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Christopher Spata, Times Staff Writer

Christopher Spata

Christopher Spata is a web producer and features writer for the Tampa Bay Times, focusing on entertainment, pop culture, social media and things to do. He also contributes to The Feed blog. A lifelong Floridian, he previously worked as a web producer and entertainment reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and covered sports for the Ocala Star-Star Banner. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011, and joined the Times in 2016.

Phone: (727) 893-8719

Email: cspata@tampabay.com

Twitter: @spatatimes

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  1. Happy Festivus, readers: Here are your top grievances of 2017

    Pop Culture

    Saturday is Festivus, the made-up holiday introduced in the classic Seinfeld episode "The Strike" and still celebrated two decades later at real-life events across the country featuring unadorned, metal poles and feats of strength.

    According to Festivus lore, the celebration begins with the traditional Airing of Grievances.

    "At the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year," is how sitcom character Frank Costanza put it. ...

  2. This Christmas, give the gift of time, effort and love. Here are some ideas.

    Events

    As Christmas approaches, we've rounded up some ideas on how you can spread joy and give the gift of yourself, rather than maxing out your credit card with another gift-buying trip to the mall.

    Some of these ideas you can do alone on your own time, and some involve organized volunteer work with a group or local organization.

    We barely scratch the surface of all the charitable organizations looking for help around Tampa Bay, but two good resources for finding more community service and volunteer opportunities are volunteermatch.org and idealist.org, which allow you to filter by location and the type of work you're interested in....

  3. Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

    Bars & Spirits

    Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16.

    The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed mural above the taps, and the installation of a bocce ball court outside.

    Although customers can serve themselves, there will be a full staff on hand to answer questions and recommend beers. Varying per-ounce prices will be displayed digitally at each tap....

  4. Festivus 2017: Submit your grievances and complaints here

    Pop Culture

    When Seinfeld writer Dan O'Keefe penned the classic 1997 episode The Strike he probably had no idea people would be celebrating sitcom character Frank Costanza's made-up, anti-commercialization holiday nearly two decades later, but here we are.

    A search of Facebook events shows hundreds of Festivus celebrations planned across the country this month (including this local one at Friendly Tavern in Redington Shores)....

  5. New locations for Tampa's New Year's Eve fireworks, plus a Mario Lopez appearance

    Events

    New Year's Eve fireworks in downtown Tampa will be a little different this year, as free, public viewing moves from Channelside Bay Plaza to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park behind Amalie Arena due to ongoing construction.

    Meanwhile, the Pied Piper New Year's Eve party, which for years has taken place at Jackson's Bistro on the downtown waterfront, will move to the TPepin Hospitality Centre ballroom and outdoor patio at 4121 N 50th St. and bring downtown's other large fireworks display along with it....

  6. Even post-Weinstein, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is extremely popular

    Music & Concerts

    Gifts are wrapped, halls are decked and people are on Twitter calling Baby, It's Cold Outside a "sexual predator anthem." It's a holiday tradition for the social media age.

    Pointing out the creepiness of the song — or "rapeyness," to use the preferred digital vernacular — in which a man at one point sings, "Oh baby, don't hold out" in response to a woman's repeated attempts to leave his home, is nothing new. But its spotlight has intensified in this year of #MeToo and cultural reckoning for sexual harassment....

  7. Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

    College

    No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin' onion.

    Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades the sidelines in a surprisingly realistic bloomin' onion costume.

    Bloomin' Onion Man has been a huge hit with fans since he was introduced.

    One of those fans is Ryan Nanni, who blogs at everydayshouldbesaturday.com, and became infatuated with Bloomin' Onion Man during the game in January 2017....

  8. St. Petersburg teen solves Rubik's Cubes blindfolded using ancient method

    Human Interest

    Wherever Aidan Proietto went, the cube wasn't far. Even on a family trip to the beach.

    Now the sun was getting lower and his uncle, down from Long Island and amazed by his nephew's abilities, was itching to stir up some fun.

    "I'll bet you five dollars he can do this thing in under 30 seconds," Uncle Mario told a group of tourists at Caddy's on the Beach on Treasure Island, who hadn't necessarily invited this exchange. He pointed at the mild-mannered teen and planted a cube on their table....

    Aidan Proietto, 15, is a master at solving the Rubik's Cube. He's so good at it he can even do several in a row blindfolded. Proietto was pictured in the Times studio on Tuesday 11/28/17.
  9. 25 years later, the Castle stands alone as Ybor's goth mecca

    Events

    It has been said every night is Halloween at The Castle. So, it was a fitting story for their website that the nightclub began its journey to becoming a Tampa icon during Guavaween — Ybor City's now-defunct Halloween celebration.

