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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. Everyone on Twitter is making this same eclipse joke


    Today's total solar eclipse is, of course, a social media event as much as it is a natural phenomenon. Twitter even rolled out an #eclipse hashtag that automatically adds an eclipse emoji.

    And, of course, where there's Twitter, there's weird humor. I went on there myself to share an eclipse joke about Eclipse gum, Mitsubishi Eclipses and Twilight: Eclipse, and I thought it was pretty funny, too. ...

    The solar eclipse is inspiring Twitter humor.
  2. Five great solar eclipse moments from movies and TV, from 'Mad Men' to 'The Simpsons'


    As Monday's in-real-life solar eclipse approaches, let's take a look back at some fictional eclipses (or in some cases, fictional depictions of actual solar eclipses) from movies and television.

    The Simpsons, Marge vs. the Monorail (1993)

    Widely considered to be among the greatest Simpsons episodes from the Simpsons' greatest era, "Marge vs. the Monorail," written by a young Conan O'Brien, features a fantastic eclipse joke narrated by Leonard Nimoy....

    Leonard Nimoy had a cameo in "The Simpsons" episode "Marge vs. the Monorail," which also features an eclipse.
  3. Shania Twain arena tour includes Tampa stop this time


    Shania Twain is coming to Tampa as part of a major U.S. tour in support of her forthcoming (and long-awaited) new album Now.

    Twain will play Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa on June 2, 2018. She'll make one other Florida stop, in Fort Lauderdale on June 1, 2018. 

    Twain skipped over Tampa in favor of Jacksonville and Miami the last time she toured in 2015 for the Rock This County Tour, which was billed as her last ever. ...

    Shania Twain will play Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2018.
  4. Beach Drive mural is a first for St. Pete's swanky waterfront street


    Mural mania in St. Petersburg is spreading east.

    While the number of urban murals in St. Pete has been quickly multiplying in the Central Arts District, Grand Central District and other areas west of downtown for years, this week brings the debut of the first large-scale mural on Beach Drive near the downtown waterfont.

    Artist Derek Donnelly has incorporated banyan trees, palm trees, the bay, beer and a sea turtle into the mural on the side of the Smith & Associates Real Estate building at 330 Beach Drive NE. He said he expected to complete the mural on Thursday night....

    This mural in progress is on the side of the Smith & Associates building on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg.
  5. St. Pete Sculpture Museum announces move to Central Avenue

    Visual Arts

    Another museum is joining the mix in St. Petersburg's downtown Central Arts District.

    The St. Pete Sculpture Museum has signed a lease on a 3,200-square-foot space in the same Central Avenue building that's now home to the Chihuly Collection, sculptor Jon Hair said.

    Hair opened his museum and sculpting studio at 290 Dr. MLK Jr. St. N in late 2016, but said he's hoping the new location at the corner of 8th Street and Central Avenue across from the Morean Arts Center will boost the museum's profile....

    Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are seen at the St. Pete Sculpture Museum. [Facebook]
  6. Florida man has some of Princess Di's wedding cake, plus 13,000 other royal items (w/photos)

    Human Interest

    John Hoatson recalls the day it all began with perfect clarity.

    His mother woke him when it was barely light outside on July 29, 1981, telling the 8-year-old there was something he needed to see "for historical purposes."

    Along with an estimated 750 million others around the globe, he planted himself in front of the TV for hours as the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles unfolded across the pond....

    Among the items is this 1985 photo of Diana dancing with John Travolta at the White House.
  7. MoviePass offers unlimited movies at theaters for $10 a month — what you need to know


    There's now a service that says it will let you watch as many movies as you want for one monthly price: MoviePass. 

    It's not online streaming, or kiosk rentals, but new movies in theaters, up to one per day, every single day, for $10 a month.

    MoviePass isn't actually a new service, it's been around for several years with a higher price tag, but many, many people found out about it on Tuesday when the CEO, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox exec, implemented a radical move to drop the price to $10 per month....

    MoviePass will let customers see up to one movie, every day, for $10 a month.
  8. Designer's 'I hate I-275' sticker is a hit


    A graphic designer says he's scored a modest hit with a sticker reading "I hate I-275."

