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ICE CREAM AND HATE

The owner of one local business is finding out exactly how fast word travels on the Internet – and how mighty and swift its vengeance can be.

Early this morning a screenshot of a Facebook spat between Angela Lannon Wilcox and Lisa Thomas, Heather Allen and Brian Guiry was posted at Imgur.com/irWgbiF.

Thomas said that it all started when she posted a video from the Republican National Convention during which a Queen song plays in the background on her Facebook page. “I put that video up because it’s hilarious,” Thomas said. She said tongue-in-cheek banter ensued with people asking about whether the RNC had permission to play the song, if Donald Trump knew Freddie Mercury was gay, etc.

The lighthearted conversation took a darker turn when Wilcox commented, “Do you have something better … we have the BODY COUNT … what you hot … sheep.”

This sparked what can only be described as an epic war of words.

“[Wilcox] came out of nowhere very angry, being a bully,” Thomas wrote today via Messenger.

After Thomas commented that she had “no idea” what Wilcox wrote, Wilcox fired back. “[T]hat’s because you are stupid. The number of people killed by Islamic Extremists. You didn’t understand, because you are a stupid regurgitating dummy of the Left.”

Thomas demurred that she didn’t understand because of “poor grammar” and pointed out that is “ironic” that Wilcox would “be screaming about Islamic extremists in the name of Trump.”

Wilcox responded, “yes…and you is so educated …is you employing anyone? … I have 4 employees…how mannies checks do you sign each week…or are you just another unemployed ‘intelligent’ liberal? DUMBASS.” [sic]

It got worse from there. Guiry, Thomas and Allen’s attempts to lighten the mood with jokes seemed to …   More

Truancy on the Planning Commission

Many feathers were ruffled when Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry purged three members of the Planning Commission last year in what some viewed as a power grab, others as hindering the political careers of liberals who might be powerful adversaries, still others as revenge for their daring to support - and in the case of one commissioner, work for the campaign of - former Mayor Alvin Brown whom Curry bested in the May 2015 election.

Given that two members' terms expired last year, offing three others meant that Curry had appointed five of the nine members of the commission, arguably giving a majority vote to people who share his priorities concerning land use and zoning. (The Planning Commission reviews proposed land use and zoning code changes.)

Stacking the deck doesn't work so good if one of your appointees doesn't show up for meetings, though.

One of Curry's appointees was Nicole Padgett, whom he tapped to fill the at-large seat vacated by Nate Day, whose term had expired. At the time, some took notice of the fact that Summit Contracting Group, which Padgett's husband Marc owns, gave $78,000 to Curry's political action committee, Together for a Greater Jacksonville, when he was running for mayor, and that the Padgetts individually also contributed $1,000 apiece to Curry's campaign. Nicole Padgett is listed on Sunbiz.org as the company's chief administrative officer.

According to city records, since March, Padgett has missed five meetings. In fact, those records reflect that she's missed every other meeting since the commission's March 3 meeting. These are the meetings she has missed: March 17, April 21, May 19, June 23 and Aug. 4.

Sure, the meetings are probabaly a total snooze-a-thon (unless something is going down in Riverside/Avondale, cause folks there are passionate about zoning - to put it mildly). But agreeing to serve on a commission doesn't mean you only have to attend meetings when you feel like it. The bylaws are quite …   More

THE FLOG

Creative CAPACITY

The arts are fascinating and compelling in part because the membrane separating art from the “rest of life” is so permeable. In Jacksonville, a city that struggles to maintain private galleries and art spaces, that permeability is especially important because it makes room for independent spaces like Space 42, a recently cleaned up warehouse in Riverside, to open its doors. The space and the idea behind it—arts incubator—have much promise.

It is a hopeful beacon.

On April 28, Space 42 inaugurated the space with the work of Michael Alan. Alan, an NYC-based artist stages live drawing events. For this April night, it was hosted in conjunction with a show of Alan’s small works.

