Sunday, October 29, 2017

Twiztid rocks Halloween

Outside the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, FL, you can hear the chants of fans.  They create their own call back and answers based on songs from Twiztid.  Some chants simply repeat the word “family.”

When locking eyes on the hoard of people gathered outside of the venue either smoking or waiting in line, it’s not just that it’s Halloween, but it’s more of like a family tradition to sport some makeup.  No, we’re not just talking a little blush to rose up the cheeks.  This is more like full on circus clown escaped from a mental facility and went on a killing spree type of dripping and blood splattered makeup.

More than half the crowd is dressed up in some sort of Juggalo inspired Halloween fashion.  Hey, it’s the weekend before Halloween, so it is perfectly acceptable to dress up; however, considering it’s the weekend before Halloween, I was frankly surprised that there wasn’t more people dressed up.  It really wouldn’t have mattered if it were any other time of year; people would’ve still dressed up.

What’s the allure of gobbing on makeup, making yourself unrecognizeable?  Being able to escape reality, dress as if you were part of the performance on stage, and who knows, you might just be pulled up on stage by one of the performers.  Stranger things than that have been known to happen at Twiztid.

Okay, so honestly, it was not as rowdy as a Detroit show for the Detroit-based rap duo, but that’s probably to be expected.  Honestly, I was nervous, as I remember how Twiztid and ICP shows were back in the day in Detroit, and rowdy was more like an understatement.  Is it the years passed that allowed the younger fans to grow up, or is it that St. Pete’s has an older population than Detroit; who knows?

What I do know is that that Society’s Last took the stage first.  While the duo was on point and got the crowd popping, they had a secret weapon up their sleeve.  A sexy cop struts on stage, commanding attention, stealing the spotlight for a while, which only makes the performance more memorable.

Andrew Boss rocked out the night with a punk rock style that definitely stood out from the rest of the performers.  That blending of rock into the rap scene actually fit quite nicely, as the crowd crammed to the front of the stage, people started moshing, bodies slamming and causing blood to flow.  The rush of energy and excitement was so great that when it was over, it was like riding a tidal wave that crashes into the sand and dissipates, as people scatter back out to smoke and generally disperse.

Another duo of rappers on stage also brought a little sex appeal when one of the guys takes off his shirt, and almost hilariously stammers in between songs how he usually does not take his shirt off and felt naked up on stage.  The girls in the audience did not seem to mind the eye candy.  The guys were too focused on the music to really pay attention to what the dudes were wearing, as the duet had a yin yang type of sympatico that made the rhymes flow fresh and clean, with a new take on a familiar style.

Whitney covered herself with a hoodie, hiding her sexiness from the crowd.  You’d see her hot pink hair poke out from under the hood.  Just when you want to think she’s an innocent little girl, she leaps off the stage, surfing on top the crowd, singing from on top of the bar on the opposite side of the room, and you had all you could do to keep your eyes on where she was heading next, never missing a beat; meanwhile, her DJ is spinning the hardest thumping bass beats of the night - you can feel in your chest.

Blaze ya Dead Homie arose from the dead, as it was his turn to spit some rhymes instead.  With his boy covered like a mummy in gang babushkas wrapped around his head, he tried to represent more than a few colors with his thread.  Familiar favorite songs belting from the stage, you can’t help but sing along.

Even after Blaze’s set is done, he joins Twiztid on stage for a little more fun.  The horror group rapped of murder, threats to everyone under the sun, and getting scared is how the fun begun.  There’s Halloween’s Michael Myers and Jason from Friday the 13th lurking around on the stage, pacing back and forth, threatening to unleash their rage.  With 20 years of music, how can you not know the songs?

Even though many are familiar with their music, Twiztid is a band with a more expansive creative side.  I must admit, I was a little disappointed that their merch booth did not have the comics there.  If you’ve never checked out some of their other creative projects, do yourself a favor, and go get them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Florida International Air Show in Punta Gorda

For those who crave to defy gravity and feel the g-forces pulling, the Florida International Air Show in Punta Gorda is an indulgent thrill.  Artistic pilots show off their creativity in the sky, from a comedy act by the Alabama Boys, to high flying jets zipping by, synchronized flying, and stunts that make you hold your breath.  There’s race cars, motorcycles, and boats on display with even more ways to tempt.