    The irony is that Corey Danks, 26, of Philadelphia, has never even driven the interstate known to frustrate Tampa's rush hour commuters with a bottleneck at the spot sometimes known as "malfunction junction," where it joins Interstate 4.

    Danks' other best-selling sticker, he says, is the one that reads "I hate I-4."...

    Corey Banks said his "I hate I-275" stickers are selling quickly.
  9. Aaron Carter cried, showed off his body and declared 'I am a bisexual man' at Hamburger Mary's in Brandon


    "It's a childhood dream."

    That's why 23-year-old Kellianne May of Brandon turned up at a suburban hamburger restaurant and LGBTQ nightclub to see Aaron Carter perform a sold-out show on Thursday.

    "It's like revisiting our childhood. He's all of our childhood crushes," said Chelsea Holmes, 27, also from Brandon, with a big group of like-minded girlfriends.

    Like many of the several hundred people who packed the Hamburger Mary's in Brandon  mostly groups of women  they'd paid $10 and traveled a couple miles for a quick dip in the nostalgia bath. In and out....

    Aaron Carter performs at Hamburger Mary's in Brandon.
  10. His passenger asked to be dropped off on a bridge. This Uber driver called for help instead

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Uber driver Chad Farley suspected something was wrong Monday night when a passenger asked to be dropped off in the middle of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    There's no walkway for pedestrians along the iconic span, nowhere even to step safely at the top. Walking on the Skyway 200 feet above the water is something people do when they're contemplating a jump to their death, from the place that holds the grim distinction as Florida's top spot for suicide....

    Uber driver Chad Farley, concerned a young passenger might be suicidal, called 911 after dropping him off, alerting the troopers who came to rescue him. Farley had prayed with the man, held his hand, and snapped a photo of them together before the man left the car, Farley said in a Facebook post. [Facebook]
  11. Tampa Bay native Aaron Carter, set to play Hamburger Mary's, opens up about his sexuality


    Judging by his own Twitter account, its been an intense few weeks for Aaron Carter

    The singer, who grew up in south Hillsborough County and scored two platinum albums in the aughts, recently checked in with fans on Twitter after going into surgery for undisclosed reasons, defended himself and announced the "truth will come soon" in the case of his recent DUI arrest in Georgia, and took a swipe at his older brother and Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter for reaching out to him via social media, rather than calling him directly....

    In this Nov. 9, 2015, file photo, singer Aaron Carter arrives at a premiere of "Saints & Strangers" at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
  12. St. Pete native producing alternate history series 'Black America,' imagining a different end to the Civil War


    St. Petersburg native and Hollywood producer Will Packer is producing an alternate history series with Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder which will imagine a very different version of the United States that diverges from reality at the end of the Civil War. ...

    Will Packer in St. Petersburg for BurgBorn in 2016.
  13. Twitter reacts to watching the 'Siesta Key' premiere on MTV


    MTV's latest reality series, the Sarasota-filmed Siesta Key, premiered with a social media splash. It arrived last night and, of course, brought immediate comparisons to Laguna Beach and The Hills. People threw around the word "trashy," others called it their favorite new show. Meanwhile, a deluge of tweets took the chance to just make fun of Siesta Key the place, not the series....

    From left, Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes are Siesta Key’s on-the-go octet.
  14. The Onion takes aim at Rays, and 10 other times they made fun of Tampa Bay


    Satirical news site and sarcastically self-proclaimed "America's finest news source" The Onion made the Tampa Bay Rays the butt of the joke this week by posting an article titled "Area Stingray Dreaming Of Making It To Tropicana Field Touch Tank."...

    The Onion posted this story making fun of the Tampa Bay Rays stingray tank.
  15. 'Chrisley Knows Best' stars filmed in St. Petersburg


    Keep an eye out for reality TV stars. Members of the Chrisley family from the USA series Chrisley Knows Best were filming in St. Petersburg this week, St. Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer confirmed today. 

    It's not clear if they were filming for the next season of Chrisley Knows Best, but permits show that production was scheduled for Vinoy Park on Tuesday, where Bright Road Productions was set to film two cast members walking and talking in the park as well as a family conversation on a park bench....

    The Chrisley family stars in Chrisley Knows Best.