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THE FLOG

Bill Cosby’s Call to Action

Billy Cosby, one of America's favorite father-figures, embodied the theme of Jacksonville's two-day education summit, "Increasing Parental Involvement."

The 75-year-old comedian and education activist spoke to a full house at The Florida Theatre Feb. 28 on behalf of Mayor Alvin Brown. Action News co-anchor Mark Spain hosted the event, which began with a drum line competition between four Duval County Public Schools — an idea from Cosby.

“Nothing bothers me more than hearing, ‘We don't have good schools in Jacksonville,’” Spain said before introducing Cosby.

Sporting sweatpants and a "Learn 2 Earn" T-shirt, Cosby began his lecture by teasing the mayor and poking fun at the Jacksonville Jaguars' past season, comparing them both to well-known cities that are "on the Weather Channel."

“Now they know your pro football team,” Cosby said. “Other cities love your pro football team.”

Then Cosby took the audience back to his childhood with stories of growing up poor and the old-fashioned days of parenting, when some parents took a more physical approach. The golden three-word rule he used to survive childhood? “Don't talk back.”

“In the South you don’t get beatings, you get whoopings,” Cosby joked.

Cosby said he strongly believes improving the quality of the nation’s education begins with parents. He ended with one last call-to-action to the people to fix Jacksonville’s education system.

“Nobody is coming,” Cosby said. “Only you.”   More

EAR WORM

ONE:

What better way to beat the summer heat than to stay in your garage and do nothing? And nothing beats some boss, primo Garage Rock to keep your body cool and your mind blank, as the Alien Abductors intended.

From 1983-1992, the "Back from the Grave" series unearthed and revived some of the greatest garage rock and protean punk tunes from the sixties.

This cut is featured on Vol. 5, which was released in 1985. In honor of this 30 year milestone, let us supplicate ourselves before some serious raunched out, dirty rock.

TWO:

Taken from Blue Öyster Cult's 1972 eponymously titled debut,  "She's as Beautiful as a Foot" is undoubtedly one of the weirdest and most tripped out songs ever released on a major label, especially during an era when quite a few bands were hanging out in their fringe jackets, reading Kahil Gibran's "The Prophet."

BOC are mainly known for their '70's FM radio hard rock hit, "Godzilla," but if you dig deeper into their earlier catalog, you will discover some lesser-known gems that are flat-out heady, brutal rock.

And we imagine that the Butthole Surfers were surely familiar with the sultry, psych-drenched flamenco-style weirdness of this tune.

THREE:

Make no mistake - Yoko was the coolest Beatle.

FOUR:

Brilliant, poetic, and smelly. Two out of three ain't bad.

FIVE:

A reminder that there's no justice in this world is the forever-overlooked career of Annette Peacock.

This cut, from her '72 album I'm the One, with it's killing groove, gurgling electronics, and Peacock's soulful delivery (filtered through even more electronics) is as radical today as it was 40+ years ago.

Dig in.

  More

GET ON BOARD JACKSONVILLE'S NEWEST NIGHT TROLLEY

After an initial test run, the Riverside Avondale Night Trolley launched earlier this year to great success, shuttling Riverside riders Friday and Saturday nights during the first weekend of every month. Now organizers want to bring the same service Downtown. This weekend, a fleet of buses will roll out to various Downtown hot spots, including The Elbow district of nightclubs, bars and restaurants, and connect to the Riverside Avondale Night Trolley in 5 Points. If enough of us ride, maybe JTA will think about making it permanent.   More

Playwright JENNIFER CHASE helps us Celebrate the Amazing Human Spirit

 

Talking to Jennifer Chase is like trying to pin the wind. The writer, playwright, singer and teacher seems always to be in motion, moving through time and space in multiple dimensions—like something Dali might paint. Maybe it is because with her long blond dreadlocks, cat-eye glasses and sweeping multi-layer printed panel dresses she seems to expand and contract, reacting to ideas and situations with action, music and wit.

 

Chase’s newest project, Renunciant, has been over a decade in the making. A solo show that showcases Chase’s range of storytelling abilities, the piece encapsulates some of the personal stories of survival that her English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, refugees would tell her.

 

“One assumes that these people had just left, say, south Sudan, but in the case of one student, he had been out of his country [and trying to get to America] for ten years,” said Chase. “He had to cross the desert, get to Lybia, then on to Tunisia and Germany before he was able to make it here legally.”

