The Fanboy Expo, like stepping through the screen of a blockbuster superhero movie, brings comic and movie fans face-to-face with their favorite characters, actors, and artists. For two days, costumed attendees hob-nob with the Highlander, talk shop with Jerry "The King" Lawler , or chat with Lorenzo Lamas about his much publicized transition from starring in Renegade to opening his petting zoo, Lorenzo Lamas' Llamas. In addition to meeting celebrities from silver and small screen sci-fi and fantasy hits, comic book fans can also pick their favorite artist and creator's brain, snagging an autograph in the process. Should they find themselves in need of a new action figure or collectable t-shirt, fans can make their way to a number of merchandise and memorabilia dealer booths throughout the event space.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
The India International Film Festival (IFF) of Tampa Bay selects a small sampling of more than 1,000 films produced in India each year to demonstrate that the most prolific film industry in the world is more than just masala musicals. Like the culture from which they spring, the films speak in a lush polyglossia of English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali, Kashmiri—but the common language of humanity unites them all, whether the subject is Down syndrome, terrorism, patriotism, or simply losing yourself to spiritual bliss. Opening-night ceremonies and filmmaker Q&As round out the schedule of events, offering a more immersive movie experience than watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 3-D.
Tampa's Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is a cultural cornucopia celebrating the Mexican holiday with music, dancing, food, activities, children's attractions, and a car and motorcycle show. Follow the incipient online schedule—or flip through the Facebook page—for the still-developing calendar, which includes events such as salsa-dancing lessons, a tongue-tickling chili contest, and the glamorous Miss Tampa Latina pageant. During the daily happy hour 3 p.m.–6 p.m., thirsty guests can enjoy one free beer. Take in a salsa lesson, then meander over to the other salsa camp, where recently steadied shoulders will be tested against fiery tortilla-toppers at the salsa tasting station. While proud car owners buff their road babies for Friday's car and motorcycle show, their flesh-based brood can clamber (supervised) through the children's area and carnival rides.
Canadian pop-rock troupers the Barenaked Ladies play ringmasters to a freewheeling circus of brainy pop, brawny blues, and carefree jams as the Last Summer on Earth tour lights up arenas and amphitheaters across the continent. On stage, they maintain their 20-year reputation as an engaging live act with audience interaction, hook-laced lyrical patter, bookworm wit, and mastery of the tone sequences that steered '90s hits such as “One Week” and “If I Had a Million Dollars” into perpetual ubiquity.
The Sarasota Film Society's two theaters—foreign-and-independent-film-spotlighting Burns Court Cinemas and mainstream-flick-running Lakewood Ranch Cinemas—function as a nonprofit organization dedicated to heightening film entertainment and education options in the area. A one-year single membership grants a free pass for one movie (an $8 value) and one popcorn (a $4 value), as well as $5 tickets and free popcorn refills (a $4 value each) at all regular screenings for the remainder of the year. Early access to tickets means members never have to feel the shame of being the last person they know to cry about a Pixar movie, and discounted tickets to all Film Society festivals and special events allows members to compare their Sergio Leone trivia thresholds. Alternatively, two movie tickets (a $16 value) and one large popcorn (a $4 value) valid at either theater rescue customers from another night of staying in to watch their DVR's directorial debut about the living room's seedy underbelly.
The Flavor of Broward showcases complex bouquets of wines from around the world—and their interplay with plates from upscale South Florida restaurants. Top chefs and eateries serve gourmet samples at festival booths, and visitors wash down their food with wine, rather than with a wine glass full of more food. Entertainment for the other senses, such as live music and a car show, rounds out the event.