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the flog

The Stuff of DREAMS


Juliet Fixel has been cutting her teeth in the world of theater since the age of two, and she doesn't show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. With the premier of Freefall Frostbite on Oct. 19-a collaborative effort with her father, the playwright-Fixel has not only found herself in the director's chair, but also taking on the role of producer, choreographer and lead actress-eat your heart out, Daniel-Day Lewis.

Freefall Frostbite is an exploration of our childhood ambitions as they come to fruition as we mature. Set outside a nightclub in New York on New Year's Eve, Steven and his girlfriend Sharon-played by Fixel-are denied access to said club and are set upon by homeless people looking for things to burn for warmth. As their world comes crashing in around them, they begin to realize what they have always wanted may not be as they imagined.

A daughter of Jacksonville and now the adopted child of NYC, just like the timeless Johnny Cash put it, "[She's] been everywhere, man." Fixel runs her own choreography studio, has taught theater at Nease High School and manages the NYC Karaoke League-all while being a self-proclaimed Scrabble master.

The story of her adventure from Northeast Florida to the Big Apple and now to the director's chair, is almost as theatrical as her work. Fixel was kind enough to sit down for a phone interview and talk about her upcoming production. Here are some highlights.


How did you get your start in theater?

I was definitely enrolled in dance classes from the time that I was two and my family is just very theatrical, but the choice to do theater was actually my own. My sister did a little theater, but I remember she told me when I was going into high school, "You can't do theater, you won't be popular." [Laughing] I didn't listen. My mom actually became a theater teacher after I started doing theater in high school. So, I kind of got my whole family into theater. My dad was …   More

the flog

White Nationalists and Thanksgiving

It's been a busy week at good ol' UNF. Apart from the usual, students running around like headless chickens, scrambling, with lukewarm coffee and stale bagel in hand, to get those last few assignments in before Thanksgiving, some more racist shmucks have to go and gum up the works. As we head out of the library and various classes for the final time before we return from Thanksgiving break, a wonderful surprise awaits us on Monday, Nov. 20 at 8:30 a.m.-a possible White Nationalist rally. *a collective groan registers on a Richter Scale in California*

Self-proclaimed White Nationalist and former KKK member Ken Parker (a UNF student) was  officially suspended from all school activities earlier this week. In support of their fallen brother-isn't it nice seeing friends come together for a cause? Just warms the heart-White Nationalist supporters are calling for a march on campus. Gene Thorson, a known supporter of the White Nationalist movement-put up the call to action on his own Facebook page following the suspension; in his own words:

One of our brothers in Florida is under attack by the leftist scum. He us [sic] currently suspended from the school he was attending and come Monday morning he may not be a student at university of northern [sic] Florida because of his affiliations in the white nationalist. There will be a protest/rally on Monday @0830 at them that we stand UNITED!!!

The suspension in question came as a response to Parker's posting a comment and selfie to UNF's Spinnaker News Facebook page. In the selfie, he's seen holding a large rifle and sporting Nazi/Klan tattoos-seems like a swell, level-headed guy. The official letter from UNF President John Delaney states that Parker was suspended due to the fact that he had caused a disturbance within the university community.

At least one class had been cancelled because students and faculty felt threatened by Parker's comments and picture. Parker responded to that action, saying, …   More

The Flog

You'll FLOAT, too … right on down to the movie theater

After lurking in the shadows of our minds for 27 years, Stephen King’s IT reaches the light, as the story is once again brought to life through film.

Though many people think the 1990 TV show is “the” cinematic telling of the story, comparing the new to the old does a bit of a disservice to both versions. Even if collective nostalgic tendencies pull in a certain ’90s direction, it's probably best to look at the two films as separate entities. If a comparison is needed, compare the new film to the true source: the book.

Like many stories that have come from Stephen King, takes place in Derry, Maine—a fictional town that has ties to many of King’s literary works. For most of its history, Derry has been plagued by a series of strange cases of missing children that happen every 27 years. The children are never found and are seemingly forgotten as missing children posters are posted, one on top of the other.

