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the flog

The Perception of ANNIHILATION

For the past five years, modern cinema has seen a resurgence of the cerebral sci-fi. Science-fiction that can be thrilling, terrifying and thoughtful all at once. The survival of a stranded astronaut living on potatoes (The Martian), a linguist learning the nuances of alien language (Arrival) and a look into the dystopian future of sentient androids (Blade Runner 2049)-these films engage and stimulate us on a level we rarely acquire. They reach out, grab our attention and toss preconceived notions of what is, and what could be, to the wind. They create.

As part of this renaissance, writer/director Alex Garland is one of the leading minds. With his 2015 look into the future of artificial intelligence, Ex Machina, Garland set the tone for what science-fiction could be. And, with the premiere of Annihilation, Garland continues to push those same boundaries.

Based on Jeff VanderMeer's best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation puts Lena (Natalie Portman) on an expedition into the mysterious and misunderstood anomaly that has been labeled the Shimmer. In the wake of a catastrophic event, the Shimmer has encompassed an area of coastline and surrounding swampland, constructing an iridescent border around itself. Left under the control and guard of a governmental shadow organization, led by psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the Shimmer-and the world now contained inside of it-have become the subjects of investigation, experimentation and conspiracy, being labeled as "environmental disasters" and quarantined off from the rest of the unsuspecting world.

As experimentation and exploration of the anomaly continue, one thing becomes clear: If you go in, there's no coming out. That is, until lone expedition member Kane (Oscar Isaac) returns home without the knowledge of those guarding the border or his wife, Lena. With Kane seemingly wiped of all memory and now afflicted and dying of an unknown sickness, Kane and Lena are swept up by the …   More

the flog

Jacksonville Pastor Calls for a Fast to Fight GUN Violence

In response to American gun violence and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in Parkland, Jacksonville's Reverend Ken Jones, who hosts "Truth is Holy" on 91.7 FM, has called for a 72-hour fast. He's encouraged listeners to his show and anyone who'd like to join in the fast, which began Tuesday at 7 a.m. and will end Friday morning, to participate.

Fasting, Jones says, is about "denying the flesh" in order to "feed the spirit."

"When I am spiritually strong inside, I can bear the infirmities of the weak," Jones says.

Jones bases his call for a fast on Biblical precedent. In the Old Testament, Jones says, "Esther called for a fast and saved a whole nation from annihilation."

Jones also says he predicted the Parkland shooting on his radio show two days before it happened

"It's prophetic, because I said we got to do something to address this violence, I said it on my show on the 12th, and this shooting occurred on the 14th. I ask God, 'What are you trying to tell people?'" he says.

He doesn't call himself a prophet, but says his mother did before she passed away a few years ago.

Asked why mass shootings have become an integral part of the American landscape, Jones says, "People in America feel a very heightened anxiety. The average person who owns a gun does not just have one gun. People who own guns have 15, 20, 30 guns."

According to a BBC story, the day after the Parkland shooting, American civilians own more than 270 million guns, far more than any other country, per capita, on the planet. The Guardian reported in November that just three percent of Americans own 133 million guns.

Meanwhile, The New York Times pointed out in June 2016 that people in England were only as likely to die from gunfire as Americans were from falling off a ladder (about one in a million), the Japanese as likely to die from a gunshot as Americans from lightning-approximately one in 10 million.

Nations with strong gun laws have low rates of …   More

the flog

GRIOT Emeritus

It's been 40 years now since Wyclef Jean and his family emigrated here from his native Haiti, going from Croix-des-Bouquets to Brooklyn in the late 1970s. He arrived there as a child, at a time when New York City was going through musical shifts that would quickly spread around the world. Punk rock and disco were just beginning to yield market share to the first generation of rappers and DJs; within 15 years, he and his friends would themselves be central players in that scene, and today he's regarded as an elder statesman, looking outward to new musical ventures.

One of these ventures occurs on Saturday night, March 10, when Wyclef Jean performs at Daily's Place, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Symphony. Conductor Courtney Lewis will lead the musicians in support as Wyclef runs the gamut of his vast musical output. The three-time Grammy winner released his ninth and 10th solo albums last year, including Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee.

Wyclef Jean is best known, of course, as a member of the Fugees, among the best-selling rap groups of all-time, two decades after their commercial peak, moving at least 22 million units since 1996. He is also remembered for his highly controversial candidacy for president of Haiti in 2010, which began and ended under somewhat bizarre circumstances and occurred in response to the catastrophic earthquake there in January of that year, one of the most deadly natural disasters in human history. Jean remains highly active in the internal politics of his homeland. He exchanged emails with Folio Weekly recently.

You are known for ripping many, many mics on the daily. But exactly how many mics? Is there a set number of mics to be ripped on the daily, or does it change depending on your schedule?

Well, the idea of ripping mics on the daily is a penmanship exercise of rhyming where we write 16 bars a day at least. So, all the way up to today, every day, I have 16 bars in my head of new content.

