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The Flog

Because We Want to Hear What Happens

It’s hallucinatory to speak with Ira Glass on the phone. Absurd really to dial a NYC number and be connected with the voice that I’ve communed with hundreds of times over the course of my life, bearing my soul, telling jokes, sometimes disagreeing with, but always coming back to a balance of friendship. His voice, so familiar is like a slightly nasal narcotic, and I remind myself to breathe.

Glass doesn’t know we are friends, though I suspect he’s got an inkling of the hundreds of thousands of fan folks like me who imagine that, given the opportunity, we would be friends. And that’s the thing, right? Beyond the exquisite storytelling, the incredible curiosity and dedication, Glass is, at his core, a deeply decent man. So I’m guessing that even as 2.2 million of us listen each week to This American Life (or binge on the podcasts Serial and S-Town), we imagine getting the Glass treatment and are thereby revealed to ourselves as much as we are to an audience.

For, as loyal (and even occasional) listeners know, Glass has the ability to unpeel and structure a story—revealing comedy, tragedy and heroics—in an manner that encapsulates an entire person. The stories on American Life are remarkable for their humanity and surprise.

When asked about what motivates him to find these stories Glass replied, “I have to say, the kinds of stories we make on our show really come out of my interests ... they come out of a bunch of things, my incompetence as a regular reporter when I was in my twenties, and my interest in doing stories about everyday life and everyday people. This set me off on a series of experiments of making different kinds of stories to figure out how to tell a story about everyday people that would be engaging and feel like something. That lead me to certain conclusions about how to tell a story on the radio...and honestly it brought me back to a very basic kind of storytelling where, when we do …   More

the flog

"Nobody Is Above the Law"

A coalition of progressive advocacy organizations led by MoveOn has called for coordinated nation-wide protests today at 5 p.m.

The move is a reaction to yesterday's forced resignation of Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The president has long expressed disappointment in Sessions, who recused himself from Robert Mueller's ongoing special counsel investigation early in his tenure. Sessions' ouster was widely seen as a prelude to executive intervention in Mueller's independent investigation.

An official MoveOn press release describes new Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as a "crony" who "has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it."

"Donald Trump just crossed a red line," the press release continues, "violating the independence of the investigation pursuing criminal charges in the Trump-Russia scandal and cover-up. Trump putting himself above the law is a threat to our democracy, and we’ve got to get Congress to stop him. We're mobilizing immediately to demand accountability, because Trump is not above the law."

MoveOn projects a grand total of 990 protests across the nation. Florida alone is expected to host 41 of these.

The Jacksonville event takes place on San Jose Blvd. in Mandarin, in front of Whole Foods. St. Augustine activists are set to demonstrate at the Plaza de la Constitución.   More

the flog

From the Ashes

A building strengthened with love begins its reconstruction after being scorched in a St. Augustine arson spree in 2014.

Located at 45 Cordova St., in the Ancient City's historic downtown district, the house was built by the Cooley family in 1890. Architect Jerry Dixon purchased the property in 1989. He said he rented part of the first floor, based his business out of the building, and even lived in it. Dixon formed a bond with 45 Cordova over the 20 years he spent as its owner.

On June 23, 2014, according to St. Johns County Fire Rescue, 45 Cordova was the first of multiple locations at which fires were reported. The majority of the Dixon Design Group’s headquarters was burned down.

"I'll never forget that day," Disxon said. "It was just after 3:00 in the morning when my phone rang. Thank goodness, at the time, I was not there. My home and my plans were torched."

Due to the destruction of the property, Dixon decided to put it up for sale. His love for the building never dwindled, even after the fires did, but he knew it would be a tall task to restore. He figured the building was damaged goods to any potential buyer.

Local real estate agent Karen Vander, however, saw the property as an easy sell. She was able to sell the property within 50 days to Bruce Maguire's Maguire Land Corp.

“Jerry is a well-known architect," Vander said. "He had all the designs drafted and had approval [...] for the exterior he wanted to construct.”

