Creative Loafing Tampa — September 30, 2021 • Best Of The Bay 2021

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CREATIVE LOAFING ~ CLTAMPA.COM

September 30 - October 6, 2021 (Vol. 34, No. 39)

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PUBLISHER James Howard EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ray Roa DIGITAL EDITOR Colin Wolf STAFF WRITER Justin Garcia FOOD and THEATER CRITIC Jon Palmer Claridge FILM & TV CRITIC John Allman DAVE DECKER

IN-HOUSE WITCH Caroline DeBruhl CONTRIBUTORS Jefferey C. Billman, Timothy Burke, Josh Bradley, Geoffrey Crain, Daniel Guess, Stephanie Powers, Jennifer Ring, Dan Savage, McKenna Schueler, Eric Snider, David Warner

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PHOTOGRAPHERS Dave Decker

GOOGLE NEWS animal FELLOW Aaliyah Selene SeaWorld in February, rights claiming the practice of Pasols keeping wild d dangerous. But evenINTERN though Apply publicfor fall via EDITORIAL atmany SeaWorld animal rights don’t in seeFebruary, a rroa@cltampa.com parallel between the kind claiming the practice of keepinganimals wild k, and the practice of displaying CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jack Spatafora nd dangerous. even though public asking for tooBut much? Or is it time for a d, many don’t see a parallel Tyler between the kindJoe ILLUSTRATORS Balkcom, t” animals?

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ck and the practiceDan of displaying animals Newton, Perkins, Cory Robinson s asking for too much? Or is it time for a SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES ent” animals?

“We’re going to be one of the leaders in the country.

Anthony Carbone, Scott Zepeda

Florida’s popular minimum wage increase kicks in Thursday, p. 17.

MARKETING, PROMOTIONS AND

EVENTS DIRECTOR Music: Tampa Bay Blues Fest ........................... 40 Quinn Chamberlain 42 Music WeekAlexis ...................................................

Music: MARKETING, Tampa Fest ........................... 40 Concert review:Bay ArticBlues Monkeys .......................... 42 PROMOTIONS AND

EVENTS COORDINATOR Lauren Caplinger Music ................................................... 42 The ListWeek .......................................................... 46 Concert review: Artic Monkeys .......................... Movie reviews ..................................................... 63 EUCLID MEDIA GROUP 42

NEWS+VIEWS ���������������������17

The List Astrology .......................................................... 46 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Andrew Zelman Free Will ......................................... 64

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICERS

Movie ........................................................... reviews..................................................... 63 Puzzler Chris Keating, Michael Wagner66 Free Will Astrology......................................... 64

FOOD+DRINK ��������������������� 25

Puzzler ........................................................... 66 DIGITAL OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

Jaime Monzon Savage Love ...................................................... 69

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EDITORIAL POLICY — Creative Loafing Tampa is a publication covering public issues, the arts and entertainment. In our pages appear views from across the political and social spectrum. They do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher.

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The physical edition is available free of charge at locations throughout Tampa Bay and online at cltampa.com. Copyright 2021, Tampa Weekly, LLC.

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I mean, King of the Coop beat Publix for Best Fried Chicken. This celebration of locals is a much needed lift, p. 43.

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Photo by Michael Sheehan

INTERSTICES

A Break in Continuity | Is this really Ballet? Tampa’s major ballet company invites you to participate in an imaginative experience of dance, live music and theatre in Ybor City!

Tampa City Ballet (TCB) is taking over the historic Cuban Club for one Saturday only, on October 9th, to present its next stop along the creative path called 7th Avenue and Ybor — the retelling of the art, beauty, history and culture in the heart of Tampa’s famed Ybor City.

INTERSTICES (en-TERS-ta-ces) features dance performances and live music taken out of “traditional” settings with “moving audiences” in and around the stunning neoclassical Cuban Club.

Saturday, October 9th | 3:00pm & 7:30pm The Cuban Club | Tickets: $25 - $75 For more info: (813) 558-0800 or info@tampacityballet.org Purchase tickets at: bit.ly/tampacityballet cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 9


Ride the wave

Gasparilla Music Festival tops a weekend list of things to do. By Jennifer Ring

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Book your special event at:

evon Brady’s “Munchausen Waves” is one out of about 30 art installations to reside in Crab Devil’s The Peninsularium, a Floridathemed art attraction opening in Ybor Heights next year. The immersive installation—inspired by scuba diving, firefighting, a 1980s fantasy film, and a renaissance-era theatrical illusion— is sure to confuse the hell out of folks, but in a good way, and Brady’s latest trick will be on full display this weekend at Gasparilla Music Festival (get details on the music on p. 39). “Munchausen Waves” is based on the column wave effect invented by Baroque architect Nicola Sabbatini to present the illusion of a wave-filled sea. Brady first saw the illusion in Terry Gilliam’s 1988 adventure fantasy film “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” He’s been obsessed with it ever since. Brady’s “Munchausen Waves” is a trippier version of the original that replaces the snakelike waves with colorful discs. The idea was to change the engineering so that the waves could roll into each other. “Like having one spiral that’s a left-handed spiral, and the one next to it being a right-handed spiral, and then they’re spinning in opposite directions,” Brady told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. The way he describes it, Brady’s “Munchausen Waves” sounds a lot like seeing the ocean while tripping on acid. Brady printed many of the components using a 3D printer, effectively bringing a renaissance-era illusion into the digital age. But unlike many of today’s digitally-projected illusions, Brady’s Munchausen Waves is a physical thing.

Gasparilla Music Festival. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 1-3. Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Garden, Tampa. $40-$250. gasparillamusic.com Madame Fortune Taylor walking tour Madame Fortune Taylor, namesake of Tampa’s Fortune Taylor Bridge and Fortune Street, was an ex-slave, community leader, and businesswoman who owned 30 acres along the Hillsborough River in what is now Downtown Tampa. This mile-long, 90-minute tour by Tampa Bay History Center highlights the land she owned, letting attendees get a glimpse into her life. Advance tickets are required, and the tour meets at John F. Germany Public Library (not the History Center). Saturday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m. $10-$20. 900 N Ashley Dr., Tampa. tampabayhistorycenter.org James Chapin: Fiction for Sustaining Florida If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall while two history buff authors talk about unsettled Florida territory and the brutal schemes that rich men dream intto reality, then you want to be at Oxford Exchange when Pulitzer finalist Ben Montgomery and past CL contributo James CHapin discuss Chapin’s new book “Ride South Until the Sawgrass.” Montgomery—who got the official Oprah cosign on his own “A Shot in the Moonlight”—counts Chapin’s new work “among the best fiction writing inspired by rugged old Florida.” Chapin says he’ll and Montgomery will be “chitchatting about the weight of history, the fate of Florida, and whatever comes to mind.” Sunday, Oct. 3. 3 p.m. $5. oxfordexchange.com

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WAVEMAKER: ‘Munchausen Waves’ in construction at Crab Devil in Tampa, Florida.


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SPONSORED CONTENT PRESENTED BY DOWNTOWN EXPERT REALTY

There’s no place like home

A St. Pete son returns to his roots to plant his real estate business.

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an you ever really go home again? Nicholas Acosta certainly wasn’t planning on it. Nick, the owner and lead broker of Downtown Expert Realty LLC, calls St. Pete his hometown, but he quit town after college and hadn’t planned to return. In 2020, he was happily married to his husband Lee, living in a beautiful high-rise condo in Orlando, and growing his real estate business. Everything in his life seemed to be going perfectly. Yet Nick couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. Part of that feeling stemmed from the loss of his father. Dr. Anthony Acosta was a legendary figure in St. Pete: the emergency room medical director at Bayfront Health for 46 years, Dr. Acosta was a pillar of the community, in addition to being Nick’s beloved dad. “He was such an inspiring person,” Nick explained. “Everyone

knew him, and everyone loved him.” Tragedy struck the Acosta family when Nick was five, taking the life of his mother. Immediately, the St. Pete community surrounded the grieving family, ensuring that Nick and his sister Kristina had a circle of love and support as they mourned the loss of their mother. “Nothing prepares you for the loss of a parent when you’re a child,” Nick says. “But St. Pete is the kind of community where people really show up for each other, no matter what.” When his father fell ill with cancer four years ago, Nick was reminded of the community spirit that runs through this corner of the Florida gulf. Neighbors and friends reached out with support, whether it was dropping off meals or just sharing warm memories they’d shared with Dr. Acosta. When his father passed,

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Nick found himself drawn to the close-knit community that had been such a support to his family. “You can’t fake that kind of neighborly feeling,” Nick said. “It’s something that gets built over time. It’s organic.” Though his real estate brokerage was thriving in Orlando, Nick and Lee began to discuss a move back to Nick’s hometown. And in July of 2020, a second generation of Acostas planted roots in St. Pete. This St. Pete son was back home. For Nick, it made sense to seek community, because community is the heart and soul of his business, Downtown Expert Realty. From the earliest days of his real estate career, Nick’s been on a mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the housing market. “Everyone deserves safe, quality, affordable housing,” Nick explains. “That’s something we as realtors and brokers can actively do something about.” Since launching the brokerage, Nick has focused on diversity in hiring a diverse team of brokers and associates. “We’re the client-facing side of the housing market, so the diversity on our

team can help set different kinds of clients at ease, and really welcome them into the process,” Nick notes. Research backs this up: studies have found that customers report greater satisfaction when they are served by someone who looks like them. Affinity between client and agent builds trust and understanding, which are critical when it comes to helping families buy or sell their homes. To fulfill Downtown Expert Realty’s dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, all associates achieve the At Home with Diversity designation, a training and certification program to increase cultural competency at all steps of the real estate process. “St. Pete is the definition of multicultural,” Nick explains: 35% of the area’s residents are foreign-born, and the city is home to vibrant Black and Latinx communities. Spending a day in downtown St. Pete, you’ll hear a symphony of different languages, and taste a bevy of different, delicious cuisines. For Nick – whose upbringing was defined by this multicultural milieu – St. Pete’s diversity


SPONSORED CONTENT PRESENTED BY DOWNTOWN EXPERT REALTY

is its heart and soul. Now that he’s returned to his hometown, he’s celebrating St. Pete’s diversity through his own work in the community. To make real estate information more accessible for his neighbors, Nick launched a podcast, Home2All, sharing insights into the real market and interviewing local industry experts. He also started the Downtown Expert School of Real Estate, which provides online training for aspiring real estate agents, associates and brokers. “It was really important to us to invest in education,” Nick explains. “There’s so much opportunity in this industry – we want to make that’s accessible to young people in St. Pete.” The school is now training 12 students, who will graduate as licensed real estate professionals, ready to launch their own careers. Plus, as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community himself, Nick is championing the inclusion of queer families in the St. Pete housing market. He’s chapter president of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), which

advocates for queer housing rights. LGBTQ+ adults are 15% more likely to be poor than their straight neighbors, making rates of home ownership lower for the queer community. “St. Pete is a great place to be LGBTQ+,” Nick notes, “but that doesn’t mean everyone feels empowered to become a homeowner.” Through strategic outreach initiatives, diversity trainings, and grassroots networking to connect queer Floridians with homeownership opportunities, Downtown Expert Realty LLC is helping turn dreams into roofs overhead. While St. Pete has welcomed its growing diversity, minority residents still face discrimination and inequality in the housing market, which reflects national trends. The overall

rate of American homeownership is 65.4%, but the rate of LGBTQ+ home ownership has stagnated at 49%. Furthermore, in a survey of LGBTQ+ Americans by the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, 10.6% of respondents reported facing discrimination from a real estate professional. The gaps in home ownership by race are even more alarming: while 73.3% of white families own their home, Latinx families lag behind white families by 26 percentage points, Asian American families by 16 points, and African American families by 30. In St. Pete, there is a growing commitment to addressing these glaring inequalities. Residents have begun reckoning with the city’s legacy of redlining—a racist housing policy that barred mortgages

in majority-Black neighborhoods—and calling for direct measures to create home ownership opportunities for Black and brown Floridians. As for LGBTQ+ inclusion, local chapters of organizations like NAGLREP are fighting for LGBTQ+ protections in federal Fair Housing Laws, supporting the careers of local queer real estate professionals, and increasing diversity of both clients and realtors. For Nick Acosta and the team at Downtown Expert Realty, St. Pete’s dedicated real estate professionals are key to changing the face of home ownership. “I’ve called St. Pete home for nearly my entire life,” Nick said. “I’m proud to be part of a long line of Acostas helping to grow this amazing city.” His father may no longer be here, but Nick hopes to continue Dr. Anthony Acosta’s legacy by building a more inclusive, diverse community in the city his dad called home. It’s true that in some ways, we may never go home again. But for this St. Pete son, home is at the heart of everything he does. And he’s happy to be back where it all began.

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TAM PA B AY H I STORY C E N TE R

Upcoming Programs and Events OCTOBER 2 Madame Fortune Taylor | John F. Germany Library OCTOBER 9 Ybor City | Cuban Club Each 90-minute tour begins at 10:30 a.m. at the locations listed. Advance tickets are required and available online.

TAMPA MULTICULTURAL CAFES 5 - 6:30 p.m.

FLORIDA CONVERSATIONS

6:30 p.m. Online: Zoom and Facebook In-person: History Center

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OCTOBER 16 Downtown Tampa | Gaslight Park OCTOBER 30 Central Avenue Black History | Tampa Park Plaza OCTOBER 13 | A TASTE OF ITALY Bryan Glazer Family JCC, 522 N. Howard Ave. Enjoy the tastes, sounds, art and history! To register, contact Pnina Levermore at pnina.levermore@jewishtampa.com OCTOBER 20 HURRICANE OF 1921 ANNIVERSARY Presented by Dr. Brad Massey, TBHC Saunders Foundation Curator of Public History, and Greg Dee, ABC Action News Meteorologist Register online at tampabayhistorycenter.org/fl-conversations

ON EXHIBIT NOW

Gargantuan sharks swam in Florida seas and furry mammoths munched on Florida grass. How do we know? Fossils.

Florida became a U.S. territory in 1821, then the nation’s 27th state in 1845. Follow an overview of those years through maps.

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For a complete listing of programs and events, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org/events or call 813.228.0097.

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“This is what we’re fighting for, and we’re not going to stop.” POLITICS

ISSUES

OPINION

About damn time

Tampa Bay gets a minimum boost on Thursday. By McKenna Schueler luxury, has cost her and she’s been picking up extra shifts at work just to cover her car and insurance payments. Rogers did recently see a small increase in her pay from $9.62 to her current hourly rate of $10, and expects to see another bump to $10.62 reflected on her next paycheck. But with Tampa Bay on track to become more rent-burdened than Los Angeles, she knows this isn’t enough. “We need a union,” Rogers told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, in a phone interview. “$15 and a union. This is what we’re fighting for, and we’re not going to stop.”

FAIR FIGHT: Gail Rogers, a 61-year old crew leader at a McDonald’s actively fought to uplift Florida’s minimum wage. Rogers, herself a former union member, has been an active participant in the Fight for $15 and a union movement for years. She’s become an outspoken advocate on both a local and on a national stage for a $15 federal minimum wage, strengthening worker protections, and recently, passing the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. “Corporations, like [McDonald’s], actively block workers from organizing and winning our unions,” Rogers told former U.S. presidential candidate Julian Castro during a campaign

The McDonald’s corporation, for its part, reported nearly $5 billion in profits last year, yet continues to deny its workers a U.S. living wage—which MIT estimates to be about $16.54 an hour. Not only that, McDonald’s also previously lobbied against a $15 federal minimum wage, and is currently the defendant in a number of racial discrimination lawsuits. But Rogers continues on. She’s good at her job and takes pride in her work. “I know how to treat people,” she said proudly. “My service is on-point.” The regulars who frequent her McDonald’s say as much both to her and her General Manager, that Ms. Rogers is the reason they return. But, still, it’s tough. Last September, Rogers walked off the job to protest low wages, cut hours, and unsafe working conditions for herself and coworkers. This year, she became sick with COVID-19. Since then, she said she’s developed shortness of breath— a struggle she continues to experience to this day. Her legs swell, and she’s on oxygen. While at work, she regularly takes customers’ orders out to their cars for pick-up. She finds herself having to take a moment or two each time to catch her breath before heading back inside. “I have good days and bad days, where I have to call off sometimes,” she said. Despite this, she’s not deterred. And she has hope. More than that, she wants those who voted in favor of Amendment 2 to know that the fight isn’t over—the fight for a $15 minimum wage and the right of all workers to form a union. “I need those voices,” Rogers told CL. To stand up with Fight for $15 at protests and stand with low-wage workers like herself. “I need those voices from churches, neighbors...Let me know you’re with me,” she said. “Support me.”

LOCAL NEWS

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fter becoming the first state in the South to get on track toward a $15 minimum wage last year, Florida’s gearing up for its biggest minimum wage increase in over a decade. Effective Sept. 30, Florida’s minimum wage will rise from its current $8.65 per hour to $10 an hour, or $6.98 plus tips for tipped employees. This new minimum wage requirement comes directly as a result of Florida’s Amendment 2, a ballot measure that was passed by voters in 2020 with nearly 62% of the vote. The initiative received about 1.1 million votes more than President Joe Biden, who lost in Florida, and 708,000 more votes than former President Donald Trump. With its passage, Florida’s state minimum wage will also rise by $1 each year after until it reaches $15 an hour, or $11.98 for tipped employees, by 2026. After that, the state minimum wage will increase with inflation. According to the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute, an estimated 646,000 working Floridians will see their wages rise starting Thursday. By 2026, that number is expected to reach 2.5 million, or 25% of Florida’s workforce, and lift as many as 1.3 million Florida households out of poverty. Despite an unsuccessful attempt by St. Petersburg Republican Jeffrey Brandes to exempt certain workers from seeing this wage increase earlier this year, the new minimum wage requirement will apply to all employees in Florida who are covered by the federal minimum wage. Florida’s vote to approve the wage boost last year was a victory for low-wage workers statewide—including Gail Rogers, a 61-year old crew leader at a McDonald’s in Ybor City who was actively involved in local actions to uplift Florida’s $15 minimum wage amendment last year. Rogers has worked in the fast food industry for over 40 years, and currently makes $10 an hour on the job. Working part-time, she gets about $530 every couple weeks from McDonald’s, with rent that costs her $425 a month on top of utilities. She lives alone, and recently purchased a vehicle to help her get around. Previously, she’d relied on her bike or the bus to get to work. This new mode of transportation, while hardly a

summit in 2019. “How will you stand with and rewrite the rules for workers like me to win our unions and build power?” Richie Floyd, a local political organizer and candidate for St. Pete City Council, helped lead volunteer recruitment efforts for the statewide Florida for 15 coalition last year, which sent more than 3.1 million texts to voters in an effort to garner support for Amendment 2. As a union member with the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, he—like Rogers—also believes in the power of organizing. “Things like unions and collective bargaining agreements, that’s the number one way that workers can make their lives better,” Floyd told CL. But the upcoming minimum wage boost, he said, is still a big deal. “We’re going to be one of the leaders in the country,” he said, noting that Florida’s one of just eight states nationwide

that’s on track to have a $15 minimum wage by 2026—more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Florida has a lot of low-income jobs based off its tourist and service economy, Floyd said. He believes last year’s passage of Amendment 2 shows that Floridians know what’s best for their interests and those of their fellow workers. Rogers, the local McDonald’s worker, said she has coworkers who are excited for the upcoming wage boost. “It can make a difference, you know? It’s just sad that it took so long.”

‘It’s good business’ to raise wages for workers It’s not just workers like Rogers or political organizers like Floyd who see the value in paying Florida workers something closer to a livable wage. Leigh Anne Balzekas, a co-owner of The Disco Dolls in Seminole Heights, told CL that all of her shop’s employees make a minimum of $15 an hour—and have for the 11 years it’s been in business, save for one staff member, a high school student, who Balzekas said they paid an hourly rate of $9 at the time. The Disco Dolls is, in Balzekas’ own words, a sustainably-focused hair, art, and fashion boutique that she co-owns with her sister. They offer hair services, have an ethically-made continued on page 21

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actually affecting small businesses negatively clothing line, and have a revolving local art is having that lower minimum wage,” she said. gallery in-house. “My customers are my community...and if they’re Last year, The Disco Dolls became one of making more money, they’re spending it here more than 150 Florida businesses who joined and we’re keeping it local.” As for the business leaders, and organizathe Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition in support of Amendment 2. tions like the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Paying staff a Association, which decent wage “was contends that higher wages would kill always very important to us,” Balzekas jobs and crush small said. Even their hair business owners’ stylists, who are on prospects? “Maybe you need commission, make a guaranteed minimum to look at how you’re of $15 an hour, she doing business,” said. Both Balzekas Balkezas advised, as and her sister Kristine her “non-politically Ownley come from a correct” suggestion. background of working “Money is not pie,” low-wage jobs. Office she said. There’s jobs. Her sister, workmore because people ing as a hair stylist are putting it into herself. Thus, from The the economy. And it’s Disco Dolls’ beginning, just “good business” WE ALL SCREAM: Amendment 2 got about they wanted it to start to raise the minimum 1.1 million votes more than President Joe first and foremost with wage, she said, adding Biden and 708,000 more votes than Trump. ethics in mind. that she and her sister As a small business owner, Balzekas rejects will be looking to increase their staffs’ minimum the notion that fair wages for workers hurts hourly rate in the near future. small businesses. On the contrary, she said Find an extended version of this story, and respecting the time and work of her staff has get tips on what to do if your employer does not helped them retain and attract new workers, comply with new minimum wage requirements, and ultimately helps their business. “What’s via cltampa.com/magazine.

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Shoot the hostage Extremism should have consequences. By Jeffrey C. Billman This year, Republicans control neither the House nor Senate. But they’re still planning to drive the country off a financial cliff. On Monday night, every Senate Republican voted to kill legislation to keep the government open and raise the debt ceiling. They don’t object to keeping the government open. They don’t object to raising the debt ceiling, not exactly. Their public justification is that since Democrats are pushing a spending bill without Republican support, they should also raise the debt ceiling without Republican support. That argument collapses with even the slightest scrutiny. For starters, Republicans aren’t merely saying they won’t raise the debt ceiling. They’re deploying a parliamentary tactic to prevent Democrats from raising it. They’re not even allowing a vote. No less important, Republicans pushed through a massive tax cut—via reconciliation—in 2017 that has added more than $3 trillion to the national debt. President Trump tacked on $7.8 trillion to the debt in just four years, nearly as much as President Obama did in eight after inheriting the Great Recession. Yet Democrats never once played chicken with the global economy. The American Rescue Plan spent $1.9 trillion; the slimmed-down infrastructure bill will add about $256 billion to the deficit. While its details have yet to be finalized, the reconciliation package will likely contain enough tax increases to fund most if not all of Biden’s climate and social initiatives. In other words, Biden’s entire domestic agenda won’t put as much on the country’s tab as Trump’s tax cuts did. But hypocrisy isn’t even the point. Raising the debt limit doesn’t spend a dollar or encourage future extravagance. It allows the government to pay off debts it already incurred: bloated Pentagon budgets, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump’s tax cuts, Bush’s tax cuts, Reagan’s tax cuts, COVID relief packages, the Great Recession, the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare, and so on. It averts a completely unnecessary catastrophe. The debt limit’s continued existence—a periodic time bomb that serves no purpose other than chaos—is absurd. Absurd options to get rid of it shouldn’t be ruled out: Minting trillion-dollar

INFORMED DISSENT

“If Republicans are willing to spark a recession, let them —and make sure the world knows it’s on their heads.”

DAVE DECKER

N

ot without cause, there have been more than a few “Dems in disarray” headlines lately. Last Friday, President Biden admitted that intra-party negotiations over his domestic agenda have reached a “stalemate,” with a handful of moderates threatening to sink the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill if progressives don’t water it down, and progressives pledging to sink the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal if reconciliation doesn’t pass. Failure to pass either would mean failure to pass both, a self-inflicted wound bordering on political suicide. For that reason alone—Democrats need a W—it’s more likely than not to get resolved somehow, this week if Speaker Nancy Pelosi gets her way. Progressives might not like the outcome, but unless they’re willing to take their ball and go home, they’re at the mercy of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. No matter how much moderates trim the Build Back Better legislation, of course, Republicans will label them tax-and-spend commies anyway. Even if Democrats navigate those tumultuous waters, they’ll be staring down a more immediate problem. The federal government will shut down on Friday, when its funding expires. A few weeks later, it will begin defaulting on debts, leading to a “cataclysmic” recession that potentially wipes out 6 million jobs and $15 trillion in household wealth. That would be the most pointless own goal in American history. It would be an end result perfectly befitting this political moment. In 1917, Congress established a debt limit to prevent agencies in the Wilson administration from effectively spending whatever they wanted. For most of the debt ceiling’s lifespan, it was a nonentity. Whenever the national debt neared the selfimposed credit limit, Congress almost always raised it with bipartisan majorities; doing otherwise was too stupid to contemplate. But when the Newt Gingrich-run GOP took Congress in the 1990s, Republicans found in the debt ceiling an opportunity to score political points. After Republicans won the House again in 2010, they went a step further, taking the country to the brink of default while using the debt ceiling as a hostage to extract spending cuts from the Obama administration.

HOUSE OF PAIN: Mitch McConnell is playing chicken with the global economy because he expects Democrats to blink. platinum coins, for example, would allow the Treasury to continue paying debts instead of going into default or halting funding on key government functions. (The White House denies it’s pursuing this Obama-era chestnut, at least for now.) The Biden administration could also invoke the 14th Amendment to say the debt ceiling is unconstitutional—“The validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned”—declare that ignoring the debt ceiling is its “least unconstitutional” possible action, or create a “special-purpose entity” to issue new securities instead of Treasury bonds, effectively bypassing the debt ceiling. And Senate Democrats could carve out an exception to the filibuster to raise the debt limit to infinity—or eliminate it altogether—which would be simple enough. But Democrats rarely do the simple thing. While the Biden administration says it won’t

negotiate with hostage takers, the likeliest scenario still looks like concessions in the reconciliation bill in exchange for Republicans backing down. Indeed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing chicken with the global economy because he expects Democrats to blink. Unless Democrats are willing to break with anachronistic norms to fight extremism, paying a ransom will be the path of least resistance. But paying another ransom now will only encourage more hostage taking. Mint the coin. Invoke the 14th. Eliminate the filibuster. If all else fails, shoot the hostage. If Republicans are willing to spark a recession, let them—and make sure the world knows it’s on their heads. Extremism—and extreme recklessness—should have consequences. Get more Informed Dissent at billman.substack.com.

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Run aground

A Citrus Park staple is no more. By Stephanie Powers

Open 22 South Last month, St. Petersburg’s 22 South Food Hall at the Historic Manhattan Casino announced a closure, then quickly backtracked and announced that a group of local investors had actually saved the concept. Well, 22 South officially opens on Friday, and a press release says the grand opening will go until 10 p.m. Local foodies can try 22 South vendors Irie Mon Jamaican Grill, Betterway BBQ, Louie’s Italian Eatery, Haper’s Burgers, and Scratch. The food hall is effectively being saved by Collective, a group of communityminded entrepreneurs. In addition to food, 22 South—located in South St. Petersburg’s

historic Deuces neighborhood—can be rented out for events and will host live music. 642 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg. @22southfoodhall on Facebook—Ray Roa First Watch All dine-in customers get a free coffee until Friday at the new 3,764-squarefoot, stand-alone, Westshore First Watch location with open air dining options and alcohol. Specialty drinks include the “Cinnamon Toast Cereal Milk” with coconut rum, cold brew, coconut milk and agave. The “daytime cafe” chain has been in Tampa for 25 years—in Florida for 35—serving its entire fancy seasonal breakfast, brunch and lunch menu (short rib omelet, smoked salmon eggs benedict, pumpkin spice donuts) from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. seven days a week. 1111 N Westshore Blvd., Tampa. firstwatch.com

February of 2022 in St. Petersburg at the newly built apartment complex WaterView at Echelon City Center. The new spot also plans to offer late operating hours and a new happy hour, reports TBBJ. Torres, who also owns Blind Tiger Cafe, purchased the original 1331 W Cass St location in June of 2019. 100 Main St. N, St. Petersburg. cassstreetdeli.com—Colin Wolf ICYMI Willa’s has been busy Over the last month, this North Tampa favorite announced weekend brunch service, which runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. What’s more is that guests can indulge in the full bar as well as an in-between menu from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. as back of the house prepares for dinner service. And if that’s not enough, Sundays now includes a “Willa’s Wing House” takeout-only menu featuring gameday takes like buffalo rotisserie chicken dip. For the weekday warriors, Willa’s Provisions next door is also now serving lunch, Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 1700 W Fig St, Tampa. willastampa.com—Ray Roa

BALLYHOOTAMPA/FACEBOOK

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itrus Park fish camp staple Ballyhoo Grill closed its doors last Sunday. Ballyhoo— located at 7604 Ehrlich Rd.—made the announcement on its Facebook page, saying that it wasn’t able to renegotiate a new lease on a restaurant building that dates back to the mid-’90s. “ ...we are proud of our success and thankful to you our customers and our amazing staff for the last 12 years. Keep checking our page for further updates,” the restaurant wrote. The Florida seafood restaurant was opened by Chris Fargale of City Fish and Ozona Blue fame, who owned two other Ballyhoos in Tarpon Springs and Gainesville. The current owners took over 12 years ago. Some form of Ballyhoo Grill has sat at the corner of Ehrlich Road and Gunn Highway since the 1910s. “It was built in 1913,” Randy Grasmann, then-president of Ballyhoo Grill told the Tampa Bay Times back in 1996. “It was a home that was converted into a restaurant more than 20 years ago.” The restaurant is also selling all of its decorations and equipment starting on Monday, Oct. 4. “If you are interested in any of these items that include some really nice fish mounts and nautical items come by and take a look. We are taking deposits to bills many items now,” the restaurant stated. It will also selling its many televisions and furniture. But please don’t call them, because the phones are “already ringing off the hook!”