Upon entering the building (after paying a $20.00 entry fee), the first thing to notice was the scent of spray paint hanging in the air—that delightful chemical promise of a migraine. Visitors milled around as paint and detritus covered models moved slowly on a de facto stage area; one playing a makeshift didjeridu in front of a wall that seemed as if it had been spray-painted to ape the organic nature of years of graffiti. Turgid music sounded in the space and the overall effect was one of the “art scene” in a movie that perhaps took cues from “Wolf of Wall Street.” It felt contrived with overtones of cupidity.

The idea, as clues suggest, was that this was to be a drawing marathon, and in fact some people did bring their drawing materials with them. But the real take away is (one guesses) that Alan stages these events, which through obfuscating the models’ figures (male and female), he is able to then further mediate these forms in his own works. Observing the drawings he had on display including Darth Vader in Me, it seems that he prints out still images from these events, and then in a style that recalls early, early Basquiat (when Basquiat was actively riffing on Peter Max) noodles, doodles, and collages on and …   More

THE FLOG

Questions Swirl about Jacksonville YOUNG DEMOCRATS President’s Spending of Group Funds

The Jacksonville Young Democrats are embroiled in an internal conflict over the group's finances, specifically how JYD President Kristellys Estanga has spent its funds.

Estanga declined to be interviewed for this story. At her request, all questions were sent to JYD Communications Chair John Aloszka via Facebook messenger. Through Aloszka, Estanga denied any wrongdoing.

Late one evening last week, while on a trip to Dallas, Texas for the Young Democrats of America annual convention, Estanga sent an email to the JYD executive committee asking it to authorize expenditures for Lyft fare. Following what Aloszka characterized as a heated conversation, the committee approved it.

But the last minute request did not sit well with some and gave rise to further questions about how Estanga has been handling JYD's funds. For some time, there have been grumbles that Estanga has been soliciting, receiving and appropriating donations without informing other members of the group or depositing said funds into the JYD account.

"We don't know who she talks to, what donors she talks to... We don't know what's been going on with our money," said JYD Field Director Cecelia Zucconi, who is an appointed member of the executive committee.

Those questions came to a head at the JYD meeting on Wednesday, August 16.

"During the treasurer report, she mentioned that the president had made Lyft charges and there was some debate on whether or not that was appropriate, and we felt that an audit should be called," Zucconi said. "There are a lot of charges out of town for Lyft and things like that," she later added.

At the meeting, which Estanga did not attend, JYD voted unanimously to audit its finances.

Aloszka said that there was simply a "misinterpretation" among some regarding what the group's bylaws require for travel expenditures. "[Estanga] emailed the board to approve one Lyft request as a courtesy, as these kinds of requests only need the president, treasurer and …   More

Shocking Event & UNSETTLING Art

 

Inside a tiny Murray Hill apartment, artist Paul Owen Weiner is laboring on a new body of work. It's designed to challenge viewer’s (and his own) notions of patriotism, nationalism and anxiety. He’s here in Jacksonville as the current resident artist of Long Road Projects, the artist residency and edition house founded in 2016 by Stevie Covart Garvey and Aaron Levi Garvey.

“My work usually starts with some kind of shocking event,” he said, “and the [2016] election was that shocking event … there was no turning back.”

A native of Aurora, Colorado, Weiner talked about the ways in which he thinks art should operate—as a part of a larger dialogue without a crisp ideological edge. He notes that being in Aurora when the Century Cinema 16 mass shooting occurred directly influenced his work—away from obsessive personal mark-making and into things dealing with information and misinformation; and how physical places inform bodies of work: “there is history, but which history,” he posed rhetorically.

The new in-process pieces are a suite of American flags that have been painted black, and the accompanying paper pieces divorce the symbols of the flag from their context (stripes and stars). “These black flags ask you to be introspective about your relationship to America,” said the artist. “I am interested in these as a mirror of society [...] and as a mirror of the person standing in front of it.”