Dixon also had a permit for the rebuild. He helped make the property as appealing as possible. Vander said the downtown St. Augustine area is in high demand. Retail businesses and restaurants clamor for the chance to set up shop in the area. This fact made 45 Cordova even more attractive to buyers.

“There is a high demand for downtown property because there is a limited supply,” Vander said. “Cost of entry is high as well.”

The current owner Bruce Maguire said the area is …   More

the flog

The Great Mlinko

Celebrated poet Ange Mlinko will be in town for a reading this Thursday evening, Nov. 1. The University of Florida poetry professor is promoting her fifth book , published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux in July 2017.

Born in Philadelphia in 1969, Mlinko earned her BA from St. Johns College, followed by an MFA at Brown University before embarking on a noteworthy writing career. Her debut poetry collection, , was published in 1999. The follow-up, (2005), won the National Poetry Series. Her third volume was , a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award in 2010, and made best-book lists for The New Yorker and The Boston Globe in 2013.

Mlinko comes to Jacksonville at the invitation of University of North Florida English professor Clark Lunberry.

"In many of her poems, Mlinko is a kind of eccentric formalist," says Lunberry, "exploring often disguised rhyme schemes and asymmetrical stanza structures. There was a time not so long ago when such formalism might have seemed awfully conventional but, today, with time, with the passage of history, it can almost feel avant-garde, as if redefining what it is to be 'experimental'."

Mlinko's work has turned up in all sorts of well-known publications, including The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Poetry Magazine, Granta and The Paris Review. She was Poetry Editor at The Nation, and was last year featured in The New Yorker, whose Dan Chiasson wrote: "Mlinko's poems aren't simple: they face the complexities of love and loss with a pragmatic erudition. She is a difficult, allusive, dense poet, haunted by myth and by language. But she is also, in almost every line, funny, poignant, and self-impugning, measuring her pinprick dramas against the cosmos."

Her famed facility with language results directly from a complicated upbringing and a precocious childhood. Mlinko's family has linguistic roots in Hungarian, Portuguese and Belorussian. She had read Chekhov by 11 and by 15.

"Mlinko's work, in …   More

the flog

Sex and This City

The ninth edition of River City Raunch has hit the streets, and that is cause for celebration. This Saturday, Oct. 27 at Rain Dogs in Five Points, the zine’s producers are throwing an all-day party whose proceeds will help fund the purchase of equipment for the all-new River City Raunch podcast. The event features some of the indie scene’s leading lights: DJs Ali Youngblood and Giani LaDavia in the front room, and Halloween-themed covers by bands like FFN, United Tylers of Tyler and the estimable Brothers Shuck (Charlie and Joe) in the listening room.

There will also be food, drink and a raffle ($2.50 a ticket) with prizes galore, courtesy of businesses including Mossfire, Wall Street, Sweet Theory and Sun-Ray Cinema. The event even boasts a kissing booth, the sign for which was custom-built by that luminous legend of local art, Jason Wright. The evening culminates in an “All Glam Revue” by the band Kisses Only. The project has evolved quite a bit since we last profiled its creator, but these new changes have brought with them exciting challenges. Folio Weekly spoke with Lindsay Anderson, auteur of the project. We asked her a few questions via email.

 

How long has the podcast idea been in development? What will it be about?

I was approached in May this year by a team of people who have podcast experience. They had the idea to create a podcast that highlights love and sex, and were told about my zine River City Raunch. We had a meeting and talked through the details of podcasts, which was an option I had never considered before. I explained in detail what RCR was and what is non-negotiable and, together, we decided to move forward to develop the idea. I was offered complete creative control because of my extreme protectiveness of the confessions that are given to me, and the podcast team would provide the equipment, recording space and editing needed to publish the podcast online.

My intention is to keep the main …   More

the flog

Dog Days

Amendment 13, the ban on dog races, is on the Florida ballot for 2018.

