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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla crowns David Straz Jr. its king;

WEDU Be More awards luncheon

Brilliant, Relevant and Encouraged … The Lazydays Employee Foundation was overwhelmed to earn those three "Be More" titles at the WEDU public broadcast station's annual luncheon, hosted by board chairman Dick Dobkin at A La Carte Event Pavilion on Feb. 9.

Drumroll please, for Starting Right, Now, named the "Unstoppable" Non-Profit of the Year by WEDU president Susan Howarth for helping homeless teens.

Ryan Nece set the tone early, inspiring 480 guests in a speech reminiscent of his 2010 keynote address. His foundation's Power of Giving prize went to Tampa General Hospital's DeRonda Hills for extra-special patient care. Deejay Mason Dixon chose Children's Crisis Center social worker Donna Hunter to receive his volunteerism award.

For a list of the winners in the 12 categories, please visit

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Coronation Ball

Banker, diplomat, philanthropist and now king: David Straz Jr. expanded his portfolio Saturday when Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla crowned its 99th court. His queen is University of Tampa student Elly Lykes Carrere, daughter of Liz and Michael Carrere, the 97th king.

Swashbuckling entertainment by Event Show Productions jazzed up the usually staid coronation at the Tampa Convention Center. An impetuous Juan Gomez, supposed first mate of pirate Jose Gaspar, emceed midair Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, a Broadway chorus line and dueling fiddlers — the String Divas on electric violin and cello. Gaspar's voice thundered as photos of royalty since 1904 rolled across the video screen.

Capt. Philip Carroll and Lord Chamberlain Seamus Warren introduced 14 couples in the Jeweled Circle, gorgeously gowned or costumed courtiers, queen candidates and newlywed members.

They saluted three men celebrating 50 years of membership: Troy Brown Jr., Paul Game Jr. and Clay Thompson Jr. The queen when they joined in 1962, Stella Ferguson Thayer, cousin of Queen Elly, was unable to attend.

It appeared that tradition reigns after all, when the court lined up for a concluding royal march. Suddenly, Atlanta band Party on the Moon jammed into LMFAO's infectious Party Rock Anthem, "shufflin' " the 900-plus guests to their dancing feet.

"Best ball I've seen in 55 years,'' pronounced pirate Calvin Carter.

Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival

Co-chairs Stuart Novick and Loni Shelef welcomed cinema buffs and "the Ali and Jesse Fan Clubs'' to opening night of the 16th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival on Feb. 9. They referred to Ali Scher, 26, a Plant High and University of Southern California film school grad, and retired pharmacist Jesse Starr, "a founding force of the festival."

Scher's 18-minute thesis film, The Maiden and the Princess, kicked off the two-week festival. Her fairytale retelling to teach acceptance drew an emotional response, especially from emcee Jen Holloway of Bright House Networks, who introduced Scher to talk about casting, location and funding challenges.

Dubbing Starr "a real star," Shelef named him chairman emeritus. "That's what they call you when they want to replace you with younger people,'' quipped Starr, who celebrated his 55th wedding anniversary the next day with wife, Myrna.

Guests schmoozed over hors d'oeuvres before a feature film and desserts afterward at Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The festival continues through Monday.


Today: India International Film Festival opening night; 6:30 p.m.; red carpet reception; 8 p.m. feature film; dinner to follow;

Channelside Cinemas; $50;

Saturday: Opera Tampa Gala following 7:30 p.m. Anton Coppola Fond Farewells concert; Straz Center for the Performing Arts; $350 and up;

Feb. 18: Masquerade casino party benefits National Multiple Sclerosis Society; 7 p.m.; Tampa Garden Club; $75; or

(727) 215-0906.

Feb. 19: 10th annual Glitz & Sticks: A Celebrity Casino Evening benefits Tampa General Hospital Children's Medical Center and the Lightning Foundation; 6 p.m.; Tampa Bay Times Forum; $200;

(813) 301-6652.

Feb. 23: To Life, annual Loebenberg Humanitarian Award benefit for Florida Holocaust Museum, 6:30 p.m.; Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; $150;

(727) 820-0100, ext. 274.

Feb. 24: A Pair to Remember luncheon and shoe auction benefits Easter Seals Florida; 11 a.m.; Tampa Yacht & Country Club; $125; (813) 769-5923.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla crowns David Straz Jr. its king; 02/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:30am]
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