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Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381

Email: ascherzer@tampabay.com

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  1. Homestretch for arts champ: Sunday Conversation with Art Keeble

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    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....

    Art Keeble, retiring executive director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, sits in his office next to Ybor Rooster, a sculpture created by an Orange Grove Magnet School sixth-grader and made of cigar boxes and plasticine.
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    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....

    Carol Osiason, left, Richard Pollinger and docent Marian Winter admire the Norma Kamali exhibit at the members’ opening at Tampa Museum of Art members’ on June 18.
  3. Review: 'The Realish Housewives of South Tampa' send up our local socialites

    News

    TAMPA

    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....

    The Realish Housewives of South Tampa at the Straz Center is a "glam-bitious" take on the Bravo reality TV series. The travelling show does its homework, and tweaks the show to include regional jokes.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    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....

    Feeding Tampa Bay board chairwoman Jenna Nelson, from left, thanks board members Dana Ludwig and Suzanne Luecke at Fork Fight 2016 on May 26 at the Marriott Waterside.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    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....

    Jennifer Arrowsmith, left, shows the Tory Burch bag she bought at the Art of Giving to Ann Shaler and guest speaker Erin Gruwell at the United Way Suncoast’s May 19 benefit at A La Carte Shrine Pavilion.
  6. Petra meets Mediterranean expectations

    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....

    At Petra, the full menu is also served outdoors, under umbrellas and in cozy niches.
  7. Home cook in Davis Islands shares her healthy habits, hummus recipes

    Cooking

    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. ...

    From left are Blau’s basic hummus, basic tabbouleh and roasted red pepper hummus, with pita corners and lavash crackers for dipping. Hummus and tabbouleh are high in fiber and protein.
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    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 ...

    Longtime Florida Museum of Photographic Arts board members Chuck Levin, left, Nancy de Waart and David Hall celebrate at the 15th birthday party May 13 at the Cube in downtown Tampa.
  9. Sunday Conversation: Lee Bird Leavengood inducted into Hillsborough County Women's Hall of Fame

    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....

    Lee Bird Leavengood immersed herself in a life of learning and service at the University of South Florida starting in the ’60s. She’s “retired” but still volunteers at the Tampa Bay History Center.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    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....

    Circle of Friends dinner co-chairwomen Charlene Bleakley, at left, and Judith Henkin, at right, surround party host Trish Brynjolfsson at the April 29 benefit for Friends of Joshua House.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    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....

    Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and his wife, Renee, from left, dine with Tampa Bay Heart Ball co-chairs Nina and Trey Traviesa on April 30 at the Marriott Waterside.
  12. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

    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....

    Longtime LAMPLighter members Renee Furlong, left, Donelda Gallagly and Carolyn McMullen enjoy Lights Fashion Hope on April 21 at the Straz Center.
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa Social Scene

    Human Interest

    Karamu XXVIII

    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....

    The House family celebrates at Tropical Nights, the April 15 auction party for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. From left are Mike, Joe, event founder Sue and Mark, at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre.
  14. CEO for the Next Gen: Jen Stancil, leads Glazer Children's Museum

    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....

    Glazer Children’s Museum president and CEO Jennifer Stancil, 45, says she’s a huge techie. She spent the last five years as executive director of Educational Partnerships at WQED, a PBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.  Before that, she was in the museum field.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Magnolia Ball

    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....

    Dwight Dudley, D-Dist. 68 and his wife, actor Mary Rachel Dudley, pose on the red carpet opening night of the Gasparilla International Film Festival at Tampa Theatre.