Eduardo Torres’s interest for capoeira began in his teens, but it wasn't until he traveled from Northern California to Florida that he discovered his passion for teaching the Afro-Brazilian sport. After extensive training, Eduardo earned the title of Professor Girino and became a member of Grupo Maculelê. Tucking that experience into his back pocket, Eduardo now leads four Tampa Capoeira studios across the Greater Tampa Bay Area.
At those studios, Professor Girino and his savvy staff teach the ways of capoeira to students of all ages and skill levels, and they have even trained Major League Baseball catcher Russell Martin. During classes, students form a traditional roda, or circle, as they learn everything from the rhythmic chants that keep fighters on beat to the fluid, acrobatic movements that send their bodies spinning across a mat. Professor Girino also points out that capoeira is not about fighting but rather anticipating the opponent's next move, much like playing chess against a short-tempered orangutan.
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Much like professional skydivers, wily coyotes, and other careers that involve a degree of danger, most professional glassblowers aren’t self-taught. Joshua Poll, however, learned to harness the glass furnace all by himself, today imparting more than a decade of self-taught experience to Zen Glass Studios, where he and fellow glass smith David Walker create custom works of art by hand. Together they shape glass into authentic and unique pieces, including custom glassware and jewelry to wear while meeting a spouse’s goldfish for the first time.
Within their studio, Joshua and David teach workshops and classes, during which students survey basic to advanced glass-blowing techniques, crafting their own handmade objects such as ornaments, beer glasses, and vases. The duo also runs a full glassblower training program, which follows a syllabus structured to arm all students with all the necessary skills to set out on their own in the industry, just as Joshua did all those years ago.
The third annual St. Pete Oktoberfest, hosted by the Grand Central District Association, is St. Petersburg's largest beer festival, featuring craft-beer tastings and live music. Attendees can tipple samples from dozens of breweries, including Bell's Brewery, Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, and many others. A home brewer's challenge on Friday tests out homebrewed beers against old favorites, so home-beer enthusiasts can test out their recipes on actual people instead of the wild deer that show up in their backyards.
In addition to the extensive selection of microbrews and iconic beers, the two-day street festival also features live music, including performances from singer-songwriter John Kelly on Friday. Saturday's music merges rock, blues, jazz, and funk, with performances from Florida-native Damon Fowler, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, and Serotonic.
The experienced staff at Gulfport Florist artfully handcrafts fresh flowers into themed or custom arrangements to suit any occasion. Winter-themed designs include the two-taper centerpiece: a low bowl filled with two red candles, red carnations and roses, and fragrant pine ($44.95), ideal for dressing up dinner tables or vacation campsites. Shoppers can welcome a newborn boy or girl into the world with a dainty white basket of daisies and yellow or pink roses ($45.95). The red roses and stargazer lilies of the Love and Romance bouquet commingle in a white ceramic vase adorned with a heart ($59.95) to create a sweeter Valentine's Day surprise than a backpack filled with moistened Jolly Ranchers. Patrons can pick up bunches of blooms in the store or have them delivered for an additional fee ($8 Monday–Saturday).