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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 do with hard work than it does straight-up good luck. The 2011 play is … Continue reading 5 reasons to see Good People at American Stage

The Toxic Nature of Militant Positivity

Originally posted on Thoughts About Healthcare:
Today I want to bring up an issue that’s been bothering me for the past few weeks, though isn’t directly related to healthcare. Still, it does have a significant effect on those who suffer from mental illness, as you will hopefully understand after reading this post. “Why can’t you just be positive about it? I hate people who can’t just… Continue reading The Toxic Nature of Militant Positivity

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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 … or maybe Brazilian or Latina. Not sure. Regardless of her … Continue reading You go, Dina! Turkey neck no more

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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 advent of MTV in the U.S. After growing up with … Continue reading Teenage Favorites Video Jukebox — my ’80s on MTV

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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 last year: It’s a non-stop riff on stage and showbiz life — its pitfalls, … Continue reading 8 reasons to see Jobsite Theater’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

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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 about the overcrowded, overdeveloped but still fabulous Clearwater Beach. Downtown Clearwater … Continue reading Strange Corners & Surprising Detours — Clearwater pt. 1

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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 1988 novel charms with ear-wormy Oliver!-style anthems and darkly cartoonish characters, like those in Tim Burton (Nightmare Before … Continue reading Broadway tour of Matilda the Musical brings the endearingly twisted wit of Roald Dahl to the Straz Center

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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 5, during USF Week. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., in … Continue reading “Humans of New York” creator to speak at USF

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 it — or recite some verse yourself. Formerly the Alley Cat Players, … Continue reading Spend a well-versed Saturday afternoon at Improbable Athenaeum’s Poem Swap

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. Likewise, he’s on top of what’s new and unusual — … Continue reading Obscure goodies

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 your band lands here, it’s all in good fun. We … Continue reading Tampa Bay Band Photo Hall of Shame

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 in the reminiscences. E-mail any pictures or fliers you want … Continue reading Fond farewells

Another look back at ’09: Best new(ish) bands on the scene

Some have been around for a year or two, but 2009 saw these acts come into their own, playing the mainstays of the music scene. My personal favorites among many — and that’s saying a lot. 1. Sons of Hippies – Married duo Katherine Kelly and Jonas Canales break all the rules and bring back the rebelliousness of 80s punk and the idealism of 60s … Continue reading Another look back at ’09: Best new(ish) bands on the scene

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. You don’t have to go total Usher on me. Just … Continue reading Lots to look forward to in 10 …

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 headlines a sweet-ass experimental type show at the Crowbar tonight. … Continue reading On Crystal Antlers, on blitzing

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 adult film title like Bazooms from the Moon.    Is … Continue reading An ‘Insane’ Jannus finale (maybe?)

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 Rick Rubin. I think it’s too exciting to hold some … Continue reading Gogol Bordello man goes Rio grand

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 almost uncomfortably crowded, it was so well attended. There were the old … Continue reading It was an Americana whirl, fulfilled promises

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 vocals; Dave Chmil, lead guitar and vocals; Gus Ramage, bass; … Continue reading Matt Butcher, by the pound

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 crowd showed up for the event despite the seamy, soupy … Continue reading Heat, love and high fidelity

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 not, what have you released so far? My band playing … Continue reading Philip Pietri, uncut

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 Starsky and the Kelly sisters (former high school friends). He … Continue reading A classic Tampa night

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. You’ll find this list chock full of necessities — and perversities (is that … Continue reading The Semis go shopping!

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 and coming up with new fun concert events, armed by the trusty … Continue reading Reciprocation time, folks

Great contest opportunity from Largo friend and music producer

This is from Barb Morrison, a genius musician, high school friend and top-notch producer in Brooklyn. She asked me to pass this along to band friends …    ENTER THE “WRITE A SONG WITH SUPER BUDDHA” CONTEST NOW !! GOLD RECORD producers and TOP 5 BILLBOARD dance chart writers SUPER BUDDHA are holding a NATIONAL SEARCH for new talent. How would you like to win a … Continue reading Great contest opportunity from Largo friend and music producer

Palantine, Lush Progress and Greymarket headline another great State showcase

  Palantine, from left, are Brian Johnson, Vinnie Cosentino and Jeff Fox. Feb 20 @ The State Theatre – 8 p.m. All Ages $11 by Julie Garisto    Make plans in advance because next Friday, Feb. 20, Palantine, Lush Progress and Greymarket will play alongside some formidable acts in another top-notch locals-only showcase at the State Theatre.    Two major reasons to go: to encourage a major venue outside a … Continue reading Palantine, Lush Progress and Greymarket headline another great State showcase

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 and roast us on the air!   http://www.myspace.com/mogulstreetreserve http://www.mogulstreetreserve.com Here’s … Continue reading Mogul Street Reserve news

Dukes of Hillsborough have some wild schemes cooked up …

Here is a slightly longer version of the Dukes of Hillsborough profile that ran in tbt* Friday, Feb. 6. Meet Dukes of Hillsborough by Julie Garisto      Duke boys: Jeff Brawer, vocals and guitar; Travis Malloy, bass; and Phil Stanwick, drums.       Punk rock royalty: Formed in Tampa in 2001, the Dukes have a no-nonsense and sensible reputation that precedes them, known for … Continue reading Dukes of Hillsborough have some wild schemes cooked up …

