Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's most read arts and entertainment stories of 2021

From the Fairgrounds to Raymond James.

click to enlarge Artist Iona Parris in the Mermaid Dressing Room at Fairgrounds in St. Petersburg, Florida - DAVE DECKER
Artist Iona Parris in the Mermaid Dressing Room at Fairgrounds in St. Petersburg, Florida


Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's arts & entertainment section includes sports because, well, we're not a daily with a sports section, and sports are entertaining. So it's no surprise that Tampa Bay's hopefully-dynastic football team dominated CL's A&E web traffic this year, but the Brady effect had some company in 2021.

Readers also flocked to other sports stories (the Lightning, Raptors, Chad Johnson), news about Netflix (thanks to Allure Realty's Sharelle Rosado), immersive art experiences and—yep, vibrator racing. Have a look at the rundown below.

The Bucs

In the offseason, CL Bucs columnist Carter Brantley wondered out loud about the five guys Tampa Bay might cut before the 2021-22 campaign; readers parked at the post and told their friends, but it wasn't all they were interested in. Brady fans and haters were all about the yacht he bought a day before fans discovered that his TB12 company got a $960,855 PPP loan (you didn't expect the guy with more than $260 million in career earnings to not buy the boat did you?). Sports fans also rightfully drooled over the Super Bowl and were big hurt when Brantley suggested that the Bucs shouldn't stop at disgraced former head coach Jon Gruden when it came to Ring of Honor removals.

Bill Burr loves Tampa

In July, comedian Bill Burr went on his podcast to say that he wanted Tampa Bay to win the Stanley Cup again, because we "absolutely need it," adding that Montreal fans look like they're doing OK personally. "You go to Tampa. Oh, Jesus Christ. I mean, it's just, I don't know what it is down there. It's just a city that time forgot, right? Everybody's down there like, you walk around Tampa and it's like, is everybody on their way to a cookout?," Burr added. And because he wants to see Tampa himself, the comedian booked a show here, set for May 22, 2022.

Never forget Tampa Bay's shirtless Kucherov roasting Montreal fans

Star Tampa Bay Lightning forward had a different opinion on Montreal fans though, and he didn't hold back in a shirtless, postgame interview following the Bolts win to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in a row. In between chugs of Bud Light, Kuch really hit his stride when he touched on the Canadiens' one series loss up North. "The fans in Montreal, come on," said Kucherov. "They acted like they won the Stanley Cup, last game. You kidding me? You kidding me? They're final was last series, OK."

Dave Bautista is opening a tattoo shop in Tampa

The WWE star and actor's most notable appearances in this issue are in the news roundup (turns out, he doesn't like MAGA either), but he made news by announcing the opening of DC Society Ink in partnership with his own tattoo artist, John Kural of 2 Extreme Tattoos. An exact location was not unveiled, however Bautista says it's close to The University of Tampa.

Tampa real estate broker Sharelle Rosado gears up for Netflix series 'Selling Tampa'

"Selling Tampa" is the no. 1 U.S. show on Netflix, and a lot of the success has to do with Allure Realty chief Sharelle Rosado who spoke to CL in September. "Viewers are going to see powerful minority women stepping into luxury real estate. This shows anyone as long as you work hard and no matter what, you can do it," said Rosado. Fans are expecting the season to be renewed, so news on a release date for the second outing should arrive soon.

That must-cop Tampa Raptors bootleg jersey went up for for sale

It's a bit sad, but everyone's already forgotten that for a little while, thanks to Canada's much more restrictive COVID-19 policies, Tampa had its own NBA franchise. Sold by Wade + Williamson and designed by Luc Samanski, the "Tampa Raptors" jersey is something of a collectible and a true hallmark for a new generation of downtown-dwelling Tampeños.

Chad Johnson lost $2,000 in a pick-up soccer game in Tampa

It probably didn't help that Johnson's pregame meal consisted of two bread rolls and a Coke, but in February at East Tampa's Cinco Soccer the footy fan lost $1,000 in a game of five-a-side and then even more after going double or nothing. Ochonaldo he's not, but a fun guy nonetheless.

Vibrator racing returned to downtown Tampa

Champa Bay, schlampa Bay. Readers may have flocked to stories about the Bucs and Bolts in 2021, but they also grabbed hold of an April vibrator race at Hooch and Hive in the West River district. Organized by the Tampa City Athletic Association—which has a website, which means it must be legit—the derby was officiated by comedian and CL weed columnist Steve Miller and had "all the trappings of a day at the track, mint juleps, big hats, and all pageantry of a triple crown race," batteries included.

Fairgrounds, St. Pete's Meow Wolf-inspired immersive art experience is here

A June opening morphed into a September one, but that didn't matter for Bay area art lovers who flocked to the website as news of Fairgrounds' opening intensified. You also converged on a photo gallery of 2606 Fairfield Ave S where women and people of color make up half of the 60-artist roster that's transformed 15,000-square-feet of warehouse space into a weird, wacky and whimsical tribute to Florida.
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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his intro letter and 2021 disclosure. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The Daily Beast. Products...
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