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THE FLOG

Run, Eddie, Run

“I’m now in a forest, walking alone.”

It’s a strange thing Eddie Izzard said to me. It was the last thing he said before he hung up the phone. I don’t know if he meant it metaphorically or if he was literally walking in a forest the entire time we were talking.

I suppose most people would take that statement at face value, as it is fairly straightforward. However, after talking to Izzard—a dynamo standup comedian, deep-thinking author, maniac marathon runner and cross-dressing politico—I thought it might be possible that he may have been referring to his journey through this crazy world, or his upcoming tour (which hits Jacksonville on Oct. 10).

Izzard is an enigma in today’s instant gratification and fast satisfaction culture. He is a deep, deep thinker who peddles in theories about where we are going as a society, whilst his contemporaries smash watermelons and tell fart jokes (both great qualities in their own right). Izzard can wax poetic about the tract of human civilization as comfortably on a stage as a Cambridge professor. He could also run 27 marathons in 27 days as a salute to Nelson Mandela and his fight for freedom. Izzard, an accomplished author, actor, standup comedian and, potentially, future MP (Member of Parliament) recently took time away from, I guess, waltzing through the woods, to talk to us about his love for language, acting opposite Dame Judy Dench and the difference between Boy Mode and Girl Mode.

 

Folio Weekly: What about the world is funny right now?

Eddie Izzard: That’s an interest question because I don’t think I work that way. What I do is think about what's funny about the future and what's funny about the past. I tend not to go into right-this-very-moment, Trump-this and Boris Johnson-that. I don’t do that because I find it changes too often. I’m very driven and very lazy at the same time, which is kind of weird, but it seems to work for …   More

THE FLOG

A Night of Soulful High Energy

On Sunday, Sept. 30, Jacksonville welcomed two chart-topping musicians to Daily’s Place: Darius Rucker and Russell Dickerson. They were greeted by a sold-out crowd of all ages as they belted out their hits before an enthusiastic crowd.

As the sun went down, Dickerson kicked off the concert singing his mega-hits tunes, such as “Billions,” “Every Little Thing” and “Twenty Something.” His contagious energy fired up the music lovers as he went around the stage, slapping fans’ hands and throwing out guitar picks to a few ecstatic attendees.

As the new guy in country music, he had an eclectic mashup of rap, country and punk-rock, punctuated with his less-than-perfect dance moves and seemingly sincere efforts to please the ladies.

By the time headliner Darius Rucker (no, he is not Hootie) took the stage, Daily’s Place was packed and in a frenzy. He jumped right in, giving us what we wanted: “Homegrown Honey,” “Radio” and “Southern State of Mind.”

Rucker exhibited his amazing talents as he worked the crowd. The dude's got the ability to switch genres flawlessly, delighting all with one of his past hits, “Time,” a hit when he was the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish. Rucker started his country music career in 2008. In just one year, he had the hit “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” which spent three weeks topping the country charts in 2009. Rucker has been delivering hit songs ever since and he definitely left a very good lasting impression on Northeast Florida concert-goers that night.

After the show, fan Jane Chefan, who attended with her husband Jeff, gushed, “Seeing Darius Rucker was a huge treat for us. We know and love his songs and he definitely didn’t disappoint! He and the band delivered a soulful yet high-energy and feel-good performance. The evening was truly outstanding.”

Sure, it's a little surreal to …   More

The Flog

Questions of Racial “Sensitivity” Cloud Selection of Interim Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

“If push comes to shove, we will go without an interim executive director,” said Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville (CCGJ) Board Chair Ann Carey on Sept. 17. It was close to the end of a long and surprisingly painful meeting.

On June 15 CCGJ Executive Director Tony Allegretti resigned. Originally his plan was to remain with the organization until Dec. 28; three weeks ago, he moved his departure date up to Sept. 28. That put a lot of pressure on the board to find an interim director.

By the afternoon of Sept. 14, that person was looking to very likely be current City Council hopeful Michael Boylan, who is running to succeed term-limited Matt Schellenberg in District 6. As the former head of local NPR affiliate WJCT, he has the qualities, resume and connections the CCGJ is looking for. After Florida Politics reported that he was being considered for the position, the meeting was convened to discuss Boylan as possible interim CEO.

At that meeting, board member JaMario Stills raised concerns that in the past Boylan had made disparaging comments about women and people of color, comments that Stills said he would “rather not provide explicit quote because it is embarrassing.” Stills did say, however, that the statements he was privy to were “enough information to make me feel that this would be a very bad move,” he said.

Following that meeting, Boylan categorically denied the charges to Folio Weekly, saying, “I guess I’m at a loss, quite honestly as to what to say […] I don’t ever recall a specific situation...my frustration [is that] my actions speak louder than my words. I have a history of providing support to the women on my staff, to people of color not only in the organization but outside of it as well...so I just think it’s being unfortunately used as a means of impeding my opportunity to help…. And I don’t know what the real rationale for it is.”

