More than a hundred, mostly retired, part-time musicians from around the country gathered last week in Sarasota to revive what some fear is a dying art – live circus music. These elder musicians hope to pass the mantle to a younger generation of performers.

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On this week's podcast, we carry forward the conversation started at the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs about the connection between  international tourism and arts and culture in St. Petersburg. We hear about the Tampa airport's importance to the effort, and WUSF News Director Mary Shedden talks to Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham and producer Stephanie Colombini about the three new museums coming on line in St. Petersburg. Also, the meaning of "City of Green Benches" is explained.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Florida Matters recently moderated a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs called "Arts Mecca: International Cultural Tourism in the Sunshine City." We talked with experts about how to draw culture-lovers from around the world to the Tampa Bay area.

This week on Florida Matters we'll hear highlights from that conversation.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Florida Matters recently hosted a panel discussion in front of a live audience at the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs. We talked with experts about how the Tampa Bay Area is becoming a cultural mecca for international tourists.

We’ll hear highlights from that conversation on this week’s episode.

Krayl Funch

Sometimes when something is as universal, necessary and mundane as eating, it's hard to make "food" sound special. But not for the people on this Florida Matters.

WUSF has been talking to people who communicate their passion about food in particularly interesting ways. muse.

Our guests include:

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

When’s the last time you received a personal, handwritten or typed letter in the mail – snail-mail that is? There’s a concern that emails have turned letter writing into a lost art and is going the way of typewriters.

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. 

M.S Butler

It's that time of year when thousands of students across the country get ready to graduate from public and private schools. But in St. Petersburg there's a unique group taking a walk across the stage after finishing four years at a local college.

It’s graduation week and there’s a buzz of anticipation in the air at Eckerd College. The ceremony is just about to begin and members of this class are too excited to sit or speak.

But this is not your normal graduating class

Lori Ballard / Creative Loafing

In the atrium of the Tampa Museum of Art, a dancer moved gracefully to pensive piano music. That was just one of the many acts at last year's GASP!--a one night festival for theater, dance, poetry, music and more.

This year, GASP! is back.

The festival is a collaborative effort between the Tampa Museum of Art and Creative Loafing

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

There's a new movie-watching experience in town. On the third Wednesday of every month, a small group of cinema buffs are watching unconventional films in unconventional spaces.  

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

A woman walks into the spotlight of the theater, looking down. A voice offstage, in Spanish, sings: "She's looking at her shadow". 

The woman is Miroslava Wilson, a dancer from Mexico. She's the co-director of Péndulo Cero, a contemporary dance company in Tijuana. Last week she was an artist-in-residence at USF's School of Theatre and Dance

Wilson says the dance, which is still a work-in-progress, is a reflection of her past and her future. 

St Petersburg's only African-American history museum may be getting the boot. On Thursday, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority voted 4-3 to sell its property where the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum currently sits.

City Councilman Karl Nurse said city attorneys will determine if  the housing authority has the ultimate say in what happens to the property. The museum has been on that site for 14 years as part of the Jordan Park housing project.

The report, which uses data extracted from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey, ranked the 48 states in the contiguous U.S. based on six different criteria, including long commutes, unemployment and amount of hours spent working. Each state's six scores were then averaged for a final score, which was then ranked from No. 1 to 48. Florida's high unemployment rate (11.3 percent) and high population of residents without health insurance (25.8 percent) helped the state earn the top spot

Nitheesh Shetty

The Tampa Cricket League wrapped up its spring season Saturday, May 10, 2014, with a tournament at Evans Park in Seffner. The 2014 Champion is the team Best 11 which defeated the Indo Kings 140 to 119 runs.

Vinyl Enthusiasts Celebrate Record Store Day

Apr 18, 2014
Tom Mcshane on Flickr

The Internet may be the place for music sales nowadays, but vinyl enthusiasts want to show there's still a place for records by celebrating Record Store Day.


The 7th annual Record Store Day is scheduled Saturday, April 19, 2014, in more than 1,000 stores across the world.


Buyer and inventory manager for Sound Exchange in Tampa, Steve Crace, said in the past, all sorts of people would stop in on Record Store Day.


Colleen Hamilton

A documentary that follows the real-life stories of more than 40 teenagers will premiere Friday night at Clearwater’s newly renovated Capitol Theatre.

You’ll have to know someone to get tickets because the film premiere of “Project: Shattered Silence” and the supplemental live performance is sold out.

Who, Exactly, Is A Gringo?

Aug 7, 2013

A college classmate asked me, "Where are you from?"

I gave him the long answer: I was born in Guatemala, but my mother is from Nicaragua, and I have lived in the U.S. my whole life.

"So, you're Guatemalan," he said. No, I'm not.

I may have been born in Guatemala, but I was raised in Florida. Regardless of the fact that I have lived in the U.S. since I was 2 years old, most Americans would find it strange to hear my grandma occasionally call me media gringa -- a half-gringa.

As I was heading home the other day, I was thinking about a situation I encountered a while ago when I landed back in the Washington, D.C., area after a trip.

I was hungry and saw that one of my favorite lunch spots had opened an outpost at the airport. So I ducked in there and was just about to order when I realized that a young woman standing next to me was having some sort of confrontation. It was loud, and getting louder.

Autism Defined by Those with the Diagnosis

Apr 22, 2013
Barcellona family.

Instead of going to the experts to define autism we asked people who had been diagnosed with neurological disorder to explain it.

“Autism is like being on another planet and you don’t know who you are and where you are,” Rachel Barcellona said. “And you try your hardest to fit in and eventually it happens and people accept you and understand you but you’ll always be a little bit different no matter what.”

Barcellona, a high school student, is a model and holds the title Miss Teen American Spirit.

Tampa Bay Lightning

While there's plenty of action on the icy roads outside Boston's TD Garden arena, there will be no match-up inside on the ice this Saturday.

The hockey game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins is officially postponed due to hazardous travel conditions for fans, security personnel and arena staff. The game initially set for 1 p.m. was delayed to 7 p.m. with the hope weather conditions would clear.

However, Boston and surrounding areas remain under a weather-related State of Emergency. While in Tampa, the temperature reached 73 degrees under sunny, blue skies.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Delayed airline flights at Tampa International Airport are expected when heavy weather hits up North. But who ever thought the blizzard bearing down on New England would strike the Lightning?

The Tampa Bay hockey team is currently in Boston and was scheduled to play a 1 p.m. game Saturday at the TD Garden against the Bruins. That game will now start at 7 p.m. Saturday due to the weather, according to a press release from the National Hockey League and Boston Bruins.

Tampa Bay Times archives

Former Tampa Bay Times editor and civil rights advocate Eugene Patterson died this past weekend at the age of 89 after being treated for cancer.

Patterson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist.

Are the messages of Republicans and Democrats resonating with today's youth?

Young Invincibles is a national organization that claims to be a voice for young Americans. The group, based in Washington, D.C., brought together a roundtable discussion with people of all ages today in Tampa, only blocks from the Republican National Convention.

Some Latinos in Tampa Agree with Republican Ideals

Aug 24, 2012

The I-4 corridor is the main hub of swing voters in Florida. It also has a strong Hispanic presence - a majority of whom tend to support Democrats.

But some Latinos from Tampa are on board with the Republican agenda.

One of those Latinos is Ed Gonzalez. He's a pediatric dentist in Tampa with Italian and Spanish roots. It's a fairly common combination in a city where many people are descendants of immigrant cigar makers who came here in the late 1800's.