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the flog

UNF Boots Papa John's

The University of North Florida has decided that they’d rather eat Totino’s than Papa John’s Pizza. According to a release, the school asked its on-campus vendor Chartwells to remove the Papa John’s franchise from the student union. It will be replaced with an in-house outlet.

On July 11, news outlets reported that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter had used the n-word on a conference call in May. A day later, Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company’s board. He has since criticized media reports and claimed that he was set up; his most recent desperate grasp at straws involves suing the company and accusing the board of negligence and of staging a possible “coup.”

In a message sent to the campus community this afternoon, UNF dropped the hammer on garlic butter dipping sauce, but mostly rich dudes who use the n-word, writing that it is “committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all” and “creating a culture of respect and to providing a path for people from diverse backgrounds to succeed.”

It did not address how the loss of the pickled pepperoncini peppers will affect campus life.

The school further stated:

The University stands in unity and solidarity with all members of our community, regardless of genetic information, race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or veteran status. We're proud of the diversity in our students, faculty and staff.

Somewhere, we suspect Dan and Frank Carney are still laughing.

But for serious, kudos to UNF.   More

the flog

Back to Classics

Over the past decade, few acts in music have been more prolific than The Oak Ridge Boys. In addition to performing 150-plus shows each year, the vocal quartet has released eight albums – A Gospel Journey (2009), The Boys Are Back (2009), It’s Only Natural (2011), Back Home Again: Gospel Favorites (’12), the 2012 holiday CD, Christmas Time’s-A-Coming, the live album Boys Night Out (’14), Rock Of Ages: Hymns and Gospel Favorites (’15) and another holiday release, Celebrate Christmas (’16).

Every album, naturally, was important to the group, but a couple of years ago, The Oak Ridge Boys decided to set their sights on really making a statement with their next studio release.

“We were inducted [in 2015] into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” The Oak Ridge Boys bass vocalist Richard Sterban explained in a recent phone interview. “After that, we felt like we wanted to do something special, something different, something kind of monumental to commemorate now being members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

As Sterban, lead vocalist Duane Allen, tenor vocalist Joe Bonsall and baritone vocalist William Lee Golden pondered what kind of album project could achieve that lofty goal, one idea kept coming up. The group could work with producer Dave Cobb.

The Oak Ridge Boys first met and worked with Cobb on The Boys Are Back, and that experience in the studio had remained etched in the memories of the four singers.

“We were so excited about that project, because he took us down some roads musically we had never traveled before, like doing a cover of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army,’ and ‘Boom Boom’ [the John Lee Hooker blues classic]–songs we would not have done on our own,” Sterban said. “But Dave kind of just took us in that direction.”

Since that 2009 album, Cobb has become arguably the hottest producer in country/Americana music, …   More

the flog

Code-Switching and Homecoming

Yellow House is jumping.

That was my first thought as I walked up to the brightly painted art gallery on King Street. A DJ banged Erykah Badu and Souls of Mischief from the speaker and a barbecue food truck was parked in front. Across the gravel lot, a small table manned by a cheerful woman was set up for guests to sign in and grab a beverage.

The block party-like atmosphere outside was only a small taste of the sublime feeling that would subsume me inside. The first thing I saw, in the living room of Yellow House, were Erin Kendrick’s own words preparing me for her art. The show, aptly titled Her Own Things, is the transformation of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The work has lived as a book, a play, a movie and now as seven large portraits embodying the women of the story.

I read Erin’s words about the process to bring her work to life, and then I followed the trail of gray-painted wood hallways into the dining room where the majority of the portraits are displayed. The first one I see is Brown. It is my favorite; a girl/woman with pigtails sticking out from the side of her head. It reminds me of my childhood when my mother used to sit me between her legs and painstakingly part my thick hair down the middle to tame into two ponytails. For me, Brown is the essence of every black girl’s beginning. The hair, the soulful eyes, the slightly flared nose, and the lips pursed and smooshed to one side. Brown is the defiance of black womanhood before we learn how to code switch and make ourselves more accommodating to the world.