Coming soon Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish Here’s a literally spicy new South Tampa restaurant opening soon near the University of Tampa. You won’t miss the new location for this Southern-based franchise because it already features a bright new mural of Biggie, Prince, Aretha, Kurt, and Janis by local artist Derek Donnelly. Started by Chef Shawn Davis—aka former “Shark Tank” contestant “Big Shake”—the fast casual restaurant focuses on Nashville-style fare plus the item that almost got Mark Cuban to invest: the shrimp burger. The fried chicken can also be served on waffles or in a taco dressed in any level of heat from not spicy at all to “Executioner." Big Shakes also has fried Oreos and milkshakes to end the feast. 800 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa @bigshakestampa on Facebook Cass Street Deli Tampa’s first and only New York-style Jewish deli will schlepp its signature dogs and corned beef sandwiches across the Bay. According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Cass Street Deli owner Robert Torres plans to open a second location between November and

BALLY-BOO-HOO: Ballyhoo’s has had a presence in Citrus Park for over a century.

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Ancestral reclamation got personal for Lorraine Monteagut. By Caroline DeBruhl

L

orraine Monteagut talks to her ancestral very different practices, but there was a common spirits. She also knows when they talk thread all revolving around the ancestor altar. back—and she’s not alone. As a bruja with At the same time, I started to find these a Ph.D. in communication, Monteagut has been witch books coming out that were tracing the interviewing other Latinx and Afro-Caribbean parallels between waves of witchcraft and femipractitioners for years, first for her doctoral the- nism, and the one that really range bells was sis and then for her book. ”Waking the Witch” by Pam Grossman, which Monteagut’s book, ”Brujas: The Magic and I’m sure... Power of Witches of Color,” out Oct. 5, is an extension of her scholarship but is not some dry Big fan of Pam Grossman. Truly the Terry Gross academic text. (With chapter titles such as “The of witches. Ancestral Curse” and “Drama at the Botanica,” Yes exactly! And I loved her book and love [her how can they be?) Each of the book’s 12 chapters podcast] ”The Witch Wave,” but I thought they is in line with a house of were missing the waves of the zodiac, with each sign Afro-Caribbean traditions dictating the tone, jourbeing reclaimed by recent nal prompts and rituals immigrants to the United Brujas: A conversation included at the end. States. Where were the with Lorraine Monteagut But don’t let the rituals Latinx stories? Next Thursday, Oct. 7. 7 p.m. Free (RSVP fool you; this book is not suggested). Tombolo Books, 2152 1st Ave S, Now, seeing everybody St. Petersburg. tombolobooks.com/events ”Brujería 101.” Monteagut taking [these practices] out instead concentrates on of the occult and de-stigstories, particularly her own, to produce a work matizing their ancestor religions I thought, that mixes scholarship with spiritual memoir. well, where’s that book? And I kept saying that While those searching for a “how-to” manual year after year, and finally, my partner at the may be disappointed, Monteagut says it best: time said, “Why don’t you just write the book?” “This is only a book, not the book, on brujas.” So I made a book proposal and that was that. I sat down to speak Monteagut and asked her about her book, and her workings as a Your book is heavily a spiritual memoir—both bruja-around-town. from your own stories and stories of other practitioners—as well as an examination What inspired you to write ”Brujas”? of issues that Afro-Caribbean practitioners I started writing about this trend in ancestral face as a whole. What about the subject matreclamation in my Ph.D. program, but it was ter made you choose a braided narrative more personal. I went back through my per- like this? sonal histories, I traveled to Cuba, I interviewed I didn’t think when I sold the book that it people, and I was trying to piece together my would be so heavily memoir. But I think that immigration story, all the things that we weren’t part of the pandemic and everything that haptold when we came to this pened last year, it became country. a different book—and betIn the process of ter in a lot of ways. It was researching, I learned I more raw and vulnerable wasn’t the only one doing in some ways, [more] rough this. I know that sounds and unexpected in other naïve now, but I really didn’t ways. Honestly, I was going know that there were so many of us yearning to through the hardest two years of my life, and understand where we came from and where our there were times where the only thing I could ancestors practiced. And what I discovered was write was what was inside of me at the moment. there’s this community of people, who are mostly I did appreciate how my stories connected online, connecting to each other and sharing with the stories of people that I was interviewing

“Honestly, I was going through the hardest two years of my life.”

COURTESY

BOOKS

POWER SURGE: Lorraine Monteagut knows when her ancestral spirits talk back. at the time, and I really wanted those stories to be in communication with each other because we’re all so different. I never wanted to write a pure memoir because my experience is so specific, and my background is just one tiny thread of all these traditions and experiences that come out of the diaspora. [The format] did allow me to show the heterogeneity of the Latinx spiritual experience. It’s not a monolith.

In my limited knowledge of Afro-Caribbean traditions and African diaspora religions, there does seem to be a strong oral tradition. Do you think this subject matter lends itself better to stories than a clinical, dictionary definition of what this spirituality is? Yeah, I struggled with this during the book proposal because a proposal is very much a definition. continued on page 31

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continued from page 29 A “what is this and how can I sell it?” sort of thing. Yeah! So I tried to do that, but when it comes down to it, all of our stories are so different and can’t really be recorded in that way. I think we’re coming together right now and recording and figuring out how spontaneous it all is in the moment and how we’re all creating it as we all go along. I do think there is something about oral traditions that are more powerful than the written word—I mean the written word certainly has its power, I just wrote a book—but there is something powerful about the story my abuelita told me when I was in bed and how that story lives inside of me and is just mine. I share it with others but it’s slightly different. ”La Llorona” is a good example of this. A lot of people will tell you a whole different story. And it’s the same ghost, the same monster, but a totally different narrative that usually connects with your own family and your own ancestry in some way.

Ancestor work is very tricky, and I think you have to be prepared to learn about things in your family that aren’t great. You might have to open yourself up to the ways that you’ve been abused by them, even, and of course, when we’re talking about the Latinx experience, part of our ancestors are the colonizers. You know, everyone wants to be Indigenous, everyone wants to have that ancestral magic, but “decolonization” means facing the fact that that part of my ancestry were colonizers, and that’s what runs through me, too.

“I do think that politics and bruja identity are intricately tied together.”

You do unpack that idea of decolonization in your book as well, in the chapter about spirituality and activism. You talk about some very traditional forms of activism such as protest and mutual aid as well as ways to live a decolonized life and using “Joy as Resistance.” Do you think, as a bruja, that activism and spirituality are always tied together? I do think that politics and bruja identity are intricately tied together, though I have a wide definition of what politics are—and my girlOn that same note of family, you do write about friend, who’s a director of a political nonprofit, intergenerational and ancestral trauma as would have a completely different definition than a whole as well as me—but I think it’s your own. You also important for us to talk about ancesstart where we are tral healing and your when it comes to own work with shaactivism. manic journeying. Not all of us What was the procan be on phones or cess like for you? knocking on doors or Do you feel like that on the front lines of type of deep work protests—but what helped you with we can do is we can those ancestral start to look at our wounds? lives and ask ourFor me it has been selves, “How are we [healing.] I think spending energy on one of the most healthings that don’t matter to us or ing threads of my story in the book don’t give back to us was when I, unexand how can I redipectedly, went into rect that energy to my maternal grandsomething that helps mother’s story. She myself, my commudied while I was nity, and the common good?” The first step writing the book, and I went and docis our own bodies, umented her funeral COLOR THEORY: ‘Brujas’ is an extension of our own health, and and, in that process, Monteagut’s scholarship but is not some dry integrating that with academic text. uncovered that the sustainable practices convent that she was for this world, with sent to when she was very young wasn’t actu- nature, and with things that are not going to ally a convent but a jail, which was known for kill the planet or our souls in the process. It its many abuses. And discovering that was can be small. It can be learning how to cook very healing for me because it allowed me to for yourself, it can be gardening, learning to understand her more. She wasn’t a very happy grow your own food. Learning how to turn our woman; she had a lot of problems that she soil—which is sandy and crap—into something put on us. that nourishes life, that’s witchey.

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Gasparilla Music Festival CHANDLER CULOTTA C/O GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL

By Stephanie Powers C

CL Recommends

FRI 01

C Gasparilla Music Festival: Nas w/ Gov’t Mule/Sylvan Esso/Matt & Kim/ Parquet Courts/Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel/The Motet/Cedric Burnside/ Mondo Cozmo/more It’s fuckin’ here, and it’s pretty symbolic. Gasparilla Music Festival 2020 (GMF) was Tampa Bay’s last large scale event before the world shut down, and this weekend’s expanded three-day agenda— postponed from March to October—not only marks GMF’s 10th anniversary, but also music fans’ return to The Curt and Kiley Garden in downtown Tampa. Things are different this year thanks to an admission policy that calls for a negative COVID-19 test (or vaxx card), but the lineup, per usual, is an eclectic mix of more than three dozen new, old and local artists—including Nas, Gov’t Mule, Sylvan Esso, Parquet Courts, Sofi Tukker, Glove, Young MC and more—but it’s also made up of acts who’ve decided to take the risk and come on down to sunny, F-L-A so that they and their crew members can have a chance at making some money again. Be kind to each other out there, Tampa Bay. And wash the fuck out of your hands, too. (Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens, Tampa)—Ray Roa C Jazz in the Quad: Mauricio Rodriguez w/O Som Do Jazz The local jazz scene is a major contributor to Tampa Bay’s weekly live music calendar, and this weekend is no exception. Friday night kicks off with a free “Jazz in the Quad” show at St. Petersburg College. Hosted by EMIT, the gig honors Hispanic Heritage Month with the MJR Latin Project led by Mauricio Rodriguez playing alongside local Brazilian group O Som Do Jazz. But that’s not the only jazz concert happening this weekend. Spyro Gyra is at Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre Saturday, and on Sunday, Tampa Jazz Club’s “Carter plays Coltrane” features saxophonist Jeremy Carter and friends paying tribute to the late

great musician at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus. Rounding out the weekend is another Grammy-nominated jazz fusion act, Yellowjackets which is at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Be sure to check each venue because they each have different COVID-19 protocols. (Various locations) Matt Woods w/Hannah Aldrige Tampa’s adopted son, Nashville singer-songwriter Matt Woods, teams up with “dark country” artist Hannah Aldridge and returns to a venue he was just in three months ago (gotta make up for all the shows missed during the pandemic). Aldridge is a little less known around here, but as daughter of Alabama Music Hall of Fame songwriter Walt Aldridge, music is in her blood. Check out her 2020 album Live in Black and White to get a taste of the soulful, Southern storytelling in store. And don’t worry about eating before you go out; this West River venue has some excellent gnosh. (Hooch and Hive, Tampa) Pusha Preme Red Oktober listening party Pusha Preme’s got a baby on the way so the Tampa rapper is taking a break from performing after this weekend. You’ve still got two chances to see the masked emcee in action, however, and you should take them. The Billboard-charting artist is at this listening party for his new EP on Friday (DM the Facebook event for the address), and will spend Saturday evening playing Gasparilla Music Festival just a couple hours before Nas’ headlining set. In the meantime check out his sexy new video for the so, so good song “Adam and Eve (Can’t Let It Go).” C Tampa Death Fest: Blasphemation w/ Menstrual Moonshine/Scorch/Collapser/ Corrupted Saint/Haunted/Unexplainable/ more GMF isn’t the only festival this weekend. The third annual Tampa Death Fest features over 20 bands playing over two days in North Tampa. National acts like Georgia’s Actus Reus and Missouri’s Gravehuffer join local acts like the one with my favorite band name ever, Menstrual Moonshine, on stage. (Brass Mug, Tampa)

C TV Girl w/Jordana Outside of acid wash, this latest ‘90s comeback isn’t bad after all. Indie electro-pop band TV Girl impressively gives new life to Yeastie Girlz’s underground single “You Suck” (which was basically my whole childhood sex education) on its own big hit “Not Allowed.” This gig in Ybor City is sold-out, but there’s a show in Jacksonville if you gotta have TV girl in your life. (Crowbar, Ybor City) Siudy Flamenco Company Seven virtuoso musicians, with composer and flutist Juan Parrilla, lead the Siudy Flamenco Company for an emotional dance performance and concert at downtown Tampa’s Ferguson Hall. Siudy Garrido—a contemporary dancer and choreographer—is the star and namesake of a show that bills itself as “a humanist and feminist commentary on self-invention and self-determination.” To enter the Straz Center concertgoers must produce either a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 72-hours of the performance) or proof of vaccination. Masks are also required indoors, vaxxed or not. (Ferguson Hall at David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa)

SAT 02

98Rockfest: Shinedown w/Seether/ Candlebox/Fozzy/Dirty Honey Rescheduled from April, 98Rockfest is back, injecting much needed rock in our lives. Nirvana-influenced South African rock band Seether joins mega-huge Jacksonville hard radio-rock favorite Shinedown for the arena show. Seattle’s not-really-grunge-band Candlebox adds a throwback element to the lineup. I mean, are you even a ‘90s kid if you pretend to not know all of the lyrics to “Far Behind”? Lighters, or, eh, phone torches, are definitely going up for that ballad. (Amalie Arena, Tampa)

C SeeYouSpaceCowboy w/If I Die First/L’exquisite Douleur Control System Space bar-averse sasscore band, SeeYouSpaceCowboy arrives with a soon-tobe released album The Romance of Affliction. Newly formed post-hardcore supergroup If I Die First and South Florida hard alternative act L’exquisite Douleur open the early show. (Crowbar, Ybor City) C Thrice w/Touche Amore In 2012, Thrice announced a hiatus. There are times when a band says that, and the break never ends. Luckily, in 2015, Thrice reconvened and released To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere a year later. Five years later, it appears that a year off the road did not tear Dustin Kensrue, Teppei Teranishi, and the Breckenridge brothers apart again. (Jannus Live)—Josh Bradley

SUN 03

C Charles Irwin album release w/They Hate Change/Story Mode/Bill. Tampa’s Charles Irwin celebrates the release of a new album On the Floor with a title track where the jangly, angsty indie-rock keeps getting better (and more joyous, too). Folks looking out for their health will be happy to see that the show is being promoted by Aestheticized, which requires a negative COVID-19 test (or proof of vaxx). What’s more is that per Charles Irwin’s request, the capacity has also been reduced to 67% to give everyone more room breathe. Seeing local hip-hop duo They Hate Change—which just signed to indie label giant Jagjaguwar—on the bill alongside old favorite Story Mode and a new-to-me band, Bill. makes me feel like this show is 100% the move after GMF. (Hooch and Hive, Tampa)

C Aurelio Voltaire If Aurelio Voltaire wasn’t already a successful gothic dark cabaret singer-songwriter, I’m pretty sure there’d be a part for him in the cast of FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows.” The whole night is going to be a special experience, too, thanks to an opening set from Tampa’s Cadaver Cable, which describes its catalog like this: “Half are gay love songs. Half are shitposts. These categories all overlap.” How can anyone resist? (The Orpheum, Ybor City.)

C Chromeo w/Craze The year is 2004, and Chromeo’s “Needy Girl” is on constant repeat. The year is 2007, and the duo’s album Fancy Footwork doesn’t leave my CD player. The year is 2021, and the Canadian electro-funk outfit is playing a daytime DJ set at a poolside bar on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. You should expect no less than a magical disco-heavy danceathon from Grammy-nominated pranksters David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel. Dubstep DJ Craze opens the Sunday funday show. Better hydrate. (WTR at The Godfrey Hotel, Tampa)

C Eyelid Cinema w/Rutterkin/Rilian Postrock alternative band Eyelid Cinema celebrates its first album since 2019’s indie-grunge Peaks EP at this beer garden party. It seems the St. Pete band was smart, skipped the Netflix and binge eating most of us did, and wrote a bunch of new music during the pandemic instead (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin is that you?). Sunshine City punk band Rutterkin adds to the celebration, as does alternative-rock outfit Rilian. (Green Bench Brewing Co., St. Petersburg)

Jamey Johnson w/Outlaw Apostles Willie Nelson pal Jamey Johnson is back at the St. Petersburg venue where he performed in January 2020, just before COVID-19 hit. A lot has changed since, but the Grammynominated country roots singer-songwriter is still crooning his heart out over all the living, loving, and losing we’ve collectively done since then. Alabama’s Outlaw Apostles open the Sunday show. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)

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UPCOMING EVENTS JANNUS LIVE THRICE MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA THIEVERY CORPORATION POPPY SURFACES SAINT JHN ANGELS & AIRWAVES ISAIAH RASHAD GALACTIC JINJER W/SUICIDE SILENCE THE ORPHEUM MURDER BY DEATH TEDDY SWIMS THE RITZ YBOR PURITY RING COIN MILKY CHANCE LIL TECCA

40 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


M U S I C V E N U E | BA R | R E S TAU R A N T | E S T

810 SKAGWAY AVE | TAMPA

No Comps: New concerts coming to Tampa Bay

813.304.0460 | newworldtampa.com | OPEN TUE-SUN

'70S PUNK/'80S POSTPUNK/ DJ NightWorm NEW WAVE/SYNTH POP 9.30 7:30-9:30 | FREE | BIERGARTEN

THU

FRI

PRINCEMIDNIGHTX/FACEBOOK

10.1

Dean Johanesen FOLK/AMERICANA/HOT JAZZ

7:30-9:30 | FREE | BIERGARTEN

“We’ve been rehearsing for months, it’s time,” Midnight, whose real name is reportedly Yaago Anax, told Creative Loafing Tampa. He’s tapped a handful of past CL Best of the Bay winners to join him and drummer Chris Wotring in a band that’ll fly under a new moniker: Prince Midnight & the Searing Torment. Wotring famously played in Cellgraft, whose 2010 album External Habitation was named No. 27 on Decibel Magazine’s list of the best 50 Grind/Powerviolence Albums of 2010-2019, and the show will have a major gridcore feel, but also have many operatic elements—including an actual opera singer, and the vibraphone, violin and bass that are hallmarks of Prince Midnight’s self-titled debut EP. Scott H. Biram w/J.D. Wilkes/Jordan Joyes Friday, Oct. 15. 6 p.m. $16. Brass Mug, Tampa Latimore Friday, Oct. 22. 8 p.m. $25$40. Hough Hall at Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg Gareth Emery Saturday, Oct. 23. 10 p.m. $15-$20. The Ritz, Ybor City 99.5 Guitar Pull w/Parker McCollum/ Matt Stell/Maddie and Tae/Jordan Davis/Chris Young Sunday, Nov. 14. 7 p.m. $58.50–$108.50. Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg CloZee w/Of The Trees/Tripp St./ TBA Friday, Nov. 19. 7:15 p.m. $24.50-$28. Jannus Live, St. Petersburg Crossbreed w/Deadstar Assembly/The Dev Saturday, Dec. 11. 8 p.m. $20-$40. Orpheum, Ybor City Lettuce Thursday, Dec. 30. 7 p.m. $25. Jannus Live, St. Petersburg Dwight Yoakam Thursday, Jan. 27. 8 p.m. $48.25-$103.25. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

Anax didn’t argue with CL when asked if it’s safe to call the show something of a rock opera since it will include dramatic acting and dancing. “This will be more than a concert,” he said.

Th 10.7 BROKENMOLD PRESENTS Dead & Co. After Party w/ Unlimited Devotion F 10.8 Same Day Delivery Orchestra

Feeding Tampa Bay Benefit Billy Joel/'80s Tribute

HEALTHY PHOENIX PRESENTS

AMERICANA/SINGER-SONGWRITER

7:30-9:30 | FREE | BIERGARTEN

SUN That record was released last winter in the wake of coverage from literally every corner of the world where music writers fell in love with Anax’s story about his Uncle Fripp who allegedly died in a motorcycle accident in Greece in 1996 at the age of 28. Anax says he turned Fripp’s skeleton into a guitar, which has been featured in countless publications including the Huffington Post, Guitar World, CBC and Loudwire.

UPCOMING SHOWS

F 10.8 Mwiza Scott James Stambaugh Sa 10.9 10.2

SAT

ESTRELLA GALICIA PRESENTS SUNDAY SESSIONS

Prince Midnight, an enigmatic punk songwriter who allegedly made a guitar from his uncle’s skeleton, will make his live debut in Tampa during a Dec. 3 show at the Brass Mug.

1995

10.3

Sam Williams SURF NOIR/SPY-FI

5:30-7:30 | FREE | BIERGARTEN CLOSED MONDAY • BAR/RESTAURANT OPEN 11AM-11PM TUESDAY NEW BELGIUM BREWERY BBQUSTIC

WED

10.6

Kasondra Rose SINGER-SONGWRITER

6:30-8:30 | FREE | BIERGARTEN

Peachy | Odium Rot | Reeves Funeral Plans | Riffed

Sa 10.9 Sam Farmer Su 10.10 Greg Milo W 10.13 Scott Clay

F 10.15 King of Denmark + Deluxe 12 + Jamie McElman & Steve Prince

F 10.15 This Frontier Needs Heroes

Sa 10.16 Pretty Voices + Gino & The Goons + Bad Vibrations Sa 10.16 The Knotty G’s

BOLD shows are in the Music Hall

Tickets to see Prince Midnight with Malice Strikes, 430 Steps, Vacuous Depths and Wreath at Brass Mug—located at 1450 Skipper Rd. in Tampa—cost $7-$10 and go on sale soon via elevatedbooking.bigcartel.com. Read more of Josh Bradley’s weekly new concert announcement roundup below.— Ray Roa Gladys Knight Sunday, Feb. 6. 8 p.m. $53.25-$118.25. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater Steve Vai Tuesday, Feb. 15. 8 p.m. $49$75. Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater George Thorogood & The Destroyers Saturday, Feb. 19. 8 p.m. $60-$165. Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa alt-J w/Portugal. The Man/Sir Chloe Friday, March 4. 7 p.m. $59.50 & up. Yuengling Center, Tampa Teddy Swims w/TBA Friday, March 25. 7 p.m. $22-$110. Orphuem, Ybor City Lil Tecca w/BabySantana/Bktherula/ yvngxchris Sunday, March 27. 7 p.m. $35$50. The Ritz, Ybor City Livingston Taylor And Tom Chapin Friday, Apr. 1. 8 p.m. $29-$50. Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater Still Corners w/TBA Sunday, May 22. 7 p.m. $15-$18. Crowbar, Ybor City Shawn Mendes w/Tate McRae Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022. 7 p.m. $39.50 & up. Amalie Arena, Tampa

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 41


Thank you!

THANK YOU Tampa Bay for voting for me! It is an absolute honor to serve you as a Realtor© and friend of the communities we live, from Saint Petersburg to Tampa!!! Yes, we transact multi-million’s of dollars annually in sales, but YOU are not just a transaction. Me and my team are true to our slogan, "Service Beyond the Sale!” Whether you need staging, cosmetic home fixes, a full renovation, or a custom home/addition; my team does it all with you in mind. Just as important, every single one of my closings I give back to the community through a charity of my choice or to our frontline men and women on all lines. So THANK YOU again for the votes and allowing me to live a dream and you be part of it!

Jon Lewandowski

J o n Le w a n d o w s k i - Re a l t o r & D e s i g n e r

42 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com

727.538.9200

www.joninflorida.com

As Seen on HGTV, NBC’s ‘Daytime,’ and Bravo


W

elcome to Best of the Bay 2021. It’s that time of the year again, and in a lot of ways it feels just like this time of the year last year. What I mean is that if you’re among the luckiest in Tampa Bay, you’re reading this on a screen at work. Other lucky ones are reading from home, with a roof nearby or above them, I’m sure. And if you’re reading this from your home, which is also now where you work, well, I guess things aren’t that bad either (nevermind the pile of laundry and/or screaming offspring waiting to Zoombomb your next presentation). It’s 2021, and COVID-19 is still a familiar bedfellow, but it brought along friends with new names like delta, lambda and mu (I personally like the ligmafuggenass variant). A lot of 2021 feels like 2020,

and this Best of the Bay issue is no different—mentions of the pandemic are all up in the 25,000-plus words that follow. But what’s also in here—in larger quantities than they were in 2020—are hope and affirmation that we are starting to venture out and do the thing our Q-obsessed cousins have been telling us to do since the onset of the pandemic: live. Vaccines played a big role in that new development, and so many more of us

need to get one (or two, or three), but the energy in this set of reader and critic picks feels like we’re getting out of the hive and re-discovering the communities we’ve been hunkered down in for the last 17 months. I hope you’ve been able to do that, but if not, I hope that the suggestions Creative Loafing Tampa Bay readers and contributors have put forth might spark an interest inside of you. The outside world needs

more thoughtful, careful and caring people to walk around it. The community needs more kindness and less cynics on its streets (sorry, not sorry about some of the negative People, Places & Politics blurbs). I’m willing to bet that you, the human holding this issue in your hand, is that gentle and compassionate being the world is waiting for right now. And I admire you for being that person in the face of *gestures outside* all this. So softly bump my elbow when I see you, and tell me to my face that you can’t wait to see it again. Because I think I can speak for this staff and dedicated crew of contributors when I say that we all sorely missed bumping into all of you over the last year-and-a-half. I personally promise to never, ever take all of you and this community for granted again.—Ray Roa

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 43


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DURING COVID-19, YOUR SAFETY IS A PRIORITY AT MOFFITT 44 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST BEST $999.99 CONCERT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET AT VFW POST 39/ SPOT

After it was announced in May, everyone felt some kind of way about this show. Tickets for the June gig at St. Pete’s VFW Post 39 were just $18 if you were vaxxed, and $999 if you weren’t. Leadfoot Promotions’ Paul Williams said he just wanted to keep his friends and the band safe while driving money to one of the South’s oldest VFW halls, but literally every outlet from the Washington Post and seemingly every news station in the U.S. wrote about it, and the global attention led VFW elders to back out, leaving Williams with no choice but to move it to the Skatepark of Tampa where, well, no one took him up on the $999 no-vaxx offer, leaving a bunch of 5G’d-up punks to have some fun on their own. @leadfootpromotions on Facebook —Ray Roa

BEST ACOUSTIC BASSIST (WHO REFUSES TO TOUCH AN ELECTRIC) MICHAEL ROSS

By and large, bass players don’t get as much love as they deserve, so it’s high time we honor Ross. He’s been a fixture on the Tampa Bay jazz scene since 1977, when he arrived from Pennsylvania as a freshman music student at USF. He’s provided rhythmically agile, harmonically savvy bass work—not to mention stirring solos—for an array of bands, most notably Liquid Bebop, which he led in the 1980s. Ross willingly schleps his big, shapely, wooden instrument from gig to gig and plays his ass off—and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude. He hasn’t owned an electric bass since 1978. The acous-

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

tic bassist has lived in Sarasota for quite some time, but still performs intermittently north of the Skyway. Keep an eye out for his duo shows with vocalist Fred Johnson. They’re something to behold. michaelrossbass.com—Eric Snider

BEST ADVOCATE FOR BLACK ARTISTS AND CURATORS TONY KROL

Pinellas’s grants program and shepherded Dunedin’s Public Art Master Plan and implementation of significant installations. brincklow-arts.com—Jon Palmer Claridge

BEST BAY AREA DEBUT KANYE TOOK AWAY JAY ELECTRONICA

As we interviewed Tampa Bay’s Black artists for our Spring Arts Preview, Tony Krol’s name kept coming up. Krol worked with several Black artists in 2020, created murals with them, provided space for them to show their work, and brought them into conversations about curation. The collaborations introduced Tampa Bay to the Black Activist Photographers and New Roots Art Collective. They brought us Tampa’s Black Lives Matter street mural, “Cultural Currency” at Peninsularium, and “Black Storm” at Cafe Hey. Krol knows that Tampa’s diversity is one of its greatest assets, and he’s making sure that diversity is well-represented in Tampa’s art galleries and streets. mergeculture.com—Jennifer Ring

The show was announced less than a month before it was supposed to happen, so maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised when Jay Electronica’s Tampa debut got postponed. It wasn’t COVID that got the legendary rapper, however. Nope, Jay had to bail on Tampa after doors were already open at Crowbar because none other than Kanye West needed Electronica to finish his latest album, 'Donda.' Electronica’s first show in Tampa is now set for Oct. 9, and every Tampa hip-hop head really hopes 'ye stays busy doing something else that night. @djsandman813 on Instagram—RR

