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PLAYING AROUND

The PRI 48-Hour Film Project screens the best films as decided by the judges at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Florida Theatre.

“Pushover” by Dads has a chance for a sweep as the film is nominated in all categories, including best film.

Joining “Pushover” in the best film category is “One & Change” by Mad Cowford and “Goodnight” by Best Friends. The three Best Film nominees are also nominated for best direction.

Both “One & Change” and “Goodnight” won an audience award for their respective screenings in Group A and Group C.

Best writing nominees include “The Philosophy of Psychology Series Video No. 24 "Romance” by Yeeaarrhh, “Pushover” and “Goodnight.”

“One & Change” and “Pushover” join “Sisterhood” by Ruby Red Productions with nominations in best cinematography.

Rounding out the nominations are the big three in “Pushover,” “One & Change” and “Goodnight” for Best Sound Design.

Other awards to be given out include best actor and best actress, best ensemble cast. Tickets to the screening are $10.

All of the films entered were viewed by judges and the nominees have been decided. The winners will go on to represent Jacksonville at Filmapalooza and be up for Best 48 HFP Film of 2013.

Each movie had to be written, shot, edited and scored in 48 hours to enter.   More

PLAYING AROUND

The posh, velvet seats and ribbed halls of the Florida Theatre might not have seemed like the ideal setting for stoner-rock quintet Queens of the Stone Age Feb. 3. Tufts of beard with residue of cheap ale hung plentifully over tattooed throats and secondhand shirts as fans crowded into carpeted aisles, anticipation and unextinguished tobacco palpable in the air.

When a 60-second countdown led into the simmering, adrenaline-drenched riff of “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire,” it was clear the once-assigned seats would serve no further purpose.

The top balcony stood and gathered at the rails. Hands and fists and drinks raised into the air. Queens of the Stone Age had a rock and roll show on their hands.

And that’s just where they wanted it. There’s no smoke and mirrors to the band’s stage presence — it’s hard-hitting drums, overdriven guitars and plain, old-fashioned style. They used stop-and-go rhythms often to keep listeners on their toes, waiting for applause to start before pummeling the audience with an additional few measures.

The theater screen behind the band showed images that might not surprise you — but ones you could never really predict — from stoner rock, including a crow pecking the gizzards out of a bandaged man and bare-breasted ladies with exploding planets for faces. The theatrics helped set the tone, but most of the audience’s focus fell on singer Josh Homme’s tequila-lubed dance grooves and loose guitar playing; both only got groovier and looser as the over two-hour set wore on.

Much of Homme’s charm seems to come from being one with the crowd. He’s accessible. He takes drags from his cigarette and croons a verse on the exhale. When he drops his guitar pick, he just squats down and picks it up. He has a one-sided chat with an audience member about penis length between songs, outstretching his arm as means of reference.

After security pulled a fan out of the show, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Indie folk project Whetherman begins a Kickstarter fundraising project Feb. 10, with a goal of $13,500 to send the trio on its first European tour.

Founded by Nicholas Williams in 2007, Whetherman has independently released five full-length studio albums and embarked on three nationwide tours. The grassroots project has recently been placed on Pandora Radio and featured in Relix Magazine as an “Artist on the Rise.”

“Songs and Whispers,” an artist development network based in Bremen Germany, has already booked the tour and recently invited Whetherman to join the 25-day May/June circuit of shows between Germany and Denmark. The shows are all booked and ready, and the band just needs to get across the pond.

Funds raised will go toward travel and living expenses for the band, in addition to new merchandise for the tour. Any funds raised above the goal will go toward funding Whetherman’s sixth record, “Seeds for Harvest,” scheduled for release in winter 2014.

Incentives and goodies for donating funds range from digital downloads of the band’s latest songs and albums to artwork, jewelry and merchandise from the band to an intimate show at your house during their fall 2014 tour and two-year VIP show treatment.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Open mic has a proud tradition in Jacksonville dating back a couple of decades — and then some. I emceed nights at Fusion Café and Fuel in the 1990s, and, of course ,Al Letson (who has gone on to accomplish as much as any writer of his generation) had his night at Voodoo years ago.

To borrow a phrase from Sonny and Cher, the beat goes on, in the form of the Cypher Open Mic Poetry and Soul, held at Da Real Ting Café every first, third, and fifth Thursday of the month. Hosted by DJ Monsta and Ill Clinton — names familiar to those who know what's happening in Duval — this is a showcase for talent and is worth checking out.

Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. The show ends at midnight. Entry is $5 all night long, 18 and older. There is a full dinner menu, and for those who need liquid fortification, there are 3-for-1 well drinks, which is a drink offer that no reasonable person can refuse.

