Ode to a mysterious pair of abandoned sandals spotted on the shore of the Dunedin Causeway

Mascara-blackened tears streamed Mariella Lontana's freckled cheeks as she tossed her apron and feathered cap into the dumpster outside the Nottingham Diner. For six years, since the week of her 16th birthday, she had schlepped dishes and poured refills at the Inwood, Long Island, mom-and-pop.  Sure, she hated the job, but Papa's lectures and the precise snap... Continue Reading →

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From Italy with Love: The Folk Explosion of Kalàscima

Sometimes music can take you over in a feverish, festive dance. During this moment of sweaty abandon you feel inextricably connected with everyone around you, and the past bleeds with the present. That's the feeling you'll get from the neofolk ensemble Kalàscima. The exuberant Southern Italian band performs tonight in Miami in the North Beach Bandshell in celebration... Continue Reading →

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Our Collective Responsibility in Ending Mass Violence

  America's misguided attachment to guns, the industry's lack of regulation must be addressed in the wake of these mass shootings, but there are other societal factors at play. American culture fetishizes dominance, violence and fear. Take our action movies, for instance -- they are vastly unlike the ones I grew up with -- they... Continue Reading →

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Conceptiams: neologisms that define our times, ed. 1

We all have shared observations that we sometimes don't even know we have. Even when our thoughts and opinions of a person, place or thing seem especially weird or nuanced, almost invariably, someone else has made the very same observation. The need to define phenomena of our times has also inspired this ostensibly  handy reference guide to... Continue Reading →

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6 thoughts after the solar eclipse

Extreme fatigue today but here are some semi-coherent thoughts to document this historic day. 1.) Have the sun and moon let all this attention to to their big heads? They are so 8 hours ago. Wish they could put on their act without requiring the purchase of accessories to view them. So high maintenance. Prima donnas, I... Continue Reading →

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Help Clearwater-Largo Road get some artistic love

Clearwater-Largo Road used to be one of the most depressed thoroughfares in Pinellas County. Though the long, curvy road borders one of Tampa Bay's most affluent areas — Belleair — the road itself used to represent an extreme example of wealth disparity. No more. The past decade has seen encouraging growth in growth and retail in... Continue Reading →

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From South America to Standing Rock II — the spirit lives at the camp

A follow-up to last Tuesday's Tampastica blog on Clearwater resident and photo/videographer Daniel Veintimilla's visit to the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota. He assisted the Weaving Ties organization escort Amazonian tribal leaders to the Standing Rock camp and is helping document the delivery of a ceremonial drum signed by 12 nations representatives in support of the Dakota Pipeline protest.

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From South America to Standing Rock — Daniel’s arrival to North Dakota

My life partner and frequent work companion, Daniel Veintimilla, landed a special gig this week assisting representatives of Amazonian tribes visiting North Dakota. An Ecuadorian friend referred him to Weaving Ties, a South America-based network of social organizations dedicated to the management of forest territories in Asia, America and Africa. (Daniel, for those of you who... Continue Reading →

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5 reasons to see Good People at American Stage

American Stage's first full-scale production of the new season and the first in its In Search Of ... America play series, Good People delves into class differences and the struggle to make ends meet in South Boston. With a spoonful of salty-sweet humor, Good People makes an all-too-relevant examination of The American Dream — how much more does it have to... Continue Reading →

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You go, Dina! Turkey neck no more

Every morning while watching WTSP-Ch. 10 with my mom a Sonobello plastic surgery clinic commercial comes on without fail. I am haunted by this adorable little lady's horror story about her insidious waddle. She has an accent and melodic speaking manner that I can't get out of my head. My hunch is that she's Greek-American ...... Continue Reading →

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Teenage Favorites Video Jukebox — my ’80s on MTV

Social media sites have been more splattered with 80s nostalgia than a Flashdance-off-the-shoulder puffy paint shirt. When it comes to music, as a rule, I try not to dwell on the past, but the 1980s are special to me because they perfectly span my adolescence, from age 11 to 20. I began my inklings of womanhood during the... Continue Reading →

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A closer look at the locally shot Waiting on Mary

Featured in the Sunscreen Film Festival on Sat., April 30, 12:15 p.m., Muvico Sundial 19 & IMAX, 151 Second Ave. N, Saint Petersburg. Glad to see that the Tampa Bay-shot feature film Waiting on Mary is making the rounds at the regional film festivals. The sweet dramedy by Dolphin in a Drum Productions features an all-star cast of local stage actors and... Continue Reading →

