Christopher Spata, Features Writer

Christopher Spata

Features Writer

I'm focused on the offbeat side of life. I love stories about people pursuing unusual goals, and what drives them. I've written about retirees attending Santa Claus School, competitors at the World Sign Spinning Championships and an optician rebuilding old Chuck E. Cheese robots in his bedroom. I'm also looking for hyper-local culture stories, from tracing the global path plastic beads take to Tampa's Gasparilla festival, to pondering mysterious butt graffiti in downtown St. Pete. I also contribute to our entertainment and Things To Do coverage. I previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star-Banner. I'm a rare, native-born Floridian, and collect all things Floridiana, from alligator ash trays to vintage postcards for roadside attractions. I say Florida isn't "weird," just more interesting.

Getting naked on Beach Drive for Harvey Drouillard's 'high art'
The photographer has been shooting nudes in crowded public spaces for decades.

Florida beer used butterflies in the brewing process

On the left, a frosted elfin butterfly stands on a cotton swab, at right, a can of Frosted Elfin New England-Style Session Pale Ale. [Geena Hill via Florida Museum of Natural History and Times staff]
A partnership between a University of Florida professor and a Gainesville brewery leads to Frosted Elfin pale ale.

I watched 8 Seasons of Game of Thrones in 10 days. I survived.

Writer Christopher Spata, transported to Winterfell in this illustration, watched eight seasons of Game of Thrones in 10 days, viewing more than 70 hours in anticipation of the series finale. Days into his binge, he heard armies of horse hooves in his sleep. He called people “m'lord” under his breath. He fell hard. HBO photo illustration by Lisa Merklin, portrait by Chris Urso   |   Times
While taking out the trash. In the shower. At the McDonald's drive through.

Tampa's place on TV's 'Cops' explored in 'Running From COPS' podcast

Running From Cops is a new podcast that digs into the cultural impact of TV's “Cops.” [Illustration courtesy of Running From Cops]
A new podcast about the societal impact of the reality TV series 'Cops' brought the man behind 'Missing Richard Simmons' to Tampa.

They chopped up the ice at Amalie Arena and threw it in the dumpster

A bulldozer dumps ice from the Tampa Bay Lightning rink into a pile during the ice removal process at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Tampa. The process started at 6 a.m. and took several hours to complete.  ALLIE GOULDING  |   Times
The life cycle of a Tampa Bay Lightning season comes to an end.