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the flog

Circuit, Breaking

As Northeast Florida sees continued growth in its established entertainment districts, there has been a commensurate upturn for various alternative performance spaces–warehouses, back alleys, rooftops and other little nooks and crannies across this almost impossibly large region. One of the cooler such developments in the past year has been Bold City Circuit, which has endeavored to showcase a new generation of singer-songwriters in the most intimate of settings. We’ve covered a couple of those acts (Dylan Gerard and Fort Defiance) here before.

“We typically look to create a diverse show by combining versatile acts,” says impresario Dennis Negrin, who launched the series in June. “We know musicians who know musicians, and it’s been great.” The sixth show on Sunday night features three acts who’ve been on local radars for a while now, starting with Duval’s own Chelsey Michelle Duo, who opened for Fort Defiance here on April 5. Michelle’s been a regular presence at places like Prohibition Kitchen and Blue Jay Listening Room, and partner Chris Underdal is one of the most interesting young guitarists working anywhere today.

They will be followed by the Tumbling Wheels, a rollicking quintet out of New Orleans whose style straddles genres like a hobby-horse, incorporating elements of roots, folk, blues and country. “They have a pretty unique sound,” says Negrin, “but you could say they take the sounds of Bessie Smith and the Smothers Brothers and put their own twang and indie-spin on it.”

Their debut album, The Tumbling Wheels Play the No Counts, was released in 2016 on United Bakery Records, a label named after a now-defunct gallery and performance space that helped galvanize a big chunk of the New Orleans scene, including the band itself. (The Wheels also featured on the label comp, which is certainly worth hearing in its own right.) The album’s 12 tracks maintain …   More

the flog

Help Is ON the Way

Millen, Georgia is a small place. Situated about 80 miles from Savannah, there isn’t much to it. A city of about 3,500 folks (I’d call that a town), Millen has produced two noteworthy people (per Wikipedia): two former governors (yawn). It may be time to update that portion of the Wikipedia page. “Kountry” Wayne Collier is now the most famous person ever from Millen, Georgia. Collier–who uses the stage name Kountry Wayne–is equal parts entrepreneur and comedian. He has amassed legions of followers with his online videos, focusing on the quirks of family life and everyday craziness, and doing so without “going blue.” Collier is a quick study, and although he has been practicing the art of standup for only a short time, Collier has already toured the world, and is coming back to Jacksonville at The Comedy Zone for a five-show stand on Aug. 9, 10 and 11. The City Council of Millen (or whatever governing body it has) would be proud. “It’s a small town,” explains Collier. “Some things I miss, some things I don’t. I know about the world now, though.”

“I was doing my thing in music and then, one day, I started playing around with comedy on the internet and it just went to a whole other level,” explains Collier. “I started making videos and then suddenly I had a ton of followers. The comedy took over; it felt so natural. I always thought I would be on stage and travel the world–I just figured it would be doing music.” Music’s loss is comedy’s gain, as Collier has been working his butt off, touring the nation and world. And though Collier started in music, he's always had comedic influences as well. “I always loved Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor,” explains Collier. And those guys are and were hilarious, but Collier plays it a little differently. “I do clean comedy,” explains Collier. “I was cursing in my act …   More

The Flog

DAYS OF SPLENDOR AND RUIN

I can still remember the first time I saw a Polaroid print self-develop. We’d taken Althea’s Evel Knievel 10-speed (me balanced on the handlebars) down the hill. We were hanging out at her auntie’s house, eating sugar sandwiches, and her uncle snapped a picture of us, arms slung over each other’s shoulders, grinning wildly into the camera. When the print slid out, he shook it and blew on it, telling us that it was magic. And in 1984, for one tech-deprived kid from the Eastside, it was.