BEST ARTS CONSULTANT ELIZABETH BRINCKLOW

BEST CABARET ACT SCOTT AND PATTI

Brincklow was born with an unfair advantage. You see, her mother Martha taught “arts and ideas” to generations of students at Dunedin High School. This cultural cocoon launched her to the FSU School of Theatre and the study of mime in Paris. Imaginative gigs in D.C. and NYC forged her keen skills. But the trail she’s blazed across disciplines with major artists over the past three decades since returning to Pinellas County is unmatched. She strategically developed St. Pete’s cultural scene, crafted Creative

BEST $999.99 CONCERT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET AT VFW POST 39/ SPOT

Both Scott Daniel and Matthew McGee are award-winning performers. Their natural gifts are on display for all to see, indeed they’ve long established Tampa Bay street cred as versatile musical theater actors. But there’s a special alchemy in their charming “mother and son” act—a warmth and affection that transcends a glib description. The song lists and mashups are consistently clever, as is the banter between numbers. And Daniel always dresses the duo in glitzy costumes while outfitting McGee with perfect bouffant wigs to complete his “Patti” persona. Each new show at theaters across the region is eagerly anticipated. mattocsproductions.wix.com/scottandpatti—JPC

BEST CELEBRATION OF BLACK, QUEER CULTURE ST. PETE PRIDE’S ARTS AND QULTURE

For some, this year’s re-imagined St. Pete Pride felt like a consolation prize. Not for me. Breaking the annual celebration into a series of smaller, themed events inspired Tampa Bay to celebrate queerness in new and exciting ways, like honoring Black, queer culture on Juneteenth. stpetepride.org—JR ANTHONY MARTINO

BEST CELEBRATION OF LOVE AND STRAWBERRIES MACY HIGGINS AND EMILIANO SETTECASI’S STRAWBERRY ROOM AT FAIRGROUNDS ST. PETE

Tampa Bay artists Macy Higgins and Emiliano Settecasi bonded over strawberries early in their relationship. One of their first dates was to Parkesdale Farms in Plant City. They’ve attended the Florida Strawberry Fes-

tival together every year since. In 2020-2021, the artist couple turned their shared love of strawberries into some of the best art I’ve seen all year. With its folksy picnic scene, strawberry throne, and decadent desserts, Higgins’ and Settecasi’s strawberry room at Fairgrounds St. Pete looks good enough to eat. fairgrounds.art—JR

BEST CIGAR AND WINDY CITY CONNECTION GLOVE

Seeing a Bay area band gain national attention is less of an anomaly than it’s ever been, but Glove is certainly Tampa’s best export in a really long time. Just ask the Lollapalooza crowd that got to see and hear a sound that’s been called everything from krauty, to primitive, to both proto and post-punk. Photos of the band in Chicago landed in Rolling Stone, and if you’ve still never experienced Glove in person, then you’ll want to see the band play a hometown set at Gasparilla Music Festival. glove.bandcamp.com—RR

BEST CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS MICKETT-STACKHOUSE “EXPANDING WATERS” SCIENCE TALKS

Artist duo Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse wanted to do more than just reflect Florida’s beauty in “Expanding Waters” at Creative Pinellas. They wanted to help preserve that beauty as well. Here in Florida, that means doing something about climate change. Mickett interviewed local scientists, environmentalists and clean energy advocates on the subject. The “Expanding Waters” science talks were both illuminating and terrifying. And they’re still available on Creative Pinellas’ Facebook page if you haven’t seen them yet. creativepinellas.org—JR

BEST CLOSING THAT ACTUALLY WASN’T SKIPPER’S SMOKEHOUSE

Almost one year ago, Tampa learned that its iconic oak-covered safe haven for hippies, Skipper’s Smokehouse, would become the Bay area music scene’s first big pandemic venue casualty. The last show went down on Sept. 27, and the place stayed closed as potential buyers made offers for months… but none of the proposals made sense, so Cricket Larson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Skipper’s Smokehouse, put on a new hat (“head bottle washer,” she jokes) to renovate the digs, menu and nearly everything about the venue in preparation for a summer opening that’s now in full effect—music and all. skipperssmokehouse.com—RR continued on page 47

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT seum, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Ringling for keeping the spirit of cooperation alive. skywaytampabay.com—David Warner

BEST CELEBRATION OF LOVE AND STRAWBERRIES MACY HIGGINS AND EMILIANO SETTECASI’S STRAWBERRY ROOM AT FAIRGROUNDS ST. PETE

BEST COMEDIAN CAM BERTRAND

DAVE DECKER

Meet the old boss… same as the new boss. Last year’s Best Comedian winner claims the title again, and he deserves it. In a challenging time for all live performances, Bertrand hit the road, performing all over the country as an established headliner. He frequently takes locals with him as well, with a pay-it-forward philosophy that gives others a chance to get in front of different crowds in different states. And to top it off, he impressed a national audience on “America’s Got Talent” this year, earning four enthusiastic “Yes” votes from the celebrity panel. A video clip of his AGT set earned more than a million views before it even aired on television. And we’re sure there’s more laughs to come, so catch him locally if you can. cambertrand. com—Michael Murillo

BEST COMEDY CLUB SIDE SPLITTERS

continued from page 45

MOST COURAGEOUS ARTS LEADER STEPHANIE GULARTE

Imagine spending half a lifetime honing your craft while devoting your down time to holistic health and well being with a disciplined regimen of diet and exercise. Then, while riding high as the acclaimed leader of one of your region’s oldest and most esteemed arts organizations, a pandemic hits your field like Joe Pesci and a baseball bat. You solve the Rubik’s cube of nonprofit theater survival only to have your life turned upside down by retinitis pigmentosa. The last year has not been kind to Stephanie Gularte, but she’s shown her mettle with courage and unmatched grace.—Jon Palmer Claridge

BEST CRUSADER FOR LIVE MUSIC VENUES DURING A PANDEMIC (OR BEST FUCKER) TOM DEGEORGE

When COVID-19 shut down live-music venues of all sizes last March, Tom DeGeorge, owner of the Crowbar in Ybor City, didn’t just sit around working his worry beads. Virtually overnight, he became a lobbyist. DeGeorge joined a scrappy group of about 40 independent venue owners and promoters who made enough calls and pitches and twisted enough arms to get a $15 billion piece of the nearly $900 billion federal pandemic relief package. It’s called the Save Our Stages (SOS) act, and it was signed into law in January. The group of newly minted lobbyists coined themselves The Fuckers, part of a larger trade group called the National Inde-

pendent Venue Association. DeGeorge was the organization’s Florida/Southeastern “captain.” The Fuckers managed to get a key provision into SOS: It excludes businesses that operate in more than 10 states and employ more than 500 people, effectively disqualifying the likes of mega-promoters Live Nation and AEG, as well as House of Blues and Hard Rock Cafe. The rollout of the aid dollars, managed by the federal Small Business Administration, was cluster-fucky, but as of mid-September almost all venues had been funded. Crowbar received its initial grant in July, and was expecting more to come in October. Additionally, DeGeorge also sparked a movement called Safe & Sound, where business owners pledge to keep their establishments COVID-safe according to CDC guidelines. It’s become a badge of honor. Call DeGeorge a crusader, call him a fucker, but we think it’s certainly within reason to also call him a hero, too. @tom.degeorge.73 on Facebook —ES

BEST COLLABORATIVE COMEBACK SKYWAY 2020/21

A collaborative exhibition involving 48 artists in four museums across three counties would be a major undertaking in the best of times, but to have to postpone it because of the pandemic, then remount it successfully almost a year after it was first scheduled with all of the participants still on board? Now that’s an achievement — and it made this thoughtfully curated showcase of local artists that much more impressive. Kudos to the MFA, USF’s Contemporary Art Mu-

Not only is Side Splitters attracting top national acts to its location on Dale Mabry, it’s now doing it at The Grove in Wesley Chapel. As businesses struggled to keep their doors open, Side Splitters expanded, meaning new opportunities for locals and more acts coming to the area. And Side Splitters takes care of its own. When Rahn Hortman's daughter had medical issues, the club rallied around him with a benefit show that saw them donate not just ticket sales, but food and drink proceeds as well. That deserves an award by itself, but the rest of its accomplishments are pretty cool, too. sidesplitterscomedy.com—MM

BEST COMEDY OPEN MIC DEBINE BREWERY

It’s an accomplishment just keeping an open mic going, but the Palm Harbor Brewery’s s thriving. Run by BOTB-alum Matt Fernandez, each week features top local talent and plenty of up-and-comers. The audience appreciates the lineup, and the comedians appreciate that the signup list is done exclusively on social media. No fighting for a clipboard, no pouting over when they go up; it runs smoothly. Keep in mind that it is an open mic. It’s new material, weird material, and often bad material. Like all open mics, it’s a hit-and-miss affair. But the mic itself has become a Wednesday night ritual for many local comedians. Not many mics can say all that. debinebrewingco.com—MM

BEST COMPOSER CHUCK OWEN

It’s no small feat to write multi-movement pieces for a 20-piece jazz orchestra that are complex and challenging and yet consistently sit nicely on the ear—and to compose each part for every musician in his Jazz Surge band—and

to arrange the music and conduct the ensemble so that it makes a stirring and cohesive musical statement. Within Us, the recently released seventh album by Owen’s Jazz Surge (over the course of 25 years) is yet another remarkable accomplishment. chuckowen.com—ES

BEST COMPOSER CHUCK OWEN

SUMMIT RECORDS

CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

BEST CONCERT AT A CATHOLIC CHURCH FLO RIDA AT HIGGINS HALL

The Super Bowl brought with it an asinine number of concerts that—combined with COVID— led to a major shortage of venues, and that’s how Flo Rida ended up as the featured act during an “All the Smoke” tailgate. This party had people presumably on their best behavior, too, because it was at St. Lawrence Catholic Church's Higgins Hall WWJD? Probably stay home during a pandemic, but at least there were temperature checks, frequent sanitation and a mask requirement.—RR

BEST CONSTANT GRIND ON BEHALF OF EVERYONE AROUND HIM MIKE MASS

Mass is nonstop. Not just for himself, either. In between making his own music, and doing his own shows, he’s out there pushing, booking, mixing, and making sure that Tampa Bay has the best hip-hop (and R&B and visual art and so on) scene around. You should thank him. @mikemassmusic on Instagram—Stephanie Powers

BEST COVID COPING MECHANISM MILK CRATE OLYMPICS

There was a lot of joy—and pain—in Tampa’s continued on page 49

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 47


American Modernisms at the Rollins Museum of Art

Join us for a dynamic new season of exhibitions and programming at the Rollins Museum of Art! (Formerly known as the Cornell Fine Arts Museum)

September 18, 2021 – May 8, 2022

TOP ROW FROM LEFT Esphyr Solbodkina (American, 1908-2002), Desert Moon, 1941, Oil on board, The Alfond Collection of Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ‘68 and Theodore ‘68 Alfond, 2017.15.5, Image courtesy of the Slobodkina Foundation, Northport, New York

Gallardo/Budoff: Growth, Breadth, and Terrain

Hans Hofmann (American, 1880-1966), Composition in Blue, 1952, Color silkscreen with gouache addition, Gift of Mrs. Ruth Funk. 2001.4.7, © Estate of Hans Hofmann/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Leo Amino (American, 1911-1989), Triumphant Warriors, 1951, Mahogany, 47 x 16 x 12 in., The Alfond Collection of Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ‘68 and Theodore ‘68 Alfond, 2017.15.13, Image courtesy of Julie Amino and Family

September 18 – December 31, 2021

Rafael Trelles: The Imagined Word September 18 – December 31, 2021

Common Ground: Selected Works from the Rollins Book Arts Collection September 18 – December 31, 2021

BOTTOM ROW FROM LEFT Jeffrey Gibson (American, b. 1972), I Don’t Belong To You, You Don’t Belong To Me, 2016, Glass beads, tin jingles, artificial sinew, acrylic felt, canvas over wood panel, 18 1/4 x 24 x 3 in., The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ‘68 and Theodore ‘68 Alfond, 2017.6.29. Image courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. (TOP) Nathan Budoff (American, b. 1962), Rising Water, 2020, 5 x 6 ft., Oil, charcoal and shellac ink on canvas, Lent by Anthony J. Murrary and Rosabel Paraliticci © Nathan Budoff (BOTTOM) Frances Gallardo (Puerto Rican, b. 1984), Murmuration (Mosquito cloud), 2017. 6 ft diameter, Installation of laser cut paper pinned on wall, Courtesy of the artist, © Frances Gallardo (TOP) Islam Aly, Inception, Cairo, Egypt: Islam Aly, 2019. Edition of 30.

Legends of the Saints

(BOTTOM) Follower of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), The Virgin and Child Adored by Saints, ca. 1630, Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 25 in. Gift of Marjorie Myers Ginn, Francis B. Myers II, John C. Myers, Jr., and Everett M. Myers in memory of John C. Myers, Sr., 1957.11

September 18, 2021 – April 3, 2022

Ben Blount, Racial Activity Coloring Book, Evanston, IL, Open edition, 2018.

Art Encounters: Ally is a Verb

Nina Chanel Abney (American, b. 1982), Helen with the Drip, Acrylic and spray-paint on canvas, 48 x 36 in., The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond. 2020.1.25 © Nina Chanel Abney. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

September 18, 2021 – May 8, 2022

FREE ADMISSION/PROGRAMMING FOR 2021 COURTESY OF THE DIRECTOR’S CIRCLE

Alfond Inn Ongoing

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Rafael Trelles (Puerto Rican b. 1957) Majestad Negra, 2019, Etching ink on Stonehenge paper, 50 x 36 in., Lent by L’ARTBAN © Rafael Trelles

ROLLINS.EDU/RMA

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST Copeland Park in late August when a group of mostly teenagers staged Tampa’s first-ever (or at least most publicized) “Crate Olympics.” The athletic event was in response to the viral milk crate challenge, and while some lamented the fact that competing in the challenge could land folks in ERs already reeling from coronavirus, it was impossible to ignore how much people just needed to do something dumb to get some sweet relief.—RR

BEST DARE TO DREAM ZULU PAINTER’S MURAL AT CLEARWATER’S NORTH GREENWOOD REC CENTER

When COVID-19 vaccines became available, it seemed like all our dreams were about to come true. With them came the hope that we would soon be able to ditch the masks and get out and play. That’s the vision Zulu had for the future when he painted a young girl dreaming of play on the side of North Greenwood Rec Center. Unfortunately, our current reality doesn’t exactly match this gorgeous ideal. We ditched our masks, then delta crept in, bringing with it a scary amount of breakthrough cases. I guess that’s what happens when you dare to dream. zulupainter.com—JR

BEST DEAD FILM ART CHRIS PRESTON

The Tampa artist took his love of movies and combined it with his “Dead Cinema” show at South Seminole Heights’ new Corner Club over the summer. Favorites include the skeletal Lloyd Dobler trying to win Diane Court back all these years later, and a pantless Steve Martin, long dead, still taking all he needs from the “The Jerk.” Can’t wait for the sequel. artbychrispreston.com—SP

BEST DIRTY PICS ANGELS EROTIC LOUNGE

You’ll find art in Tampa Bay’s streets, museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. So why not in a Clearwater strip club off US-19? Angels began displaying erotic art as “Art of Angels Gallery” in Sept. 2020. Thanks to connections with local artists, Angels is now the best place to see erotic art in the area. @ artofangelsgallery on Instagram—JR

BEST DUAL PERSONALITY NICK HOOP AND HIS PUPPET IN ‘HAND TO GOD’

Hoop, a talented young actor who’d been to seen to good effect in a number of local productions, did his most impressive work yet in the notoriously difficult role(s) of Jason, who takes refuge in the Christian Puppet Ministry only to

have his tranquil existence torn apart by his anarchic hand puppet Tyrone. Hoop expertly captured this mortal combat between man and hand, superego and alter ego, in a performance that was at once hilarious, endearing and scary. jobsitetheater.org—DW

BEST EMBODIMENT OF THE SHOW MUST GO ON NATE NAJAR

What do you do if you’re a jazz guitarist scheduled to perform in October 2020 as part of the reopening of The Palladium Theater and your wife calls to tell you she just picked up the kids from the home of her ex-husband, who informed her that he’d tested positive for COVID-19? You cancel, right? Hunker down and hope for the best. That’s not Nate Najar’s wont. He quickly packed some clothes, grabbed his guitar and checked into the Vinoy, played the Palladium show a few days later, then continued to stay at the hotel while awaiting the results of his stepdaughters’ COVID tests, which came up positive. His wife got ill as well. After seven days at the Vinoy, Najar moved into his recording studio in Largo, sleeping on the couch, ordering Uber eats, tinkering with some tracks. He stayed five days, then returned home. In all, Najar’s exile lasted 12 days and set him back about $5,000 when considering hotel bills and lost gigs. The Palladium show sold-out, though, and Nated played his heart out. Oh, and he never got COVID. And he’s fully vaxxed. natenajar.com—ES

tos live on in “Picture (im)Perfect” the book. pictureimperfecttbook.square.site.—JR

BEST FAREWELL TO A FREAK SHOCK G

Ybor City’s Allen Temple African Methodist Church is where family, friends and hip-hop luminaries like Tommy Boy Records founder Tom Silverman said goodbye to Shock G, the legendary rapper and Digital Underground founder who called Tampa home. In the days after his passing, collaborators like Doc P provided insight into the composer’s creative life here, while friends like hip-hop scene staple Nick Major staged tribute shows. As Reverend Glenn Dames Jr. said at Allen Temple AME, “Shock G is free.” Yes, and we’re all free to let our freak flag fly thanks to him, too.—RR

BEST FINAL CONCERT FROM A LOCAL LEGEND CHICK COREA AT RUTH ECKERD HALL

There’s a name for those candid shots you take of family members caught unaware. It’s called documentary family photography. You rarely see this kind of work in Tampa Bay’s galleries, but thanks to Tampa-based photographer Agueda Sanfiz, we got to see a whole lot of it at FMoPA in Spring 2021. “Picture (im)Perfect” introduced Tampa to a new way of seeing and capturing families. Not lined up and posed, but actually showing who they are and what they love. It was beautiful. Although no longer at FMoPA, the pho-

Look outside, people. Halloween is around the corner again, and the season is a good time as any to revive the spirit of “Spookie Coochie,” a well-timed 2020 single from Tampa expat Iamdoechii who now calls Los Angeles home. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but the “WAP” pre-cursor is way nastier than Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion could ever hope to be, and exactly the kind of trick (and treat) we want in our candy sacks this year. @iamdoechii on Instagram—RR

BEST HOLOGRAPHIC GENITALIA LOUIS MARKOYA

There are many wonderful things to say about this former Dalí protege, whose work is at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs continued on page 51

BEST DUAL PERSONALITY NICK HOOP AND HIS PUPPET IN ‘HAND TO GOD’

Digital art became one of my favorite things to look at during the pandemic. And the best I saw this year came from St. Petersburg’s Nick Davis whose colorful insta portraits brightened our feeds in dark times. This year, Davis’ prints brightened gallery walls as well, making an appearance in Creative Pinellas’ 2021 Emerging Artist Exhibition and the Carter G. Woodson Museum’s “Reverberations.” Davis still seems a little surprised by his recent success, but we sure aren’t. ndartlife.com—JR

BEST FAMILY PHOTOS PICTURE IMPERFECT AT FMOPA

Truth be told, this one’s for “Jules” a character Matthew Leone plays in “God’s Waiting Room,” a stirring new movie written and directed by Tampa native Tyler Riggs. The film premiered at Tribeca, which named Leone “Best Actor” in the wake of a performance that let us into the world of a boy faking his way through life and looking for a connection outside of his drug hustle. All the other characters in "God's Waiting Room" make us want to drag Riggs into a bar and ask him how in the hell he bottled all the angst of growing up in steamy, reptilian, overgrown Florida into 98 minutes. @tyleriggs on Instagram—RR

BEST HALLOWEEN HEADBANGER DOECHII ‘SPOOKIE COOCHIE’

There was no way to know they’d be his final shows, but jazz giant Chick Corea spent two nights last October welcoming fans back to the live music setting with covers (Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed,” in the style of Thelonious Monk), plus runs through work inspired by classical icons (Friedrich Gulda), tributes to Corea’s mentors (Bud Powell) and performances of his new “Portraits” game where he picks people in the crowd and composes a tune about them on the spot. He died on Feb. 9 as a result of a rare form of cancer, which his team said “was only discovered very recently.” We’ll miss everything about Chick, and we’re grateful he shared his final set with Tampa Bay.—RR

BEST EMERGING DIGITAL ARTIST NICK DAVIS

BEST FLORIDA MAN TYLER RIGGS ‘GOD’S WAITING ROOM’

JOBSITE THEATER

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

BEST MASTERWORK BY A LOCAL ARTIST “MI ISLA” BY GABRIEL RAMOS

JENNIFER RING

This popular trio—pianist John O’Leary, bassist Alejandro Arenas and drummer Mark Feinman—that got together in 2007 at USF music school, doesn’t abide by jazz rules or orthodoxies. That’s evident throughout the 13-track Everybody Wants to Rule the World, in which the threesome augments its lineup with guest artists, most notably multi-reed player Ken Peplowski, who produced the sessions. La Lucha has a penchant for Latin grooves, but also tosses in the synth-driven funk original “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Rather than rely on jazz standards, La Lucha favors interpreting the ‘80s pop music of its youth, including a dreamy, stellar version of the title track (long a staple of its live gigs). The trio almost manages to make something of the treacly Patrick Swayze ballad, “She’s Like the Wind.” They reach back even further for a touching rendition of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder).” laluchamusic.com—ES

BEST JAZZ ALBUM (SMALLER GROUP) FRED JOHNSON/ANDRE WEISS ‘DUO’

continued from page 49 through Feb. 6,. Markoya’s holographic prints give Dalí’s dream that third dimension even the surrealist master himself couldn’t fully achieve. I enjoyed Markoya’s nods to masters past in “Louis Markoya: A Deeper Understanding,” but what I really got a kick out of were all the holographic genitals on display. Nothing beats pausing in the middle of a college art gallery to ask yourself, “Are those really two gigantic vaginas on a wall?,” then reading a museum label that answers in the affirmative. louismarkoya. com—JR

BEST HOMETOWN BILLBOARD NO. 1 ROD WAVE

Last year, the 21-year-old rapper told Billboard that his first gigs were $500 guarantees for school night strip club shows 20 minutes away from home. All his friends showed up and sang every word, so the promoter booked him over and again. By spring 2020, Wave, real name is Rodarius Marcell Green, was supposed to wrap his 22-date U.S. tour at Jannus Live, a 4.5-mile drive from his old stomping grounds at Lakewood High School. A few weekends ago, Wave played Tampa’s biggest venue, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, in support of a new album 'SoulFly' which arned him a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. @rodwave on Twitter—RR

MOST INVENTIVE THEATER PANDEMIC SOLUTION FREEFALL DRIVE-IN

The wonderful thing about attending a play at

freeFall over the past decade is that you never knew what to expect; surprise and innovation are always the order of the day. Artistic Director Eric Davis and his talented crew of affiliate artists perpetually strive to upend expectations. Why should their response to producing during a pandemic be any different? The new outdoor drive-in parking lot stage with multiple video screens and surprising FM car radio sound, brought audiences a marvelously entertaining mix of plays and musical events. freefalltheatre. com—JPC

BEST JAZZ ALBUM (BIG GROUP) CHUCK OWEN & JAZZ SURGE ‘WITHIN US’

Owen, a conductor, arranger and 2021 BOTBwinner for Best Composer, released his seventh album with the 20-piece Jazz Surge big band this year. It kills—brimming with a vivid array of colors (including violin and dobro) and shifting dynamics. The music manages to be at once challenging and eminently listenable, showcasing a seamless stream of grabby melodies and solos (and going easy on the brassy bombast that so often beleaguers big band music). For his ensemble’s 25th anniversary, Owen looked back and considered some of the outfit’s milestones. To that end, he concocted a heady reimagining of Miles Davis’ “Milestones” to go along with seven compelling originals. chuckowen.com—ES

BEST JAZZ ALBUM (SMALL GROUP) LA LUCHA ‘EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD’

Vocalist Johnson, long a Bay area treasure, cut this unpretentiously soulful and swinging album in Nashville with guitarist Weiss. The 9-track program features straightforward versions of decades-old standards—“All of Me,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Stormy Weather” and the like—save for one original, the simmering confessional “Unconditional Love,” the record’s standout track. The spare instrumentation showcases Johnson’s remarkably powerful, pliable and rangy pipes. At age 70, Johnson’s vocal prowess is a marvel.—ES

BEST KEEP STANDING FOR SOMETHING KENOSOBI

In 2020, no death rattled Tampa’s local hip-hop scene more than the late-September passing of percussionist, producer and rapper Kenan Jamal Hercules. The Jefferson High grab left behind his wife Tiffiny, 38, two sons she had from a previous relationship (Amari, 14, and Gianni, 12) and their three-year-old daughter Kelani. He also left behind a body of work that included his 'Stand For Something,' which continues to inspire his fans and friend to be righteous about the things that you believe in, even when the world is dark around you. kenosobi.bandcamp. com—RR

BEST KEYS TO THE CRIB PSYCH MONTANO AND ALBERT J. “MANSION MUSIC”

When two of Tampa Bay’s best MCs come together for an album, you know it’s going to be good. But Psych Montano and Albert J.’s “Mansion Music”—released through local label Wave Theory—is beyond that. It’s got the beats, the rhymes, and the life. From the party jam “Feelin’ Alright” to the sexy cosmos of “Jenga,” the album

proves two is better than one. @psychmontano and @albert_j_robinson on Instagram.—SP

BEST LOCAL BILLBOARD CHART APPEARANCE PUSHA PREME

The Tampa rapper has been hot lately with tracks hitting Billboard and climbing up streaming sights (this spring, 'Money In the Grave,' a compilation featuring the Preme track “Heaven At Night” peaked at no. 18 on Billboard’s compilation albums chart). No wonder because his album 'Before I Say, I Do' gets it right for every time of the night. Crank “Party Time” while you’re getting ready, “Apple Pie” in the car, and “Adam and Eve (Can’t Let It Go)” on the wind down. @pushapreme on Instagram—SP

BEST LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT NATALIE SYMONS

Like all good storytellers, Symons has an ear for details. She’s a keen observer of human behavior and manages to weave together quirky dialogue to tell engaging tales. Her first novel was released this year, but her dark family comedy, “The Buffalo Kings,” was a huge hit at freeFall in 2015, adding to the acclaim for “Lark Eden” and “Naming True.” And after a residency at American Stage with a cruel 18-month pandemic delay beginning just five hours before opening night, she’s given us another endearing, eccentric Buffalo family comedy whose themes of connection and isolation resonate even more strongly now. nataliesymons.com—JPC

BEST LOSS TO THE MILITARYINDUSTRIAL COMPLEX MIKHAIL MANSION OF FAIRGROUNDS

Long before he co-founded Fairgrounds, Mansion was applying his knack for technology to another enterprise: designing drone missiles for the U.S. Air Force. Fortunately, he soon realized he wanted to create, not destroy, and moved into the world of new media and interactive art at Brown, the University of Tampa, the Rhode Island School of Design and finally back to his hometown of St. Petersburg to be chief technology officer of Fairgrounds, where he oversees all the wondrous low- and hightech surprises that await around the immersive art attraction’s every corner. mikhailmansion. art—DW

BEST LIFE-CHANGING THEATER ARTIST BRIANNA LARSON

Larson could have sought out a performing career like her NYU classmate Rachel Brosnahan. Instead, she and her mother (Michelle Larson) founded Theatre eXceptional to create innovative theatre and performance art with, for, and about people with disabilities. Over the years, their full scale productions and classes have expanded by leaps and bounds offering adults continued on page 53

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 51


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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST with disabilities life-changing opportunities to learn all aspects of theatre performance with the discipline of professional expectations. Serendipitously, the pandemic saw their Zoom classes grow exponentially to reach international students around the globe. bluebutterflyproductions.org—JPC

BEST MACABRE MUSICAL ‘SHOCKHEADED PETER’

We always knew Jobsite was a little freaky— I mean it’s a theater company in Tampa, so it comes with the territory. But the successful production of the musical “Shockheaded Peter” reminded us that Producing Artistic Director/co-founder David Jenkins and family like it fabulously dark, with the perfect amount of freak. jobsitetheater.org—SP

BEST MASTERWORK BY A LOCAL ARTIST “MI ISLA” BY GABRIEL RAMOS

Tampa Bay first saw Gabriel Ramos’ “Mi isla” at the MFA during Skyway. The 24-foot-long assemblage of red plastic is noticeably different from Ramos’ past sculptures. It’s also his best yet. “Mi isla” captured the tropics in an innovative way that stands out from the crowd of Florida paradise-themed artwork. It’s even more impressive knowing that Ramos mainly sculpted in wire before this. There were certain things Ramos couldn’t achieve through bending wire, which is why he transitioned to laser-cut plastic in 2020. “It’s almost like you keep getting better at making something and polishing and polishing it,” he said in a July 2021 interview. gbramos.com—JR

