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Christopher Spata, Times Staff Writer

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.

Phone: (727) 893-8719


Twitter: @spatatimes

  1. Find every new Shine festival mural in St. Petersburg with this map and photos

    Visual Arts

    The leaves don't really change in Florida, but go outside and it's clearly that time of year when St. Petersburg's walls get a little more colorful.

    The third annual Shine Mural Festival wrapped up this week as artists from around the world finished 14 new, urban murals scattered around the city's core.

    In addition to artists from Los Angeles, the Netherlands and Australia, this year's festival featured five painters from Tampa Bay. The work by locals includes the 22nd St. Legacy Mural by Thirst and Zulu Painter. That one is still in progress, but will cover two large embankments underneath Interstate 275 at 22nd Street South and pay tribute to the cultural impact of the Dueces Live corridor....

    There are 14 new murals up in St. Petersburg for the Shine Mural Festival. [Eve Edelheit | Staff]
  2. St. Pete's traffic signal boxes are being covered in public art


    If you have an eye for detail, you may have noticed a splash of color here and there around downtown St. Petersburg recently. 

    There's a new public art initiative by the Shine Mural Festival titled Corner Canvas, and the project features art by local artists wrapped around traffic signal boxes.

    The art is intended to be a permanent addition to the city's streets. There are currently eight boxes completed with several more to come....

    This art by Justin Wagher is part of the Corner Canvas public art initiative by Shine.
  3. Percussionist rocks out with a blazing triangle solo during Florida Orchestra performance


    Oh, the poor triangle. It's the orchestra equivalent of a rock band's tamborine, and such easy fodder for jokes.

    But the triangle can rock, apparently, as a member of the Florida Orchestra demonstrated in a recent Coffee Concert performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.


    John Shaw performs a triangle solo.
  4. The #BrooklynCow delighted Twitter for one glorious afternoon


    In the long tradition of social media delighting in news reports of a non-native animal running loose in an urban setting, Twitter, for a few blissful hours this afternoon, turned its collective attention to #BrooklynCow, a bull that escaped a slaughterhouse and began roaming free near New York's Prospect Park....

    A bull was on the loose in Brooklyn for a little while on Tuesday afternoon.
  5. Come on down, former 'Price Is Right' announcer Rich Fields; you're the new afternoon DJ on Q105


    There's a new afternoon drive host on classic hits radio station WRBQ-FM, better known as "Q105."

    Rich Fields, who once served as the announcer for daytime game show The Price Is Right alongside Bob Barker and Drew Carey, is the new personality weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on the station.

    Dave "Flash" Morgan, who previously had the 3 to 7 p.m. time slot will move to nights.

    Since leaving the Price Is Right, Fields has been the staf meteorologist at KCBS / KCAL-TV and an on-air personality on K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles. ...

    Rich Fields will be heard on Q105 from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
  6. We asked Neil deGrasse Tyson to rate 'space things' like 'Star Wars' vs. 'Star Trek'


    Neil deGrasse Tyson is making a habit out of visiting Tampa.

    Last fall he was here talking film in An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies. On Thursday, he'll be at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to perform An Astrophysicist Reads the Newspaper, a multimedia lecture touching on current events.

    "I use pop culture, or what's in the news in this instance — things that people are already familiar with — as a scaffolding to build on," Tyson says. "From there I can take you wherever I want to take you."...

    Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday. We talked to him ahead of time. Check out what he had to say. [Patrick Eccelsine/FOX]
  7. Sports anchor Tom Korun leaving WFTS after decades in Tampa Bay TV


    WFTS ABC Action News sports anchor and director Tom Korun is retiring from broadcasting after more than 14 years at the station and 31 years on Tampa Bay TV screens.

    Korun announced the news via Twitter, saying that he'll leave the job on Dec. 15. 

    Tom Korun is retiring after 31 years on Tampa Bay television.
  8. WEDU now airing some PBS shows lost to the WUSF shutdown


    WUSF TV went off the air Sunday after more than 50 years, a victim of the University of South Florida selling off its broadcast license to the Federal Communications Commission so they could auction off those valuable airwaves to commercial wireless service providers.

    While content that was produced by USF's WUSF stations is gone, many of the PBS shows that appeared on WUSF are moving over to Tampa Bay's other PBS member station, WEDU....

