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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


Twitter: @RMitchellTimes

  1. Looking for a shopping buddy? New Deal Diva shares weekend plans


    So, this is kind of a big deal for me. (No pun intended.)

    Joining the Deal Divas, who I admire and often opine with about The Bachelorette and fashion victims at large, gives me a legit reason to spend hours staring at clothing and trying to find ways to recreate looks I love. Thank you, merciful fashion over lords, for believing in me. I will try not to offend fans of things I wish didn't exist. (Success not guaranteed.)...

  2. Empire, Season 2, Episode 3: Clearing the table


    Outstanding performances aside, this episode exacerbated a problem with this season of Empire that everyone should be worried about by now. There have been no surprises. 

    Lee Daniels has built his castle on well-defined characters, baring their souls and motivations so clearly that their responses to each narrative point have become as predictable as sitcom setups. ...

    Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) looks about as enthused as anyone should be to be having dinner with Lucious.
  3. Zipline to be set up in downtown Tampa for one day only


    TAMPA — You don't have to be as dauntless as Tris Prior in Divergent to zipline over the city streets this fall — hundreds of people will get the chance to zip overhead in downtown Tampa for a day.

    FitLine 2015 is giving people the chance to ride a 25-foot zipline across Franklin Street in downtown Tampa on Oct. 9 to celebrate the brand expansion for FitLife Foods.

    The pre-made healthy meal provider and wellness coaching center is moving into other markets in the state and chose the heart-pounding stunt as an attention-getter. ...

    Weather permitting, there will be 1,000 chances to zip down through the heart of downtown Tampa for fun or to participate in various challenges
  4. 'Empire' recap: Season 2, Episode 2 — Call it what it is


    Momentum has shifted back to #TeamLucious but for our troubles, the writers gave us a lot of names to mull over in the coming weeks. For a show that bothered to name Marisa Tomei's double-crossing, lesbian billionaire character, Mimi Whiteman, you know how important these names will be to plot development going forward.

    Worst one first, Empire fans: Rainbow Sensation (*fans self at the odiousness of the concept*)....

    Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon sits for an interview with guest star Sharon Carpenter on "Spilling the T".
  5. Get your scares at these local Halloween haunts throughout October


    Finding a place to be scared into a stupor isn't hard for Central Floridians, who can look forward to an embarrassment of haunted riches every October. Everyone knows Halloween is more than a one night affair. You celebrate all month (see this calendar of spooky parties and more), and you might even don multiple costumes by the time it's through. We're here to help you navigate the month ahead in bloody fun fashion....

    Fan Grrl, a villain that can take on the powers of her favorite horror movie monsters.
  6. Here's how Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream bring the scares this year


    Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights

    Jack the Clown is back to celebrate "25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem," promising ghosts of Halloween Horror Nights past with nine houses, five scare zones and two live shows.

    Fans of lycanthropes can test their wits in 2013's most popular maze, An American Werewolf in London, revamped with minor tweaks. Creative director Mike Aiello said designers were able to get original molds of the wolf used in the 1981 film to create the terrifying hell beast puppet....

    The epic 25th year of the nation?€™s best Halloween event, Universal Orlando?€™s Halloween Horror Nights, marks the biggest, longest and most intense event in history with nine haunted mazes, five unique scare zones and two thrilling shows. On select nights Sept. 18 through Nov. 1, guests can visit Universal Orlando?€™s theme parks by day and by night, become victims of their own horror film at Halloween Horror Nights 25.
  7. We howled, we screamed, we got a first look at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens


    The story of Scarlett could have been told in any century, but thankfully for local horror fans, they can experience it starting Friday at Busch Gardens Tampa....

    Scarlett, the character the "Unearthed" story is centered on. She was a village healer who turned to black magic to avenge her dead husband. The producer of The Blair Witch Project was been enlisted by Busch Gardens to produce this year's Howl-O-Scream scare fest.
  8. 'Empire,' Season 2, Episode 1: Criminals and cameos


    Who knew Lee Daniels could make me root for Chris Rock's demise, will Cookie into a lesbian relationship and then seriously consider taking Jamal off my friends list in a single season premiere?

    Such is the power of swift plotting and capable acting, Empire fans. It can take you to places you hadn't dreamed of going. 

