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PLAYING AROUND

The Jacksonville Axemen played the Baltimore Blues in their first game of the USA Rugby League season.

And they were singing everything but the blues at the end of it.

The Axemen, the defending national champions, routed the Blues 94-4 in front of a few hundred people at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium on June 1. The only other meeting between these teams was last year when the Axemen won 88-0.

The scoring started quickly and the Axemen already led 28-0 by the end of the first quarter. The Blues scored a try in the second quarter and missed the conversion, but the Axemen still scored 16 points to make the it 44-4 at halftime.

The second half continued in the same fashion with Jacksonville scoring on its first drive and possessing the ball nearly the rest of the game, outscoring the Blues 24-0 in the third quarter and 26-0 in the fourth quarter.

After the game, both teams were jovial and even posed for pictures together with the Axe Maidens, the cheerleaders for the Axemen. Raffle tickets were sold during the first half and the prizes were given out at halftime.

The Axemen were also selected to be on the cover of the 2013-'14 Yellow Pages and posed with a framed copy of the cover after the victory.

Jacksonville’s next game will be against the Philadelphia Fight on June 8 in Philadelphia. Baltimore’s next game will be against the Washington D.C. Slayers on June 8 in Washington, D.C. Both of those opponents played in the USA Rugby League playoffs last year and lost in the semifinals.

The Jacksonville Axemen can also be found on Twitter here.

Marty F. Nemec   More

PLAYING AROUND

Bookstore owner Ron Chamblin received a birthday surprise any literature lover would enjoy.

For his April 26 birthday, Jennifer O’Donnell, Chamblin's girlfriend and Downtown store manager, teamed up with creative writing teacher Liz Flaisig to put together an anthology of poems and short stories created by Douglas Anderson School of the Arts students.

All the profits from the $18 book will go to the school. 

“Liz and I talked about doing it back in August,” O’Donnell said. “We thought it would be fun to publish the kids' writing.”

O’Donnell said the book was made to thank Chamblin for his generosity.

The 71-year-old Chamblin seemed genuinely surprised.

“It was like ‘surprise,'” Chamblin said. “All of a sudden it was in front of me and now its moving into something bigger.”

Chamblin will begin publishing works of any local writers who are interested and whenever he can.

O’Donnell said the project has been snowballing for quite some time. 

“We would like to see Jacksonville become a literary hub,” she said. “New York is the one for the North; we could use one in the South.” 

Chamblin said local writing talent is abundant, so publishing will keep him busy in addition to running his stores.

“It’s a lot of work, I’m working seven days a week now,” Chamblin said.

O’Donnell said the anthology is an example of Chamblin's giving back to the community. But they have other plans as well.

“The adult illiteracy rate here is high, so we will also be offering tutoring and creative writing teaching for those interested,” O’Donnell said.

Working with Tim Gilmore of Florida State College at Jacksonville and writer Coe Douglas, O’Donnell plans to form a collective of professors and writing students to help educate adults.

The stores — Chamblin Bookmine (4551 Roosevelt Blvd., Westside, 384-1685) and Chamblin's Uptown (215 N. Laura St., Downtown, 674-0868) …   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 hundreds of football fans who came to watch the Jacksonville Breeze play the Baltimore Charm May 25 were not disappointed.

The Breeze beat the Charm 27-12 in the second game of the season, after overwhelming the Atlanta Steam 48-0. After the March 30 blowout of the Steam, this game was a surprising defensive affair.

The Breeze scored on their first drive as Shelltrice Turner powered her way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown and gave them a 7-0 lead.

After the Charm answered with a long touchdown pass from quarterback Holly Wilson to Ashley Helmstetter and missed the ensuing extra point, The Breeze only led 7-6.

That changed when Breeze quarterback KK Matheny connected with Bryn Renda on a four-yard touchdown to go up 14-6. Saige Steinmetz then rushed four yards on the next drive for the first of two touchdowns in the game making the score 21-6.

