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. Jesse Thelonious Vance leads experimental arts venue the Venture Compound into a new era

    Music & Concerts

    Jesse Thelonious Vance creates.

    Appeal isn't a secondary or even a 101st concern as the noise artist and Pangaea Project president turns to his instruments of choice — synthesizers, saxophones, keyboards, typewriters, bullhorns and whatever else he can dream up — to express the sounds in his mind.

    "My parents were professional musicians, like full-time," Vance said. "So I've always loved it. But I still haven't had any formal lessons. As a kid, I took a Suzuki method piano class and I'd do something wrong, but hear it and think, 'Well that sounded cool. Let's do that again."'...

    Luis Santana/tbt*
  2. The Real Clash: The newest, funkiest faces in Tampa Bay hip hop

    Music & Concerts

    "Clash" is sort of a misnomer when considering St. Petersburg's eight-member funk/hip hop ensemble The Real Clash. If anything, it's a harmonious gathering of local music prodigies creating a groove-heavy yet still insightful listening experience.

    Eight members sound cumbersome until you realize they're a live band with two emcees and a vocalist who can jam about anything — even monkey dung. ...

    Members of The Real Clash strikes a wild pose at the Jannus Live in St. Pete. Luis Santana/tbt*
  3. Jesse Thelonious Vance: Venture Compound's leader enters experimental new era


    (Welcome to tbt*’s Ultimate Local Music Guide! All week we’re spotlighting 10 of our favorite local artists of the past year. Today: Experimental composer and St. Pete arts scene curator Jesse Thelonious Vance.)

    Jesse Thelonious Vance creates.

    Appeal isn’t a secondary or even a 101st concern as the noise artist and Pangaea Project president turns to his instruments of choice — synthesizers, saxophones, keyboards, typewriters, bullhorns and whatever else he can dream up — to express the sounds in his mind....

    Jesse Vance poses for a photo at the Venture Compound, an arts and performance space he runs in St. Petersburg.
  4. The Real Clash: The freshest, funkiest faces in Tampa Bay hip hop


    (Welcome to tbt*’s Ultimate Local Music Guide! All week we’re spotlighting 10 of our favorite local artists of the past year. Today: Funky hip-hop collective the Real Clash.)

    “Clash” is sort of a misnomer when considering St. Petersburg’s eight-member funk/hip hop ensemble The Real Clash. If anything, it’s a harmonious gathering of local music prodigies creating a groove-heavy yet still insightful listening experience....

    The Real Clash, photographed at Jannus Live.
  5. Could they be a million-dollar couple?

    Michael Flynn would love it if his fiancee Lynn Donini could have something of her own.

    Donini, 26, a pediatric oncology nurse from Clearwater, is a twin whose birthday is around Christmas and her sister is getting married in May.

    "She's always had to share everything, from clothes to gifts," said Flynn, 26, a pharmacist from New Port Richey. "I just want her to have something truly special that she can call her own."...

    Lynn Donini and Michael Flynn
  6. Hip hop, yoga converge in Tampa class


    As the class breathed deeply, eyes closed meditatively, and rolled forward into downward-facing dog, DJ Menscha mixed seamlessly into Candyman's Knockin' Boots, changing the air in the room.

    The mellow rap hit from 1990 doesn't seem like it would lend itself well to a yoga class, but Michele Smith thinks differently.

    "I love hip-hop and I used to teach it, so I wanted to match the two," said Smith, 36, a yoga instructor. "Hip-hop is aggressive … but I think it pairs well with yoga and helps bring it into modern terms."...

    As DJ Menscha spins, Michele Smith warms up before Hip Hop Yoga.
  7. 93.3-FLZ's Ratboy and Staypuff saying goodbye to Tampa Bay listeners

    The Feed

    Change is on the way for fans of 93.3 FLZ-FM's nighttime broadcast, as DJs Jeff Daly and Josh Foreman, formerly known as Ratboy and Staypuff, will air their final Tampa Bay broadcast Friday night.

    The duo is returning to their hometown, Philadelphia, to take over the afternoon-drive slot on WIOQ-FM Q102, a station in the Clear Channel Radio family along with FLZ.

    "It's a promotion for them," program director Tommy Chuck said. "We're really proud of Jeff and Josh."...

    Staypuff, left, and Ratboy are taking their act to Philly.
  8. Radio star Mike Calta dropping 'Cowhead' nickname with all-star comedy roast

    The Feed

    More than 20 years of having friends, colleagues and complete strangers call him Cowhead is quite enough for Mike Calta.

    The longtime local radio personality, who currently hosts an afternoon drive show on WHPT-FM 102.5 The Bone, will retire the Cowhead name and be rebrand his show The Mike Calta Show on April 14.

    "I have two kids now and I don't ever want my 14-month-old daughter to hear the name Cowhead, unless maybe she is cashing some huge check from my will. Then she can know," Calta, 42, laughed. ...

