Make us your home page

Top talks coming to Tampa Bay: Dan Rather, Ina Garten, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Alton Brown, Tom Brokaw

Top journalists, top chefs and a top scientist People once dubbed the "sexiest astrophysicist alive" are among the great speeches and lectures coming to the Tampa Bay area in the coming months.

Date-night worthy talks by smart people include Tom Brokaw, the "Barefoot Contessa" Ina Garten and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the most pop culture-savvy geek to walk the Earth. You can also see the Food Network's Alton Brown bring messy and "potentially dangerous" food science experiments to an interactive show at Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and hear from some of the area's top local chefs talk about the science of food.

The Poynter Institute, owner of the Tampa Bay Times, has lined up Pulitzer Prize winners and well-known journalists for talks and fundraisers for the educational outfit's St. Petersburg campus. And the Times Festival of Reading on Nov. 12 will bring more than 45 authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and books for young readers will be giving talks and signing books.

If you like a good lecture, here are some of the best ones coming this season:

Neil deGrasse Tyson (Nov. 17): The astrophysicist is known for his wit, keen insights and an encyclopedic knowledge the universe. His appeal as a teacher and intellectual has led to hosting duties on shows such as NOVA, NOVA ScienceNOW and StarTalk, a popular podcast and TV series on the National Geographic Channel that combines celebrity guests with informative banter. He also took over where Carl Sagan left off in Cosmos, the hit television miniseries exploring the mysteries of space. $45-$127 on Nov. 17 at Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center in Tampa.

Ina Garten (Nov. 2): The culinary icon known as the Barefoot Contessa brings behind-the-scenes stories of life in the Hamptons, filming of her Food Network show, writing best-selling books and her enjoyment of food. $35-$85 at Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center.

Alton Brown (April 21): The author of James Beard award-winning cookbooks won a Peabody for his science-centric series Good Eats for 13 years on the Food Network. The Iron Chef America host's live show is called "Eat Your Science." He will have songs, comedy, puppets and lots of messy food demonstrations. $35-$125 at the Straz Center.

Kathleen Parker (Oct. 13): The Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for the Washington Post is the first of four planned community conversations as part of the Poynter Institute's annual speaker series. She will offer a special look at the 2016 campaign. $25, $75 with dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the Poynter Institute, 801 Third St. S, St. Petersburg.

Dan Rather (Nov. 11): The former anchor of the CBS Evening News will appear as part of Poynter's Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. Rather has called Murrow his "north star" and will reflect on the life and career of this television pioneer. $100. The Poynter Institute.

Times Festival of Reading (Nov. 12): Among the dozens of writers at the free festival will be Tampa resident and bestselling author Michael Connelly, whose detective Harry Bosch is the title character of the Amazon TV series. Also, essayist and author Joyce Maynard, political thriller novelist Brad Meltzer and famed sportswriter Frank Deford. See the full lineup at

Marty Baron (Dec. 13): The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was the Boston Globe editor portrayed by Liev Schreiber in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight. Baron will share his insights on the 2016 election and the current state of the media. $40, $100 with dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the Poynter Institute.

The Bowtie Ball (Dec. 9): This fundraiser for the Poynter Institute will honor Tom Brokaw with the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. $125. 6:30 p.m. Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Parkway, 950 Lake Carillon Drive, St. Petersburg.

Carl Hiaasen (March 5): The Florida native began as a newspaper columnist (and still is) but then he spun comedy gold in a series of novels for both adults (Tourist Season, Strip Tease) and young readers (Hoot) using the oddball goings-on of the Sunshine State as a backdrop. He will give a talk March 5 in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center. $35-$55.

National Geographic Live: Hear the story behind the stories from the writers, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, explorers and adventurers of National Geographic. The seventh season of this popular and informative series will include Ocean Wild: The Light Beneath the Seas with photographer Brian Skerry (Jan. 17), Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous with paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim (Feb. 21) and Rhinos, Rickshaws and Revolutions: My Search for Truth with photojournalist Ami Vitale (March 28). $25-$30. Straz Center.

The Science of Food (Oct. 18 and 27): In conjunction with the Dali Museum's exhibition Ferran Adria: The Invention of Food, the museum will have free talks with top local chefs including chef Jeannie Pierola (Oct. 18) and Greg Baker (Oct. 27), both multiple James Beard Foundation semifinalists. The events are free but RSVP by Oct. 17 for Pierola or by calling (727) 803-9799 ext. 201 or emailing Doors open at 6 p.m., discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. 1 Dali Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg.

Dick Crippen (Nov. 10): The longtime Tampa Bay radio and TV personality will be at Happy Hour with the Historian at the St. Petersburg Museum of History to talk about the evolution of Tampa Bay sports, from the Rowdies to the Rays. $5, members free. 335 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at Follow @SharonKWn.

Top talks coming to Tampa Bay: Dan Rather, Ina Garten, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Alton Brown, Tom Brokaw 10/04/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 10:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador


    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25


    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24


    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]