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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. Why do people even hold hands, anyway?

    Human Interest

    Nothing lit up the internet this week quite like hand holding, or the lack of it.

    President Donald Trump reached for Melania Trump's hand on Tuesday. She seemed to pull it away to brush her hair aside instead.

    Being the second time this week the first lady was on video appearing to avoid that powerful hand, it kicked off a flurry of amateur analysis and internet jokes, plus a not-so-veiled trolling of the Trumps in the form of a photo of the Obamas blissfully holding hands, posted online by former White House photographer Pete Souza....

    Dexter Churches, 25, and fiance Tara Holmes, 26, walk along St. Petersburg's Beach Drive on Tuesday, May 23. Holmes said that Churches initiates most of their hand holding, but she's OK with that. [Christopher Spata | Staff}
  2. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    He's also the guy in that viral video, dancing his face off among the bikini and neon-clad kids at the 2016 Sunset Music Festival. More than half a million people watched it, posting selfie after selfie they'd snapped with the always smiling Grofé in the comments....

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]
  3. 'Top Gun' sequel? Tom Cruise says it starts filming soon


    Tom Cruise is once again feeling the need for speed.

    According to his interview on Australian television, a sequel to his 1986 blockbuster Top Gun will begin filming within the next year.

    "It's true," Cruise told the hosts of Sunrise, who asked about the rumored sequel, and seemed shocked when the star provided such a direct answer....

    Tom Cruise starred in "Top Gun" in 1986, and said he'll begin work on a sequel within the next year.
  4. Watch: Just a whole lot of Roger Moore being an extremely cool James Bond


    Debates over who played James Bond the best will go on for at least as long as the Bond franchise itself — and there's no sign of that coming to an end any time soon.

    There is, of course, an argument to be made for Roger Moore, and people are making it all over the Internet this morning in the wake of Moore's death at 89....

    Roger Moore filming on location in England in 1972.
  5. Universal Studios theme park is taking people inside 'The Shining' (w/video)


    It's only May, but Universal Studios is already teasing a big reveal for this year's Halloween Horror Nights: a haunted attraction based on Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece The Shining.

    Universal's theme parks in California and Orlando plan to channel the "unspeakable terror" of the 1980 film based on Stephen King's novel with "terrifying new mazes" that will "bring every gruesome moment and paranormal haunting that fans have seen in the film to life," a news release said....

    A scene from the film version of "The Shining."
  6. In Case You Missed It: Elephant hunter crushed by elephant; Tom Hanks and The Rock's huge announcement; watch Cher turn back time at Billboard awards


    Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging for a little while. Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.


    A big game hunter in South Africa died Friday after an elephant fell on him, according to the Telegraph:...

    Tom Hanks and Dwayne Johnson on "Saturday Night Live."
  7. Will guys wear the RompHim romper for men? How about the business suit onesie, the Suitsy?


    The Internet has spoken, and it apparently wants fashionable, one-piece things for men to wear. Or it doesn't. Who can tell?

    The RompHim, a "romper for men," will be a reality thanks to crowdfunding, but, like so many things online, its hard to distinguish if the public, or even the garments' creators, actually want these things or are just having a laugh (reality probably falls somewhere in between). ...

    The RompHim, which apparently can be paired with a fur coat if you can pull it off.
  8. Zac Efron playing serial killer Ted Bundy in new film


    Zac Efron is set to take on what could be the darkest role of his career, especially for a guy known for comic fare like the Neighbors movies and the upcoming Baywatch.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Efron is set to star as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in a movie titled Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile....

    Zach Efron, left, will portray notorious killer Ted Bundy in an upcoming movie.
  9. 'Stranger Things,' 'Walking Dead' and 'Underworld' stars added to Tampa Bay Comic Con


    Here's a quick update on the celebrity guests added to the lineup for Tampa Bay Comic Con since we last posted about it.

    Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington on Stranger Things (and will be playing Ybor City with his band next month)....

    From left, Kate Beckinsale, Khary Payton and Joe Keery will appear at Tampa Bay Comic Con.
  10. Wonder Woman burger from Tampa captivates the Internet with its Amazonian physique


    South Tampa comfort food experts Datz caught the attention of food bloggers this week with the creation of a ridiculously high-stacked, Wonder Woman-themed cheeseburger.

    The Amazon Warrior Burger features two patties and three sourdough buns in red, blue and gold, topped with white cheddar and American cheese stars that make the entire creation look reminiscent of the old-school Wonder Woman costume....

    The Amazon Warrior Burger is coming to Datz June 2 to 4.
  11. Someone started a GoFundMe campaign to engrave 'Family Guy' quotes and Internet memes on the Tampa Riverwalk


    When the people who frequent r/Tampa,'s discussion board for all things Tampa related, put their collective digital might together, things can happen (case in point: this Lightning logo).

    Does that mean the Tampa Riverwalk could one day be engraved with "Nice undies!" or the Hunter S. Thompson quote, "We can't stop here, this is bat country."?...

    This image was posted with a GoFundMe campaign.
  12. Artists mourn as St. Petersburg's Art Supply Store prepares to shutter in June


    Pat Jennings, whose art supplies business helped breathe life into the city's now iconic street murals, says he's closing shop for good after nearly 15 years in St. Petersburg.

    The Art Supply Store at 2429 Central Ave. permanently discounted all its merchandise by 50 to 70 percent on Tuesday, with plans to shutter in June.

    Surrounded by blank canvases and tidy rows of pencils, tubes and spray cans containing every conceivable color, plus a vibrant collection of paintings gifted to him by some of the area's best-known artists, Jennings, 65, said the decision was made quickly....

    Pat Jennings stands behind the counter at the Art Supply Store in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.
  13. 'MasterChef' Season 8 features three contestants from Tampa Bay


    Tampa Bay will be well represented when chef Gordon Ramsay returns to MasterChef to tell home cooks that their fish is so awful, he wouldn't even serve it to his cat.

    The eighth season of the reality competition series pitting talented amateur chefs against each other for a chance to win a cookbook deal and $250,000 premieres May 31, and features three competitors from the Tampa Bay area, Fox announced this week. ...

    Paola Annoni Patel is a contestant on Season 8 of "MasterChef."
  14. MTV Siesta Key reality series coming this summer (w/video)


    There's an MTV situation happening in Sarasota County.

    The cable network debuted the first commercial for a Siesta Key-based reality series Sunday during the MTV Movie and TV Awards.

    The new series based on the popular beach destination is titled Siesta Key and appears to be more like the reality soap opera The Hills than the reality bro fest Jersey Shore. ...

    People dance inside Gilligan's Bar and Grill on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Key in 2010.
  15. Forget the 100-pack, this brewery is selling beer in a 1,000-pack


    People thought it was an April Fools joke when Finnish brewery Karjala released 100-packs of beer last month (it wasn't). A rival brewery apparently thought it was a challenge.

    Finland's Nokian Panimo brewery went viral this week when someone posted a photo (above) to Reddit with the caption "they're selling a thousand pack of beer in Finland."...

    A photo of the 1,000-pack of beer.