I don't know art, but I know what I like. And I think I like George Zimmerman's latest painting.
It is absolutely brilliant, on an artistic level. The yellow ink on a red backdrop -- evocative of the Chinese flag in its bold use of what in America are condiment colors. The primitivist rendering of the subject, the eyes frozen without soul, the Katherine Harris bangs,the gaudy necklace like a Kool Moe Dee gold chain; this painting lays it all bare like a chicken plucked and slaughtered.
Forget who painted it. If it were Basquiat, you'd feel differently. The style, reminiscent of the brilliant painter and iconoclast, Lee Harvey. Bold strokes used in bold ways to make bold statements.
And the quote up top? Perfectly understated. Sort of, well, at odds with the Zimmerman public persona -- a Travis Bickel figure who fights with trolls on Twitter and creates bizarre publicity stunts and claims that Sean Hannity is the last honest man in national journalism.
He plays a buffoon on TV. But what if he is working us all?
Angela Corey is not a popular politician, though she is effective. She plays hardball, and she doesn't lose. Which is part of the reason she alone among local political figures would merit being the subject of a painting at all, never mind one of this quality and thematic resonance.
I have, of course, some unsourced theories on Zimmerman's paintings. One of them being that there might be no better way for him to launder money than by creating a dummy market for some awful paintings -- like that first one he did, allegedly plagiarized, that still netted $100k.
Brilliant! Never occurred to Aileen Wuornos, Casey Anthony, or Ted Bundy to bring it like that. George Zimmerman's first painting: a dummy shell, intended to establish a market price for anything with his imprimatur. A price for the celebrity that comes with shooting a teenage boy in cold blood because he was getting pummelled by that boy, whom he stalked in …
One of the more interesting local electronic artists on the rise: the enigmatic Shoni, whose sound blends a classic shoegazer sensibility with downtempo beats and an ethereal aesthetic. She has many great things planned for 2014 -- but one more major event planned for 2013: a video release party at Rain Dogs for her new song "Space Bars", available on Spotify.
The video that she will premiere Wednesday evening, she informs Folio, has high production values, reminiscent of a Hype Williams joint. It took two days to shoot, and when Shoni saw it just last night, she tells Folio that "it gave me chills."
The local media was clamoring for an interview with the reclusive Shoni... but Folio Weekly snagged an exclusive, in-depth Q&A. Read on to find out more about the event, her influences, how she creates music, and the Ludacris cover that started off what Shoni fans call Shonimania!
Folio Weekly: Tell us about the event you have at Raindogs 12/18.
Shoni: The Space Bars music video premiere is being hosted at Rain Dogs on Wed, Dec 18. There will also be live performances by Shoni, Ritual Union, and Ascetic (all female-fronted music projects that employ digital instruments).
FW: Why did you pick Rain Dogs for this event?
Shoni: We chose Rain Dogs for the music video premiere because of its relationship to the music and arts scene here in Jacksonville. It’s quickly becoming a haven for members of the local arts community with its open mic nights and intimate appeal. I like the energy there.
FW: What does it mean to “employ digital instruments”? Do all of you have similar sounds?
Shoni: What I and the producers I work with create is music through the medium of technology. Sometime I’ll sit down with an electric guitar and work out chord progressions and sometimes I’ll start my work on a recording program using MIDI inputs. The result …
The bill to award a lease for the old National Guard Armory to the Sons of Confederate Veterans has been withdrawn after several City Council members questioned the ability of the group to raise money for renovations Dec. 10.
City officials estimated repairs to the 98-year-old structure would cost about $9 million.
A lease of the structure had hit a fevered pitch in the past few weeks after a coalition of arts groups also expressed interest in the dilapidated building for an arts center.
The armory was built during World War I and used for military purposes until 1973. Several city offices used the building, but it has been vacant since 2000.
The bill’s sponsor, Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels, withdrew the bill at a meeting on Dec. 10, but she can refile it at any time. If the measure had failed in a vote by the City Council, it could not have been considered again for another year.