    PBS series "Doc Martin" is among the programming being added by WEDU.
  9. The artist who may or may not have created St. Petersburg's butt graffiti has a legit art show and a new mural


    Remember the local artist who would neither confirm nor deny creating the triple-cheek butt graffiti that was frequently spotted around downtown St. Petersburg a few months back?

    You can now own an original work by Jeremy Trevino, whose comical pen and ink drawings often feature feet being used as hands, which means that butts often end up being heads. Hard to picture? You'll just have to see it....

    The flier for Jeremy Trevino's art exhibition at The Bends. The opening was last weekend, but the drawings will remain on display through October.
  10. These Tampa Bay 'swolemates' work hard at fitness and love


    ...You know the couple. The one posting those sweaty gym pics with the #fitcouple and #mealprep and #coupleswholift tags, with expressions of absolute bliss.

    They're swolemates, soul mates who like to get "swole" together, and they're making it look fun.

    And why not?

    A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that after participating in a physical challenge or activity, couples reported feeling more satisfied and in love with their partner. Various studies also have shown that working out with a partner can increase frequency of workouts and boost performance during those sessions....

    Chris Werner gives girlfriend Kaeli Ellis a lift during a workout inside the ANX at Anytime Fitness in downtown St. Petersburg.
  11. Want to be Santa? Be ready for tough questions and heartbreaking requests

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Santa and Mrs. Claus drove their red Dodge Grand Caravan with the "Kringle" license plate from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to a Hampton Inn near Tampa International Airport last weekend. There they paid $299 to attend a two-day school for Santas.

    In the hotel's meeting room, two dozen older, naturally bearded men, and one "Clark Kent," the industry term for fake beard wearers, sat in reindeer bowling shirts and red leather cowboy boots. They read textbooks titled Behind the Red Suit and scrawled pages of notes....

    Students attending the weekend-long School4Santas at Hampton Inn Tampa-International Airport/Westshore on Saturday, October 7, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times
  12. Top Halloween costumes for 2017? Google says strong women


    If you're putting any real effort into your Halloween costume, you've probably already started working on it. Google has the proof: enough people have searched costumes this year, that Google Trends can say these are the top Halloween costumes of 2017 — and strong women are in style. 

    This year's top 5 most-Googled costumes are:

    1. WONDER WOMAN...

    Wonder Woman is the top-searched costume this year.
  13. Vitale Bros. in running to pitch St. Pete 'Mini Lights' movie to Duplass Brothers


    As we've reported before, local artists the Vitale Brothers are working on a Mini Lights "skater horror film" based on the urban legend involving St. Petersburg's Booker Creek, a witch and little green creatures that come out after dark. ...

    The Vitale Bros. painted this Mini Lights mural in Roser Park.
  14. Top 5 at Noon: Bondi says its time to shut down Tampa housing predators; Tensions boil over as Gov. Scott meets with representatives


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on


    During the foreclosure crisis, a lot of investors made a lot of money off the misfortune of others. But few were as prolific as Jimmy Dean Chancey and his nephew, Michael Chancey. Through a myriad of companies, the duo has acquired scores of houses in the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville areas for as little as $10 apiece. Here's why the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi is trying to put the duo out of business, and put an end to their "scheme."...

    The owner of this Tampa property deeded it over to a company run by Jimmy Cnancey. The property is worth $230,000. Chancey's company, HOA Problem Solutions in Tampa, is under investigation by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  15. Tampa Bay's first geek bar is for Star Trek and Harry Potter, not the NFL

    Food & Dining

    LARGO — It happened not long after Tampa Bay's first "geek bar" opened its doors. Someone, perhaps one of the guys who frequented the Irish pub that used to be there, asked the question the new owners knew was coming: "Can you put the game on?"

    Owner Kevin Daniels politely declined. Then he printed a sign — call it the bar's spiritual mission statement — and taped it to the front door....

    The menu at Waypoint 6 Tavern & Geekery at 9057 Ulmerton Rd in Largo. Owners Kevin Daniels and his wife Stephanie Daniels have opened Tampa Bay's first "geek bar." They encourage people to come in costume, play tabletop role-playing games, and watch Star Trek and Harry Potter on the TVs instead of sports. There is lots of decor, including Wolverine comic books, Star Wars memorabilia and more. DIRK SHADD   |   Times