Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer

Robbyn Mitchell

Robbyn Mitchell covers pop culture, entertainment, night life, local events and arts for tbt* and the Times. She is a native of Washington, D.C., and a 2007 graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee.

Phone: (813) 226-3373


Twitter: @RMitchellTimes

  1. Review: Funk Fest Tampa brings a sharp Jill Scott (but no Bobby Brown) to Raymond James Stadium


    “Those off you that have true love, I hope you make that good love tonight,” Jill Scott laughed as she wound up her 90-minute set at Funk Fest Tampa just outside Raymond James Stadium Saturday night.

    “Think of me once – maybe twice,” the Philadelphia soul singer encouraged the crowd of more than 10,000 as she prepared to sing her big hit, He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)....

    Silk performs at Funk Fest Tampa 2014 at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 18, 2014.
  2. For Tampa's Funk Fest, at RayJay on Saturday, is fifth time a charm?

    Music & Concerts

    April passed, then May and June, and there was still no word about Variety Entertainment's Funk Fest Tampa Bay. It was unclear if the R&B and soul concert series, now in its 20th year nationally, would return for its fifth year in this market.

    "We got such an outpouring from people in the community," said Leo Bennett, a promoter and the CEO of Variety Entertainment. "They were asking us about when the show would be and it made us happy that we had such support."...

    Philadelphia soul singer Jill Scott will headline Funk Fest in Tampa on Saturday. Unlike previous years, Funk Fest will be a one-day event.
  3. Ty Dolla $ign pours it on for core faithful


    It didn’t matter to Ty Dolla $ign that St. Pete’s State Theatre was less than half full by the time he took to the stage at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

    The Los Angeles native was determined to reward the faithful with a gigantic dose of Wednesday turn up. In a 45-minute set that was one part surprising and two parts “of course,” Ty Dolla $ign played to the cheap seats -- bouncing around the stage, licking out his tongue and exuding the West Coast cool artists from the other side of the Mississippi River have in spades....

    Ty Dolla $ign seemed determined to reward the faithful at St. Pete's  State Theatre Wednesday.
  4. Oh, Oktoberfest: You had us at beer


    Wendy Carey was almost an hour late, but she was determined to make it to all 20 bars in the annual Ybor Oktoberfest Pub Crawl.

    "It's really just the kickoff for us," she explained as she power walked toward Tequila's restaurant and adjusted her drindl dress. She and a friend had attended the crawl last year, as well as the Tarpon Springs Oktoberfest. "We decided to dress up this year because it's a chance to wear costumes not on Halloween and be out and have a good time," said the teacher, 45, of Tampa. ...

    Ashley Wilson, Cydnie Pohl, and Tanya Wright, the top three finalists of the Dirndl Dress contest, during the 2014 Ybor City Oktoberfest Pub Crawl.
Luis Santana/tbt*
  5. From This Day: The aisle, not the plank, for Gasparilla krewe couple


    ST. PETE BEACH — Misty Myers turned to face the crowd of nearly 200 at the Alden Beach Resorts on the arm of her new husband, Franklin "F.M." Hendry, and found an archway of raised sabers lining the aisle.

    "The Rough Riders Krewe did it for us as a gift," said Misty, 47, an executive assistant from Tampa. "They had on their dress uniforms and they raised their sabers. It was really beautiful."...

    Misty Myers and F.M. Hendry of Tampa walk under an arch of sabers hoisted by members of the Rough Riders Krewe after being married July 12 in St. Pete Beach.
  6. Exotic flavors shake up Tampa Bay margarita menus

    Bars & Spirits

    Tequila, the drink of champions, can be presented in many forms to get you to your desired state of inebriation. There's the shot — clean and to the point — or a variety of mixed concoctions to tamp down the acidity, but increase the quantity that crosses the lips.

    The most celebrated tequila cocktail is the simple margarita, a nighttime ninja that uses smooth, refreshing flavors to confuse a drinker into thinking more than two will do. Flavored margaritas are growing more inventive in the craft cocktail industry. Flavors previously relegated to middle-shelf vodka are making their way into the sweet margarita canon, and it is good. ...

    The Apple Pie margarita at Tequilas in Ybor City tastes like a McDonald’s apple pie, but don’t be fooled: It’s mostly tequila.
  7. Local designers will debut full collections at Tampa Bay Fashion Week


    Alexandra Lin

    44, Bradenton,

    Lin, who came to Florida with her husband and children after being a home-school teacher for USA Gymnastics, got into fashion after witnessing the joy she brought her daughter from making her junior prom dress.

    "My son plays tennis and so his friends are from around the world and they all said Mrs. Lin, you should do this," she recalls. ...

  8. In Tampa Bay's tattoo mecca, Ybor City, skin is always in


    Bloodline Tattoo

    Esben Lincoln Rey, 35, said it's been years since Tampa had a major, national tattoo convention and he worked with organizer Villain Arts to change that. "The other convention relocated to Bradenton but kept the Tampa name," Rey said. "We think there is market for it here." Rey, who has been tattooing for 17 years, opened Bloodline one year ago, in the location of the first tattoo shop in Ybor City. His partner is Aaron "Is" Michalowski, who will be tattooing at the convention and currently is featured on Season 5 of Spike TV's Ink Masters. Four artists take appointments and walk-ins and primarily focus on custom pieces. "It's awkward enough wearing the same shirt as someone else. Imagine being at the beach and someone has the same tattoo, which you can't take off," Rey said. 1411 E Seventh Ave. (813) 242-4666,

    Ink master Tony “Doc Dog” Baker, 67, is the dean of Ybor City’s growing tattoo scene.
  9. The Bricks celebrating four years in Ybor City with huge street party, concert

    Bars & Spirits

    Big changes can happen over four years. Babies become Kindergartners. High schoolers become collegians. Collegians become taxpayers.

