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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. Tampa's Jeff Weldon, an alum of The Amazing Race, joins the cast of Big Brother Takeover


    Some people try to strike it rich with a big idea or some undeniable talent. 

    Jeff Weldon, 27, of Tampa will make do with winning at least one of CBS' game shows. 

    One of the newest members of Big Brother's 17th season may look familiar to The Amazing Race fans who saw him compete on that show this spring.

    Originally from Hampton in Hernando County, Weldon went on his first trip out of the country for The Amazing Race. He told the Times then that he always wanted to travel and he left his job to join the race....

    Houseguest Jeff Weldon plays pool in the backyard of the Big Brother house, on BIG BROTHER, Sunday.
  2. Transgender star Esme Russell spends a life learning to love drag

    Human Interest


    Esme Russell glides through a packed Hamburger Mary's in Ybor City during her second show of Saturday night.

    Her skin-tight, flesh-colored tube dress embellished with tiny mirrors reflects the faces of the crowd. She pauses and homes in on a young man who had leaned away during her lip-synch of a Gloria Estefan song.

    "What did you think was going to happen if I touched you?" says Esme, 54. "It's not contagious, honey. You can't catch this. You won't wake up one morning and want to put on a dress."...

    Esme shops for wigs to use for her performances.
  3. Alex Newell of 'Glee' talks Coachella, shoes before performing at St. Pete Pride


    Alex Newell doesn't have awesome memories of the summers he spent in the Tampa Bay area visiting family.

    "It always rained every day; we'd go out to go right back in," said the actor/singer who lives in Massachusetts. "Every day."

    He's hoping for sunnier climes at 7 p.m. Friday when he headlines the outdoor show 27/82: The Concert for St. Pete Pride.

    "I've done so many Prides now, I've lost count," he said in a phone interview this week....

    Alex Newell performs in 2014.
  4. Streets will light up for this year's St. Pete Pride parade


    Leave the flashlights at home and don't worry about squinting to see the outrageous costumes and epic dance routines on Central Avenue Saturday night. Parade entrants in this year's St. Pete LGBT Pride Parade have figured out how to do it in the dark.

    There will still be plenty happening in the light to support the area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Friday, Glee star Alex Newell will headline a free concert on Central Avenue. Sunday, vendors from around the Tampa Bay area will peddle their wares to the tens of thousands of visitors and locals expected to attend the Pride street festival. But the rhinestone in the tiara of the parade and block party is from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, the parade stepping off at sunset, about 8:30....

    The Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County wave to the crowd as their float rides down Central Avenue during last year’s St. Pete Pride night parade.
  5. The Bachelorette, Season 11, Episode 7- Living down to expectations


    You know what's a great way to refute claims that you're a surface-level person who came on The Bachelorette to meet hot guys and hook up?

    Sleeping with the guy everyone has been warning you about in his second week on the show.

    Kaitlyn Bristowe, you never disappoint. Just when we think this season of The Bachelorette has sunk into the depths of network TV depravity, there you are, smiling with arms full of rocks, ready to take us even lower....

    Kaitlyn gave Jared the group date rose and the chance to slow dance to a live performance by The Cranberries in Dublin, Ireland.
  6. The Bachelorette, Season 11, Episode 6: The Elusive 16th Minute of Fame


    This, my friends, is the magic of The Bachelorette.

    From the time Ian got out of the limo, editing had painted him as Kaitlyn Bristowe’s biggest cheerleader, No. 1 fan and the guy who always had her back in every situation.

    In the first episode, he lobbied for her to be The Bachelorette. In Episode 4, he used his last-minute couch rally time to break up team #BrokebackBachelor. When Nick first appeared, he loudly questioned his motives. It seemed like he was protecting a girl he actually liked....

    Ian gives a mariachi performance to Kaitlyn in San Antonio. Who knew those would be the last semi-pleasant sounds to escape his pompous face?
  7. Taylor Swift? Maroon 5? Who will have the song of the summer?

    Music & Concerts

    It's the song you can't escape at your friend's cousin's wedding reception. It's the song you'll hear twice in the car on the way to every cookout, kickback, get-together and beach party, twice at the actual function and three times on the way home. Ubiquity defines the song of the summer, coined by Billboard to give a title to the jam that rules the airwaves and streams between Memorial Day and Labor Day....

  8. Metrocon vendors bring hard-to-get items to anime convention


    Coins will drop all over the Tampa Convention Center this weekend as Tampa Bay anime fans weave through this year's Metrocon.

    It's Tampa's largest anime convention, a place for fans of Japanese animation to gather, dress in costume and do some serious shopping. Expanded to four days, organizer Team Dynamite lined up enough voice talent, panels, role-playing games, cosplay contests, parody shows and raves for even n00bs to take a deep dive into the style that has grown a cult following in the past 50 years....

    Eagle Anime of Minnesota will bring a $100 Digimon figure from the Adventure G.E.M. series.
  9. The Bachelorette, Season 11, Episode 5: Friends in low places


    Friends don't let friends mack on their girlfriends.

