre Lerche sweetness as he shared anecdotes about his material and serenaded around a dozen of us with new tunes and old, like the math-meets-life ode “Algebra” and a few Ditchflowers cuts. He closed with a ditty by one of his early bands, Drive Thru Church. “I almost didn’t finish this song,” he commented about the nonsensical tune, “but it sprang out of my head and I had to get it out of my system.”

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The third annual Gasparilla Music Festival hits downtown Tampa with The Flaming Lips and many others

GMF expands to two days (March 8-9) and doubles its musical offerings.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 9:00 AM

A view from the stage at Gasparilla Music Festival 2013
After attending a few years' worth of Gasparilla Music Festivals (reviews of 2012 and 2013), it's starting to feel like the performances are almost secondary to the experience as a whole. The relaxed and contented ambiance that permeated past GMFs is the first thing that comes to mind when I reminisce. All my warmest memories involve the people I ran into, some familiar faces and others completely unexpected, and the lazy conversations we had and quality time we spent hanging or lounging amid checking out music, munching on various sweet and savory treats, appreciating downtown Tampa's scenic waterside cityscape and the city's growth overall, and enjoying the pristine spring weather, because it's early March and we live in Florida and that's what we do here.

But make no mistake about it, the music is what draws the people. More than 9,000 local folks descended upon GMF last year, and this number will likely double as the not-for-profit grassroots festival expands to two days and offers even more in the way of high-quality food and musical entertainment for its third annual edition this weekend. A peek at some highlights along with a playlist, schedule and more info after the jump ...

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Never Take It Off: Merch with meaning from the Simms siblings

A flourishing jewelry line aims to give fans hope.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Juliet and Tommy Simms of Never Take It Off
  • Juliet and Tommy Simms of Never Take It Off
Alone, determined and armed with only an acoustic guitar, rock songstress Juliet Simms set out to make her mark on the Van’s Warped Tour in 2007, hitching a ride on the bus of her friends from pop-punk outfit Cute is What We Aim For. Once there, she spent the entirely of the summer hopping from tent to tent, asking to play some of her songs. Fest creator Kevin Lyman found out, and— to her surprise — urged her continue. The next year, he invited her and her band Automatic Loveletter to play on stage.

Since then, Simms has become a Warped staple. In 2011, seeking a more intimate and special connection with fest-goers, Simms spent hours tying bracelets on fans, talking to them about their fears and dreams. These conversations eventually turned into “vow lists.”

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Metal Manifestos: an introduction

A series of pieces offering enlightenment about the local metal scene from a longtime member

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM

The author (far right) circa 2002, when he served as the temporary stand-in for Jared Anderson in St. Pete death metal act Hate Eternal.
  • The author (far right) circa 2002, when he served as the temporary stand-in for Jared Anderson in St. Pete death metal act Hate Eternal.
There is a moment of silence right after the lights go down and the house music fades. Conversations stop. Eyes turn to the stage. Cigarettes are stamped out, beer cups emptied in one gulp, restless fans stampede forward to get as close to the action as possible, and a feeling of restless anticipation fills the room as the band filters onto the stage. The subsequent spewing of primal emotion causes a chain reaction — the psychological floodgates rupture and the crowd is engulfed in chaos, expelling a deafening roar in response before the adrenaline starts pumping in earnest.

One of these moments changed my life forever.

March 3, 1996, State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Headlining the bill was Tampa’s own Morbid Angel, a death metal colossus and the first extreme metal outfit to ever sign a contract with a major record label. Two prime purveyors of Sweden’s legendary “Gothenburg Sound,” Dissection and At the Gates, played in support. I was 15 at the time and though I was already a metal fan, this show transformed my interest into an obsession and introduced me to an underground scene I’d previously been unaware of, one that welcomed new converts into the fold with the sort of goodwill that seemed in direct contrast to the harsh and heavy sounds we all loved.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Clearwater's historic Capitol Theatre gets an epic makeover

The downtown venue gets modern updates while maintaining its charm (photos).

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The new Capitol Theatre
  • Kevin Tighe
  • The new Capitol Theatre marquee glows on Cleveland Street.
The Capitol Theatre has undergone a transformation that spans nearly a century — from its origins as a public gathering place on the empty plot of land next to the Clearwater Sun building, to its opening in 1921 as a venue for vaudeville shows and silent films, to its more than four decades (from the 1930s through the ’70s) as a cinema palace with glowing marquee, to its close in 1980 and resurrection in 1981 as the playhouse of Royalty Theatre Company, which remained there until 1999. The City of Clearwater stepped in and purchased the Capitol Theatre building and its two adjacent properties in 2008, eventually bringing on Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc. to manage the facility and raise funds for a restoration of epic proportions and worthy of the theater’s historic significance. (Words by Leilani, photos by Kevin.)

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