Food, Music, Living

 

The inaugural seafood and music festival took place on March 25 and March 26, mimicking those held in the surrounding areas of Sarasota as well as Siesta Beach.

The committee that dedicated months to plan this event while using those events in Sarasota and Siesta Beach as inspiration, is called St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. The executive director of the Arts Alliance in St. Petersburg is John Collins.

“We are the umbrella organization for all of the arts in St Petersburg,” Collins said. “So that covers fine arts, performing arts, like music, and of course today fusion arts, if you will, the culinary arts.”

Collins helped bring the event to St. Petersburg and has hope that it will become an annual tradition.

The food at the festival ranged from different types of cooked fish, crab cakes, shrimp, lobster, Paella, crawfish, french fries and seafood jambalaya. The festival also included vendors that sold natural juices and even different types of art.

One individual that is working very closely with a vendor was very excited about the festival’s first time appearance. Bruno Baldrati, a Brazilian native, believes the food his tent is selling is very closely aligned with food from his home due to seasoning and the way the food is cooked.

“It’s good because we meet a lot of new people, a lot of families come here with their kids,to eat [at] the seafood festival and its good because I acquire some experiences from that,” Baldrati said.

The festival will be returning the following year in 2018. The next seafood and music festival will be held in Siesta Beach Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

 

The Tampa Museum Features Who Shot Sports

The Tampa Museum of Art holds a special exhibition each moth that is dedicated to a unique topic. This month it’s Sports.

Who Shot Sports is a nine-section exhibition that contains over 200 sports photography. Each photograph included in the exhibition is accompanied by the history of the photographer behind the lens. Joanna Robotham, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, says that Who Shot Sports pays homage to the creative memories captured through the photo lens.

“It looks at not just the famous moments in art history but looks at who the photographers are beyond the screen. The whole premise behind Who Shot Sports is to give the photographers recognition and identity. Many people know the famous photographs but they don’t know who took it,” said Robotham.

The Tampa Bay area is a city that encompasses many sports teams and media outlets. Robotham and the Tampa Museum of Art decided to include Lens of Tampa Bay Sports, in order to showcase the sports versatility that the city holds.

“We worked with eight different photographers and pulled about fifty photographs of local sports teams and included that in a smaller show. So, it’s a nice companion to the larger show,”said Robotham.

The overall functionality of photography allows for individuals to emerge creativity with reality. Tatyannah George, a student photographer, says that her passion is driven by the ability to capture the beauty of the moment.

“As a student photography I would say that being able to capture everyday lives for people outside of events or things of that nature is a beautiful thing because you are able to give that moment or experience outside of actually being there,” said George.

Who Shot Sports can be viewed until April 30th.

Veteran Art Exhibit on Display at Tampa’s Riverwalk

 

Saori Murphy and Larry Busby had their work chosen for display outside the Straz Center as part of the Veterans Art Exhibit: Reintegration and Resilience.

“Being around the Straz and having people see that – there is a little bit of vulnerability that you kind of feel vulnerable that people see parts of yourselves,” said Murphy. “But at the same time I’m feeling really honored and respected in a way that people had come up and approached me along with other veterans.” 

Murphy’s favorite piece of artwork currently on display is called A Choice. It began as a black and white exhibit that, over time, was filled with beautiful colors which represented her emotional transformation.

“What was my inspiration for making art? Suicide. I am a suicide survivor,” said Busby. “I started getting the help I need because I was suffering from severe depression and alcoholism. That started my journey.”

After seeking help for his depression, it was suggested that Busby choose a hobby. So, he picked up his camera 30 years after being a former Navy photographer’s aid.

“I’m in a zen-like state,” said. Busby. “I’m focused on what I’m doing and the rest of the world just disappears. It just melts away and I kind of like that. It’s meditation. It’s therapy. It’s cool.”

Both Busby and Murphy see the importance in seeking help and want others to do the same. Their artwork is on display for free at the Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa until March 15th.

 

Rocking the Curtis Hixon Park

 

Since 2010, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has held a “Rock the Park” monthly concert series that invites local bands, up-and-coming artists and vendors to come together and spend a relaxing evening with the community.

Held in the evenings on the first Thursday of every month, guests can sit in the amphitheater and enjoy the free and dog-friendly event with half a dozen decorated pop-up shops and local ska, alternative, or rock bands who hope to gain exposure.

First-time performer Shane Schuck, whose stage name is Pajamas, was thrilled to be able to play a set for his friends and new fans right in his own backyard.

