Thursday, July 19, 2018


Christopher Spata

Christopher Spata

Christopher Spata is a web producer and features writer for the Tampa Bay Times, focusing on entertainment, pop culture, social media and things to do. He also contributes to The Feed blog. A lifelong Floridian, he previously worked as a web producer and entertainment reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and covered sports for the Ocala Star-Star Banner. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011, and joined the Times in 2016.

Hummel figurines on display at the Schrader home in Tampa, Fla. on July 11, 2018. Mary Schrader collects Hummel figurines as well as cookie jars and currency. Dennis Schrader has a collection of nearly five thousand autographed baseballs currently on display at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The Schraders have over two thousand Hummel figurines. MONICA HERNDON | Times

1,100 cookie jars. 2000 Hummels. 23 chamber pots: This Tampa Bay couple collects... well, everything.

TAMPA — To be a large, clumsy person in Mary and Dennis Schrader’s house is to feel fear.You tread lightly upstairs, but even so, every step in the room containing row after row of cookie jars brings the sound of ceramic lids rattling on their...
Published: 07/16/18
Wait, are stingrays cute? ZooTampa's rays predict a World Cup winner

Wait, are stingrays cute? ZooTampa's rays predict a World Cup winner

Lots of animals are in the mix predicting the World Cup in 2018, including some in Tampa. Because sure, why not?
Published: 07/12/18
From left to right, Candace, Kortni, Aimee, and Nilsa. [MTV]

‘Floribama Shore’ Season 2 premieres tonight, so we asked the cast what lessons we can learn from watching them

Like the drama hurricane of an overly-muscled man yelling at a “princess goddess mermaid,” whose luggage is literally garbage bags, about why she needs to clean up her room, Season 2 of Floribama Shore is imminently...
Published: 07/09/18
Chris Brown performs at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

A day after his Florida arrest, Chris Brown takes the stage at Tampa concert

There were flashing police lights, wailing sirens and yellow crime scene tape at Chris Brown’s concert in Tampa Friday night, but it was all part of the show — videos projected on stage during his performance of Yellow Tape,...
Published: 07/07/18
Updated: 07/09/18
The exhibitor area at GuardianCon. Courtesy of

Twitch streamers bring video games’ biggest star to Tampa while raising millions for charity

A group of professional video-game players based in Tampa Bay have been quietly making a living — and raising a fortune for charity — mostly by playing video games and letting people watch.Cory Michael, 33, Ben Bowman, 31, and Kevin Murray, 35,...
Published: 07/03/18
Updated: 07/12/18
David Piper, salesman for TNT Fireworks, sets up his stand at Tyrone Gardens Mall, 9th Ave. North and 58 St. North, St. Petersburg in 2017.   SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

Yes, most fireworks are illegal in Florida. No, that doesn't stop anyone. Here's why.

It’s almost the Fourth of July, that noisy time of year when — as a fireworks dealer in a Simpsons episode once phrased it — some of us will "celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of...
Updated one month ago
Costumed fans walk around the MegaCon convention at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa Fla., on Oct. 28, 2016. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

6 Tampa conventions to geek out on video games, comic books, anime and horror

The vast umbrella of geek culture covers nearly all pop culture these days in one regard or another, but if you’re looking to dress up and come together with like-minded fans to celebrate the original pillars of geekiness — video games,...
Updated one month ago
This is 8,000 firecrackers. [Christopher Spata | Times]

The best (and most ridiculous) fireworks names spotted in Tampa

 We took a field trip to Tampa’s Galaxy Fireworks and Phantom Fireworks stores to check out the best of this year’s awesomely weird, random and hilarious fireworks names.
Updated one month ago
Andrew Bustamante, Jihi Bustamante and their son, Sina, at home in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of Andrew Bustamante]

St. Petersburg couple drive a minivan, volunteer at church and were CIA spies

What's it like to start a family when you're working for the CIA? Jihi and Andrew Bustamante know.
Updated one month ago
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in

MegaCon Tampa Bay celebrity guests include ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Doctor Who’ stars

MegaCon Tampa Bay has announced a lineup of celebrity guests that will likely conjure a mix of excitement and nostalgia among local geeks.They include Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who currently plays Negan on The Walking Dead, Christopher...
Updated one month ago