Boylan also …   More

the flog

Recombinant Flow

Released by Verve Records in late summer, 1999, Michael Brecker’s Time Is of the Essence was probably the last great jazz album of the 20th century. A leading figure in jazz fusion, Brecker (1949-2007) appeared on more than 700 albums, including sideman gigs with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell and Lou Reed. His sixth solo record included organist Larry Goldings, Pat Metheny on guitar and three different drummers: Bill Stewart, Jeff “Tain” Watts and the legendary Elvin Jones.

With his most famous album approaching its 20th anniversary, Brecker’s legacy is being celebrated anew by a quartet featuring fellow tenor Seamus Blake, in town for a mini-tour of the Southeast, bookended by spots at Jacksonville University–the school’s jazz education program is running interesting shows all week. Blake has played on nearly 100 albums in the last 25 years, including nearly two dozen recorded as a leader for really sweet boutique labels like Fresh Sound and Criss Cross Jazz; he even did a set for Smalls Live in 2009.

Blake is joined on this run by three of the region’s most decorated jazzmen. Guitarist Barry Greene has been playing and teaching all over the Southeast for decades, releasing seven albums while a professor at University of North Florida. His influence can be felt in two generations of working musicians, including his bandmates. Organist Scott Giddens and drummer Ben Adkins work together regularly as part of The Raisin Cake Orchestra, one of the best jazz groups anywhere in the world. A professor at JU, Giddens leads his own trio and has performed with people like “Sweets” Edison, Bunky Green, Diane Schuur and Joe Lovano. Adkins has logged sideman stints with Dave Douglas, Marcus Roberts, Marcus Printup and Wynton Marsalis. His award-nominated debut album, Salmagundi, was released last year, and the much-anticipated first Raisin Cake record is …   More

the flog

VOTE in Best of Jax

Voting in Best of Jax is LIVE here! Don't let your favorites (and least favorites) think you forgot about them. Vote today, vote tomorrow, vote every day through midnight, Oct. 12.

Better yet, one lucky voter will win $500 from yours truly! Who loves ya, baby?! We do!   More

the flog

Going Uphill with Grace

“People don’t become highly successful accidentally,” said Michael Huyghue, former executive for the Jacksonville Jaguars, at the signing for his new book.

Huyghue (pronounced “hewg”) spoke at length about his new book Behind the Line of Scrimmage: Inside the Front Office of the NFL in the St. Johns Town Center Barnes & Noble on Aug. 28.

With his dream in tow, Huyghue walked readers through the path he took to where he is today. His story begins growing up in sports, but always eyeing something beyond the bright lights and adulating fans.

“I didn’t want to catch touchdowns, I wanted to be the one to hand the trophy over at the Super Bowl,” said Huyghue as he detailed his journey and shared behind-the-scenes details.

A receptive crowd listened as Huyghue explained not only that his dream differed from the goals of the children around him, but his journey was not a road often traveled by individuals who look like him.

He talked about the section in the book where he finally got into the NFL space. He could tell immediately he was something of an anomaly. He started out as a lawyer for the NFL and was the youngest and only African American individual in the office. As a result, he was handed the worst cases and worked out of a closet space. A small smile emerged as he told the captive audience that, rather than curse his circumstances, he took those cases and worked as hard as possible. Eventually, his hard work would be recognized and he began to make a name for himself.

The book is filled with other tiny victories like that, as well as failures along the way, that contributed to build Huyghue as a husband, father and overall individual. The theme of racism and classism is ever-pervasive throughout the book, but he doesn’t think race, though key, is the overlaying theme of the book.

“This isn’t a book about African Americans, it's a book about goals,” said Huyghue.

His …   More

The Flog

Water on the Brain

Northeast Florida made national news last September, as images of flooding from Hurricane Irma were a fixture of every network, and those pictures will feature prominently in the local narrative for years to come. A new exhibit at Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville puts this damage in the broader context of climate change and decaying infrastructure, which is wreaking havoc across the planet. “Gideon Mendel: Drowning World” opens on Aug. 30 for members, and runs through Dec. 9.

Mendel began the project in 2007, with photos of floods that occurred in the United Kingdom and India that summer. According to the press release, “Deeply struck by the contrasting impacts of these floods and the vulnerability that united their victims, Mendel continued to visit and photograph flood zones throughout the world, including places such as Haiti, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.” And now, add Jacksonville to that list.

“The works that Gideon has produced from that time are powerful reminders of the human tragedy of flooding,” says MOCA Director Caitlin Doherty, “and place our community right at the heart of not only a global contemporary art project but, more significantly, at the heart of a contemporary dialogue about our changing climate, rising floodwaters and the environmental challenges that we are all charged with solving.” Seeing the visual evidence of last year’s hurricane season while in the midst of this year’s hurricane season creates a juxtaposition that is uncomfortable, but necessary.

