This is a good time for people who love a good discussion. From top preacher Joel Osteen to top politico David Axelrod to the top chefs of Tampa Bay talking about "new" Florida cuisine, mark your calendars for an intriguing lineup of speakers coming through Tampa Bay in the next week.
Easily recognizable from the Sunday morning news shows, the author and political consultant best known as the chief strategist for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns takes part in the Poynter Institute's 40th Anniversary Speaker Series on Friday at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. There are still $40 tickets available for just the talk, but the $100 tickets for a reception and dinner are sold out. It runs from 5:30-9 p.m. at the yacht club at 11 Central Ave. (727) 553-4676. poynter.org.
Joel and Victoria Osteen
The pastors of America's largest church, the 52,000-strong Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, will take the stage at Amalie Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Even if the arena is filled to the max at 20,000 seats, the audience in Tampa will be about half the number the Osteens preach to in any given week in Texas. Admission to "A Night of Hope" is $15 at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.
Pedro Pan child refugees
As part of the Florida Conversations Lecture Series, the Tampa Bay History Center brings the little-known story of child refugees who fled Fidel Castro's Cuba. History Miami director Jorge Zamanillo leads a panel of former child refugees who were part of the mass exodus from Cuba to the United States between 1960 and 1962. It's estimated that more than 14,000 unaccompanied children were sent to 35 U.S. states, "making Operación Pedro Pan the largest evacuation of unaccompanied minors in the history of the Western hemisphere," a history center news release said. The talk is free at 6 p.m. Nov. 18, but RSVPs are encouraged at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa. (813) 228-0097. tampabayhistorycenter.org.
Top chefs and Florida cuisine
As part of the Food For Thought series at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, four Tampa Bay top chefs and restaurateurs come together Nov. 16 to talk about the "new" Florida cuisine that draws its roots from Old Florida history and local, seasonal foods. The lineup brings Greg Baker of the award-winning the Refinery and Fodder & Shine in Tampa; Richard Gonzmart of the legendary Columbia and new Ulele in Tampa; celebrity chef Don Pintabona of Locale Market in St. Petersburg; and Curtis Beebe of the acclaimed Pearl in the Grove in Dade City and Local Public House and Provisions in San Antonio. The talk is free at 7 p.m. at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620. Register online at usfsp.edu/foodforthought.
Film fans get a treat in the USF Lecture Series when Michael Uslan, executive producer of the Batman film series, gives a free talk on his perspective from behind the camera, starting with Tim Burton's 1989 film, and continuing to the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. An avid comic book collector as a kid, Uslan has lectured at numerous colleges on the folklore of comic books, making the case that superheroes are the logical descendants of other great mythologies, from the Norse to the Egyptian and Greek gods. His talk is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. uls.usf.edu.
• Erin Seidemann, author of Postcards from the Sky, will discuss the struggles and adventures she encountered as a woman in the male-dominated field of aviation. She will sign copies of her book after her talk at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 253-2638.
• Part of its "Happy Hour with the Historian" series, the St. Petersburg Museum of History brings noted historian Steve Noll to talk about his books and how transportation is tied to social history in Florida. The evening of "wine, words and wisdom" begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 894-1052.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8595. Follow @SharonKWn.