BEST MAKEOVER FLORIDIAN SOCIAL CLUB

There’ll always be a slice of the community that longs for the grimey, musty backstage are and dank vibes of the old State Theatre, but the storied local venue got to be too much for its old owners to manage. And while there’s no way Faygo-loving Insane Clown Posse will ever play a set at Floridian Social Club, there’s no denying that Kevin Chadwick—a real estate lifer who by day is the Owner and Operating Principal of Keller Williams franchises in the Tampa Bay area—did a jawdropping job on the renovation. There’s custom terrazzo, a ridiculous soundsystem, public restrooms straight out of the roaring-’20s, and a pair of green rooms that might be the fanciest in Tampa Bay. Kudos to Kevin and his team for polishing the old State up—lord knows someone with less capital and ambition might’ve turned it into some short-lived artisanal-cuisine-du-jour concept we’d all forget about in two years. floridiansocialclub.live—RR

BEST MESSAGE OF HOPE YA LA’FORD’S ‘WOVEN’

BEST PANDEMIC MUSEUM REMODEL THE MFA

Just as the world was going to shit, Ya La’ford was out painting a sunrise with Mt. Zion Christian Academy students in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District. We’re still waiting on that new day. But every time I see dawn’s bright colors peeking out from behind La’ford’s black sun, I’m reminded to seek the light hiding behind all the darkness and death. yalaford. com—JR

BEST MUSICAL STIMULUS PACKAGE PALLADIUM CREATIVE CLASS STIPEND

As CL’s Eric Snider put it, 2020-21 has “been a year in which musicians have endured unimaginable stress, strife, statis, frustration and financial woe,” but some venues and arts institutions went above and beyond to get musicians work. Palladium Theater gave nine locals a $2,500 stipend each to develop or refine a project to be performed at the venue—and paid the artists their requisite performance fee. So the Creative Class money is earmarked for what it should be: creation—of a new work, of advancing existing works, implementation of new media, and other purposes.—RR

BEST MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO WEEDON ISLAND SCOTT LEE ‘THROUGH THE MANGROVE TUNNELS’

Lee, an Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Florida School of Music grew up on a canal that leads out to Riviera Bay, which borders Weedon Island; he volunteered at the preserve in middle and high school, and led canoe trips with a naturalist in the summer for kids’ summer camps. Naturally, this multi-movement record picks up on all the natural beauty and (at times disturbing) history of the beloved park. scottleemusic. bandcamp.com.—RR

BEST NEW ART COLLECTIVE NEW ROOTS ART COLLECTIVE

Tampa artists Melvin “LANGSTN” Halsey Jr., Indie Reece, Ron Simmons, and Briauna Walker formed the collective in summer 2020 amidst nationwide protests for racial justice. While most of us hibernated in our homes, New Roots artists made new work and looked for ways to increase Black representation in the arts. Tony Krol introduced us to them first. But due to the pandemic, much of Tampa Bay didn’t discover New Roots Art Collective for another year. In July 2021, HCC Dale Mabry’s Gallery 221 hosted the group’s first art exhibition, “Root’d.” Together, New Roots’ work reflects on the artists’ shared roots, current events and a

CITYOFSTPETE/FLICKR

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

positive vision for the future. And let's always celebrate the gorgeous Harriet Tubman shipping container New Roots helped bring to life in Ybor Heights. newrootsartcollective.com—JR

BEST NEW ARTS ORGANIZATION TAMPA ARTS ALLIANCE

St. Pete’s vibrant art scene became what it is because of the St. Pete Arts Alliance. That’s why we’re so excited that Tampa finally formed its own in June 2021. As I wrote this blurb, the Tampa Arts Alliance hosted a series of arts town halls to gather community feedback on how Tampa’s art scene could be better. Let the idea sharing begin. tampaartsalliance.org—JR

BEST NEW ART SCENE PINELLAS ART VILLAGE

Several of Tampa Bay’s most active artists work in Pinellas Arts Village, including Derek Donnelly, John Gascot, and Gianna Pergamo. With these folks on it, it’s no surprise that Pinellas Arts Village morphed into the hot new art hangout over the past few years. The village hosts a block pARTy on the 4th Saturday of every month, and if you’ve never been to one, you’re missing out. Like all great parties, many of these 4th Saturday block pARTies are themed. October comes with a horror theme, so you can look forward to that. Follow Pinellas Arts Village on Facebook (@Pav727) to find out what’s next. pinellasartsvillage.com—JR

BEST NEW BLOCK PARTY BLOOM ON FRANKLIN

When Franklin Street’s “Bloom” block party launched this spring, Tampeños were in desper-

ate need of an outdoor place to hear music and see local art. The series coasted to the summer and moves into the fall as one of the fastestgrowing must-do monthly happenings in the Bay area. And since vaccination rates still aren’t where they need to be, Bloom is easily one of the safest things you can do to break the pandemic funk. @mergeculture on Facebook—RR

BEST NEW CONCERT ACCESSORY NEGATIVE COVID-TEXT OR PROOF OF VAXX In case you’ve missed it, coronavirus is still a thing that has an effect on the entire world and community around you. And while some bands are still staying away from Florida for good reason, others are taking the chance, but also asking venues to make sure anyone coming through the door is making the best health decisions possible. Two promoters in particular— Aestheticized Presents and Savage Beat—have been adamant about their stances. So bring your vaxx card along with your earplugs when you go see the traveling rock show—the band and the person next to you is grateful. (Oh, and if you don’t like it, stay home and, probably, shut the fuck up.)—RR

BEST NEW PARTY IN PINELLAS PARK PRIDE AT THE VILLAGE

A series of new Pride events hit Pinellas County this year, including Pride at the Village, Gulfport Pride, and St. Pete Pride’s Arts and Qulture. There were so many that I couldn’t bring myself to choose a single one as the “best new pride continued on page 55

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 53


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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST continued from page 53 event.” Instead, I’m giving all three an award, starting with John Gascot’s Pride at the Village. Pride at the Village brought live music, burlesque, drag performances, a rainbow balloon selfie wall and a pet costume contest to Pinellas Arts Village. It was easily the best party I’ve ever attended in Pinellas Park. I look forward to its return next year. pinellasartsvillage.com—JR

BEST NEW TAMPA-BASED DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER JENNIFER MSUMBA

I’d say that Jennifer Msumba is the best new documentary filmmaker in Tampa Bay you’ve never heard of. But since CL put her on the cover of its Aug. 5 issue, you probably know about her inspiring, creative can-do spirit. She taught herself to make short films by reading books and watching YouTube videos on the subject. Now she does everything from script-writing to directing to recording original songs for her short films. I like everything about Msumba’s films, but what I love most is their underlying message: Be kind to people who are different from you. You don’t know what they’re going through. jennifermsumba.com—JR

MFA, too, and show them all that Tampa Bay’s art scene has to offer. mfastpete.org—JR

BEST PANDEMIC SHORT FILM ‘SEXO Y VIOLENCIA’ BY CHRISTEN HAILEY

The hilarious R-rated mockumentary, “Sexo y Violencia: The Secret History of Tampa Episode 1, The Lair of the White Weasel” takes us back to Henry B. Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel in 1898. Plant’s mistress, Maude, left behind a previously unknown diary that’s a ridiculously tonguein-cheek tale of Teddy Roosevelt’s “introduction to the monstrously sexy underground pagan Temple of Ybor City.” This episode leaves us with “Game of Thrones” worthy cliffhangers. Will Maude succeed in her nefarious plan to become the queen of Tampa? What will come of Roosevelt’s pansexual escapades? Is Henry Plant really a zombie? jobsitetheater.org—JPC

BEST PHOTOS OF SPACE TODD BATES PHOTOS OF SPACECRAFT

SPACEcraft is difficult to describe in words, which is why the traveling art installation and interactive exhibit lucky to have past CL Cretaive DirectorTodd Bates telling the story in pic-

BEST PANDEMIC RECYCLING PRACTICE EMILY STEHLE’S COVID COMFORT BASKETS AT CREATIVE PINELLAS

BEST PANDEMIC MUSEUM REMODEL THE MFA

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete seriously upped its game with a 2020 museum remodel that stretched across 18 galleries, covering 12,000 square feet of space. It’s almost like visiting a completely different museum now. With the galleries arranged chronologically, viewing the permanent collection is like walking through art history. Alternatively, grab a themed brochure and search the galleries for artwork on different subjects, like animals and insects. So the next time you host visitors from out of town, don’t just take them to The Dalí. Take them to the

tures. Bates has been following SPACEcraft on their journey around Pinellas County for over a year now, and the photos are incredible. It’s not easy to capture creative exploration, but Bates has done it beautifully. toddbatesphoto. com—JR

BEST PLACE TO DISCOVER NEW TALENT WAVE THEORY REPLAY OPEN MIC

The Wave Theory collective takes its Tuesday open mic at Tampa Heights’ Shuffle seriously, and so do the performers. Though hip-hop leaning, all genres are welcome to show their stuff. Leader Mike Mass is usually looking for unknowns, or soon-to-be-knowns, to add to the lineup, and the audience actually enjoys and pays attention—in the open mic world that’s like an alternate universe. @wavetheoryllc on Facebook—SP

BEST PLACE TO PRETEND YOU’RE A MERMAID FAIRGROUNDS ST. PETE

Weeki Wachee Springs seems like the obvious winner, but there’s a new game in town. With its mermaid motel and oceanic murals, Fairgrounds St. Pete is the best place to pretend

you’re a mermaid in Tampa Bay. Don’t believe me? Ask Tampa artist Tya Lewis aka Iona Parris, who came to the Sept. 1 media preview dressed in full mermaid regalia. fairgrounds.art—JR

BEST PLAYER OF REED INSTRUMENTS DAVID PATE

In the argot of musicians, Pate is a motherfucker. His main horn is tenor saxophone, and he plays it with an athletic brilliance rooted in several decades of relentless practice and performance. He also plays soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, piccolo, and can work his way around baritone and alto saxes when necessary. Pate’s main outlet is jazz, but he’s been an adjunct member of the Florida Orchestra, played in the Zappa tribute band Bogus Pomp, and was part of the full orchestra that backed The Who on its most recent tour, which hit Amalie Arena. He even took a piss in the same row of stalls as Pete Townshend during rehearsals.—ES

BEST POP SONG KIRK ADAMS “HERE & NOW”

It starts with an ethereal synth swell and, off in continued on page 57

BEST REASON TO GET OUTSIDE FOR A CONCERT RIVERWALK STAGE AT STRAZ CENTER, ROCK THE PARK, AND FWD THINKERS LAWNCERTS

MICHAEL M. SINCLAIR

We all consumed a lot of crap during the pandemic. While most of us tossed our empty beer cartons and used-up taco dinner kits in the trash, Emily Stehle weaved them into art. The Clearwater artist created 41 baskets using trash her family generated during the pandemic. The COVID comfort baskets, created at a rate of one per week, became a visual journal of Stehle’s pandemic. Each basket shared something that comforted her during these difficult times, from music to hot cocoa and beer. Hanging from the ceiling in Creative Pinellas’ Arts Coast Galleries, the collection of baskets looked like dozens of virus particles infiltrating the gallery. As gallery visitors walked through, they made visible our interactions with COVID over the past year. I’ll never forget it. @emilystehle on Instagram—JR

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST continued from page 55 the distance, the plaintive repeat of a simple piano chord. By the time a series of upward sweeping guitar lines slide in at the 13-second mark, you’re hooked. Adams sings, “Did you get my message today?,” piquing interest. What follows is a gorgeously seductive 4-plus-minutes of dreamy, echo-bathed, mesmeric, mediumtempo pop with hints of The Beach Boys, Beatles and Beck’s more atmospheric work (think Morning Phase). Yet “Here & Now” never sounds derivative of these or other artists. Adams’ restrained tenor encourages the listener to draw their own meaning from the lyrics. “All we have is here, until we disappear / All we have is now, until we take a bow / And there’s so little time / So little time.” Kinda echoes the zeitgeist, huh? “Here & Now” is a one-off single that you should definitely check out on YouTube or Spotify.kirkadamsmusic.com—ES

BEST PORTRAITURE WITH A PURPOSE DR. CARTER G. WOODSON AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM’S ‘REVERBERATIONS’

I saw “Reverberations” in August 2021, towards the tail end of its run at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg. What impressed me most was the quality and variety of portraits curator Desmond Clark sourced from all over the Southeastern U.S. But “Reverberations” wasn’t just the best collection of portraits I’ve seen all year. It was also the best history lesson; labels next to the work were full of interesting historical tidbits. Did you know that members of the Underground Railroad used quilts to mark escape routes for enslaved African Americans? University of Tampa’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery hosts “Reverberations” through Nov. 5. stcate.com—JR

BEST POWER-POP ALBUM ED WOLTIL ‘ONE IN MY TREE’

One of the most accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarists that the Bay area has ever produced, Woltil unleashed another triumph, one that rivals the two albums he made with Brian Merrill as The Ditchflowers. 'One in My Tree' is a beguiling collection of hooky powerpop, replete with winning vocal harmonies and seductive guitar work. But it transcends the genre by incorporating a few moving ballads and a dash of Americana. Woltil, a first-rate lyricist and clever wordsmith, also transcends the general glibness of power-pop by writing lyrics with genuine emotional heft that resonate with grown folks. edwoltil.com—ES

BEST REASON TO GET OUTSIDE FOR A CONCERT RIVERWALK STAGE AT STRAZ CENTER, ROCK THE PARK, AND FWD THINKERS LAWNCERTS

Even before the pandemic, downtown Tampa

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

had long embraced the monthly outdoor concert lifestyle. But the street scene got better over the last year thanks to the re-emergence of Rock the Park, the opening of Straz Center’s full-blown Riverwalk stage and the entrance of the “Lawncert” outdoor concert series by FWDthinkers, which somehow convinced people to them throw free neighborhood concerts in their backyard. I still get scared to be inside at the club, and these outdoor shows are a welcome reprieve. @rocktheparktpa @strazcenter @fwdthinkersmusic on Instagram—RR

BEST REASON TO GET ‘ROBBED’ GAT$

In 2021, getting into the mind of Tampa rapper Robb Ferdinand meant getting in touch with the pain that informs his new album, 'Robbed,' a 34-minute collection of songs that details feelings surrounding the death of his brother, his mom’s fight with COVID-19 and his own battle against sickle cell anemia (he’s skipping chemo and focusing on a good diet instead). Throw in all the Lovecraft references, plus thoughtful meditations on generational wealth and police relations, and what you have is the best local hip-hop album of 2021, hands up. gats813.com—RR

BEST RUN (AND SADDEST FAREWELL) INNOVOCATIVE THEATRE

Innovocative was the perfect name for this company, which first burst upon the local scene during the 2017 Tampa Fringe Festival. From then on, Artistic Director Staci Sabarsky offered productions that were both innovative and provocative, tackling subjects like abortion (“Keely and Du”) and mass shootings (the BOTB-winning “Columbinus”) that generated memorable talkback sessions. Innovocative also shone a spotlight on new talent, generating indelible performances by, among others, Marie-Claude Tremblay and Shayla Witoshynsky. Sadly, COVID and other challenges brought an end to Innovocative’s run, and Sabarsky is moving to North Carolina—but not before directing a show for Ward Smith’s new theater in St. Pete. innovocativetheatre.org —DW

BEST SINGLE “BLOOD ON THE WATER” MIKE MASS AND J.T. BROWN

One of the best songs, and videos, to come out in a while anywhere just happened to come from Tampa Bay’s own Mike Mass and J.T. Brown. The lyrics regarding racial injustice are sadly contemporary, but J.T. Brown’s soulful croon with Mike Mass’s rhymes made the fight for justice sound good; 2020 was a rough year, but ending it with this song helped the healing. The video directed by Tampa's own Jordan Hicks is a work of art on its own. @jtbrownmusic on Facebook—SP

BEST SONG TO CRY TO WILL QUINLAN’S ‘TEXARKANA’

Dang, this tear-jerker features Quinlan’s weary

voice as the perfect instrument in tribute to his late cousin. Pour yourself a glass of whiskey for this one, or just drink from the bottle. willquinlanmusic.bandcamp.com—SP

BEST SHORT-LIVED REPRIEVE FROM CORONAVIRUS HOT DOG PARTY 15

Crowbar owner Tom DeGeorge will hate me for this, but I looked so many people in the eye at Hot Dog Party 15 to tell them, “America’s back.” I was mostly joking, but there’s no denying that this bun bash—where so many of us were fully inoculated and drunk on the idea that others were on the way to vaxx-town—felt like the beginning of the end of the pandemic. We were obviously wrong, and the touring industry in Florida still faces a tough road, but for one night in July, we all felt the perilous fight was almost over. crowbarybor.com—RR

BEST SIGN THAT CHANGE IS GOOD THEY HATE CHANGE

Clearwater duo They Hate Change was already on many a hip-hop head’s radar thanks to '666 Central Ave.,' its recent release on the Godmode imprint, but Dre and Vonne took it to a new level this year when the band signed to indie-label giant Jagjaguwar, which released They Hate Change's mind-boggling new single (“Faux Leather”) with promises of more music to come. A full North American tour supporting U.K. punk favorite Shame means that a new audience—even more change—is in store for yet another Tampa Bay band gone global. @theyhatechange on Instagram—RR

BEST SMALL LIVE-MUSIC VENUE (THAT SURVIVED COVID BUT COULDN’T SURVIVE THE END OF A LEASE) HIDEAWAY CAFE

This blurb was updated literally minutes before going to press. Ain’t journalism fun? Hideaway owner John Kelly announced on Sept. 28 that his landlord would not be renewing the lease. He has a few months left to present live music in one of the best listening rooms in Tampa Bay, but no actual closing date has been established. When it happens, that will end a terrific 13-year run for The Hideaway. That said, here’s the original post: What place has the best sound system in the Tampa Bay area? The answer is subjective, but a cozy, living room-style venue with a capacity of 80 that doubles as a recording studio is certainly at or near the top of the list. The Hideaway has struggled during Covid, as most other venues have [Kelly said that business had dropped even further in recent months], but he’s kept the faith and kept the doors open [for a while longer anyway]. The Hideaway, on the

corner of Central Ave. and 18th Street in St. Pete, presents real musicians, singing and playing real instruments, usually four nights a week. Quite a few singer/songwriters play the room, but so do rock, blues and R&B acts, so the joint can get loud and jumpin’, while the sound quality is always pristine. The beer list is solid and the food’s pretty good, too. Readers, get to the Hideaway while you can. Good luck going forward, John. hideawaycafe.biz—ES

BEST SMALL-TOWN PRIDE GULFPORT PRIDE

The City of Gulfport has much to be proud of, from its gay-friendly reputation to its relaxed beach-town vibe, seafood, shopping, and art scene. In May, Gulfport cemented its reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly place to live with its first day-long Pride event. It seemed like all of Gulfport showed up to the event, yet I still found a decent parking spot. The day began with a performance by the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band and a Pride flag raising at the Gulfport Public Library. Afterward, people perused work by LGBTQ+ artists at ArtOut and shopped at the vendor-filled outdoor Pride market lining both sides of Beach Boulevard. As evening approached, folks made their way to Salty’s Gulfport and Neptune Grill for Vibrator races, drag performances and live music. I came home at the end of the day happy, exhausted, and covered in rainbows. Gulfport sure knows how to show a girl a good time. mygulfport.us—JR

BEST SHOW OF SHOWBIZ CHUTZPAH WARD SMITH’S STUDIO GRAND CENTRAL AND OFF-CENTRAL PLAYERS

Buy a building and start a theater company and gallery in the midst of a pandemic? Why not? In January, when actor/director Ward Smith saw that acting coach Andi Matheny was selling her studio in the Grand Central district, he and his sister, mortgage industry exec Karen Riffe, jumped on the opportunity. Matheny’s space was already set up with seats and lighting, and Smith opened in August with “Rasheeda Speaking,” the first in a season of provocative contemporary plays well-suited to the intimate space. (Bonus: Riffe’s charmingly candid blog about her introduction to the backstage world.) studiograndcentral.com.—DW

BEST THEATER DESIGN CONCEPT ‘SHOCKHEADED PETER’

Before surprise back surgery blew up my spring, I was scheduled to review “Shockheaded Peter” at Jobsite. Doing my due diligence, I was blown away by the production photos. The continued on page 59

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

continued from page 57

BEST SIGN THAT CHANGE IS GOOD THEY HATE CHANGE

images were thrilling—in your face, subversive, and more than a touch frightening. In other words, a perfect match for the material. From old school painted set pieces, grotesque makeup, dramatic lighting both in color and texture, over the top costumes and wigs, striking creatures from Muppet-esque hand puppets to a giant stork that swallowed Coleen Cherry, all the visual elements walked the transgressive knife’s edge between humor and horror. jobsitetheater.org—JPC

What happens when three traveling art pros team up? The best traveling art project Tampa Bay’s ever seen, that’s what. Mitzi Jo Gordon, Carrie Boucher and Bridget Elmer launched SPACEcraft in July 2020 to encourage creative exploration in Pinellas County. Since then, SPACEcraft’s planted its colorful shipping containers in over 10 parks/public spaces in Pinellas County. The project played music with us, made art with us, and showed us that creativity has no limits. Above all, it offered a brief respite from our pandemic problems in a safe outdoor setting. And for that, I am grateful. To find out where SPACEcraft travels next, follow it on Facebook or Instagram (@explorespacecraft).—JR

GEORGE GOLDBERG

BEST TRAVELING ART PROJECT COLLAB SPACECRAFT

BEST UNPOPULAR OPINION DJ KU

When I spoke to Tampa’s DJ Ku in the spring of 2020, the coronavirus was just taking hold of the club scene, and Ku—a red Bull Thre3style champ—was firm in his idea that it was time for DJs to stay home and help try to quash the pandemic. It was an unpopular opinion for some, but Ku walked the walk when clubs finally opened up, getting tested every week, wearing his mask and asking others (in real life and online) to do the same. I can’t imagine some of the DMs slipped towards Ku, but I’m glad he stood firm. @djku on Twitter—RR

BEST USE OF YOUR UNCLE’S SKELETON PRINCE MIDNIGHT

The world bowed at the throne of Prince Midnight in February when outlets like Huffington Post, Guitar World, CBC and Loudwire all fell in love with the story about how the Tampa rocker honored his late Uncle Filip by building a “Skelecaster” guitar out of his remains. CL had its doubts, but the story is too good to not buy into. That’s why we’ll be at Prince Midnight’s live debut this December at the Brass Mug. princemidnight.bandcamp.com—RR

BEST UP AND COMING COMEDIAN (TAMPA) STEPHEN HENRY

Henry has become a go-to support act at indie

shows throughout the state and the same at comedy clubs as well. He performs regularly at Snappers and Side Splitters, the latter seeing him open for the likes of Rich Vos and Louis C.K. Sharp writing is the backbone of Henry’s set, with plenty of low-key self-deprecation sprinkled in. If you make a point of catching local comedy, good chance you’ve already seen him perform, or you will soon. @stephenhangry on Facebook—MM

BEST UP-AND-COMING COMEDIAN (PINELLAS) Jeff Klein

Klein is making his mark onstage, but he brings the funny in different ways. “Outside A Comedy Club,” was a sketch series featuring comedians milling about before and after shows. He received a BOTB a few years back for his “Wigs & Wit” creation, a live show pitting comedians versus drag queens in a battle of jokes and dance moves that still runs to-

day. And his current video series, “Beer With A Queer” (spoiler: Klein is gay), with a variety of guests such as 102.5 The Bone’s Mike Calta, lets straight people ask uncomfortable questions over a brew and some laughs. Klein has a number of ways of delivering comedy, and he’s throwing a little bit of everything at Tampa Bay. jeffkleincomedy.com—MM

BEST WE SHOULD’VE SEEN THAT COMING JON SCHAFFER PLEADS GUILTY IN WAKE OF INSURRECTION ATTEMPT

The metaller who’s recorded many an album in Tampa made history as the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Casual fans may have been surprised to see the self-proclaimed Oath Keeper storming the Capitol in the wake of Trump’s lies about a stolen election, but we all should

have seen it coming after Schaffer’s band, Iced Earth, released its 2004 Civil War-themed album 'The Glorious Burden.' fbi.gov—RR

BEST YEAR (ACTING DIVISION) ANDRESIA MOSELEY

At CL we’ve known the powerhouse that is Andresia Moseley ever since her spokenword performances five years ago at GASP! But this year she’s really getting to show her range. From the quiet resolve of Mrs. Muller in “Doubt” to the one-woman tour de force (27 characters!) of “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992”— both at Jobsite—to the anguished mother in Stageworks’ American Son, her versatility, charisma and emotional depth have been riveting. But wait, there’s more! She’s currently appearing in Jobsite’s “Dr. Ride’s American Beach House” and has been named one of the company’s new Artistic Associates. realtheartist.wixsite.com—DW

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The TREASURE of TAMPA BAY

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The TREASURE of TAMPA BAY

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FRI OCTOBER 15

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Rising Appalachia SAT JANUARY 22

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Oshima Brothers

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 71


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Grateful to be Tampa’s favorite Italian for 35 years; here’s to 35 more! 1413 S Howard Ave, Ste 100, Tampa, Fl 33606 • 813-254-3355 • bellasitaliancafe.com 74 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • FOOD & DRINK of coconut, an aromatic spiral of turmeric oil, a dusting of smoky char (source unknown) and a scattering of wispy marigold petals which charm the eye in bright shades of intense yellow and electric orange. It’s a triumph on every level. You’ll have to wait till next summer, but don’t miss this one. theurbanstillhouse.com— Jon Palmer Claridge

BEST ADD THESE TO THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL LINEUP GET ALONG STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DOUGHNUT

BEST ART-THEMED CHARCUTERIE CAFÉ GALA AT THE DALÍ

GETALONGTPA/FACEBOOK

"Van Gogh Alive" at The Dalí was the most popular art exhibit Tampa Bay’s hosted in a long time. I had to book an appointment a month in advance to see it, and I’m an arts writer. But as much as I loved the exhibit, it’s not locally made. And it will probably be mostly the same no matter where in the world one sees it. But the Dalí did add a few personal touches that made the experience special for me. My favorites were the vases of sunflowers decorating the tables at Cafe Gala and Chuck Bandel’s Van Gogh-themed charcuterie board. Bandel’s pairing of Dutch cheese with a sunflower seed bar and a roasted pear was absolutely delightful. Before we dug in, I snapped a photo of our art snack next to a vase of sunflowers that would make most any art-lover think of Van Gogh. thedali.org—Jennifer Ring

BEST BABY THAT GOT BIGGER XTREME TACOS SEMINOLE HEIGHTS STONER BURRITO

BEST ADD THESE TO THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL LINEUP GET ALONG STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DOUGHNUT

Joel Davis’ Union coffee shop closed at Pickford’s Counter over the summer, but there’s a sweet side to the bad news, and that’s Get Along, a doughnut company where Davis leans on baker, recording engineer and skateboarder Asher Lakes plus Library Coffeehouse cofounder Marie Cullinan who help run the show. The shop—set to eventually open in Seminole Heights—has been doing pop ups, and if you can get your mouth around one of its strawberry shortcake concoctions, then you might petition decision makers in Plant City to make the sweet treats mandatory at their spring festival. @getalongtpa on Instagram—Ray Roa

BEST ALTERNATIVE TO BERN’S BURNZ

Bern’s Steak House is a rite of passage in the Tampa dining scene, but now so is Burnz, just two miles north on Howard Avenue. There’s no wine room at the West Tampa restaurant,

but there are Caribbean, Hispanic & American plates in a setting that’s definitely less velvet-y than the Bern’s reception). So next time you’re planning a date night, tell your partner , “We’re going to Burnz, baby.” burnzrbg.com—RR

BEST AMISH FAIR FOOD PEACHEY’S

It’s the fair food treat that I still think about daily: Peachey’s fresh and warm glazed yeast donut topped with a mountain of coconut cream pie filling, whipped cream and coconut shavings. It was big enough to share, but I didn’t want to. Peachey’s (FKA The Amish Baking Company) gets out of Florida during the super warm months, but should be back in Sarasota by November. @peacheysbakingco on Instagram—Stephanie Powers

MOST AMUSING BOUCHE URBAN STILLHOUSE PEA SOUP

The kitchen hits a home run with this fabulous chilled summer pea soup. It’s a heady, sophisticated mix of stunning flavors. A trio of tender, smoked diver sea scallops swim in the creamy emulsion. Chef Kenny Tufo adds accents of bits

In 2017, Crave Digital founder Chris Fasick, named the Xtreme Tacos Stoner Burrito the “Best Burritos That Need Their Own Blankets and Birth Certificates.” I didn’t think it was possible, but the baby-sized burrito is now stuffed with even more protein, rice, beans, french fries, thinly shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and shredded cheese. I’m a 36-year-old, 6-foot, 200-pound human, and this thing literally stretched from my fingertips past my elbow. This thing doesn’t just need a birth certificate anymore, it needs vaccines so it can go to preschool. xtremetacos.com—RR

