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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

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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

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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

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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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It's every theater major’s dream to be cast in a nationally touring production straight out of college, and for Chelsea Turbin, a recent graduate from The Boston Conservatory, that dream came true. 

Turbin landed a spot in the ensemble cast of Green Day’s “American Idiot” her senior year. “American Idiot” is a musical adapted from the Green Day album. The play centers around three discontented young men and their desire to break free of suburbia.

The show began its tour in the United Kingdom, and, by its completion, it will have visited six different countries. The production is set to come to Jacksonville, an hour away from Turbin’s hometown of Ormond Beach.

Folio Weekly spoke to Chelsea Turbin by phone about her experience on tour with “American Idiot.”

Folio Weekly: Did you always know that performing is what you wanted to do? 

Chelsea Turbin: As a kid I was always singing. I would be running around making my parents watch the “Chelsea Show” or singing on little cardboard box stages that I made. Around first grade my mom put me in Children’s Musical Theater in Ormond Beach, and I ended up staying there for eight years. It was kind of where I lived; it’s where I made most of my friends.

F.W.: Tell us about getting the part in “American Idiot.”

C.T.: It was unreal. I had auditioned for this show once before. I had just turned 18, and I was going to a casting call for “Bye Bye Birdy.” So, I did the audition and Jim Carnahan, from Carnahan Casting tells me “You’re not quite right for the part, but I’m also doing a casting for this Green Day show, so we’ll call you.” At that point I’m like "Yeah, OK, sure you’ll call me," but they did! So I went, but I ended up being way too young and inexperienced. I get there and there are just these amazing women, and guys with guitars. … but some …   More

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As the ball fell into the water on Tiger Woods’ first shot on the 14th hole, his hopes of winning The Players Championship appeared to be sinking fast on Sunday.

Instead, it was Woods’ rival, Sergio Garcia, who met his end in the water — twice on No. 17 and again on No. 18.

The final round of The Players was billed as a slugfest after Woods and Garcia sparred verbally over an incident in the third round Saturday at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course.

Despite Woods being at the top of the leaderboard for almost the entire day, his double-bogey on the 14th hole pulled him back to the pack. Because of it, Woods and Garcia were tied at 13-under as Garcia teed off the 17th hole.

Garcia proceeded to hit the ball into the water twice and left the hole with a quadruple-bogey on his scorecard. It became worse when he hit his first shot on the 18th hole into the water. He plummeted from 13-under to 7-under over the final two holes of the tournament.

On Saturday, Garcia claimed that Woods wasn't paying attention and caused cheers in the gallery while Garcia was hitting a shot from the fairway on the par-5 second hole.

Woods, who finished with a 13-under 275 on Sunday, outlasted all challengers as Jeff Maggert also hit his tee shot into the water on No. 17 to make double-bogey. David Lingmerth, a Swede who now lives in Jacksonville Beach, shared the 54-hole lead with Woods and Garcia, and he missed a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff with Woods.

Lingmerth finished in a tie with Maggert and Kevin Streelman for second — two shots behind Woods.

After winning in 2001, Woods now becomes one of only five golfers to claim two Players Championship victories at TPC Sawgrass — joining Fred Couples, Steve Elkington Davis Love III and Hal Sutton.

It was also Tiger's 78th PGA Tour victory overall, which puts him four behind Sam Snead’s record 82 wins. Woods claimed $1.71 million with the …   More

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You either love him or you hate him, and he doesn’t really care which side you’re on.

Author, “Parts Unknown” host and chef Anthony Bourdain entertained a full house with anecdotes, laughs and plenty of the unapologetic irreverence for which he’s known April 25 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts Moran Theater.

While the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performed for a dressier crowd next door in Jacoby Hall, Bourdain began his two-and-a-half hour show with what he called “The case against Paula Deen,” displaying a giant photo of the Food Network host with “dead doll eyes” and justifying his 2011 comments to TV Guide that Deen is “the worst, most dangerous person to America” when it comes to cooking personalities.