“My buddy, Joe, does some of the promoting here,” the Clearwater resident said. “He just offered it to me a couple months back and it sounded like an awesome opportunity.”

One new business in particular was extremely excited to promote their brand at the concert. “Whatever Pops,” an ice pop-stand-turned-storefront, was selling organic ice pops to the audience.

“The Popsicles have natural ingredients with no added sugar,” employee Anthony Licary said. “Even the ingredients like the teas and fruit are locally grown in Tampa.”

Anyone who is interested in attending the event, booking a performance slot, or becoming a vendor can find more information on the Rock the Park Facebook page, or on their website  http://www.rocktheparktampa.com.

 

Local Artists Sells Artwork Antique Comics at Curtis Hixon Park

Around the holidays at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa, it can be difficult to go shopping when the seasonal ice skating rink is only there for a limited time.

But the shops at Curtis Hixon’s Winter Village are an attraction not to be overlooked. Toward the back of the shops, a stall filled with comic books resides with an owner that has a story to tell.

Tim Gibbons, shop owner, lit up while talking about the items he was selling.

“I bought the very first Fantastic Four. I’ve had a lot of #1 Marvels. I was a DC collector from ’59, Marvel didn’t come around until ’62. So, from ’59 to ’62 I was a DC collector,” Gibbons said.

While his wares were collectibles, his heart belongs to the art. He pulled out several pieces he created that he was also selling. They included album covers that depicted of Darth Vader conducting an orchestra and playing the tuba in a marching bad.

“Right now, I do serious art. I teach over at Hyde Park Art Studio Life Enrichment Center,” Gibbons said

The artistic style of comic books are a specific inspiration of Gibbons’ art.

“It’s just absolutely gorgeous. And it turned me onto art, that’s what got me going with everything, is comic books,” Gibbons said.

Tim Gibbons will only be out for two more days, be sure to check out his collection while his shop still resides at Curtis Hixon’s Winter Village.

Defying The Odds

When trying to push past your limits, a lot of people say they do not want to hear excuses. That is where the catch phrase “no excuses, no limits” came into play for Luca Patuelli.

Patuelli was diagnosed with arthrogryposis, a disease that limits muscle growth in certain parts of the body. For Patuelli, it took a toll mostly on his legs.

“My dream is to be able to walk,” says Patuelli.

Through hard work and perseverance, he is slowly realizing that dream. Patuelli participated in a 2.5K walk and finished. The amazing part: he did not use his crutches.

Patuelli now travels all over speaking to groups of people to push his message of positivism and encouragement. He wants people to believe in themselves and realize they can do whatever they want— all it takes is confidence.

 

Siesta Key Crystal Classic Draws International Sand Sculptors To Sarasota

Siesta Key, located in Sarasota, Florida, gathered sand sculptors from Canada, Texas, the Netherlands and all around the world. The event began on Veterans Day, giving the sand sculptors three days to carve.

Canadian Delayne Corbett has been sand sculpting for over 10 years.

“I got into sculpting sand because of a passion for sculpture,” Delayne said.  “I’ve been carving stone for over 25 years; sand is nothing but a bunch of little pieces of stone, so it was pretty natural for me to jump into sand sculpting.”

Spectators believe sculptors use glue-like substances to keep the sand intact. However, according to Delayne, all they use is a lot of water and sand to build the form they desire.

“We basically have to make a birthday cake of sand,”Delayne said.

McKenzie Lee traveled from Venice, Florida to see the sculptures. “I thought they were awesome there is so much detail and I think it is crazy that they can make all of these sculptures out of sand,” Lee said.

This event draws thousands of people to an art gallery with a beautiful view. The purpose is to raise money for endangered sea turtles through the Mote Marine Aquarium. This year marks the seventh year in a row of a successful Siesta Key Crystal Classic.

 

WMNF Bridges the Gap

 

The WMNF radio station hosted its third Bridging the Gap series. The series was a fundraiser that included five poets and five rappers from the Tampa Bay area.

Xavier “Cool Kid” Grullon, a 22-year-old slam poet, was excited to perform at the show.

 “I think we’re creative in two different outlets, but I think we should be able to come together and share the same stage,” Grunion said when asked what “bridging the gap” meant to him.

Mike Mass, a rapper in the Tampa Bay hip hop community was also excited about the series.

 “There’s a shared interest between those two crowds and the consumers of those two crowds,” Mass said, 

Bridging the Gap is a semi-annual event designed to raise money for WMNF, a radio station run almost entirely on donations and volunteers. The radio event was aired on Saturday evening, and is available for download on the station’s website.