Have you …   More

the flog

LOVE Your Library

In the ever-evolving age of technology society now finds itself, it is important to remember why it all began: a need for communication. If you want to get technical, perhaps you could say it was the cave paintings of our Neanderthal ancestors or the great Rosetta Stone of Ptolemy that brought us language, and you would be absolutely correct. But, for most of what we consider modern history, it boils down to one thing: paper. Roll it up and call it a scroll, or bind it with leather and call it a book. Walking into a library or bookstore is akin to entering a temple or cathedral, lets us experience the  the peak of nostalgia. An almost reverential silence is palpable, and the familiar scent of paper-from magazines, books, newspapers, comics, 'zines-hits, opening a floodgate of memories. We figuratively (or literally, truth be told) embrace the volumes as if we're greeting old friends.

Paper by itself can't do much, but add some ideas, a lot of words, a few characters and a plot, then you have a story. Whether you're recording the inner workings of an atom, playing out a drama set in the Antebellum South or thrilling with the tale of a lone astronaut living off nothing but potatoes on Mars-thanks for that one, Andy Weir-it's important to remember that for every one of these stories, there's a reader, an audience.

Technology is great, fantastic even. If you want, you can buy and sell books on Amazon or browse the selection of books at the local library, all from the comfort of your couch and Slanket. But there really isn't anything else like crossing the threshold of an actual library. Forgive the romanticism and cliché, but a trip to the library is probably the cheapest vacation you can take. For nothing but the fact that you have a "local" address, you have instantaneous access to the minds and thoughts of thousands-if not millions-of people who decided that knowledge and creativity are worth being recorded in the lexicon of human …   More

the flog

Black Panther = Black EXCELLENCE


Black Panther showed the importance of fatherhood, strong women, individual and collective identity, responsibility to help others and the need for leaders to rise to the challenge while thinking of the good of all.

As I walked into the theater with my daughter, I didn't know what to expect. I read the Time magazine article about the film, which left me intrigued by the direction of the movie. The article spoke about the Black Panther character's birth during the Civil Rights Era. Also, the variety of roles the majority black cast could shed light on what it's like to be black not only in America but the world, and how those perspectives can be very different based on birthplace and exposure. I expected hidden gems mixed with subtle revelations to be present. In the scene where M'Baku (Winston Duke) challenged T'Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) for his throne, hearing the phrase "Show him who you are!" made me sit on the edge of my seat; the line was razor-sharp, cutting the tension. The throne of Wakanda was T'Challa's birthright, and everyone knew it.

Just then, I looked at my daughter. Her eyes were glued to the screen, while my thoughts lingered between the past, present and future. On a regular basis, I tell her who she is, followed by an always remember knowing there will be times when life will challenge her knowledge of self. At those times, she'll have to rely on what I've put inside of her. Identity is crucially important in the development of anything, even more so in the rearing of a child.

There's responsibility in the self-realization, too: After recognizing who you are and what you've been called to do, it's equally essential to walk in the full authority of your role.

"Stand up, you're a king!"

How many times have we waited for someone else to permit us to walk in an authority that we've already acquired? Leadership roles are often coveted and criticized. But leadership comes with responsibility, and it helps to …   More

the flog

Bill sows seeds of discord between Nassau County and Rayonier

A dispute between Nassau County and Rayonier, the largest local property owner, over a land use agreement within a 24,000-acre development site known as the East Nassau Community Planning Area, which stretches from A1A in Yulee to the state line, is being waged in Tallahassee, where lawmakers decided Tuesday to give round one to the local government with a decision by the Appropriations Committee to strike language from proposed legislation that officials maintained would have shifted the financial obligation for funding parks and recreation from the developer to local taxpayers at an estimated cost of $25 million to $50 million.

State Senator Aaron Bean, a Republican who represents Nassau and part of Duval counties, filed the amendment to change the bill after being lobbied by County Commissioners who traveled to the state capitol last week and this week to petition lawmakers about a "very bad" public policy.

While Bean was able to persuade his colleagues to change the bill, he recognized in remarks that the dispute had soured the Public Private Partnership and he'd be "buying fancy coffee" to help broker a peace treaty between local government and Rayonier.

"No one likes to put their dirty laundry out for everybody to see," said Bean.

Today the state House of Representatives is scheduled to hear companion bill HB 697. Representative Cord Byrd, a Republication from Neptune Beach who represents Nassau County, filed an amendment to delete language that, officials maintained, would relieve Rayonier from funding requirements for recreation. He, too, was lobbied by commissioners to make the change.