The show Jacksonville: A Tale of My City, curated by Shawana Brooks, features 13 photographers, each with a distinctive point of view, reflecting a different facet of this city. At the center of the exhibit is Cheryl McCain’s display of vintage Polaroid cameras and photographs in the heart of the Makerspace, highlighting the transitory magic of photography. Lots of objects double as mementos, but Polaroids are somehow different, in that they’re more bulky than a photographic print and each is a record of an instant, made visible and tactile in the next instant.

Surrounding McCain’s installation are photographs by various artists; many of the photos evoke a bulldozed and forgotten time—even some of the contemporary prints feel heavy with the weight of forgotten or overlooked history. They reflect the Jacksonville that one suspects isn’t heralded by Visit Jacksonville or the Mayor’s office ... in these images, it’s not easier here.

Without a doubt, Bob Self’s works stand as beacons in a show that boasts multiple peaks. Self, a photographer for the Times-Union for more than 30 years, has seemingly mastered the art of being present without being intrusive. His photos’ power is not rooted in only the composition, but from the emotional weight therein as well. Crab Boil (1995) is subdued; it's feels almost as casual as a snapshot. Two figures stand behind/alongside a grey lopsided house with a …   More

The Flog

Dreaming in 3D

Local artist Jason Tetlak has been getting a lot of attention lately for his 90-foot-by-22-foot long Brooklyn mural depicting the Beastie Boys’ song “No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn” (located at 250 Park St.). The mural is the largest 3-Dimentional mural in the world; it’s been verified by the Guinness Book of World Records (he’s just waiting on the official certificate).

The record is one he set out to make, “[because] why not? Going for the record just sounded like a fun accomplishment. I've loved the record book since I was a kid, and now my kids also enjoy reading it.”

Tetlak seems to be taking the attention in stride—which includes an article on the German website rap-n-blues.com—with a smile and a quick quip or two. “I chose the Beastie Boys because when I found a wall that was big enough to set the record it was in Brooklyn, so it only seemed fitting…Plus the 3D style looks kinda old school.”

When asked why he’s been working in 3D (the kind that requires glasses), he replied, “I just like pushing the envelope with materials and technology to see what I can make work. I wanted to see if I could hand paint something that would work with 3D glasses and it has just snowballed from there.”

The work became the foundation of a suite that he calls his “red reveal” series. Pieces that change to reveal a hidden (often funny) message with a red photo filter.

In September, the artist will have works on display at MOSH and in November, he mounts a solo at Space 42 in Riverside.

Visit tetlak.com for more of the artist’s work.   More

The Flog

Alive & (Still) Kicking

There was some great alt-rock music in the ’90s. I may be biased, (the mid-’90s are my wheelhouse of music) but I swear, the music destined to replace the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac on classic rock formats someday (if radio continues to exist at that point in the future) was awesome. Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen happened in the ’90s and were performed by quintessential ’90s bands: Counting Crows at the Edge, Nirvana and The Breeders at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium (I realize fans of Nirvana and those who revere the importance of Kurt Cobain may not appreciate that I consider both of those shows to have been merely “good”) and any number of amazing shows at the wonderful and sadly missed Einstein à Go-Go in Jacksonville Beach. Another great show I saw in the ’90s was Weezer and Live at Jacksonville University (outside, on some sort of covered basketball court). Weezer has clearly gone on to do what Weezer does; Wheeze, presumably. Live, on the other hand, has had trickier travels.

Certainly no one-hit wonder (22 million albums is a lot, a lot of albums to sell), Live (the name on the press release is +Live+ ) had some of the biggest hits in an entire decade. The massive radio hit “Lightning Crashes” almost wasn’t a single. “I Alone” is a great song, with a weird video (why is the drummer just menacingly lurching around?). “Turn My Head” is a beautiful, bittersweet number. “Lakini’s Juice” is heavier. +Live+ was a major power of the ’90s, pushing through to the new millennium. And then they were gone. What was supposed to be a brief hiatus turned into legal battles between the band and front man Ed Kowalczyk. The band carried on with a different singer and Kowalczyk worked on solo stuff. “The ’90s were a whirlwind,” says Kowalczyk. “The hiatus was supposed to be short and it ended up being longer, but there is a …   More

the flog

UNF Boots Papa John's

The University of North Florida has decided that they’d rather eat Totino’s than Papa John’s Pizza. According to a release, the school asked its on-campus vendor Chartwells to remove the Papa John’s franchise from the student union. It will be replaced with an in-house outlet.

