09/22/16 Human Interest
FARA Energy Ball
Friendship, optimism and support synergized the FARA Energy Ball, the eighth hosted by Paul and Suzanne Avery, and again uniting business associates, medical researchers and philanthropic friends to raise nearly $2 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the University of South Florida Ataxia Research Center. The gala has funded more than $10 million to find a cure for the rare, degenerative neuromuscular disorder since 2009....
09/16/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Smile, says Penny Rogo, sometimes a hundred times a day, always (almost) receiving a big grin right back.
Multiply those smiles by 40 years and that's a lot of happy faces looking at the tall redhead capturing the scene as MamaRazzi Foto. Rogo photographs ribbon cuttings, award ceremonies, conventions and "lots and lots of charity events, three or four a week from September to January, about 80 or 90 a year."...
09/14/16 Human Interest
Imagination: A Gala
Like well-dressed toys jumbling into a three-floor sandbox, Glazer Children's Museum playmates explored Imagination, a roving cocktail gala with bars and canapes tucked into exhibits throughout. The 700 grown-ups found sushi in the Water's Journey, crostini on mini grocery shelves and charcuterie near the SmalLab. Salt Block Catering Co. also had fun with S'mores, cookies and milk, liquid nitrogen ice cream and carnival treats....
09/09/16 Human Interest
Showmanship — spontaneous, sincere but carefully scripted — keeps guests entertained and feeling charitable.
"We're putting on a show," said Jason Alpert, a fundraising consultant and auctioneer booked at 65 events a year. "I want people to leave saying, 'Man, that was memorable.' They remember something like a 100-foot-long red carpet leading to a woman on stilts wearing a huge red dress that holds glasses of Champagne."...
09/09/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Andre "Andy" Brouillard and Julie Juteau share a French-Canadian heritage, fluency in French and a desire to make sure a guest's biggest concern is finding the guy passing the tray of stuffed mushrooms.
"Air conditioning working? Bathroom sparkling? Room set and ready?"
All other worries fall on us, said Brouillard, 63, general manager of TPepin's Hospitality Centre in east Tampa....
09/09/16 Human Interest
Clink those glasses and enjoy helping arts, education and human services organizations strengthen the Tampa Bay community. Our annual Hillsborough Social Calendar offers a host of opportunities for donors, volunteers and advocates to get involved. And be sure to look for the weekly Diary in the Tampa Tribune edition of the Tampa Bay Times to catch the latest news, updates and philanthropic trends observed on the local social scene. Amy Scherzer, Tampa Bay Times...
08/18/16 Human Interest
11th Martinis for Moffitt
Vacations get scheduled around it, probably weddings and a few bar mitzvahs, too, as Martinis for Moffitt goes on the summer calendar first.
"We sold out three weeks in advance, over 1,000 tickets," said Kostas Stoilas, speaking for the Bay Area Advisors, the charity-minded, young men's professional network that has grown its annual benefit into one of Tampa's most anticipated events....
08/06/16 Human Interest
Only good news should be spread on Fridays, to Karenne Levy's way of thinking.
"You can't do anything about bad news until Monday anyway," says the newly hired president and CEO of the MacDonald Training Center. "So my rule is save it for Monday."
The Kingston, Jamaica, native cites her own empirical data, including a biopsy 10 years ago on a Friday afternoon that indicated the possibility of cancer....
08/03/16 Human Interest
'The Infiltrator' world premiere at Tampa Theatre
What a coup for the Tampa-Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission to score actors Bryan Cranston and Benjamin Bratt to the red carpet premiere of The Infiltrator at the Tampa Theatre. And what charm and patience they showed when 500 VIPs lined up for an hour of photo ops July 6. "They fell in love with our theater when they filmed here," said film commissioner Dale Gordon. "Cranston really wanted to do a screening for us." After gifting the stars with Tampa Bay Rays jerseys, Gordon noted another special guest, Bob Mazur, "the hero among you" was tucked into the audience. The former FBI agent whose life inspired the film still lives incognito 30 years later and didn't join 10 other feds from the Pablo Escobar sting called up to the stage that night....
