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the flog

So Long, Rockville

Jacksonville’s cronies-only urban redevelopment racket claims another victim as Welcome to Rockville moves to Daytona Beach. According to a weekend press release written on behalf of Los Angeles-based production company Danny Wimmer Presents, the major music festival—which has been hosted in Jacksonville’s Northbank district for nine years—will celebrate its 10th anniversary edition at Daytona International Speedway in May 2020. The company cited city policy as a determining factor.

“As a result of Jacksonville’s continued development of the city’s downtown area,” the email press release stated, “Metropolitan Park is no longer available to host the annual festival.”

Although Jacksonville music-lovers are already mourning the loss on social media, DWP appears to be making lemonade. “After welcoming sold-out crowds of 90,000-plus the past three years,” the press release continued, "the move to Daytona International Speedway will allow Rockville to increase its audience capacity while at the same time providing more enhanced audience experiences.”

Indeed, the copywriter went on to tout the festival’s new home as “a world-class facility, including numerous hotels within walking distance, many dining options and expanded space for camping, allowing Rockville attendees a convenient and well-rounded experience.”

The email also quoted company founder (and Jacksonville native) Danny Wimmer, who addressed the Northeast Florida ticket-buyers who built Rockville: “This is where it all began—not just for Rockville, but for me. I love my hometown, and I’m really proud of what Rockville accomplished in its nine years in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, there was no longer a space at Metropolitan Park for us to deliver the kind of festival experience that Florida’s rock fans deserve. I’m excited to have a larger site to work with that allows us the …   More

the flog

Fishing for Shark Selfies

In February, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously voted to add several long-awaited shark fishing regulations to begin on July 1. Folio Weekly sat down with OneProtest’s Adam Sugalski to discuss these new rules.

It can be exciting to tame a creature stronger than oneself, but this superiority complex is killing prohibited sharks and endangering harvestable ones. In the struggle to pull a shark aboard and have a photo session, that shark’s body is creating lactic acid. If the shark survives long enough to swim away, it can experience extreme stress and even death in the wild.

“I’ve seen so many videos of, ‘We caught a big hammerhead.’ All these pictures, [anglers] sit on it. They let it go, and their hammerhead just flops over and dies on the shore. And with prohibited species especially, hammerheads among other ones, you basically have to leave them in the water.” Sugalski said. “And [the FWC is] recommending you cut the leader as close as you can, so you have to have bolt cutters.”

According to Sugalski, the founder and executive director of OneProtest, the nonprofit serves as the “glue that holds the book together.” Shark advocates had been urging FWC commissioners to create and enforce new regulations for more than a year before they voted on the issue in February. Activists eventually contacted OneProtest, which used its marketing and outreach skills to gain support throughout the state.

Since 2015, Sugalski and his team have fought for the humanitarian treatment of animals in circuses, zoos and puppy mills, among other businesses. OneProtest’s coverage of and anger regarding the reinstatement of recreational bear hunting in Florida in 2015 gained international attention. The FWC has banned the sport every year …   More

the flog

Carriages Are Cruelty

Jacksonville-based advocacy organization One Protest and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida join forces tomorrow to demonstrate against St. Augustine’s carriage-tour industry. The city is home to several carriage companies that offer narrated historical tours to visitors in horse-drawn carriages. The stretch of Avenida Menendez between the Castillo de San Marcos and the Bridge of Lions, known as the Bayfront, is their designated staging area, and will be the site of the protest.

Event organizers, who expect around 50 protesters, say the industry is archaic and inhumane, especially in the summertime, when heat and vehicle exhaust combine to create hazardous conditions. There are currently regulations in place, largely thanks to previous protests. A landmark 2012 ordinance, lobbied by the ARFF, limited hours and mandated basic hydration and treatment standards. It also enforced fines for violations.

Now, following victories in several other Florida cities, protesters are aiming for a complete ban on horse-drawn carriages in St. Augustine.   More

the flog

A Decade of Inclusiveness

The Jacksonville International Airport’s Concourse C is often filled with travelers hustling to and from their scheduled flights. Amidst the foot traffic stand a pair of bathrooms, but the unique artwork they display is often overlooked.



What passersby don’t realize is these bathrooms showcase an inclusive set of pictographs: each tile represents the many shapes and forms of the restrooms’ users. But these tiles haven’t always been there.



JIA decided to commission this inclusive art project in 2008. It awarded the opportunity to Atlanta artist Gregor Turk, who specializes in sculpture, public art installations, photography and works on paper. His proposed design for the space included a series of 1-foot tiles featuring 68 unique pictograms.



“The public was introduced to the now ubiquitous pictograms of men and women in 1974 as a means of efficient standardized restroom signage. For years I have made wax-oil rubbings or taken photographs of these pictograms,” Turk said. “Even the most standard pictograms vary in their width, cut of the arms, broadness of the shoulders, and distance or connectivity of the head to the body.”