“The South is the cradle of great American gastronomy,” Bourdain said while showing photos and calorie counts of signature Paula Deen dishes, including The Lady’s Brunch Burger and Deep Fried Stuffing on a Stick. “Did anybody’s grandmother ever in history cook that shit?”

The first part of the one-man show was like a stand-up comedy routine as Bourdain joked about his previous drug problems and justified his career moves to host reality-TV cooking show “The Taste” and go on a lucrative speaking tour.

“This integrity shit is overrated. Guy Fieri makes more money than me!” he said, pausing to say that Fieri is the offspring of a drunken Billy Idol and a panda. “Point is, fuck it. I’m selling out.”

But Bourdain went on in a somewhat more serious tone to say that he would never sell out his principles of respect for food origins and world pluralism.

“I think food is important, that it’s more than just stuff you put in your face,” Bourdain said.

He bemoaned the disconnect of the American chain food industry as he said the best food culture in the world …   More

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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

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Since it formed in 2010, the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance has facilitated the production of two television pilots, two full-length film features, two television series and four short films. The CGFA recently secured two new projects for Camden County, the short films “Mime in a Box” and “Preserve.”

Producer Kim Murray’s “Mime in a Box” is set to begin filming in Camden County in late spring. Murray is the producer of “The Prisoner,” another locally shot film, directed by the award-winning Mahmoud Shoulizadeh.  Shoulizadeh’s film “Noora” took first place at the 49th International Film Festival of Taormina in Italy. Samad Banks, the writer of “Mime in a Box,” has said the presentation and plot of the short is very “Twilight Zone”-ish.

“Preserve” is a post-apocalyptic short that was written by Wayne Deegan and filmed at the old paper mill site in St. Marys. The setting of the short is 170 years after a disaster that drove the survivors underground. The film focuses on four people who emerge to the surface and seek safe harbor in an unwelcoming world.

“These survivors are a lot like the pioneers in the early days of America,” Degan said. “Fighting the need to be complacent, they leave a comfortable place to explore life and improve their lot.”

According to CGFA co-founder and chair Doug Vaught, the organization works closely with the state of Georgia to fulfill location requests and see that the filmmakers’ needs are met.

“Georgia’s ‘up to 30 percent tax credits’ for filmmakers is a compelling reason for filmmakers to come to the area,” Vaught said, “but with so many locales to choose from and the potential of economic impact to a community so desirable, bringing film projects to an area can be very competitive.”

“We’re in the business of ‘repeat …   More

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Life was good for Orlando business owner Dan Ellis in the spring of 2009. He had a wonderful marriage, three happy children and a successful printing business. But by that fall, he’d begun to slur words and suspected something was seriously wrong with his health. Ellis was diagnosed with progressive ALS, a debilitating terminal illness also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2010.

The 18-minute short documentary film, “Dan Behind His Eyes,” chronicles Ellis’ time spent creating giant paintings with his daughter Gina in 2011, by which time he had lost nearly all muscle control and could only communicate using a Dynavox eye movement sensor. The film will premiere at the World Arts Film Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville on April 11.

“I wanted to use art and music and color. Dan surrounded himself with art, and that’s who he was,” said Sheri Kebbel, the film’s director and producer. “So this film, I wanted it to be so that people would not look away. That it was not so ugly and so hard in knowing that it was a terminal illness to where they have this feeling of ‘Well, what do you want me to do about it?’”

Kebbel filmed the Ellis family from November 2010 until March 2012, just a few months before Dan Ellis lost his battle with ALS last June. In addition to the short documentary “Dan Behind His Eyes,” Kebbel directed and produced an hour-long, feature-length film which follows Ellis’ interactions with family and friends and his artistic collaborations with his children and hip-hop rapper MC Serch while in the grip of progressive ALS. The feature film is currently in post-production and will be submitted to film festivals in the fall.

Kebbel will join Kevin Boylan, medical director and founder of the ALS clinic at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and Kim Hanna, president and CEO of the ALS Association Florida Chapter, for a short question and …   More

 
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