 

In 2003 when Chase began teaching, she said that her main goal was to create a safe place for her students. “How well will they learn English if they don’t trust the people they are studying with,” she asked rhetorically.

 

She also said that the trust-building she aimed for in the classroom helped many of her students deal with the loneliness that comes with living in a place where you know no one and life is hard, “…and they don’t feel like they are justified, like they have the right to complain,” she said of people who still have ties to a homeland, but because they “made it out” they feel as if grousing about their situation—even if they work long hours and take multiple busses to get through their days—feels like it devalues the sacrifices family and friends made to help them get …   More

Harvard Study Slams Duval for Overusing Death Penalty

Researchers at Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project have identified Duval County, Florida as part of the tiny minority of counties in the nation - one half of one percent - that have handed down five or more death penalty sentences between 2010 and 2015.  The report is titled “Too Broken to Fix: Part 1; An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Penalty Counties."

 

 

“Between 2010-2015, in Duval there were 15 defendants sentenced to death,” Fair Punishment Project spokeswoman Stefanie Faucher wrote in a statement to Folio Weekly Magazine. She explains that in 2015, one individual was resentenced to death following an appeal, bringing the total to 16. Duval is responsible for roughly one-fourth of all Florida death-penalty sentences during this time period, despite comprising only 5 percent of the state’s population. And it’s not because we have the worst of the worst in terms of murderers, the study maintains.

 

 

The report released Tuesday examines eight of the 16 counties and the factors that make them different from the rest of the nation, which has largely abandoned the death penalty.

The FPP found three commonalities amongst the 16 “outlier” counties that outstrip the rest of the nation in death penalty sentencing.

“In the small number of counties where the death penalty still exists, we found of evidence of egregiously bad defense lawyering, rampant prosecutorial misconduct and overzealousness, and a pattern of racial bias that undermines the fairness of the death penalty,” noted Rob Smith, one of the report’s researchers. 

 

Racial bias 

For example, during the five-year period studied (2010-'15), in Duval, 87 percent of defendants sentenced to death were black, a number that is hugely disproportionate to African-American residency in Jacksonville. (Merely 30.1 percent of Duval County residents are …   More

THE FLOG

St. Augustine Company Makes Musicians Social

St. Augustine-based social media agency Make Me Social recently added some fins to its clientele.

The 12-employee operation, founded in 2009 by Chief Strategic Officer Josh Jordan, now represents artists with Jimmy Buffett’s record label, Mailboat Records, including reggae artist Mishka and Hawaiian ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro.

The company uses data analytics software to figure out how and when to best target social media audiences for optimal interaction.

“We were able to help get Mishka to number one on iTunes for reggae charts, figure out how to get audiences engaged and excited about the album, then do branding on social media channels,” Jordan said.

And they’re utilizing a lot of social media channels. Jordan, 37, said the company uses Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit and more to promote its clients, which also include media giant Hearst Publishing and financial services firm Morgan Stanley.

“Everybody’s sitting … with a vending machine in their hands. They’ve got these cell phones, they’re tweeting, they’re Facebooking, they’re taking pictures, they’re recording video – and it’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage,” said Jordan.

Make Me Social has satellite offices in Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York, and Jordan said he hopes the company will continue to bridge the gap between offline and online engagement for a range of clients.   More

GOING FOR 'BROKE'

Julian Robertson was running late to his audition, his feet frozen and

his pants snow-wet. Little could he have imagined how that winter day in Manhattan would shape his summer here in Jacksonville.  But then, he had no idea that The Juilliard School, the nation’s premiere performing arts school, would accept him into their acting program.

The 18-year-old Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate has found a way to parlay his hometown life into a summer play, aptly entitled “Broke,” as a fundraiser for his first year’s educational expenses at his dream school. Robertson will be one of only 18 acting students in the world admitted to Juilliard’s acting department this fall.

The young actor and playwright pulled a few of his friends from Douglas Anderson to direct and act in his original play. The cast has been rehearsing daily for weeks. “Broke” will premiere at The Performer’s Academy on Beach Blvd. on Friday, August 5.

Sitting across the kitchen table from Robertson, discussing his young characters and their pronounced moral conflicts, it’s easy to forget he’s only eighteen.