    Turns out, it wasn't true. But the Castle, the multi-story, gothic nightclub where it's not uncommon to see someone on the dance floor in a Batman cape, a leather corset or a Peter Pan costume — or really anything you can think of — is nothing if not theatrical. And it did actually turn 25 this year, which the club is celebrating with a party this weekend....

    Hundreds of patrons of all races and sexual orientations gather to dance and be social at the Castle nightclub on a rainy Friday night in Ybor City. The Castle was recently accused of allegedly allowing Nazis into their club. Management of the Castle has denied these claim and said Nazi's are not welcomed there. On the night these photos were taken there were no Nazi or white supremacy symbols or attire to be seen.  [Friday, September 1, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  10. A rare peek inside that spooky all-black house in Seminole Heights

    News

    TAMPA — The mystery started when the white house turned black.

    Starting a year ago, the eight-room house on a prominent stretch of Nebraska Avenue sat among brighter bungalows, a lone raven. Black siding, black chimney bricks, black awnings and a new, black roof.

    Neighbors wondered about it. A neighborhood kid thought a witch lived inside.

    The owner was not a witch, but a 41-year-old estate planning attorney named Rose Wilson. She pulled up to give a rare tour of the 75-year-old building this week in a black Mercedes with black, tinted windows. She wore an all black suit and black heels that matched her straight black hair....

    Antique dolls hang from the ceiling inside of the Margoza's Galleon on Nebraska Avenue in Tampa. The Galleon is full of an eclectic collection of antiques items and unusual handmade treasures Wilson has attained from yard sales, antique shops and estate sales. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  11. Frog Pond restaurant opens new location in downtown St. Petersburg

    Blog

    There's a new option for breakfast and lunch in downtown St. Petersburg.

    Frog Pond, a brunchy fixture for more than 35 years at its original location in North Redington Beach, has opened a new location in Webb's Plaza at 890 Third Ave. S.

    The restaurant, known for hearty, egg-centric meals amid amphibian-themed decor, began serving customers at the St. Petersburg location last week and held an official grand opening with mayor Rick Kriseman on Monday afternoon. ...

    Frog Pond's original location, seen here in 2006, has been open in North Redington Beach for 35 years. A new Frog Pond restaurant opened in St. Petersburg this week.
  12. St. Pete and Tarpon Springs filmmakers pitching local movies to Hollywood's Duplass Brothers

    Blog

    If all goes well, filmmakers from St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs could see their Tampa Bay-set films get a funding and production boost from the Duplass Brothers.

    St. Petersburg's Vitale Bros., best known for their local mural art, and Tarpon Springs sisters Koula Sossiadis Kazista and Katina Sossiadis are among the finalists in the Hometown Heroes Rally contest, drawing the most "followers" and funding for their projects on the Seed&Spark crowdfunding site....

    A scene from "Epiphany."
  13. Find every new Shine festival mural in St. Petersburg with this map and photos

    Visual Arts

    The leaves don't really change in Florida, but go outside and it's clearly that time of year when St. Petersburg's walls get a little more colorful.

    The third annual Shine Mural Festival wrapped up this week as artists from around the world finished 14 new, urban murals scattered around the city's core.

    In addition to artists from Los Angeles, the Netherlands and Australia, this year's festival featured five painters from Tampa Bay. The work by locals includes the 22nd St. Legacy Mural by Thirst and Zulu Painter. That one is still in progress, but will cover two large embankments underneath Interstate 275 at 22nd Street South and pay tribute to the cultural impact of the Dueces Live corridor....

    There are 14 new murals up in St. Petersburg for the Shine Mural Festival. [Eve Edelheit | Staff]
  14. St. Pete's traffic signal boxes are being covered in public art

    Blog

    If you have an eye for detail, you may have noticed a splash of color here and there around downtown St. Petersburg recently. 

    There's a new public art initiative by the Shine Mural Festival titled Corner Canvas, and the project features art by local artists wrapped around traffic signal boxes.

    The art is intended to be a permanent addition to the city's streets. There are currently eight boxes completed with several more to come....

    This art by Justin Wagher is part of the Corner Canvas public art initiative by Shine.
  15. Percussionist rocks out with a blazing triangle solo during Florida Orchestra performance

    Blog

    Oh, the poor triangle. It's the orchestra equivalent of a rock band's tamborine, and such easy fodder for jokes.

    But the triangle can rock, apparently, as a member of the Florida Orchestra demonstrated in a recent Coffee Concert performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

    ...

    John Shaw performs a triangle solo.