Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space’s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader’s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
Named one of USA Today's Top Ten Skating Rinks in 2008, USA Skateplex sends eight-wheelers careening around a skating arena, competing in a full arcade, and snacking at concession stands. During public skate sessions, freewheelers strap on their own blades or a rental pair of old-school four-bangers and do the counter-clockwise coast to DJ hits. Pairs of floating friends can take a breather for intermittent soda and arcade breaks; groups of four get twice as many game tokens and a large cheese pizza to salten the deal.
If there’s one team to emulate in professional sports, it’s the New York Yankees and their 27 championships. Since becoming the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the big league Yankees in 1994, the Tampa Yankees have grown into a minor league clone of their MLB brethren—they’ve won five Florida State League titles, including back-to-back years in 2009-10.
Further strengthening the Yankee bond, the T-Yanks play all their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Spring Training facility of the Bronx Bombers. A scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner Field is an 11,000-seat facility brimming with Yankee lore. The 31-acre complex even has a Monument Park, which honors the organization’s greatest players and beer vendors.
With the 2011 season looming large, FC Tampa Bay will attempt to pass, tackle, and score its way to NASL glory at the club's new home at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. Currently headed up by English coach and retired professional footballer Ricky Hill, the FC Tampa Bay team are chest-trapping, banana-kicking, and head-butting their way back into the world of black-and-white-spotted balls. Watch them take on the Puerto Rico Islanders, who are hungry to work their way up the 2011 standings, or root on the roster as the team guns for the fleet-footed Atlanta Silverbacks, slippery Carolina Railhawks, or northerly FC Edmonton. General-admission seats allow frenetic fans to observe the fantastic flairs of NASL soccer savants as they attempt to sneak the European pigskin between an opponent’s legs and through the goal zone. The $20 gift voucher can be put toward merchandise such as a jersey, a scarf, or an oversized foam yellow card.
Despite their determinedly of-the-moment sound, Redfoo and Sky Blu are carrying on a long pop lineage: the former is Motown founder Berry Gordy's son, the latter his grandson. As red-hot electropop duo LMFAO, the uncle-nephew pairing electrifies dance floors with manic odes to party life. The 2012 Sorry for Party Rocking tour explodes with fan favorites such as "Party Rock Anthem" and newer hits such as "Sexy and I Know It," which has a bouncy swagger that dominated the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 28 weeks. Meanwhile, the band parades in neon animal prints amid backup dancers, bobbing beneath giant robot heads, tossing inflatables into the crowd, and creating a spectacle Metro Weekly calls "enormously entertaining."
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.