On April 4, the WB will be in the house, recording the event for a local program. The smart performer would show up tomorrow, do a poem or a song, then bring it back in April for the cameras.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Pacific Dub In Jacksonville: Take Two

West Coasters Pacific Dub brought their trademark energy and charisma back to Jacksonville on July 17 as they started the Florida leg of their "Red, White and Booze Tour" at Jack Rabbits.

One of the band's most meaningful and well known songs, "Dreaming," kicked off the show.

“I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming of a place so far away, yes somewhere we can take our great escape,” lead singer Colton Place sang to the crowd, who quickly showed their appreciation.

Openers Prime Trees and Sidereal set the reggae/rock feel that Pacific Dub personifies as the crowd swayed to the melodies.

After rocking out to “Close To You,” Pacific Dub played an original song “Best of All Time,” one they re-mastered for their latest album “Tightrope.”

“You with us Jax?” asked guitarist Bryce Klemer as the crowd responded with yelps and applause.

Lead singer Place asked the crowd if it was okay for drummer David Delaney to take over the mic for a few songs, prompting more yells of approval.

Playing “Young Girl” and an old favorite, “Foolin’ Around,” Delaney held his own vocally while playing the drums simultaneously.

Both the bassist, Ryan Naglich, and keyboard player Casey Eubanks clearly enjoyed the crowd’s energy as they played with smiles on their faces.

After playing the album's title song “Tightrope,” the group followed with a crowd favorite “California Girl” that had the audience swaying to the smooth reggae melody.

The band's enjoyment of the show was clear as guitarist Klemer raised his beer to the crowd and asked they drink for the lead singer who could not partake.

“Can’t drink while I’m taking these steroids,” Place said, flexing his muscles.

The singer announced that problems with his vocal cords may keep him out for a few months after the end of …   More

 

In dolphin years, 60 looks pretty young. Nellie, the bottlenose dolphin and mascot of Jacksonville University, is spending the whole year celebrating her birthday at Marineland as the oldest dolphin living in human care.

While most dolphins in the wild are estimated to live up to 25 years and dolphins in captivity usually live to 40, Nellie is breaking records. Born and raised in captivity, Nellie doesn't have to worry about predators, food shortages or pollution and gets regular veterinary care. With only a few minor health issues, such as failing eyesight, Nellie is in great shape for her age. 

At the peek of her career, tourists and fans could see her jumping through rings and starring in TV shows that were filmed at Marineland’s original dolphin stadium. According to the park's website, she was featured in a Timex watch TV commercial in 1961 that aired on Frank Sinatra’s special “Welcome Home Elvis.” She has lived through the discovery of DNA, Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and the first iPhone. Nellie doesn’t perform for the public anymore. Now, she swims casually in her tank with another dolphin, Betty, and listens to the younger dolphins playing with basketballs or doing stunts in the nearby tanks.

Visitors might notice the zinc oxide Nellie wears to protect her aging skin.

“She spends a lot of time at the surface, so we don't want her to get sunburned. They have really sensitive skin like we do, ” Sky Austin, a Marineland assistant.

Nellie's talents have been recognized with honorary undergraduate and graduate degrees from JU. Yes, we are still talking about a bottlenose dolphin. To add to her credentials, this year, JU will bestow an honorary doctoral degree to Nellie as part of the park’s 75th anniversary. People are encouraged to attend the May 30 ceremony.

Nellie, who turned 60 on Feb. 27, is a product of the care and love she has received since birth. As she ages, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Mayport, Naval Air Station and Blount Island are where most of Jacksonville’s military personnel work, but this summer, three Northeast Florida museums are helping military families play.

More than 2,000 museums across the United States are collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day (Sept. 2).

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is offering miliatry families free admission to its three summer exhibits: Inside/Out, which includes the permanent collection, Project Atrium by Sarah Emerson, and "Traces" by Lari Gibbons, whose meticulous renderings reflect an engagement with the natural world. In addition, admission to MOCA is free to everyone on the first Wednesday of every month during Art Walk.

The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is always free for visitors, but a special exhibition, "World War II in Mandarin," is on display through Labor Day. The exhibit is a snapshot of World War II and includes information on local residents who served and how the war affected those at home. The Mandarin Museum offers exhibits looking into the colorful history of the area and a rotating gallery that features both modern and past artists who lived or were inspired in the Mandarin area. Families with musicians are invited on select Sundays in June for “Music Under the Oaks,” an open jam in the front yard of the museum.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens extends free admission not only to active military families but to retired as well. With valid identification, families can enjoy full access to the museum and gardens, as well as the special exhibitions. This summer, the Cummer will have family-friendly movie nights in the lush gardens. Two exhibits are on display throughout the summer — "La Florida, which celebrates 500 years of Florida’s past, and "Future …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour has given golfers ages 11-18 a chance to play in tournament atmospheres since 2008. The HJGT is based out of Jacksonville and will be hosting the Junior Amateur Golfing Association (JAGA) City Jr. Championship at Deerwood Country Club June 17-18.