    The season opened on a subversive note with Cookie being lowered onto the stage at a #FreeLucious concert in a cage wearing a gorilla suit. She made a powerful speech about the mass incarceration of black men in America, unironically, using the ever-guilty murderer Lucious as the martyr of the day. ...

    Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) asks the devil, Lucious (Terrence Howard), for help with an old enemy.
  9. Five things that will help us keep loving Fox's 'Empire'


    It's time to get yourself more Cookie Lyon in your life and Fox is ready to oblige by bringing back the break out hit of the Spring, Empire, at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. 

    The 12-episode fever dream of creator Lee Daniels (The Butler) became so buzz worthy in its initial run that even Jack Nicholson has professed to be a fan of Cookie (Taraji P. Henson)!...

    Cast Pictured L-R: (Bottom Row) Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Trai Byers as Andre Lyon (Middle Row) Grace Gealey as Anika, Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon (Top Row) Gabourey Sidibe as Becky, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha in EMPIRE. Season Two premieres 9 p.m. Wednesday on FOX.
  10. Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights still the stuff of nightmares and leg fatigue


    There's a lot to be afraid of at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, and not all of it is waiting in the shadows of the nine haunted mazes.

    It's bigger than it has ever been, said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment at Universal Orlando Resorts.

    "This is our baby that we watched grow up over the last 25 years," Timon explained. "We never thought it would get this big."...

    This hell scape is the boiler room in Universal Orlando's Freddy vs. Jason maze. Halloween Horror Nights opens tonight and runs on select nights through Nov. 1..
  11. National company set to take Tampa alcohol events to other cities


    TAMPA — A national company is betting that something cool in Tampa will be cool anywhere.

    Neutrino Media Group, an advertising technology and marketing company based in Atlanta, has started a joint venture with Tampa's Big City Events to take four of the local company's established alcohol festivals to other cities around the country.

    Co-founders of Big City Events, Monica Varner and Ferdian Jap, said the national expansion is already in process and the first events will be held in late 2016....

  12. Fashion designer Zang Toi brings runway looks to Tampa Museum of Arts Saturday


    It's been less than a week since Zang Toi caused gasps with his white woven hats and flowing ocean hued gowns at his Spring/Summer 2016 New York Fashion Week show, and he's already getting ready for the next phase.

    "Hearing that even after being in this business for 26 years makes me want to work even harder," said Toi, 54, who lives in New York. "I say, 'You should work hard while they still want you.'"...

    After causing some gasps at New York Fashion Week with these statement hats, designer Zang Toi will show his line at the Tampa Museum of Art on Saturday night.
  13. Review: FX's 'Bastard Executioner' gruesome but engaging


    Watching the slaughter of innocents by a power mad dictator can be a lot to take in the premiere of FX's new series The Bastard Executioner.

    Entertainment, after all, is escapism. Glens of carnage witnessed by the cast of 14th century Welshmen doesn't seem that different from the grisly footage populating the world news segments on other cable networks.

    But once Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter drenches the fields with the blood we've sadly grown accustomed to, his experienced hand begins to craft an actual story in The Bastard Executioner that might be worth the prior discomfort. ...

    The Bastard Executioner stars Lee Jones as Wilkin Brattle, a former knight who serves the nobles who have wronged him as he waits for his day of vengeance. The show has lots of blood, but if you can make it past the gore, the plot is worth following.

  14. Fall TV Preview: 'Supergirl,' 'Chicago Med' among universe expansions

    The Feed

    Coming up with new ideas and getting them out to the public is expensive. Networks are really good at getting the best value for the dollars executives spend. Often, instead of generating new ideas, producers are content to build on the universes they've already created in other successful shows. NCIS will soon have more cities on its program roster than the U.S. Navy actually has bases in. Whether it's pulling another superhero out of a comic book, adding another public service agency to a city or reviving an old show to jam in new characters and story arcs, there will be plenty of universe expansions for your viewing pleasure this fall. ...

    Melissa Benoist as Supergirl.
  15. Fall TV Preview: What's old is 'new' in 2015 TV season

    The Feed

    In the coming weeks and months, hard-working Americans will ignore cooler air and majestic changing foliage and dive into the glut of new TV shows the networks have been hyping since spring.

    If it has ever struck you that the new season's shows have a lot of the same flavors as last year's — sort of like they came through the same sausage grinder — there are reasons for that....

    Among the old things returning to your TV this fall: Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully and David Duchovny as Fox Mulder in The X-Files.