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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

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  1. Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin, playing Tampa's 98 Rockfest, opens up on health scare

    Music & Concerts

    Things changed in the five years since Breaking Benjamin last performed in Tampa.

    Lead vocalist Benjamin Burnley got an entirely new group of bandmates, spent years dealing with a still-undiagnosed illness and had a son with his wife. For all the change, Burnley said fans of the band can count on the music remaining consistent.

    "I've always been the band's primary songwriter … so the core sound hasn't really changed," Burnley said....

    Breaking Benjamin Dark Before Dawn - Photo credit: Hollywood Record
  2. Dunedin nurse develops 'Skinny Driven Livin' cookbook and diet site

    Friends could see Tina Herron changing. Her nursing scrubs kept getting smaller and her meals stopped coming from the cafeteria.

    She'd spend hours in the kitchen whipping up low-carb, high-fiber meals to share with her husband, Pat, in their Dunedin home.

    "They'd come to me and ask if they could get the recipe for this or that and I'd give them to them," said Herron, 38, a nurse in Mease Countryside Hospital's progressive cardiac care unit. "Finally, someone suggested I turn them into a cookbook, and I thought, 'Why not?' "...

    Tina Herron with her healthy chicken fajitas.
  3. For this year's musical in the park, American Stage goes 'In the Heights'

    Stage

    Who better to tell the story of Latino struggles in rapidly gentrifying New York City than a group of Latinos currently living and working in the Big Apple?

    Those very New Yorkers will take on the 2008 Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights, for the 30th Annual American Stage in the Park musical at Demens Landing Park.

    St. Petersburg's biggest outdoor theater tradition opens again Friday with a rich and modern musical look inside a culture. Performers Justin Gregory Lopez, Renata Eastlick and Christie Prades each have a personal connection to the popular show....

    From left, Sir Brock Warren, Ericka Womack-Brown, Renata Eastlick, Justin Gregory Lopez, Christie Prades and Kathryn Huxtable take a break on the set at Demens Landing Park in downtown St. Petersburg.
  4. From This Day: Gregory Edwards and Kathleen Evans

    Relationships

    ODESSA — The Rev. Rick Lackore gave Gregory Edwards permission to kiss his bride, and Edwards took the moment to show all 40 of his guests the feelings he doesn't often put into words.

    He stepped toward Kathleen Evans and planted a long one on her in front of Crescent Lake at Old McMicky's Barn on Feb. 6.

    "When the reverend said, 'You may now kiss the bride,' that was my favorite part," said Greg, 34, a disabled Army veteran who lives in Seminole. "I just did what I wanted to do."...

    Gregory Edwards, 34, and Kathleen Evans, 29, were married at Old McMicky’s Barn in Odessa on Feb. 6. They’ll take a honeymoon cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, in May.
  5. Hymn For Her: Planting roots on and off the road

    Blog

    (Welcome to tbt*’s 2015 Ultimate Local Music Guide! All week we’re spotlighting 10 of our favorite local artists of the past year. Up next: Sarasota husband-and-wife twang-punk duo Hymn For Her.)

    Mondays aren’t as much of a mystery as they used to be for Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing.

    Days that used to begin in an Airstream trailer in Anywhere, U.S.A., now kick off in a typical Florida bungalow on a quiet side street of Sarasota....

    Hymn For Her.
  6. Infinite Skillz: Hustling his way from the suburbs to the scene

    Blog

    (Welcome to tbt*’s 2015 Ultimate Local Music Guide! All week we’re spotlighting 10 of our favorite local artists of the past year. Up next: St. Pete rapper and scene booster Infinite Skillz.)

    Today’s commercial hip hop doesn’t really represent Jeremy Lloyd Writt and his experiences.
    There’s much more to his story than turning up, meeting beautiful woman and indulging in life’s luxuries. Sure, those things are fine, but Writt demands more from his music....

    Infinite Skillz.
  7. A guide to Florida's 2015 fan conventions, led by Stan Lee, 'Walking Dead' and more

    Events

    All that money you saved this year by only giving gifts from dollar stores is about to come in handy. Next weekend marks the beginning of fan convention season in Central Florida, also known as Nerdmas. The biggest names in comic books, anime and sci-fi TV and movies will descend on the Sunshine State through fall, giving geeks the chance to get a photo op and autograph, and hear panel discussions about those really specific things their family members just "don't get." It's the time of year when Floridians can let their freak flag fly (in full Freakazoid costumes), and buy enough merch to fill up their TARDIS. Get out your calendars, kiddies. These conventions are where you'll be spending your weekends through November. Remember to gas up, and cosplay in breathable fabrics. — Robbyn Mitchell rmitchell@tampabay.com...

    Convention-season luminaries include Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and fan favorites Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy).
  8. LGBT pride store MC Film Fest closing in Ybor City

    Retail

    When Mark Bias and Carrie West went searching for a new home for their popular video rental and gay pride store in 2007, Ybor City was practically desolate.

