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PLAYING AROUND

The Florida Theatre is offering $10 tickets for select upcoming shows during a Columbus Day sale.

The tickets are only available on Oct. 14 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. either in person at the Florida Theatre box office, 128 E. Forsyth St., in Downtown Jacksonville or by phone at (904) 355-2787. The ticket offer is not available online.

The number of tickets might be limited and seating will be assigned by the theater personnel. The dates and times for the shows are available on the Florida Theatre website floridatheatre.com/events.

Florida Theatre's Columbus Day sale events:

Tower of Power

Hurley presents Switchfoot and the premiere of the film “Fading West”

Mark Russell's “The Laughter of Politics”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Clark Hagans Comedy Tour / Triple HHH presents Gary Owen & Friends

L.J. Holloway & Associates, Inc. presents an “Evening with Will Downing” for the “Seventh Annual Celebration of Life Benefit Concert”

Spyro Gyra

Craig Ferguson

John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert 

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash – Broadway National Tour

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

The Three Irish Tenors Symphonic Christmas

Walgreens presents the 22nd Annual Community Nutcracker

Peter White Christmas featuring Rick Braun & Mindi Abair

Golden Dragon Acrobats

ABBA: The Tour

The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion

Ray Price

The Irish Rovers: Farewell Tour   More

PLAYING AROUND

In the world of subjectivity, art reigns supreme. The very definition is slippery, hard to tack down. Perhaps it’s not too bold to claim that most well-done art tells a story. It makes you think and, regardless of the opinion you form of it, leaves its impression just by doing so. It can crash down on you the moment you experience it and still subtly seep in on the drive home. It keeps leaving something to contemplate.

The Alvin Ailey Dance Company left about 1,400 people in The Times Union Center’s Moran Theater with plenty to chew on after its one-night performance Feb. 25.

Their show opened with “Home,” an urban contemporary piece. This, like the other three choreographies of the evening, told its own unique story. It opened with a single light cascading down from the top of the stage. The entire company stood in abstract, some contorted, positions. Their collective shape was a thing of art in its own right against the cool palette of teal and purple on the backdrop screen. The soundtrack began with a timid thump like a heartbeat, the dancers flawlessly matching its intensity as the beat grew and morphed and became more present. The initial, controlled imitation of slow motion and discovery of their surroundings grew and soon dancers were sprinting and jumping and pirouetting across the stage.

The momentum slowly winded down until the company, all except one dancer, was back into standing into one group. That one dancer turned over his shoulder, addressed the audience with a glance, and as he returned back into the rest of the company, the group gave a sudden, gasping inhale and the lights went out.

Like that last breath, the company used sound very sparingly and effectively. Each dancer was incredibly composed and light on their feet. Aside from the backing track, most of their highly athletic jumps and maneuvers were executed with complete silence. When they did make a sound, it was there for a reason. It served a purpose in the …   More

PLAYING AROUND

“War Horse” requires a commitment.

When you read “horse puppeteers,” the fact is, your brain might tell you, “I’m not going anywhere near a play with horse puppets.”

But the stellar cast and creative team go all out staging this emotional two-act play, based on the 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo and presented by Artist Series Feb. 18-23. The beautiful minimalism of this production delivers the simple story of a young man, Albert, leaving his British village to look for his horse Joey in the chaos of World War I.

Ultimately, the most important commitment must come from the audience, suspending disbelief on those horse puppeteers, two inside the adult horse Joey and one controlling his head.

The puppeteers controlling the title character — James Duncan, Adam Cunningham and Aaron Haskell — carry this production. They breathe life into “War Horse,” causing some theatergoers to tear up at the connection formed between Albert and Joey.

The intensity of the actors, particularly Michael Wyatt Cox as Albert, puts the spotlight clearly on Joey, not the puppeteers. The entire production hinges on it.

It must be said that for some, it’ll truly be too hard to look past the puppeteers. Those pondering taking a chance on “War Horse” for its eight-show run through Feb. 23 would be advised to watch videos of Joey first and judge for themselves.

A goose, controlled by Gregory Manley, proves to be a scene-stealer, injecting some much-needed humor.

But the production might very well lose some of its audience in the first 10 minutes when the foal Joey — not nearly as impressive — is up for auction. Albert’s father Ted bets the mortgage to win, and the drunk’s half-cocked decisions drive the plot throughout the first act.

The 120-pound Joey bursts in not a moment too soon and rather dramatically.

Joey is challenged to take to the plow, then goes off to war before Albert is old enough to join. Later, Albert enlists and the …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Jacksonville artist Ryan Black was instantly hooked when he discovered his first “X-Men” comic book on a spinner rack at Lil’ Champ in the 1980s.

Black’s grandmother bought him all of his comics while he was growing up because she thought of it as him studying to be a comic artist.

