Christopher Spata - Culture Reporter

Culture Reporter

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. The pirate ship Jose Gasparilla bears down on Tampa  for the annual Gasparilla pirate celebration on Jan. 25, 2020. The event was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla says the next one won't be held until January 2022.
  2. Everything seems larger than life when it comes to the WWE. WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium, home of the latest Super Bowl champs, is no exception.
  3. Jon Moxley, on the ground outside the ring, during a professional wrestling match at "Bloodsport 6" at the Cuban Club in Ybor City on April 8, 2021.
  4. St. Petersburg native Rod Wave in a 2020 publicity photo.
  5. Nielsen executives applaud during opening bell ceremonies for the Nielsen IPO, at the New York Stock Exchange in  2011.
  6. A photo of the sold-out crowd in New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, which hosted 2019's WrestleMania. Tampa is set to host WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium on April 10 and 11.
  7. "Thee Technical Alchemist" David Mercury, top, wrestles with Boots during a Generation Championship Wrestling match at Carrollwood Cultural Center in Tampa in February 2020.
  8. Senior biologist Michelle Uhlig offers a roseate spoonbill a morning bite while putting out feed pans at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
  9. Staff members from "Sparks," a student run magazine covering Asian American affairs at the University of South Florida, meets virtually on March 19, 2021 to discuss their reactions to the shootings at massage parlors in Atlanta.
  10. Sharelle Rosado protagonizará una serie aún sin título sobre una empresa de bienes raíces totalmente negra en Tampa Bay para Netflix. m in Tampa Bay for Netflix.
  11. Chris Blackwell and Alexia Khammanivong seen during a trip to Orlando in 2019.
  12. Zachary D'Onofrio auditions for "American Idol" in an episode that aired Sunday, March 14.
  13. Sharelle Rosado will star in an as-yet-untitled series about an all-Black real estate firm in Tampa Bay for Netflix.
  14. A new exhibit is set to open at the Henry B. Plant Museum about a Booker T. Washington speech delivered in Tampa in 1912.
  15. Kenzie Wheeler performs on the March 1, 2021 episode of "The Voice" on NBC.
  16. Alanis Sophia durante su audición en "American Idol" en el episodio que se transmitió el 28 de febrero, 2021.
  17. Alanis Sophia during her audition for "American Idol" in an episode that aired Feb. 28, 2021.
  18. Dennis Dean in the documentary "Some Kind of Heaven."
  19. Calvin Royal III performs in "Apollo" in 2019.
  20. Tampa Theatre went dark due to the coronavirus in March 2020. It will reopen March 11 for a one-movie test run.
  21. Jeanette "Black Widow" Lee plays billiards at the Ray's FanFest on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
  22. The City of Tampa flag. [Wikimedia Commons]
  23. Prince Midnight with his skelecaster guitar.