The 36th Annual Show, which is run entirely by volunteers, features so many demonstrations of skill, booths of local businesses giving away promotions that are worth snagging, different types of vehicles to gawk at, bouncing attractions for kids, different craft beers to try, and so many different types of planes to see, that it can almost be overwhelming.  The layout changed from last year, as they had to change the flight pattern in hopes of securing more acts in the future; acts like the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels will not take off or land over residential areas, so things like that need to be considered.  With the change in layout, there’s more area to fill – which means more area to walk as well.

There were school bus shuttles provided to help get people from parking to the gate (which was a longer walk this year, compared to last year), and there were also golf cart shuttles to get people from the viewing areas back to the main gate.  It will be interesting to see what things might be added in the future now that there is more space, and even though there was a little wait for the shuttle, they had the lines moving steadily.  More area just means more room for more attractions next year.

This year was the first year they held the FIAS 5K – Run on the Runway Saturday Morning.  People could take a helicopter ride and get up close with vintage planes, warbirds, utility and light aircraft.  Friday night had twilight performances, as well as fireworks.

The star of the 2012 reality show “Air Boss,” Wayne Boggs has more than 20 years as an Air Boss, working the Chicago O’Hare as a traffic controller, and averaging 18-25 air shows a year: .  Show Announcer Rob Reider announced his first air show in 1978, and he has been a pilot since 1982. 

Military Men and Veterans are heros.  This year, the air show recognized WWII veterans Peter Taylor, John Arens, Richard Cembalisty, Robert Haff, James Hicks, Matthew Kostowski, Alfred Parker, and Irvin Yoas.  Don “Grumpy” Stamp’s Warbird Review features pilots, veterans and NATA members that honored veterans with the demonstration of the “Missing Man” formation, flying a variety of WWII Aircraft.

Greg Koontz Airshows presented County Comes to Town with the Alabama Boys, a comedy flying act.  Clem interrupts the announcer with a flying lesson voucher, insisting it be honored, only to wind up taking off without the instructor, which left grandpa trying to shoot him down.  There’s a series of stunt flying that makes you question, followed by a landing at the World’s Smallest Airport.

Scott Yoak, who graduated from Emby Riddle Aeronautical University, has a Surface Level Aerobatic waiver in the P-51 and performs in dozens of shows a year.  The Deputy Team Chief for the Black Diamond Jet Team, he flew the “Quicksilver” P-51 Mustang.  For the “Class of ’45,” Yoak joined forces with Jim Tobul - who flies a plane that was a ten-year restoration project with his father, a F4U-4 Corsair “Korean War Hero” that was found abandoned in a lime and avocado orchard near Homestead, FL.

Falling from the sky was the United States Army Parachute Team the Golden Knights ( ).  Soaring down in black and gold parachutes, the team does formations, such as the diamond formation.  The Fokker C-31A Troopship is their primary mode of transportation, as well as a Viking UV-18C Twin Otter Series 400.

From Luke Air Force Base, the F-35 Heritage Flight Team flying the fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A, which produces 43,000 lbs of thrust and consists of a 3-stage  fan, a 6-stage compressor, an annular combustor, a single stage high-pressure turbine, and a 2-stage low-pressure turbine..  With more stealth, aerodynamic performance and advanced avionics, the agile, versatile, high performance 9g capable multirole fighter will replace the Air Force’s older fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s.  Electronic sensors of the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) provide situational awareness for enhanced warnings and day/night pilot vision; additionally, the Electro-Opitcal Targeting System (EOTS) provides precision targeting with extended range detection, as well as long range detection from air-to-air threats, which pilots can see on their helmet’s visor display.

The “Homewrecker” Ford F650 Jet Truck ( )has thrust from three GE J85 turbine engines with afterburners, which is about 18,000 pounds of thrust, which means about 36,000 horsepower in afterburner mode.  Going a quarter mile in just over six seconds, McCart Jet Motorsports takes on Redline Airshows in truck versus plane race that clocks well over 200 miles an hour.  Redline ( ) is a 2-ship formation aerobatic performance team consisting of Ken Rieder, an aerobatic and multi-engine flight instructor, and Jon Thocker, a pilot retired after 25 years of flying heavy jets to pursue building and flying experimental aircraft.

