St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Getaway: hot ticket

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2002

Ladies and gentlemen: Rosa Rio

An August afternoon with Rosa Rio and the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ has become a Tampa Theatre tradition, one that continues Sunday.

Rio, a legend among organists, will play the accompaniment for the 1924 silent version of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, a restored archive print with color tints. Rio started playing the theater organ for silent films in the 1920s. She then went into radio and became known as the "Queen of the Soaps," playing for as many as 13 shows a week, including The Shadow, Between the Bookends and My True Story.

Rio has been doing occasional performances at Tampa Theatre since she moved to Sun City Center in 1993.

The show begins at 3 p.m. Sunday at the theater, 711 Franklin St., Tampa. $8 adults, $6 seniors, students and military personnel. (813) 274-8981.

Are you tough (or foolish) enough?

Men and women who want to prove they are the toughest folks around will get their chances as the Toughman Contest comes to the Ice Palace tonight and Friday. Here's how it works: preselected amateurs, in full boxing gear, try to pummel each other for a chance to advance to the finals Friday.

The Toughman Contest tries to distance itself from, say, pro wrestling, by stressing that there are no predetermined winners. "THIS IS REAL!," the promotional material proclaims. "Every man and woman is fighting for fame and glory in front of people they know, and a chance to advance to regional events and ultimately to the World Championship on Pay Per View." Each bout includes three 1-minute rounds with a 45-second rest between rounds.

The rules: "Strictly boxing, no biting, no wrestling, no head-butting, no kicking."

Men are divided into two weight classes.

The action starts at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday at the Ice Palace, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. General admission is $11.50 advance, $16.50 day of show; limited reserved seating $21.50-$26.50. (813) 223-1000.

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