BEST BEST OF THE BAY FOODIE DRAMA STONE SOUP CO. V STONE SOUP CAFE

CL Best of the Bay Readers Picks have always been tough to win, but it’s even harder when your business’ name is very similar to other one. Just as Ybor City’s Stone Soup Company and Stone Soup Cafe & Pub in St. Pete. Readers always got them mixed up, therefore fudging up numbers… and I’m thinking out loud now, but maybe the 2022 voting item should just ask readers to choose the “Best Stone Soup restaurant in Tampa Bay.” xsoup4u.com and stonesoupcafe.com—RR

BEST BORSCHT AND OTHER RUSSIAN GOODIES BABUSHKA’S

At this tiny little restaurant in a tiny little Temple Terrace strip mall, don’t fret about when certain courses of your meal will come out. The plates arrive at the table when they’re ready, and who cares? The borscht, dumplings, and other Russian goodies are like a warm hug from a tiny little grandma, aka Babushka. babushkas.us—SP

BEST BREAD BAG JAMISON B BAKEHOUSE

One of the only silver lining of COVID was Jamison B Bakehouse pivoting from restaurants to selling bread bags. For $40, you got three loaves (or two and a pack of pretzels, bagels) and a box of pastries, all designed at the whims of the bread gods. In the mood for fig and olive bread? Pumpernickel sauerkraut? Guava hand pies? With each day of the pandemic feeling the same, the weekly surprise of treats was a godsend. With the menu to view online, you can even add more treats (get the focaccia pizza) to pick up on Saturdays at 2 p.m. jamisonb.org—Caroline DeBruhl

BEST BREAKFAST TO KEEP YOU FULL UNTIL WELL PAST LUNCH RAW SMOOTHIE CO. RISE N GRIND

Most everyone who gets in their car before 9 a.m. on the weekdays and gives half a rat’s ass about their health has a smoothie shop where they regularly spend disposable income. Mine is the OG storefront for this Tampa shop where the “Rise & Grind” (banana, espresso beans, peanut butter, cacao, honey, almond milk) not only keeps me full when I forget to bring my lunch to work, but inspires me to try and take better care of my body (read: skip the quarter-pounder, or ramen) day in and day out. rawsmoothieco.com—RR

BEST BREAKFAST TO MAKE YOU HOLE SUPERNATURAL FOOD & WINE

But not every breakfast is super-loaded with nutrients made to stoke the fire that is your body’s metabolism. Some breakfasts are meant to make your heart content, and that’s what SuperNatural’s “plain” cider sourdonut does for me. It’s spiced perfectly, and puffed at different volumes depending on the weather outside (kind of like me), with just a touch of salt to wake the senses. The best part, though, is that the vegan creation is served with the doughnut hole on the side, because it takes filling a hole to make you whole sometimes. supernaturalfoodandwine. square.site—RR continued on page 77

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BEST BRUCE JUICE KING STATE TURNS TWO

To quote Forrest Gump, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” And while I’m no coffee, beer or wine expert, what I love is watching this neighborhood coffee shop and bar bring people together (masked for the most part, too) over the last two years. To celebrate its anniversary, the King State crew released special beer but also a collaboration with winemaker Subject to Change. The chillable blend (50% zinfandel with sauvignon blanc and syrah) is surprisingly effervescent and super crushable, and at just over $20 a bottle, not something I can get every day, meaning the King State “Red wine” (I think I heard someone call it “Bruce juice” in a nod to the shop’s alligator mascot) is something I put to my lips whenever I need a treat or reminder to take life more slowly. king-state.com—RR

BEST BUCCO BREW COPPERTAIL’S FLORIDA SPECIAL LAGER

Football stadiums are where corporate light beers are as abundant as oxygen, but there’s a breath of fresh air at Raymond James thanks to the Bucs’ new partnership with local brewing favorite Coppertail, which has crafted a “Florida Special Lager,” packaged all pretty in a 16-oz. creamsicle-colored tallboy complete a Bucco Bruce stamp on the side. And if you can’t afford a ticket to the game, get the beer at Publix.—RR

BEST BURGER JOINT EASILY MISTAKEN FOR A STRIP CLUB BAE’S BURGERS & WINGS

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • FOOD & DRINK

With its name, location along Nebraska Avenue north of Busch, and hot-pink neon sign atop blacked-out windows, you could be forgiven for mistaking Bae’s for yet another gentlemen’s club—but step inside and you’ll find a menu with some of the best burgers in town and walls decorated with hundreds of photos illustrating Tampa Bay history shot by longtime Tribune photojournalist Fred Bellet. baesfreshfastfood. com—Timothy Burke

BEST CEPHALOPOD BITE WILD CHILD JERK OCTOPUS

Chef Rob Reinsmith‘s jerk octopus has justly become one of Wild Child’s signature dishes. The accents of charred scallion crema, waferthin circles of fennel, small peeled grapefruit segments, red watercress leaves, sliced rings of pickled sweet peppers, and a spritz of fresh lime juice meld beautifully on the plate. The tentacles are firm without being rubbery and have just the right amount of heat to pop without throwing the dish out of balance. You’ll swoon like you’re in Spain. wildchildstpete.com—Jon Palmer Claridge

BEST CHEF JEANNIE PIEROLA

Chef Pierola has a storied history in the Tampa Restaurant scene. I missed her halcyon days at SideBerns, but her edison: food + drink lab is well up in my Top 50. However, she’s outdone herself with Counter Culture celebrating “interactive foodie culture” in a “bold and beautiful modern” setting. My rave review appeared with her on the CL cover the week the bottom fell out of our world as the pandemic sent the globe into lockdown. She took advantage to do some reno at edison and managed to keep Counter

BEST BABY THAT GOT BIGGER XTREME TACOS SEMINOLE HEIGHTS STONER BURRITO

Culture afloat. I still dream of the yellowfin tuna wrapped toro tartare. cc-tampa.com and edison-tampa.com—JPC

BEST BUCCO BREW COPPERTAIL’S FLORIDA SPECIAL LAGER

BEST CINCINNATI CHILI POPUP NATHAN HARDIN

You didn’t have to grow up on Skyline Chili, to know that Nathan Hardin’s Cincinnati Chili was freaking delicious. But I did, and his popup at Pickford’s Counter made the Southern Ohio treat so yummy and high-quality that you didn’t regret your decision an hour later. Hardin also created a vegan version, which was missing in my imperfect-vegetarian life. @nathanlhardin on Instagram—SP

BEST COTTAGECORE FANTASY COME TRUE MEACHAM URBAN FARM

On a spit of dirt between the highway and a former housing project in the middle of Tampa, there’s an idyllic paradise. Something is growing over every square inch: strawberries tumbling over the curb, chamomile coming through sidewalk cracks. The atmosphere is absolutely serene, with babies running amongst tomatoes and a donut you can pay for with a smile (or Venmo.) Someone will hand you a sample of pickled veg with a spice you never hear of on top, and for a moment, you’ll forget that you’re in the wild, brutal world of Central Florida. Florida, thinking instead, it’s Eden. meachamfarm. com—CDB

BEST DRINKABLE VENUE LIFELINE ANGRY CHAIR ‘GHOST LIGHT’

When the pandemic is unkind to your friends, you punch back, and that’s what Seminole Heights’ Angry Chair Brewing did for Ybor City venue Orpheum (which has hosted Angry Chair beek week release events). This spring, the brewery put out “Ghost Light,” a decadent imperial oatmeal chocolate stout with hints of toasted coconut brewed to help Orpheum, quite frankly, keep the ghost light on while the venue went dark. Orpheum is still around (and asking patrons to mask up), while Angry Chair has new plans to move into a bigger brewery, so karma was good them. angrychairbrewing. com—Ray Roa

XTREMETACOSINC/FACEBOOK

BEST FANCY BURRITO FILET MIGNON BURRITO AT RED MESA

Burritos are so intrinsically scrumptious that it’s hard to elevate one from another. Red Mesa—one of the Bay area’s most consistently excellent restaurants for over 20 years—has more than managed the feat. The key is replacing the ground beef (or pork or chicken) with delicate chunks of filet, which is never anything but melt-in-your-mouth juicy and tender. The meat joins a sublime blend of monterey jack cheese, poblano pepper, onion, red pepper and tomato. It’s well worth the $25 for a bur-

COPPERTAIL/TWITTER

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rito this outstanding. Comes with black beans and cilantro rice. redmesarestaurant.com—Eric Snider

BEST HOLY SMOKES GRAND CATHEDRAL CIGARS

All you need to do is look at the parking lot (and overflow parking) on any given night to know that people love going to church at Grand Cathedral. The 21-and-up spot is owner Angela Yue’s totally renovated holy house of cigars complete with a piano bar, lounge, conference area, and a 6,000-square-foot outside event space—koi pond included. In a neighborhood where developers look to build architecturally ugly multi-unit housing on every available lot, GCC is an aesthetic wonder, and that’s not just the smoke in your eyes.—RR

BEST HOME AWAY FROM HOME (THAT’S MUCH NICER THAN YOUR HOME) BULA KAVANANDA (SEMINOLE HEIGHTS)

Whether you go to Bula for kava, kratom or a fancy coffee made from mushrooms, the place is like hanging in a really clean and stylish friend’s house that smells of expensive incense. It has a daybed, workstations, and all around boho-chic comfiness that makes you want to stay for a while and forget both how messy your house is and how badly you need a new couch. bulakavananda.com—SP

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • FOOD & DRINK BEST IT WAS WORTH IT MACDINTON’S GETTING ALCOHOL LICENSE SUSPENDED

BEST COTTAGECORE FANTASY COME TRUE MEACHAM URBAN FARM

MEACHAMFARM/FACEBOOK

The war for most densely packed food options on one street rages on. Is it Armenia Avenue with all its South American, Caribbean, and Latin food ways? Or Waters Avenue, which takes you on a tour of Southeast Asia? My pick right now would be Mays Alreem on 56th Street just north of Fowler Avenue. Expect a no frills beef shwarma all wrapped in a pita with all the fixings, but make sure not to miss almost everything else on the menu. Falafel is balled and fried to order, offering that delicate, light, fluffy interior so many fail to get right. But the real winner here is the hummus and baba ghanouj. The oh so creamy hummus comes spooned and flattened on a paper plate, topped with chickpeas, olive oil, parsley, a garlic and parsley pesto of sorts, and finished with a generous sprinkling of sumac. It might be one of the prettiest dishes in Tampa at the moment… without the dish. Baba ghanouj toes the line between perfectly smokey and savory, without being bitter and stringy. The familiar sumac topper gives it the perfect lemony lift. @maysalreemus on Facebook—Daniel Guess

BEST HUMMUS (BUT THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING) THE SPREADS SAMPLER AT BABA

It is inevitable that you will be tempted by the daily hummus special at Baba’s, and you will never, ever be disappointed, because Baba’s hummus is the creamiest, most craveable concoction on the planet whether they add fried cauliflower or red peppers or even pork belly to the mix. But don’t forget you can get three of

When it comes to KFC, there’s only one variety worth pursuing in Tampa Bay: Korean Fried Chicken. Ganchu does it well in the 813, but Anju in St. Petersburg is royalty. It’s queen is Korean-born chef Mee Ae Wolney who graduated from culinary school in Boulder; her KFC is one two “signature dishes” at Anju (along with

BEST INVENTION SINCE THE CRONUT THE CRUMB FACTORY’S CRUFFIN

There are many reasons to love this new bakery in West St. Petersburg, including the amazingly light and non-gooey cinnamon roll and the big inner window with its view of bakers industriously kneading. But the treat that takes the, um, cake is the combination croissant and muffin (distinct from the cronut because it’s baked, not fried) called the Cruffin. Get it with the dulce de leche filling and thank us later. Breakfast and lunch specials, too; get ‘em with the superb sourdough bread. @crumbfactorybakery on Instagram—DW

If thatched roof Irish bars are your thing, there was no more authentic place than the original Four Green Fields on Platt Street. After 28 years, the bar closed last December, and while a new location is supposed to be coming to Channelside, the Curtis Hixon location (and parking lot that now sits where Four Green Fields used to be) leaves a Guinness-pint-sized hole in my colcannon-clogged heart. fourgreenfields.com—RR

Chocolate babka. Pastrami. Corned beef. Matzo ball soup. I’d go on, but it’s making me hungry. This drive-thru food festival in Clearwater happens a couple times a year, giving you a pair of perfect opportunities to stock up on the best kosher eats. Some stuff is local, but they also bring in meats from New York’s Carnegie Deli and cheesecake from Junior’s—the same place P Diddy made his interns walk like a million miles to get a slice. tbiclearwater.org—SP

BEST KIND OF KFC ANJU

Baba’s delicious spreads in a sampler serving, with not just hummus but labneh, muhammara, tzatziki and more to choose from, all as tasty as their names are musical and accompanied by puffy, warm pita or fresh veggies. eatatbaba. com—DW

WORST IRISH WAKE FOUR GREEN FIELDS CLOSING

BEST JEWISH DOOD TEMPLE B’NAI ISRAEL JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL

BEST MILK AND COOKIES SONDER SOCIAL CLUB

If you’re feeling too grown-up for milk and cookies, let me introduce Sonder Social Club’s Milk & Cookies cocktail, a combination of oat milk, Sonder Milk, mellow corn whiskey, marzipan, chocolate, banana, and pimento dram only available during the bar’s seasonal popups. Sonder hosted two this year: a Santa-themed shindig in December 2020 followed by a tiki pop-up in June. Milk and cookies was on tap at both. sondersocial.club—JR

BEST MODERN IRISH BAR STRANDHILL PUBLIC

We all know the tried and true Irish bar aesthetic, wooden walls, thatched roof, old vaguely British memorabilia. What Rory Martin has done here is truly special. Taking the Irish bar into the modern age is no easy feat. Staff it with great bartenders, a killer whiskey selection, and a draft list that puts lesser known Irish craft brews next to the heavy hitters makes for a great place to wind up or turn down every night of the week. With outposts in Brandon and at the Pearl next to Armature Works, you're never too far away from your next after work beer and a shot combo. strandhillpublic.com—DG continued on page 81

BEST NOT-SO-SECRET BAR BEHIND A CUBAN SANDWICH JOINT BAR CHICA

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One Irish bar that seems to be thriving, however, is MacDinton’s in South Tampa. The location was doing so well, it appeared, that last March in the throes of the pandemic, it totally violated local coronavirus ordinances, which led to the City of Tampa punishing the establishment with a three-day suspension that started on March 18, the day after St. Patrick’s Day when an Irish bar’s staff would probably want to spend a few days not surrounded by guests anyway. Sounds like a win to us. macdintons.com—RR

the bibimbap). As CL food critic Jon Palmer Claridge pointed out, “The juicy, hand cut and battered chicken is available as wings or as K-Pops (bites) tossed in one of two signature sauces, soy garlic or St. Pete heat, with a peanut garnish and a mound of steamed, sticky rice,” and I could eat a pickup truck full of it. anjustpete.com—RR

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BEST REASON TO GET T-BONED TURNING LEFT ON NEBRASKA AVENUE GULF COAST SOURDOUGH

BEST LITTLE ICE CREAM TRUCK THAT COULD, DID AND KEEPS DOING IT SWEET MAMA’S

BEST LUNCH COUNTER IN A GROCERY STORE CACCIATORE & SONS

The reliable, independently owned food counter-small grocery store combo is sadly not a concept on the rise. It is an evaporating relic; one hesitant grandson or daughter away from disappearing completely. Solidly satisfying and affordable lunch or early dinner offerings aside, Cacciatore & Sons should be recognized with the hope of highlighting this singular and important genre of the food service industry. The meatball sandwich on local Cuban bread is a hunger-seeking missile of deliciousness and its wide selection of housemade antipasto will keep you coming back. While you’re waiting for your order to be completed peruse the fresh produce, delicious dry goods and nice wines offered in the grocery portion of the store. Bonus. cacciatoreandsons.com—Geoff Crain

BEST NEVERENDING EXPANSION KING OF THE COOP

When Joe Dodd pops up on the caller ID, my butthole puckers up. Not just because he’s the duke of Nashville hot chicken in Tampa, but because the call is almost always to tell me about some new location, nonprofit or concept he’s launching as part of what feels like a neverending expansion for his restaurant, King of the Coop. In the last year, CL’s announced new Coops in Wesley Chapel, Westchase and Ybor City, while also sharing news about a new multi-restaurant partnership with Westshore Pizza and Attic Brothers, which’ll serve as KOTC’s anchor. It’s been a pleasure to watch Dodd’s concept fly, and a whole lot of fun to have a bird’s eye view. kingofthecoop.com—RR

BEST NEW RESTAURANT URBAN STILLHOUSE

Entering Urban Stillhouse your eyes can’t help but be swept up by the grandeur as the windows soar impossibly high. There’s no stained glass here, but the sheer volume of the room is impressive. This is indeed a house of worship, but one dedicated to the art of artisanal bourbon.

RAY ROA

Sweet Mama’s had a little trouble at the get go, but after getting the kinks out, the soft serve ice cream truck is not just succeeding in Tampa Heights but running a second location in Downtown Tampa. “The Cookie Mama” is what I get for a warm, gooey treat. @sweetmamastampa on Instagram—SP

The menu breaks free of the chains that might normally bind a restaurant worshiping dark spirits; it’s not built around every imaginable beef variation plus Caesar salad and onion soup vs. lobster bisque. Instead, Chef Kenny Tufo offers selective, imaginative fare and lets the kitchen strut its stuff. theurbanstillhouse.com—JPC

BEST NON-RECORD STORE WITH A ‘HIGH FIDELITY’ VIBE WEST PALM WINES

The occasionally sardonic and always knowledgeable and helpful staff here is a local treasure. When not in the back maintaining a massive inventory of vintage wines, it can be found at the front counter listening to jazz, trashing or celebrating classic films and playfully taking the piss out of one and other. Don’t ask for Meomi and you’ll do just fine in here. westpalmwines.com—GC

BEST NOT-SO-SECRET BAR BEHIND A CUBAN SANDWICH JOINT BAR CHICA

Though finding the small speakeasy behind Bodega on Central may be tricky, it’s worth the effort because it’s home to some of the best cocktails around. And ruining the secret by blabbing about this place to all of Tampa Bay doesn’t make this new cocktail enclave any less awesome. It might seem odd to someone

not steeped in cocktail history, but tucking a cocktail bar within a Cuban restaurant makes perfect sense. As the U.S. entered prohibition, bartenders in Cuba worked overtime, inventing and reinventing many of the classic cocktails we consume today. Bar Chica serves several of these rum-based Cuban classics. The list includes the Hemingway daiquiri and the lesserknown Hotel Nacional Cocktail. Then there’s the Mary Pickford—a tasty combination of pineapple juice, lime, maraschino cherry liqueur, grenadine and rum named after the Hollywood actress. @thebarchica on Instagram—JR

BEST OLD FASHIONED (TAMPA) ELLA’S AMERICANA FOLK ART CAFE

Never doubt you’ll get a good drink at Ella’s by ordering its take on the classic Old Fashioned (my personal go-to). Strong, well-mixed with Kentucky bourbon, simple syrup, orange and cherry bitters—and the best I’ve had in Tampa so far. Plus, Ella’s staff is great and they’ve got a comfortable set-up both inside and outside that’ll give you the chill vibes you need to truly enjoy the experience. Have a better spot to get an Old Fashioned? HMU. But until then, (don’t) fight me! ellasfolkartcafe.com—McKenna Schueler

BEST OLD SCHOOL BURGER EL CAP (ST. PETE)

Foodies tend to prize innovation and daring (sometimes to the point of foolishness) in a burger. What heady combination of meat(s), ex-

otic cheeses, specialty buns and toppings can a restaurant conjure up? El Cap, on the other hand, values the basics: never-frozen slabs of beef expertly cooked on a grill and, y’know, served inside a bun. Extras (cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, et al) cost a little bit more—e.g. grilled onions will set you back an extra 40 cents. We strongly suggest you do it up right with the Daily Double. El Cap is set amid a slew of fastfood joints on a busy section of 4th Street in St. Pete. It offers generous indoor and outdoor seating. When you eat an El Cap burger, you’re tasting not just hearty food, but decades of history. Find El Cap Restaurant on Facebook—ES

BEST PANDEMIC BYPRODUCT THAI TEMPLE DRIVE-THRU

Palm River’s Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple is the number one place in Tampa to seek tranquility as you stir your bowl of pho (skinny noodle, please) with a spring roll—but like so many other things, the pandemic took it away. Until last March, that is, when the Wat started drive-thru service complete with rules (masks in your car, cash only), meaning pad thai, chicken, vegetable, and shrimp fresh rolls, empanadas, crab rangoon, and of course, iced thai tea and coffee could all be a part of your Sunday ritual again. wattampainenglish.com—RR

BIGGEST PANDEMIC FOOD CASUALTY CAFE PONTE

When I first returned to Tampa Bay in 2010, continued on page 83

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YOU ASKED FOR IT! YOU GOT IT!

street tacos baha mexican fare Melts & munchies 2 for 1 Beer specials

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BEST RESTAURANT ROCCA

BEST PLACE FOR FARM-TO-TABLE IF IT’S YOUR KITCHEN IN THE MIDDLE MEECHAM URBAN FARM

After two years of work, Meacham Farm opened earlier this year in Tampa’s Encore district; punk rocker-turned-urban farmer Travis Malloy’s operation quickly earned deserved praise for the diversity and quality of the produce sprouting from the two acres of organic farm right next to the Bro Bowl. From squash blossoms to pea shoots—with contributions from partner farms further north during our nothing-grows-here summer season—what better way to learn how to cook kohlrabi than with some that got pulled out of the ground that morning? (If you need a recipe, ask Travis.) meachamfarm.com—TB

BEST REASON TO FOLLOW A BARTENDER 6 A.M. ON 7TH

When the mayor announced a competition to name Tampa’s signature cocktail, any drink could have emerged victorious (Salt Life Margarita with Back the Blue curacao, anyone?). But no, judges decided on “6 a.m. on 7th Ave.,” an homage to Tampa’s immigrant roots concocted by Kamran Mir. The cafe con leche-inspired libation uses Cuban rum, Italian liqueur and Grand Marnier as a nod to other European immigrants. It’s served in a styrofoam cup, sometimes with a guava pastry on the side, and, well, I’ll immigrate over to any bar where Mir will make me one. @darthkamran on Instagram—RR

BEST REASON TO GET T-BONED TURNING LEFT ON NEBRASKA AVENUE GULF COAST SOURDOUGH

I know, you could very easily just take a few right turns and safely pull into the parking spots in front of this Seminole Heights bakery and sandwich shop, but there are few things as exhilarating as traveling northbound on Nebraska then cutting a sharp (and illegal?)

ROCCATPA/FACEBOOK

researching the best fine dining in the region was at the top of my to-do list. I knew the long time stalwarts, but was keen to see who was now turning out dishes to take your breath away. Everywhere I turned, the answer was Chris Ponte’s eponymous flagship in a strip mall near where Ulmerton and I-275 collide. I celebrated a milestone birthday there where even a pal from Manhattan gasped. But the economics of the pandemic took a toll. Luckily, the sibling phoenix rises soon with the opening of Ponte Tampa. cafeponte.com and pontetampa.com—JPC

left knowing that a Gulf Coast Greek turkey, meatball or BST (that’s bacon, spinach, tomato) sandwich waits just beyond the glass windows. Add some flybys, cinnamon rolls or fresh bread and what you have is a meal (almost) worth wrecking your car over. gulfcoastsourdough.com—RR

BEST RESTAURANT ROCCA

What propels something to greatness? Passion bordering on obsession, keen attention to detail, the element of surprise? Whether shaken or stirred, these qualities make for an impressive cocktail of habits. Chef Bryce Bonsack’s Rocca has it all. Starting in the “food-as-theatre” realm with the riveting handmade mozzarella at your table cart. The heart of Bonsack’s menu is a fixation on pasta, based on extensive travels around Italy to learn authentic, uncompromising techniques. The results are magnificent. Rocco is now an essential pilgrimage for Tampa Bay foodies. (CRITIC’S NOTE: Following the example of the San Pellegrino Worlds 50 Best Awards, BOTB Best Restaurant winners will be retired to Best of the Best sta-

tus. Rocca joins past winners, The Restorative and Rooster & the Till in this special group.) roccatampa.com—JPC

BEST RESTAURANT IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS RANCHERO TACOS

If you haven’t stopped by the new location of this no frills taco truck, drop what you’re doing and get ready for perfection. While it boasts a smaller menu with most of the usual suspects, simple street tacos are the move here. Tortillas are pressed to order and toasted on the flat top, no double up required. Carnitas are juicy and crispy all in one, with the extra unctuousness that comes with a slow cook in fat. The pineapple adorning the al pastor sees some time on the flat top as well, giving it that extra bit of caramelized sweetness. The chorizo comes with a lovely dose of baking spice that keeps it from being too smokey. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the lengua (beef tongue) is so perfectly tender it melts in your mouth. Don’t sleep on the tamales it offers on weekends! rancherotacos.com—DG

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT THAT MAKES YOU WISH YOU HAD TWO STOMACHS HAPPY FISH

While land animals can be found on the menu here, creatures of the sea are the polestar of this Peruvian establishment. Its light, fresh ceviche (mixto with fish, octopus and shrimp is the move) with the perfect amount of citrus zip and spiciness and pargo frito (whole fried red snapper) is a must. The goulash-like sudado de pescado, with its fluffy and tender bits of steamed fish, is extraordinarily delicious. happyfishrestaurant.com—GC

BEST SECRET WATERFRONT RESTAURANT TIKI DOCKS SKYWAY BAR + GRILL

Maybe it’s not a secret to the folks who live there, but for this soon-to-be-transplant to the Skyway Marina District in St. Pete, Tiki Docks Skyway was a revelation. Who knew that just west of 34th Street S, home to every fast food joint known to man, there would be a sprawling indoor-outdoor restaurant perched right on the marina that serves actually good food? The tiki touches are more about tropical flavors and rum drinks than Polynesian kitsch, and the servings are generous, from a truly jumbo shrimp cocktail to a crispy chicken sandwich that puts Mickey D’s to shame. tikidocks.com—DW continued on page 85

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • FOOD & DRINK

BEST SEITAN UNCLE MINCE’S WORLD FAMOUS SEITAN

ANTHONY MARTINO

If you like sour beer and rainbows, Gulfport Brewery’s Pride flight was pure heaven. It was also the perfect break from walking up and down Gulfport’s Beach Boulevard during Gulfport Pride. I met most of the town as I sat in Gulfport Brewery’s beer garden with my tray full of colorful sour beers. Everyone wanted to know what we were drinking, and we were happy to tell them. As I told those walking past, every beer in that Pride flight was delicious, but my favorite was the Key lime pie beer. Toft has a real gift for making dessert-inspired sours. That Key lime pie beer (Pride Green), along with the Cherry Cheesecake Berliner Toft brewed in collaboration with Crooked Thumb’s Kenjiro Tomita, were my favorite local brews this year. gulfport-brewing.com—JR

ther you love pickles or you’re a fucking weirdo.” floridastatefair.com—RR

WORST WE HOPE THIS ISN’T A RESTAURANT CLOSING CONEY ISLAND SANDWICH SHOP

It’s delicious and cheap and a last stronghold of unironic diner-style eating. Sadly the iconic Coney Island Sandwich Shop is one of the many businesses that took a hit during the pandemic, and as these words are being written the future of Coney Island is uncertain. To eat here meant more than enjoying a delicious dog or burger. The restaurant’s unwavering reverence for tradition gave one a chance to sit and experience another era. If it winds up permanently closing, it will be a great loss for the area. Find Coney Island Hot Dogs on Facebook—GC

BEST THAI ON THE WEST SIDE LANNA THAI

BEST SEITAN UNCLE MINCE’S WORLD FAMOUS SEITAN

Chris Mince has been perfecting his seitan since 2017, basically earning a monopoly on the textured protein in the Tampa Bay area. His product can be found at various spots like Vegan International Co., Cider Press Cafe, and the Vegan Halal Cart. It’s cruelty free and delicious. Get some. @unclemincesworldfamousseit on Facebook—SP

BEST SHAKSHUKA WHILE SHUFFLING TOM MURRAY (SHUFFLE)

Mother’s Day had me at Shuffle for a casual brunch that left me thinking way too much about the shakshuka special I had. It had tater tots baked in! I don’t know what else was in it, besides eggs and tomatoes, but I don’t need to know. I just need it in my belly again. shuffletampa.com—SP

BEST STILL-WARM DONUTS HOLE N ONE

Diet schmiet. Especially when it comes to the best donuts in town that are still fresh and warm when you buy them, even if you roll out of bed at 10 a.m. I prefer the maple ones myself. I only go to “Number 3,” but there are locations in Seffner and Plant City if you’re further out. Find Hole In One Donut at Facebook—SP

BEST STREET MEAT BOOZY PIG VENDING MACHINE

I don’t know why you’d try to avoid a face-toface encounter with your local butcher, but

maybe the chop shop is closed and you’re having a hankering for beef jerky, steaks, ground, burgers, fresh and smoked sausages, or bacon. Enter Boozy Pig’s meat vending machine near Tampa’s Oakford Park. All the animal products are in there, just make sure to start your charcoal before heading out to grab your meat. @theboozypig on Instagram—RR