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8 reasons to see Jobsite Theater’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Jobsite Theater continues a tradition of unconventional theater offerings with Christopher Durang's conventionally lauded Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play that is no less weirdly wonderful than Jobsite's other offerings. The farce by satirist Christopher Durang endeared Broadway for the same cynical and cathartic reasons  Iñárritu's Birdman won the Oscar... Continue Reading →

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Strange Corners & Surprising Detours — Clearwater pt. 1

The second in a destination series,  Strange Corners & Surprising Detours is a recurring feature that highlights unusual, compelling and less-visited sites around Tampa Bay, and, occasionally, other places encountered while traveling. Photos and words by Julie Garisto; additional pics by Daniel Veintimilla. Clearwater conjures only a couple of bits of imagery to to most. Just about everyone loves or knows... Continue Reading →

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Broadway tour of Matilda the Musical brings the endearingly twisted wit of Roald Dahl to the Straz Center

The winner of four Tony Awards continues its run through Sunday. Review by Julie Garisto. Matilda the Musical, a Dickensian-lite tale of a young genius who uses the power of her mind to defy unfortunate circumstances, can be seen through Sunday at the Straz Center of Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. From its first note, the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's... Continue Reading →

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“Humans of New York” creator to speak at USF

The everyday portraits by Humans of New York have changed the way we social network. The photos lure you in with a compellingly intimate, empathic, connective power that resonates above the divisive bitchiness and antagonism going on just about everywhere else. See Brandon Stanton, the mastermind behind this internet staple in April at USF. Stanton will appear on Tuesday, April... Continue Reading →

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Spend a well-versed Saturday afternoon at Improbable Athenaeum’s Poem Swap

  Saturday afternoons aren't just for running errands. Add a little poetic flourish  with professional actors and fellow lexophiles reciting favorite verse  at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16. Tampa theater company Improbable Athenaeum invites poetry lovers to the Seminole Heights Library to bring a book or print-out that includes a treasured poem. You can either request that one of Improbable Athenaeum's performers read... Continue Reading →

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Obscure goodies

When discussing music from the past, Brian Repetto, a.k.a. the Dark Esquire and of Dumbwaiters/Insect Joy fame has always had a great knack for reminding us about what we forgot and making us aware of what we missed. He's the guy to remind you that Simple Minds had much cooler stuff out there way way way before the Breakfast Club soundtrack.... Continue Reading →

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Tampa Bay Band Photo Hall of Shame

I get inundated with ridiculous band photos all year long from earnest and often talented  musicians wanting to get their name out. Sometimes in their efforts to gain exposure they make some misguided decisions. I think as a public service and excuse for a laugh we should award the best worst  local band pics we see. If... Continue Reading →

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Fond farewells

   No end-of-the-decade retrospective would be complete without mentioning a few of the great individuals who touched our lives and, sadly for us, left our world. While I regret I cannot include all the late great musicians who made an impact, there are certainly three standouts: Jeff Wood, Mike O'Neill and Dave "Dave Rat" Anderson.    Please read below and share... Continue Reading →

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Lots to look forward to in 10 …

I think 2009 became bogged down by holding patterns in many arenas of expression --  especially in music ... especially local music. My complaint about recent times: My head is worn out from nodding. Please -- somebody -- shake my booty again. Keep your black-frame glasses and geeky cool indie aesthetic. That's quite all right by me.... Continue Reading →

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On Crystal Antlers, on blitzing

Crystal Anters, performing tonight at Crowbar in Ybor City. Antlers this time of year usually conjure images of Canadian beasts schlepping Santa's sleigh. If we were to suss out indie rock's Rudolph, we'd have to allocate that awesome misfit honor to Crystal Antlers from Long Beach: "fringe-psych explorers of the first order," according to label Touch and Go's site. The swirly, oomphy band... Continue Reading →

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An ‘Insane’ Jannus finale (maybe?)

      Walking through Downtown St. Pete to Jannus Landing Friday night, I felt like that down-on-his-luck movie character who stumbles on the dilapidated cinema palace of his youth; a rumpled newspaper skips by; a homeless man urinates on the boarded-up box office window; and above, a marquee spells out in mismatched letters a ridiculous... Continue Reading →

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Gogol Bordello man goes Rio grand

Here are some highlights of my interview with Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz, which appeared in tbt* today. The band brings its Eastern European-folk punk-mishmash of styles and infectious reverie to the Ritz in Ybor City, Tampa, this Monday. What's new recording-wise; what's on the horizon for Gogol Bordello?    We’re working on new record with... Continue Reading →

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It was an Americana whirl, fulfilled promises