Now, pursuing his greatest passion, Black seeks funding through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com for “Tension,” a modern mythology comic book featuring real-world obstacles. The campaign begins May 4.

“I’m creating something with a lot of heart; this is not an ironic hipster book. There are no unicorns with mustaches here,” Black said.

Black says “Tension” is special because it’s a truly independent comic that draws from the same mythological pool as Marvel and DC Comics, giving readers something different wrapped in something familiar. He said the characters are three-dimensional people and have real problems to which readers in all walks of life can relate.

The story opens with the main character Eric Evans (aka WitchHammer) being told by his boss to hunt down and neutralize his telepathic best friend Jessica Jane. Jane is being blamed for an event in Prague that left 12 people dead and hundreds injured.

Evans is employed by a government-funded black-ops agency called The American Bureau for Special Defense (A.B.S.D.), which employs super humans like Evans and Jane to defend America from super-powered terrorists.

WitchHammer’s power isn’t revealed yet, but he has the ability to absorb and harness dark matter, Black said.

For the most part there aren't a lot of independent artists creating superheroes without their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, Black said.

“I'm doing a comic book for people who have outgrown some of the Big Two's bullshit and aren't getting their superhero fix from the indies.”

“Tension” features comedy mixed with …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Cat Power is canceling some North American concert dates — including her scheduled performance June 16 at the Florida Theatre.

The singer-songwriter’s management indicated she needs the extra time to prepare for her European Tour, but she intends to make up the concert. The makeup date has yet to be determined.

The Florida Theatre posted June 4 on its Facebook page: “We have received word from Cat Power that she will not be able to play the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville and the show schedule for June 16 has been canceled. Cat Power sincerely regrets this development and she hopes to make up our date and others. In the meantime, please seek a ticketing refund at your point of purchase.”

The announcement comes days after news that she was added to The Weezer Cruise, coincidentally departing from Jacksonville for a four-night cruise Feb. 13-17, 2014, on the Carnival Fascination.

In addition to Weezer and Cat Power, the lineup includes Toro y Moi, Diiv, The Cribs, Ash and Holy F*ck. 

In 2012, the singer-songwriter postponed her European tour, announcing via Instagram that it was “due to bankruptcy & my health struggle with Angioedema.”

Angioedema is “a swelling that is similar to hives, but the swelling is under the skin instead of on the surface,” according to the National Institutes of Health. It can be caused by an allergic reaction.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is a WWE wrestler and former reality TV star who was born in Parma, Ohio.

Not only has he been a WWE Champion, but he is also a Triple Crown Champion, a title given to wrestlers who have been the World Heavyweight Champion, World Tag Team Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion. He was also on MTV’s "The Real World: Back to New York" and multiple "The Real World" spin-off challenge shows.

He said he is thankful for the opportunity to be on those shows, because they put him in position to become a WWE wrestler. He was raised in the Cleveland area and is a diehard Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavaliers fan.

The Miz is a Tim Tebow fan and thinks the Jacksonvile Jaguars should give him a chance. He loves heavy metal music and spoke highly of Bullet for My Valentine and Five Finger Death Punch. However, if you ever run into The Miz in public, don't ask him about LeBron James.

The Miz will be part of the WWE Live event June 9 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, headlined by John Cena defending his title against “The Unstoppable” Ryback in a Tables Match.

The Miz will be part of a trio called “The Viper,” along with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, and will fight a trio from “The Shield” — Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Other notable wrestlers on the card, which is subject to change, are R-Truth, Fandango, Zack Ryder, Antonio Cesaro, Tons of Funk, Team Rhodes Scholars and the Divas.

Folio Weekly: When did you just know you wanted to be a wrestler?

The Miz: When you are a kid, you don’t think you could ever do something like that because the superstars are larger than life. When I realized this is something I can actually do and pursue, it was actually after I got on “The Real World,” because when you grow up in Parma, Ohio, you kind of go to college. After college, you go back to where you live and you get a job and a family. …   More

PLAYING AROUND

For some, the thought of the '70s conjures images of bell-bottom pants from a far-away wonderland full of polyester and neon velvet paintings.

From that dreamscape spills the unmistakable sounds of ABBA.

Northeast Florida residents will soon be able to revisit this place in time forever captured in the musical “Mamma Mia!” The tour makes its stop for three performances Oct 18-19 at The Times Union Center for the Performing Arts. Folio Weekly spoke by phone with Florida native Gabrielle Mirabella, who plays the vivacious cougar, Tanya.

“It's about remembering things lost,” Mirabella said. “It's about being a part of a place in time.”

The story behind the musical revolves around a young bride-to-be, Sophie, searching for her real father told to the hits of Swedish pop band ABBA.