Folio Weekly didn’t have to look far to find its next editor. Jeffrey Billman was senior writer and news editor at Orlando Weekly.
Billman has a history of working for alternative newsweeklies. He was news editor at Philadelphia City Paper and has worked as a freelancer. He was also senior editor and writer at-large at Philadelphia Magazine, and has won awards for investigative reporting, feature writing and religion writing.
Billman and his wife, Adri — along with their two dogs, Belle and Sebastian (yes, after the band) — will move to Northeast Florida as soon as they can find a place to live and get their Orlando house on the market.
Billman, who plans to start work sometime in December, invites Folio Weekly readers to get in touch with him on Twitter (@jeffreybillman) and Facebook (facebook.com/jeffreycbillman), or email him (email@example.com), especially if they have tips on where he should live and what he should do when he arrives.
Folio Weekly asked Billman a few questions to help readers get to know him.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, moved to Orlando for college, and ended up staying for a decade, then ended up in Philly, came back to Orlando for year and now Jacksonville.
Where did you go to school?
I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Florida, in journalism and political science/public policy analysis, respectively.
Have you been to Northeast Florida before accepting this job? What do you know about the area?
Truth be told, I have a lot to learn — which is always, to my mind, one of the best parts of moving somewhere new. I’ve driven through Jax on several occasions, and spent a little bit of time here reporting on stories, but there is much to discover.
What interested you about Folio Weekly?
For starters, I’ve been looking for an …
Folio Weekly Editor Denise M. Reagan is going Downtown.
After 18 months of advocating for Downtown Jacksonville and the arts through her columns, Reagan has taken a job as communications manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.
Reagan joined Folio Weekly in July 2012. She focused on increasing the publication’s credibility through tight editing, story choice and distinguishing between news and opinion. She launched the popular Specktator blog by Kerry Speckman (winner of Best of Jax Best Blog), the Bite-sized column by Caron Streibich and the controversial but entertaining Crime City column by Wes Denham.
She helped design and launch a completely revamped folioweekly.com in January 2013, increasing the publication’s reach and readership. The new site includes all of the content from weekly printed issues plus stories, blogs, photo galleries and videos available only online.
Reagan gained a following for her weekly Editor’s Notes, covering timely community issues, politics and the arts; she won an award from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for column writing during her first year.
Her use of social media greatly increased Folio Weekly’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers, engaging them in conversations that often ended up in the printed issues.
Her last day at Folio Weekly is Dec. 6. Her first day at MOCA is Dec. 9. Her last Editor’s Note will appear Dec. 11.
Folio Weekly cover story, “Problems at the Core,” follows proponents and critics in depth as they debate the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Florida’s schools. Yesterday, Florida’s Board of Education voted to allow districts to choose their own teaching methods and materials in line with Gov. Rick Scott’s stated policy of local control for public school curricula. It does not change the standards upon which those curricula are to be based, i.e., CCSS.
The Florida Department of Education adopted CCSS in 2010, began implementing them in 2011, and on Oct. 15 addressed the appendices to the Common Core Compact.
Florida’s Board of Education voted 5-1 to allow local districts to voluntarily decide whether or not they will adopt the Common Core appendices, Florida Times-Union reporter Matt Dixon said. He said an editing error removed the word “appendices” from his story in the Oct. 16 Times-Union. There is no indication at this time that Florida will ditch CCSS, i.e., the goals upon which local curricula will be based.
The appendices would have extended the 45-state Common Core Compact, or memorandum of understanding, to matters going beyond just the standards, or learning benchmarks, into the realm of curriculum. “Standards” are “what” students should learn, while “curricula” are “how” they learn those standards, i.e., by which teaching strategies and course materials. Curriculum matters, proponents have said all along, are to be determined by local districts.
