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the flog

Playing the Rube(s)

It sounds like a cliché, and it is a cliché, but it is nonetheless true: Brian Regan is one of the funniest men walking the Earth today. Vanity Fair called him “the funniest stand-up alive.” Having grown up in Miami, the comedian has performed in Jacksonville more times than he can count. He’ll be here again July 28, to play The Florida Theatre.

In my opinion, the man has no peer. Don’t believe me? Ask Jerry Seinfeld. The comedy kingpin has often leveraged his considerable star power on behalf of his old friend. The two met before Seinfeld's big television breakthrough, when Jerry was just a hotshot standup comedian.

“Jerry Seinfeld has been incredibly kind to me over the years,” Regan told Folio Weekly. “We met before his sitcom. I opened for him a number of times.”

Seinfeld produced Regan’s instant classic 2017 Netflix special Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, as well as Stand Up And Away!, a new standup-slash-sketch-comedy series that debuted last December. Regan was also an early guest (third to be exact) on Seinfeld’s acclaimed web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. For many casual fans of the form, Regan's episode (“A Monkey and a Lava Lamp”) was their introduction to his eminently affable personal style. That appearance kicked off a whole new phase of Regan's career.

All this is in keeping with Entertainment Weekly’s apt assessment that Regan is “your favorite comedian’s favorite comedian.” He has an ambling, hyperkinetic style, heavy on funny voices that emphasize the goofball nature of his comedy, as well as a weird physical stance on stage that quickly became one of his trademarks.

“I’m not a good joke-teller,” Regan wrote, on location in Vancouver, where he was filming the third season of his Audience Network series Loudermilk. “I know that sounds weird, but I’ve never been good at telling normal …   More

the flog

Y’all Are Beautiful

Talking with GeeXella over coffee, the words "higher vibration" echo in my head. It seems fitting that the singer, rapper and DJ would use their visibility and platform to create party spaces where LGBTQIA folks feel free. GeeXella’s nomadic and sporadic dance party, Duval Folx, evinces the innocence of a block party married to the intelligent compassion of a safe space. Because it’s still dangerous to be a queer/nonbinary person of color in the south, saying things out loud—like, literally, out loud in the public sphere—is powerful. But more than that, it is necessary.

“It was hard for me, when I first started deejaying here in Jacksonville," GeeXella told Folio Weekly. "I would see my friends who live in New York, Philly and California and they’re deejaying at a black-owned club with black and brown people in their space. They don’t have to deal with the same things I have to deal with here. Being queer, being non-binary—I am half black and half Mexican—there aren’t spaces for us. And if there are, they’re segregated to an 'urban' night. And it’s very frustrating. I was told by certain clubs, ‘Do not play rap music.’ It felt degrading because hip hop music pop music.”

The singer continued, “Certain artists could pass that threshold … if they made that crossover then I could play them, but it felt very limiting as an artist. Also, I kinda felt a certain way, being a black person and having to hide that part of my culture.”

 

In talking about the hip hop scene in Jacksonville, GeeXella credited Paten Locke (DJ Therapy) and Niam Hadaf (Willie Evans Jr.) with blazing the trail. In addition to being stars of the local scene (and good friends), both performers have toured the world and garnered national and international recognition for their music. Though they’re elder hip hop statesmen now, GeeXella said the legacy they helped to create, …   More

the flog

Oh, Say, Do You See?

Whether you’re new to the First Coast, you’ve been here for ages, or you’re planning your next move, Blue Star Museums are an engaging—and affordable—way to squeeze in some summer fun. This is the 10th summer Blue Star Museums open their doors to active-duty military members and their families across the nation–free of charge. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense, Blue Star Museums offer complimentary admission to select museums as well as gardens, aquariums and zoos in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. With more than 2,000 participating institutions this year, all kinds of adventures await.

“We’ve seen the tremendous impact the Blue Star Museums program brings to our military families, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating a decade of support,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, chief executive officer of Blue Star Families, in a recent press release. “Not only are museums fun to explore, but [they’re] great for making memories and strengthening military families as a whole.”

Among Northeast Florida’s Blue Star Museums are the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, MOCA Jacksonville, Beaches Museum, Lightner Museum and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

Pack up the kids and head to Riverside’s Cummer Museum to beat the heat and see great art and breathtaking garden landscaping, too. Art Connections offers four interactive exhibits, including a gallery for children younger than five and an area to create self-portraits.

“Our city is home to approximately 75,000 active duty, reserve and civilian members of our Armed Forces, and their service is a critical part of our region’s identity. Through our participation in the Blue Star Museum Program, we have welcomed thousands of these families over the …   More

the flog

Man on the Inside

I first saw Bernard Fowler on stage when A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour passed through the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall earlier this year. Though the rock-and-soul vocalist was but one of several singers on the bill, he opened the set alongside Bowie’s longtime pianist, Mike Garson. The two New Yorkers paid homage to the Thin White Duke with a stripped-down version of one of Bowie’s deepest album cuts, “Bring Me the Disco King.” Another guest singer, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, would hit some impressive high notes later in the set but, for my money, Fowler’s early display of gravitas was the evening’s high-water mark.