BEST SWEET SUCCESS (ST. PETE) BRIGHT ICE

When Bright Ice opened at the busy St. Petersburg corner of 37th Street and 5th Avenue N more than two years ago, locals rejoiced. Now that its savvy owners, Steve Garrahan and Kurt Drake, have expanded to Pinellas Park and Water Street Tampa, the rest of Tampa Bay is discovering their Deepest Darkest Chocolate Secret — a flavor that’s every bit as addictive as it sounds. (But then again, so is Lemon with Crystallized Ginger. And Roasted Strawberries with Brown Sugar and Balsamic. And Warm Vanilla. And… need I go on?) brighticeisnice.com—DW

BEST SWEET SUCCESS (TAMPA) CHILL BROS. SCOOP SHOP

But sweet scoops are spreading far and wide in Tampa, too. Last year’s Best of the Bay winner for “Best Place To End A Date” will soon offer more places to do just that. As of publishing, Chill Bros. Scoop Shop, which first opened in Ybor City, has opened a second spot in South Tampa, plus plans to open at the Epicurean Hotel and Water street. Expansion has no chill for these brothers. chillbros.com—RR

BEST TASTE THE RAINBOW GULFPORT BREWERY’S PRIDE FLIGHT

We all remembered very quickly how much we loved dining in restaurants as soon as we weren’t allowed to. The dishes stacked up, the delivery got old and there weren’t many exciting new options that weren’t ghost kitchens cooking uninspired food. Enter Jesus Bravo, the taco master grinding and nixtamalizing his own corn for tortillas. The quesabirria tacos on offer here are a glutinous mashup of Oaxacan cheese and braised beef, huge flavors in tiny packets ready to be dipped in an oh so flavorful consomme. White onion and cilantro help balance the richness of these made to order tacos, which require you to order ahead. Don’t skip the conchas either, wonderful Mexican sweet breads in your choice of chocolate or vanilla. Plans to move into a food truck are underway, so keep a lookout! @te_invito_tampa on Instagram—DG

BEST VISIT TO SPAIN WITHOUT CROSSING THE ATLANTIC LA VID FINE WINES & VINOTECA

Tampa native and sommelier Victor Manuel’s ode to the Iberian peninsula boasts an impressive selection of wines. While the shop includes bottles from all over the world, it’s the spotlight on Spanish and Portuguese wines that makes La Vid special and unique. After years of working in many of the finer eating and drinking establishments in the Bay area and abroad, Victor opened La Vid Fine Wines and Vinoteca in the fall of 2020. Inside the well-curated shop, your experience is not limited to retail; as several (if not nearly all) of his carefully selected wines are available to enjoy on premise at the bar along with delicious meats, cheeses and sundries. lavidtampa.com—GC

BEST WAY TO DECIDE IF WE’RE STILL FRIENDS OR NOT FLORIDA STATE FAIR PICKLE PIZZA

When the Florida State Fair released its food lineup in April, it was full of easy-to-agree-on treats (Amish blueberry and cream doughnut, anyone?). But also on the lineup were food items that could divide a family quicker than debating the merits of the Jan. 6 insurrection. The loudest culprit? Dill pickle pizza with a white garlic sauce base and mozzarella cheese, plus dill and ranch dressing garnish. In the words of CL contributor Stephanie Powers, “Ei-

BEST SWEET SUCCESS (TAMPA) CHILL BROS. SCOOP SHOP

CHILLBROSICECREAM/FACEBOOK

continued from page 83

BEST UNDERGROUND FOOD TO COME OUT OF THE LOCKDOWN JESUS BRAVO’S QUESABIRRIA TACOS

The strip-mall facade of Lanna Thai may be unprepossessing, but its interior is elegant and the welcome warm. The menu, in the tradition of many Asian restaurants, is vast, but here that variety is a strength, not a drawback. The sushi is beautifully prepared, the basics (like a flavorful pad thai) are well-executed, and in special dishes like duck seafood hot pepper (duck, shrimp, scallops and squid sauteed with peppers and basil), the individual ingredients maintain a crisp identity in a subtle sauce. lannathaiandsushistpete.com—DW

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l a e R e k We Ma ! e z e e r B Estate a sult! Home Con r u o Y r o F s for Your Contact U

As Seen on HGTV, NBC’s ‘Daytime,’ and Bravo

Residential Real E s t a t e

Re al Estate - Design - Re n o v a t i o n

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • GOODS & SERVICES helpful staff make this locally owned business an outstanding home improvement resource. empirepaintandhardware.com—Geoff Crain

BEST BIKE REPAIR THAT COMES TO YOU VELO FIX (SCOTT IMRICH)

BEST MALL BIKE SHOP FOR THE PEOPLE WELLBUILT BIKES

RAY ROA

The pandemic drove people to bike shops looking for recreation, but it also amplified the issues so many other folks experience when it comes to reliable transportation. This nonprofit shop at Tampa’s University Mall not only sells refurbished bikes and does repairs at peoplefriendly prices, but uses revenue from the shop to offer an Earn-A-Bike program where community members can use donated parts to build their own bike at no cost. Getting from point A to point B is something so many of us take for granted. Wellbuilt Bikes helps people just want to have the chance. bikeshoptampa.com—RR

BEST NONPROFIT THAT MAKES AN IMMEDIATE LOCAL IMPACT MEALS ON WHEELS TAMPA

When was the last time something came along that you didn’t know existed, but also couldn’t live without when you found it? Enter Tiffozi, the ridiculously meticulous vintage soccer (football if you’re cool) apparel shop located on the old Main Street near North Howard Avenue Boasting a seriously impressive collection of vintage soccer gear, from track jackets to jerseys and the like, Tiffozi has a collection worth gawking at, even if you aren’t a fan of the sport. What makes it even cooler? It’s appointment only, unless you can make it down on a Saturday to see the goods in person. I know where I’m headed for my next Steven Gerrard jersey. tiffoziapparel.com—Daniel Guess

BEST BIG STORE FOR ALL YOUR DISC GOLF NEEDS LOCAL ROUTE DISC GOLF PRO SHOP

The burgeoning alt-sport of disc golf is not as simple as grabbing a Frisbee and aiming it at targets (actually, raised metal baskets). Beginners are encouraged to play with a minimum of three discs: a driver, a mid-range and putter. Advanced slingers can tote as many as 60 around the course in a wheel cart. Local Route Disc Golf Pro Shop consists of 4,000-squarefeet stocked with more than 20,000 discs and a vast array of bags and accessories. The knowledgeable staff works with customers, especially newbies, to outfit them with the right discs so they can get off to a good start. Local Route is also a clearinghouse for the disc golf 411. The Tampa Bay area has 23 disc golf courses, just so ya know, most of which are free to play. localroute.com—Eric Snider

BEST BIKE REPAIR THAT COMES TO YOU VELO FIX (SCOTT IMRICH)

Local bike shops are wonderful, and there are a handful that handled bikes (and your health) beautifully during the pandemic, but sometimes you just need someone to show up to your house and fix the steel horse you ride. While VeloFix is a Canadian company, its Tampa-St. Pete roving tech and repairman is decades long local bike nerd (and musical taste making host of “Saturday Asylum”) Scott Imrich who’s ready to drive his oversized shop van to your driveway and get to work. He tuned up my old Raleigh in less than an hour (complete with ball bearing overhaul) for $100. 10/10 would recommend, especially if the organization of your daily life is a mess like mine. velofix.com—Ray Roa

that lets you order off any menu from any airside, turning our airport into Tampa Bay’s most secure food hall and extending the full slate of our best restaurant brands to every traveler—regardless of airline or destination—brought right to your gate. tpatogo.com—Timothy Burke

BEST HARDWARE/HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE EMPIRE PAINT & HARDWARE

The discovery of Empire Hardware is lifechanging for any DIY-er living in the Ybor/ downtown area. Unburdening yourself from a Home Depot or Lowe’s parking lot alone is good enough reason for its recognition, and then you walk inside. Its impossibly large inventory for such a relatively small store and eager and

BEST CHAMPION OF BLACKOWNED BUSINESSES GREEN BOOK OF TAMPA BAY

If you want to buy Black in Tampa Bay, “Green Book of Tampa Bay” is your best resource. The online directory, which started with about 200 listings, practically quadrupled in 2020 as businesses dealt with pandemic shutdowns. “Green Book of Tampa Bay” helped Tampa Bay’s Blackowned businesses when they needed it most— during the economic storm of 2020-2021. greenbooktampabay.org—Jennifer Ring

BEST COVID-ERA INNOVATION TPA2GO

Regular TPA travelers know the pain of being stranded apart from a dining option located in a different airside, but with an increased emphasis on reduced-contact food service, the airport introduced TPA2Go—a food delivery service

BEST ONE-MAN BICYCLE SHOP TONY’S BIKE SHOP (ST. PETE) continued on page 89

BEST NONPROFIT THAT MAKES AN IMMEDIATE LOCAL IMPACT MEALS ON WHEELS TAMPA

MEALSONWHEELSOFTAMPA/FACEBOOK

BEST APPOINTMENT ONLY VINTAGE SOCCER APPAREL SHOP TIFFOZI APPAREL

Meals on Wheels of Tampa is dedicated to assisting the food-insecure and homebound residents of the greater Tampa area. The nearly 1,000 recipients a day not only receive a hot meal, but a reassuring check-in from a caring volunteer or staff member. Furthermore, Meals on Wheels of Tampa is one of only a handful of Meals on Wheels chapters in the country that holds an independent designation; meaning all contributions made to this benevolent charity stay within this chapter and are dedicated and distributed to the residents of Tampa exclusively. A large portion of this indispensable organization’s daily success relies on the help of volunteers. Ahem… hint hint. mowtampa.org—GC

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BEST PLACE TO GET SOME LOVE WITH YOUR WOOD ANDERSON LUMBER

HCANDERSONLUMBER/FACEBOOK

continued from page 87 A nondescript garage attached to a modest house on the eastern end of St. Pete’s Grand Central district is where Tony plies his trade. The easygoing fella repairs bicycles, charging extremely reasonable rates. He’s a cat who just seems to want to help people get riding again. Tony’s Bike Shop also sells, buys and trades new and used bikes. Think of this no-fuss place as “the Burg’s bike shop.” Tony does. tonysbikeshop.com—ES

BEST PAIN MANAGEMENT WITHOUT NARCOTICS BIOFEEDBACK AT TGH

e 89 You don’t need us to tell you that 2020 and 2021 were stressful as fuck. This year, as I added pandemics to my list of migraine triggers, I sought out a somewhat unconventional migraine treatment. I say unconventional because most people just want to take a pill and get on with their day. But if you have chronic migraines, pill popping can quickly get out of hand. You need more than just pills. You need a daily practice to reduce your stress. This is where biofeedback comes in. A good biofeedback therapist will help you manage your time, your stress and your diet better than ever before. It’s great for migraines and other chronic pain. And most importantly, it saves you from developing a devastating opioid addiction. tgh.org—JR

BEST PLACE TO COVER UP THE FACT THAT YOU FORGOT HOW TO DRIVE DURING THE PANDEMIC CARSMETICS

Apparently driving a car is not like riding a bike. You can forget how to do it, as I learned when

exiting quarantine this year. Parking skills are the first thing to go. Normally, slowly grazing a curb while backing out of a parking spot wouldn’t do much damage, but it seems my old car has a weak spot. One little scrape and half my bumper dropped an inch. I was ready for this body shop to take me to task over my sudden loss of parking skills. Instead, they were exceedingly kind and understanding when I explained what happened. And they worked with me to fit the repair into my budget. carsmetics. com—JR

BEST PLACE TO GET SOME LOVE WITH YOUR WOOD ANDERSON LUMBER

This ramshackle establishment is, proudly, a lumber yard. Nothing big-box about it. (No wallpaper here.) During the isolation and gloom and fits and starts and teases of the pandemic, home improvement projects have become quite the thing—and people be doin’ it for themselves. If you’re one of those folks, you owe it to yourself to hit up this place, which has been in business since 1908—and looks it: faded signage, a pothole-pitted driveway, a long narrow shed filled with all kinds of wood, pallets of boards haphazardly arrayed outside, a rustic office with a cat on the counter. Anderson Lumber’s amiable personnel will work with you on your project(s)—even if you’re just this side of clueless. And they’ll rummage through their extensive stock of pieces left over from other jobs to try and save you money. andersonlumberstpete.com—ES

BEST PLACE TO GET THE GEAR YOU NEED TO ... PUMP YOU UP! BANDIT FITNESS EQUIPMENT

The pandemic has spurred a boom in home exercise, whether it’s a sit up mat and a couple of 25-pound dumbbells, or a lavish home gym. This 31-year institution in Largo features 23,000 square feet packed with everything from the space-age machines, to free-weight systems perfect for gym rats, to simple exercise balls. The company specializes in installing home gyms, so if you wanna go big, this is the place. What sets Bandit apart from big-box chain stores is its vast selection, wideranging service and an expert sales staff that simply wants to set you up with the equipment that fits your lifestyle. banditfitness.com—ES

BEST PLACE TO RENEW YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE DOWNTOWN TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE (601 E KENNEDY BLVD.)

OK, it’s basically the DMV but downtown Tampa’s tax collector’s office hits different. The experience is actually, dare I say, enjoyable? The efficiency and lovely attitudes of the staff promise that I’ll ever procrastinate taking care of business again. hillstax.org—Stephanie Powers

MOST RESILIENT RECORD STORE DADDY KOOL RECORDS

This beloved shop survived the near extinction of record stores a decade or so back. Daddy Kool was a fixture on the 600 Block of St. Pete’s

Central Avenue for a decade, but escalating rents pushed it out. No biggie. In April 2019, owner Tony Rifugiato and the man who mans it, Manny Kool, relocated their wares to a vast, high-ceilinged space in the Warehouse Arts District. That has provided more elbow room to peruse the store’s wealth of LPs, CDs, T-shirts and other merch. Daddy Kool will soon have a new location—its move to The Factory, just a few blocks away, is scheduled for November. People frequent Daddy Kool for the vinyl and the other stuff—and the vibe. daddykool.com—ES

BEST SMOKE SHOP EMPLOYEES SMOKE SIGNALS

I’m always a little nervous asking strangers about what kind of rolling papers to use, or what CDB gummy will help me sleep better, but the folks at Smoke Signals have never once laughed, balked, or comic book guy-ed me. They are super knowledgeable, super friendly, and most importantly, not at all judgemental. smokesignalsinflorida.com—SP

BEST USE FOR OLD POLITICAL YARD SIGNS TAMPA BAY BEEKEEPERS CAN USE YOUR OLD POLITICAL SIGNS TO SAVE THE BEES

You know what beats taking a literal shit on your neighbor’s old Trump sign? Using it to keep bees warm. That’s what happens at places like Sarasota Honey Company and Clearwater’s Glory Bee Farms where the cardboard is being repurposed as a barrier between bees and pests (and the cold). Biden signs work just as well, too. sarasotahoney.com and glorybeefarm.com—RR

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727-734-3463 theBlackPearlDunedin.com

Dunedin’s First Craft Cocktail Bar

315 Main St Dunedin, FL , 34698

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727-754-6674

727-231-4842

SonderSocial.club

theLivingRoomOnMain.com

966 Douglas Ave, Unit 101 Dunedin, FL 34698

615 9th St. N., St Petersburg, FL 33701


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • PEOPLE, PLACES & POLITICS years in the making. While last year’s $15 Minimum Wage Amendment Campaign was bankrolled by Orlando attorney John Morgan, the real heroes to get Florida on track toward a $15 minimum wage by 2026 were the workers— particularly unionized workers with unions like the SEIU and workers organizing with Fight for $15 and a Union. From leading car caravans through McDonalds drive-thru lines in the Tampa Bay area, to knocking on thousands of doors to secure votes, Fight for $15—and its allies— scored a resounding victory for Florida workers, garnering bipartisan support for higher wages. Solidarity.—McKenna Schueler

BEST BOULEVARDIER ANDREW HARLAN OF ST. PETE SUPPER CLUB, I LOVE THE BURG & TOMBOLO BOOKS

BEST DOG’S BEST FRIEND DAVE BAUTISTA

SANDRA DOHNERT BOURNE

In January, former WWE star, “Guardians of The Galaxy” actor and ripped defender of the animal kingdom Dave Bautista offered $20,000 for information that led to an arrest of whoever wrote “TRUMP” on the back of a Florida manatee. And just last week the bald dog daddy adopted Sage, a puppy found with a metal chain embedded into her neck and chin (he also offered $5,000 for info that led to an arrest of Sage’s abuser). One day, Dave’s gonna find these dipshits and do a Drax the Destroyer on them. @davebautista on Instagram—Ray Roa

BEST FOREST FIRE EFFORT TO SAVE USFFP

BEST ACTIVISM ON FOUR WHEELS SUPPER CLUB, I LOVE THE BURG GAY COMMIE SKATE CREW AND TOMBOLO BOOKS For more than a year, the crew has taken the streets and skateparks of Tampa Bay by storm. The crew is hell on four wheels (they love Halloween), but they’re so much more at the same time. They bring their queer, leftist, mutual-aid based mission to the spaces where they skate and they fight for causes like #landback, as well as resisting polluting oil pipelines. They give to the needy and protect each other in a sport usually dominated by males. Together, they’ve found solidarity and protection, and through their activism, they’ve extended those same values to complete strangers. @gcsc.tampabay on Instagram—Justin Garcia

He’s everywhere. Editor of ilovetheburg.com, co-founder of the St. Pete Supper Club Facebook group, marketing coordinator at Tombolo Books, Andrew tells us what’s going on, what’s good to eat and what’s good to read with an open-hearted enthusiasm that’s infectious. How does he have the energy to cover all this territory? Not sure, but he says he walks 10 miles a day; look for him on Central Avenue or another boulevard near you. ilovetheburg. com—David Warner

BEST BOULEVARDIER ANDREW HARLAN OF ST. PETE

Workers’ fight for a $15 minimum wage, in Florida and across the United States, has been

BEST CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE WORKERS’ WAGES FIGHT FOR 15

Over the summer, student groups started a movement asking USF officials to hit the brakes on a university inquiry into developing USF Forest Preserve (USFFP) land that’s supposed to be protected by The Wildlife Corridor Act. USFFP also contains at least nine documented archaeological sites, including an Indigenous cemetery, but the public at large might not be aware of the peril the preserve faces without the students who fought to spread awareness via a documentary, rallies and action through student government. The fight’s not over, but a whole lot of the community has the students’ backs. saveusfforestpreserve.com—RR

BEST HE SAID IT BETTER THAN ALL OF US TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING’S DRUNK NIKITA KUCHEROV

When the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens to clinch the Stanley Cup, one man spoke the words we were all feeling in our hearts. In a postgame presser, a fully-bearded and half naked Nikita Kucherov slammed a beer and had some choice words for lame Montreal fans. At one point, Kucherov chugged a Bud Light and then went all in on how Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy should’ve won the Vezina Trophy. But the winger really his his stride when he touched on the team’s

one series loss up North. “The fans in Montreal, come on,” said Kucherov. “They acted like they won the Stanley Cup, last game. You kidding me? You kidding me? They’re final was last series, OK.” @nikitakucherov86 on Instagram—RR

BEST (HOPEFULLY) NEVERENDING PANTRIES METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES AND FEEDING TAMPA BAY

Hunger has always been an issue in Tampa Bay, and we’re not talking about the kind of pangs you feel when scrolling through foodie Instagram, either. We’re talking about the kind that can turn a family on its head and drive folks to do things they normally wouldn’t. Thankfully, pantries like Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding Tampa Bay have always been there—and stepped up especially huge in the peak of the pandemic—for the community. Powered by donations and volunteers, these essential nonprofits do work that we hope isn’t necessary one day—until then we’re glad they’re here to feed the city. metromin.org and feedingtampabay.org—RR

MOST INSPIRATIONAL RACE FOR OFFICE ISAIAH HADDON

The lifelong Hernando County resident born in Spring Hill Regional Hospital planned a June 2020 Peace Walk for Black Lives that made headlines because of its significant counterprotester attendance (someone was tased by officers after refusing to drop a machete, and the protest saw counter protesters wearing Confederate flags, shouting “White Is Right,” and calling some protesters the N-word). In response, the then-20-year-old Haddon ran a tempered and inspiring campaign for Hernando County Commission’s District 1 seat. Former Hernando County School Board member Beth Narverud beat him in November, but we hope Haddon keeps his political aspirations alive. @isaiahforhernando on Instagram—RR

BEST KEEPING IN TOUCH LEO RODGERS

Last year’s “Best Cycling Scene Export” may have moved west, been featured in multiple cycling films and earned brand ambassadorships with labels like Topo Designs, but he never forgot home. In August, he returned to visit 2021 BOTB-winner Wellbuilt, cleared the sale rack, loaded 9 refurbished bikes into a van and did a Boards For Bros-style distribution using funds he raised as part of his Leo Rogers Foundation. @slimone1000 on Instagram—RR

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HILLSBOROUGH RIVER POCKET PARKS

Against all odds, we’re still social distancing— which makes the trio of Tampa city parks that line the north edge of Seminole Heights that much more convenient, as if another solaceseeker is already enjoying the zen garden-like Alan Wright Park & you’re really looking for some space, the equally-rarely-used Park Circle & Patterson Street parks are right next door. tampa.gov/parks-and-recreation—Timothy Burke

BEST LEGACY WORK ABE BROWN MINISTRIES

Abe Brown Ministries believes that people need second chances and literally practices what they preach by helping ex-offenders get back on their feet with bus passes, job training, clothing assistance, and family reunification. The organization has helped over 1,500 people find employment when they might not have otherwise. abebrown.org—Stephanie Powers

BEST LOCAL CELEB DRUNK TOM BRADY

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • PEOPLE, PLACES & POLITICS

and a library), it’s a lot to take in. But it’s more than worthy of—in fact, it begs—repeat visits. museumaacm.org.—DW

BEST ORDINANCE CHANGE CITY OF TAMPA ADVANCES CHANGE TO LIQUOR ORDINANCE THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR SUNDAY MORNING ALCOHOL SALES

Just before the Super Bowl, Tampa City Council repealed an ordinance that used to restrict the sale of alcoholic bevies before 11 a.m. on Sunday. That means you can now buy Bud Light Seltzers as early as 7 a.m. without the shame of being rejected at the register.—RR

BEST OVERNIGHT TRANSFORMATION INTO A BRAZIL TWITTER ICON RICHIE FLOYD

St. Pete City Council candidate Richie Floyd became something of an overnight sensation among Brazil Twitter earlier this year, after one account compared the 30-year-old teacher and activist to Brazilian reality TV star Gil do Vigor. The likeness of the two, Brazilian Twitter argued, was uncanny. Within 24 hours, Floyd more than quadrupled his Twitter following—in

Of course Tampa Bay turned the little ol’ kombucha drinking, raw food eating, former Patriots quarterback into a walking party. “Noting to see her...just litTle avoCado tequila,” his Twitter said after he needed help walking at the SBLV party. Sure Tom, blame it on the alcohol. See you next boat parade.—SP

part by going along with the bit, as well as uplifting the legacy of Brazilian politician Lula da Silva, who—like Floyd—identifies as a socialist and is widely popular. And it all started with a Florida Politics tweet. The objectively hilarious story was picked up by national and international news.@richiejfloyd on Twitter—MS

BEST PERMIT-OBSESSED INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT TAMPA TOMORROW

For many, the City of Tampa’s Acela Tampa Citizen Access Portal is a drug. You log on and use certain search terms to figure out who wants to build what on the streets in your neighborhood. If checking Acela is an addiction, Tampa Tomorrow might want to consider rehab. The Instagram account not only posts about permits and renderings seemingly nonstop, but hypothesizes on what could be landing at certain parcels whether it’s what’s eventually going there or not (the blog always updates its predictions, too). I wish TT had a request line, because I’d hit it up every day. @tampatomorrow on Instagram—RR

BEST PLACE TO FLASH THE WHITE POWER SIGN WITH LITTLE TO NO CONSQUENCE

(TIE) BAD MONKEY OR NEW PORT RICHEY Wanna express your free speech by throwing the “OK” sign in public spaces without much pushback? There are at least two places in Tampa Bay to do that. One is Bad Monkey in Ybor City where post-Trumparilla reveler Don Cini screamed “white power” during a VIP event. Despite videos showing the outbursts, the bar’s owner, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Dave Scott, told CL he had no idea Cini was yelling white power inside his business, adding that his bar is dedicated to those who protect personal freedom and free speech. The mayor was crickets on our inquiries on the incident, too. Another safe haven for those who like to flash white power signs is New Port Richey where CL photographers have captured Proud Boys flashing the sign right into the glass. Power to the people, I guess.—RR

BEST PLACE TO GET THE SCOOP ON ALL THOSE BUILDINGS GOING UP ST. PETE RISING

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BEST FOREST FIRE EFFORT TO SAVE USFFP

Gulfport Pride got off to an exciting start when a bucket of vibrators intended for the event went missing from Salty’s Gulfport bar Monday, May 17. Upon checking camera footage, Salty’s owner JP Brewer saw a woman slip the sex toys into her (pause for effect) purse before walking off with them. Committing a weird Florida crime on camera isn’t the best route to getting your picture in the paper. Abby Baker’s breaking story in the Gabber taught Tampa Bay an important lesson: Thou shalt never steal a bucket of sex toys on camera. thegabber.com—Jennifer Ring

BEST NEW MUSEUM MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT

JEANNIE MOUNGER

BEST LOCAL CRIME STORY THE GABBER’S ‘VIBRATOR THEFT SHAKES UP GULFPORT’

Years in the making, MAACM opened quietly on Sept. 7, and it’s dazzling. Fine, hand-crafted materials and attention to detail are hallmarks of the period represented by museum founder Rudy Ciccarello’s collection—furniture, ceramics, lamps, prints and more, all made between 1890 and 1930. That same spirit is evident in Alberto Alfonso’s building design, from its soaring spiral staircase to the astute juxtapositions of polished and raw surfaces. At 137,000 square feet (including galleries, restaurants

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • PEOPLE, PLACES & POLITICS the road and to your job. To honor his life, at least 200 bikes took to the streets in an “All Love” ride that went from Tampa Heights to the Myrtle Hill Memorial Park where riders paid respects before cruising back to Haskins’ shop (being kept open by family in the wake of his passing), through downtown, West Tampa, South Tampa and Ybor City. He will be missed, but his dedication to the community should never be forgotten. @joehaskinsbikeshop on Facebook—RR

BEST REMEMBRANCE FOR A WORKING CLASS HERO JOE HASKINS

FOTOSET PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES LUEDDE

continued from page 93 ping up every other day, the urban development blog St. Pete Rising blog is a must read. Anthony Close and Brian Zucker keep close track of projects from proposal to completion, from restaurant openings to apartment starts, with nifty use of aerial maps and clean, assiduously researched prose. Subscribe and you’ll never again have to ask, “What’s that going up over there?” stpeterising.com.—DW

BEST PROOF THAT JANE CASTOR GETS WHAT SHE WANTS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LOSING GAME 4

Many of Jane Castor’s critics marvel at how the former police chief maintains high popularity in the wake of scandals like “Biking While Black” and the latest “Renting While Black,” but let’s be honest: Jane gets what she wants a lot of the time— and we’re not talking about the Rome Yard either. Just ask the Tampa Bay Lightning who watched Castor say, outloud, that she wanted the Bolts to “maybe take it easy” so they could then win Game 5 back in front of a home crowd in Tampa. Nevermind that every game opens up the chance for injury. The team did actually lose the game, giving Castor her wish, and players all said they would have liked to sweep. But Jane gets what Jane asks for, and you can bet she’ll tote the Stanley Cup around like she won it herself.—RR

BEST RADIO STATION DRAMA THAT JUST WON’T DIE WMNF

How many times are other outlets going to have to put the words “WMNF” and “Rob Lorei” in a headline? At this point, who knows. The community radio station’s ongoing spat with its founding member and former news director was reignited over the summer when Lorei and the station found themselves at odds over the public reason for his firing. The details, naturally, are unclear, with Lorei being selective about his on-record comments and the board being vague about timelines in their story. Since the latest flare up, demonstrators have shown up to protest outside the station, with General Manager Rick Fernandes announcing his own resignation after about two years at the helm. WMNF is a local gem with impassioned supporters, so I guess we’ll just keep up with everything happening there whether it’s pleasant or not. wmnf.org—RR

BEST REAL RAINBOW RIVER PRIDE ON THE RIVERWALK

Sorry Dunnellon, but the real Rainbow River is in Tampa now. That’s because Pride on the Riverwalk launched in 2021, and while the inaugural activities got a little wet thanks to a thunderstorm, that didn’t stop revelers from taking over the water and twerking their way to a really good time. prideontheriver.org—RR

BEST REAL TALK ABOUT LOCAL DEVELOPMENT URBN TAMPA BAY

While other development-centric blogs and websites pretty much play cheerleader and laud incoming development without any criticism, the moderators and commenters on URBN Tampa Bay actually look at proposed changes and give feedback whether it’s sunny or not. URBN, which stands for “United Residents for Better Neighborhoods” usually sides with taxpayers and pushes back on bad bureaucratic decision making; we’re looking forward to following the group’s take on whether or not the Rays should get a taxpayer-funded stadium in Tampa. @urbntb on Facebook —RR

