Yet another Pride & Passion event gone by!
In its 8 years, the event has slowly transformed into a fashionable night out downtown to dress up and party. This year’s theme was an avant garde wedding celebrating the union of art + community + diversity. I decided to play with the theme, and turned the pimp factor level up a few notches when dressing as my interpretation of an avant garde groom. And that’s one of the many things that I love about Pride & Passion: how one can be decked out in leather and fur with opera goggles in Florida during the summertime, and not one person bats an eyelash at the ridiculousness of it all. Pride & Passion is a night to play dress up, and an evening to play with one’s
Uncle Karl Lagerfeld André Leon Talley Okie Fierce alter ego.
However, the true importance of this event is the $75,000.00 net that was raised from just one evening for the Tampa Museum of Art, its exhibits and community programs. As an avid supporter of the arts and of Tampa raising its profile, I applaud this year’s Chairs Kevin Reder and Rick Scherer, the Museum staff, and the Pride & Passion steering and host committee for a spectacular event.
P.S. Next year, I plan to dress even more ridiculously!
“I Can’t Keep Up” by Tourist featuring Will Heard: There’s just something in the way that Will Heard
sings SANGS this song that does something to my soul. When the frenetic pace changes up at the 3:00 mark, the song becomes pure, unadulterated audio ecstasy.
Four days of food, wine, cocktails, bocce ball, and live entertainment. Months upon months of planning, securing, scheduling, ordering and promoting. Years upon years, 17 to be exact, of culture, heritage and tradition.
This year’s 17th Annual Festa Italiana (i.e. the Italian Food & Wine Festival) opened with the Wines of Italy tasting event and concluded with the main Festa Italiana event in Centennial Park. Over 20,000 attendees flooded the historic Ybor City district in celebration of Italian culture, the Italian community and of course, wine and pasta!
18th Annual Festa Italiana Weekend
Save The Date: April 9 to 12, 2015
“Jerk Ribs” by Kelis: God Bless Kelis Rogers! Unhappy with ever becoming yet another one-hit wonder, or the girl who sang that “Milkshake” song, or even the ex-wife of Nas, she has consistently reinvented her sound and image to stay relevant with the current musical landscape. She fully embraced dance music on 2010’s Flesh Tone album, and now reveals a new electro-soul sound with her recently released, concept FOOD album.
Earlier this month, I attended the 2nd Annual Bow Ties & Clutches event at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art (FMOPA). It was my first time attending the Best of the Bay Award-winning event (which required all guests to either sport a bow tie or clutch) and stepping foot inside the FMOPA downtown. Bow Ties & Clutches, presented by a local fashion events and marketing company The Fashion Movement was an enjoyable evening of fashion, cocktails and mingling. Proceeds from the event benefited the Friends of Joshua House Foundation, Inc., an organization that provides a safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children.
For the fashion event, I channeled my inner Lexx Miyake-Mugler and went for a K.Pop boy band meets Rhythm Nation look. And YES I sported a bow tie… conveniently pinned to my coat.
Bravo to The Fashion Movement for hosting a wonderful event that benefited such a valuable cause.
“Drunk in Love” by Beyonce with Jay-Z: Despite her obvious Rihanna impersonation in the music video, I just cannot get enough of Mrs. Carter’s new single. In fact, I cannot get enough of BEYONCE, her surprise album and music video collection that was quietly released to iTunes last Friday without any announcement or promotion. Love her or hate her, you have to bow down to Bey’s marketing genius behind this album’s surprise release. She relied on word of mouth buzz to spread the word of her new album’s availability, gave fans no option but to purchase the ENTIRE album, ensured that her entire album was listened to by releasing an accompanying music video to every single track, and sold nearly a million copies in a mere three days.
In today’s social media era of creating gargantuan hype around a project with trending hashtags, teaser photos and videos, release date countdowns, and “surprise” album leaks, Beyonce’s risky gamble of no promotion paid off BIG TIME. BEYONCE: The Visual Album sold more in its first three days than the COMBINED first-week sales of superstar Miss Spears’ Britney Jean, Katy Perry’s heavily-hyped Prism and Lady Gaga’s overhyped ARTpop , proving that you don’t need a golden semi-truck, a helicopter dress, or numerous “personal” Twitter Q&As to sell quality music.
To you Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, I gladly bow down.
Since I was a child and even as a candy-addict adult, I just never got into the whole concept of dressing up in costume, trick or treating, getting spooked out and celebrating Halloween. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve ever dressed up, with six years ago being the last time that I donned a costume.
With Tampa’s largest Halloween party called Temptation taking place at my work on Halloween night, along with one of my best friends hosting a Halloween party at her abode the weekend after, I decided to get into the All Hallows’ Eve groove and break tradition by dressing up. I constructed my first Halloween costume (Fifty Shades of Grey) from Home Depot paint sample color cards for the Temptation party, and lazily threw together whatever I could scrounge from my closet (Dirty Hipster Sex meets Ooooooohhh… on the TLC Tip!) for Jess’s party.