Three spots are being offered to local juniors who are members of local Jacksonville area chapters of The First Tee, a program that teaches children the fundamentals of golf and also builds character.

“It’s an honor to be chosen by The First Tee,” 13-year-old Trevor Madridejos said in a press release about the event.

Jeff Willoughby, program director of The First Tee in North Florida, said he hopes the program’s golfers will place well, gaining them and the program some recognition.

“Whether they win or place well, it will bring some light to the competitive golfers we have in our program,” Willoughby said.

While The First Tee prepares players for what they can expect on the course, Willoughby said they are essentially a youth development program.

“We make sure they are prepared for high school graduation,” Willoughby said. “Golf is more in the background as we want them to be more successful on the academic front.”

HJGT will also host a Tour Championship for the first time this year. Players with a win in their respected divisions — boys 11-14 and 15-18 and girls 15-18 — will earn a bid into the November championship.

“It takes a couple of months to prepare for,” said Dan Crowther, director of marketing for HJGT. “It’s one of the tournaments we have in rotation as we do 100 tournaments in a calendar year spanning eight states.”

This City Jr. Championship will host more than 60 participants. The registration fee is $179. The event will be open to the public.

Willoughby said he hopes to continue First Tee's partnership with HJGT.

“By allowing The First …   More

Playing Around

Like that awkwardly funny DJ Huey Calhoun, "Memphis" might seem rough around the edges. But that fantastic cast — Huey would say "fantastical" — makes this the best of Artist Series' Broadway season.

Yes, those spectacular blue guys from Blue Man Group invited me on stage in January, but I'll still take the sometimes sweet and sometimes sultry sounds of "Memphis." Presented by Artist Series, the production continues through March 23 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Jacksonville.

In 1950s Memphis, white DJ Huey falls hard for black club singer Felicia Farrell, and he's eager to help her get on the radio, though he has to get there first. He finds his ticket to stardom while playing "race music" for white folks and helping give birth to rock 'n' roll.

Huey and Felicia are a mismatched pair, not only because he's a graceless doofus and she's a true talent, but also because this is the segregated South.

In the early scenes, Joey Elrose portrays awkward so well, I was beginning to doubt he could pull off the transformation to DJ star. He proved me wrong.

Jasmin Richardson's voice would lift any cast. Her "Someday" and "Colored Woman" along with her part in "The Music of My Soul" are moving.

This cast is full of scene-stealers from Avionce Hoyles as Gator, belting out "Say a Prayer" to close the first act, to Jerrial T. Young as Bobby delivering a resounding "Big Love." He also displays some amazing moves.

Joe DiPietro's story proves more raw than expected with one beating and one use of the N-word that drew gasps from the opening night audience.

Even when the tone is light, this is Memphis in the 1950s, so we go from "hockadoo!" to "hock-a-fucking-doo" in no time.

Historians of rock 'n' roll might notice the story is based on real-life DJ Dewey Phillips, remembered for being the first to play a record of a young Elvis Presley. Phillips later asks Presley on air what high school he attended to make sure …   More

PLAYING AROUND

For Kenichi Ebina, the passion for dance began with one simple move: the running man.

Born in Japan, Ebina came to the United States at a young age. One night he wandered into a freshman dance on the college campus where he learned English.

“Everyone made a big circle on the floor, people started dancing in the circle and I was watching and I was shy,” Ebina said. “But there was a moment where it was like ‘OK, you’re next.”

So Ebina did "The Running Man," the only move in his arsenal, taught to him by a high school friend in Japan. When people cheered, the energy he felt in that moment propelled him into a lifelong passion. He didn’t realize until later that the audience was actually laughing at his outdated move, but fast forward to 2013 and Ebina, now 39, wins $1 million on "America’s Got Talent." 

What Ebina does on stage is hard to define. His act is equal parts break dancing, technoand physical prowess, developed over years of exposure to the New York club scene and MTV. 

“They call it dance, but I don’t call it dance,” Ebina said. “It’s a versatile performance, a multi-media performance.”

Although he never had formal training, Ebina took every chance he could to perform.

“I love the feedback and the energy during a performance. When people get loud and excited, the energy I can feel from the audience gives me a reason to live,” Ebina said. “Before that I didn’t have ambition or a dream. That feeling gave me a sense of identity, like ‘OK, I’m Kenichi, I’m alive. I’m here.’ ”

Despite the money, recognition and stream of talk show appearances, Ebina maintains a humbleness that even winning the largest talent contest in the country couldn’t tarnish. 

“As a performer, I’m not that good. So many other performers are better than me,” Ebina said. “[When I …   More

 
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