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Christopher Spata - Features Writer

Features Writer

I'm focused on the offbeat side of life. I love stories about people pursuing unusual goals, and what drives them. I've written about retirees attending Santa Claus School, competitors at the World Sign Spinning Championships and an optician rebuilding old Chuck E. Cheese robots in his bedroom. I'm also looking for hyper-local culture stories, from tracing the global path plastic beads take to Tampa's Gasparilla festival, to pondering mysterious butt graffiti in downtown St. Pete. I also contribute to our entertainment and Things To Do coverage. I previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star-Banner. I'm a rare, native-born Floridian, and collect all things Floridiana, from alligator ash trays to vintage postcards for roadside attractions. I say Florida isn't "weird," just more interesting.

  1. Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa.
    The expansion ‘fundamentally changes our business model,’ said the not-for-profit theater’s CEO.
  2. Honor guard soldiers salute as the urn containing the ashes of Maj. Albert L. Mitchell, U.S. Army (Retired) is seen during a ceremony Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
    The ashes were found in a St. Petersburg attic. Nine years after his death, a soldier is buried with honors at Bay Pines National Cemetery.
  3. The cast of "Floribama Shore." Season 3, which was shot in Pinellas County, premieres in November.
    MTV released a teaser trailer for its hit reality series filmed in Pinellas. Here’s a first look at what happened in St. Petersburg.
  4. On Saturday, J.B. Smoove will perform at Ferguson Hall, part of Tampa's Straz Center.
    The comedian known for portraying Leon Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ likes to wing it. He hits the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall on Saturday.
  5. From left, Laci Mosley, Laura Chinn, Patty Gugenheim and Melanie Field are pictured in a scene from "Florida Girls." [Pop TV]
    The Pop network TV comedy set in Tampa Bay drew acclaim from critics. It’s officially getting more episodes.
  6. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on Sept. 25 in St. Petersburg, FL. Morton will be on the mound in the American League wild-card game in Oakland.
    Though the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t hosting an official watch party for the AL wild-card playoff game, local businesses are advertising their own watch parties around Tampa Bay.
  7. Evander Preston inside his gallery Evander Preston Contemporary Jewelry Design in Pass-a-Grille. The portrait of Preston (left, top) was done by Adam Turkel. The carved wooden sculpture of a white dinner jacket to Preston's right was done by Tampa artist Fraser Smith. Preston died on Sept. 14.
    His gallery and his eccentric presence have been a constant in the St. Pete Beach area for decades.
  8. Tampa investor and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning Jeff Vinik, right, speaks about his investments in the video game industry at the eSports Summit Wednesday in Tampa as Matt Samost, Vice President of New Ventures for Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment looks on.
    A summit at USF brought together major players and explored the possibility of an esports arena.
  9. Una imagen del póster del documental de Magnolia Pictures "Wrinkles the Clown". La película se estrenará el 4 de octubre. [Cortesía de Magnolia Pictures]
    Tal vez haya visto el video de seguridad borroso del payaso con cuencas de ojos negros y desolado saliendo por debajo de la cama de un niño dormido antes de que la cámara se oscurezca. O captó la h
  10. A still image from Vice's "WTFlorida?!" episode on Paul Flart.
    Short documentaries on Floridians like hurricane headbanger Lane Pittman and Polk security guard “Paul Flart” expand their stories.