The Americana Fest at Skipper's Saturday was a resounding success. (Apologies  for the belated post. Your friendly writer here is battling an uprecedented case of malaise, insomnia and brain fog. That. ...  Just. ... Won't. ... Go. ...  Away. ... I'm fighting it though. Like Eugene Hutz says: "I'm in touch with my inner warrior.") So back on point: The  shindig at the Skipperdome was... Continue Reading →

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Matt Butcher, by the pound

  Photo by Charles Brewer III        Matthew Butcher, a soon-to-be 26-year-old singer, guitarist and harmonica player from Orlando, and longtime friend Dave Chmil used to be in the twangy pop band the Heathens, which disbanded in 2006.    His current act, a group of close, simpatico musicians -- Daniel Berry, drums; Matt Mendel; piano, organ and... Continue Reading →

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Heat, love and high fidelity

Last weekend involved music shows in Orlando and Tampa in one weekend. Considering my low key mood these past few months, this double-header presented a challenge -- but was well worth the time. Friday night Tampa Bay music enthusiasts of many ages and predilections had the privilege to see Brent and Darren Rademaker reunite at New World Brewery. A nice size... Continue Reading →

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Philip Pietri, uncut

  Here's the initial version of my interview with Philip Pietri. He's performing tonight with Brent and Darren Rademaker (of A New Personality, Tyde, Further and Beachwood Sparks) and Junkyard Kings at New World Brewery in Ybor city.   1. When did you start this performance project and are you releasing a CD this year? If... Continue Reading →

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A classic Tampa night

Friday night was not tightly planned but included an itinerary: 1. Brent Rademaker at Friday Extra concert, Lowry Park 2. Grand opening party of Karma Bar, featuring D'Visitors  3. Cumshotte reunion at Brass Mug. I arrived too late to enjoy the dreamy pop of Beachwood Sparks' Rademaker but got to say hello to him, wife Kate, chihuahua... Continue Reading →

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The Semis go shopping!

The Semis' guitarist Matt, left, and frontman Billy, looking like they're in a special frame of mind.     Major label bands have riders. Locals have grocery lists. I semi-jokingly asked the Semis to provide their shopping list during a silly Facebook conversation, and to my surprise, Billy Summer (lead vocals, guitar) and Matt Simmons (guitar) obliged.... Continue Reading →

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Will, unfiltered

By Julie Garisto Below is a transcript of an interview with Will Quinlan on Feb. 19, 2009, conducted when I was gathering information for tbt* Ultimate Local Band profile I did on his band Will Quinlan and the Diviners, which ran in tbt* on March 20.   I’ve noticed you’ve gotten some recognition on a nation... Continue Reading →

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Reciprocation time, folks

  WMNF is a hard-working mother who toils around the clock to keep Tampa Bay fed and bathed with enlightenment and entertainment, making up for the ways that all of  the other radio stations fall short in taking care of us. And like our moms, 88.5 FM never seems to get the respect and generosity she deserves but keeps at it, growing... Continue Reading →

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Mogul Street Reserve news

Dispatch from the band: Tune in to Stage Front Radio on 1490am tonight at 11 because we're the night's guests! We're going to shoot the shit with the hosts and play a few songs LIVE on the air! I believe they allow listeners to call in and ask questions so feel free to take advantage... Continue Reading →

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Rebekah and Ronny get Sirius action during the Super Bowl

  With the Super Bowl being hiked in our hometown, it seems fitting that Tampa rockers would get spotlighted. In a perfect world that would be expected. Since it's far from being even halfway perfect, I'm proud and excited to announce that Ronny Elliott and Rebekah Pulley, two of our area's shining stars, are going to be performing live on... Continue Reading →

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A new way for Tampa Bay bands to get their music out

A dispatch from local scene hero Marshall Dickson: These are truly interesting times in the music business.  The spirit of The Wild West is back, and the playing field is leveled. iTunes, Amazon, "InsertNameOfYourFavoriteRecordStoreHere.com" and other digital means of media distribution, are the new frontier. I've assembled a gateway to this digital marketplace for smaller... Continue Reading →

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What is your take on local music?

Our relationship with music is as personal and unique as our relationship with our spouses -- or God, for that matter. No two people approach it the same way. There's no right number of records, band biographies, trivia,  name-dropping or snobbery that elevates any one music lover above another.  More heart, passion and intense thought might go into one song on... Continue Reading →

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Who needs a national headliner, anyway?

(grainy) photo of Geri X, by Julie Garisto (some more amateur pics at the bottom) Geri X's CD release party, with Will Quinlan and the Diviners; Have Gun, Will Travel; and the Beauvilles offered bay area music lovers the real deal concert experience without the Ticketmaster prices and Steroid buffoons in yellow shirts. Getting out to the show was... Continue Reading →

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