After halftime, the Charm immediately scored to make the score 21-12, but their momentum halted, and neither team scored for nearly the rest of the game.

After struggling on offense, but getting two interceptions from Adrian Purnell and an interception from Renda, Steinmetz ran for a one-yard touchdown to make it 27-12, which was the final score.

The win makes the Jacksonville Breeze 2-0, and the team is one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the Legends Football League. The Philadelphia Passion have not yet played a game.

The Jacksonville Breeze will play the Omaha Heart and Philadelphia Passion to finish the season.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Have you ever gone to an art gallery and wanted to give the artist a piece of your mind? With “Chalk It Up,” that’s the whole point.

“Chalk It Up” at MOCA Jacksonville will allow viewers to interact with art. It is created and curated by five students who are in “The Gallery Space in Contemporary Society” class at the University of North Florida: Anastasia Arango, Xenia Davidoff, Rebecca Ladd, Danielle Micklos and Elizabeth Taber.

Visitors will be provided with chalk to add to the exhibit. It will be part of the regular programming on the museum floor, which is sponsored by Florida Blue. 

Allison Galloway, the director of education for MOCA, worked with the students to create the exhibit.

“There will be questions on the wall, and the viewers can answer them by drawing pictures or words on the walls,” Galloway said. “Every week, there is a different theme, and the question will really make the visitors think.”

Galloway said the exhibit will provide learning opportunities for the students involved and an understanding of both chalk art and interactive exhibits for the public. She said the themes will be entertaining yet mentally challenging.

The exhibit directly fits into the goals of the course.

“The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn the core practices of operating a university art gallery, including gallery management, exhibition design and development, and collections management through various readings on contemporary art practice, research assignments and hands-on experience,” said Amanda McMann, the instructor of the course.

A June 9 reception will be a celebration of all of the students' work with some food and drinks.

Galloway said the exhibit will be an experience the UNF students could not get in a regular class. She said she hopes to create an environment that engages visitors and invites their feedback.    More

PLAYING AROUND

In the past few years, reality shows have taken over television. With every channel change comes a different version of what “reality” is.

Luckily for Jacksonville, reality is pretty sweet.  

Sweet Pete’s, a natural canning and sweet treat shop located in the historic district of Springfield, will now be known for more than its delicious candies. CW 17 has decided to make a show called, "Sweet Pete’s: The Show." It will highlight the in and outs and ups and downs of building a small business, all while maintaining the entertainment factor with a colorful cast.

Pete Behringer, son of Peterbrooke Chocolatier’s founders and co-owner of Sweet Pete’s, said he owes the recent deal with CW 17 to another local show.

“We were featured on a local show over here in Jacksonville, and the executive producer spent the day … with us and she liked what we were doing and thought, ‘We need to have cameras over here in this place because you people are crazy.’ … The rest is history,” he said.

For most people, having cameras following them around would put them in a frenzy; constantly worrying about how their hair looked, if there was anything in their teeth or what mom would think. But for Behringer and the cast, it became part of their everyday life.

“At first, it’s very strange. It’s a very strange sensation. But it’s not long before that feeling goes away, and you’re just doing your business, you’re going about your daily routine, you’re not really thinking about it, at least, I wasn’t. … I think [for] most of the people here, it just got to be natural,” Behringer said.

So who are “the people?” The cast is made up of co-owners and spouses, Peter and Allison Behringer; business partner Dane Baird; candymaker Demetric Nathan; shop manager Ericka Woods and decorator Christopher Cahill.

Each of these characters …   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

It is as grungy as a musical can get. “American Idiot” satisfies both musical theater afficionados and hardcore Green Day fans. 

The show opens with the entire cast performing the anthemic, energetic “American Idiot” number. The carefully crafted staging achieves the raw angst and haphazard look appropriate for the punk rock spirit. The actors give passionate performances and stay true to the Green Day sound. 

