Spring Beer Fling Tampa

guest post by fellow Tampa Bay Blogger member Lisa

My husband and I are not big beer drinkers, but when we heard that the Spring Beer Fling was going to be a retro-themed event we were ready to grab a couple of lawn chairs and head out.

The event was called for Saturday, but when a storm passed through the area we got an email and Facebook update saying the event was moved to Sunday. It was held at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa, a 95% outdoor venue.

Intoxicators (1)We both love surf music- and at the event we listened to Pretty Girls, The Intoxicators and plenty more. We liked the Intoxicators so much we got one of their CDs, and even had it signed by everyone in the band.

Since it was a beer fling after all my husband had an IPA and I had an Arnold Palmer with Deep Eddy’s vodka. Not bad!

One thing we were not looking forward to was standing in the sun for a long time – but we didn’t need to worry.  There were seats behind the stage and in the VIP section that were covered, there was a nice breeze and it couldn’t have been more perfect weather.

There was also had all kinds of food. I saw people walking around with pork nachos that looked incredible; I found them at the Street Surfer truck. My husband got the BBQ pork sandwich at Just Smokin BBQ – they were both amazing.

glowbeachballsThere were games like cornhole and an inflatable surf machine to try. When the temps cooled down and the sky got dark, there was a glowing beach ball drop near the stage!

[more photos on the official Facebook page here]

There were a lot of people there but not so many that it was too crowded. We people watched while listening to great music and relaxing in the shade. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Spring Beer Fling!

If you missed this nostalgic, retro, surf rock themed festival, the same guys will bring you:

  • Tampa Bay Margarita Festival – May 24, 2014
  • Summer of Rum Festival – August 16, 2014 (National Rum Day)
  • Bourbon & Brew Country Bash – November 2014

Reminder: If you attended the Spring Beer Fling and received a free ticket code to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, the code must be redeemed by 4/15 at www.tampamargaritafest.com


Six Degrees of Jersey Boys & Bacon

I’ve been wanting to see Jersey Boys for a while because my in-laws RAVE about this show! Not to mention that a Tony®, Grammy ® and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical couldn’t suck.

It’s the story of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers “The Four Seasons”, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito (who is not related to actor Danny Devito, but does have a big brother named Danny. Something they don’t say in the show – Tommy was the youngest of nine children. He taught himself to play his big brother Danny’s guitar.) [run-on, much?]

Mar14---d-Walk-Like-a-ManI’ve never seen a show like this. It could have been done as a musical revue or Four Seasons Tribute show, but instead it gives a very fast-paced account of the complications of getting out of the Jersey streets crime scene, dealing with stardom and trying to focus on family and friendship while being a celebrity on tour.

I always leave a good show in love with someone. My favorite character and actor from this show was actor Quinn VanAntwerp who has played Bob Gaudio for over 4 years. Probably because he is the smart guy, and for me smart is sexy! Bob has been called the secret ingredient to The Four Seasons because he wrote most of their hits. Quinn, who portrays him, says, “It’s amazing to sit through [Jersey Boys] cuz you go, ‘Oh I know all of this music!’”


I love music, and I listen to many styles of music, but it is rare for me to purposely sit down and listen to throwback hits. I love dancing to them at weddings though! Some of the songs in the show came out right when I was born. One I knew from “Dirty Dancing”. In the words of Adam Zelasko who played Nick Massi in the show, “People come for the music because the music is so famous and so beloved, and then they find out that there’s this incredibly compelling story behind the music.” Brian now wants to spend a few hours researching Four Seasons history online.

Mar14---b-Recording-StudioThe most disappointing part of the show for me was when they started playing a reprise of December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) at the end of the show and it was only a clip, and not the full song, because I wanted to keep dancing through the standing ovation!

The show is full of dialogue, storytelling, narration and musical hits! Here’s a teaser of what you’re in for when you go see Jersey Boys:

And here’s a weird coincidence… my friend Lora was at a seminar yesterday and got a big surprise. She was at a training class at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay along with many staffers from various Tampa-area non-profit organizations. Then magic happened. According to a TBO.com article:

“It started like a normal training class at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay as the instructor pointed out restrooms and asked the subdued attendees to silence their phones.

The teacher announced a special guest and out strolled a man instantly recognizable from his nearly 70 other films and television roles.

“Hi, I’m your teacher for the day … I’m here to talk to you about new donor acquisition and retention,” Kevin Bacon deadpanned to the stunned group of about a dozen women and one man.

The shocked class let out a shriek that slowly built to shocked laughter.