08/03/16 Human Interest
For more than a decade, the Tampa Bay Times social calendar has helped nonprofit organizations and charities planning annual fundraisers and awareness events reach a generous community. Advance notice of dates and details serves both organizers and supporters throughout Tampa's philanthropic social scene.
Fashion show luncheons and black-tie bashes are examples of the "gala" events included on the September through May 2017 calendar, to be published in the Hillsborough regional editions Sept. 9. Listings don't have to be formal, "snooty" affairs — winetastings work, silver coffees shine, as well as testimonial, scholarship and awards banquets. The gatherings are generally open to the public and net proceeds reported as promptly as possible....
What I ate: What the heck is an arepa? It's the national sandwich of Venezuela and neighboring Colombia, and at Nico's Arepas Grill, it can be stuffed with nearly 20 choices of fillings.
Think a thick, cornmeal pancake, split open and loaded with meats, cheeses and veggies in many combinations, served grilled, baked or fried.
My very hungry dinner guest found an efficient way to sample a number of the offerings, ordering the aptly named La Glotona (the Glutton). This arepa holds beef, chicken, potato salad, cheese and on request, pork....
07/14/16 Human Interest
On the homestretch of a 32-year career as executive director at the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Art Keeble recalls the arts scene when he arrived in Tampa. • "No performing arts center, no children's museum, no photography museum, no history center, no aquarium. We've come a long way, baby," said Keeble, 72, applauding bricks-and-mortar growth while regretting a lack of independent studios and galleries. • A national search is now under way for Keeble's successor, who will take over in September. Tampa Bay Times reporter Amy Scherzer recently sat down with the departing director, who shared memories and forecasts for Tampa's cultural arts....
06/28/16 Human Interest
Tampa Museum of Art summer openings
Three concurrent exhibits pop with artful and optical illusions at the Tampa Museum of Art, two opened by famed artists themselves. Peter Max mingled with members June 8 amid nearly 100 of his pop culture works from the early '60s to 2010s in "Peter Max: 50 Years of Cosmic Dreaming." On June 18, Norma Kamali arrived with her first museum exhibition, "Norma Kamali City: Fashion + Art + Culture," filling two galleries with signature designs, including the parachute dress, the sleeping bag coat and styles that earned her the 2016 Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. The ingenious All-in-One dress she created in 1973 is selling like crazy in the gift shop....
Ditzy Desiree launched her career as a neck model after being discovered south of Gandy Boulevard. Dirty politician Gwen abducted Mayor Bob Buckhorn. And who knows which social climber sold Gawker a Hulk Hogan sex tape?
The Realish Housewives of South Tampa, written and performed by mostly Second City theater troupe-trained improvisers, plays through Sunday at the Jaeb Theater at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Local tweaks at each stop on the "glam-bitious" parody tour indulge some pretty broad generalizations of some pretty broads....
05/31/16 Human Interest
Fork Fight 2016
Stirring up a generous scoop of creativity, a heaping helping of logistics and a dash of romance, Fork Fight 2016 will soon provide 1.5 million meals from surplus food donated to and coordinated by Feeding Tampa Bay in 10 counties. Every dollar raised at the gourmet dinner pays for 10 meals.
Starting with champagne and five appetizers, chefs from 15 restaurants prepared the five-course, $300 feast at the Marriott Waterside on May 26. Next came a pickled rock shrimp and peach salad, followed by blue cobia chowder, smoked pork belly and fingerling potato salad, which was followed by smoked lamb neck in orange balsamic with piave polenta and garlic chile broccoli rabe. For dessert: black sesame panna cotta and kumquat-dusted pork cracklings. Thoughtfully chosen wines arrived with each course, of course....