Adapted from the Green Day album, “American Idiot” follows the lives of three friends, Johnny (Alex Nee), Tunny (Thomas Hettrick) and Will (Casey O’Farrell). The young men desperately try to throw off the suffocating blanket of suburbia only to realize that life outside of their comfort zone is even less forgiving. 

The somewhat scattered storyline parallels the life of Johnny. However, the plot is held together by the letters he sends home, which we hear through Johnny’s soliloquies.

Early in the story, Will, Tunny, and Johnny pack their bags and set off to leave their hometown. However, Will learns his girlfriend, Heather (Kennedy Caughell), is pregnant and is forced to stay behind. Farrell's electric performance connects with the audience during “Jesus of Suburbia.” 

The friends' paths continue to diverge when Tunny joins the Army and Johnny is seduced by drugs, developing a hardcore addiction personified as St. Jimmy. 

St. Jimmy (Trent Saunders) is introduced in a larger-than-life musical number, where nearly 30 TV screens display the live performance from different stage angles. This was one of many memorable numbers throughout the 95-minute play along with “Are We the Waiting” and “Letterbomb.” 

Preceded by a letter written from Johnny to his mother on Sept. 10, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was an especially moving number. Through choreography, the ensemble …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Although they’ve been around since 2009, the indie rock band Dead Stars, is beginning to make more noise than ever.

The three-piece band — cousins and Jacksonville natives Jeff and Jaye Moore and friend John Watterberg from Albuquerque, N.M. — just finished recording their second album, "High Gain." The five-song EP is set to drop June 4.

Dead Stars has recently gained notoriety after the single "Waste Away” was featured on MTV Hive’s website.

But guitarist Jeff Moore says he's taking the recent publicity with a grain of salt.

"It’s great. The ultimate goal, of course, is for as many people to hear your music as possible. You obviously want to enjoy what you do, and you want other people to hear it. Any time people are paying attention it’s cool. … I just want to keep on going and keep making music. Whatever happens, happens. We’ve been doing this for a while … so you try to not get too excited or too bummed either way. Whether things are good or bad you just try and keep going,” he said.

When asked what type of genre Dead Stars fits into, Jeff said that although they joke about being “nerd grunge,” they consider themselves more of a fuzz pop or indie rock band, but that there’s really no right answer.

“There’s so many different kinds of music put under the indie umbrella now, but I just feel that for us [it’s] just having that simple set up of drums, bass, guitar and vocals, of course. I like to explore what we can in that minimalist type of setup.”

The band finds a lot of inspiration from bands both old and new. Growing up, The Beatles were one of these inspirations.

Today, they listen to a variety of bands. The combination of older bands from the late '80s and early '90s, like Dinosaur Jr. and newer bands, such as Yuck, provide inspiration in finding their own, unique sound.

Writing the songs themselves is very …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Three years ago, Dead Tank Records closed its doors and Josh Jubinsky began focusing on his highest priority: family.

“Selling records at shows, touring with a band or trying to operate a store and job at the same time,” Jubinsky said in an email interview. He felt he could not properly put family as his top priority.

Working at the Main Library in the children’s department for almost 10 years now, Jubinsky says, “it’s very helpful to have a steady job and a great place to work. I’m really lucky in that regard.”

Now, Jubinsky and Dead Tank are back with upcoming releases are already in the works. A 7” split involving musicians Captive Bolt and author Gary Francione is nearly complete as the B-side is already available on their site deadtankrecords.wordpress.com. “It should be out in June,” Jubinsky said.

With the hiatus set in motion as his daughter was born, passions were shifted for Jubinsky. “As far as ‘true passions’ go, I’d say raising my daughter takes the cake.” However, music is still very important to Jubinsky as he wants to impress that upon his growing child.

Also in the works, Emperor X will be set to release a record after his return from Europe, where he is currently touring. “Right now, we’re still ironing out the details for the record, and actually he’s very busy having a great time on tour in Europe.”

Family man, record producer and a builder of his own furniture, Jubinsky looks to create that perfect balance where family is his No. 1 priority as he continues his grand music endeavors.   More

 
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