    Mike Calta on the microphone during his show on The Bone. He is retiring his nickname in a “funeral” next week. Luis Santana/tbt*
  9. Express your selfie at Tampa Bay's best solo photo-op spots


    Great selfies don't just capture a moment in time. In the best ones, you also get a sense of where you were in the universe at that moment. • As we all know, around here beach selfies are easy and cheap and so prevalent they hardly even rate. But is white sand and bluish surf the Tampa Bay area's only iconic backdrop? Well, not if you know where to look. Every city offers some unique sights that frame easily in your smart phone's rectangular lens. • Looking for high impact, colorful, stand out shots? Downtown Tampa has just about one on every block. Want to change your Facebook cover photo to a view of real Florida? St. Pete might have something to show you. • To help you establish with certainty that YOU ARE HERE, tbt* scouted some of the best selfie locations designed to inspire. (Note: Your selfie guinea pig/volunteer is not a professional photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist or useful visual human being. Enjoy.) — Robbyn Mitchell

    Commissioned in 2012 by Tampa’s public art program, this mounted wall mural at the corner of Royal Street and N Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa has the vibrancy to light up any dull selfie and enough colors to ensure nothing you wear will clash. Artist Carl Cowden was even courteous enough to build in a perfect place to stick your head, in the bottom right-hand corner.
  10. Mario be praised! The Church of Nintendo is now in session

    The Feed

    Paul Skeldon tapped the controls on the old-school Nintendo Entertainment System, making Mario jump, dodge and run headfirst into a row of coins.

    Before the Church of Nintendo began hosting a gaming night at the Bricks of Ybor, one of his favorite local haunts, he hadn't played the classic system since he was a child.

    "My friend who works here told me about it," said Skeldon, 32, a Home Depot employee from Tampa. "I'm always here so I thought I would play a little."...

    Super Mario Brothers 3 is one of the 350 games available to play at the Church of Nintendo.
  11. From Spring Beer Fling to the Tampa Tee Off, meet the minds behind Tampa's most creative festivals

    "I wonder who holds the air rights over the Hillsborough River," Ferdian Jap wondered aloud as his colleagues at Big City Events shot him quizzical looks.

    Seconds earlier, the 29-year-old event coordinator was sharing his dream: To host an event in both Curtis Hixon and Julian B. Lane Riverfront parks, connected by water taxi and zipline.

    "It would be so cool," he exclaimed. "We could mount a GoPro camera on the zipline and take pictures with the city skyline in the background."...

    From left: The employees of Big City Events — Kaylin Mere, Ferdian Jap, Holly Shump, Labrisha Scott and James McNulty — blow up hundreds of inflatable beach balls at their Tampa office.
Luis Santana/tbt*
  12. From This Day: It wasn't a question of if, but when


    YBOR CITY — Water soaked the hem of Nicole Krawiec's Old Hollywood-style white gown as she spun around the dance floor in the Ybor City Museum State Park.

    It sloshed as Justin Brock twirled her in the light rain on the chilly evening of Feb. 7, but neither looked cold or upset.

    Hours earlier, their seven-year courtship became an eternal bond when they married at the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn. Not even rain could put a hold on events set into motion the first time the two shared a charged handshake in 2007. ...

    Nicole Krawiec, 28, and Justin Brock, 33, of Tarpon Springs were married Feb. 7 at the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn in Tampa. They met in 2007.
  13. Get your geek on at MegaCon


    Khaotic Kon, April 11-13

    The local anime con will be held at the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel, 10221 Princess Palm Ave., and will feature voice actors Scott McNeil, Quinton Flynn and Brittney Karbowski. Three-day passes start at $40.

    Metrocon, July 11-13

    Florida's largest anime convention will be back at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., in Tampa, with its spectacular live shows, Metro Star Party and the Anime Human Chess Match. Weekend passes start at $48.33.

    It’s the time of the year when like-minded nerds can network: The con season comes to life this weekend.
  14. Pilots happy to be back

    Melissa Pemberton is often one of the only female pilots participating when her Edge 540 monoplane takes off to perform aerobatic maneuvers at air shows around the world.

    "Unfortunately, I'm often the only one," said Pemberton, 29, of Groveland, Calif. "But that's why we do these shows. It's to encourage the next generation of pilots to come along."

    This weekend, she will be one of the 12 high-flying acts aiming to inspire in the return of Airfest. ...

  15. Review: Katt Williams returns to Tampa, talks race, religion and more at the USF Sun Dome


    Surprising things happened at Katt Williams' Growth Spurt Tour stop at the University of South Florida Sun Dome Saturday night, and all of them were good.

    First and foremost, Katt Williams took the stage and performed. It wasn’t a given, as the crowd of 4,000 was keenly aware. In February 2013, fans were livid when Williams’ show was canceled after his set was supposed to begin because of travel issues that prevented the comedian from arriving in Tampa. Tickets were refunded and there was no talk of rescheduling for a later date....

    Katt Williams (photo not from Saturday's show in Tampa)