BEST REMEMBRANCE FOR A WORKING CLASS HERO JOE HASKINS

In March, Joe Haskins, Tampa champion of working class bicycle riders, died at age 79. As CL’s Kelly Benjamin pointed out, “The soft spoken bike mechanic with a quick wit and big heart had been an institution in central Tampa since he purchased Tampa Cycle from his aging uncle in 1958 at the age of 17, later renaming it Joe Haskins Bike Shop.” His shop was for the working stiff, and he served the community for 65 years, offering kind, no-nonsense service often at discounted rates so you could get back on

WORST REMINDER THAT DAVID STRAZ MIGHT’VE BEEN RIGHT TAMPA POLICE’S CRIME-FREE HOUSING PROGRAM

From inside a $1.1 million mausoleum in Tampa’s Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, former Mayoral candidate David Straz is looking at everyone who didn’t vote for him and yelling, “I fuckin’ told you so.” A centerpiece of Straz’s campaign against Tampa’s-then-former police chief centered around Castor overseeing a TPD “Biking While Black” program, which the Department of Justice said unfairly stopped a disproportionate number of Black cyclists (data showed that while Black residents only made up about 40% of estimated bicycle riders during the time, 73% of all bicycle stops were of Black cyclists). And now, a new Tampa Bay Times investigation found that a crime-free housing program that Castor, in part, oversaw while chief flagged 1,100 renters for eviction; 90% were Black, and some arrests—not convictions—were for petty crimes. So, yeah, maybe we should’ve taken Straz more seriously in his run because it sure sucks to think he might have been right all along.—RR

BEST SHOW OF SOLIDARITY FOR WORKERS OUTSIDE SUPER BOWL LV THE IBEW LOCAL 824 (AND TBH, EVERYONE WHO SHOWED)

This year, Tampa was the home of the Super Bowl LV—Go Bucs! While thousands flocked to Raymond James Stadium for the game, Frontier Communications workers with the IBEW Local 824 union used the opportunity to boost their fight for a fair union contract with their employer. And on Super Bowl Sunday, hundreds of people showed up outside the stadium to support workers’ demands, holding signs with phrases such as Frontier Tell the Truth! and Employees Deserve Respect!. “It was just a great show of solidarity,” the union president told CL. “And it just shows you that we have each other’s back.” ibew824.org—MS

BEST SIGN THAT SOME POLICE ARE TRYING TO LISTEN ST. PETE CALL TEAM

While Tampa police defend the department’s latest scandal (“Renting While Black”), their counterparts in St. Petersburg are watching a new Community Assistance and Life Liaison (CALL) program respond to crisis situations without pocontinued on page 97

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST lice. As of late July, St. Pete’s unarmed responders had answered nearly 3,000 crisis calls that would’ve gone to cops, meaning the department has heeded the call from activists who want police to rethink and re-tool the way they engage with the community. police.stpete.org—RR

BEST TAKEDOWN OF COPS TARGETING CHILDREN SUSPECTED OF FUTURE CRIME NEIL BEDI AND KATHLEEN MCGRORY

Last year, Tampa Bay Times staffers Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi (the latter of whom now reports for ProPublica, go Neil!) penned a Pulitzer-winning investigation that exposed the Pasco County Sheriff Office’s practice of targeting people, including children, that they believed could “fall into a life of crime.” In April of this year, the U.S. Department of Education actually opened an investigation into Pasco County schools sharing information about students with the PSCO. The piece also prompted the formation of the People Against the Surveillance of Children and Overpolicing (PASCO) Coalition, which is organizing to end Pasco County’s predictive policing program. Thanks for keeping us informed, Kathleen and Neil. projects.tampabay.com—MS

BEST THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD ELLA’S TAKING THE OLD SEMINOLE HEIGHTS BAPTIST STEEPLE

Ever just see an artifact set for demolition and want to take it home despite not knowing where the hell you’re gonna put it? We’re not saying that’s what happened to the steeple of the now-leveled Old Seminole Heights Baptist Church, but the 43-foot tall, 55,000-pound landmark now lives, lying sideways, in a parking lot across from Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe whose owners saved the spire from demolition. Melissa Deming told CL she’ll start looking for artists to recreate a new version of the steeple’s base, which could not be saved. Until then, it’s unknown exactly where the steeple will end up, but wouldn’t it be cool if it ended up on top of Ella’s itself someday? ellasfolkartcafe.com—RR

BEST URBAN WILDLIFE LAUREL STREET BRIDGE BATS

As the sun goes down over the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, treat yourself to the fluttering spectacle of the Laurel Street bridge bats as they take to the night in search of pesky insects. Straight from underneath and through gaps in the structure they emerge from both sides of the overpass by the dozens. Stand at a safe distance, don’t interfere or disturb, and observe the display of these metropolitan nocturnal hunters.—Geoff Crain

BEST USE OF GAMBLING MONEY SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO

A lot of money flows in and out of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and earlier this month, the organization decided to spread the wealth by cutting $10,000 checks to 50 local organizations across the arts, philanthropy, environment, animal welfare, and more. seminolehardrocktampa.com—RR

BEST WAY TO ENTER THE RACE FOR FLORIDA STATE (FULL) HOUSE EDDIE GELLER

The Democrat launched a congressional campaign for District 15 with a video that’s basically a ‘90s sitcom jingle. In the clip, the former comedian and activist performs a series of sitcom intro scenes, with aspects of his campaign platform in the subtitles. The scenes are kitschy, and bring to mind the classic sitcoms of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The jingle that goes along with the video is especially reminiscent of the “Family Matters” theme song, “As Days Go By.” After an hour, the Tweet had more than 26 thousand views. eddiegeller.com—RR

BEST WAY FOR POLICE TO MISUSE TAXPAYER MONEY BUYING GOLD TEETH AND GOING TO THE STRIP CLUB

An internal report alleges that Tampa Police Sergeant Daniel Rhodes told officers they could “blow the money and have fun” as part of a 2020 undercover investigation at a Tampa strip club where taxpayers paid for the cover charge, drinks for cops, drinks for the dancers, drinks for the dancer’s friends, shots for the bartender, a pack of cigarettes, cover charge for the “lap dance area” and one lap dance each. In a separate incident, an investigation found that Rhodes issued another officer $300 of police department “draw money”; the officer then used $270 of that draw money, combined with $170 of his own, to purchase custom 10-karat gold teeth.—RR

17-point lead over Blackmon, but 11% of voters are still undecided, and you never know in this day and age.—RR

BEST WAY TO SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESSES WITH MINIMAL EFFORT CANDY LOWE’S BLACK BUSINESS BUS TOUR

Green Book of Tampa Bay is the definitive local guide to buying Black locally, but if you don’t want to thumb through the listings, just hop on a bus hailed by Candy Lowe whose Tampa bus tour takes riders to over half a dozen businesses in East Tampa, Ybor City and surrounding neighborhoods. Keep an eye out for more tours during the program’s 15th year in business. blackbusinessbustourflorida.com—RR

BEST WAY TO TRICK YOUR KIDS INTO THINKING THEY’RE GETTING A DOG SUNCOAST HUMANE SOCIETY’S 'HOLIDAY CRASHERS' FOSTER CARE PROGRAM

If your kids want a dog, maybe trick them over the holidays by taking this nonprofit up on a program that lets folks foster pets during the holidays. Suncoast Humane Society provides any supplies needed including food, crates, or medication (if needed). To host a foster pet, submit a foster application through their website or contact Foster Coordinator Fatime Duka at fduka@humane.org. humane.org—RR

BEST WAY TO LEARN ABOUT BLACK CEMETERIES WITHOUT KNOWING WHO PAUL GUZZO IS ROSE HILL CEMETERY PLACE-

BASED LEARNING PROJECT

If you want to learn about Tampa Bay’s forgotten Black cemeteries, you could just read every article Paul Guzzo’s written about them. But for those who won’t fork over money to get past a paywall, there’s the Rose Hill Cemetery Place-Based Learning Project, which is free to anyone. So far, the cemeteries involved include Rose Cemetery in Tarpon Springs, Clearwater’s Whispering Souls Cemetery, Ridgewood Cemetery located at King High School in Temple Terrace. rosehillcemeteryproject.com—RR

BEST REMINDER THAT SOMETIMES, YOUR VOTES DON’T ACTUALLY MATTER 'ALL FOR TRANSPORTATION' TAX SUPREME COURT RULING

Hillsborough County’s “All For Transportation” tax passed in November 2018 when 57% of voters approved a plan that would send 45% of the revenue to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) which could use the money to boost services. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 and had collected more than $472 million before late February when the Florida Supreme Court struck the tax down in a 4-1 decision. The funds were supposed to provide “much-need local funding for major projects [like] …the TECO Line Streetcar system extension and modernization project, bus rapid transit projects, a Cross Bay Ferry connection to MacDill Air Force Base…,” according to Tampa Bay Business Journal. But now, thanks to County Commissioner Stacy White’s lawsuit arguing that the charter was unconstitutional and took power away from the County Commission, the money looks to be pretty much kaput.—RR

MOST INSPIRATIONAL RACE FOR OFFICE ISAIAH HADDON

BEST WAY TO RUIN YOUR CHANCES AT MAYOR BEFORE EVEN RUNNING ROBERT BLACKMON

Most of Robert Blackmon’s supporters point to his plans for Midtown, low-interest mortgages and the Rays as reasons to support him in his campaign to be St. Petersburg’s next mayor, but most everyone else can’t look past recent alleged tenant abuse at rental properties he owns. And nevermind alleged social media posts saying things like, “Just bought a 5 unit apartment building downtown. Now to kick out the tenants and start renovations…” and references to a grandma, mom and 3-year-old (“3 generations of.... SLUTS ON PLANE!!”). A late September poll shows Ken Welch with a

ISAIAH FOR HERNANDO

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OF THE BAY CRITIC'S PICKS • PEOPLE, PLACES & POLITICS

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

ART BEST ART GALLERY DUNEDIN FINE ART CENTER

Runners-Up: Morean Arts Center, Florida CraftArt

BEST ART PARTY PAINTING WITH A TWIST

Runners-Up: SHINE Mural Festival, Creative Clay Fest

BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR PUBLISHED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS “NAKED CAME THE FLORIDA MAN” BY TIM DORSEY

Runners-Up: “Dogs of the Burg” by Urban Dog Studio, “Curveball at the Crossroads” by Michael Lortz

BEST DANCE COMPANY TAMPA CITY BALLET

Runners-Up: Fred Astaire Dance Studio: Brandon, Hip Expressions

BEST FASHION EVENT DFAC WEARABLE ART

Runners-Up: St. Pete Art & Fashion Week, Cocktails & Couture

BEST FILM FESTIVAL GASPARILLA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Runners-Up: Dunedin International Film Festival, Tampa Underground Film Festival

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST FILMMAKER JOEL D. WYNKOOP

BEST VISUAL ART CURATOR CHAD MIZE

Runners-Up: Maurice Jovan, Adam Danger Smith

Runners-Up: Catherine Bergmann, @notadamnthing

BEST VISUAL ART FESTIVAL GASPARILLA FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

BEST MUSEUM THE DALÍ (SALVADOR DALÍ MUSEUM)

Runners-Up: Downtown Dunedin Fine Art Festival, Ybor Art Walk

Runners-Up: Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete, MOSI

Runners-Up: Duncan McClellan, Cam Parker

Runners-Up: Dalí—Student Surrealist Art Exhibit, Dalí Lives (via ArtificiaL Intelligence)

ENTERTAINMENT

BEST PHOTOGRAPHER URBAN DOG STUDIO

Runners-Up: Jessica McKnight Photography, Dorky Daisy Photography by Lisa Sampietro

Runners-Up: Bob Devin Jones, Natalie Symons

Runners-Up: Michael Ajazi, Michael Kenneth Fahr

BEST PUBLIC ARTWORK ST. PETE MURALS

BEST ACTRESS M. CATHERINE WYNKOOP

Runners-Up: Black Lives Matter St. Pete, I Hate Fairy Land Mural by ZEROS

Runners-Up: Jadyn Mills “Lend Me a Tenor,” Eugenie Bondurant

BEST SPOKEN WORD ARTIST NOVACANE

BEST AFTERNOON RADIO SHOW DREW GARABO LIVE

Runners-Up: As She Speaks, Jessica McKnight

Runners-Up: Serrano on Hot 101.5, Mason Dixon

BEST STAGE DIRECTOR KARLA HARTLEY

BEST BAND (ORIGINAL) BLACK HONKEYS

Runners-Up: Eric Davis, Emilia Sargent

Runners-Up: Kind Villain, Derrick Williams & The Gospel Voice Band

BEST BLUEGRASS BAND APPLEBUTTER EXPRESS

Runners-Up: Have Gun, Will Travel, Betty Fox Band

BEST FILM FESTIVAL GASPARILLA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

BEST CONCERT PROMOTER NO CLUBS Runners-Up: Live Nation, Brokenmold

Runners-Up: Pitbull Toddler, Uncle John’s Band

BEST DANCE CLUB COCKTAIL ST. PETE

Runners-Up: Enigma, The Castle

BEST DANCER JORDAN DENISE WILLIAMS

Runners-Up: Jojo Almonte, Gisselle Quinones

BEST ACTOR JOEL D. WYNKOOP

BEST PLAYWRIGHT FANNI GREEN

Runners-Up: Brad Paisley at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Kind Villain at Union Hall

BEST COVER BAND BLACK HONKEYS

BEST VISUAL ARTIST CHAD MIZE

BEST MUSEUM EXHIBIT VAN GOGH AT THE DALÍ

BEST CONCERT IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS SUNSET MUSIC FESTIVAL

BEST BURLESQUE ACT MAYVEN MISSBEHAVIN

Runners-Up: Femmes and Follies, Janinie Fatone-Butler

BEST CELEBRITY CHARITY EVENT DREW SAVES CHRISTMAS GASPARILLAFILMFB/FACEBOOK

Runners-Up: Rays on the Runway, Equality Florida Gala

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER ALISON BURNS

BEST DRAG PERFORMER ADRIANA SPARKLE

Runners-Up: Amy DeMilo, Veronica Vixen

BEST EXPERIMENTAL ACT BANGARANG

Runners-Up: Violinist Andrew Michael Polo, Drag Me to Hell

BEST FAMILY PERFORMER DEWAYNE HILL Runners-Up: Dee Baby, Mark Byrne

BEST HIP-HOP ACT PUSHA PREME

Runners-Up: Stick Martin and Jon Ditty, Kezra Leon

BEST IMPROV TEAM AMERICAN STAGE IMPROV

Runners-Up: Improv @ USF, Definitely Not Murderers

BEST INSTRUMENTALIST DERRICK WILLIAMS

Runners-Up: Hot Tonic, Gisselle Quinones

BEST INTERNET RADIO SHOW OUT OF BOUNDS WITH JOHNNY B

Runners-Up: WMNF New Sounds, Emo Night Tampa

BEST JAM BAND BLACK HONKEYS

Runners-Up: Jojo Almonte, Debbie Kennedy

Runners-Up: Uncle John’s Band, Elysian Sex Drive

BEST CLASSICAL MUSICIAN MELISSA GRADY

BEST JAZZ ENSEMBLE HOT TONIC

Runners-Up: Jeffrey Multer, Nick Ewing

Runners-Up: In The Pocket, Friends of Fil

BEST CLUB DJ DJ SANDMAN

BEST KARAOKE CORNER BAR & GRILL

Runners-Up: DJ Fresh, DJ Lady Shay

Runners-Up: CJ’s on the Island, Double Decker continued on page 104

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~ CURTIS HIXON PARK ~

O’ZAPFT IS! FRI: 4PM - 11PM SAT: 11AM -11PM SUN: 11AM - 6PM

OKTOBER

8th, 9th, 10th

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS Runners-Up: Dunedin Bike Tour, History Bike Tampa

BEST THEATER COMPANY AMERICAN STAGE

BEST PERFORMING ARTS CENTER DAVID A. STRAZ CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Runners-Up: Ruth Eckerd Hal, The Mahaffey

BEST PODCAST MIGUEL & HOLLY UNCENSORED

Runners-Up: Rooster Call (ybor.live), We The Thunder AMERICANSTAGE/FLICKR

BEST POP ACT (ORIGINAL) JORDAN DENISE WILLIAMS Runners-Up: Kind Villain, Geri X

BEST PRO SPORTS TEAM TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Runners-Up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays

BEST RADIO STATION 102.5-FM THE BONE

Runners-Up: WMNF 88.5-FM, Hot 101.5-FM

BEST RECORD LABEL DERLIE RECORDS INC

Runners-Up: Five 5 Records, Wave Theory continued from page 101

BEST LARGE CONCERT VENUE (2,000-PLUS CAPACITY) AMALIE ARENA

Runners-Up: MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Ruth Eckerd Hall

BEST SMALL CONCERT VENUE (UNDER 2,000 CAPACITY) JANNUS LIVE

Runners-Up: Tampa Theatre, Skipper’s Smokehouse

BEST MAGICIAN CORY VAN VALIN

BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL

BEST RECORDING STUDIO FIVE 5 STUDIOS

Runners-Up: 97X Next Big Thing, Reggae Rise Up

Runners-Up: Clear Track Studios, Zen Recording

BEST MUSIC SCHOOL (INSTITUTIONAL/ACADEMIC) BLAKE HIGH SCHOOL

BEST REGGAE/SKA BAND THE HIP ABDUCTION

Runners-Up: USF School of Music, Gibbs High School

BEST MUSIC SCHOOL (NON-ACADEMIC) SCHOOL OF ROCK

Runners-Up: MyProjectFree, Tampa Fine Arts Academy

Runners-Up: Dewayne Hill, Zubrick Magic Theater

BEST OPEN MIC NIGHT (MUSIC) DUNEDIN BREWERY

BEST METAL/HARDCORE BAND (ORIGINAL) DEN OF THIEVES

Runners-Up: Crowbar, Hideaway Cafe

Runners-Up: Horsewhip, Mosquito Teeth

BEST MORNING RADIO SHOW MIGUEL & HOLLY SHOW ON HOT 101.5

Runners-Up: The Mike Calta Show, Orlando & The Freak Show

BEST MORNING TV SHOW GREAT DAY LIVE

Runners-Up: Good Day Tampa Bay, Daytime

BEST OPEN MIC NIGHT (POETRY) SMOKEN WORDS

Runners-Up: Ybor Speaks, Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMc)

BEST OPERA COMPANY ST. PETE OPERA

Runners-Up: Opera Tampa, New City Opera Company

BEST ORGANIZED BIKE RIDE ON BIKES

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Runners-Up: Jah Movement, Undercover Rasta

BEST RELEASE BY A LOCAL BAND “8TEEN” BY KIND VILLAIN

Runners-Up: Beach Vibes by Aubrey Wollett, “Early in the Morning (feat. Sowflo)” by Jah Movement

Runners-Up: Derrick Williams, Jah Movement

BEST STAND-UP COMEDIAN CAM BERTRAND Runners-Up: Johnny B, Steve Miller

BEST STRIP CLUB 2001 ODYSSEY

Runners-Up: Mons Venus, Ybor Strip

BEST THEATER COMPANY AMERICAN STAGE

Runners-Up: Jobsite Theater, Eight O’Clock Theatre

BEST THEATER PRODUCTION “ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW” FROM HELL ON HEELS

Runners-Up: “Mamma Mia” by Clearwater High School, “Dionysus on the Down Low” by Stageworks Theatre

BEST UNDERGROUND CINEMA EVENT “ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW” FROM HELL ON HEELS

Runners-Up: Green Light Cinema, Virtual Movie Nights’ “Meet Us On Main Street”

BEST VOCALIST DERRICK WILLIAMS

Runners-Up: Kerry Courtney, Geri X

BEST WEEKLY CLUB NIGHT CASTLE FRIDAYS Runners-Up: 7th + Grove, Park & Rec

FOOD & DRINK BEST ACAI BOWL SOHO JUICE CO.

BEST ROCK BAND (ORIGINAL) HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL

Runners-Up: Grain and Berry, Karma Juice Bar

BEST ROOTS/ALT-COUNTRY ACT (ORIGINAL) HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL

Runners-Up: The Library, Caracara

Runners-Up: Kind Villain, The Vivid Moxie

Runners-Up: Soul Circus Cowboys, Applebutter Express

BEST SINGER/SONGWRITER REBEKAH PULLEY Runners-Up: Ella Jet, Alyssa Conte

BEST SINGLES HANGOUT PARK & REC

Runners-Up: GenX Tavern, The Bends

BEST SOUL/R&B/FUNK ACT THE BLACK HONKEYS

BEST ALL-AROUND RESTAURANT MISE EN PLACE BEST BAGELS ST. PETE BAGEL CO.

Runners-Up: 18 Bagels, Bella’s Bakes Cakes and Bagels

BEST BAKERY (BREAD) MAZZARO’S ITALIAN MARKET

Runners-Up: La Segunda Central Bakery, Alessi Bakery

BEST BAKERY (PASTRIES) MAZZARO’S ITALIAN MARKET

Runners-Up: Alessi Bakery, Valhalla Bakery continued on page 107


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813.854.4455

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CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST BEST BANH MI LA V: VIETNAMESE FUSION

Runners-Up: Bamboozle Cafe, Saigon Deli

BEST BAR CRAWL DOWNTOWN DUNEDIN

Runners-Up: Central Ave St. Pete, Sip City Tour

BEST BARBECUE RESTAURANT THE DUNEDIN SMOKEHOUSE

Runners-Up: Dr. BBQ, Wicked Oak Barbeque

BEST BARGAIN RESTAURANT BODEGA

Runners-Up: La Teresita Restaurant, Fresh Kitchen

BEST BARISTA ELLIS HOLLOWAY AT KAHWA COFFEE

Runners-Up: Demi Chacon at Bandit, Ashley at White Duck

BEST BARTENDER BOBBY AT HARD ROCK CAFE

Runners-Up: Joshua Valdez at Enigma, Maddie Kaye at Haven

BEST BEACH BAR POSTCARD INN ON THE BEACH

Runners-Up: Caddy’s on the Beach, Salt Shack On The Bay

BEST BEACH RESTAURANT FRENCHY’S Runners-Up: Salt Rock Grill, Caddy’s

BEST BEER BEACH BLONDE ALE BY 3 DAUGHTERS Runners-Up: Jai Alai at Cigar City, Postcard Pilsner at Green Bench

BEST BRANDON/ RIVERVIEW RESTAURANT DATZ

Runners-Up: The Stein & Vine, Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

BEST BREAKFAST OXFORD EXCHANGE

Runners-Up: Trip’s Diner, Clear Sky Draught Haus

BEST BREWER DEVON KREPS AT 7VENTH SUN

Runners-Up: Wayne Wambles at Cigar City, Adam Deimling at Dunedin Brewery

BEST BREWERY 3 DAUGHTERS BREWERY

Runners-Up: Dunedin Brewery, Cigar City Brewing

BEST BRUNCH OXFORD EXCHANGE

BEST CHICKEN SANDWICH PDQ

Runners-Up: Noble Crust, Clear Sky

BEST BRUNCH FOR BOOZING RED MESA CANTINA

Runners-Up: Noble Crust, American Social

BEST BURGERS NEBRASKA MINI-MART

Runners-Up: Gigglewaters, American Social

BEST CHARCUTERIE CRU CELLARS

Runners-Up: Haven, Annata Wine Bar

BEST CHEF TRACI BRYANT

Runners-Up: Ferrell Alvarez, Chris Ponte

EATPDQ/FACEBOOK

continued from page 104

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST CHICKEN SANDWICH PDQ

Runners-Up: King of the Coop, Better Byrd

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT YUMMY HOUSE CHINA BISTRO

Runners-Up: Hawkers Asian Street Food, China Wok

BEST CLEARWATER RESTAURANT CLEAR SKY ON CLEVELAND

Runners-Up: Frenchy’s Original Cafe, Mana Mana Middle Eastern Restaurant

BEST COCKTAILS SONDER SOCIAL CLUB

Runners-Up: Ciro’s Tampa, CW’s Gin Joint

BEST COFFEE KAHWA COFFEE

Runners-Up: Buddy Brew Coffee, The Blind Tiger Cafe

BEST COFFEE SHOP KAHWA COFFEE

Runners-Up: Buddy Brew Coffee, Cafe Vino Tinto

BEST COLD-PRESSED JUICE SOHO JUICE CO.

Runners-Up: Squeeze Juice Works, Swami Juice

BEST COOKIES BAKE’N BABES

Runners-Up: Crumbl Cookies, Valhalla Bakery

BEST CRAFT BEER EVENT DUNEDIN CRAFT BEER & FOOD FESTIVAL

Runners-Up: Tampa Bay Beer Week, Dunedin Brewery Oktobeerfest

BEST CUBAN COFFEE LA SEGUNDA CENTRAL BAKERY

Runners-Up: Bodega, The Columbia

BEST CUBAN RESTAURANT THE COLUMBIA

Runners-Up: Bodega, La Teresita Restaurant

BEST CUBAN SANDWICH BROCATO’S SANDWICH SHOP

Runners-Up: La Teresita Restaurant, West Tampa Sandwich Shop

BEST DATE RESTAURANT BERN’S STEAK HOUSE

BEST DOUGHNUTS HOLE IN ONE DONUTS

Runners-Up: Fray’s Donut House, Dough

BEST DRAFT SELECTION WORLD OF BEER

BEST DUNEDIN RESTAURANT THE LIVING ROOM

BEST DESSERTS BASSANO CHEESECAKE

Runners-Up: Mazzaro’s Italian Market, Harry Waugh Dessert Room at Bern’s Steak House

BEST DEVIL CRAB BROCATO’S SANDWICH SHOP

Runners-Up: Columbia Restaurant, Carmine’s Restaurant & Bar

Runners-Up: Casa Tina ‘”Fresh, Healthy, Authentic Mexican,” Caracara

BEST EGGS BENEDICT DAYDREAMERS CAFE AND GRILL Runners-Up: Metro Diner, Noble Crust

BEST FARM KEEL AND CURLEY WINERY

Runners-Up: Brick Street Farms, Old McMickey’s Farm

BEST DINER MAMAS KITCHEN

Runners-Up: Trip’s Diner, Metro Diner

BEST DISTILLERY ST. PETERSBURG DISTILLERY

Runners-Up: Urban Stillhouse by Horse Soldier, Dark Door Spirits

Runners-Up: Dead Bob’s, The Hub

Runners-Up: Two Shepherds Taproom, Pups Pub

Runners-Up: Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Stillwaters Tavern

Runners-Up: Ulele, Salt Rock Grill

BEST DIVE BAR SKIPPER’S SMOKEHOUSE

BEST DOG-FRIENDLY BAR THE DOG BAR

BEST FISH & CHIPS HOG ISLAND FISH CAMP

Runners-Up: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Yeoman’s Cask & Lion

BEST FOOD FESTIVAL JOHN’S PASS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL Runners-Up: Taste of Dunedin, Safety Harbor Seafood and Art Festival continued on page 111

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 107


Lindsey Sheppy Esquire

Ian Stanislaus Gómez Esquire

Ainsley MacDonald Smith Esquire

Robert W. Pope Esquire

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1320 CENTRAL AVE • ST. PETE • 727-822-4562

FERGSSPORTSBAR.COM cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 109


STIFF DRINKS

HARD LIQUOR

RAGING GOOD TIMES

FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS THANK YOU TO THE BAY AREA FOR VOTING US AMONG THE BEST!

