Arts and culture

Polk County saw one of the greatest bicycle racers ever continue his successful transition to the world of triathlons, as Lance Armstrong won the Ironman 70.3 Florida race in Lake Eva Park in Haines City Sunday.

The seven time Tour de France winner posted his first win in four races this year with a time of 3:45:38, ten minutes ahead of second place finisher David Kahn.

USF Athletics

The University of South Florida softball team is one step closer to the Women's College World Series after beating the University of Florida 1-0 Sunday, advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals for just the second time in school history. 

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hillsborough County Commission has agreed to lease land to the City of Tampa for the Al Lopez Baseball Museum.

The museum would be located at 19th Street and 9th Avenue in Ybor City.

Photo by Carmel Delshad

This is the first time Egyptians living abroad can vote in the presidential elections from outside Egypt. But the deadline to cast that ballot is May 17, 2012.

This is also the first presidential election since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. The landmark election has some Egyptians living in Tampa excited.

Khaled Mostafa left Egypt 12 years ago. Yet, within the last year, he has visited three times to participate and protest in the revolution that overthrew longtime Pres. Mubarak.

Aimee Blodgett / USF News

Unless you’ve been in the USF Sun Dome in the last week or two, then you really haven’t been in the Sun Dome!

The arena has reopened after a 36 million dollar renovation—but it’s almost like a completely new building. This week's University Beat on WUSF Public Media takes you inside the new and improved Sun Dome, and hears from USF President Judy Genshaft and Athletic Director Doug Woolard, who expressed some interesting thoughts about the possibility of an eventual on-campus football stadium.

Mike Birbiglia never wanted his Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross to he didn't let it.

That's the premise of this new short film, written and directed by Birbiglia and produced by Ira Glass of "This American Life."

Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays.

According to a Time magazine blog, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is the third worst sports stadium in the United States. 

On a list that includes such fabled facilities as L.A.'s Dodgers Stadium (10th worst) and Boston's Fenway Park (8th), the home of the Tampa Bay Rays finished behind only Long Island's Nassau Colliseum (nickname: Nassau Mausoleum and site of a government asbestos investigation) and the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis (site of a snow-induced roof collapse in 2010).

An ultra-long wait to get through customs and fatigue didn't dim the light of Cuban conductor Enrique Perez Mesa. He is unassuming and funny.

He's in town for performances with The Florida Orchestra as part of its multi-year cultural exchange and makes his U.S debut this weekend. And the orchestra's Henry Adams was gracious enough to translate for us.

Mesa helped me understand how the Cuban system of teaching music compares to the one in Venezuela known for raising up famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Mesa says students in Cuba have to undergo a series of hard tests and compete for full tuition at the state-funded arts program which educates with the goal of its students having a career in music or other arts. 

For students of the violin or piano, that may mean a study of 20 years.

He likens it to the "Palacio de Bellas Artes" in Mexico.

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts finds economic mobility differs significantly across the United States. The report finds Americans are more likely to move up the economic ladder if they live in the northeast.

The Daily Show Coming to Tampa for the RNC

May 9, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Comedy Central

The 16 Emmy Award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" will be airing from the Straz Center in downtown Tampa during the week of the Republican National Convention in August.

All tickets for the tapings of the show were distributed within an hour of the announcement, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The shows will air on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. August 28-31 with expected feature reports from the convention's location at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Bill Ratliff, the former news anchor for WFLA Channel 8, died this afternoon, according to

The story quotes a family spokesman as saying Ratliff passed away after complications from surgery.

Ratliff worked for News Channel 8 for 27 years, from 1982 to 2009. He served as the morning news anchor and managing editor at the station and co-anchored "News Channel 8 Today" and "The News Channel 8 Midday Report."

Almost 300 USF students recently joined "The Buried Life," a group of TV reality stars to help set a new Guinness World Record. This week’s University Beat on WUSF Public Media takes us to the event, which asked the question: what’s the one thing you want to do before you die?

Big East Conference

As if the continuing changes to Big East Conference membership wasn't enough, now the man leading the Conference is stepping down. 

John Marinatto announced his resignation as Big East Commissioner this morning, just three years after taking the job. 

Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays.

There's a perception in Major League Baseball that fans in the Tampa Bay region are not supportive of the Rays and don't come to the ballpark. So far, attendance at Tropicana Field for 2012 tells a different story.

The Tampa Bay Rays are averaging 20,017 which on its own is not great - 28 out of 30 teams. Cleveland (14,624) and the Chicago White Sox (19,911) are averaging fewer fans at home games.

Eric LeGrand: The Buccaneer's Classiest Pick

May 2, 2012

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand.

Legrand hasn't played a down since 2010 when he was paralyzed during a game with Army. Buccaneer's coach Greg Schiano was his coach then.

This would have been LeGrand's draft year and that was apparently weighing heavily on Schiano's mind. So the new NFL coach signed LeGrand, who has become a national inspiration after his horrific injury.

Legrand was told he would never breathe on his own. But he is.