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 Dave Marsh’s Sunday radio show (live from the Super Bowl). … Continue reading Rebekah and Ronny get Sirius action during the Super Bowl

Skylight on the horizon, seeking drummer and vocalist

Those of you who got a sweet taste of new band Petrograd in Transit in ’08 and are wondering what happened to these promising gents, don’t fret. They may have broken up but they’re re-forming into a dynamic, soothing and soaring rock outfit called Our Skylight Assembly. The band slickly (but not too slickly) manages the unwieldy balance of sophistication and passion. If you like … Continue reading Skylight on the horizon, seeking drummer and vocalist

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 labels and bands who are having difficulty getting in on … Continue reading A new way for Tampa Bay bands to get their music out

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 repeat on a lonely heart’s car stereo than an overly excited DJ downloading thousands … Continue reading What is your take on local music?

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 a challenge. I had been ill for some five weeks … Continue reading Who needs a national headliner, anyway?

Into the Night and it feels right

    Put a young, enterprising group of blues and roots rockers in the studio with producer/local rock poobah on high Steve Connelly. The end product: An exceptional new CD,  Into the Night, by Roppongi’s Ace. And what comes inside that pretty package? Crystalline strums, gently seering harmonicas by bassist Jesse Norton, soft vibratos and quiet spaces between.  Max Norton’s beats anchor the whole shebang, but I personally would have … Continue reading Into the Night and it feels right

Rock for a cure to Parkinson’s

Do we need a reason to rock? Heck no, but if justifications are required, there’s no bigger one than A Reason to Rock 2. A Reason to Rock 2!, on Jan. 10 at Jannus Landing, benefits Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in honor of  Stephanie Levick’s father. She presents the benefit event each year to raise funds and awareness for the degenerative disease of the nervous system.  The line … Continue reading Rock for a cure to Parkinson’s

Ditchflowers bloom in early show at new Gasoline Alley

  I’ve been badgering all you Tampa Bay musicians and proprietors about trying new things to get a broader fan base. Here’s something mucho convenient and accessible, in Pinellas for a change and at a good time. First off, a hearty hooray for the bay area’s rockin’-melodic kickers of much ass, the Ditchflowers. The band goes on  on at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 (tomorrow) at the new, ostensibly improved, Gasoline Alley, … Continue reading Ditchflowers bloom in early show at new Gasoline Alley

Yule be rockin’ at New World

Good times were had when Scrog played the New World Christmas show in 2005. By Julie Garisto   New Granada‘s Annual Xmas Night Extravaganza Featuring Hankshaw, Davey von Bohlen, Jarvik 7 and King of Spain 9 p.m. Thursday   New World Brewery 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City 21 and older only, $8 (813) 248-4969      When the last present is regifted and the fruitcake … Continue reading Yule be rockin’ at New World

It’s a little jammy, but me likey

  Hip Abduction, I’m happy to say, sound especially groovalicous on their latest CD. The rhythms slither and sway more demurely than a Shakira spasm but are plenty seductive. The internationally flavored act (that may or may not be named after exercise equipment) includes David New on vocals and guitar; Chris Powers on bass;  Andrew Kilmartin on drums; Patrick Hernly on drums, pan and congas; Matt Gawlik on sax, keys and flute; and Kevin Clark on trumpet, flugelhorn. They just put out a 5-song EP that’s  … Continue reading It’s a little jammy, but me likey

Recession-proof our local music entertainment, please

I’m glad to see more venues (restaurants, cafes, clubs and other places) getting in on original live music entertainment. Some are conducive to bands, some not so much. Some places should stick to acoustic shows (like Tre Amici at the Bunker) and some don’t feel right for loud, aggressive bands (Kelly’s Pub). The latest to give local music a whirl, Czar night club in Ybor has been putting on early Saturday night … Continue reading Recession-proof our local music entertainment, please

Christmas comeback

Christmas night, for some, means the anticlimax of a hectic holiday or the disturbing realization that your loved ones are still and always be seriously fucked. For others, it means a memorable show at New World Brewery.  Typically, some band from back in the day reunites and a million people show up.   Well, this year seems to be no exception. Hankshaw is back. They’re performing with Jarvik 7. Hankshaw defies categorization. … Continue reading Christmas comeback

News from Ed, live karaoke and welcome back, Crash

Good to know that we geezers over 30 can stay viable and badass in the scene. Some of the scene’s most beloved vets are doing great things this fall. First off, awesome news from Ed Lowery. He’s drumming for the Boozers, from Tampa, who’s playing the day before Thanksgiving at Kelly’s Pub (Shawn Watkins production). Good oi/punk featuring  Joe Prince of Flat Stanley/Joey Sunshine Band, Dusty from … Continue reading News from Ed, live karaoke and welcome back, Crash

Back on the Sound Check (for a li’l while)

Hey, Sound Check writer Carole Giambalvo will be on her honeymoon, so I will be responsible for the tbt* concert picks column Nov. 14, 21 and 28. If you have a gig anytime, from Nov. 14 to Dec. 4, I’m your gal. E-mail me at juliegaristo@verizon.net. I used to write the column but gave it up to Carole after I left the Times staff for a … Continue reading Back on the Sound Check (for a li’l while)