A world that would inevitably ask us, “Why do you look so mean?” if we allowed ourselves to be like Brown.

The next portrait I see is Yellow, the centerpiece of the show, and then Blue. Blue, I would later learn, is the artist’s favorite. I love it because of the striking, yellow/blonde bantu knots that adorn this …   More

The Flog

Silver Screen Dreams

Making your mark in the realm of cinema can be a tricky and seemingly fruitless pursuit in today’s film market. There’s dozens, if not hundreds, of platforms for creators young and old to use in testing the waters of filmmaking, but they are mostly inundated with cat videos and multimillion-dollar movies used to sell cheap toys and bags of Star Wars branded lettuce.

However, for most creators, their chosen outlet of expression isn’t motivated by monetary or notorietal gains—it’s just simply how they communicate what’s happening inside their heads with the rest of the world. Vincent van Gogh didn’t beat color onto canvases because he had a contract with an art studio; he did it because he HAD to. The point is, most creators can go their entire lives without earning an ounce of recognition, but when it does happen, it’s like a heavenly cherub floating its chubby little tush down from the sky and whispering those magic words in your ear: “It was worth it.”

This isn’t to say local UNF senior and filmmaker Connor Dolby is sitting around his house, contemplating chopping his ear off while imagining angelic conversations. However, Dolby’s chubby cherub did decide to manifest itself in the form of national awards for his most recent short film, Imitations. After participating in last month's Campus MovieFest, in conjunction with TERMINUS Conference + Festival, Dolby and the rest of his film crew walked away with the Silver Tripod Award for Best Direction, Best Production Design and Best Performance at the UNF level. Once awarded the Silver Tripod, they moved on to TERMINUS at the national level and were able to win the festival’s esteemed Golden Tripod Award for Best Picture.

“It came as a very big surprise,” said Dolby. “Campus MovieFest is the largest student film festival in the United States. They tour more than 50 universities each year. So, when CMF comes to a …   More

the flog

School Board Candidate Sam Hall Suspects “Special Interests” in Civics Test Controversy

How does Duval County School Board member Scott Shine manipulate the press? Let me count the ways: He used taxpayer resources to bring legal intimidation down on a teacher; he stormed out of a school board meeting, complaining that the superintendent selection process was moving too fast; he publicly bemoaned his disappointment that his bromance with former Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti had ended, while simultaneously declaring his heir apparent for the seat he’s vacating in District 2, candidate Nick Howland. These are all exciting, Shine-studded events for the young, intrepid education reporters on the daily beat. But for our more seasoned community members, including District 2 candidate Sam Hall, Shine’s most recent dissidence with the school board raises red flags, and indicates that outside political influences may be at play.

In short: Shine has aligned with a tiny, statewide coalition of school board members who are complaining that districts have found a way to help students succeed on high-stakes tests. (Yes. You read that right.) The Florida Coalition of School Board Members (FCSBM) is the “reform” crowd’s weaker alternative to the 80-year-old Florida School Boards Association (FSBA). The coalition, which promotes privatized educational organizations for students, is charging that Duval, Manatee and Polk counties “gamed the system” by changing the student pathway to the middle-school civics course and, consequently, by changing when some students take the end-of-course exam. Shine failed to tell the Florida Times-Union, however, that he voted for the progression plan that his coalition now characterizes as “gaming the system.”

“There’s a unanimous vote to approve, then there’s a change of view there. That raises a lot of questions for me,” District 2 candidate Sam Hall told Folio Weekly. He was referring to the 7-0 vote by the board to permit some middle-school …   More

the flog

Looking Again

“A-I is talking to CAY 161. That is the famous Cay from 161 Street, there at the beginning with TAKI 183 and JUNIOR, as famous in the world of wall and subway graffiti as Giotto may have been when his name first circulated through the circuits of those workshops which led from Masaccio through Piero della Francesca to Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael,” wrote Norman Mailer in 1973, of the graffiti scene in NYC that he observed and wrote about in the infamous essay (with photos by Jon Naar) "The Faith of Graffiti."