    "There were 44 empty buildings here and the crime level was high," said West, president of Tampa Pride and co-owner of MC Film Fest. "We settled in and I told everyone we knew, 'Now is the time if you want to open a business in Ybor City.'"...

    Partners Carrie West, left and Mark Bias are the leaders of the renaissance of Ybor City as a gay district. They’ve spent their lives working for social change. Their video store, MC Film Fest, is now the hub of all GaYbor activity.
tbt* files (2008)
  9. In Tampa for the Women's Final Four? Here's a guide to the action

    Represent your team while doing something good during the NCAA Community 101 Project: Clean Up the Causeway. Women's basketball fans will gather on the Courtney Campbell Causeway for a cleanup project led by University of South Florida student-athletes from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday. Spaces are limited, so registration is required at tinyurl.com/cleancauseway.

    There's an NCAA Fan-Sparilla featuring food trucks, live entertainment, giveaways and a fireworks show over the downtown waterfront Friday at the Sail Pavilion at the Tampa Riverwalk, 333 S Franklin St. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m....

    Score a highly sought-after autograph from Breanna Stewart, UConn’s 
two-time All-American star forward, between 3:30 and 4 p.m. on Saturday.
  10. Review: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' stars bring cheeky humor, music, games to the Ritz Ybor in Tampa

    Blog

    If life is what you needed, Michelle Visage and the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons tour gave it all on Tuesday night at the Ritz Ybor.

    But it was not for everyone. Fans of drag in general may have felt lost as the in-references to former and current contestants, show gags and classic moment of the Logo TV reality competition show rolled through just about every performance. It was still enjoyable for the uninformed, but only a riot for the diehards who are seven season into the insanity with RuPaul....

    Cast members from several seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race came to the Ritz Ybor on March 31 for a tour dubbed "Battle of the Seasons."
  11. Tampa Pride returns with LGBT parade and street fest

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The last time Tampa had its own gay pride festivities, organizers went for broke. Pat Benatar headlined a concert at Raymond James Stadium, and the costs were so high there wasn't even a parade.

    "There was a lot of debt incurred by that team," said Carrie West, president of the new Tampa Pride. "Financially, there were problems that caused them to not be able to go on the next year."...

    St. Petersburg’s annual Pride parade, shown June 28, is the biggest in Florida. Tampa hopes that its parade and festival, Saturday in Ybor City, will grow to be a premier event. 
  12. Always outspoken, Michelle Visage brings 'RuPaul's Drag Race' spectacle to Tampa

    Events

    It ain't easy being mean.

    RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage dishes her advice to contestants competing on Logo TV to be the next drag superstar with a healthy dose of sarcasm, drawing the ire of fans of queens throughout the blogosphere.

    "They want me to be bitchy — which I'm not," laughed Visage, 46, of Los Angeles. "I'm snarky, for sure. They love me until I say something about the queen they love and then they're ready to kill me." ...

    Michelle Visage brings the snark as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
  13. For mud runners, getting dirty is no obstacle for fun, grueling challenge

    Health

    Leslie Brosig hates running. Still, she sat on the grass lot outside Raymond James Stadium, lacing her shoes, preparing to take off in the seventh wave of what would be her eighth mud race.

    "I'm into the gym and fitness, so I like the obstacles and pushing over them," said Brosig, 36, a nursing student from St. Petersburg. "Except the stairs. Those killed me last time."

    Brosig got into mud races, commonly known as OCRs (obstacle course races), through friends, and stuck with them even when her friends stopped wanting to go. ...

    Competitors have to lug objects like this 110-pound rock.
  14. From This Day: Patricia Cvejkus and Joshua Candamo

    Relationships

    TAMPA — The big box wrapped in Christmas paper didn't impress Patricia "Trish" Cvejkus as Joshua Candamo kept ribbing her to open the gift he'd bought her.

    "We were celebrating at his mother's house on Christmas Eve, and his 3-year-old niece was opening her gifts and showing each one to me," said Cvejkus, 33, a lawyer who lives in Carrollwood. "There was so much going on I just thought, 'Really? You want me to open this, now?' "...

    Patricia “Trish” Cvejkus, 33, and Joshua Candamo, 37, were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa on Jan. 24.
  15. Review: Lil Wayne flies through Tampa's Club Skye for quick late-night performance

    Blog

    ‚ÄčEvery person in Club Skye Thursday night could wring out their clothes and catch a contact high by the time Lil Wayne decided to start rapping.

    The rapper, in town for his annual trip the Tampa Pro competition at the Skatepark of Tampa, deigned to bless the audience with two songs from his mixtape Sorry 4 The Wait 2, and two feature verses from Nicki Minaj singles.

    Tickets said doors would open at 9 p.m., so the line started forming early outside the Ybor City haunt. When bouncers began taking tickets just before 11 p.m., the waiting game had already gotten into full swing....

    Lil Wayne breezed through Club Skye in Ybor City for a brief late-night performance on March 19, 2015.