The event itself was not a competitive one. It was used primarily to bring the audiences of the Saturday night shows together. The ten performers were given roughly ten minutes each, or the equivalent of a set on a local stage. The show aired from 11 P.M. Saturday night to early Sunday morning around 1 A.M..

Experience St. Pete Through Dance

St. Pete Festival helps to build the city’s reputation as a harbor for the arts and celebrates local artists and their creations with 57 dedicated events ever weekend through September

On Sept. 17 a series of curated dance performances took the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. It was part of Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete, an original art installation directed by USF assistant professor of dance Andee Scott. Scott has wanted to create a piece of moving public art for some time now.

“I think it’s just fun to think of the audience as part of the performance,” said Scott.

The project received an overwhelming amount of support by all those who joined the tour and even those who chose to stay on the sidelines. Dozens of members of the community attended the event to discover something new about their city. Scott, together with the St. Pete Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages, are already in the process of putting together an even bigger art installation.

The audience traveled through the streets of downtown from one performance to the next and experienced historic sites in a new way. Dancers and performers from around the Bay Area were invited to participate in the event. Alex Jones, a choreographer from Collective Dance Soles Company, directed one of the seven performances of the evening.

“It was really nice to be asked to be a part of something so awesome,” said Jones.

 

Vegan Food Catering Business Embraces Education, Wellness

Yourhighness Tafari has been a vegan and Puritarian since 1998, which was a decision that motivated him in helping people improve their quality of health in the consumption choices they make.  Tafari’s devotion to spiritual purity, and food education soon became his life’s work.

In 2014, Tafari and co-owner Erica Cobb started the delivery/catering business The Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen in the Wesley Chapel/Tampa area. Over the past two years, the business has made a commitment to provide cleaner eating at an affordable rate while using precision in their vegan cuisines to benefit people mentally and spiritually.

Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen caters all local events, as well as appearances in all of the open air eateries in Hillsborough County.

The business concept arose when both Tafari and Negus traveled to New Orleans to do volunteer assistance with victims of Hurricane Katrina. Negus had already obtained a culinary degree from the University of Texas, and at that point, was not using it.

Tafari and Negus found the experience to be valuable and applicable to a business idea, which led to the creation of The Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen.

These two business owners specialize in all organic, non-meat food preparation.  Both owners show a passion for the work that they do, as well as passing on their culinary expertise to their children and youth of the community.

Tikur Negus, a chef from the Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen, said making quality vegan food and teaching people the benefits of vegan meals is important when representing the business.

“Our focus is on health, vision, and wealth,” Negus said.  “So we educate the people on the better ways of living, while providing food for them to show that vegan food is good for everybody.”

Tafari has been a lifelong Tampa resident. He can be reached through Vegg’d Out Vegan Kitchen on Facebook, as well as the “SourceTalk Saturday” monthly community events at the Tampa Community Center on 22nd Ave and Fletcher Ave.

The kitchen can be found on social media, as well as a monthly appearance at the Tampa Community Center. They offer monthly trainings for kids under 10 years of age.

Social Media helps small business thrive

Local business owner Dee Laskowski is using technology to her advantage. She advertises her business products through social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Etsy.

Laskowski and her husband own a small craft business called We Sell Sea Shells and More. She crotchets mermaid dolls in the comfort of her own home.

“I crochet the head and the body and I do it in custom colors so people can order whatever colors they would like,” Laskowski said.

Each mermaid doll costs about $45 depending on how customized the purchaser wants it to be. A lot of hard work goes into making the dolls and it takes an average of three days to make one.

“It takes about two hours to cut the yarn and put it on the doll’s head,” crafter Liana Laskowski said.

Laskowski advertises her business on social media sites including Facebook and Instagram. Recently she created a business account on Etsy, a popular crafting website.

“It seems like a lot of small businesses, craft businesses and baking businesses are using social media sites in this manner and getting orders that way,” Laskowski said, “there’s generally a website associated with the account where they can click on the link and go to that account to make purchases.”

Social media has become a prevalent part of today’s society. With Apple’s recent release of the iPhone 7, technology continues to change our everyday lives.

Singing for Shriners Reaches New Heights, Hospital Shows Appreciation

In 2012, the University of South Florida chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity had a wonderful idea for a philanthropy event that would provide fundraising for a worthwhile cause. The event would also intend to provide incredible entertainment for all involved. Theta Chi focused on the local community and realized that they could help bring funding and awareness to the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa located on USF’s campus.