The question, of America and American-ness, is one that always needs examination, but now, as Washington seems determined to return to the “great” days of buggy whip factories and hand-crank telephones (because really, who does know how computers work?), and of one kind of American; discourse and disagreement are more important than ever. Right now, said Weiner, his biggest concern isn’t the people who might disagree with him; it is censorship …   More

A Medium, Rare

Many a comedian has died, metaphorically, on the stage of the Comedy Zone over the years. Cindy Kaza may be able to contact some of them when she makes her Duval debut on Aug. 22. The 36-year-old Detroit native, who now lives in Denver, has developed one of the more unusual acts you’re likely to ever see: As a professionally trained “psychic medium,” Kaza does much of her work onstage at comedy clubs around the country. It’s a bit intense for the setting, but Kaza approaches the work with a diligence and sincerity that can be disarming for the cynics who typically frequent such places. She answered a few questions, via email.

Folio Weekly: How long have you been doing this for a living? How long as a performer? In how many cities/states/countries have you performed?

Cindy Kaza: I have been working professionally as a medium for 10 years and have been touring the United States doing live shows for four years. I’ve worked in about 20 states in America and have also worked in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, England, Holland, Germany and France.

How long did it take to gain proficiency? How much training did it require?

I've been diligently studying mediumship since around 2007, but my journey into this field began in 2001. I had my first memorable experience at age 10, but pushed my ability away for several years, as it frightened me initially.

What religion were you brought up in? What role, if any, does your faith play in your approach to the work?

I was baptized Catholic and grew up in a Catholic household. I believe there is truth in all religions and that whatever path a person chooses to get closer to God is his/her choice. Does my faith in God play a role in my work? Yes. I talk about God a lot in my work. I believe the ability to feel the presence of our loved ones on the other side is innately human and that every human being can have his/her own personal experience. Some people are more in touch than others. I …   More

THE FLOG

Activists Demand JSO Drop Charges Against Protesters

Last night, what was intended to be a non-violent protest against the bombings on Syria the U.S. carried out the previous night became a violent skirmish involving officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and several protesters, one of whom was treated at a local hospital for his injuries.

Video footage showing officers punching, restraining and arresting protesters last night was widely circulated on social media, including by Folio Weekly, which shared footage of the incident captured by a local activist on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's protest, "Free the Hemming Park Five," saw a group of approximately 50 gather at the Duval County Courthouse to call upon police to drop all charges against the six people arrested last night. (Initial reports were of five arrests; it was later learned that six were arrested, though activists later said that one arrestee was unaffiliated with the protest.) Several observers indicated that a handful of counterprotesters were among the crowd today, but those believed to be counterprotesters remained mostly silent, taking pictures and video.

Speakers at the event organized by the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition resoundingly criticized JSO's handling of the incident. (The coalition and Jacksonville Against the War on Syria-JAWS co-organized last night's protest, "No War with Syria.") Many questioned why the counterprotester who they believe responsible for causing last night's protest to turn violent was himself not charged by police. Videos of the incident show that man, a counterprotester who goes by the name Gary Snow and is a familiar face at local protests, pushing 27-year-old deaf African American man, Connell Crooms, immediately before officers intervene. Crooms is subsequently pinned to the ground by officers, one of whom punches him several times in the ribs while he is restrained. Crooms was transported to UF Health Jacksonville for treatment for his injuries before being charged and booked.

Along …   More

NEWS

FSU INSTRUCTOR RESIGNS AFTER FOLIO WEEKLY ASKS ABOUT RACIST FACEBOOK POSTS

If you spend any amount of time on Facebook — especially if your posts veer into the world of the political — this sort of thing isn’t unusual. There’s a post, and some comments, and they get heated. And then a friend of a friend jumps in, and things go off the rails.

This episode was no different.

Colin Lively, hair stylist to the rich and famous in New York City and Cleveland, had posted a thread last Thursday night on the police killings in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland. A woman named Deborah O’Connor, a Facebook friend of a friend, interjected.

“YOU elected POTUS, Holder et al. And they are supposed to represent all Americans, not just blacks … why don’t these ass clowns insert themselves into their stories?”

She was just getting started. As the thread went on, and as Lively and others engaged her, O’Connor’s comments took on an increasingly racist, homophobic and just-plain-mean bent:

“Take your Northern fagoot [sic] elitism and shove it up your ass.”

