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the flog

The Road, More Traveled

The rock-star-as-egomaniac trope has sadly earned its cliché status, but in no way does it apply to Ken Stringfellow. Despite having earned the right to behave any way he likes, the alt-rock veteran has the patience of a saint. I know this from experience. I had to reschedule our interview several times, as my own ruthless pace caught up to me. He was very good about it, grandly gracious and loquacious as can be.

Stringfellow has spent most of the last few weeks on the road, alone, driving from station to station on a journey that will carry him from one end of the continent to the other. “It seems like I've driven about 5,000 miles on this tour so far, according to the rental car odometer,” Stringfellow says. “This Eastern leg I'm on now is 27 shows in 28 days!” He has another 30 U.S. shows or so to go, followed by another dozen in Europe. It’s a brutal itinerary, but one that he seems to relish.

Born in October 1968, Stringfellow is probably best-known for his work with The Posies, which he formed in Washington State with Jon Auer in the mid-‘80s. They’re still around today, having released eight studio albums and some 17 EPs over the years. Stringfellow has produced six solo albums, and he’s currently on the road in support of his most recent projects. In addition to his long career as a band leader and solo artist, he has built a formidable reputation as a hired gun for iconic artists. And I mean iconic. We’re talking Neil Young, Thom Yorke, Robyn Hitchcock, Mudhoney, Mercury Rev, Ringo Starr and the Afghan Whigs. He toured with the mighty R.E.M. for a decade and assisted in some of their final albums. He was also a major part of the reformation of Big Star, one of the great cult favorites of the 1970s.

All told, Stringfellow has well over 250 album credits on his resume, and they include some of the most well-known alternative bands of the modern era. Having worked with such a diverse array …   More

the flog

Making a Statement

On Friday, Sept. 20, young people across the nation—and around the world—are staging a simultaneous strike to urge political leaders to take immediate action on climate change. The protest comes three days before the start of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, but activists hope to influence government at all levels, including the municipal.

To that end, local students have organized a Jacksonville event, which takes place in Hemming Park, Downtown, at 10 a.m. One of the organizers is Katie Carlson. The Stanton College Preparatory School sophomore told WJCT’s Melissa Ross that she was inspired by a Rhode Island protest she attended earlier this year, but has been disappointed in the lack of urgency in Northeast Florida.

“I haven’t seen much movement,” she explained. “When I saw the opportunity to have a strike here ... in coordination with thousands of people [globally], I really wanted to take that opportunity.”

The complacency Carlson notes locally is all the more troubling, given Northeast Florida’s position on the front lines of climate change. “I think that, especially in Florida, with sea level rising, we could be heavily impacted.”

This global event is the culmination of more than one year of piecemeal action. Students across the U.S. have been walking out of classrooms in protest every Friday. The movement has grown and become multigenerational. Next week’s UN Climate Summit represents a turning point, as scientists warn that this may be the last, best chance to seriously address climate change before its effects become catastrophic.

In addition to the Jacksonville event, there will be a 5 p.m. flash strike in St. Augustine, on the Downtown side of the Bridge of Lions.   More

the flog

What’s in the Box?

As anyone older than 21 already knows, drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster, no matter how good the drinks may be. The market for microbrews in Northeast Florida has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade, and that rapid rise seems unlikely to plateau any time soon. While a number of craft brewers are dispensing their own vittles to customers, and others partner with food trucks and local eateries, there remains a sizeable niche to be filled. Enter BrewBox Foods, a new business constructed by veteran chefs, built for hungry beer-drinkers. They aim to provide small, portable snacks for the brewery customer, who will then drink more beer, but with a lot more safety and comfort.

After months of careful preparation, BrewBox hit the ground running with a series of launch parties at breweries all over Jacksonville. The first event was at Hyperion, followed by happenings at Veterans United, Southern Swells and Posting House in San Marco. This Thursday, they’ll be at Bold City Downtown, helping fans pre-game up for the last pre-season Jaguars football contest with that Atlanta team. BrewBox will be at Tabula Rasa the following evening and Kanine Social on Sept. 6. They’ve cultivated these connections one by one, often over a couple pints of the in-house libations, while building their brand through social media.