“I’m Kevin, by the way, nice to meet you,””

Kevin Bacon was in town to appear at USF as part of the University Lecture Series, and while here he made a surprise appearance where Lora was lucky enough to get a selfie! (She’s in the stripes)

baconAs it turns out, Kevin Bacon is first cousin once removed (NO LIE!) from actor Quinn VanAntwerp. Check out a clip from December’s sold out show at the Cutting Room Floor in NYC with The Bacon Brothers and Holly Near family. Bacon introduces him as Quinn VanA.

But I digress…

You can get a brush with all of this fame and entertainment right here in Tampa Bay through April 13 at Jersey Boys! Watch out: the show contains smoke, gun shot(s), strobe lights, drug references, sexual situations and authentic Jersey profanity (including the F-bomb quite a few times). The show’s run time is 2 hrs 38 mins with a 20-min intermission.

For more information, email the Straz Center at tickets@strazcenter.org or call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit www.strazcenter.org. You can also follow the show itself on YouTube or Facebook.


Brian and I waiting for the show to start

Brian (DH) and me waiting for the show to start

Sitting next to Denise

Sitting next to Denise

Quinn's selfie may or may not be in the same row I sat in

Quinn’s selfie may or may not be in the same row I sat in

I received 2 tickets in exchange for this review. The opinions are my own, the photos are not.


Disenchanted – Better than a Little Debbie snack cake

Meet actress Lulu Picart. I’ve been lucky enough to see her on stage in fabulous American Stage in the Park productions, including “Hair” and “Rent”, among other shows. Her voice, wit and sarcasm are awesome. Here she is dressed as Mulan in “Disenchanted”.


When I first heard about the Straz show “Disenchanted”, I thought it might be fun to see since we are so steeped in Disney at my house. We saw Snow White sing a bit from the show when we saw “Book of Straz” – the preview of the whole Straz season.

Then my friends started seeing the show and telling me it was hysterical.

DD1 wanted to see all sorts of princesses for her 17th birthday, so I took her to WDW for photos and autographs.alicebirthdayI thought this adult show about disgruntled princesses would be a funny way to tie all that up with a bow.

As it turned out, however, DD2 recently performed at Straz in the Florida State Thespians competition, and SHE heard how funny “Disenchanted” is while there. So when I got two tickets, DD1 said she already got to see princesses, and DD2 seemed more excited about it, so I should take her. Ahhh sisterly love. Isn’t it great when that works out?

Then I got there… opened my program… and saw Lulu Picart’s name! Suddenly my expectations shot way up and I was even MORE excited about laughing till my mascara ran alongside one of my favorite daughters.

We sat in the Jaeb theater – the 3-story, intimate theater at the Straz Center with tables and chairs (so you’ll order food and drink) instead of traditional theater seating. There’s not a bad seat (unless you are short and stuck behind a tall person), and the audio was great.

The 3 princesses with the most stage time are Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Snow White had my favorite costume. I wish I could find a photo of the lace-up, skirted back for you. Snowwhite

Cinderella had the best facials – her expressions stole the show early on. Cinderella

And from the first song you know this is NOT a Disney production. Snow White asks the audience, “Do I look like the type of girl sitting around waiting for her prince…   [beat] to come?” These princesses are pissed off and use vulgar hand expressions. They whine and groan and snap at each other.

And then Lulu came out to sing. In the production we saw, she played Mulan, Jasmine and Pocahontas at different times. She sang about trying to be culturally sensitive and historically accurate. Some of it was touching, and some was crass. Here’s an example of one of our favorites bits – albeit out of costume:

Watch Mulan come out of the closet as Lulu Picart sings “Without the Guy” from Disenchanted!

(I hear Mulan from the ABC show “Once Upon A Time” is also gay. I don’t watch it though.)

Not only did we laugh through the show, but we bonded before and after the show while walking the grounds of Straz. I listened to more of her thespian stories. Her troupe earned 2 perfect judges scores for their eerie and disturbing one-act, “The Insanity of Mary Girard”, and a Superior for their group musical number “Magic to Do” from Pippin, in which my daughter did hoola hoop tricks through the song. She fears accidentally letting the hoop fly into the audience and decapitating someone during her performance. Here she is in [and without] her “Mary Girard” mask:wendy

We also picked apart “Disenchanted”. I thought it was odd that Tiana from The Princess and the Frog had such a small role since she was singing about the glee of Disney finally having a black princess. TheOneWhoKissedTheFrog

Did “Disenchanted” make the same mistake as Disney by leaving her last and make her part short? But as it turned out, she seemed to be kind of stuck in stage-fright-mode. As beautiful as Ericka Dunlap and her smile are, she seemed either brand new to the stage or at least to this show. She also lacked the laid-back attitude of the other Princesses, with a more proper persona like a theme-park princess may have.

