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Something for Everyone

Upon entering a Jacksonville Giants basketball game, spectators are greeted with something unique for a minor league sports team: a professional sports experience.

In spite of not having players of the highest caliber, the team's play, orchestrated by head coach Kevin Waters, is fast-paced and exciting, as well as consistently better than the opposition.

The value of the event is increased substantially by the entertainment outside of the actual game. With top class dancing and cheerleading, big money giveaways, and hilarious fan-featuring contests, the Giants have put together a spectacle that has helped make them one of the most successful franchises in minor league basketball.

The Giants came to town in 2010 as an expansion team in the American Basketball Association, an 84-team, 14-division league whose diminutive size casts a semi-serious light on the franchise.

This wasn't Jacksonville's first attempt at hosting a basketball team, nor its first rodeo with the ABA. The Jacksonville JAM were founded in 2006 and played in the ABA through 2008, when they joined the Premier Basketball League and started playing games at the University of North Florida. The team had grandiose plans to move on to play in Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, but did not survive past the 2008 season.

Determined not to follow in JAM’s disappointing footsteps, when team founder and owner Ron Sholes brought the Giants to the city in 2010, he made a point of using a professional marketing strategy that included immediately signing a contract to play in Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

The team took very little time to become successful, winning the ABA Championship in 2012 and again in 2013.

This professional model taken on early by the team may be one of the reasons for their local popularity and success. They currently hold the record for the highest regular season game attendance in ABA history, have their home games broadcast on local television …   More

Folio Weekly Magazine's EXCLUSIVE Interview with THE PRESIDENT

You probably already know that the president was in town last week; but you didn’t know that Folio Weekly Magazine scored an exclusive interview. That’s right, we’ve got that kind of clout. Before you ask why it took us this long to post this because, like, that was so last week, we are an alt weekly, folks, not the New York Times (also our fact checker was on strike*).

Okay, we actually scored an interview with the co-president. 

This is our exclusive interview with the incredibly charming, energetic and word-and-world-wise Tatiana Saleh, co-president of the Spoken Word Club at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and community outreach coordinator of Élan literary magazine. We interviewed Saleh in the midst of the beautiful frenzy of creativity being showcased at the March Art Walk in Downtown Jacksonville.

We owe a special thanks to the Teen Advisory Board at the Jacksonville Public Library for serving our community by getting teens involved in their local libraries and for graciously helping us coordinate this interview.

(The interview is lightly edited for length and readability.)

Folio Weekly Magazine: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself:

Tatiana Saleh: I'm 18 years old, a senior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. I'm the eldest of five girls. I’m half black, half Hispanic. Been at D.A. studying creative writing for the past four years.

FWM: How long have you been co-president of the Spoken Word Club? 

T.S.: I became a member last year, co-president this year.

FWM: How did you feel when you became co-president?

T.S.: Responsible in the sense that when I was just a member of the club, it was just about what I wanted to say… Now it’s about helping others say what they want to say… Before Spoken Word I was really nervous speaking in public; I credit the club with being able to speak in public.

FWM: What do you do at …   More

The Flog Poll

The Flog Poll (Tuesdays with Drumpf Edition)


After last week, we were left wondering if both South Carolina winners were destined to be the nominees. Republicans, for their part, were freaking out. In the venomous, yet incisive way that is his calling card, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi articulated the Republicans' conundrum (Republicandrum?) thusly:

“It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go.”

Facing the very real prospect that “a half-bright con man” might be their nominee, the Republican party establishment, now well aware of the fact that the electorate they spent the last eight years roiling doesn’t actually give a shit about Adam Smith or his Invisible Hand, were scrambling to get their guy Rubio to meet Trump on his own terms. At the CNN debate in Texas, the Florida Senator made valiant attempts to expose the real estate mogul as the huckster he is, taking Trump to task on the pyramid-scheme-ish sounding Trump University and suggesting that, if it wasn’t for his daddy’s money, The Donald would be “selling watches in Manhattan.” Rubio’s adopted insult-first-apologize-never strategy seemed to reach an inconceivable low when, at a rally in Virginia on Sunday, he hinted that his rival might have a small penis. Months ago I predicted in the pages of FWM, that Trump, while he wouldn’t win the nomination, would push the Republican party’s rhetoric in a much nastier direction. Hey, one outta two ain’t bad!


But, unsurprisingly to anyone who has seen an episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, the most prescient takedown of the Republican frontrunner for President belonged to comedian John Oliver. If you’ve been on the Internets at all in the last few days, …   More


On March 5, the 14th annual Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival comes back home. After having outgrown the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts campus, where the festival began in the late 1990s, the last several festivals have been hosted at the University of North Florida, but with the $13 million expansion of Douglas Anderson’s campus, completed this year, the festival’s organizers decided it was high time to bring the festival home.

In the 20 years since its founding, the event has brought scores of the highest caliber writers to Jacksonville, including Billy Collins, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood and Richard Ford.