The public face of the company is Heather Schatz, who by day labors as the producer for First Coast Connect on WJCT, a position she undertook after stints doing media work in places like Miami and New York City. The married mother of two has devoted much of her spare time helping her friends get this project off the ground, and she has handled most of their public outreach efforts, such as this interview, conducted during their launch party at Veterans United Craft Brewery a couple weeks ago.

“It’s a very collaborative effort,” she told Folio Weekly. The idea came together while the principals were on a …   More

the flog

Darling Nikki

Between the clubs and the stage, TV and podcasts, streaming services and the internet in general, the world of standup comedy is overpopulated, like Times Square on New Year’s Eve (or Times Squares at any time). With the market having reached its saturation point years ago, it can be difficult, if not plain impossible, to cultivate a persona that stands out in the crowd. But that has proved to be no problem at all for Nikki Glaser, one of the funniest and most popular comedians working today.

Her four-show run at The Comedy Zone this weekend offers fans a chance to take a deep-dive into the mind of a deep-thinker. But her set is not for the faint of heart, because she can be downright ribald, if not indeed raunchy. Well, yeah, indeed–raunchy.

Nikki Glaser was born in Cincinnati in June 1984, matriculating as a Kansas Jayhawk before starting out in standup about 15 years ago. She made her bones on the club circuit for years, while turning up on various cult television shows like Red Eye, Adam Ruins Everything, Inside Amy Schumer and It’s On with Alexa Chung. She got to roast Rob Lowe and Bruce Willis, and she’s even been on The View, which you really need to see.

Glaser’s initial two forays into TV show hosting have been short-lived, but highly influential, in their own special way. The first was MTV’s Nikki & Sara Live, which she co-hosted with fellow comic Sara Schaefer in 2013. (The two also hosted the podcast You Had to Be There from 2011 to 2014.) That show was more about plumbing the depths of celebrity fandom, and just indulging in the joys of their own newfound fame. That indulgence included one legendary segment with their mutual crush, good ol’ Justin Timberlake. The ensuing hilarity cannot fully be described in a family publication like this.

The second show–the one that really put her on the map–was Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, which was truly groundbreaking during its all-too brief run on Comedy Central in 2016. On that …   More

the flog

The Big D

Loretta Lynn famously sang, "Stand by your man, and tell the world you love him." But Denise Daniels ain't buying it. In the latest twist in the ongoing scandal engulfing the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Darryl Daniels' wife has filed for divorce. Folio Weekly has obtained an electronic record of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage requested by Denise Daniels from the Duval County Clerk of Courts on July 26.

Readers will recall the recent sex scandal that turned into an abuse-of-power scandal. News broke after Daniels issued his officers a dubious order to arrest a woman named Cierra Smith on May 6. Turns out, Smith is the sheriff's mistress of several years, and the bizarre arrest seems to have been improvised to save face in front of Denise Daniels, who had evidently just discovered her husband's infidelity.

Since then, Daniels has endured the antiseptic sunlight of a free and independent press as well as the probing of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation. He has responded to events with determination. The sheriff appears resolved, against all odds, to ride out this storm and pursue his future political projects, which reportedly include running for reelection and ultimately higher office. To help rehabilitate his image, Daniels employs a robust staff of Public Information Officers (double the number of JSO, which is three times as large as CCSO). He also recently contracted an external PR firm to "solidify" his "branding." Time will tell if divorce—and its fallout—damages said brand.   More

the flog

Playing the Rube(s)

It sounds like a cliché, and it is a cliché, but it is nonetheless true: Brian Regan is one of the funniest men walking the Earth today. Vanity Fair called him “the funniest stand-up alive.” Having grown up in Miami, the comedian has performed in Jacksonville more times than he can count. He’ll be here again July 28, to play The Florida Theatre.

