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A farewell for Sapp; Faze 2 - hot or not?

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published April 16, 2004

Former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp always contended that when he left Tampa Bay, the community wouldn't be in an uproar.

Now we'll get the chance to find out.

Sapp's VIP sendoff party will be tonight at Faze 2 Lounge, 2708 E Busch Blvd., and admission is $10, but it remains to be seen exactly how many people will come out to wish him well.

Sapp's relationship with local fans has varied from contentious to comfy. Caught at the right moment, he could be cordial, friendly and spend up to 30 minutes handing out autographs. Caught at the wrong moment, he could leave you with just a nub.

Devoted Bucs fans should be interested in thanking Sapp for nine years of service, and if there was any time for Sapp to be receptive, this would seemingly be it.

Still, you better cross your fingers.

* * *

I MAY NOT GO to pat Sapp on the back, but I may go just to check out Faze 2. The upscale lounge has drawn a fair amount of buzz since opening in what was the former Don Pablo restaurant. Faze 2 has distinguished itself with food above the ordinary - it has a sushi bar - and a diverse mix of people.

The club has themed nights Tuesday through Friday, and the college night Tuesday has proven to be popular, along with Thursday's Latin Night and Saturday's old school night.

Event coordinator Charmane Walker said that since opening Feb. 14, the restaurant has expanded hours to serve lunch and has plans to serve dinner.

* * *

WE'VE HAD THE FIRST EXHIBIT, the play, the book, the second movie, the IMAX documentary, the second exhibit and the 11 Academy Awards.

And still, interest in the Titanic appears to be, well, unsinkable.

"Certainly, not just in Tampa Bay, not just in the United States, but all around the world you mention the word Titanic and a look comes across people's faces," said Mark Lach, the exhibit designer. "There's an energy and an excitement about the exhibit, and I think it's because there's a real human connection with this story."

MOSI continues to be the home of Tampa Bay's latest Titanic exhibit, and tonight there will be a happy-hour benefit at Channelside's Signature Room Grille and Splitsville to provide funds for low-income children to experience the exhibit.

The first 100 attendees receive free tickets to the exhibit, and there will be a cash bar with appetizers and martinis. It might be worth stopping by before the Lightning game.

* * *

OK, ONE MORE WEEKEND EVENT worthy of attention: the Blake High Jazz Festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at the riverside school. Admission is $10, and full concessions will be available. Featured performers will include college jazz players from University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Bethune-Cookman College, as well as a special appearance by Blake High grad Eric Darius.

Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a friend.

* * *

SOME DAYS, you can get a little carried away with self-importance. At a Downtown Partnership forum last month, I suggested more needed to be done to promote downtown events and offered, as a suggestion, a preconcert for Parrotheads who will arrive early for Jimmy Buffett's April 22 performance at the St. Pete Times Forum.

When I got the announcement from the folks at Channelside that they indeed would have Buffett-related music leading up to the concert, I thought: People are starting to listen to me. Then they explained the concert was in the works long before my assertion and that they were simply nice enough not to stand up at the forum and say, "We've already planned that."

The second annual Parrothead Jimmy Buffett Pre-Concert Party will be April 22 at Channelside with live music by De'Leied Parrot from noon to 2 p.m., Patrick Foy from 2 to 4 p.m. and The Landsharks from 4 to 8 p.m.

Hopefully I won't be the only one wasting away again that day.

That's all I'm saying.

- Ernest Hooper can be reached at 813 226-3406 or Hooper@sptimes.com

[Last modified April 16, 2004, 01:05:40]


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