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....
05/26/16 Human Interest
Ronald McDonald House Charities Storybook Ball
Disney Studios lent the delightful plot but Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay elegantly scripted Frozen at the 17th annual Storybook Ball. This year's event honored TSE Industries' Rob & Diane Klingel for supporting the four bay-area houses that last year kept 2,000-plus pediatric families close to their children's treatment centers. His grandmother Gretchen "was like a Ronald McDonald House," Rob said, recalling "there was always a houseful of people finding help" under her roof....
05/26/16 Food & Dining
WHAT I ATE: Middle Eastern cuisine classically starts with a meze "tasty morsel" platter, arriving as an array of hot and cold appetizers: grape leaves; scoopable hummus and baba ghanoush, one lemony, one smoky; falafel (deep-fried chick peas); and kibbe, (spicy meat, onion and ground pine nuts in a crispy, football-shaped cracked wheat shell), plus labaneh and tahini sauces. With this generous starter came a small dish of pickled veggies, Za'atar-dotted olive oil and a basket of warm pita quarters. The spice blend Za'atar — typically, sumac, oregano, thyme, toasted sesame seeds, salt and other herbs — is as addictive as it is essential....
Three steps out the back door and snip, snip. Parsley and mint for tabbouleh; rosemary, basil, dill, sage and fennel to trick up hummus. Harvesting homegrown herbs brings Valarie Blau joy every time.
Both Mediterranean mezzes are mainstays for the health-conscious Blau family. Val, a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Medical Mobile Clinic, runs, bikes, swims or works out six days a week, her family history of heart disease never far from mind. ...
05/20/16 Human Interest
Tampa General Hospital Foundation gala
Pow! Bam! Kaboom! Supermen, Batmen, Catwomen, Thors and Hulks got a kick out of the comic theme of A Night to Marvel, Tampa General Hospital Foundation's celebration of super heroes of health care. As Captain Americas, hospital CEO Jim Burkhart and gala co-chairs Mickey and Dianne "Wonder Woman" Jacob empowered Saturday's benefit for TGH Children's Medical Center. USFHealth chief operating officer Ed Funai made a suave Penguin; gala sponsor John McKibbon identified as his hero, Donald Trump; Alexis and David Ciesla came as the Bolts, caped in Tampa Bay Lightning banners ...
05/15/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Lee Bird Leavengood has spent the better part of four decades rushing to class, running meetings and developing programs at the University of South Florida. First she was a volunteer, then a graduate student and, before long, an instructor and administrator. She was the first female named to the USF Foundation, founded the Friends of the Library and a gallery at a contemporary art museum bears the Leavengood name. Leavengood, 87, and her late husband Vic immersed themselves in campus life practically from the moment they arrived in Tampa in 1960....
05/13/16 Human Interest
St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Heroes Ball
More than just this year's honorees, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital board member Lauren Dungy and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dungy contributed quite the New York adventure to the Heroes Ball live auction Saturday. Coach Dungy arranged for a tour of NBC Studios, tickets to a Saturday Night Live dress rehearsal and a live taping/behind-the-scenes visit to Football Night in America, with hotel and airfare included. Mike and Lori Kosloske were top bidders at $16,000....
05/05/16 Human Interest
Tampa Bay Heart Ball
Jaws dropped, hearts nearly stopped at the Tampa Bay Heart Ball when the bid reached $55,000 for a one-week vacation at a 15th-century villa in Florence, Italy, donated by Jarrett and Veturia Preston on behalf of Obsidian International. Real estate developer Bob Schmidt made the bid, surely a local record, even though the package didn't include airfare or food. Elated co-chairs Trey and Nina Traviesa celebrated their 16th anniversary raising $1.3 million for the American Heart Association....
04/28/16 Human Interest
Pride & Passion
Always colorful, Pride & Passion burst the rainbow at Now in Technciolor, hosted by the LGBT community and friends for the Tampa Museum of Art. Hundreds of colorful celebrants hopped the galleries, admiring Jaume Plensa's Human Landscape exhibit — and one another — Saturday. Dan Medina, one of the 20 artists exhibiting technicolor-inspired work in the atrium, handed out markers for drawing on his white suit jacket. Jauntily clad in the full spectrum — pastel tuxedos to bold gowns — the 900 guests were rewarded for their creativity with a one-year membership from museum executive director Michael Tomor....
04/19/16 Human Interest
Lowry Park Zoo baited and captured Karamu donors with gamboling giraffes and lumbering elephants, tiger paw art and a chance to bid on an exclusive clouded leopard meet and greet, all while dining and dancing at the black-tie benefit.
"The zoo is an easy sell," said Jenny Jones, co-chair with husband Ken of the sold-out gala in the Safari Lodge and surrounding savannah. Their theme, Legacy, salutes the mission of caring for 1,300 diverse animals at the community asset led by CEO Joe Couceiro. Also saluted: former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, recovered from serious health issues, with a standing ovation for his government legacy....
04/14/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Jennifer Stancil is that cool mom who flashes the newest apps and plays the latest games.
As the new Glazer Children's Museum president and CEO, she's presenting her latest game to more than just the kids in her neighborhood.
Stancil brings the Situated Multimedia Art Learning Lab (SMALLabs), developed at Arizona State University, to the museum this month and it will allow visitors of all ages to enjoy an embodied-learning exhibit loaded with hundreds of interactive game-based scenarios— from learning the ABCs to chemical titrations — with the help of 12 motion-capture cameras....
04/13/16 Human Interest
Moffitt Cancer Center CEO Alan List and "guiding star," retired legislator H. Lee Moffitt, celebrated 30 years of medical break-throughs, expansion to four campuses and 1,000 researchers at the Magnolia Ball headlined by the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday. Fueled by filet mignon and lobster tail, gowned and tuxed supporters added $2.5 million to the search for a cure through auctions, raffles and appeals at the $1,000-ticket bash....