On July 11, news outlets reported that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter had used the n-word on a conference call in May. A day later, Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company’s board. He has since criticized media reports and claimed that he was set up; his most recent desperate grasp at straws involves suing the company and accusing the board of negligence and of staging a possible “coup.”

In a message sent to the campus community this afternoon, UNF dropped the hammer on garlic butter dipping sauce, but mostly rich dudes who use the n-word, writing that it is “committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all” and “creating a culture of respect and to providing a path for people from diverse backgrounds to succeed.”

It did not address how the loss of the pickled pepperoncini peppers will affect campus life.

The school further stated:

The University stands in unity and solidarity with all members of our community, regardless of genetic information, race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or veteran status. We're proud of the diversity in our students, faculty and staff.

Somewhere, we suspect Dan and Frank Carney are still laughing.

But for serious, kudos to UNF.   More

the flog

Back to Classics

Over the past decade, few acts in music have been more prolific than The Oak Ridge Boys. In addition to performing 150-plus shows each year, the vocal quartet has released eight albums – A Gospel Journey (2009), The Boys Are Back (2009), It’s Only Natural (2011), Back Home Again: Gospel Favorites (’12), the 2012 holiday CD, Christmas Time’s-A-Coming, the live album Boys Night Out (’14), Rock Of Ages: Hymns and Gospel Favorites (’15) and another holiday release, Celebrate Christmas (’16).

Every album, naturally, was important to the group, but a couple of years ago, The Oak Ridge Boys decided to set their sights on really making a statement with their next studio release.

“We were inducted [in 2015] into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” The Oak Ridge Boys bass vocalist Richard Sterban explained in a recent phone interview. “After that, we felt like we wanted to do something special, something different, something kind of monumental to commemorate now being members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

As Sterban, lead vocalist Duane Allen, tenor vocalist Joe Bonsall and baritone vocalist William Lee Golden pondered what kind of album project could achieve that lofty goal, one idea kept coming up. The group could work with producer Dave Cobb.

The Oak Ridge Boys first met and worked with Cobb on The Boys Are Back, and that experience in the studio had remained etched in the memories of the four singers.

“We were so excited about that project, because he took us down some roads musically we had never traveled before, like doing a cover of the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army,’ and ‘Boom Boom’ [the John Lee Hooker blues classic]–songs we would not have done on our own,” Sterban said. “But Dave kind of just took us in that direction.”

Since that 2009 album, Cobb has become arguably the hottest producer in country/Americana music, …   More

the flog

Code-Switching and Homecoming

Yellow House is jumping.

That was my first thought as I walked up to the brightly painted art gallery on King Street. A DJ banged Erykah Badu and Souls of Mischief from the speaker and a barbecue food truck was parked in front. Across the gravel lot, a small table manned by a cheerful woman was set up for guests to sign in and grab a beverage.

The block party-like atmosphere outside was only a small taste of the sublime feeling that would subsume me inside. The first thing I saw, in the living room of Yellow House, were Erin Kendrick’s own words preparing me for her art. The show, aptly titled Her Own Things, is the transformation of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The work has lived as a book, a play, a movie and now as seven large portraits embodying the women of the story.