In my opinion, the man has no peer. Don’t believe me? Ask Jerry Seinfeld. The comedy kingpin has often leveraged his considerable star power on behalf of his old friend. The two met before Seinfeld's big television breakthrough, when Jerry was just a hotshot standup comedian.

“Jerry Seinfeld has been incredibly kind to me over the years,” Regan told Folio Weekly. “We met before his sitcom. I opened for him a number of times.”

Seinfeld produced Regan’s instant classic 2017 Netflix special Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, as well as Stand Up And Away!, a new standup-slash-sketch-comedy series that debuted last December. Regan was also an early guest (third to be exact) on Seinfeld’s acclaimed web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. For many casual fans of the form, Regan's episode (“A Monkey and a Lava Lamp”) was their introduction to his eminently affable personal style. That appearance kicked off a whole new phase of Regan's career.

All this is in keeping with Entertainment Weekly’s apt assessment that Regan is “your favorite comedian’s favorite comedian.” He has an ambling, hyperkinetic style, heavy on funny voices that emphasize the goofball nature of his comedy, as well as a weird physical stance on stage that quickly became one of his trademarks.

“I’m not a good joke-teller,” Regan wrote, on location in Vancouver, where he was filming the third season of his Audience Network series Loudermilk. “I know that sounds weird, but I’ve never been good at telling normal …   More

the flog

Y’all Are Beautiful

Talking with GeeXella over coffee, the words "higher vibration" echo in my head. It seems fitting that the singer, rapper and DJ would use their visibility and platform to create party spaces where LGBTQIA folks feel free. GeeXella’s nomadic and sporadic dance party, Duval Folx, evinces the innocence of a block party married to the intelligent compassion of a safe space. Because it’s still dangerous to be a queer/nonbinary person of color in the south, saying things out loud—like, literally, out loud in the public sphere—is powerful. But more than that, it is necessary.

“It was hard for me, when I first started deejaying here in Jacksonville," GeeXella told Folio Weekly. "I would see my friends who live in New York, Philly and California and they’re deejaying at a black-owned club with black and brown people in their space. They don’t have to deal with the same things I have to deal with here. Being queer, being non-binary—I am half black and half Mexican—there aren’t spaces for us. And if there are, they’re segregated to an 'urban' night. And it’s very frustrating. I was told by certain clubs, ‘Do not play rap music.’ It felt degrading because hip hop music pop music.”

The singer continued, “Certain artists could pass that threshold … if they made that crossover then I could play them, but it felt very limiting as an artist. Also, I kinda felt a certain way, being a black person and having to hide that part of my culture.”

 

In talking about the hip hop scene in Jacksonville, GeeXella credited Paten Locke (DJ Therapy) and Niam Hadaf (Willie Evans Jr.) with blazing the trail. In addition to being stars of the local scene (and good friends), both performers have toured the world and garnered national and international recognition for their music. Though they’re elder hip hop statesmen now, GeeXella said the legacy they helped to create, …   More

the flog

Oh, Say, Do You See?

Whether you’re new to the First Coast, you’ve been here for ages, or you’re planning your next move, Blue Star Museums are an engaging—and affordable—way to squeeze in some summer fun. This is the 10th summer Blue Star Museums open their doors to active-duty military members and their families across the nation–free of charge. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense, Blue Star Museums offer complimentary admission to select museums as well as gardens, aquariums and zoos in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. With more than 2,000 participating institutions this year, all kinds of adventures await.

“We’ve seen the tremendous impact the Blue Star Museums program brings to our military families, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating a decade of support,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, chief executive officer of Blue Star Families, in a recent press release. “Not only are museums fun to explore, but [they’re] great for making memories and strengthening military families as a whole.”