This year’s headliner is Andre Dubus III, best known for his best-selling novel “House of Sand and Fog,” upon which the 2003 film featuring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley was based. Poets like Richard Blanco and William Trowbridge and fiction writers Tom Paine and Ron Carlson are offering Saturday workshops.

The 2016 festival, which features 17 writers, is the work of three D.A. creative writing teachers — Liz Flaisig, Tiffany Melanson, and Jennifer Bundy — and is funded largely by the school’s creative writing booster club.

Poet and creative writing teacher Melanson says that bringing the festival home allows the school to showcase its achievements to the community. In that way, it performs a role similar to D.A.’s Extravaganza, the annual showcase of music, writing, dance, cinematic arts, and visual arts that packs the house at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts each February.

Unlike Extravaganza, though, Melanson says the writers’ festival may have lost community understanding of its connection with the school when it was held at UNF.

Though the festival has featured some of the best-known American writers, it bills itself as “a student literary festival,” offering D.A. students a true immersion in literary arts.

Creative …   More




It has been too cold this week for gopher tortoises to climb out of their burrows, but when the weather warms up Tania Monserrate expects to see the critters inching across the sand between her house and the dunes surrounding Ft. Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach.

At least she hopes they’ll be there.

A three-story house is being built on the lot next door and Monserrate, who is expecting earthmovers to arrive any day now, says there is no turtle protection plan; she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to check.

“Nobody gives me a straight answer or can tell me if they’re following the rules,” Monserrate says. “Spring is coming and the babies are coming. And now guys with construction trucks are going to dig and fill and bury the turtles.”

Monserrate, who worked as kindergarten teacher, says a FWC law enforcement officer visited the site this week and flagged a gopher tortoise hole on the property.

But, she says, “I haven’t seen any measuring of the burrows. It’s frustrating.”

Long-lived, inland creatures who build deep, complex burrows in dry, sandy upland areas, the gopher tortoise is indigenous to the southeastern United States. 

Over the years, development has decimated the gopher tortoise. Today it is categorized as threatened on the endangered species list. Most remaining members of the species live in Florida.

FWC rules say that construction must take place at least 25 feet away from an active burrow and that the gopher tortoises within 25 feet of construction must be removed. Monserrate says the burrows next door are well within 25 feet of the proposed building site.

Monserrate turned to the internet for help, posting the situation on Facebook and contacting Amelia Island EarthKeepers, a grassroots group of environmentalists with ties to the St. Marys Earthkeepers in Georgia. The group took swift action to try to …   More

The Flog

The FLOG POLL (Hug it out edition)

Hug it out, Bitch

Like tax cuts and a heavy predilection for horse ballet, dirty tricks have become a Republican Primary tradition in the Palmetto State. South Carolina is, after all, where Karl Rove and W. trashed John McCain with their now infamous whisper campaign.

So it was understandable, after a week of foaming malice, that some Republicans were taxed emotionally (albeit at the lowest effective rate).  After the big guns – specifically his mother, Babs, and big brother, Mr. “Mission Accomplished” – failed to help Jeb! earn more than 8 percent of the vote, the prodigal son of the Bush family tearfully dropped out of the race.  The outright dismissal of baby Bush by the Republican electorate has inspired countless think pieces, and certainly the former Florida Gov. looks much less qualified today than he did when he announced his candidacy in June. In the end, Jeb! spent $130 million and all he got was this very creepy youtube tribute:

Hey John Kasich, save one of those hugs for Jeb!

Who loves ya?

Trump on the other hand – who dominated the SC primary and Nevada Caucus, earning 62 delegates  – is likely more wealthy than he was when the race began, which according to this economist article is an amount that, while hard to pin-down, is also most certainly inflated by you know who.  After a week in which The Donald went hair to funny hat with The Pope, repeatedly professed his support for torture, and continued to talk like a fucking fourth grader (which makes sense because he “loves the poorly educated” ) The Donald’s win left many to wonder, if the Orange One might just be unstoppable.

I love you, man

If he ever recovers from the robot Rubio meme, the Florida Senator may be his party’s establishment’s last hope. That establishment, at least here in Jacksonville, threw its weight behind the Miamian last week, as Lenny Curry endorsed Rubio, leaving …   More

The Flog

The Flog Poll (Special Place in Hell Edition)


Since New Hampshire, the Democratic Primaries have become increasingly divisive. Gaffes expressed by prominent Hillary Clintonites in the wake of surging support for Bernie Sanders – who continues to increase his lead among young women – caused both sides to dig in their heels (no sexist-pun intended). Offending remarks came from feminist icon Gloria Steinem who, while being interviewed by Bill Maher (who has warmed to Bernie recently, especially after grilling him in December) offered that female Bernie fans might merely be following the boys. But it was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright introducing Clinton last week by telling a crowd “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” that elicited the biggest social-media-thinkpiece-op-ed-rage.(The worst kind).



For Republican candidates seeking the nomination, South Carolina presents the biggest opportunity yet to prove they’ve got what it takes to win a national election. Out of desperation, dead-man walking Jeb! Bush has brought in his big brother – who has a ridiculous approval rating, approaching 90 percent in the state – to work a miracle, forgetting that W.’s primary victory in S.C. in 2000 was due in large part to Karl Rove deploying some of the most despicable tactics in recent memory. We’ll see if Jeb!’s mild-mannered persona survives the Palmetto State.

