Back in my day ...
Go on. Say the words. Apply it to the cost of movies. Once a casual weekend outing, seeing a flick can be an enormously expensive experience in streaming-happy 2017. Tickets can climb upwards of $15 these days, depending on the theater and type of experience (3D, IMAX, rumbling seats, et al).
Going to the movies is also comforting, fun and familiar. The popcorn is salty, fingers slick with orange oil. The Coke is fizzy. The screen is large enough to make us feel small. We need that sometimes, don't we?...
11/29/17 Music & Concerts
The queen is here, and if you don't already have tickets, good luck finding them.
The Lady Gaga concert at Amalie Arena on Friday has been sold out since it went on sale, a frenzy we can attribute to a couple of possibilities:
A. People want to see the spectacle Gaga has become known for — the elaborate costumes, the interpretive storytelling, the special effects, the sheer theatricality....
Happy Turkey Day!
Or is it? Sometimes life just doesn't come together at 2 p.m. on Thursday.
Circumstances mean it's not always possible to sit around the table on Thanksgiving, a family in a Publix ad smiling over a glistening bird. Maybe family is out of town. Maybe children of blended families are with the other parent. Maybe illness, flight delays and work schedules are throwing in a wrench. Or maybe you just don't have a lot of family, period....
For 25 years, readers and authors have been mingling on a very special day in St. Petersburg.
The Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading is back this weekend, organized painstakingly by our book editor, Colette Bancroft, and the Times marketing department. The festival is celebrating a big birthday this year, with some equally big literary names visiting the University of South Florida St. Petersburg on Saturday. Headliners include crime fiction writer Michael Connelly, children's author Kate DiCamillo and broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson, who broke open the sexual harassment scandal inside Fox News. Find the info online at tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading....
A few weeks ago, when the temperature dropped below 80 degrees for the first time, I broke out the opaque tights and boots.*
"It's tights* season!" I said, gleeful, full of hope for a sweat-free tomorrow.
"We're not quite there yet," my husband said.
He was right. We weren't quite there yet. But we Floridians like to get fall-oriented the second the weather turns anything less than Dante's 8th circle. It's scarf and sweater time, and no one will tell us otherwise. A couple of recent cold fronts have made our dreams of crisp weather a reality. Monday morning, it was 49 degrees! I repeat, 49 degrees....
Put down the Donald Trump wig, and back away slowly.
It's not hard to find a pop culture costume for 2017, given the whirlwind year of politics, entertainment and general options. Unicorn Frappuccino, pregnant Instagram Beyoncé, Wonder Woman, Rick and Morty, The Handmaid's Tale, anyone in the current administration. Those are all quality costume choices, but why not be surprising? Take people back to something they forgot about and be the hit of the party....
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."...