    This has been biggest and most fundamental misunderstanding among the remaining men in this season of The Bachelorette.

    They turned against Clint because he wasn't friendly. They turned on JJ because he was a bad friend to Clint. They turned on Kaitlyn because she wanted to explore her friendship with Nick. And they will turn on Nick because they don't consider him a friend....

    Kaitlyn and Doug E. Fresh welcome the group daters to the most painful rap battle in human history.
  10. Additions at MOSI will let you ride driverless shuttle, pilot drones and code robots


    Additions to the Innovate exhibit at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry will allow visitors to ride a driverless shuttle, pilot drones and code robots beginning as early as next week. The intelligent and electric Meridian Shuttle opening June 13 will be the first of its kind open to the general public in the United States, MOSI said. Guests will be able to hop on the shuttle eight at a time in the museum lobby and take a fully computerized spin around the first floor. A docent called a STEAM Punk will ride along with passengers, explain the technology and answer questions, said Megan Haskins, MOSI's marketing director. Starting in July, tech fans will also be able to pilot flying, rolling and submersible drones in MOSI's new Drone Zone. The Idea Zone is also adding a component allowing future inventors to code a robot to explore off-world terrain and navigate a maze. Exhibit organizers say introducing the tech to consumers before it is commercially available gives them the chance to ask questions about the safety and feasibility of driverless vehicles. Admission to the museum is $22.95 adults, $18.95 kids. For more information, visit — Robbyn Mitchell, Times staff writer...

    MOSI is located at 4801 E. Fowler AvenueTampa, FL  33617
  11. G. Bar in Ybor City closes after sale to Orlando proprietor


    YBOR CITY — Brief-clad, male go-go dancers and sharp-tongued drag queens were only a small part of the legacy of G. Bar, which closed its doors on May 30.

    Since its opening nine years ago, the bar at 1401 E Seventh Ave. has hosted countless world-class DJs, dozens of dollar drink nights and a few internationally recognizable pop acts, including Lady Gaga in 2008.

    Owners D. Stephen Moss and Steve Donahue decided to sell the G. Bar property in early May, after an Orlando bar proprietor made a generous offer on the space. ...

    Patrons dance in G. Bar at 1401 E Seventh Ave.
  12. From This Day: Virginia Howard and Keith Konga


    CLEARWATER — As they cruised through the neighborhood they had grown up in, Keith Konga motioned toward the woods where he and Virginia Howard took walks the summer before ninth grade.

    "Oh, look, there's the woods. We can go make out for old time's sake," said Keith, 28, co-owner of a contracting business called REI in Clearwater.

    Bemused, Virginia took him to task about the joke before taking him up on his offer to spend a little more time together. ...

    Keith Konga and Virginia Howard married on March 21. Here, they cut the cake at their Clearwater Garden Club reception.
  13. Where to watch the Women's World Cup in Tampa Bay


    Here's the thing: Celebrating a victory is always better when you have someone to do it with. Soccer maniacs, patriots and just sports fans in general have the chance to experience some national pride this summer as the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team begins its campaign toward a FIFA Women's World Cup on Monday.

    Local sports bars and eateries aren't pulling out all the stops as they did for the U.S. Men's uphill battle in Brazil last year, but a chosen few have answered the call to give refuge to the diehards. A U.S. Soccer supporters club, the American Outlaws, has four strong chapters in the Tampa Bay area, and each is planning its own watch party to support our women....

    American Outlaws Tampa chapter members watch a USA Men’s Soccer match at MacDinton’s in Tampa last year. Local Outlaws chapters will host Women’s World Cup watch parties at MacDinton’s locations on both sides of the bay.
  14. 'The Bachelorette' Season 11, Episode 4: Villains Gotta Vil


    First, an apology.

    I’m sorry, Tony, that I misunderstood your “heart of a warrior and the spirit of a gypsy” as craziness. When you first hopped out of the limo with a STILL unexplained black eye rattling on about energies and zen, you seemed like you were one bad break from going on a cross-country murder spree.

    Monday night, America found out the truth. You had too much sense to be on The Bachelorette. In three weeks, the suitors have been subjected to boxing, stand-up comedy and now Sumo wrestling. “Why can’t we go to the zoo?” Tony screamed. “And imitate the animals. Let’s see who makes the best elephant noise.”...

    Clint and Shawn B. prepare to square off in the Sumo ring of love.
  15. Joshua Malina of 'Scandal,' 'West Wing' talks about being a mensch in Hollywood

    The Feed

    TAMPA — Even after more than 40 speaking engagements at Jewish Federations around the country, Joshua Malina doesn't consider himself an authority on the faith.

    "I am speaking about the only topic on which I am an authority — myself," said the actor who plays Attorney General David Rosen on ABC's Scandal.

    He spoke about his experiences in Hollywood and his life as a practicing Jew to donors and volunteers from the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federations on Thursday night. The event drew 100 people to the Mainsail Conference Center in Tampa. ...

    Joshua Malina, who plays David Rosen in ABC’s Scandal, spoke at the Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federations Thursday.