Scott suggested the move toward local district control of curricula in a letter to board chairman Gary Chartrand dated Sept. 23. That same day, Scott declared in an executive order that Florida would withdraw from the 18-state test-development consortium, Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC), and abdicate its position as fiscal agent for …
As a reader, you might only think about Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax twice a year: once when you vote and again when you pick up the issue or go to the website to find out who won.
But here at Folio Weekly’s international headquarters, we’ve been working on Best of Jax for months.
It begins in May when we start compiling the list of categories for the ballot and decide which ones to keep, which ones to cut and which ones to add.
In June, we brainstorm several ideas for themes. This year, our passion for “Game of Thrones” pushed us to pick royalty. At that time, we create a logo for that year’s awards.
In July, we create the online ballot and launch it by the end of the month. While all of you are busy voting in August, we’re searching for models and props to bring our theme to life.
When voting ends, we start tabulating the votes. Because the ballot is open-ended and people can type in anything they want, it takes time to comb through each answer and add it to the appropriate place. It’s a laborious but somewhat humorous task sifting through the creative spellings of Northeast Florida’s favorites. But every vote counts!
Meanwhile, we shoot photos for the cover and topic headers that run inside. We shoot everything in at least two ways so we have different poses for the two Best of Jax issues — this year on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16.
Once we have a list of winners in early September, we assign writers to research and summarize their laurels in individual blurbs. Our staff photographer shoots more than 50 winners in four counties in about three weeks’ time.
Then, we compile and edit all the text and photos into the first and second Best of Jax issues. Once those are designed, proofed and printed, we still have to upload it all online.
We also produce laminated posters and door stickers for winners to hang with pride.
It all seems worth it when we get to celebrate with the winners at the Best of Jax party.
After a few …
Two Folio Weekly readers alerted us to this amusing sign taped to a barricade over a pothole on Oak Street in Riverside Aug. 21.
The sign reads," This pothole has been here almost one year! But we are putting a swimming pool in the stadium?"
“I thought it was pretty funny, so I thought I would share,” wrote Kelly White, a senior account executive at The McCormick Agency. Her office is near the pothole.
John Winkler, president of Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County, also emailed photos of sign he happened to see. He said it was coincidental that First Coast News’ Ken Amaro showed up with a photojournalist at the same time.
“It is the beginning of the great revolt to restore core services and end the circus subsidies — pitchforks and torches cannot be far behind,” he wrote.
Read Folio Weekly’s cover story about the taxpayers' investment in EverBank Field here.
A mixture of local talent and world-renowned experts are scheduled to give talks at the TEDx Jacksonville Connecting Currents event, to be held Oct. 26 on WJCT's sound stage.
Participants include Barbara Colaciello, Jacksonville Beach actor, playwright and storyteller; Hank Coxe, a Jacksonville attorney; Nancy Soderberg, UNF professor and former UN ambassador and White House advisor; Bruce Ganger, executive director of Second Harvest North Florida; Ben Warner, president and CEO of Jacksonville Community Council.
Also, Matt Rutherford, the first person to complete nonstop single-handed voyages around North and South America; former U.S. Rep. Robert Inglis, with the distinction of being uninvited to the Tea Party; TEDGlobal Fellow Aman Mojadidi, an American Southerner born to Afghan parents; Chevara Orrin, a black Jewish mother, activist and survivor who will discuss simple human interaction; Lawanda Ravoira, an expert on challenges girls in the juvenile justice system face; and Patricia Siemen, a Dominican sister and attorney who will discuss the long-term ecological health of the Earth.
Voting has started for an online competition in which the Jacksonville Humane Society is trying to win a $25,000 award.
To vote, go to jaxhumane.org and click on the “Bark the Vote” icon. Voters can vote only once day until Aug. 31 and must have a Facebook account to vote.
The Community Engagement Award is part of the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge in which 49 shelters across the country are competing, according to a news release.
To be considered for a $25,000 Community Engagement Award, a shelter must finish in the top three of the online voting competition.