And though we are a long cry away from the tumultuous ’70s of New York (and the risk of police beatings for loosing a little paint in the air), there’s no denying the often startlingly and occasionally visceral power of large-scale outdoor murals (even for those who don’t identify as enthusiasts).

Low cost (relatively) and high impact, in this fair-to-middlin’ part of the 21st century, murals executed by specialists in the genre have become developers’ wet dreams. They say “art” but they don’t say “artists,” which is exactly how Americans like it (and fast tracks the gentrification/rent hike process). According to a 2003 statistic in the study “Investing in Creativity: A Study for the Support Structure for U.S. Artists,” 96 percent of Americans valued art in their lives, while only 27 percent valued artists.

However, no community that wants to position itself as a leader in the arts can realistically expect to do so sans artists; a painted desert is still arid, after all. So when an institution like the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens reaches out to local artists, that’s notable. Of course, this isn’t the first time the museum has engaged with the Jax-based arts community—Lift: Contemporary Expression of the African American Experience 2017, Our Shared Past 2014, and the Folio Weekly Invitational Artist Exhibition 2012 all held a …   More

the flog

Tedeschi Trucks Band Brings Down the House

 

Damn, these cats can wail. Last night’s Tedeschi Trucks Band show at Daily’s Place sent waves of sound-gasms rippling through a crowd already lubed up by able openers The Marcus King Band and special guest Drive-by-Truckers, whose hour-long show was a draw for many.

 

The setting summer sun streaked sherbet colors across the sky when hometown band Tedeschi Trucks kicked off their Wheels of Soul tour. A ripe moon accented by wispy clouds slowly scaled the sky as the 12-piece band’s 90-minute set built to a spellbinding crescendo that, among other delights, treated us to a free-form jam that morphed into The Allman Bros. “The Whipping Post,” one of my all-time faves.

The onstage chemistry guitar great Derek Trucks shares with wife Susan Tedeschi, singer and guitarist, makes for an unforgettable performance. Her bluesy voice is sweet, liquid smoke; his guitar is the flame. Because of Trucks’ very visible career with The Allman Brothers Band., many focus on him, but Susan Tedeschi crushes it, y’all. She is a powerhouse singer with rich tone and incredible phrasing; it’s almost hard to believe that anyone could be born with an instrument that can create such beautiful and singularly recognizable sounds.

I’ll never forget when my sister told me about a 19-year-old guitar prodigy named Derek Trucks who had recently signed on to play with the Allmans. It was 1999 and I was 18 years old. It seemed almost unbelievable that someone who was practically my same age could have the skills and courage to perform with jam-band royalty. It’s strange and a little bit embarrassing to admit about a stranger, but I felt an odd kinship with Trucks, if for no reason other than that we are both creative and found our callings in early life. He was and is far more successful than I, but it’s a feeling that remains with me all these years since the first time I enjoyed his music, which probably …   More

Folio A&E

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

When we last wrote about pianist/singer Kelly Green in our December 20 issue, she was nearing the end of the biggest year in her short career. The Deland native moved to New York City after graduating from UNF in 2014, and has maintained an impressively frenetic performance schedule ever since, culminating with the release of her debut album, , last fall. It was resoundingly well-received across the international jazz community so, like any savvy professional, she is striking while the iron is hot.

She returns to Florida at the end of June for series of gigs around the state, punctuated by two days at the Greenhouse Productions studio in Orlando, where she and her trio-the KG3, featuring Alex Tremblay on bass and Evan Hyde on drums-will enter the studio to record her much-anticipated sophomore release. (She also has a sextet that works the New York area pretty regularly.) But there is nothing sophomoric about her chops, or the breadth and scope of her musical knowledge. Green is the type of player who would have been right at home in almost any setting there was in the history of jazz, but her wheelhouse is the classic post-war bebop that continues driving the music's commercial market to this day.