According to the Florida Greyhound Association, Florida has 13 racing facilities, more than any other state.

Amendment supporters say it's an opportunity to end a business that is inhumane. Statistical evidence, they argue, supports their claims against the industry. Opponents, however, say the attacks on the dog racing industry are misguided and carried by selective statistics.

Organizations such as Grey2k USA are in full support of Amendment 13, because of the inhumane way they claim the dogs are treated. According to its website, “greyhounds are confined for 20-23 hours a day.”

Animal rescue group officials have enumerated several negative issues within the dog racing industry. State records reveal that in the last five years alone, 483 greyhounds died in the kennels or on the track.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported that there have been at least 758 greyhound deaths in the period from January 2008 to November 2014, due to the animals' involvement with the dog racing industry. The dogs either collapse or are euthanized after they suffer a serious injury.

In that time span, 16 “greyhounds tested positive for cocaine.” There were an additional 27 cases of neglect and cruelty reported, according to the ASPCA.

Sonia Stratemann, vice chair of the Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 campaign, said the amendment would stop breeders from breeding the sleek canines for racing. As a result, the greyhounds would not be forced to live a life of inevitable neglect and injury.

“It’s planned abandonment. They breed them knowing they’re going to get rid of them and dump them onto rescues as soon as they’re no longer making a profit for them,” Stratemann said.

Stratemann said her experiences within racing dog kennels revealed how greyhounds were being neglected and used, but Patti Strand, founder …   More

Folio Arts

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens Names New Director:

Adam M. Levine, currently the deputy director and curator of ancient art for the Toledo Museum of Art, assumes his new role as the Cummer’s first George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director and Chief Executive Officer in January 2019. Until then, he plans to consult with the museum’s current leadership and serve as director designate as he relocates to Jacksonville.

 

“When I visited the Cummer Museum, I was overwhelmed by its potential,” said Levine. “The seasoned staff, the magnificent gardens, the strong collection, and the supportive board all suggested the museum could become a truly special institution. What enthused me about this opportunity in particular, is the civic pride Jacksonville residents feel for their city and the aspirations they shared for Northeast Florida. I cannot wait to build an institution that offers world-class artistic, programmatic, and educational offerings that are broadly relevant and engage the entire community.”

 

Levine earned a few Bachelor of Arts degrees at Dartmouth College in 2008. He triple-majored in anthropology, art history, mathematics and social sciences. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2012, Levine then earned a Master of Studies and Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art from Oxford University. Levine has published and presented widely, and has enjoyed fellowships/residencies at the American Numismatic Society and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy.

 

He has worked in management and curation for over ten years. In 2009 Levine co-founded Art Research Technologies in New York City. (The firm was later sold to a London-based finance firm). He has also consulted extensively with national and international arts organizations. As director, he will be the chief fundraiser for the Cummer.

 

In a 2013 interview with the Toledo City Paper, Levine said “I think that museums of the future will be more representative and global in their …   More

THE FLOG

Run, Eddie, Run

“I’m now in a forest, walking alone.”

It’s a strange thing Eddie Izzard said to me. It was the last thing he said before he hung up the phone. I don’t know if he meant it metaphorically or if he was literally walking in a forest the entire time we were talking.

I suppose most people would take that statement at face value, as it is fairly straightforward. However, after talking to Izzard—a dynamo standup comedian, deep-thinking author, maniac marathon runner and cross-dressing politico—I thought it might be possible that he may have been referring to his journey through this crazy world, or his upcoming tour (which hits Jacksonville on Oct. 10).

Izzard is an enigma in today’s instant gratification and fast satisfaction culture. He is a deep, deep thinker who peddles in theories about where we are going as a society, whilst his contemporaries smash watermelons and tell fart jokes (both great qualities in their own right). Izzard can wax poetic about the tract of human civilization as comfortably on a stage as a Cambridge professor. He could also run 27 marathons in 27 days as a salute to Nelson Mandela and his fight for freedom. Izzard, an accomplished author, actor, standup comedian and, potentially, future MP (Member of Parliament) recently took time away from, I guess, waltzing through the woods, to talk to us about his love for language, acting opposite Dame Judy Dench and the difference between Boy Mode and Girl Mode.

