10/11/17 Bars & Spirits
International Bitterness Units. Dry hopping. Fermentable sugars.
Beer, once the pale, watery symbol of casual consumption, has become bigger than itself. Everyone is an expert. The craft beer craze has Taylor from accounting explaining her home brew project on the elevator. Taylor's beer tastes like socks.
Breweries continue to pop up on every corner of Tampa Bay, and, well, the world. (I recently tried some local brews in Greece.) It's easy to become persona non grata in your social circle if you don't imbibe. It's also true that beers have gotten way more delicious and dynamic. Between sours and hefes and stouts, it's possible for a non-beer drinker to find something that suits....
It's hard to believe Tampa Bay Fashion Week is 10.
Yes, our local fashion event is now a decade old, and a birthday party it did have. I've been attending the festivities for probably eight of those years, and I've seen the evolution, from scaling up to scaling down, from no runway show to two runway shows, from a wild, celebrity-filled party vibe (who can forget Kato Kaelin?) to the classier, more subdued yet celebratory event we saw Friday at International Plaza in Tampa. As it did in 2016, Tampa Bay Fashion Week presented a mix of mall retailers and local designers. The tone this year felt decidedly more elegant, with less focus on swimwear and more focus on eye-catching designs, particularly gowns. Everyone on the runway seemed a bit regal, and I left feeling inspired and energized....
Get out your emergency Cuteness Survival Kit and prepare to be charmed.
This week's dual interview with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen — that's right, we talked to both of them — is going to make you want to pour a hot tea, curl up on your couch and wonder, is there a best friend out there for me?
Cohen, Bravo king, and Cooper, CNN king, have been friends since a blind date 20 years ago (the spark wasn't there). They've turned their connection into a stage show, coming to Tampa on Saturday. Read Jay Cridlin's interview on Page 14 to find out why they love to egg each other on and take questions from the crowd....
Don't yell at us. We know it's technically still September. But we also know, technically, that you've already seen Christmas lights for sale in your local discount store.
That said, let's back up and indulge in some early Halloween chatter. The holiday has grown so popular that many of Florida's premiere spooky attractions are already taking visitors. In fact, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney opened weeks ago....
Well, it's safe to say some of your recent weekend plans got disrupted.
Hurricane Irma put all of Tampa Bay on edge for days, and in the end, we were far luckier than others in Florida and the Caribbean. Still, it led to local closures, rescheduling and a mental switch into a stressful survival mode. A weekend that held promising plans ended in SpaghettiOs and Scrabble by candlelight.
Maybe you found ways to stay entertained. Maybe you evacuated and got unexpected time with family. I, somehow, ended up on my honeymoon during the storm — talk about timing....
It's easy to get caught up in the blockbusters, the flashiest titles with the biggest stars.
But for our Fall Movie Preview this year, critic Steve Persall took a different tack. He chose to focus on movies he thinks will be worthy of critical praise and awards when they grace your multiplex screen. Click here....
08/23/17 Music & Concerts
“Is Ed Sheeran sexy?"
Jay Cridlin, our pop music/culture critic, was on the phone with singer James Blunt, who is opening for Sheeran at Amalie Arena on Tuesday. But Jay could have been talking to anyone.
It's the quest he's taken this week, trying to unlock the appeal of a divisive figure in pop culture. Somewhere between the guitar, sweet warble, cargo shorts and tats, some think Sheeran has a certain something. Some people, uh, do not....
08/16/17 Music & Concerts
I was in a restroom at a Palm Harbor pizza shop last weekend, with Elvis.
A collage of his photos was staring back at me. In the way that pizza restaurants like to decorate with glamorous dead celebrities of a certain era, there were also posters featuring James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. It was kind of a solemn restroom break, to be honest.
The Elvis poster went through all his phases. Young upstart King, movie star King, puffy '70s King. Elvis would be 82, had he not died 40, yes 40 years ago on Aug. 16. I couldn't help but wonder what a modern-day Elvis would be like. What would he make of our political climate? Would he still tour? What kind of music would he like? Would he have an opinion on Despacito?...
08/09/17 Music & Concerts
One of my favorite stories we've published this year involved a Pitbull and a Dad.
Mr. Worldwide, to be specific, and the father of Times staff writer Divya Kumar. Divya took her 55-year-old professor pops to see Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias at Amalie Arena in June. She knew her dad liked some of Mr. Bull's upbeat tracks, including, as he described it, "I know u want me, nanna nananana."...
Go outside, we said. You'll have a great time, we said.
This issue was all ready to go when Tropical Storm Emily crept up and surprised everyone. Forecasters knew it would rain that day, but they didn't know how much, a confluence of factors fooling the prediction software. You probably felt it. My shoes were filled to the top with water as I squished-squished-squished into the office after navigating some serious B-roll from the Weather Channel. A maintenance worker mopped the muddy floors, sighing....
It's safe to say we take the complex, mysterious unicorn of air conditioning for granted.
In Florida, most public places are set to a crisp subzero year round, and we know we can duck into a store or a Starbucks to get a little relief at almost any time. My office is pretty much an arctic tundra. I have a Snuggie on hand at all times. Going outside into the heat is so shocking sometimes, it feels like that scene in Fantasia where the dinosaurs all die out to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring....
Who remembers being kind of bored as a kid?
You went with your parents to the hardware store, to the DMV. You went to Kmart and put back to school clothes on layaway. You went to Blockbuster and fought with your brother about who could pick the new release. Then you went home and ran around with your neighbor, the one who always dared you to eat things from the questionable grain field out back of the house....
07/12/17 Food & Dining
One of our editors came dashing over to Features the other day. I feared some major news had broken, a celebrity had shuffled off this mortal coil or a Kardashian had married a QR code while I'd glanced away.
But, no. It was National Fried Chicken Day.
Of course, it was imperative that we inform readers of places to get the best crispy bird, and STAT. Another editor turned around in her chair and reminded us that, when she'd told us National Piña Colada Day was coming, we had ignored her....
You might be surprised to learn that, even on its worst day, the Sharknado franchise brings in nearly 3 million viewers. That's "million." Not a typo.
Learn that and more fun facts in this week's story from movie critic Steve Persall, who interviewed Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante. The purveyor of Syfy's staple series is appearing at Tampa Theatre, along with a screening of his original finned film. It's all tied to Shark-Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds....
The most colorful parade in Florida is this weekend, and it's a fun time, to be sure.
St. Pete Pride is back with a new location along St. Petersburg's waterfront. June is Pride month around the country, a time for the LGBTQ community and allies to come together, have a good time and show love. Check our report for details about this year's parade, events and trends to look out for. (Did you know horror icon the Babadook is making the rounds at Pride festivities?)...