110 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST BEST FOOD TRUCK/VENDOR TACO BUS

Runners-Up: Tacos Las Californias, Fo’Cheezy Twisted Meltz

BEST FOODIE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT @THISBABEEATS

Runners-Up: @tampafoodgirl, @secretsoftampabay

BEST FRIED CHICKEN KING OF THE COOP

Runners-Up: Gangchu Chicken & Beer, Nash’s Hot Chicken

BEST FROSÉ ARMATURE WORKS Runners-Up: Ulele, Datz

BEST GOURMET MARKET NATURE’S FOOD PATCH

Runners-Up: Rollin’ Oats, Mazzaro’s Italian Market

BEST GOURMET POPCORN GIGGLEWATERS

Runners-Up: Salty Sisters Gourmet Popcorn, Harley’s Gourmet Popcorn and Cider Shoppe

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT ACROPOLIS GREEK TAVERNA Runners-Up: Gardens

Hellas

Restaurant,

Athenian

BEST HOT SAUCE DUNEDIN BREWERY: FLORIDA HEAT

Runners-Up: Hattricks Tavern, The Dunedin Smokehouse

BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT FLORA FINA AT HOTEL HAYA

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR, PINELLAS GIGGLEWATERS

BEST ICE CREAM/GELATO/FROZEN YOGURT BO’S ICE CREAM

BEST NEW BREWERY, HILLSBOROUGH WOVEN WATER BREWING COMPANY

Runners-Up: Fenway Hotel, HiFi Rooftop Bar, Elevage at Epicurean Hotel

Runners-Up: Elevage at Epicurean Hotel, SIX at JW Marriott

BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT FLAMES INDIAN CUISINE

BEST NEW BREWERY, PINELLAS GULFPORT BREWERY + EATERY

Runners-Up: Rasoi Indian Cuisine, Curry Leaves

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT BELLA’S ITALIAN CAFE

Runners-Up: Mazzaro’s Italian Market, Pia’s Trattoria

BEST KAVA BAR BULA KAFE

Runners-Up: Grassroots Kava House, Driftwood Kava & Roastery

BEST GUACAMOLE CASA TINA

BEST LGBT BAR COCKTAIL ST. PETE

BEST HAPPY HOUR ENIGMA ST. PETE

BEST LIQUOR STORE BERN’S FINE WINES & SPIRITS

BEST HEALTH FOOD MARKET ROLLIN’ OATS

Runners-Up: Nature’s Food Patch, Black Radish Grocer

BEST HOT DOGS MEL’S HOT DOGS

Runners-Up: Coney Island Hot Dogs, Nah Dogs Vegan Hot Dog Cart

Runners-Up: HOB Brewing Co., Dead Bob’s

Runners-Up: Magnanimous Brewing, Bay Cannon Beer Company

BEST LATE NIGHT RESTAURANT TACO BUS

Runners-Up: Hollander Hotel, Haven

Runners-Up: Byblos, Baba on Central

Runners-Up: Paciugo Gelato & Caffè, Astro Craft Ice Cream

BEST GROUPER SANDWICH FRENCHY’S ORIGINAL CAFE

Runners-Up: Besito Mexican, Red Mesa Cantina

Runners-Up: Red Mesa Cantina, Green Lemon

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT ACROPOLIS GREEK TAVERNA

BEST KEY LIME PIE JJ GANDY’S

Runners-Up: Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Dockside Dave’s

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT CASA TINA

BEST HOTEL BAR THE VINOY RENAISSANCE ST. PETERSBURG

BEST GRILLED CHEESE GIGGLEWATERS

Runners-Up: Datz, Daydreamers Cafe and Grill

Runners-Up: Green Lemon, Casa Tina

Runners-Up: Grand Central Brewhouse, Clearwater Brewing Company

BEST PAD THAI LEMON GRASS THAI KITCHEN

Runners-Up: Nitally’s Thai Mex, Jasmine Thai

BEST PALM HARBOR RESTAURANT THE LUCKY DILL DELI

Runners-Up: Mystic Fish, Ozona Blue Grill

BEST PASCO RESTAURANT NOBLE CRUST

Runners-Up: Craft Street Kitchen, Joey’s New York Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

BEST PIZZA MADISON AVENUE PIZZA

Runners-Up: Gourmet Pizza Company, New York New York

BEST POKE RESTAURANT ZUKKU SUSHI

Runners-Up: Pacific Counter, Poke Bowl

BEST POOLSIDE BAR POOL BAR & GRILL

Runners-Up: Hollander Hotel, Ozona Blue Grill

BEST RAMEN BUYA RAMEN

BEST NEW RESTAURANT SOCIAL ROOST

Runners-Up: Urban Stillhouse, Casa Santo Stefano

Runners-Up: Ichicoro Ramen, Fusion Street Eatery

BEST RIBS WICKED OAK BBQ

BEST OUTDOOR DINING JACKSON’S

Runners-Up: Salt Shack On The Bay, Sea Sea Riders

Runners-Up: Dr. BBQ, 4 Rivers Smokehouse

continued on page 114

Runners-Up: Mike’s Pies, Nature’s Food Patch

BEST PIZZA MADISON AVENUE PIZZA

Runners-Up: New York New York, Red Mesa Cantina

Runners-Up: Enigma St. Pete, Bradley’s on 7th

Runners-Up: Tosti’s Spirits & Fine Wine, American Spirits & Fine Wines

BEST LOBSTER ROLL MAZZARO’S ITALIAN MARKET

Runners-Up: Rockstar Lobster, Got Lobstah?

BEST MAC ‘N’ CHEESE DATZ Runners-Up: Smokehouse

Gigglewaters,

The

Dunedin

VISIT ST. PETE/CLEARWATER

continued from page 107

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST MARGARITA RED MESA CANTINA

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 111


Creating Luxury Lifestyles through Interior Design www.Debra Ackerbloom.com

VOTED

112 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


ATTENTION YOUNG IDEALISTS Tired of seeing woke / progressive policies back-firing in city after city across the USA? Check out www.tomforstpete.com and help put Tom Mullins on the St. Pete City Council

Paid by Tom Mullins for St. Petersburg City Council, District 4.

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 113


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS RESTAURANT ELLA’S AMERICANA FOLK ART CAFE

BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT PISCES SUSHI & GLOBAL BISTRO

Runners-Up: Riveter’s, Hattrick’s Tavern

BEST TACOS TACO BUS

Runners-Up: Tampa Bay Brewing Company, The Bricks

Runners-Up: Zukku Sushi, SoHo Sushi

BEST YBOR RESTAURANT FLOR FINA AT HOTEL HAYA

Runners-Up: Red Mesa Mercado, Bartaco

ELLASFOLKARTCAFE/FACEBOOK

BEST TAMPA HEIGHTS RESTAURANT OAK & OLA Runners-Up: Rocca, Steelbach

BEST TAMPA RESTAURANT ROOSTER & THE TILL Runners-Up: Cena, Oak & Ola

BEST TAPAS/SMALL PLATES BULLA GASTROBAR

Runners-Up: Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Hawkers Asian Street Food

BEST TEA SHOP TEBELLA TEA COMPANY

Runners-Up: The Spice and Tea Exchange, Blush Tea and Coffee

BEST TEQUILA BAR RED MESA CANTINA continued from page 111

BEST SAFETY HARBOR RESTAURANT GIGGLEWATERS

Runners-Up: The Kitchen, Whistle Stop Grill & Bar

BEST SALAD BAR NATURE’S FOOD PATCH

Runners-Up: Whole Foods Market, The Salad Station

BEST SANGRIA RED MESA RESTAURANT

Runners-Up: Bulla Gastrobar, Casa ‘”Fresh- Healthy- Authentic Mexican””

Tina

BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT THE ORIGINAL CRABBY BILL’S

Runners-Up: Frenchy’s, Hog Island Fish Camp

BEST SELTZER 3 DAUGHTER HARD SELTZER

Runners-Up: Funky Buddha Premium Seltzer, Cigar City Seltzer

BEST SEMINOLE HEIGHTS RESTAURANT ELLA’S AMERICANA FOLK ART CAFE

Runners-Up: Rooster & the Till, Ichicoro Ramen

BEST SMOOTHIES ROLLIN’ OATS

Runners-Up: SOHO Juice Co., Sweet Soul SoHo

BEST SOMMELIER JEN BINGHAM AT CRU CELLARS

Runners-Up: Kristie Grey at Flor Fina, Andrew Harris at Rocca

Runners-Up: Casa Tina ‘”Fresh, Healthy, Authentic Mexican,” VIP Mexican

BEST SOUP BERN’S STEAK HOUSE

BEST THAI RESTAURANT LEMON GRASS THAI KITCHEN

Runners-Up: Stone Soup Company, Frenchy’s Rockaway

Runners-Up: Jasmine Thai, 9Bangkok Thai and Sushi Restaurant

BEST SOUTH TAMPA RESTAURANT BEST VEGETARIAN/VEGAN RESTAURANT (INCLUDING SOUTH OF GANDY) GOLDEN DINOSAURS DATZ Runners-Up: OLIVIA, Ava

Runners-Up: Fresh Kitchen, SOHO Juice Co.

BEST SOUTHERN COOKING THE MILL

BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT LA V: VIETNAMESE FUSION

Runners-Up: Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, Noble Crust

Runners-Up: Pho Quyen, Lotus Vegan Restaurant

BEST SPLURGE RESTAURANT THE BLACK PEARL

BEST WAITSTAFF SOCIAL ROOST

Runners-Up: Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Salt Rock Grill

Runners-Up: The Living Room, Bern’s Steak House

BEST SPORTS BAR FERG’S SPORTS BAR

BEST WATERFRONT DINING FRESCO’S WATERFRONT BISTRO

Runners-Up: Hattricks Tavern, Eddie’s Bar & Grill

BEST ST. PETE RESTAURANT RED MESA RESTAURANT Runners-Up: Social Roost, The Mill

BEST STEAKHOUSE BERN’S STEAK HOUSE

Runners-Up: Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Charley’s Steak House

Runners-Up: American Social, Jackson’s

BEST WHISKEY BAR THE URBAN STILLHOUSE

Runners-Up: Copper Shaker, Gigglewaters

BEST WINE BAR LOLITA’S WINE MARKET

Runners-Up: Cru Cellars, Cooper’s Hawk

BEST WINGS FERG’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL

GOODS BEST ANTIQUE SHOP VINTAGE MARCHE

Runners-Up: Vintage Roost, Schiller’s Salvage

BEST ART SUPPLY STORE BLICK

Runners-Up: creative Clay Thrift, Artissin

BEST BOOKSTORE TOMBOLO BOOKS

Runners-Up: Haslams, Oxford Exchange

BEST BRIDAL BOUTIQUE WHITE MAGNOLIA

Runners-Up: CC’s Bridal Couture, Bearer of the Bling Bridal

BEST CBD STORE TRICHOM HEALTH CENTER

Runners-Up: Bliss Wellness Market, Your CBD Store

BEST CLOTHING BOUTIQUE (MEN) ATLAS BODY + HOME

Runners-Up: Saltwater Hippie, Revolve Clothing Exchange

BEST CLOTHING BOUTIQUE (WOMEN) SEERSUCKER SASSY BOUTIQUE

Runners-Up: Curv Exchange Plus Size Resale, Boho & Boujee

BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP EMERALD CITY COMICS

Runners-Up: Nerd Out Comics, Yancy Street Comics

BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP CURV EXCHANGE: ST PETE

Runners-Up: Scavengers Marketplace, DeJaVu

BEST DISPENSARY TRULIEVE

Runners-Up: MÜV Dispensary, Curaleaf

BEST FARMERS MARKET SATURDAY MARKET IN ST. PETERSBURG

Runners-Up: Cypress Creek Produce Co-op, Hyde Park Market continued on page 117

114 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


2909 22ND AVE N | ST. PETERSBURG, FL

727.321.2400 | MAZZAROSMARKET.COM

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 115


XoChitl Handcrafted Modern Mexican

Daily Happy Hour: $5 WELLS $8 CLASSIC DOBEL MARGARITAS

Taco Tuesday:

3 TACOS AND A CLASSIC DOBEL MARGARITA - $15

Brunch @ XOCHITL:

SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS 11AM-4PM BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS - $15 307 West Palm Ave Tampa, FL • 33602

(833) 962-4485

ilovexochitl.com xochitl_tampa

TACO TU EsDAY 200 E MADISON ST • DOWNTOWN TAMPA • 813-221-TACO

116 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST continued from page 114

BEST FASHION DESIGNER LINA TEIXEIRA

pany,Runners-Up: Melissa Dolce, Jafari Jahaghi

BEST FURNITURE STORE VINTAGE ROOST

Runners-Up: Vintage Marche, DoMA Home Furnishings

BEST HANDCRAFTED JEWELRY FLORIDA CRAFTART Runners-Up: Dunedin Fine Art Center, Hazel & Dot

BEST HANDMADE CRAFTS GALLERY DUNEDIN FINE ART CENTER

Runners-Up: Florida Craft Art, Craftsman House Gallery

BEST HEAD SHOP COSMIC FISH

Runners-Up: Purple Haze Tobacco Stores, Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary

BEST HOME DECOR SCAVENGERS MARKETPLACE

Runners-Up: Amazing Find, Coastal Fine Furniture

BEST MAKERS FESTIVAL INDIE FLEA

Runners-Up: Cactus Moon Market, Localtopia

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST PET BOUTIQUE WOOF GANG BAKERY

BEST SUPERMARKET PUBLIX

BEST PUBLIC LIBRARY BRANCH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA MAIN LIBRARY: ST. PETE

BEST SURF SHOP SUNCOAST SURF SHOP

Runners-Up: Health Mutt, St. Petersbark

Runners-Up: ALDI, Mazzaro’s Italian Market

Runners-Up: @secretsoftampabay, @thisbabeeats

Runners-Up: Sand Surf Co., Reno Beach

Runners-Up: Dunedin Library, Gulfport Library

BEST T-SHIRT COMPANY SUNSHINE STATE

BEST RECORD STORE DADDY KOOL RECORDS

BEST SEX SHOP TODD COUPLES SUPERSTORE

BEST MAYOR JANE CASTOR

BEST THRIFT SHOP SUNSHINE THRIFT STORE

Runner-Up: Rick Kriseman

Runners-Up: Scavengers Marketplace, Labelswap

Runners-Up: XTC Adult Supercenter, Planet X Adult Super Center

BEST SKATE SHOP SKATEPARK OF TAMPA

Runners-Up: Westside Skateshop, Suncoast Surf Shop

BEST STARTUP SIP CITY TOUR

Runners-Up: The Dunedin Candle Company, Prop Champagne Decor and Rentals

BEST STORE STAFF ZAZOO’D

Runners-Up: Atlas Body + Home, Nature’s Food Patch

BEST INSTAGRAMMER @STUFFTODOINTAMPABAY

Runners-Up: @thisbabeeats, @thisjenngirl

Saltwater Hippie, Big Frog

Runners-Up: Sound Exchange, Banana Records

BEST INFLUENCER @KATSTICKLER

BEST MOVER & SHAKER MIKE CALTA

Runners-Up: Julie Weintraub, Lina Teixeira

BEST VAPE SHOP COSMIC FISH

Runners-Up: Asylum, Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary

BEST VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE SUNSHINE THRIFT STORE Runners-Up: La France, Vintage Marche

BEST NETWORKER EMILY ROSE

Runners-Up: Ian Beckles, Melissa Smith

BEST PERSONALITY TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER @DENISPHILLIPSWX Runners-Up: @TomBrady, @MrMikeCalta

BEST VINTAGE MARKET VINTAGE MARCHE

Runners-Up: Scavengers Marketplace, Indie Flea

BEST PHILANTHROPIST JEFF VINIK

Runners-Up: Julie Weintraub, Warrick Dunn

BEST POLITICIAN (HILLSBOROUGH) JANE CASTOR

PEOPLE

Runner-Up: Kathy Castor

BEST POLITICIAN (PINELLAS) RICK KRISEMAN

BEST ACTIVIST TOM DEGEORGE

Runners-Up: Gus Bilirakis, Ken Welch

Runners-Up: Miguel Fuller, Nadine Smith

BEST POLITICIAN (PINELLAS) RICK KRISEMAN

BEST RADIO PERSONALITY MIKE CALTA

BEST BLOGGER I LOVE THE BURG

Runners-Up: Miguel Fuller, Drew Garabo

Runners-Up: St. Pete Rising, Ayana Lage

BEST SPORTS COACH JON COOPER

BEST CEO JEFF VINIK

Runners-Up: Bruce Arians, Kevin Cash

Runners-Up: Stella Myers, Darren Anderson

BEST SPORTSWRITER JOHN ROMANO

BEST COLUMNIST STEPHANIE HAYES

Runners-Up: Marc Topkin, Ira Kaufman

Runners-Up: Brian Zucker, Ernest Hooper

BEST TV NEWSPERSON DENIS PHILLIPS

CITYOFSTPETE/FLICKR

BEST COO JULIE WEINTRAUB

Runners-Up: Charley Belcher, Gayle Guyardo

Runners-Up: Chris Timol, Mark O’Donnell

BEST COSPLAYER KELLI-LYNN LUCKEY

BEST UP-AND-COMING RADIO PERSONALITY SCOTT TAVLIN

BEST COUPLE STEVE & JULIE WEINTRAUB

BEST WEB DEVELOPER BRADLEY KING

Runners-Up: Safety Harbor Grinch, Jessica Lynn Kisiel

Runners-Up: Mayor Jane & Ana Cruz, Tom & Cindy Bassano

Runners-Up: Lummox, Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi

Runners-Up: Skyway Media, Moonshine Creative Group

e 117

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 117


A WEEK-LONG TASTE TOUR MONDAY, OCTOBER 4TH THROUGH SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10TH Here how to join this year’s Taste of the Beaches: Step Step Step Step

1: 2: 3: 4:

Purchase your tickets ($10 per Taste) Pick the restaurants you would like to visit Visit restaurants from October 4th - 10th Turn in your ticket to receive your Taste

VIEW RESTAURANTS & PURCHASE TICKETS

www.TampaBayBeaches.com/Taste

PORTION OF PROCEEDS BENEFIT Thank you to our Sponsors

118 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


CREATIVE LOAFING 2021 BEST

PLACES BEST BEACH TOWN DUNEDIN

Runners-Up: St. Pete Beach, Anna Maria

BEST CITY ST. PETERSBURG

Runners-Up: Tampa, Dunedin

BEST COLLEGE HANGOUT ARMATURE WORKS

Runners-Up: Park & Rec, MacDinton’s

BEST COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA

Runners-Up: University of Tampa, St. Pete College

BEST COMMUNITY CENTER DUNEDIN COMMUNITY CENTER

Runners-Up: Bryan Glazer Family JCC, Metro Inclusive Health

BEST COMMUNITY GARDEN DUNEDIN COMMUNITY GARDEN

Runners-Up: Gulfport Community Garden, Daystar Life Center Edible Garden

BEST COUNTY PINELLAS

Runners-Up: Hillsborough, Pasco

BEST DATE DESTINATION DOWNTOWN DUNEDIN

Runners-Up: St. Pete Pier, Tampa Riverwalk

OF THE BAY READER'S PICKS

BEST DOG PARK FORT DE SOTO DOG PARK & BEACH

BEST PLACE TO ADOPT A PET BEST BICYCLE SHOP HUMANE SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY CHAINWHEEL DRIVE

Runners-Up: Honeymoon Island Dog Beach, Two Shepherds Taproom

BEST ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION TAMPA BAY WATCH

Runners-Up: Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Florida Wildlife Corridor

BEST FLORIDA COLLEGE TEAM FLORIDA GATORS

Runners-Up: Pet Pal Animal Shelter, Humane Society of Pinellas

Runners-Up: Saint Pete Bikes, David’s World Cycle

BEST PLACE TO BOWL PIN CHASERS

BEST BLACK-OWNED BUSINESS POP GOES THE WAFFLE

Runners-Up: Dunedin Lanes, Splitsville

Runners-Up: Thee Burger Spot, 7th + Grove

BEST PLACE TO INSTAGRAM A SELFIE ST. PETE PIER

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE WHITE DUCK ESPRESSO

Runners-Up: Armature Works, Tampa Bay Riverwalk

Runners-Up: USF Bulls, FSU Seminoles

BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL CORNER BAR & GRILL

BEST HOTEL THE DON CESAR

Runners-Up: Stix Billiards, Tiny Tap Tavern

Runners-Up: The Vinoy Renaissance, The Fenway

BEST PLACE TO SHOP GREEN NATURE’S FOOD PATCH

BEST LGBT ORGANIZATION ST. PETE PRIDE

Runners-Up: Rollin’ Oats, Fresh Market

BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES

Runners-Up: Metro Inclusive Health, Tampa Pride

Runners-Up: Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Children’s Cancer Center

BEST NATURE TRAIL PINELLAS TRAIL

BEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSE INNISBROOK GOLF RESORT

Runners-Up: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Fort Desoto Island Park Trail

Runners-Up: Dunedin Golf Club, Largo Golf Course

BEST NONPROFIT HUMANE SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY

BEST WALKING TOUR SIP CITY TOUR

Runners-Up: Feeding Tampa Bay, GiGi’s Playhouse

Runners-Up: Tampa Riverwalk, St. Pete Mural Tour

BEST PLACE FOR A WEDDING THE DON CESAR

Runners-Up: Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Nova 535

BEST ACUPUNCTURIST DR. ASHLEY HEINTZ VINTAGEMARCHE727/FACEBOOK

Runners-Up: Dr. Carrie Graves at The Wellness Tree, Art of Acupuncture

BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP BOB LEE’S TIRE COMPANY

Runners-Up: AutoWorks of Tampa, Ice Cold Air Discount Auto Repair

BEST BANK SUNCOAST CREDIT UNION

Runners-Up: Studio 3, Flow Fitness

BEST DOG TRAINING ERNIE WEBB

Runners-Up: Revolution Dog Training, Sit Means Sit Dog Training

BEST DOGGY DAY CARE BAY PAWS PET RESORT

Runners-Up: Canine Cabana, Central Bark

BEST DRY CLEANER SUN COUNTRY CLEANERS

Runners-Up: Dunedin Dry Cleaners, 2.99 Cleaners

BEST ELECTRICIAN DUNEDIN ELECTRIC

Runners-Up: Driven Power Systems, Sparky

BEST FITNESS STUDIO CAMP

Runners-Up: Mosley Heating and Air, Dunedin Refrigeration

BEST BARRE STUDIO PURE BARRE ST. PETE

Runners-Up: Gayoso Plastic Surgery, Dr. Robert D. Rehnke

Runners-Up: Anthony York, Katlyn Orton

BEST A/C REPAIR COMPANY JENERGY AIR SERVICES

Runners-Up: Chase, Wells Fargo

BEST DOCTOR FOR A NIP AND TUCK CASTELLANO COSMETIC SURGERY

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BEST HAIRSTYLIST SARDIS (CECE) NUNEZ continued on page 121

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 119


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923 72nd St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710 (727) 302-9600 • peskypelicanbrewpub.com 120 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


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continued from page 119

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e 121

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 121


PLAY TOGETHER

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$4, $5 & $6 Liquor, Beer & Wine $8 Hand-Crafted Cocktails 122 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


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cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 123


124 | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | cltampa.com


Figuratively pissed By Dan Savage

I’m worried this may be above your pay grade. LOL. My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly five years. When we first got together, he shared a fetish with me, which has honestly gotten out of hand. I’m not close-minded, and I genuinely love pleasing people, and my approach to sex has always been, “Whatever turns you on, turns me on!” But his fetish has crossed the line from kink to obsession. Not to mention the onus of his “fetish” falls entirely on me. So, the big reveal: my boyfriend is a urophiliac. But not just your garden variety one. If he doesn’t get to watch me pee every single time he gets angry. The first two years of our relationship were terrifying because if I peed while he was at work, he would throw a fit of epic proportions. So, I would hold it in. This caused UTIs and other problems. But he still insists that I must hold it in for as long as possible so I can give him “a strong stream” every time. I also have to let him watch me poop, which is embarrassing as hell, because I pee when I poop. If I need to pee in the middle of the night, I have to wake him up—which makes him mad—so instead of waking him up I hold it in all night. It has gotten to the point where his obsession has become mine. But it’s not sexy for me. After I had our child, I literally wasn’t allowed to have 30 seconds alone in the bathroom after shoving a human out of my vagina in full view of 10 adults I did not know. Even then—in the hospital—he had to watch me pee. I can’t use the bathroom in public unless I videotape it for him. I’m in hell. I haven’t had a private piss nobody has watched or made me feel guilty about for FIVE YEARS. I feel like my humanity is being leached away. I’ve said all these things to him, and He. Does. Not. Care. This has taken over my entire life. Sorry if it’s weird. I’ve read your columns for years and you’re the only person I can ask about this. LOL. I don’t want to break up my family over this. Help me!—Unrelenting Requirements Inducing Nervous Exhaustion

health, URINE, but before Dr. Fields would address the health risks you’ve been bullied into running, he wanted to address the elephant in the bathroom and the bedroom and the delivery room. “Let’s call this behavior what it is: abuse,” said Dr. Fields. “This woman needs to get out of this controlling and abusive relationship.” I am in complete agreement with Dr. Fields, URINE: you’re not indulging a kinky boyfriend, you’re being terrorized (your own words) by an abusive boyfriend. Leave him. “In terms of health risks, there are many,” Dr. Fields continued. “Keeping large amounts of urine in your bladder is a set up for recurrent urinary tract infections. These infections can track upwards to the kidneys in some cases and cause an infection in the kidney called pyelonephritis. Recurrent bouts of pyelonephritis can lead to permanent kidney damage. And you don’t want to lose your kidneys—once they lose function, it doesn’t return.”

SAVAGE LOVE

JOE NEWTON

You don’t wanna break up your family over this, URINE, but I sure do. To be perfectly frank, I’d like to break up your boyfriend’s skull over this— figuratively speaking. I’m not advocating violence. It’s just that… after reading your letter… I wanna figuratively slap your boyfriend upside the head so hard his figurative skull breaks into a thousand figurative pieces. And while I don’t think your question is above my pay grade—what you need to do seems obvious to me and will, no doubt, be obvious to everyone who reads your letter—I nevertheless called in a couple of experts. Dr. Ian Fields is a urogynecologist who specializes in pelvic floor disorders and bladder conditions. I shared your letter with him to get his expert opinion on the risks you’re taking with your physical

you cannot control when you get the urge to go to the bathroom.” So, URINE, the health risks you’re running to avoid your boyfriend’s anger cannot be described as insignificant. Now let’s talk about the emotional and psychological damage your boyfriend has already inflicted on you. “If this woman came to me for individual therapy, I would be compelled to point out to her that her boyfriend is physically and emotionally abusing her,” said therapist Marissa Myers, LCP. “Getting ‘uncomfortably angry’ and ‘throwing a fit of epic proportions’ are examples of manipulative behaviors abusers use to make sure their victims know who’s in charge. The disregard this man has for her physical health and safety raises the bar to physical abuse in my opinion.” Myers frequently works with individuals and couples to help them resolve conflicts around sex and intimacy, URINE, but she would not work with you—alone or as a couple—with the goal of saving this relationship. “Working with this reader on how to compromise or communicate better regarding this issue would amount to facilitating the continuation of an abusive relationship,” said Myers. “My advice to her is to begin gathering resources, telling safe

Destroying your kidneys isn’t the only health risk you’re running, URINE. “Keeping large amounts of urine in the bladder can lead to a bladder stretch injury and may lead to long-standing urinary retention—or the inability to empty the bladder—which may or may not recover over time,” said Dr. Fields. “The bladder is a pretty hearty muscle and can recover from many insults but repeated damage like this could do irreparable harm. In addition, these insults could lead to overactive bladder and with time, to urgent urinary incontinence, that is, leakage that

people, and planning a safe exit. Once she’s safely out of the relationship, therapy can help her avoid getting into another abusive relationship.” Which is not to say this is your fault, URINE. Your boyfriend manipulated you with his anger and leveraged your own desire to be a good partner against you. And while it’s fine to fantasize about watching your partner pee every time she pees, it’s unrealistic and unfair and unworkable to demand that your partner allow you to watch them every single time they take a piss. There’s nothing LOL about any of this, URINE,

and I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear. Yours is one of those letters that makes me wish I had a time machine so I could take you back to the start of this relationship—five years and one kid ago, back when your boyfriend first began terrorizing you—and implore you to leave him before things escalated to this point. And while I’m sure you love your kid and don’t regret having that baby, URINE, you can’t let your desire to keep your child’s home intact prevent you from escaping the hell your boyfriend has made of your life. Take Myers’ advice: Make a plan, lean on supportive friends, take your kid, and get away from this man before your kidneys explode. I’m a happily married (mostly) lesbian woman. I am somewhat attracted to men, but only in the context of a threesome with my wife. While I don’t have any desire to sleep with men on my own, I do like giving handjobs to men along with the occasional blowjob. My wife knows about this and is fine with it. We can’t really do much by way of threesomes right now for various reasons, so I’m considering finding a guy (if this pandemic ever ends) to indulge me. My wife is a former sex worker and it bothers her that I do this for men—jerk them off, blow them—without any form of reciprocity. She said it’s a service that I shouldn’t be giving away for nothing. I see her point, but I’m not interested in money. An exchange of services sounds interesting though! Like, I will jerk you off if you clean my bathroom or mow my lawn. I have two questions. First, what do you think about my wife’s view on the subject? Second, what’s the best way to find/ approach someone who would be into an arrangement like this?—The System Called Reciprocity Your wife doesn’t enjoy giving men blowjobs or handjobs, TSCR, so she gets nothing out of blowing or handing some guy. That’s why her male clients had to pay her for her services. You, on the other hand, enjoy giving blowjobs and handjobs, TSCR, and that enjoyment is what you get out of them. Your wife sounds like one of those straight guys who doesn’t understand why his gay best friend loves giving head even if the guy he’s blowing doesn’t return the favor and/or clean the shower. As to finding someone who might be interested in being blown or jacked off by a lesbian in exchange for some light housework/yardwork, TSCR, there’s this thing called the Internet. Maybe you heard Katie Couric talking about it on the Today show in 1994? Well, I think the Internet is going to catch on and there are these things on the Internet called “hookup apps” where you can post explicit personal ads. But be careful: if you post a personal ad that reads, “Married lesbian seeks houseboy, will milk for chores,” your phone will “blow up.” I think that’s meant figuratively, TSCR, but the Internet is so new I can’t promise your phone won’t literally blow up. Contact mail@savagelove.net, follow @ FakeDanSavage on Twitter, and check out my new website at savage.love!

cltampa.com | SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 6, 2021 | 125


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