In 1988, Derry is again struck with a string of unexplainable cases and thus begins the present story. Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), little brother to the main character Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), vanishes one rainy day and Bill investigates what may have happened.

Time passes, and it's suddenly 1989 and school has been let out for the summer. As more children go missing, Bill and his friends (The Losers Club) begin to suspect that there may be something more sinister going on than first imagined.

An ancient and demonic entity has awakened from a 27-year slumber and has begun, once again, to prey upon the children of Derry. To spare the town from a fate to which so many others have already succumbed, The Losers Club must face the monster—along with their own personal demons.

IT is not only an effective piece of horror fiction, it's a beautiful and, at times, all too familiar, coming-of-age story. The familiar angst and nervousness of growing up is ever present as the characters …   More



Update: I tweaked the headline, after Councilman Lumb objected that it was misleading: “I think it was pretty clear that I wasn't objecting that the Cultural Council defended MOCA, I objected to how they went about it.” 

Just when you thought #MOCAgate (or were we calling it #boobygate?) was over, here’s this:

Robin Lumb is not a happy camper. This afternoon, he fired off an email to Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville board members, chiding the Cultural Council for not knowing its place. Their crime, it seems, was #standingwithmoca — or specifically, for criticizing Clay Yarborough, our Great Moral Compass, who declared that a picture of a naked pregnant lady reclining on a couch was pornography that would corrupt THE CHILDREN and demanded that the mayor defund the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. (The mayor refused, citing First Amendment issues.)

Yarborough, of course, has been the subject of much derision, both here and nationwide. In The New York Times, the photographer/pornographer(?) in question, Angela Strassheim, quipped that maybe he hadn’t seen enough porn to know what porn really was. At Art Walk last night, a good-sized crowd mocked him with signs like “Ban Boobs from City Hall” (see image above). And in this mag’s pages this week, we wondered what artistic masterpieces would look like if they had to abide by Yarborough’s standards of decency.

We all had a good laugh. 

Councilman Lumb was not laughing. 

When he learned that the Cultural Council had email-blasted a plea for support for MOCA, saying Yarborough’s campaign was “unfortunate and could be viewed as an effort to stifle artistic expression” and linking to a number of anti-Yarborough pieces that had appeared in the local media, ours included, he wrote to “express my profound disappointment with the conduct of the Cultural Council in this matter as evinced by the …   More


The SPIRIT of the Season

Tis the season for giving! Ordinarily we like to poke fun of, well, everything, but in the spirit of the season, we're taking a break from all that sarcasm to bring you this handy-dandy list of events, charities and more so you can get into the spirit by doing good deeds - that or just work your way off that "naughty" list.


FIRST COAST AIDS WALK. The eighth annual walk is held at 10 a.m. (registration at 9 a.m.) on Nov. 19 at Riverside Avenue Christian Church, 2841 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, 389-1751, Proceeds benefit local organizations and primarily support the Hitzing Fund, designed to provide photo identification and documentation necessary for healthcare services for low-income HIV clients.

TOYS FOR TOTS/19TH STREET CHARITIES POKER RUN. The Sons of the Beaches hold this third annual run 8 a.m. Nov. 19, starting at FRA Branch 290, Mayport Road. A raffle, silent auction, barbecue and live music by Highway Jones are featured. $20 per bike, $10 per passenger. Details, 866-1165, 237-5277,

FEED THE CITY. The 22nd annual event is held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 20 at Clara White Mission, 613 W. Ashley St., Downtown; for details, call 354-4162 or go to

CHRISTMAS ON THE RIVER. The COA’s annual fundraiser is held 5-8 p.m. Nov. 20 at River House, 179 Marine St., St. Augustine. The Festival of Wreaths, featuring one-of-a-kind wreaths hand-crafted and donated to the COA by local garden clubs, florists, 4-H’ers and Master Gardeners and a silent auction and a wine tasting are featured. Proceeds benefit COA’s programs. 209-3687,

JOHNSON FAMILY PRAYER BREAKFAST. The annual breakfast is held at 9 a.m. Nov. 17 at Johnson Family YMCA, 5700 Cleveland Rd., Jacksonville. Tickets are $15 per person. For more info, call 765-3589 or go to

BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK. ServPro holds its second annual Fancy Pants Golf Tournament 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18 at …   More


HOPE Amid Ruin

“He went from an amazing musician and a trusted friend of hundreds of people, to a liar and a thief and would do anything for his next fix,” said Ryan Heath of his friend Scott Brandle.