Hosting this exhibit locally was a priority for Doherty, who took over as director in 2017, shortly before the start of hurricane season. “I first saw some of Gideon’s work on display as part of a group exhibition many years ago,” she says. “I curated an exhibition of his work at the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU, while I was serving as senior curator …   More

community news

Man’s Best Friend: Banned from the Brewery

This story has been updated.

_________

Beer drinkers might be in for a surprise the next time they head to their local brewery or bottle shop—their canine friends aren’t allowed.

Dogs have become as common a sight in breweries as IPAs, but a rarely enforced Florida Administrative Code is putting the practice to an end. Jacksonville Beach-based brewery, Green Room Brewing, brought attention to the issue in a Facebook post Thursday.

The rule, Florida Administrative Code 64E-11.008 (8), states:

"Live birds and animals–No live birds or animals except for crustacea, shellfish and fish in aquariums shall be allowed in a food service establishment, in vehicles used for transporting food or in any other area or facility used to conduct food service operations; except as provided under Section 413.08, F.S."

While most breweries don’t sell food, the same code defines food as “any raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice beverage or ingredient used or intended for use in whole, or in part, for human consumption.”

In other words—beer.

“It does suck that people can’t bring their furry friends anymore,” Mark Stillman, the owner of Green Room Brewing, told Folio Weekly. “Most places don’t allow them already, so why not have a place where you can drink a couple beers and have a good time with them?”

He responded by starting a petition on Change.org that has attracted more than 14,000 signatures at the time of publication.

“We got the notice on Monday and it took me a minute to decide what to do,” Stillman said. “We tried to look for ways around it, but it didn’t look like they would go well, so we felt it was time to let the public know. So we made the petition but we’re also encouraging people to call their state officials and the Health Department.”

Stillman also contacted local officials to request a variance, a waiver …   More

the flog

Circuit, Breaking

As Northeast Florida sees continued growth in its established entertainment districts, there has been a commensurate upturn for various alternative performance spaces–warehouses, back alleys, rooftops and other little nooks and crannies across this almost impossibly large region. One of the cooler such developments in the past year has been Bold City Circuit, which has endeavored to showcase a new generation of singer-songwriters in the most intimate of settings. We’ve covered a couple of those acts (Dylan Gerard and Fort Defiance) here before.

“We typically look to create a diverse show by combining versatile acts,” says impresario Dennis Negrin, who launched the series in June. “We know musicians who know musicians, and it’s been great.” The sixth show on Sunday night features three acts who’ve been on local radars for a while now, starting with Duval’s own Chelsey Michelle Duo, who opened for Fort Defiance here on April 5. Michelle’s been a regular presence at places like Prohibition Kitchen and Blue Jay Listening Room, and partner Chris Underdal is one of the most interesting young guitarists working anywhere today.

They will be followed by the Tumbling Wheels, a rollicking quintet out of New Orleans whose style straddles genres like a hobby-horse, incorporating elements of roots, folk, blues and country. “They have a pretty unique sound,” says Negrin, “but you could say they take the sounds of Bessie Smith and the Smothers Brothers and put their own twang and indie-spin on it.”

Their debut album, The Tumbling Wheels Play the No Counts, was released in 2016 on United Bakery Records, a label named after a now-defunct gallery and performance space that helped galvanize a big chunk of the New Orleans scene, including the band itself. (The Wheels also featured on the label comp, which is certainly worth hearing in its own right.) The album’s 12 tracks maintain …   More

the flog

Help Is ON the Way

Millen, Georgia is a small place. Situated about 80 miles from Savannah, there isn’t much to it. A city of about 3,500 folks (I’d call that a town), Millen has produced two noteworthy people (per Wikipedia): two former governors (yawn). It may be time to update that portion of the Wikipedia page. “Kountry” Wayne Collier is now the most famous person ever from Millen, Georgia. Collier–who uses the stage name Kountry Wayne–is equal parts entrepreneur and comedian. He has amassed legions of followers with his online videos, focusing on the quirks of family life and everyday craziness, and doing so without “going blue.” Collier is a quick study, and although he has been practicing the art of standup for only a short time, Collier has already toured the world, and is coming back to Jacksonville at The Comedy Zone for a five-show stand on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The City Council of Millen (or whatever governing body it has) would be proud. “It’s a small town,” explains Collier. “Some things I miss, some things I don’t. I know about the world now, though.”

“I was doing my thing in music and then, one day, I started playing around with comedy on the internet and it just went to a whole other level,” explains Collier. “I started making videos and then suddenly I had a ton of followers. The comedy took over; it felt so natural. I always thought I would be on stage and travel the world–I just figured it would be doing music.” Music’s loss is comedy’s gain, as Collier has been working his butt off, touring the nation and world. And though Collier started in music, he's always had comedic influences as well. “I always loved Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor,” explains Collier. And those guys are and were hilarious, but Collier plays it a little differently. “I do clean comedy,” explains Collier. “I was cursing in my act …   More