Culture

Arts and culture

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The 112th Florida State Fair with its corn dogs, midway rides and life-stock shows opened Thursday on grounds just east of Tampa.

Flanked by law enforcement officers and in front of several TV news cameras, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi flipped a ceremonial  lever as a profusion of multi-colored hues lit up the midway.

Tiny Desk; Big Exposure

Jan 28, 2016

The deadline for NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest is next Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Tiny Desk Concerts are intimate concerts, featuring new videos of original music recorded at the desk of “All Songs Considered’s  Bob Boilen. Last year, NPR Music published 84 Tiny Desk Concerts, and they seem to be catching on.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Saturday's gala concert in St. Petersburg featuring Michael Feinstein wraps up a busy week for The Florida Orchestra, which is spending a few days on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.

AJ Mast

This Saturday, (January 30th), Michael Feinstein will perform with The Florida Orchestra lead by new Music Director Michael Francis at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. It is the orchestra's Gala fundraising event.

70 Years Later, Showman Not Slowing Down

Jan 8, 2016
Quincy J. Walters / WUSF News

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in Tampa this week, once again kicking off its annual North American tour. 

The Tampa Bay area has a rich history involving the circus and carnivals, and the people who perform under the big top. For many who once worked the side-show circuit, they've made Gibsonton their winter home, including showman Ward Hall.

Bob Leverone / AP Photo

Jameis Winston had a strong rookie season, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tripled their victory total from the previous year. Still, it wasn't enough to save coach Lovie Smith's job.

Smith was fired Wednesday night after going 6-10 this season, 8-24 overall in two years running a team that has missed the playoffs eight consecutive years.

A Blind Date Leads To Vision

Jan 6, 2016
Spencer Bragan

In a story that has gained international attention, a Tampa blind date set up by Tinder has helped saved a life.

Susan Giles Wantuck

It's hard to believe that "The Nutcracker" ballet was not a hit from the get-go. Maybe it's because the premiere came during a double-bill performance that included Tchaikovsky's lyric opera Iolanta.

Nutcracker is the dreamy story of a girl who rescues a nutcracker prince during a battle with the Mouse King and his minions. It was cooked up in a novella called "Nutcracker and Mouse King," by E.T.A. Hoffman in the 19th century.

Tchaikovsky wrote the music for the ballet and apparently bristled against the tight dictates for the composition. 

Soundscapes Inspired By Park's Landscapes

Dec 7, 2015
Victoria Nicole

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve sits in the middle of St. Petersburg as an oasis of sorts.

Many nights, night air fills the park with sounds of chirping crickets and rustling leaves, as trees sway in the wayward wind. But one night last month, five local experimental musicians positioned at various points along the hiking trail joined in, creating soundscapes inspired by the landscape.

PINC Sarasota

Sarasota this week is hosting an out-of-the-ordinary symposium that has its roots in the Netherlands.

Keep Me In Stiches

Three Tampa Bay stores are looking for volunteers this week to help make crate quilts and bandanas for homeless dogs and cats and you don’t have to know how to sew to help.

Courtesy of Sherry Hood / WUSF Public Media

A 15-foot-tall Christmas tree was created with nearly 350 bromeliads can be seen outside the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate during the Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens celebration, November 27th through January 3rd.

Click on the video below to hear Bok Tower gardener John Arnett talk about this unique tree.

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION BOHEMIA MAGAZINE

  The 2015 Major League Baseball season is history.

And as we wait for Spring Training to arrive, let's look into baseball's past -- to  1947. That's when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

In the months before that historic moment, Robinson played in Havana, Cuba -- intersecting with another nation's rich sports tradition. The rosters of Cuban teams like Almendares were filled with its own roster of stars, such as Agapito Mayor - a player who spent many of his final years living in West Tampa.

Miki Vargas via AP

When Rabbi Elliot Kukla became the first out transgender rabbi ordained in the Reform Jewish movement almost a decade ago, he would get questions from other rabbis along the lines of "There's a transgender congregant coming to services. What should I do?" He would tell the other rabbis to greet them with, "Shabbat shalom," the traditional welcome for anybody.

Photo by Eve Edelheit / The Stuart Society

Take a delicious appetizer or a sinful chocolate dessert and pair it with a Georgia O’Keefe poppy or a Rembrandt portrait and the result is the “Food + Art” cookbook.

The boo, which is produced by The Stuart Society, both benefits the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg (255 Beach Drive N.E.) and marks the museum’s 50th anniversary.

Ayumi Sakamoto

You might not want to ask The Ringling International Arts Festival Curator Dwight Currie how many mountains he had to move to make this year's RIAF happen.  This year, ahead of the Ringling's opening of its Asian Arts and Cultural Center, the focus of the festival is Asian artists.

Simulcasts Bringing Met Opera To Fans Again

Oct 9, 2015
Credit Marty Sohl / Metropolitain Opera via Associated Press

I'm in the third row, watching the Metropolitan Opera perform Giuseppe Verdi's  Il Trovatore. It's a pretty good view. I could see the anguish in a character's face as she sings an aria about an angry mob burning a woman alive. That event ignites the classic opera's flames of revenge -- flames that can only be doused with blood. 

But I wasn't watching the performance at New York's Lincoln Center. I was a little over 1,000 miles away, in an auditorium at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. 

Tim Redman

This weekend, Michael Francis will take the stage with The Florida Orchestra as its new Music Director. For the concerts to open the Masterworks season, Francis chose Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3 and the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, which will feature Valentina Lisitsa.

Francis said his idea was to present "two true epics," adding that they represent "very much the start of an American journey."

Pope Francis speaks his mind, and he did that again in his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday morning. But, in the vein of the best Jesuit teachers, Francis praised America, its rich political history and its ideals before delicately delivering some things its political leaders might, well, want to consider working on.

There were political messages that challenged the orthodoxy of both American political parties, but, in this 51-minute address, there were a lot more points of emphasis Democrats are happy about — and that put some pressure on Republicans.

Locals Prepare for Pope Francis' American Visit

Sep 23, 2015
Tony Gentile / Associated Press

When Sister Anne Dougherty of the Franciscan Center in Tampa received a call from Congresswoman Kathy Castor inviting her to see Pope Francis in Washington DC, she almost had to pinch herself. She thought she was dreaming. 

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