Brandle, like thousands of other people in Northeast Florida, died from a heroin overdose. And like so many who grieve, Heath hopes to find meaning in his friend’s death. But not just Brandle’s death—according to Heath, the former musician is only among the most recent in a string of deaths that have touched Heath’s circle of friends. “I’ve easily known 16 that have died since the pain pill clinics started up in the late ’90s,” he said; of that number, seven have died in the past two years.

On Aug. 26, Heath and his very musically connected friend, Order by Chaos bandmember David Rowe, host Kickfest, a music festival organized to raise funds and awareness for the opioid epidemic in Northeast Florida. All of the funds raised, explains Heath, will go to help fund a pilot program for new treatment strategies with St. Vincent’s Riverside, Gateway Community Services and River Region Human Services: Dr. Raymond Pomm’s treatment program for opioid addiction at River Region treatment center. Pomm is medical director at River Region and Gateway Services.

“This isn't a problem just for ‘druggie junkie losers’ anymore,” said Heath. “This is happening to politicians, judges, cops, firemen, lawyers, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers […] I can go on and on and on.”

As a firefighter, Heath has experience with the drug problem in a way that few do (though he said he's dealt mostly with cocaine overdoses). He talked about how paramedic friends of his regularly respond to desperate calls to administer Narcan, and give CPR to near-lifeless forms. His said these stories and his own experiences have shown him that “there’s a false belief that heroin addicts as …   More


The Minutiae of INDIGNITY

Watching a Very Smart Brothas segment on Darth Beckys and Darth Susans (problematic, appropriative woman) the parallel between Christian--the lead character played by Cleas Bang in Ruben Östlund’s new Palme d’Or-winning film, The Square is clear. Christian, as the slimly handsome director of the X-Royal Museum in Sweden is consumed with a seeming harmless strain of insular narcissism that is gradually reveled to be something much more corrosive.

Östlund, whose credits include the critically lauded Play and Involuntary, co-wrote those movies with Erik Hemmendorff, but for The Square he is the sole auteur. And as he has previously done, he exhibits a willingness to craft sly, gorgeous, uncomfortable, scenes that cast the characters not just in an unflattering light, but a light that reveals who--at their core--they are. The result is the revelation that Christian is kind of a smug, lazy coward who “thinks an awful lot of himself,” in part because he is surrounded by a life and objects of excruciatingly good (reserved and nuanced) taste to prove it.

The plot of The Square ostensibly is very simple: museum director Christian has a new installation that he needs to generate publicity and buzz for. The piece, titled The Square is a square of space--outlined on the ground in the museum’s cobbled courtyard (formerly the spot upon which a “noble” horse and rider bronze statute stood upon a plinth) with a strip of lights. It is supposed to be a tiny arena: “a sanctuary of trust and caring ... within it we all share equal rights and obligations.” Though that’s a noble goal—and reminiscent of Marina Abromovic’s Rhythm 0 and Roman Ondák’s Swap, it’s hard to quantify, especially when the marketing dudes get involved.

It is thus, in the wake of the totally tacky publicity scheme, that Christian’s life takes a few turns that really are the …   More

Trying EVERYTHING, Trying Nothing

The movie short Susanna begs viewers to immerse themselves through a series of glossy, fashionable vignettes into the titular character's life. Written by Victoria Dieffenbacher, directed by Michel Jaumin and shot on location in Jacksonville, the movie takes stylistic cues from Nocturnal Animals, The September Issue and, to a lesser extent, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Susanna (Susanna Nelson): young, blonde, Caucasian and beautiful, is always clad in the sartorial equivalent of le mot juste; her wardrobe edges toward glamour and signifies very specific things, from the carefree halter-dress of courtship to the modest but exquisite lace dress of establishment loneliness, to a Grecian-style peignoir for swanning about the house. It is heterosexual drag writ anodyne and suburban-a polished platinum dream-version of a have-it-all-ish life complete with a model-ish career in fashion.