Turk began to document the wide range of gendered figures during his travels, and concluded that, at facilities that employ a greater sense of design, highly stylized pictograms tend to reflect a much greater range of body types, shapes, proportions and activities


“When the images of the respective figures are shown collectively, their typological differences become apparent, even amusing,” Turk said. “The pictograms I used as a source for [the JIA] installation came from Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Syria and the United States.”


So when the airport submitted a call request for proposals, Turk …   More

the flog

Follow Through

Jacksonville City Councilmember Garrett Dennis is set to formally introduce his legislation concerning possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia at City Council's May 15 meeting.

Dennis wants Jacksonville to follow other Florida cities and counties in offering the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office an alternative to the standard misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana. If passed, the bill would allow officers to issue offenders a civil infraction for having less than 20 grams.

The bill was filed on May 8 and immediately caused a stir in local media. Popular opinion seems to support the move, but most citizens anticipate that City Council will ultimately vote down the bill.

The Neighborhood, Community Services, Public Health & Safety Committee is scheduled to review the bill on May 20, followed by the Rules Committee on May 21.

Community members will have the opportunity to speak on the legislation when City Council holds a public hearing on May 28.

According to the City Council’s office, it is rare for members to vote on controversial bills after only one public reading. More likely, the proposed bill will return to the standing committees to be seconded, and City Council will discuss it during several meetings before voting.

Dennis’ complete legislation can be found at here.   More

the flog

Collectively Crucial

After almost a decade in business, Richmond folk duo Lobo Marino has recorded a bunch of music, and that music has taken them around the world a couple times over. Wherever they are, however, it's always about home. Laney Sullivan and Jameson Price harmonize and play a plethora of instruments including banjo, bass drum, table, guitar and Sullivan's handy harmonium, which along with Price's drum comprises the most consistent element of the Lobo Marino sound.

The duo's home state, Virginia, has sent a bunch of cool bands to perform in venues around Northeast Florida, going back to the days of Burro Bar and the original Underbelly. Of all those groups, Lobo Marino has probably played here the most, and they're not done yet. This week they're playing not one, not two, not three, but four shows in the region—all part of a ten day mini-tour that spans seven cities and nine gigs, all of which are free or by donation.

On May 1, they play St. Augustine's Sarbez with The Willowwacks, one of the region's most touted young tandems, and The Dewars, harmonizing twin-brother transplants from Brooklyn or South Florida (same diff). On May 2, they head to Murray Hill to play a set at Casita Yoga Studio. May 3, it's the Edge Rock Gym on Phillips Highway. Finally, on May 5, after a rare and well-deserved Saturday off, Lobo Marino plays the Seventh Wonder Holistic Spa in Avondale. They're set to hit Gainesville the following day, on their way out of Florida and into Georgio, South Carolina and Virginia.

Lobo Marino are nearly as prolific on tape as they are on tour. They've released about six albums, a couple of EPs and a slew of singles since forming in 2009. Among the highlights is Fields, an album of field recordings from the band's recent travels, and 2017's The Mulberry House. You could call their sound a fusion of sorts between indie-folk and Gamelan—the strain of droning, thumping world music that you might hear on PBS during aerial shots of mountain ranges …   More

the flog

Your Goose Is Cookin'

Currently the sixth editor of Void Magazine, Matthew B. Shaw was once the sixth editor of Folio Weekly. He cooked our book for about a year, from March 2015 to March 2016. "I came in as a fairly green editor, even writer," he told me, "having done less than a half dozen investigative pieces and profiles for Jeff Billman [who preceded him as editor], and a random assortment of published pieces. I really credit Jeff and [Folio Weekly publisher] Sam Taylor for trusting me and instilling confidence. I was just 27 when I took the reins there and I grew up revering the writing and photography in Folio, so it was a big deal for me, personally. It was a heavy responsibility."

This month marks one year in his current position. "It's been really nice to get back in the editor's chair and write specifically about the region I live in and love, again," he said. "They've been super supportive, encouraging me to pursue various projects for the mag and continue to work for other publications like Surfer Mag and Surfer's Journal."

Shaw is also a husband and a father, and a player of the bass guitar in Jacksonville Beach-based garage/surf-rock band, The Mother Gooses, which includes guitarist Ed Gil and drummer Matt Mattox. "Most of our praises comes from people between the ages of 3-6 and 55-70," says Gil. He describes the group's sound as "kind of a throwback to mid-'60s American rock 'n' roll, with hints of surf and garage sounds that are intended to induce hip-swinging and provide easy listening opportunities."

Formed in 2016, the trio draws inspiration from groups like The Cramps and Thee Oh Sees. They hit the ground running with two four-track EPs, "I Want You" (August 2016) and "My Baby Left Me By the Sea" (November 2016). Both were produced by Dan Brown, himself a former Folio Weekly arts editor. A debut LP will be out soon. Appetites have been duly whetted by the single "Can't Get Away" b/w "The River," produced by Glenn Van Dyke at Winterland Studio and issued …   More

the flog

Friends & Strangers

Full disclosure: I've known Liz Wu for almost 20 years. We became friends while working together for the Academy of Alternative Journalism, an annual fellowship program based at a satellite campus of Northwestern University. It was the summer of 2002; Chicago was a very different place, and we were all very different people. Well, not really. Wu (no relation to Brianna) still looks exactly the same, and she still retains the effervescent personality that distinguished her among our colleagues.