Months later, I caught up with Fowler in a telephone conversation. Turns out, he met Bowie a few times. They were introduced by their mutual friend Mick. Incidentally, Bernard Fowler is on the road again and currently touring as a backing vocalist for said Mick and his rock band, The Rolling Stones. You might have heard of them. The British guitar group rose to fame in the mid-1960s as working-class London’s answer to Liverpool’s Fab Four, The Beatles.

Fowler came into the picture two decades later, when Jagger was in New York cutting a solo album. Producer Bill Laswell brought Fowler in to provide vocal harmonies. They hit it off. Fowler has been recording with Jagger and touring with The Stones ever since. The band’s No Filter Tour rolls into Northeast Florida this week. The Glimmer Twins and pals were originally scheduled for April, but the tour was postponed when Jagger underwent heart surgery.

By the time I spoke with Fowler, in early July, the tour was a couple of weeks into its rescheduled run and all was going well. “The boys are in great shape,” he said. “They’re playing beautifully. Mick is kicking ass and taking no prisoners. He’s not showing one bit of surgery strain. If anything, he’s gotten stronger.”

The …   More

the flog

Baos of Summer

Behold, doughy bao buns brimming with creamy blue crab, their fried toppings tumbling onto the plate below! It’s the second week of Crane Ramen’s “Sun’s Out, Buns Out” promotion. Every Wednesday and Thursday for eight weeks, the Five Points branch of the Gainesville-based eatery rolls out a new, limited-edition dish inspired by one of Jacksonville's professional sports teams.

Week 1 (June 26 & 27): Armada—fried sardine with beurre blanc espuma

Week 2 (July 10 & 11): New Jax City—lemon confit and blue crab with fried crunchy crab toppings

Week 3 (July 17 & 18): Sharks—gumbo bun

Week 4 (July 24 & 25): Jumbo Shrimp—Mayport shrimp burger with tomato marmalade

Week 5 (July 31 & Aug. 1): Axemen—Jacksonville “hot chicken” with sweet coleslaw

Week 6 (Aug. 7 & 8): Icemen—roast beef with caramelized onions and parmesan cheese

Week 7 (Aug. 14 & 15): Jaguars—fried pork belly with oxtail gravy

Week 8 (August 21 & 22): Giants—duck confit with avocado

The idea came to Chef Steve Grimes after he ran into several Jacksonville Jaguars players at a local Caribbean restaurant. “They were eating some oxtail, and I had talked to them about coming to the restaurant, and then I had thought about serving in the stadium, and then I wanted to tie together the rest of the city and see if I could just get some more people to come into the restaurant,” Grimes said. “And so I started looking at other sports teams, and then I just wanted to collaborate with all of them, really.”

Foodies interested in any of these dishes should make the time, as this will be the only opportunity they have to try to them. They cannot simply stop by on Friday and expect that the kitchen will make it again (although Grimes would consider bringing a favorite back in the future; and, of course, the promotion will likely run again next summer). …   More

the flog

So Long, Rockville

Jacksonville’s cronies-only urban redevelopment racket claims another victim as Welcome to Rockville moves to Daytona Beach. According to a weekend press release written on behalf of Los Angeles-based production company Danny Wimmer Presents, the major music festival—which has been hosted in Jacksonville’s Northbank district for nine years—will celebrate its 10th anniversary edition at Daytona International Speedway in May 2020. The company cited city policy as a determining factor.

“As a result of Jacksonville’s continued development of the city’s downtown area,” the email press release stated, “Metropolitan Park is no longer available to host the annual festival.”

Although Jacksonville music-lovers are already mourning the loss on social media, DWP appears to be making lemonade. “After welcoming sold-out crowds of 90,000-plus the past three years,” the press release continued, "the move to Daytona International Speedway will allow Rockville to increase its audience capacity while at the same time providing more enhanced audience experiences.”

Indeed, the copywriter went on to tout the festival’s new home as “a world-class facility, including numerous hotels within walking distance, many dining options and expanded space for camping, allowing Rockville attendees a convenient and well-rounded experience.”

The email also quoted company founder (and Jacksonville native) Danny Wimmer, who addressed the Northeast Florida ticket-buyers who built Rockville: “This is where it all began—not just for Rockville, but for me. I love my hometown, and I’m really proud of what Rockville accomplished in its nine years in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, there was no longer a space at Metropolitan Park for us to deliver the kind of festival experience that Florida’s rock fans deserve. I’m excited to have a larger site to work with that allows us the …   More

the flog

Fishing for Shark Selfies

In February, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously voted to add several long-awaited shark fishing regulations to begin on July 1. Folio Weekly sat down with OneProtest’s Adam Sugalski to discuss these new rules.