I read Erin’s words about the process to bring her work to life, and then I followed the trail of gray-painted wood hallways into the dining room where the majority of the portraits are displayed. The first one I see is Brown. It is my favorite; a girl/woman with pigtails sticking out from the side of her head. It reminds me of my childhood when my mother used to sit me between her legs and painstakingly part my thick hair down the middle to tame into two ponytails. For me, Brown is the essence of every black girl’s beginning. The hair, the soulful eyes, the slightly flared nose, and the lips pursed and smooshed to one side. Brown is the defiance of black womanhood before we learn how to code switch and make ourselves more accommodating to the world.

A world that would inevitably ask us, “Why do you look so mean?” if we allowed ourselves to be like Brown.

The next portrait I see is Yellow, the centerpiece of the show, and then Blue. Blue, I would later learn, is the artist’s favorite. I love it because of the striking, yellow/blonde bantu knots that adorn this …   More

The Flog

Silver Screen Dreams

Making your mark in the realm of cinema can be a tricky and seemingly fruitless pursuit in today’s film market. There’s dozens, if not hundreds, of platforms for creators young and old to use in testing the waters of filmmaking, but they are mostly inundated with cat videos and multimillion-dollar movies used to sell cheap toys and bags of Star Wars branded lettuce.

However, for most creators, their chosen outlet of expression isn’t motivated by monetary or notorietal gains—it’s just simply how they communicate what’s happening inside their heads with the rest of the world. Vincent van Gogh didn’t beat color onto canvases because he had a contract with an art studio; he did it because he HAD to. The point is, most creators can go their entire lives without earning an ounce of recognition, but when it does happen, it’s like a heavenly cherub floating its chubby little tush down from the sky and whispering those magic words in your ear: “It was worth it.”

This isn’t to say local UNF senior and filmmaker Connor Dolby is sitting around his house, contemplating chopping his ear off while imagining angelic conversations. However, Dolby’s chubby cherub did decide to manifest itself in the form of national awards for his most recent short film, Imitations. After participating in last month's Campus MovieFest, in conjunction with TERMINUS Conference + Festival, Dolby and the rest of his film crew walked away with the Silver Tripod Award for Best Direction, Best Production Design and Best Performance at the UNF level. Once awarded the Silver Tripod, they moved on to TERMINUS at the national level and were able to win the festival’s esteemed Golden Tripod Award for Best Picture.

“It came as a very big surprise,” said Dolby. “Campus MovieFest is the largest student film festival in the United States. They tour more than 50 universities each year. So, when CMF comes to a …   More

the flog

School Board Candidate Sam Hall Suspects “Special Interests” in Civics Test Controversy

How does Duval County School Board member Scott Shine manipulate the press? Let me count the ways: He used taxpayer resources to bring legal intimidation down on a teacher; he stormed out of a school board meeting, complaining that the superintendent selection process was moving too fast; he publicly bemoaned his disappointment that his bromance with former Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti had ended, while simultaneously declaring his heir apparent for the seat he’s vacating in District 2, candidate Nick Howland. These are all exciting, Shine-studded events for the young, intrepid education reporters on the daily beat. But for our more seasoned community members, including District 2 candidate Sam Hall, Shine’s most recent dissidence with the school board raises red flags, and indicates that outside political influences may be at play.

In short: Shine has aligned with a tiny, statewide coalition of school board members who are complaining that districts have found a way to help students succeed on high-stakes tests. (Yes. You read that right.) The Florida Coalition of School Board Members (FCSBM) is the “reform” crowd’s weaker alternative to the 80-year-old Florida School Boards Association (FSBA). The coalition, which promotes privatized educational organizations for students, is charging that Duval, Manatee and Polk counties “gamed the system” by changing the student pathway to the middle-school civics course and, consequently, by changing when some students take the end-of-course exam. Shine failed to tell the Florida Times-Union, however, that he voted for the progression plan that his coalition now characterizes as “gaming the system.”

“There’s a unanimous vote to approve, then there’s a change of view there. That raises a lot of questions for me,” District 2 candidate Sam Hall told Folio Weekly. He was referring to the 7-0 vote by the board to permit some middle-school …   More