She's still very active in the media world, but recent years have seen her recalibrate her focus toward her first love: music. She currently plays percussion in the band Acarya, which makes its Florida debut this weekend at St. Augustine's Dog Rose Brewing Co.

Wu started the band a couple of years ago with her best friend, guitarist/vocalist Lyric Smith. They were joined by guitarist Max Patrick and Jack Youngblood on bass and backing vocals. But the most important member of the band is probably the audience, whose energy bounces off the band and off the walls, creating a uniquely immersive musical experience.

The word "Acarya" derives, I believe, from old Sanskrit. It means "someone who tries to shed light on the darkest part of the things you know," according to Smith. This is a concept that reflects not only in the music itself, but also in their lives. The band draws inspiration from a variety of rock bands like U2, Rusted Root and the mighty Led Zeppelin, coupled with a strong world music flavor that arises naturally from their personal experience.

"I am not sure who I could name as a primary influence," Wu says, "but I can say that I have always been drawn to and have spent many hours listening to music from other countries, such as India, South Africa, Ireland, Peru, Cuba, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Turkey, Australia and many more. I think this contributes to the rhythms that I hear when playing, and brings something of an earthy, tribal element to our …   More

the flog

Rebel Grrrls of St. Augustine

Since the days of Joan Jett and Kathleen Hanna, "girls to the front" has become a rallying cry in punk music and beyond. But progress, as always, is uneven and incomplete. As punk splinters into several scenes—some of them unreconstructedly heteromasculine—and as thoughtful folk fight on for womxn's rights, we need femme-fronted DIY bands more than ever.

St. Augustine's Bedsweater is one of those bands. The most recent project of songwriter, singer and guitarist Teresa Rose (AC Deathstrike/Curious Markings), Bedsweater melds down-on-your-luck lyricism with garage rock and dashes of erratic, introspective indie. Joining Rose are drummer Kensley Stewart (Kenny & The Jets) and bassist Christiana Patterson (Ghost Tropic).

The band was founded in September 2018. Rose and Stewart had forged an earlier friendship at work. Rose was a server at the Casa Maya restaurant; Stewart regularly performed there.

"We quickly formed a friendship over music, cats and feminism," Stewart told Folio Weekly. Over the course of four years, the two would collaborate on different musical endeavors, slowly coaxing Rose onto the stage.

"[Stewart] has always supported my music and encouraged me to play," said Rose. "She even booked me to play my first show in St. Augustine."

The goal was to ultimately form an all-female band, but—ask any local band—drummers are hard to find. Taking matters into her own hands, Stewart decided she would be the drummer. She started drilling last spring, using Rose's new songs as practice material.

"We quickly realized we needed a bass player," explained Stewart, "and Christiana Patterson, violin player of Ghost Tropic, scientist and pedal welder came to mind first."

After a few band practices, the trio became close friends. The refinement of their sound followed in short order. Speaking of the Bedsweater sound, it's hard to pin down, and that's exactly how they want it. One might hear The Breeders, The Cranberries …   More

the flog

Adult Contemporary Icon

“No, I don’t carry rope around,” Richard Marx said, “but maybe I should start.”

The pop singer phoned Folio Weekly from his Los Angeles home as he prepared for a spring tour that will bring him to Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Thursday, April 11. He’s referring to an incident on a Korean Air flight in 2016. Marx made headlines when, 22 years after his seventh and last No. 1 chart hit, “Now and Forever,” the pop star was photographed restraining a violent passenger on an international flight.

“It wasn't just me but several other people,” he recalled. “We did our best to subdue this complete asshole of a passenger who was attacking the flight attendants. He was out of his mind. One of the flight attendants had the rope and, at that moment, we were all joining in to tie the guy up. I can look back and see how ridiculous it was, but at the time it was frightening.”

The episode is paradigmatic of a career that may wend in and out of the spotlight, but never strays far from public consciousness. You see, even if Marx has been absent from the charts as a performer, he continues to write and produce hits for other artists. (In fact, he’s a member of an elite club of songwriters who have penned No. 1 hits in four different decades.)

And then there are the viral headlines: a Trump-baiting tweet here, an airborne free-for-all there, a random television appearance elsewhere. Richard Marx is ubiquitous (and his publicist is presumably indefatigable).

In between these random episodes, Marx continues to tour the world.

“I’m still writing and recording, working with new artists and keeping sharp, but especially last ten to 15 years, I've focused more on touring. That's where guys like me are making their money. Luckily I love it. I love traveling. I love the job of being an entertainer more than ever.”

This renewed emphasis on live performance has helped him …   More