My daughter actually nit-picked Lulu and said at times she seemed bored while singing. I didn’t pick up on that at all, but she has me starstruck. After the show I was lucky enough to get her autograph when a friendly employee (who will not be named) agreed to take my program and Sharpie backstage. “She just wants Lulu’s autograph?” one of the other princesses asked in mock-shock, “What a b!t$h!”

My daughters were totally brought up on Disney Princesses. Does this mean they have a complex to be super cute, eat poison fruit, and be comatose until a guy on a steed comes riding by? At ages 17 and almost 16 I think I can say “I don’t think so.” Although DD1′s boyfriend does occasionally call her Princess as a pet name. I grew up playing Barbies and I didn’t want huge boobs and a tiny waist. I did want blonde hair, but that was due to Olivia Newton-John playing Sandy in “Grease”.

My daughters were not raised one-sided. Once on a 4 hour road trip (and 4 hours back) with DD1, we got the audio book “Just Ella” by Margaret Peterson Haddix from the library and enjoyed that. Ella is now engaged, living in the castle, unimpressed with the way women are treated, and wants to help her tutor create refugee camps for those left homeless from their country’s war. When “Twilight” was all the rage when they were in Middle School, I would only let them read it if they discussed all of Bella’s poor choices with mom. And along side their Cinderella and Snow White dress-ups, they also had Peter Pan and Captain Hook costumes.

In fact when I told DD1 I was writing this post, she said, “I don’t wait around for a guy. They see my hotness and just flock to me.” Good self esteem? Check! ✔

Anyhoo… If you want a great adult night at the theater, I highly recommend you check out “Disenchanted!” at the Straz Center in the heart of Tampa, playing now through April 13th. Then it will move on to off-Broadway NYC. It is my understanding that every time it’s brought to stage it’s a little different. Sometimes there’s an Esmeralda or a Tinkerbell. Sometimes Rapunzel is black. It even went through a name change (no more “Bitches of the Kingdom”). Catch this version ASAP!

For more information, email the Straz Center at tickets@strazcenter.org or call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit www.strazcenter.org. You can also follow the show itself on YouTube or Facebook.

I received 2 tickets in exchange for this review. The opinions are my own, the photos are not.


Time of the Season Challenge

Many of you may know I have a direct connection with DigitalRunning.com. I am excited to announce that my daughter and I were on the design team for their latest medals. The newest challenge recently announced on Digital Running is actually a series of medals / challenges called Time of the Season.

Spring Dawn runing Challenge MedalTime of the Season rewards runners who enter races frequently. Each quarter of the year has its own medal. If you run an organized, timed race of 5k distance or longer in March, April and May – you can get the Spring Dawn Medal! And you can sign up for the challenge at any time this spring, as long as it is BEFORE you run the 3rd race that you want to count for the challenge. You have to run one of the races AFTER you sign up.

But this pretty, floral medal is just the first piece of the pie. After that you can earn the Summer Day for running in June, July, AND August; the Autumn Twilight during September, October, AND November; and finally the medal I think is most gorgeous but still yet-to-be-revealed, Winter’s Night when you complete any race 5K or longer during December, January (’15), AND February (’15).

All four medals link together to form a 7-inch wide circle that looks like a clock. AND if you earn all 4 you’ll get a FREE 5th medal that represents the hands on the clock! It’s heavy and huge and pretty and BLINGY!

You can register for the Time of the Season challenges individually, but it’s less expensive to register for all 4 at the same time. If you don’t race all year round, you can earn individual Time of the Season medals by registering for just the one challenge here: https://www.digitalrunning.com/challenges

I’m so super excited to be part of the design team for these medals, along with input from the Founders and Ambassadors at Digital Running! The end result will be huge and unique – even the company producing the medals is excited about doing something so new with us! They will rock your medal rack like nobody’s business!!

Please let me know if you have any questions about these challenges. Remember, the longer you wait to sign up, the higher the price can get. Spring Dawn started at $15 and is now at $24, but will inch its way up to $35 as more people sign up.

Official Spring Dawn Challenge Rules
A) Runners must run at least one (1) race of 5K or longer between March 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014

B) Runners must run at least one (1) race of 5K or longer between April 1, 2014 and April 30, 2014

C) Runners must run at least one (1) race of 5K or longer between May 1, 2014 and May 31, 2014

D) At least one of the races must take place after entry into this challenge.

E) Entrants must appear as finishers in the official race results for each race. (DNF’s do not count toward this challenge. Races run under someone else’s registration do not count toward this challenge. Virtual races do not count toward this challenge. Untimed races do not count toward this challenge).