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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

Email: rmitchell@tampabay.com

Twitter: @RMitchellTimes

  1. Review: Jingle Ball brings Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, frenetic pop spectacle to Tampa's Amalie Arena (w/photos)


    What do two Top 10 singles, a pair of Grammy nominations and the fact that it’s your 21st birthday get you at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball?

    If you’re Meghan Trainor, it means a scant 10 minutes on stage at the very tip-top of the night. And the singer couldn’t have been more thrilled to get it.

    “Opening the show is epic,” said the singer of All About That Bass, one of 2014’s biggest pop-chart juggernauts. “It's actually my favorite, because I get to watch everyone and relax out there. I don't want it to end.”...

    Pharrell Williams performed at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 22, 2014.
  2. Backstage at the Jingle Ball: Jessie J, Charli XCX, Shawn Mendes, Meghan Trainor and more


    So much happens at each year's 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball that it's impossible to cram all into one recap. This year's Jingle Ball on Monday at Tampa's Amalie Arena is no exception. Here are a few highlights from our backstage chats with performers...


    "Tampa just feels like a holiday place," said British pop star Jessie J about the final stop of the Jingle Ball tour. The Bang Bang singer did her Christmas shopping in Tampa and her parents and best friends arrived in town Monday afternoon. "That's what so hard about being on tour. Being away from the people that make you feel like you can do this."...

    Jessie J walks the red carpet of the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball on Dec. 22, 2014 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Review: Usher crushes a dynamic, crowd-pleasing performance at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Tampa was the end of the road for Usher's UR Experience Tour, and everyone involved decided to leave it all on the stage Sunday night.

    Extra explosions, backflips and dance breakdowns helped round out a night of talented people coming together to present one cohesive show for the mass of fans gathered in Amalie Arena.

    Usher Raymond IV didn't try to reinvent the wheel. He payed homage where he should: Glittery armbands and sneakers to match his MJ swag foot work, calls for hits from the drummer to compliment his James Brown splits and stunner shades to hide his eyes when he went all R. Kelly-sexy on the ladies. The combination of all the influences made the show an enjoyable 90 minutes of sound and movement. ...

    Usher performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014.
  4. How Tampa Bay charities encourage young professionals to give back

    Floridians are a little less philanthropic than their neighbors, according to a study of 2012 charitable giving figures culled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. While Georgia and Alabama residents donate more than 4% of their annual incomes to causes traceable by IRS filings, the Sunshine State is at just over 3.2% during the same period.

    The problem was most severe in the 25 to 44 age group, said Ned Pope of Florida Next, a non-profit organization based in Tampa. ...

    The Pig Jig, created by friends of Will Wellman (inset) to combat his rare kidney disease, now draws thousands to Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park. 
  5. From This Day: Life's an adventure for this couple


    PALM HARBOR — With only seven days to go before the wedding they'd been planning for two years, Denise "Dee" Rea and Justin Coté were both in a moment of crisis.

    "My wedding dress arrived and it wasn't at all what I asked for," said Dee, 38, who is a post closing specialist at Nationwide Title Clearing. "The seams didn't match up and there was no gathering in the front. I just bawled my eyes out."...

    Denise “Dee” Rea and Justin Coté married Oct. 31 in a steampunk-themed wedding at the home of Coté’s parents in Lutz.
  6. In Tampa, rappel down a building to combat lung cancer

    The ropes coordinator had to push Ros Miller's feet off the roof's edge of the 15-story Fort Lauderdale building just to get her started rappeling downward.

    "It was such a shock," laughed the 59-year-old mother of three from Tampa. "She told me to let go of one hand and then the other. I was just hanging there by my harness."

    She was almost halfway down before the beauty and gravity of what she was doing dawned on her....

    Jillian Miller, 29, died of lung cancer in 2013. She told her mom, Ros Miller, she didn’t want a simple walk in her honor. On Dec. 13, the charity Jillian’s Dream, will host a rappel down the Island Center at Tampa’s Rocky Point.
  7. Tampa Bay's fresh and craft markets teeming with unique holiday gift ideas


    We're in the thick of this year's fresh and craft market season, when snowbirds descend on Tampa Bay and vendors cluster together in droves to supply them with fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods and hand-made arts, jewelry and decor.

    For the next few weeks, these vendors will double down for the holidays, adding pop-up and one-off festivals to their already jam-packed weekly and monthly market calendars. That's good news for shoppers. If you're behind on your holiday gift list, there's no better way to scratch a few items off than by hitting a fresh market. ...