    For the Bricks and SPoT Ybor, businesses owned by the Skatepark of Tampa's Brian Schaefer, the past four years have been marked with growth but blessed with relatively little change.

    "I wouldn't say that there are any major differences from when we opened the doors in July 2010 until now," said the 43-year-old Tampan. "We've just become more a part of the community."...

    Johnny Ciani is operating partner at Bricks Ybor.
  10. Review: Drake defeats Lil Wayne, but both rappers shine at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    “There’s a big difference between a hit and a classic,” Lil Wayne quipped just before DJ 4our 5ive dropped Go DJ, from his now-seminal album Tha Carter.

    The veteran rapper stepped back and let the crowd do the work Thursday night at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, proving his point without spitting a single bar from the track....

    Lil Wayne performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 4, 2014.
  11. Local tattoo artist Aaron 'Is' Michalowski competing on Spike TV's 'Ink Masters'

    Aaron "Is" Michalowski does not aspire to tattoo world domination. He joined the Season 5 cast of Spike TV's reality competition Ink Master to advertise his skill and challenge himself — but even he admits his star has been on the rise since filming wrapped more than a month ago.

    "I am crazy busy right now, ever since the cast announcements were made, because old clients have been calling trying to get in before the show airs and things really get tight," said Michalowski, 37, of Holiday. ...

    Publicity photo
  12. St. Petersburg's Anime Fix a magnet for manga fans


    It had only been one week since Erika Strahle had made the journey from MacDill Air Force Base to Tampa Bay's only all-anime store, but she had to come back.

    "I'm so glad you held it for us," said Strahle, 22, who moved to Tampa from Seattle two months ago with her husband, David, an airman. "We just have to have it."

    Booby Koonce, owner of Anime Fix in St. Petersburg, pulled a box off the wall behind the counter and opened it to reveal a finely crafted music box with a 10 inch figure of The Baron, a cat-headed character wearing a white suite from the 1995 Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart, written by Hayao Miziyaki. ...

    A wide selection of new and hard to find items for sale at Anime Fix in St. Petersburg. Owner Bobby Koonce talks about a vintage G.I. Joe toy. Photos by Luis Santana/tbt*
  13. From This Day: One wedding leads to another, and a father is remembered


    TAMPA — Jonathan Girwar-Nath was turned around in his chair chatting up the table of women behind him at a wedding in 2009.

    "There was nothing to talk about with a table full of dudes," said Jonathan, 29, of Tampa, a software engineer at Wintec Arrowmaker.

    His posture forced Sangeeta Bhagwandeen into action.

    "I asked him if he wanted to just come and sit at our table," said the 28-year-old first-grade teacher at Mort Elementary School. ...

    Jonathan Girwar-Nath, 29, and Sangeeta Bhagwandeen, 28, were married June 28 at Sacred Heart Catholic church in Tampa. They met in 2009 at a wedding where he caught the garter and she caught the bouquet.
  14. Ultimate Bar Guide: 12 Tampa Bay bars perfect for when you're feeling down and out

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Sometimes, of course, you go to bars when you're not feeling your best. Here are 12 local watering holes that'll cheer you up when you're feeling down, depressed or like you just want to get away from it all.

    We have a hangover: O'Maddy's Bar and Grill

    Hear us out: Sometimes to recover after a night of devilish drinking, you require the hair of the dog that bit you — and a big, hearty breakfast (or lunch) to go along with it. Plenty of bars that cause hangovers at night also serve remedies in the morning. (What a business model!) Take O'Maddy's Bar and Grille in Gulfport, which serves "Dr. Randy Shuck's Hangover Burger" for $10.95. An 8-ounce patty topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onions, it's named for Dr. Randy A. Shuck, a professor of medicine at St. Petersburg General Hospital and friend of O'Maddy's owners. Shuck is also Bay News 9's resident medical-heath expert, and after doing a story on hangover cures, he suggested O'Maddy's add a hangover burger to its menu. The result is an 8-ounce patty topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onions — "hamburger for the fats and the protein, bacon for the vitamins in it, eggs for the cysteine and then the carbs," Shuck said. Sure, but does it really do the trick? Shuck believes so. "I'm blessed not getting hangovers," he said. "My wife is not blessed, and she says it works well." 5405 Shore Blvd. S, Gulfport; (727) 323-8643,

    The Hub.
  15. Ultimate Bar Guide: 14 Tampa Bay bars that feel like communities (and a few where you might fall in love)

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. One big reason? A sense of community. Here are 14 bars that make us feel like we're embracing the community around us, bars that make us feel at home .. and a few bars where you might just fall in love.

    We're loyal customers: Nolan's Pub

    Lots of bars like to claim that they're like the bar from Cheers. Nolan's Pub does this by placing a physical copy of Cheers' Season 1 DVD on display behind the bar. The thing is, Nolan's is a place where everyone might actually know your name. It's a friendly little pub in downtown Safety Harbor, and if you pop in on any given day, there's a good chance that you'll find owner Craig Davide working behind the bar. This is the kind of place that efficiently turns locals into regulars, but such loyalty pays both ways. The bar's loyalty card — the "McGillicuddy Wheel" — rewards patrons with a Nolan's T-shirt after the first completion, a name on the wall for the second, and an engraved plaque on the bar for the 10th. There are quite a few plaques on the bar, if that tells you anything. 230 Main St., Safety Harbor. (727) 400-6998,

    The sign outside Donk's Sports Tavern in St. Petersburg advertising the "best Cubans in town." [Jay Cridlin  |  Times]