Each year changes at the Florida International Air Show, as new acts are brought in, and with the new event layout being of a bigger design than before, it will be interesting to see how the event grows next year.  Though the annual event changed from March to October, it is still worth seeing.  Hop aboard planes, a train car from the holocaust, the Immokalee Seminole Casino and Hotel hot air balloon, brand new Harley Davidson motorcycles, brand new boats, or into any of the other attractions at the Florida airshow, and feel the rush of excitement that fills you, as those little kid dreams turn into reality.

For more information on the International Florida Air Show, visit,, and  For more by Marisa, visit    

Friday, October 13, 2017

Florida International Air Show This Weekend

              The Florida International Air Show is underway in Punta Gorda, FL.  With a massive jet powered truck, some of the best parachutists from the Army, relic airplanes, a train car from the Holocaust, teams of in synch airplanes flying overhead, commercial airline flights lifting off, and daredevil stunt fliers doing amazing tricks that make you hold your breath, the airshow will make you want to fly.  There’s so many different planes to see, from ones that you can get up close and personal with, to the ones doing gravity defying tricks in the sky, it makes you want to put on air goggles like Snoopy and soar.

              Last year, I was lucky enough to get to fly with the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team.  That was much different from hoping on an Allegiant flight at the Punta Gorda Airport to fly direct into Toledo, OH, as the Army plane had the door open almost the whole flight.  It tripped me out to see the guys leaning over the edge, nearly half their body hanging over, looking down, scouting where their baton dropped, testing winds and conditions before they jump to ensure they hit the mark on landing.

              There’s different rituals they do, like a pre-jump huddle, their chanting and stomping upon takeoff; they even have their own way of communicating while up in the air, as it is very noisy with the doors open.  The further up you go, the colder it gets.  It doesn’t matter if it’s more than 90 degrees on the ground of the Sunshine State, once you get up into those clouds at the height they jump from, you need gloves – and don’t forget steel toed-boots, too, FYI, in case you ever get to fly with them.

              The team is back again this year, performing amazing feats, different tricks than what they did last year, different formations.  For example, tonight they had fireworks attached to their ankles, as they jumped in the dark, doing a team formation of at least five guys, possibly six, each landing perfectly.  Watching their acrobatic feats gets the adrenaline pumping, but not quite as much as watching them getting sucked out of the plane as they jump, as wind suction happens so fast it’s almost a little scary.

                On the ground at the airshow, there’s plenty to see, from a massive ship with costume period dressed Ponce De Leon Conquistadors of Charlotte County, to the roaring fire of a hot air balloon sailed by the Immokalee Seminole Casino Hotel.  There’s so many booths to check out, it will keep you entertained for hours, in between watching the main attractions.  That’s the nice thing about an airshow: you can walk around, check stuff out, and when the next act flies, turn your eyes to the skies.

              The best thing about going Friday night is being able to see things like the Jet Truck illuminating the sky, followed by the awesome fireworks display.  Bursts of colors boom upwards, flowering over the darkness of the night.  As the blossoms grow brighter, more firework buds thrust into the pitch black to erupt into their own explosion of colors, each one prettier than the last, making your jaw drop, “ooohh!”

              What better way to spend a Friday the 13th than by hanging out in the Harley Tent, watching the Golden Knights drop from the sky, jet engines hiss flames of thrust, daredevil stunt pilots crisscrossing each other and the breathtaking flips, twists, turns, loops, and scoops of planes zooming?  The Florida International Airshow is happening all weekend, with gates opening at 10 a.m., and the show starting at noon and ending just before sundown at the Punta Gorda Airport.  It’s a completely different layout from last year, with more space to sprawl out, so the show will continue to grow over the years.

              This year, many performers will be doing a salute to World War II Veterans.  A train car from the Holocaust was brought in, so people could get an idea what a trip may have been like for those poor, unfortunate souls who were doomed to experience concentration camps.  There will be Warbirds doing a special performance to honor local and guest veterans of World War II, along with other performers.

              Though it’s an airshow, there’s more than just planes.  From the Holocaust train car, to the newest Harley Davidson motorcycles on display, an awesome racing boat, the Jet Truck display, and the Conquistador boat, there’s plenty of other types of moving objects to check out.  For the little ones, there’s even a vast array of inflatable games to play with, from hamster balling in the water, to big slides to race down, there’s a bunch of blow up fun that is sure to make for some big smiles; for the athletes, there’s an inaugural  5k race, which is likely to become a yearly tradition, so come join the fun!

              For more information, visit or  For more by Marisa, visit