    All Sports Tables and Games sells custom cornhole boards, including this classic Buccanneers item. [ROBBYN MITCHELL | TIMES]
  8. Wild 94.1's WiLD Wheels brings top new hip hop talent to Tampa

    Music & Concerts

    This weekend, Wild 94.1 will attempt to solidify a relatively new brand, its WiLD Wheels car and bike show, enters its second year on Sunday. Headliner YG, a West Coast rapper with a Southern drawl, should be a big draw to the Florida State Fairgrounds.

    Big attendance could catapult the event into an annual staple, something the CBS Radio hip-hop station has lots of experience with in Tampa Bay. ...

    Rapper YG brought this tricked-out trike to the American Music Awards. Maybe he’ll bring it to WiLD Wheels, too.  Kevin Winter/Getty Images
  9. Review: Juicy J packs in hits like a pro at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Juicy J is a machine. His SUV arrived at Jannus Live at 10:40 p.m. Saturday, and nine minutes later he was on stage, full blast, performing his newest single Low in front of a backing band.

    You can probably attribute it to the professionalism acquired in the nearly 20 years since his debut album with Memphis, Tenn.’s Three 6 Mafia. The Twerk or Die 2 Tour was a freight train of dirty bass that started rolling when Juicy J hit the stage and didn’t stop until he threw his hands up to bid the crowd goodnight one hour later....

    Juicy J performs at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Nov. 15, 2014.
  10. DMX a no-show for concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Just after 10:30 p.m. Friday, the line at the Jannus Live ticket booth started to get long.

    Fans waited, with fury in their eyes, for a refund for the DMX concert that was cancelled 90 minutes after it began.

    "We have some bad news for you all," the DJ said just after St. Petersburg rapper Rival left the stage.

    Promoter Dino Pinto said the New York rap legend had a disagreement with his management shortly before boarding began for his 8:30 p.m. flight from Hartsfield-Jakson Airport in Atlanta. DMX didn't board the plane....

    A packed house turned out for DMX at Jannus Live, but DMX himself was nowhere to be found.
  11. Gilbert Gottfried talks about his signature voice, Old Hollywood, watching comics die and more


    For a long time, Gilbert Gottfried has been a sound. A grating, nasally nails-on-a-chalkboard sound that every listener identified as an antagonist before they even put together the words of his characters, from adoption agents with questionable ethics to evil parrots of would-be usurpers.

    But that’s not all he is.

    The 59-year-old father of two got his start in stand-up in his teens and has never really stopped touring. “I can’t even count how many years I’ve been on the road at this point,” he told tbt* in a recent phone interview about his life in show business....

  12. 'One Drop of Love' star Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni talks race, family and more


    It's been an interesting year in race relations for America. In just over 10 months, there have been communities violently protesting loss of due process, NBA owners losing their teams over racist remarks and anti-immigration zealots blockading school buses full of brown children because they were presumed to be foreign.

    It's a climate — not of change, as was promised by the election of President Obama Obama, but of an overwhelming dedication to fight change. ...

    “Race is like a religion to us.”
  13. From This Day: Gambling on each other


    SAFETY HARBOR — Meeting someone on the Internet is always a gamble, but Terry Kuhn and Jennifer Miller are born risk takers.

    "We both love going to the casino," said Terry, 48, a certified public accountant and tax manager at Brimmer, Burek & Keelan. "So our first date we went to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa."

    It was a good bet.

    Terry and Jennifer were married at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa on Aug. 23 — the 56th anniversary of her late parents' wedding. ...

    Jennifer Miller and Terry Kuhn were married at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa on Aug. 23.
  14. Meet the ghosts of Ybor City with author Deborah Frethem


    The white marble statue of Cuban liberation hero Jose Marti stands silently in the center of his namesake park, extending its arm to all who would enter.

    "People have seen the arm move," said Deborah Frethem, 65, author of Haunted Ybor City. "It moves very slowly up and down."

    It's one of the many "hauntings" in the old cigar factory town just east of downtown Tampa, and not even the most chilling. "If you want real shivers, you've got the Cuban Club," Frethem laughed. "That place has a lot of history with hauntings."...

  15. Review: Mike Tyson funny, compassionate in 'Undisputed Truth' at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe


    Death becomes Mike Tyson. In moments of loss, the former heavyweight boxing champion transforms from a caricature – all speech impediments and silly facial expressions – into a recognizable man, a son, a brother and a father.

    Those moments of loss were the highlights of his 45-minute show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Saturday night....

    Mike Tyson, shown here with his daughter Milan, performed at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa on Oct. 25, 2014.