Groups, primarily from the Greek community, collaborate in order to select two songs to be performed on the day of the event. This year, the concert had the most registered groups ever, with 10 female performances and 5 male performances competing for the title of champions.

So where does the fundraising come in? That process begins months before the actual day of the event. Each group contributes a registration fee and is expected to make an effort to raise funds from the USF community by encouraging t-shirt and ticket sales. The higher the funds raised, more points are added to the overall performance scores at Singing for Shriners.

When performance day came along, the Theta Chi brothers experienced an unexpected dilemma, as the audience reached maximum capacity in the theatre. Of all the problems that they could have faced this was a welcome one.

Jessica Hill, the Public Relations Specialist at Shriners-Tampa, was front and center for the show, even speaking on behalf of the hospital to the crowd.

“It means so much to have the support”, she said. “Theta Chi, in doing this, is helping to send love to the rescue for so many kids in our area.”

USF student Ally Lindsay has been attending the event for several years and she said that although it’s always nice to have a night full of entertainment, having representatives from the Hospital in attendance, “It'[s] a very important part of the event because you can see these people and see where all the money that everyone’s raising is going to.”

The performances didn’t disappoint and the crowd was enthralled from beginning to end. Perhaps the best part of the evening was finishing off the event with Theta Chi handing over a check to Shriner’s Hospital for $11,000.

Corolla Turned “Truckolla”

There are many reasons people in the United States love trucks.  They are great for driving off-road, hauling trailers and managing fuel economy.  Trucks are the kind of vehicle that can turn boys into men in a heartbeat.  However, can a car be like a truck or at least look like one?

“Turning cars into trucks can happen,” said Nikola Vlacic, a graduate from the University of South Florida.

On Feb. 26, with the help of his friends, he proved this to be true.  The car that Vlacic chose to get the job done was his beloved 2001 Toyota Corolla.  As a result, the car went from Corolla to “Truckolla” in a 12-hour conversion.  Sit back, relax and see the all new 2016 Toyota “Truckolla” come to life.

USF’s Bullstock to Host Local Performers Student Bands

The University of South Florida is ready to celebrate their most eventful week of the year, as its annual USF week began on Monday. USF week is a week-long celebration, headlined by the Bullstock music concert on Friday night.

“Bullstock is the biggest event USF has to offer,” Richard Scibetti , a coordinator at the University’s Center for Student Involvement who oversees Bullstock, said.

The event has hosted bands such as Panic! at the Disco, Young the Giant, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Twenty One Pilots. This year, the organizers decided to do something different.

“This year we wanted more of a festival feel,” Scibetti said. “Where there is no big key headliner. There is a group of bands that have their different audiences.”

The performers at this years Bullstock are New Politics, Børns, and a package of bands featured in this years Vans Warped Tour. Those bands are Mayday Parade, The Maine, Reckless Serenade and Assuming We Survive.

The event also showcases some of USF’s talent as well. Athena Bressack, who oversees USF Week as a whole, said that this was her favorite part about Bullstock.

“The first two bands that open (Bullstock) are student bands,” Bressack said, “Earlier in March we had an event called Battle of the Bands that we have every year and there is a judge winner and a people’s choice winner. So both of those bands get to open up Bullstock and who knows? Maybe they’ll be headliners somewhere one day.”

Bullstock is expected to draw a crowd of over 5,000 people. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. in parking lot 22D at the USF Sun Dome.

Bullstock is free and open to the public.

Tampa park undergoes artistic renovation

Since 1979, Perry Harvey Sr. Park has been a staple in the Tampa Bay community. Named after the Bay’s first African-American councilman, the park has been a landmark for civil rights.

April 2 marked the grand opening of the park’s renovation. Various forms of artwork depicting civil rights leaders will be displayed throughout the park.

Photo by: Brian Fernandes

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Monday, March 21, Lara Alexander helps put the final touches on the art gallery at Perry Harvey Sr. Park, commemorating civil rights leaders.

Photo by: Brian Fernandes

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Michael Parker, the artist responsible for the renovation, labors under the sun. The commemoration took Parker a year to construct.

 

Photo by: Brian Fernandes

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Parker constructed a stone portrait of one of Tampa’s African-American pioneers, Georgette Gardner. Gardner was a principal of several African-American schools in the Bay area.

Photo by: Brian Fernandes

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Among other pieces of Parker’s work is this portrait of entertainer, Henry Joyner. Joyner established and owned the Tampa night club, Cotton Club.

