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 Burson family of Ohio looks at some of the hundreds of dead fish floating in the water as a result of Red Tide as tourists search for dolphins and other wildlife during the Pier Dolphin Cruise on Wednesday in St. Petersburg.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn drives a jet ski while holding the Stanley Cup as teammate Nikita Kucherov gestures to the crowd while celebrating the Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory with a boat parade Monday in Tampa.
  3. Michael Taylor, also known as the “The Armed Fisherman," strapped with his assault rifle and hand gun, baits his fishing line while at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach on July 2, 2021.
  4. Josh White, owner and founder of Tampa Bay Salvage, left, returns a chandelier to the Kellogg Mansion, 129 Buena Vista Dr. S, on Friday, July 9, 2021, in Dunedin. The property owner, Christa Carpenter, plans to donate chandeliers, statues, light fixtures, fountains and door knobs, and the property’s statues and fountains to the city so they can auction off the pieces and use that money for future preservation projects. 
  5. John Pack, 52, fishes from the Dunedin Causeway following Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday.
  6. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite captured this view of Tropical Storm Elsa churning off the coast of west Florida early Wednesday.
  7. Steven Rossi cuts Rodney Sesler's hair at Rossi's Barbershop on U.S. 41 S in Gibsonton. Both live live in ZIP code 33534, where only 31 percent of the residents have received a coronavirus vaccine shot. Ross said he has not been vaccinated, and wasn't surprised to hear that Gibsonton is one of the least vaccinated areas in Hillsborough County. Rossi said he is a fundamentalist Christian and they're "on the fence about it." Sesler said he's see how the vaccine affects people before he gets it.
  8. Tess and Paul Silverman pose for a portrait in their Sun City Center home on June 18, 2021, days before celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.
  9. St. Petersburg rapper Rod Wave will perform in Tampa at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
  10. The logo for the podcast "What Was That Like." The show is produced by Scott Johnson in Safety Harbor.
  11. Artist Dan Painter talks about his Tiny Town outdoor art studio in St. Petersburg on January 11, 2019.
  12. Al Nixon, 58, enjoys the sunrise from the St. Petersburg waterfront, every morning, from the same bench. He estimates that he makes it to his favorite spot 350 days out of the year. Most people walking by wave hello and Nixon greets them by name.
  13. Okie, a 22-year-old male mustang, is pictured with the identifying freeze brand he received during roundup before he was brought to the Wild Horse Rescue Center, Monday, May 24, 2021 in Webster.
  14. TikTok personality Casey Hamilton poses for a portrait in downtown Plant City on May 28, 2021. "If you're having a bad day, watch my goofy ass for a couple of minutes," Hamilton, a former Hillsborough County teacher said. "Maybe it'll alleviate things, what I'm do is supposed to distract you from the fact that life is what it is."
  15. The home at 129 Buena Vista Drive S in Dunedin seen during the years W.K. Kellogg owned it.
  16. The exterior of the Kellogg Mansion at 129 Bay Vista Dr. in Dunedin.
  17. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on June 10, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
  18. Dead & Company is coming to the MidFlorida Amphitheatre in October.
  19. A view from inside Dunedin's "Kellogg Mansion," which was built in the 1920s and was once home to cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg.
  20. Buffy lays down next to the "scent wheel," a tool used by Southeastern Guide Dogs to train her in scent detection. The canisters contain inactivated coronavirus samples.
  21. Rev. J. C Pritchett , president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance speaks to a small gathering Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in St. Petersburg, about the Derek Chauvin trial verdict in front of the Lynching Memorial.
  22. El rapero y creador de YouTube Lionel Barnes, mejor conocido como Lionel B., posa para un retrato en el estudio de su casa el jueves 8 de abril de 2021 en Tampa.
  23. Rapper and YouTube creator Lionel Barnes, better known as Lionel B, poses for a portrait in his home studio on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Tampa.