Some Tampa Bay Rays baseball fans might be envious of the Miami Marlin's new ballpark with its retractable roof and real grass. However, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. In fact, the grass is brown and the roof leaks.

Floridians: Who We Are and Where We Come From

May 1, 2012

Floridians are not from here. That's one stat Florida Trends has dug out of the latest census data.

According the "Florida Trends" research, here are five stats about who Floridians are:

1) Florida is number 2 in the nation for the lowest percentage of residents born in the state -- 35.2 per cent. Only Nevada's 24.3 per cent is lower.

2) More Floridians move to the state from New York than anywhere else -- most that 55,000 in 2010.

USF Athletics

While 253 players had their names called at this year's NFL Draft, their off the field stories may not be as interesting as that of an undrafted USF football player who signed a free agent contract with his hometown team.

Courtesy Sarasota Ballet

Here are a few things you may not know about Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb:

  • He was born in the North of England and his life story is "eerily" similar to "Billy Elliot," though he's never had any communication with the movie producers.
  • He's never seen "Black Swan" and says "Dancing with the Stars" has had a bigger impact.
  • Says he might have reconsidered whether his company should go to  Ballet Across America III it had it been at the Met in New York, rather than at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  Because of the youth of the company.

Tonight is The Sarasota Ballet's final performance of several world premieres by company dancers in "Theatre of Dreams."

City of Sarasota

Love it or hate it, Sarasota's "Unconditional Surrender" statue will be missing from the city's waterfront for awhile. Just how long is not clear.

The nearly 3-story high statue that resembles a famous Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of an impromptu kiss between a sailor and a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day, was struck by a car on Thursday.  The statue has stood along Sarasota Bay for years and is on loan to the city.

It's not often you hear about a play based on an environmental disaster. But playwright Caridad Svich has done just that. It's called "The Way of Water," and was timed to mark the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.  The play looks at the spill's effects on human health and the environment from the viewpoint of two affected families.  WUSF's Steve Newborn talks about the play with Svitch.

American Stage Theatre will be hosting a reading at 8 p.m.  April 28th at 163 Third St. N. in  downtown St. Petersburg.

After an incursion by the upstart Miami Cuban community, the people have spoken – Tampa is the true home of the Cuban sandwich.

More than 7,200 people voted at the NPR food blog, “The Salt,” and the results speak for themselves: 57 percent for Tampa, 43 percent for Miami as the true home of the Cuban sandwich.

Two cities -- Tampa and Miami -- are locked in a battle to claim the Cuban sandwich as its own.

WUSF's Bobbie O'Brien makes the case for Tampa on based on history and taste.

Reporter Kenny Malone from Miami’s WLRN took on the assignment to defend the Miami Cuban sandwich. For him, the best defense was an offensive strategy.

If we’ve learned anything this political season -- attack ads win wars.

Two cities -- Tampa and Miami -- are locked in a battle to claim the Cuban sandwich as its own. Last Thursday, the opening salvo was fired by Tampa City Council when it officially renamed it the “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich.”

Jim Thoree

Two cities, Tampa and Miami, are locked in a battle to claim the Cuban sandwich as its own.

A Cuban sandwich is shredded pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickles – served either cold or hot-pressed on Cuban bread. Think of it as the ham-and-cheese for the guayabera set.

Tampa’s version includes Genoa salami. Each city uses differently-shaped bread. Those are about the only substantive differences.

The Cuban Sandwich Crisis: The Case for Miami

Apr 20, 2012

Two cities, Tampa and Miami, are locked in a battle to claim the Cuban sandwich as its own.

A Cuban sandwich is shredded pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickles – served either cold or hot-pressed on Cuban bread. Think of it as the ham-and-cheese for the guayabera set.

Tampa’s version includes Genoa salami. Each city uses differently-shaped bread. Those are about the only substantive differences.

The Cultural Property Awareness Team (CPAT) at the University of South Florida is petitioning to get cultural property-themed exhibits set up at USF Museums.

If you're wondering what cultural property is (like I was) here's an example: let's take the 'Elgin Marbles controversy.' The Elgin marble sculptures or the Parthenon sculptures are from the fifth century and originated in Greece.

Downtown Tampa will be seeing stars, four stars to be exact, in about two years when the Old Federal Courthouse is converted into a luxury hotel.

Tampa City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a lease with for the city-owned building with Tampa Bay Hotel Partners, LLC.

Bob McDonaugh, administrator for Tampa’s Economic and Urban Development, negotiated the 60-year lease. The hotel will rent the property for $1 a year for the first two years as the 106-year-old building is being renovated. But, the rent never goes higher than $15,000 a year.

It’s unanimous. The “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich” is now officially Tampa’s signature sandwich.

The reading of the resolution and the vote by Tampa City Council took less time – about 2 minutes – than it takes to order a Cuban at some of Tampa’s more popular lunch spots.

Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin also wanted to trademark the term “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich.” However, she decided against the trademark when she found out the it would require anyone using the phrase to get city permission.

Dear Dick Clark,

A lot of stories I'll read about you today will be about where you were born, your long career and blah, blah, blah.

All that stuff doesn't hold a candle to what you've meant to my life.