Therein is the rub. The film feels ambiguous: The viewer is never certain if empathy or sympathy is the correct emotional response; or, if like so much glossy but unattainable/sustainable imagery, we are being asked to merely witness the deliberate staging of a life prettily pouted through. There is one scene that offers emotional depth-and so gives more insight into the titular character is as she is "listening" to her friends. Amid the hubbub of what can only be well-intentioned and highly gesticulated advice, one friend-played by actor Suzi West-gazes at Susanna as if she is a younger version of herself while silently seeming to say, "you pay for the material happiness in this life with dissatisfaction and sadness." It the most affective pause in the film, filled with fleeting bitter sweetness.

Susanna has recently been selected for screening at this year's Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, United Kingdom; it was also selected for the International Fashion Film Festival in Brussels, Belgium; and is being screened here in Jacksonville, 6 p.m. Oct. 5, DeLO …   More


It’s been about three weeks since the United States elected businessman-turned-demagogue Donald J. Trump as our leader. There have been protests, Facebook rants and one article after another asking, “How could this have happened?”

But at the University of North Florida, students have remained largely unaffected. Campus remained clear of campaign signs, except for Election Day when Trump/Pence signs were lined up along the Kernan Blvd. entrance and the day President Obama paid us a visit. After Obama's speech, signs reading “I’m with Her” and “Do the Most Good” littered dorm hallways and students' bedroom windows.

“The mood on campus after the election was not noticeably different,” said civil engineering student Brandon Diaz. “I really don’t believe anything will change for us, at least not for a while.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, many Trump supporters “came out of the closet.” Students could finally sport Trump t-shirts, slap a “Trump/Pence 2016” sticker on their Yeti Tumblers and wear those lovely red hats.

“I am willing to give him a chance partially because he’s backtracking on many of the policies he was hardcore about during the campaign,” said history major John McCrone. “His new policy ideas like a ban on lobbying in Washington sound good, but I’m concerned about all of the cabinet and staff picks." 

Students seem displeased about the white nationalist and anti-gay personnel Trump has surrounded himself with, but largely remain either indifferent or optimistic. “I see people just going about their normal lives,” said student Russell Fidler. “People in the [on-campus] game room are still the same, and I am personally indifferent to the outcome of the election.”

On Nov. 14, UNF president and former Jacksonville mayor John Delaney sent an email to students, staff and faculty urging …   More

the flog

LOVE Your Library

In the ever-evolving age of technology society now finds itself, it is important to remember why it all began: a need for communication. If you want to get technical, perhaps you could say it was the cave paintings of our Neanderthal ancestors or the great Rosetta Stone of Ptolemy that brought us language, and you would be absolutely correct. But, for most of what we consider modern history, it boils down to one thing: paper. Roll it up and call it a scroll, or bind it with leather and call it a book. Walking into a library or bookstore is akin to entering a temple or cathedral, lets us experience the  the peak of nostalgia. An almost reverential silence is palpable, and the familiar scent of paper-from magazines, books, newspapers, comics, 'zines-hits, opening a floodgate of memories. We figuratively (or literally, truth be told) embrace the volumes as if we're greeting old friends.

Paper by itself can't do much, but add some ideas, a lot of words, a few characters and a plot, then you have a story. Whether you're recording the inner workings of an atom, playing out a drama set in the Antebellum South or thrilling with the tale of a lone astronaut living off nothing but potatoes on Mars-thanks for that one, Andy Weir-it's important to remember that for every one of these stories, there's a reader, an audience.

Technology is great, fantastic even. If you want, you can buy and sell books on Amazon or browse the selection of books at the local library, all from the comfort of your couch and Slanket. But there really isn't anything else like crossing the threshold of an actual library. Forgive the romanticism and cliché, but a trip to the library is probably the cheapest vacation you can take. For nothing but the fact that you have a "local" address, you have instantaneous access to the minds and thoughts of thousands-if not millions-of people who decided that knowledge and creativity are worth being recorded in the lexicon of human …   More