It can be exciting to tame a creature stronger than oneself, but this superiority complex is killing prohibited sharks and endangering harvestable ones. In the struggle to pull a shark aboard and have a photo session, that shark’s body is creating lactic acid. If the shark survives long enough to swim away, it can experience extreme stress and even death in the wild.

“I’ve seen so many videos of, ‘We caught a big hammerhead.’ All these pictures, [anglers] sit on it. They let it go, and their hammerhead just flops over and dies on the shore. And with prohibited species especially, hammerheads among other ones, you basically have to leave them in the water.” Sugalski said. “And [the FWC is] recommending you cut the leader as close as you can, so you have to have bolt cutters.”

According to Sugalski, the founder and executive director of OneProtest, the nonprofit serves as the “glue that holds the book together.” Shark advocates had been urging FWC commissioners to create and enforce new regulations for more than a year before they voted on the issue in February. Activists eventually contacted OneProtest, which used its marketing and outreach skills to gain support throughout the state.

Since 2015, Sugalski and his team have fought for the humanitarian treatment of animals in circuses, zoos and puppy mills, among other businesses. OneProtest’s coverage of and anger regarding the reinstatement of recreational bear hunting in Florida in 2015 gained international attention. The FWC has banned the sport every year …   More

the flog

Carriages Are Cruelty

Jacksonville-based advocacy organization One Protest and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida join forces tomorrow to demonstrate against St. Augustine’s carriage-tour industry. The city is home to several carriage companies that offer narrated historical tours to visitors in horse-drawn carriages. The stretch of Avenida Menendez between the Castillo de San Marcos and the Bridge of Lions, known as the Bayfront, is their designated staging area, and will be the site of the protest.

Event organizers, who expect around 50 protesters, say the industry is archaic and inhumane, especially in the summertime, when heat and vehicle exhaust combine to create hazardous conditions. There are currently regulations in place, largely thanks to previous protests. A landmark 2012 ordinance, lobbied by the ARFF, limited hours and mandated basic hydration and treatment standards. It also enforced fines for violations.

Now, following victories in several other Florida cities, protesters are aiming for a complete ban on horse-drawn carriages in St. Augustine.   More

the flog

A Decade of Inclusiveness

The Jacksonville International Airport’s Concourse C is often filled with travelers hustling to and from their scheduled flights. Amidst the foot traffic stand a pair of bathrooms, but the unique artwork they display is often overlooked.

 

 

What passersby don’t realize is these bathrooms showcase an inclusive set of pictographs: each tile represents the many shapes and forms of the restrooms’ users. But these tiles haven’t always been there.

 

 

JIA decided to commission this inclusive art project in 2008. It awarded the opportunity to Atlanta artist Gregor Turk, who specializes in sculpture, public art installations, photography and works on paper. His proposed design for the space included a series of 1-foot tiles featuring 68 unique pictograms.

 

 

“The public was introduced to the now ubiquitous pictograms of men and women in 1974 as a means of efficient standardized restroom signage. For years I have made wax-oil rubbings or taken photographs of these pictograms,” Turk said. “Even the most standard pictograms vary in their width, cut of the arms, broadness of the shoulders, and distance or connectivity of the head to the body.”

 

 

Turk began to document the wide range of gendered figures during his travels, and concluded that, at facilities that employ a greater sense of design, highly stylized pictograms tend to reflect a much greater range of body types, shapes, proportions and activities

 

“When the images of the respective figures are shown collectively, their typological differences become apparent, even amusing,” Turk said. “The pictograms I used as a source for [the JIA] installation came from Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Syria and the United States.”

 

So when the airport submitted a call request for proposals, Turk …   More

the flog

Follow Through

Jacksonville City Councilmember Garrett Dennis is set to formally introduce his legislation concerning possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia at City Council's May 15 meeting.

Dennis wants Jacksonville to follow other Florida cities and counties in offering the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office an alternative to the standard misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana. If passed, the bill would allow officers to issue offenders a civil infraction for having less than 20 grams.

The bill was filed on May 8 and immediately caused a stir in local media. Popular opinion seems to support the move, but most citizens anticipate that City Council will ultimately vote down the bill.

The Neighborhood, Community Services, Public Health & Safety Committee is scheduled to review the bill on May 20, followed by the Rules Committee on May 21.

Community members will have the opportunity to speak on the legislation when City Council holds a public hearing on May 28.

According to the City Council’s office, it is rare for members to vote on controversial bills after only one public reading. More likely, the proposed bill will return to the standing committees to be seconded, and City Council will discuss it during several meetings before voting.

Dennis’ complete legislation can be found at here.   More

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