Among Northeast Florida’s Blue Star Museums are the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, MOCA Jacksonville, Beaches Museum, Lightner Museum and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

Pack up the kids and head to Riverside’s Cummer Museum to beat the heat and see great art and breathtaking garden landscaping, too. Art Connections offers four interactive exhibits, including a gallery for children younger than five and an area to create self-portraits.

“Our city is home to approximately 75,000 active duty, reserve and civilian members of our Armed Forces, and their service is a critical part of our region’s identity. Through our participation in the Blue Star Museum Program, we have welcomed thousands of these families over the …   More

the flog

Man on the Inside

I first saw Bernard Fowler on stage when A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour passed through the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall earlier this year. Though the rock-and-soul vocalist was but one of several singers on the bill, he opened the set alongside Bowie’s longtime pianist, Mike Garson. The two New Yorkers paid homage to the Thin White Duke with a stripped-down version of one of Bowie’s deepest album cuts, “Bring Me the Disco King.” Another guest singer, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, would hit some impressive high notes later in the set but, for my money, Fowler’s early display of gravitas was the evening’s high-water mark.

Months later, I caught up with Fowler in a telephone conversation. Turns out, he met Bowie a few times. They were introduced by their mutual friend Mick. Incidentally, Bernard Fowler is on the road again and currently touring as a backing vocalist for said Mick and his rock band, The Rolling Stones. You might have heard of them. The British guitar group rose to fame in the mid-1960s as working-class London’s answer to Liverpool’s Fab Four, The Beatles.

Fowler came into the picture two decades later, when Jagger was in New York cutting a solo album. Producer Bill Laswell brought Fowler in to provide vocal harmonies. They hit it off. Fowler has been recording with Jagger and touring with The Stones ever since. The band’s No Filter Tour rolls into Northeast Florida this week. The Glimmer Twins and pals were originally scheduled for April, but the tour was postponed when Jagger underwent heart surgery.

By the time I spoke with Fowler, in early July, the tour was a couple of weeks into its rescheduled run and all was going well. “The boys are in great shape,” he said. “They’re playing beautifully. Mick is kicking ass and taking no prisoners. He’s not showing one bit of surgery strain. If anything, he’s gotten stronger.”

The …   More

the flog

Baos of Summer

Behold, doughy bao buns brimming with creamy blue crab, their fried toppings tumbling onto the plate below! It’s the second week of Crane Ramen’s “Sun’s Out, Buns Out” promotion. Every Wednesday and Thursday for eight weeks, the Five Points branch of the Gainesville-based eatery rolls out a new, limited-edition dish inspired by one of Jacksonville's professional sports teams.

Week 1 (June 26 & 27): Armada—fried sardine with beurre blanc espuma

Week 2 (July 10 & 11): New Jax City—lemon confit and blue crab with fried crunchy crab toppings

Week 3 (July 17 & 18): Sharks—gumbo bun

Week 4 (July 24 & 25): Jumbo Shrimp—Mayport shrimp burger with tomato marmalade

Week 5 (July 31 & Aug. 1): Axemen—Jacksonville “hot chicken” with sweet coleslaw

Week 6 (Aug. 7 & 8): Icemen—roast beef with caramelized onions and parmesan cheese

Week 7 (Aug. 14 & 15): Jaguars—fried pork belly with oxtail gravy

Week 8 (August 21 & 22): Giants—duck confit with avocado

The idea came to Chef Steve Grimes after he ran into several Jacksonville Jaguars players at a local Caribbean restaurant. “They were eating some oxtail, and I had talked to them about coming to the restaurant, and then I had thought about serving in the stadium, and then I wanted to tie together the rest of the city and see if I could just get some more people to come into the restaurant,” Grimes said. “And so I started looking at other sports teams, and then I just wanted to collaborate with all of them, really.”

Foodies interested in any of these dishes should make the time, as this will be the only opportunity they have to try to them. They cannot simply stop by on Friday and expect that the kitchen will make it again (although Grimes would consider bringing a favorite back in the future; and, of course, the promotion will likely run again next summer). …   More

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