Photo by: Brian Fernandes

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A portrait of Tampa’s Meacham School founder, Christina Meacham. For 40 years Meacham devoted her life to teaching children in Florida.

 

 

 

Dinosaurs in Motion

Gaming technology can open up a new realm of ideas and possibilities to those involved in gaming, computer engineering, and for other fields and occupations. MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, is the prime example of its technology by bringing dinosaurs to life with levers, pulleys and the Sony PlayStation controllers in their new exhibit “Dinosaurs in Motion.” 

Grayson Kamm, the communications director of MOSI, explained the concept of the mechanics of the way the dinosaurs are manipulated. 

“Controls can get more complex and machines can get more complex,” said Kamm. “So you start with a lever moving the T-Rex all the way up to a PlayStation video game controller, and getting that to work to where you’re using these controls to run electric motors to coordinate everything is not an easy task. 

It’s an interesting experience to everybody who visits MOSI, especially the employees who work at the exhibit. Stephen Shuey, a MOSI employee, has witnessed the visitors’ experiences and expressions with how the PlayStation controller controls the dinosaurs. 

“It’s like manual and game control both are fun,” Shuey said. 

This exhibit expands visitors imagination of what game controllers can do besides controlling something in a video game. Things like controlling robots, a crane, or anything in the real world.  

“By getting to think about new ideas, fresh ways to do different things, that’s what it’s all about at MOSI because the possibilities down the line are going to be totally different and totally endless,” Kamm said.

 

Tampa Theatre Hosts True West With a Twist at USF

University of South Florida alumni returned to their old stomping grounds on Sunday for the Tampa Repertory Theatre’s production of “True West,” a comedy about two brothers arguing over a screenplay that could change their lives.

Screenplay director Megan Lamasney was excited to come back to her alma mater and showcase her work.

“I was an undergrad here in the theater department and it was cool to come back to home base and see where it started,” Lamasney said. “It was great bringing some exciting work here.”

Although Lamasney was excited for the project, actor Jack Holloway was rather nervous when asked to perform. Rather than sticking to one role, Holloway had to alternate roles between both brothers in the screenplay.

“I was terrified when Megan called me and told me about doing the roles and then switching every night,” Holloway said. “I had never done that before in terms of switching roles, so I was a bit nervous.”

Being back in the Theatre Arts Rehearsal Building brought back several memories for Holloway.

“It was wonderful, but it is strange because a part of the play is about coming back home and it feels like I don’t have to act that,” Holloway said. “It’s honestly surreal because you’re acting in a place where you grew up.”

On the other side of the play is actor Dan Granke, who is a performing arts professor at USF. Granke admitted that getting to perform and being able to teach students was a unique experience.

“This is home for me, this is where I work and it very much feels like home,” Granke said. “I have so many students who haven’t seen me perform, and it feels great to show them rather than just tell them.”

Granke worked constantly with Holloway to perfect the art of switching the roles each night and staying in character. While difficult, Granke enjoyed the challenge and said it comes with good parts.

“It’s a lot of fun because it’s a piece that has its hard moments, but it also has its comic moments. So getting to do both allowed you to feel like you’re not stuck to one role,” Granke said.

Granke moved to Tampa in 2013 to become a professor, meanwhile working with Holloway as an artistic director for the Tampa Shakespeare Festival.

“It was interesting because when I moved here three years ago, I was told that I have a doppelgänger,” Granke said. “We both love working together, Jack and I do comedy, stage combat and we’ve gotten close over the years.”

Aside from the great role and being able to perform in front of students, Granke said his first priority was and always is to entertain.

“I go out as an actor, I’m also a director and a fight director,” Granke said. He directs the combat onstage during scenes.“My goal is always to entertain people. I want to challenge people and just let people have a good time so they want to come back and see more.”

Granke holds theater performances close to his heart because in today’s age of digital streaming and technology, the art of live theater seems rare to him.

“Any time there’s a chance for live theater I think it’s great, and with everything becoming live streaming it’s kind of hard to appreciate it,” Granke said. “I just think theater is just one of those places where you can’t do it any other way.”

 

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Jack Holloway and Dan Granke alternated roles between Austin and Lee in the Tampa Reportory Theatre’s rendition of “True West”

Poetry fights against black on black crime

 

Andrea Little and Hector Angus are not your typical college students. They are owners of a grocery store, 1 Apple Grocery.

The University of South Florida students put their money together to help a low-income neighborhood thrive in this “food desert.”

