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PLAYING AROUND

It’s a reliable indicator that the talent’s doing something right when the normally stoic security staff is head banging along to the music.

Nu metal powerhouse Korn had the entire Welcome to Rockville audience and staff bobbing their heads and singing along during its closing performance of the festival April 27. It’s hard not to; the band’s sound is infectious.

If you don’t happen to be a genre-snob and are wondering about the funky spelling, don’t open that Google tab — here’s the skinny:

Nu metal is a blend of hip-hop style verses over heavily distorted, temper-tantrum guitar riffs that give way to big-sounding choruses (see early Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and early Deftones) that was popular during the turn of the century.

Korn uses that recipe, but it’s not what the California-based five-piece has staked its reputation on. It’s those wall-of-sound breakdowns on down-tuned, seven-string guitars that assault the senses while vocalist Jonathan Davis flings his dreads around and screams charming one-liners like “Get the fuck out of my face” and “Shut the fuck up, yeah.”

So, if you’re an impressionable teen looking for a noisy group that just, like, gets you, welcome to your not-so-new favorite band. If Korn already caught your ear during the early years and you’re now a functioning adult saddled with real-world responsibilities, rest assured that your guilty pleasure aged well. Korn has stayed true to its sound, and the Rockville crowd was happy it did.

After a few seconds of ambient feedback and guitar noise, Korn stormed the stage with the crowd-pleasing “Falling Away From Me,” which features one of the heaviest riffs in the band’s catalogue.

It followed that up with “Got The Life,” another classic from the band’s repertoire that features prominent dance grooves with Davis and Co. shimmying and romping about the stage between breakdowns.

Yes, there were some newer tracks that …   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

The Dallas-based quintet Memphis May Fire delivers heavy-hitting, energetic metal fused with soaring choruses and electronic, orchestral sections. The band released its fourth full-length studio album, “Unconditional,” last month. Guitarist Anthony Sepe, guitarist Kellin McGregor and bass guitarist Cory Elder sat down with Folio Weekly just before their set April 26 at Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville.

F.W.: You’re most recent release, “Unconditional,” came out last month. Did you take any different approach to writing/recording this album?

K.M: Yeah, a little bit. The last two records we did all in one studio. On this one, we came straight out of Warped Tour, finished writing and went into my home studio. We knocked it out quickly.

F.W.: So you did a good amount of writing on the road?

K.M. You kind of have to. This last year particularly, we were out a lot.

F.W.: It seems like on some of your first releases, "Memphis May Fire" EP and "Sleepwalking," there was a pretty pronounced Southern tone, especially with the guitars … not so much on the new stuff. Is there a reason for the shift?

K.M.: All I knew was the pentatonic scale when we wrote the first two CDs. That’s really what it is. With every CD – I wouldn’t say that I’ve gotten better – but I’ve like learned a little bit here and there. I still can’t solo to save my life. That first EP man, we wrote that in fall 2006, that was forever ago. You just grow and change, you know?

F.W.: Do you prefer festival-sized shows like this when you’re touring, or do you prefer the smaller intimate shows in local venues?

A.S.: I say the bigger the better. The amount of energy you get from the crowd and the vibe of the festival just seems a lot better.

K.M: You don’t have to worry about getting smacked in the face with a bass, either.

A.S.: Yeah, there’s always plenty of room on stage, and the sound's always good.

C.E.: I think we all enjoy both a lot. …   More

PLAYING AROUND

In a parallel tale of obsession and dying, 33 Variations’ plot focuses on one woman's journey to understand the motivation behind one of Beethoven’s last works.

The central character, Katherine Brandt (played by Sinda Nichols), is a musicologist who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. She’s consumed with trying to make sense of Beethoven’s strange compulsion to put aside other pieces during his latter years, with failing health and the steady loss of his hearing, to write 33 separate variations of a waltz by a composer he originally felt was beneath him.

The 5 & Dime Theatre Company and director Lee Hamby produce 33 Variations, which was written by Moisés Kaufman (author of The Laramie Project) and received five Tony nominations after its 2009 Broadway debut. The play is staged July 18-20 and 25-27 at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.   More

PLAYING AROUND

It can be difficult to predict what something will become when you’re close to it. Whether it will endure. If it will stay relevant in a fickle market. How it will grow, if at all.

Though the bohemian artists in John Larson’s Rent faced similarly uncertain futures, there was no doubt in the musical’s enduring potential when it debuted off-Broadway in 1996.

With 160 in attendance for opening night on Players by the Sea’s Main Stage, the cast and director Alejandro Rodriguez rose to the occasion note-for-note. The size of the stage and sparse set might have seemed too minimalist in staging one of the best musicals ever written. Two tables, three simple scaffoldings and a backdrop painted by Chip Southworth (Keith Haring’s Ghost) was the whole of home-sweet-slum New York. But like the characters that inhabited the stage, the theater made ends meet with no shortage of charisma and charm. 

And it really was the small details that added that charm. You could smell the matches as Roger stamped them out on the floor during “Light My Candle.” You could hear the live band just out of eyeshot off stage flip their sheet music or tune an instrument. You could feel Joanne’s heels as she stomped and dragged them during “Tango Maureen,” and you could see the tears trickle down the cheeks of the company on the emotional “I’ll Cover You — Reprise.”

Charming as those things were, they were simply background noise to the talented voices in this cast.

The narrative starts slow with Mark and Roger (Ross Frontz and Elias Hionides), but the 525,600 minutes of their story kicks into overdrive when the live band and company arrive to perform “Rent."

Some of the best performances of the night came from songs that featured the entire company, as the actors created harmonies with each character pushing their voice to pop out of the melody and then back in with …   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

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

 
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