Based currently in Harlem, where she shares a brownstone with three other working jazz musicians, she is usually within walking distance (if not a short ride on the legendary "A" Train, made famous by Duke Ellington in 1941) of countless iconic sites in jazz history, many of which she now knows like the back of her hand: The Blue Note, B.B. King's, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center, Minton's Playhouse, Mezzrow, Smalls Jazz Club, The Django NYC, Zinc Bar New York, Fat Cat, The Bitter End, Bowery Electric, Rockwood Music Hall, The Flatiron Room, Fine & Rare and even the Apollo Theater. The trio just finished a mini-tour of Colombia just a few weeks ago, but all roads lead back to Jacksonville, or so it seems sometimes.

For the leader, it marks her first …   More

Folio A&E

Big Fun

It was a good-smelling crowd.

At least that was my initial response Sunday night when my girlfriend and I sat down in our seats at the Pixies sold-out show at The Florida Theatre.

AXE body products, clean-smelling hair, Dr. Bronner, deodorants and emollients, a hint of craft beer, beard oil! ... no scent of weed or nachos ... when you're 46 and sober, more than anything else, it's about how hygienic the crowd is and how they smell, along with those same ticketholders honoring the "don't invade my space" credo and finding a clear sightline to the stage.

Sadly, at one point, my girlfriend, Erica, leaned over and informed me, "She keeps touching me!" of the good-times-partyin' gal to her left.

I'm surely a curmudgeon and a total hypocrite.

During my late-teen years in the late '80s, my friends and I would travel miles to any Jesus Lizard gig.

Over the course of the Jesus Lizard's alcoholic vortex gig, singer David Yow would routinely pull his testicles out through the zipper of his beer-and-sweat-drenched blue jeans (he called this unwarranted ball peep show "The Brain"). I nearly saw Yow's nuts as much as I gandered at my own.

So I'm hardly a hand-wringing Calvinist.

That being said, I don't want to see anything jutting out of anyone in the band. Nor do I want to see a fellow audience member's members, testicles, third nipples or any nudity.

And I don't want to smell you any more than I want to see you nude.

So aroma is key.

Up in the balcony of The Florida Theatre, it might've smelled like GG Allin's litter box.

But as we had, inexplicably, scored really good seats, we lived it up in the fresh-aired VIP "Nostrilarrarium" of the 10th row of SEC200.

Friends had assured us that the opening act, The Wombats, were great but, quite frankly, the trio came across like the Jonas Brothers with pricey Orange tube amps.

Their songs were quick little poppy-punk nuggets.

They sang some song about Dee Dee Ramone or Johnny Thunders; …   More

Folio A&E

Soaring Space Inspired Soaring Sounds

Folio Weekly: The St. Augustine Music Festival is staged in the St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica. How does that unique venue intersect with festival goals?

SAMF: The festival was actually inspired by the Cathedral space. The founders, Jorge Peña (viola) and Jin Kim-Peña (cello), had played a gig there in 2007 and were blown away by its wonderful acoustics, beautiful architecture and historic significance. Their impression: "This place cries out for classical music performances," just as you see in the historic churches throughout  Europe.

The festival is classical-music focused. How are the pieces selected and arranged for performance over the six days of concerts?

Jorge Peña, founder and artistic director, spends months weighing music choices, and considers many factors. He aims to make each of the six concerts unique, with its own personality. So one concert may feature orchestral music that spotlights a virtuoso guest soloist, another may present intimate chamber ensembles, followed by a concert of lush suites for string orchestra.  He also has to consider SAMF's resources, and which players will be available during the festival. We don't have the budget to do full orchestral concerts every night, and many of Jacksonville's fine musicians are juggling multiple gigs during the summer. He also sets the order of pieces with the dramatic arc of a concert in mind: How do we engage the audience's attention and keep it? Which pieces will make the most of the musical resources, expose the audience to something new,  delight them with something familiar, make a great finale, encourage applause and encores and send the audience home high on music? He filters all of this, and more, and puts together truly remarkable programs of free concerts.

How has the festival evolved since its start?

The festival started with no money, no board of directors, and very few financial supporters. The Peñas gathered their musician …   More