 

Folio Weekly: What about the world is funny right now?

Eddie Izzard: That’s an interest question because I don’t think I work that way. What I do is think about what's funny about the future and what's funny about the past. I tend not to go into right-this-very-moment, Trump-this and Boris Johnson-that. I don’t do that because I find it changes too often. I’m very driven and very lazy at the same time, which is kind of weird, but it seems to work for …   More

THE FLOG

A Night of Soulful High Energy

On Sunday, Sept. 30, Jacksonville welcomed two chart-topping musicians to Daily’s Place: Darius Rucker and Russell Dickerson. They were greeted by a sold-out crowd of all ages as they belted out their hits before an enthusiastic crowd.

As the sun went down, Dickerson kicked off the concert singing his mega-hits tunes, such as “Billions,” “Every Little Thing” and “Twenty Something.” His contagious energy fired up the music lovers as he went around the stage, slapping fans’ hands and throwing out guitar picks to a few ecstatic attendees.

As the new guy in country music, he had an eclectic mashup of rap, country and punk-rock, punctuated with his less-than-perfect dance moves and seemingly sincere efforts to please the ladies.

By the time headliner Darius Rucker (no, he is not Hootie) took the stage, Daily’s Place was packed and in a frenzy. He jumped right in, giving us what we wanted: “Homegrown Honey,” “Radio” and “Southern State of Mind.”

Rucker exhibited his amazing talents as he worked the crowd. The dude's got the ability to switch genres flawlessly, delighting all with one of his past hits, “Time,” a hit when he was the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish. Rucker started his country music career in 2008. In just one year, he had the hit “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” which spent three weeks topping the country charts in 2009. Rucker has been delivering hit songs ever since and he definitely left a very good lasting impression on Northeast Florida concert-goers that night.

After the show, fan Jane Chefan, who attended with her husband Jeff, gushed, “Seeing Darius Rucker was a huge treat for us. We know and love his songs and he definitely didn’t disappoint! He and the band delivered a soulful yet high-energy and feel-good performance. The evening was truly outstanding.”

Sure, it's a little surreal to …   More

The Flog

Questions of Racial “Sensitivity” Cloud Selection of Interim Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

“If push comes to shove, we will go without an interim executive director,” said Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville (CCGJ) Board Chair Ann Carey on Sept. 17. It was close to the end of a long and surprisingly painful meeting.

On June 15 CCGJ Executive Director Tony Allegretti resigned. Originally his plan was to remain with the organization until Dec. 28; three weeks ago, he moved his departure date up to Sept. 28. That put a lot of pressure on the board to find an interim director.

By the afternoon of Sept. 14, that person was looking to very likely be current City Council hopeful Michael Boylan, who is running to succeed term-limited Matt Schellenberg in District 6. As the former head of local NPR affiliate WJCT, he has the qualities, resume and connections the CCGJ is looking for. After Florida Politics reported that he was being considered for the position, the meeting was convened to discuss Boylan as possible interim CEO.

At that meeting, board member JaMario Stills raised concerns that in the past Boylan had made disparaging comments about women and people of color, comments that Stills said he would “rather not provide explicit quote because it is embarrassing.” Stills did say, however, that the statements he was privy to were “enough information to make me feel that this would be a very bad move,” he said.

Following that meeting, Boylan categorically denied the charges to Folio Weekly, saying, “I guess I’m at a loss, quite honestly as to what to say […] I don’t ever recall a specific situation...my frustration [is that] my actions speak louder than my words. I have a history of providing support to the women on my staff, to people of color not only in the organization but outside of it as well...so I just think it’s being unfortunately used as a means of impeding my opportunity to help…. And I don’t know what the real rationale for it is.”

Boylan also …   More