Christopher Spata, Features Writer

Christopher Spata

Features Writer

I'm focused on the offbeat side of life. I love stories about people pursuing unusual goals, and what drives them. I've written about retirees attending Santa Claus School, competitors at the World Sign Spinning Championships and an optician rebuilding old Chuck E. Cheese robots in his bedroom. I'm also looking for hyper-local culture stories, from tracing the global path plastic beads take to Tampa's Gasparilla festival, to pondering mysterious butt graffiti in downtown St. Pete. I also contribute to our entertainment and Things To Do coverage. I previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star-Banner. I'm a rare, native-born Floridian, and collect all things Floridiana, from alligator ash trays to vintage postcards for roadside attractions. I say Florida isn't "weird," just more interesting.

Tampa Theatre plans to open microcinema theater next door

Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa. Eve Edelheit  |  Times (2012)
The expansion ‘fundamentally changes our business model,’ said the not-for-profit theater’s CEO.

He befriended the ashes of a Vietnam veteran. Now he has to let him go.

Honor guard soldiers salute as the urn containing the ashes of Maj. Albert L. Mitchell, U.S. Army (Retired) is seen during a ceremony Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
The ashes were found in a St. Petersburg attic. Nine years after his death, a soldier is buried with honors at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

The ‘Floribama Shore’ Season 3 premiere date is set

The cast of
MTV released a teaser trailer for its hit reality series filmed in Pinellas. Here’s a first look at what happened in St. Petersburg.

Even J.B. Smoove doesn’t know exactly what he’ll do on stage in Tampa

On Saturday, J.B. Smoove will perform at Ferguson Hall, part of Tampa's Straz Center. Richard Shotwell  |  Invision/AP
The comedian known for portraying Leon Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ likes to wing it. He hits the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall on Saturday.

‘Florida Girls’ Season 2 on the way from Clearwater’s Laura Chinn

From left, Laci Mosley, Laura Chinn, Patty Gugenheim and Melanie Field are pictured in a scene from
The Pop network TV comedy set in Tampa Bay drew acclaim from critics. It’s officially getting more episodes.