“I teach at a University, you asshole. What do you do?”

“You are an intellectual fraud, just like your Messiah. Obama has single-handedly turned our once great society into a Ghetto Culture, rivaling that of Europe. France is almost at war because of his filthy rodent Muslims who are attacking Native Frenchmen and women.”

“I just looked at your picture and what you do for a living. I’m signing off now. I don’t talk to you people.”

Nobody was safe — not the black president and his black attorney general, who she said want to hand over the country to their fellow blacks and Muslims, not Lively, the “fagoot” hair stylist who started the thread, not anyone else who posted on the thread — all of whom she deemed her intellectual inferiors.

As it turns out, she apparently wasn’t lying about working at a university, or about …   More

The Flog

PRO-CONFEDERATE Group Descends on Jacksonville

The Florida chapter of pro-Confederate group Save Southern Heritage has parachuted into Jacksonville's Confederate monument debate and is calling for a voter referendum on their removal. The group claims that a poll it commissioned shows that the public "overwhelmingly" opposes removing the monuments, WJCT reports.

Save Southern Heritage bills itself as "a voluntary association of individuals who revere the south, southern history and southern heritage," and "wish to see the history of the south preserved for future generations."

The Florida chapter of the pro-Confederate group announced its intent at a press conference in Hemming Park on Tuesday. At that press conference, Seber Newsome told WJCT, "This survey confirms our steadfast belief that Ms. [City Counil President Anna Lopez] Brosche is way off the political spectrum by associating herself with 'radical' groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter 'extremists.'" Last year, numerous stories about the debate over whether to remove a statue of a Confederate leader from the state capitol quoted Save Southern Heritage's Seber Newsome III of Yulee.

Last week, in part reacting to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Brosche called for an inventory and removal of Confederate monuments from public places in Duval County. She has since backed away from seeking an outright removal.

Save Southern Heritage Florida is also the same group that Miami New Times reported on Aug. 17 had doxxed 113 civil rights activists, most from Hillsborough and Broward Counties, in a detailed dossier that included their names and faces, as well as home addresses, phone numbers and the names of co-owners and co-inhabitants of their homes. Miami New Times reported that the Florida chapter's spokesperson David McCallister claimed it doxxed the civil rights leaders, many of whom are elderly, "to weed out people who came to speak in front of the Hillsborough Commission from out of town." As the outlet reported, publishing …   More

THE FLOG

ROBIN LUMB UPSET WITH HOW THE CULTURAL COUNCIL STOOD WITH MOCA

Update: I tweaked the headline, after Councilman Lumb objected that it was misleading: “I think it was pretty clear that I wasn't objecting that the Cultural Council defended MOCA, I objected to how they went about it.” 

Just when you thought #MOCAgate (or were we calling it #boobygate?) was over, here’s this:

Robin Lumb is not a happy camper. This afternoon, he fired off an email to Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville board members, chiding the Cultural Council for not knowing its place. Their crime, it seems, was #standingwithmoca — or specifically, for criticizing Clay Yarborough, our Great Moral Compass, who declared that a picture of a naked pregnant lady reclining on a couch was pornography that would corrupt THE CHILDREN and demanded that the mayor defund the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. (The mayor refused, citing First Amendment issues.)

Yarborough, of course, has been the subject of much derision, both here and nationwide. In The New York Times, the photographer/pornographer(?) in question, Angela Strassheim, quipped that maybe he hadn’t seen enough porn to know what porn really was. At Art Walk last night, a good-sized crowd mocked him with signs like “Ban Boobs from City Hall” (see image above). And in this mag’s pages this week, we wondered what artistic masterpieces would look like if they had to abide by Yarborough’s standards of decency.

We all had a good laugh. 

Councilman Lumb was not laughing. 

When he learned that the Cultural Council had email-blasted a plea for support for MOCA, saying Yarborough’s campaign was “unfortunate and could be viewed as an effort to stifle artistic expression” and linking to a number of anti-Yarborough pieces that had appeared in the local media, ours included, he wrote to “express my profound disappointment with the conduct of the Cultural Council in this matter as evinced by the …   More