 A Digression: This whole Trump-JEB-W-McCain-in-South-Carolina thing is rich with irony. Consider that 16 years ago, W. – after being defeated in Iowa by an upstart candidate who rode in on the “Straight Talk Express” professing to tell the electorate the truth about politicians and their corrupt ways – was desperate for a victory. His campaign to smear John McCain, which included Rove's Whispering Campaign (in which Bush supporters …   More

The Flog



This morning, in a round room that affords glorious panoramic views of the city and the St. Johns River, a packed house amassed on the nineteenth floor of JEA headquarters for the utility’s board meeting. Nearly the entire audience was there to voice concerns about potential changes to JEA’s net metering policy.

The utility has traditionally given equal credits for energy that is put back into its grid by customers with solar panels who are on the net metering system. Solar units produce the most energy throughout the day, when residential users' demand is typically lower; in the evening and at night, when demand peaks, solar units produce little to no energy. When their supply of renewable energy exceeds demand during peak daylight hours, the excess is sent to JEA’s grid and they receive an equal credit for any energy they withdraw.


Today JEA’s board began officially considering cutting these credits by nearly a third.


For local renewable energy advocates, the proposed changes came as a huge surprise. David Shacter, owner of energy-efficient homebuilding company TerraWise, wryly noted during public comment, “We did not know about this meeting until yesterday.”


Still, somehow, advocates succeeded in creating a substantial presence. A guard in the lobby told Folio Weekly Magazine that this morning approximately 75 people arrived at once; a steady procession took the microphone for well over a half an hour during public comment.


This morning advocates spoke passionately and eloquently about their concerns that JEA is rushing to make sweeping changes to its net metering system, changes that will substantially increase costs for those who have already invested in renewable energy sources, and may stifle local investment in renewable energy. Solar units are an expensive investment – it can take decades for solar units to pay themselves off in energy savings …   More



As you might know, the Phantom of the Opera has always been a total control freak.

He sends demanding letters, sometimes signing his notes “OG” — but we’re pretty sure that stands for Opera Ghost, not Original Gangster.

It’s a balance between classic story and haunting score along with a dynamic reimagining that has captured audiences at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. This Phantom of the Opera production, presented by Artist Series, continues through February 21 in the Moran Theater.

The spectacular, ominous sets, the beautiful costumes and the technical wizardry turn this into an otherworldly production that fans of this musical won’t want to miss.

The voices of the three stars go from solid to superb with Katie Travis providing the strongest turn as the soaring ingenue Christine Daaé.

Chris Mann mesmerizes as the titular star, and Storm Lineberger’s Raoul has the chemistry with Katie’s Christine to break the Phantom’s spell.

Fans of this classic and Northeast Florida musical aficionados won’t want to miss this staging, but what about those “Phantom” virgins? What’s in it for them?

In addition to the updated sets and special effects, this Phantom lays out a more straightforward storyline.

The signature chandelier prop of the Paris opera house doesn’t disappoint and neither does this new Phantom of the Opera. From top to bottom, it's one of the most memorable productions the Artist Series has presented in years.   More

The Flog


FWM's weekly salute to the 2016 Presidential Primaries

Before we talk about New Hampshire, a quick recap of how we got here:

Even for the most politically astute, the aftermath of the Iowa Caucus was difficult to sort out.

Ted Cruz won.

But Donald Trump said Cruz cheated.

Also, Trump wasn’t really trying, so technically he won.

Yet the media said Marco Rubio, who came in third, was the real winner.

As for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton won, but Bernie Sanders' supporters – citing media bias – said it was actually a victory for Bernie.

So then New Hampshire happened. Here’s what the national media is saying about who lived free and who died hard:

Ru… Ru… Rubio!

First of all… Rubio Robots. Can we talk about this?


(A digression: As evidenced by James Cameron’s 1984 documentary about robots, self-aware androids are capable of mistakes, such as afflicting a muscle-bound cybernetic organism with a thick Austrian accent. So is it crazy to wonder if the Rubio Robots are actual robots trying to fix their newest mistake, offering a Presidential candidate who, in his last debate performance, appeared more exposed than a naked automaton walking into a biker bar? I’m not convinced.)

Anyway, according to many, Rubio, one of the aforementioned winners in Iowa, was a huge loser in the Granite State. Aided by what Esquire politics writer (and frequent guest on NPR’s Wait…Wait…Don’t tell me!) Charlie Pierce called Chris Christie’s efforts to “wrap his arms around Young Marco Rubio and hurl himself off a cliff,” Rubio underperformed and John Kasich was the media’s big winner in New Hampshire. Who the F*#K is John Kasich?

Trump Back on the Stump:

The actual winner, on the Republican side, wasn’t that “Pussy” Ted Cruz. It was of course, the man born of modest means, The Donald. Trump will not be …   More