County Attorney Michael Mullin, who spoke to the committee from the public podium, according to a live stream of the discussion on the state senate website ( and insisted that Rayonier, through its subsidiary Raydient Places + Properties, slipped language into the bill that would have "eviscerated" the local agreement that was years in the …   More

the flog


We here at Folio Weekly are super pleased to present the world premiere of the "All Tomorrows" video: music by Gabe Darling, video and animation by Laura Bearl, and starring Satomi as the storm-braving hero. It's as sweet a love story as we've seen in a long time.




the flog

Brosche Was Not Out of Line

This is a response to the Saturday editorial by the Florida Times-Union editorial board, which offered a one-sided view and appeared to take the position of referee between Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche.

On Feb. 12, Brosche sent a letter responding to JEA CEO Paul McElroy's Feb. 9 request for a meeting to hear a consultant's presentation on the possibility of selling JEA, in which she stated, "With all due respect, I am declining the opportunity to hold a Special City Council Meeting on February 14." There are three ways by which a council meeting can be called: (1) By the president; (2) by seven council members; or (3) by the mayor. I believe that the mayor could not find seven council members, so he forced the meeting that took place on Feb. 14.

We taxpayers who watched or attended the mayor's special council meeting were left with five questions. What was the impetus and haste for this meeting? Why was the information presented so poorly, generating many questions from council members, some which could not be addressed? Why wasn't there a quorum from the JEA Board present for this joint meeting? Why did the board of JEA hire someone with no certification to present the information, as the consultant verified during this meeting when questioned by the council president? Why did the JEA pay roughly $100,000 information that raised more questions than answers?

And then there's the sixth, and perhaps most pressing, question: What is the real reason for selling JEA?

This was the mayor's special city council meeting to hear a consultant's report on the possibility of selling JEA. However, this meeting, based upon what I and other taxpayers witnessed, did not meet the mayor's objective. Members of the public who attended were not moved to sell JEA. At the conclusion, the council president asked those present if they'd heard anything that convinced them to sell the JEA. Their response was a resounding …   More

the flog

Eyes Wide OPEN

The Ritz Theatre and Museum welcomed patrons on Saturday, February 3 for the opening of Through Our Eyes. 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the annual exhibit that celebrates African-American artists living in Northeast Florida. To produce the show, Museum Administrator Adonnica Toler worked alongside Lydia P. Stewart, the Founder and Curator of Through Our Eyes.

The Ritz is a City owned cultural asset that was established in 1999. It sits on the site of the former Ritz Theatre movie house, which opened its doors in 1929 in Jacksonville’s historic LaVilla neighborhood. During the height of the neighborhood’s activity, starting in the 1920’s and spanning through the 1960’s, LaVilla was known as the “Harlem of the South.” The mission of the Ritz is to “research, record, and preserve the material and artistic culture of African American life in Northeast Florida and the African Diaspora, and present it in an educational or entertaining format, showcasing the many facets that make up the historical and cultural legacy of this community.”

2018’s show is titled Journey to South Africa: A Cultural Exchange. The Ritz posted a Call to Artists in early 2017 with a June deadline to submit. From those who submitted their portfolios for consideration, 27 artists were selected to exhibit their work in this year’s show. Works on display range from 2-dimensional paintings, 3-dimensional mixed media installations, live performances, and animated digital displays.

Marsha Hatcher is a veteran artist of the show, having exhibited her work in 20 of the 25 years the show has been produced. Hatcher paints expressionistic portraits that adroitly capture a range of gripping emotions conveyed through the faces of black women and men. Hatcher has three pieces on exhibit, with one being a portrait of American songwriter and musician Nina Simone. In that piece, Hatcher includes a quote from Simone that examines the …   More

the flog

The Value of REAL News

The experiment has escaped the lab and is running amok across our great land. Thanks, Facebook. Many once thought that social media would save us--that it would break down borders, unite the globe, make us smarter, happier and more engaged in the world.

I'm not sure anyone believes that anymore. Turns out, it hasn't broken down borders, but rather helped create social bubbles where our beliefs harden. It hasn't united us, but revealed how polarized we've become. It often hasn't made us smarter, but instead tricked us with clickbait.

At this point, it's clear that even Facebook's founder didn't anticipate how the site would be used and abused, or how foreign agents looking to sow some good ol' chaos would game Facebook's algorithms to subvert American democracy. Further, it's apparent now that Facebook-and Google and Twitter, for that matter-didn't look too closely at the money being exchanged to see who was paying and who was profiting from all the fakery.

Yet, at the same time these platforms--Google and Facebook, especially--were spreading misinformation and fake news like wildfire, they were also draining digital advertising dollars from the very news outlets that could combat those forces with real journalism.

That's not exactly new: The news business has long been outwitted by these tech giants-lured by vast internet audiences, they've essentially provided free content to Facebook and Google, while the duopoly courted their advertisers-but I believe that the journalists who confronted that impossible choice ultimately wanted to deliver the news, even at their own expense.

And now Facebook is poised to change the rules of the game yet again. Struggling to repel fake news and the antagonism permeating the site, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that it would deprioritize news in favor of posts from friends and family. It's sent a shockwave through the news industry, much of which has strategically aligned its priorities with …   More