Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Curtain rises on Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Roosevelt Regatta makes waves, illusionist works magic for cancer

A Magic Cure for 1Voice Foundation

University of Tampa grad Reynold Alexander appeared to saw his assistant in half, squeeze her through a keyhole in a chest and make her levitate atop a pole. The illusionist wowed the crowd at A Magic Cure on Jan. 10 at Tampa Theatre, entertaining 100 VIP guests and raising $20,000 for the Children's Cancer Research Group at the 1Voice Foundation.

Before the show, 1Voice Foundation executive director Mary Ann Mossolio reminded supporters their donations "stay right here in Tampa," where pediatric cancer researcher Dr. Cameron Tebbi "has worked for 40 years developing a vaccine, like for polio, to prevent childhood leukemia from ever forming."

That will be some powerful magic.

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Co-chairs Ruby Jackson and William Sanders celebrated the 13th Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival at a gala and theatrical performance Jan. 18. FOX13 anchor Denise White emceed, thanking the dinner crowd in the Straz Center's TECO Theater, as well as the sponsors of more than 20 events over 10 days. How significant, noted White, that President Barack Obama's second inauguration took place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebration.

About 150 guests moved into Ferguson Hall for a gripping tribute to actor Paul Robeson, written and performed solo by Stogie Kenyatta. I regret more people weren't in the audience to learn about the son of a runaway slave who became Rutgers University valedictorian, Class of 1919, the first black attorney in New York and the most famous black performer in the world. Kenyatta received rave reviews at the dessert after-party, where two DJs entertained till after midnight.

[email protected] exhibits Ruby

Life-size characters, dubbed the "choir," fill one exhibit wall of "Ruby C. Williams Farming, Family & Folk Art" at Gallery [email protected] Another wall features her signature strawberries and a piano-playing cow.

"It's all about community," emphasized gallery director Kathy Gibson during the Jan. 17 opening reception, welcoming the folk artist's Bealsville community, students and collectors. The exhibit, part of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, can be seen through Feb. 28 on the Dale Mabry campus of Hillsborough Community College.

Fans of the hardworking farmer, including Robin Nigh, public art manager, know she originally painted the colorful artwork to attract buyers to her produce stand near Plant City. Customers often bought the signs along with the fruit and vegetables.

"You might have to pry paintings off posts and fences when you visit her," Gibson said.

Roosevelt Rowing Regatta

Opening night rainy skies turned delightfully sunny by morning, saving the second Roosevelt Rowing Regatta organized by event maestro Ken Walters who estimates nearly 3,000 viewers came to watch during the three-day event at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Children's Dream Fund patrons launched the weekend Jan. 4 with GLO — Give.Love.Observe — releasing personalized lanterns for a $20 donation "in memory and in honor of loved ones from Tampa to Newtown … beautiful and moving," said executive director Cynthia Lake.

On Jan. 5, a dozen high school, collegiate and local rowing clubs competed in timed sprints on the Hillsborough River. Guests could watch for free or join Walters for continental brunch and the awarding of the Krusen Memorial Cup from reserved tent seats.

Closing day, Jan. 6, brought out dragon boats, paddleboards and kayaks while nine restaurants competed in a seafood challenge. The winner: Manhattan Dolce Bar & Bistro's tequila sunrise coconut scallops.

     
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