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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

Email: cspata@tampabay.com

Twitter: @spatatimes

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  1. 'Beauty and the Beast's 'exclusively gay moment' will be a Disney first, director tells magazine

    Blog

    Will the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie feature Disney's first openly gay character? Director Bill Condon's description of an "exclusively gay moment" near the end of the upcoming film is being taken that way by some.

    In a new interview with gay lifestyle magazine Attitude, Condon discussed the dynamic between the characters LeFou, played by Josh Gad, and Gaston, played by Luke Evans:...

    Josh Gad plays Lefou in "Beauty and the Beast."
  2. 'La La Land' mistakenly given Best Picture Oscar, but 'Moonlight' actually won (w/video)

    Blog

    In what may go down as the most bizarre moment in Academy Awards history, La La Land was announced as the Best Picture winner at Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles, which turned out to be a mistake. 

    Halfway through the La La Land cast's acceptance speech, they stopped, and it was announced that the real winner was Moonlight.

    "This is not a joke, 'Moonlight' has won best picture, " La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz said. ...

    Warren Beatty explains how he mistakenly announced "La La Land" as the winner of Best Picture.
  3. Bill Paxton Rolex commercial airs during Oscars shortly after news of his death (w/video)

    Blog

    A new Rolex commercial that aired during the Oscars on Sunday ended up having a special significance.

    Actor Bill Paxton, who appeared in dozens of Hollywood films including Twister, Tombstone, True Lies, Aliens, Apollo 13,  Edge of Tomorrow, and the TV series Big Love, shows up in the ad, which uses a clip from his performance in Titanic.

    The commercial, titled Celebrating Cinema features scenes from films where characters wear Rolex watches. ...

    Actor Bill Paxton died Sunday due to complications from surgery, his family said.
  4. Jimmy Kimmel brought surprised tourists to the Oscars, and Denzel Washington 'married' them (w/video)

    Blog

    Was it the best Oscars stunt since that time Ellen Degeneres had pizza delivered and took the best selfie of all time?

    Jimmy Kimmel "pranked" a tour group that was visiting Hollywood on Sunday by having their tour bus make an unscheduled stop at the Academy Awards ceremony. The tourists entered the theater where they were immediately brought to the front row, where they came face-to-face with the A-listers, including Denzel Washington, who even agreed to marry one couple. ...

  5. Is Nicole Kidman's clapping at the Oscars really that terrible, or is it actually the best?

    Blog

    Everyone is making fun of the way Nicole Kidman was clapping at the Oscars.

    But is she actually on to something? Like a better, more advanced clapping technique?

    The answer is no.

     

    Twitter roasted Nicole Kidman over her clapping at the Oscars.
  6. Katherine Johnson, 98-year-old NASA mathematician portrayed in 'Hidden Figures,' takes the Oscars stage (w/video)

    Blog

    Perhaps the only person who could upstage the power trio of presenters Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae during the Oscars was Katherine Johnson, the real-life NASA mathematician who was portrayed by Henson in the film Hidden Figures. ...

    Katherine Johnson, 98, was brought to the stage during the Oscars.
  7. Ryan Gosling's ruffled shirt looks like these shirt and non-shirt things

    Blog

    Hey girl, Ryan Gosling showed up to the Oscars red carpet wearing a ruffled shirt with his tuxedo.

    Bold move. 

     


    ...

  8. This guy that Rick killed on 'The Walking Dead' will totally watch 'The Walking Dead' with you in Tampa

    Blog

    At an Irish Pub in Tampa this Sunday, the small but slowly growing fraternity of Tampa Bay residents who have appeared on The Walking Dead will gather to watch the latest episode of the ultra-violent zombie series. 

    You might not recognize them, or maybe you will, that all depends on how deep your fandom goes, but either way they will totally watch with you, and possibly even serve you a beer. ...

    Justin Kucsulain, left, definitely stabbed that guy to his right later on in this scene from "The Walking Dead."
  9. Tampa sign spinners twirl to the World Sign Spinning Championships (w/video)

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — On a cloudy afternoon in Tampa's V.M. Ybor neighborhood, four young men with eyes squinted in concentration stood clutching duct-taped edges of signs printed with offers for a free Metro PCS phone.

    There in the parking lot of AArrow Advertising's Tampa office, they aspired to "the nunchuk," "the Bruce Lee" and the "slip and slide." But first, they'd have to master the basic combo: point, smile, wave, six count, point, smile, wave....

    Kadeem Grant, 25, of Tampa, left, helps coach Jim Rogers, 19, right, and his older brother Dennis Rogers, 22, center, during their sign spinning training class at the AArrow Advertising office.
  10. Two 24-hour diners are opening this spring in downtown St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Two new diners will open in downtown St. Petersburg this spring and eventually never close — not even for an hour.

    At least, that's the plan.

    The upcoming 2nd & Second, at the corner of and Second Street and Second Avenue N, and Diner24 DTSP, on First Avenue N across the street from Williams Park, are aiming to become the only 24-hour restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg. ...

    A rendering of what 2nd & Second diner will look like when it opens. [Image via Fraze Design Inc.]
  11. Do you recognize the Tampa Bay scenes in this artist's ultra-realistic paintings?

    Blog

    "Florida artist can paint so real you'll think it's a photograph."

    That's how artist Kevin Grass describes himself in his Twitter bio, and admittedly, it is hard to tell sometimes when looking at his photorealistic paintings. Grass, who lives in Tarpon Springs, was recently named Artist of the Year by Redwood Media, which runs art shows across the U.S., including Spectrum Miami....

    An up-close look at a section of "Primates" by Kevin Grass.
  12. Alex Trebek raps an entire category on 'Jeopardy' (w/video)

    Blog

    The internet went crazy when Alex Trebek rapped a little bit of Drake's Jumpman last October, so it's not surprising that last night's Jeopardy introduced an entire category titled "Lets rap, kids."

    The show is in the middle of its College Championship, and the category had Trebek reciting the lyrics from a number of recent hits....

    The category was titled "Lets rap, kids."
  13. We Tried That: Cider Press Cafe's new grab-and-go offerings

    Food & Dining

    What we tried: Raw vegan sit-down restaurant Cider Press Cafe (601 Central Ave., St. Petersburg) recently opened an attached grab-and-go cafe with its own entrance, offering pre-prepared lunch items at a lower price point, plus cold-pressed juices, coffee and baked goods. Items range from $5.99 to $7.99. The new cafe is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., though customers can access items from the grab-and-go cooler and pay at the bar any time the main restaurant is open....

    Grab and go items sit in the cooler at Cider Press Cafe in St. Petersburg.
  14. Here's what happened when regular, non-greyhound dogs tried racing at Derby Lane

    Blog

    What happens when you take a bunch of regular dogs and try to get them to race on a greyhound track?

    The Mutt Derby at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg returned on Sunday afternoon for the first time in 20 years. It was $25 to register a dog for the races, divided by weight class, and the proceeds went to Greyhound Pets of America.

    The results were sort of hilarious. Here's what happened. ...

    The Mutt Derby returned to Derby Lane after a 20-year hiatus.
  15. Kurt Cobain would have been 50 today, so here's Nirvana's only Tampa concert (w/audio)

    Blog

    Kurt Cobain would have turned 50 today. 

    There have been remembrances of the late Nirvana front-man all over the internet, including this Instagram post by his daughter, Francis Bean Cobain

    ...

    From left, Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic before the release of "Nevermind" on Sept. 24, 1991.