Phil Scott has been president of Black on Black Rhyme Tampa for the last three years.  The poetry troop is the longest running in the Tampa area.

The troop assembles every third Friday of every month at Joffrey’s Coffee House. Their aim is to help the people in the poorer side of the community be able to express themselves in a healthy way.

When asked, “is it worth it,” Phil Scott answers, “Undoubtedly. From the neighborhood that I come from, it’s vital to our survival as a community, in order to have these outlets for us”.

Located at the corner of 8th and 15th street in downtown Ybor, Joffrey’s Coffee House hosts the Black on Black Rhyme shows every third Friday of each month.

Phil Scott is FAMU graduate, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Music. He is currently the band director at Van Buren Middle School.

He says, “I didn’t choose Black on Black, Black on Black really chose me.  It was kinda like they just welcomed me with open arms”.

Black on Black Rhyme Tampa show times are available on the Tampa Bay Poetry page on Facebook. Be sure to check out there show this Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m.

Keeping Sinatra alive, one performance at a time

Rick Michel laughs as he recalls a conversation with his mother before singing Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young.”

At the age of seven, already dabbling into the world of impersonations, he asked his mother which of his impressions was her favorite.

While first requesting Paul Newman, his mother responded with, “How ‘bout Frank Sinatra?”

Michel, a Las Vegas singer, attributed this moment to the start of his career.

“I went down to the basement and got one of the old 33 and one-third albums out, it was Nelson Riddle’s “Sound for Swinging Lovers”, and I took the first cut and I put it on my Panasonic Reel to Reel that I got for my bar mitzvah,” Michel said in between songs at the Largo Cultural Center’s Tonne Playhouse. “Next thing you know, I’m doing Frank Sinatra.”

Michel has been an impersonator for more than 30 years, first as a stand-up comedian and now as a musician. Michel has had the opportunity to share the stage with many successful 1960’s and ‘70’s celebrities; including Rich Little, Mickey Rooney, John Byner and Sherman Hemsley.

“Forever Sinatra: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra” is different from the other comedic acts in his repertoire.  He doesn’t pretend to be Sinatra, but rather pays tribute to his idol’s long and wonderful career.

“Nobody can fill his shoes, that’s why I call it an interpretation not an impersonation,” Michel said. “I’m emotionally drained after every show.”

Michel has had Frank Sinatra, President Gerald Ford, Tony Curtis, Bob Hope and Steve Allen in his audience. Meeting Frank Sinatra, he said, was the height of his career.

“There are a lot of moments where I have literally pinched myself,” Michel said. “His aura, I mean standing next to him I can see why women get weak at the knees.”

Michel’s goal is to touch upon all aspects of Sinatra’s life by choosing a variety of music that best represents his career.

In Sunday’s matinee performance, the audience was treated to Sinatra’s greatest hits, including “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Lady is a Tramp,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Strangers in the Night,” and “New York, New York.

Almost every seat, in the Tonne Playhouse’s 466 seats, was sold as the audience routinely interrupted the performance with applause.

“It’s just like Ol’ Blue Eyes,” said B.A. Rand Marsters, a Canadian painter and musician in the audience. “I’m a big Sinatra fan and he does him justice.”

The audience responded especially well to the chemistry between Michel and the three other members of his band: Ray Von Rotz on Drums, Mark Neuenschwander on Bass and Stan Collins on the Piano. Michel doesn’t travel with a band, instead he picks up local musicians in the city where he is performing.

“It’s too expensive to travel with a band,” said Leslie Gregory, Michel’s wife of nine years. “You play so many cities, you know people and who contracts bands.”

The performance did not miss a beat once, in fact, the four of them were chatting on stage like old friends throughout most of the show.

“When you’re pros, it makes it easy,” Michel said.

Michel loves being able to bring the audience to a different time. Hearing people tell him if they close their eyes it’s like Sinatra was there is one of his favorite parts. He couldn’t imagine another career.

“It’s the music, it’s the passion, it’s the words,” Michel said. “I can feel the music through my soul.”

 

 

Photo gallery: Fun in the Sunset at Pier 60

The Sunset at Pier 60 Daily Festival is located at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. It is a weather permitting event that is every day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It starts two hours before the sun sets and lasts two hours after the sunset fades away.

At this event, skilled crafters and artisans come together to display their handmade crafts and entertainers perform their latest tricks for the public to watch. The Sunset Celebration Festival started on March 17th, 1995 and in 2015 the festival celebrated their 20th Anniversary.