Sometimes, it feels like the world just takes and takes. And then other times, something happens that makes you go, "I must be living right." Or at least, "There must be a constantly aging portrait of me in very ugly shoes hanging on a wall somewhere."
Let me tell you about that moment.
It was a week ago. We were having one of our semi-annual office clothing swaps, and I had already been down to the pile, selecting a couple cute things, a skirt here, a dress there, a necklace yonder. It was a pleasantly expected clothing swap haul....
The epiphany that we were cradling art in our newsprint-dusted fingers happened this summer.
Here in the office, some of us were drooling over Cameron Cottrill's breathtakingly nerdy illustration of the grand dames of geekdom — Carrie Fisher, Linda Hamilton, Lea Thompson.
Cameron, one of our staff news artists, conceptualized and created the illustration to run on the cover of Weekend. But the image clearly had legs beyond the news cycle. Even Thompson tweeted kind words about the cover....
This is not a trick:
Tampa's Jobsite Theater is putting on a musical version of Silence of the Lambs, just in time for Halloween. Yes, that Silence. The one with the lotion and the basket and the fava beans. It's for adult eyes only, and as performing arts critic Andrew Meacham tells us, some of the song titles are not even printable in a family newspaper....
Going local is getting predictable, right?
Eating local, shopping local, growing local veggies on the local deck of your local co-op. We've all been there, seen that, sipped local beer flavored by the sweat of local mustaches.
This isn't to say we should return to big-box stores and chain restaurants out of boredom. Going local is cool, but it's time to push ourselves to new local limits....
09/23/15 Music & Concerts
Here's a Janet Jackson story — a parable, really — I'm going to tell my kids one day. Stay tuned for the moral.
It was middle school, and despite my Ogilvie perm and colossal glasses, I had rhythm in my heart. My destiny: the Palm Harbor Middle School dance team.
My friends and I signed up for auditions and spent an afternoon learning a dance routine set to the first 40 seconds of Janet Jackson's If, the part with the urgent, pulsing drum beats leading to some pretty inappropriate lyrics for a bunch of tweens to be slamming it to. Anyway....
09/09/15 Music & Concerts
It has become depressing, following the Instagram account.
I'm talking, of course, about Taylor Swift's Instagram account, @taylorswift, which as of Tuesday became the site's most-followed, surpassing Kim Kardashian. There are times I really appreciate its more down-to-earth content (Taylor talking to goats on a farm, or Taylor talking to her cats, Taylor talking to species other than beautiful girls who would not have been my friend in high school). ...
ESTES PARK, COLO.
It was raining as we drove into town, a cloud of mist hanging heavy over the mountains. GPS was spotty, but I was sure we would find the hotel without a map. Our inner voices would guide us there. Our shining, you could say.
Besides, this was no squat motel that sat along the roadside. This was the historic Stanley Hotel, which despite its spooky reputation was supposed to shine white like a wedding cake against the landscape....
08/26/15 Visual Arts
When did Tampa Bay become a mini Wynwood?
Mural fans know that's the arts district of Miami, home to tens of thousands of square feet of public murals that have given new life to dreary warehouses. But you don't have to drive south to see public works of "wow" anymore.
Murals have been a big deal in St. Petersburg for several years, popping up on our own warehouses and shops (you need only stroll behind the buildings on the 600 block of Central Avenue to sample the smorgasbord). But the upcoming SHINE Mural Festival, which art critic Lennie Bennett explores this week, tests the city's appetite for murals at new levels. As artists roll in from around the country, spectators will have a chance to slow down and watch the creation of art that's literally bigger than all of us....
I'm going to make a couple assumptions.
1. You are familiar with a Birkin bag, because as one of our readers, you are interested in fashion, broadly informed and culturally literate.
2. You do not own a Birkin bag, because you are reading Deal Divas. The sleek and elegant Hermès bags named after British singer and style icon Jane Birkin have a loyal celebrity fan base, a waiting list and a price tag that starts at more than $10,000 and can exceed $200,000. LOL WHAT IS EVEN THAT AND WHY....
My first Tardis trip into the world of comic conventions was Orlando's MegaCon a few years back. It was a deep-end "nerd-u-cation."
I wasn't too into con culture, but it seemed like something imperative to cross off a bucket list. As boldly celebrating comic books, video games and all things geek gained steam in the mainstream, more and more folks were donning costumes in sweaty convention center halls to take part. Why not me?...
I fear I've become lazy.
It's a rare morning when I don't reach for a dress, not because I'm doing super fancy things with my life. It's because I can't be bothered to choose two items when I can just reach for one. A dress involves really no thought whatsoever, other than shoes and accessories, which are always kind of a mish-mash afterthought for me ("Sure, purple looks great with green!" and I'm out the door). ...
Maybe some teenagers were out doing cool things, like … I don't know. What did cool kids do? Smoke in the beds of pickup trucks while some mouth-breathing driver did loops at 80 miles per hour?
Who knows? I was too busy locked in my bedroom, listening to the original cast recording of Rent on repeat. Over. And over. And over. Jonathan Larson's musical had no doubt trickled into every high school theater troupe in the 1990s, and my own Countryside High in Clearwater was no exception. All the drama geeks loved it....
It's nice to get things sometimes (for instance, I'd really like a decent pancake griddle because my flapjack game is a laughing-hot mess). But in general, experiences are much more memorable, don't you think?
I encountered that firsthand this year. Making stained glass art never crossed my mind, and actually, it seemed too daunting to ever really try. Still, my mother enjoyed it when she was in her 20s, and as her retirement loomed, she mentioned she'd like to get back into it....
Maybe it was the beer and cheese dip, but when Left Shark started dancing tremendously off-beat at Super Bowl XLIX, I was transfixed like a monkey watching a twirling banana.
There was something so upsetting and excellent about the scene, so bad it was good. The bro in the plushie shark suit dancing with Katy Perry had an almost furrowed brow, a look of concern anyone would have for such a big performance. The other guy (coming soon to VH1's Where Are They Now?: Right Shark) was clearly outdancing his foe. The beach ball next to him also had eyeballs, and it was a Hunter S. Thompson-style mind warp. I clapped and clapped!...
Can you imagine my incredible fortune? The tasty knowledge sauce in which I marinate daily?
Right behind me sits the movie critic. Catty-corner, the performing arts critic. A few desks away, the food critic. On and on it goes, a panacea of experts who report privileged inside information, who try out good, bad and otherwise esoteric things so others don't have to first. Our arts and entertainment critics basically wrote the book on Having A Really Superior Time....