Two Halloween costumes in one year? Sometimes, I spook myself out.
Temptation Halloween Party: The Haunted Theatre
@ The RITZ Ybor on October 31, 2013
Jess’s Halloween Party
Saturday, November 2, 2013
“Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly: Hands down, Mother Monster’s most hypnotic and BEST single since “Pokerface”!
I first fell in love with Jessie Ware after listening to her critically-acclaimed Devotion album. I first fell in love with Mikky Ekko upon hearing his silky-smooth voice gliding across Rihanna’s blockbuster single “Stay” (that he also co-wrote and produced.) What a thrill it was to see both of them perform live at The State Theatre in St. Pete this past Wednesday.
Mikky crooned his way through current single “Kids” and of course the #1 hit “Stay” which he reminded the crowd that he performed at the Grammy Awards earlier this year…. and rightfully so since it was hands down the performance highlight of this year’s Grammy night!
Jessie kicked off her set with a cover of Martika’s “Love This Will Be Done” and kept the cover train going with Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” the latter perfectly interlaced with her debut single “Running.” I can forgive her for not performing the heavenly”Taking In Water” because the rest of her set which consisted of staples “Wildest Moments” and “Imagine It Was Us” along with a brand new song were just as divine. I remember once trying to describe Jessie Ware’s sound to a friend of mine, and could only remark that she is this generation’s Sade… classy, sophisticated and just cool.
It was a welcome embrace to witness two newer artists in today’s crowded music scene solely rely on genuine talent and artistry rather than gimmickry and media stunts to entertain a crowd.
Working in the concert industry, one thing that I love and admire is when an artist emerges from backstage to mingle with the crowd and their fans. I was able to meet (a very friendly + laidback) Mikky Ekko who mentioned that he is still working on his album which should see a release date sometime early next year. He was also a good sport for allowing Rod,
Shane O’Neil and I to sing our “song“ that we wrote together in front of him. Granted, Rod sorta ambushed him with this spontaneous performance, but he seemed to find the intended hilarity in it all. (SEE TWEET EXCHANGE BELOW)
DEFINITELY take a listen to Jessie Ware’s soulful debut album Devotion, check out Mikky Ekko’s catchy “Kids” music video below, see them both on tour while you can, and read my friend Carole’s review on tbt Soundcheck that perfectly sums up the night (and where I “borrowed” two of the above photos from for this post.)
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Olly Murs LIVE at The RITZ Ybor on Wednesday, May 8, 2013
You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to receive this photo! THANK YOU to Christina for resuscitating it from digital limbo and sending it my way.
And if you’re looking for a fun and catchy pop album to listen to this summer, check out Olly’s stateside debut album, Right Place Right Time. Jess described his album best: “Olly sounds like a charming mix of Bruno Mars meets Maroon 5 meets Gavin Degraw!”
The beginning of summer. The time of year when your AC thermostat lowers while your electric bill rises. The start of beach season and sunbathing. And that time of year when Pride & Passion, arguably one of thee top events in town takes place.
The 8th Annual Pride & Passion was held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at the Tampa Museum of Art, which this wonderful event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for each year. In the four years that I have attended Pride & Passion, it has rapidly become one of Tampa’s signature fashion events known for its pomp, flash and extravagant entertainment and decor. This year’s event was no exception and easily tops previous celebrations in grandeur and eminence.
This year’s Pride & Passion also happens to be the first that I sat as the Public Relations, Marketing & Host Chair. So it was fulfilling to not only attend this kick-ass party but to also help plan this event with the rest of the fabulous Steering Committee members. If you missed out on this year’s festivities or have (gasp) never attended a Pride & Passion, mark your calendars for May 2014 and make plans to be there!
Photography by Radko Keleman
Select Photography by Todd Montgomery & Ruslana.Studio
Noticeable Photography by Okie Tilo’s cellphone
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…and in dedication to my fan that became the it-prop of Pride & Passion 2013:
The 16th Annual Festa Italiana took place in Ybor City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. Festivities officially kicked off at The Italian Club’s Wines of Italy event the Thursday prior, and the celebration continued each day until the main event at Centennial Park. My work is a huge supporter and sponsor of Festa Italiana which amusingly began as my bosses’ picnic for their friends and family. Today, a staggering 10,000 patrons attend their lil’ Italian festival picnic.
Way before I ever became involved with and worked for Festa, I remember loving the event which can best be described as an overwhelming experience of food, drinks, culture and people. To now officially be a part of a local tradition that honors and preserves a culture’s heritage and traditions is rewarding and very worthwhile.
Viva Festa Italiana!
Photos courtesy of Radko Keleman Photography
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I have a slight obsession with Olly Murs whose Right Place, Right Time album has been receiving ample play on my iPod. Olly rose to fame on the UK version of The X-Factor, and conquered the European charts before storming American shores. His current single “Troublemaker” is rapidly racing up the Billboard charts, and he’ll be playing at The RITZ Ybor next week Wednesday, May 8, 2013.