It has enjoyed amazing success with performances all over the world, including London and China. Mirabella’s character, Tanya, is a wealthy divorcée.

“It’s a fun character,” Mirabella said. “It's great when you can see those tough cookies crack and see this woman be a young girl again. And dancing with really young guys doesn’t hurt.”

Mirabella has experience in opera and a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Her background helps ease the stress of the nine-month long “Mamma Mia!” tour and countless renditions of pop songs.

“It is so important to have a technical background,” Mirabella said. “You can figure out how to sing anything in a healthy way. “

For her, this musical strikes a personal chord. As a kid, she grew up with this story and often went to see it with her mother. The news that she got the role as Tanya actually came on her mother’s birthday.

“There is a scene where Sophie turns to her mother Donna and says ‘I’m so proud of you,’ ” Mirabella said. “I understand that now. My mom helped make me who I am.”

While the mother-daughter relationship is pivotal in the story, Mirabella …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Four local music acts are competing for a chance to perform during the tournament and $5,000 in the Rock The Players contest.

The competition was open to musicians in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, but the four finalists all have Northeast Florida roots.

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for Flagship Romance’s “Hit the Ground,” The Embraced’s “Let in the Light,” Stephen Carey’s “Love the Way You Love” or Billy Buchanan’s “Rock The Players” in voting Feb. 13-22.

"My co-writer, Michele Howe, and I are so honored to be chosen as finalists for the Rock The Players songwriting contest. We’re so thankful that The PGA Tour would give aspiring songwriters an opportunity like this,” Buchanan said, in a statement after the announcement Feb. 13.

In addition to the cash prize and opportunity to play before and during The Players Championship, the winning musicians’ song will become the unofficial “Song of The Players” and be featured in The Players’ excitement video.

A PGA Tour panel chose the finalists, and the tour announced them on Feb. 13.

Fans can watch the four music videos and vote via through the tour’s website at pgatour.com/rocktheplayers.

    More

PLAYING AROUND

Starry Nights will return to Metropolitan Park with progressive rocker Chicago and five-time Grammy Award winner Christopher Cross joining the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for two concert events this spring.

Billed as Jacksonville’s edition of Saturday in the Park with a full orchestra, Chicago rocks out on its 1970s and ‘80s hits on May 31. Christopher Cross, best known for the album “Ride Like the Wind” and singles “Never Be the Same” and “Say You’ll Be Mine,” performs with the symphony on June 7.

The concerts are both set for 8:15 p.m. and gates open at 6 p.m. The concerts take place race or shine, unless conditions put the musicians or concertgoers in danger, symphony officials said during the official announcement on Thursday, March 6.

Subscriptions to both concerts are now available with table seating ranging from $70-$170 per seat and $500-$1,250 for full tables of six or eight. Lawn seating is available at $30 for adults and $10 for children younger than 12.

Single event tickets will go on sale Monday, April 7 — table seats at $35-$85 and full tables at $250-$550. Lawn seating is $15 for adults in advance, $20 at the gate (children are $5).

For more information or to buy tickets, call 354-5547 or visit the box office at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Jacksonville.

  More

PLAYING AROUND

“What is this even … a spaceship taking off?” a girl in the audience turns and asks as the first notes of Leverage Model’s set March 8 at Burro Bar. Apt guess.

Churning, synthesized electronics flow over pounding drumroll and anxiety-inducing guitar feedback. Ready for lift off.

Our interstellar guides look like they just beamed out of some Wes Anderson flick. Hell, maybe they did. If so, the ship must have found its home planet, because this audience is a spitting image.

Shannon Fields tangos his away up and down the stage while recounting the majesty of our Wells Fargo and Bank of America buildings (with what might be sarcasm or irony — take your pick) in a voice so effects-laden it appears disembodied from his nimble frame. The drummer looks like he just punched-out of his job in IT and the guitarist wears a Roaring '20s flapper-era headband with pearly bead tassels that bounce across his bushman face. You know, quirks for quirks' sake.

“We have a moral imperative to present ourselves with the upmost decency,” Fields says with businesslike candor.

Everything is offbeat, except for the tunes. Well, literally anyways.

It’s an entertaining assault on the senses. Soaring falsettos lead into frenetic, jittery grooves as Fields alternates between mic and megaphone. Dance beats drive every moment. There’s a lot going on, and it’s surprising to see such a layered and versatile amount of textures and tones coming from just four musicians. The synthesized samples and beats are expected and welcome in the pop genre Leverage Models calls home, but there’s a rock-and-roll, devil-may-care presence here, too.

Fields is energetic. One minute he’s dropping tango moves with the audience, the next he’s walking on any platform he can crawl on top of and the next he’s rolling around on stage. He’s the primary writer and driving force behind the project, and the backing band seems to perform as such. They’re professional, and …   More

 
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