He explains that the play centers on a handful of young friends who grew up together in a hardscrabble neighborhood modeled on Robertson’s own North Jacksonville community.

“All of the characters are in survival mode,” Robertson says. “Markis has dug a hole for himself too big to get out of. He’s lost touch with who he is. He has a massive debt, and the clock is ticking.”

Robertson says that after “bouncing around in his head” for months, the story poured out of him “all at once,” when he returned from the Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory in 2015.

“I sat down at the computer and I tried to write what they were saying,” he says of the play’s characters. “I was trying to catch it all.”

The characters are …   More

White Nationalists and Thanksgiving

It's been a busy week at good ol' UNF. Apart from the usual, students running around like headless chickens, scrambling, with lukewarm coffee and stale bagel in hand, to get those last few assignments in before Thanksgiving, some more racist shmucks have to go and gum up the works. As we head out of the library and various classes for the final time before we return from Thanksgiving break, a wonderful surprise awaits us on Monday, Nov. 20 at 8:30 a.m.-a possible White Nationalist rally. *a collective groan registers on a Richter Scale in California*

Self-proclaimed White Nationalist and former KKK member Ken Parker (a UNF student) was  officially suspended from all school activities earlier this week. In support of their fallen brother-isn't it nice seeing friends come together for a cause? Just warms the heart-White Nationalist supporters are calling for a march on campus. Gene Thorson, a known supporter of the White Nationalist movement-put up the call to action on his own Facebook page following the suspension; in his own words:

One of our brothers in Florida is under attack by the leftist scum. He us [sic] currently suspended from the school he was attending and come Monday morning he may not be a student at university of northern [sic] Florida because of his affiliations in the white nationalist. There will be a protest/rally on Monday @0830 at UNF...show them that we stand UNITED!!!

The suspension in question came as a response to Parker's posting a comment and selfie to UNF's Spinnaker News Facebook page. In the selfie, he's seen holding a large rifle and sporting Nazi/Klan tattoos-seems like a swell, level-headed guy. The official letter from UNF President John Delaney states that Parker was suspended due to the fact that he had caused a disturbance within the university community.

At least one class had been cancelled because students and faculty felt threatened by Parker's comments and picture. Parker responded to that action, saying, …   More

FOLIO THEATRE

A Woman on the Verge of a Nervous BREAKDOWN

An entire play taking place in the comfort of one room might sound strikingly boring to some, yet Henrik Ibsen, the creator of the 1890s play Hedda Gabler, succeeded in making it exhilarating.

Ibsen wrote a letter to one of his colleagues in December 1890 stating, “My intention in giving this name was to indicate that Hedda, as a personality, is to be regarded rather as her father’s daughter than as her husband’s wife.” This kind of familial dysfunction, disconnection and discord drives the gripping drama.

St. Augustine’s Limelight Theatre is currently staging this one-setting play which shows how Hedda faces the battles of the domestic sphere in 19th-century Norway.

Theater lovers interested in modern dramas, rebellion and violent demonstrations of power and manipulation are sure to enjoy the final stagings of this production, mounted through Feb. 19 at this intimate theater.

Sharon Resnikoff is brilliant as Hedda Gabler, a newly married aristocrat who is unwilling to accept the rôle of a passive wife, the usual fate to which women were relegated in that era. Born the daughter of a famous general, Hedda is accustomed to the finer things in life and refuses anything that is not up to her standards. Throughout the play, we see Hedda use her intelligence to manipulate her husband and friends with recurring acts that make her seem dishonest and unpredictable. Resnikoff is skilled at capturing both the complexity and tragedy of the title character.

In the opening scene, we discover that Hedda and her well-heeled husband Jorge Tesman (Thomas Muniz) have returned from a six-month-long honeymoon to a lavish home that Tesman bought to impress his new bride. Yet this stately manor looks like a prison to Hedda’s eyes. The fact that the new home was purchased by Jorge’s Aunt Julle (played by Francesca Bellavista) only adds to Hedda’s resentment that her groom is not the deep-pocketed husband on whose fortune …   More

THE FLOG

DUVAL REPUBS EJECT FOLIO WEEKLY WRITER (WHO IS NOT REALLY A FOLIO WEEKLY WRITER) FROM REC MEETING

So at last night’s meeting of the Duval County Republican Executive Committee — a group that has not been immune to scandal lately — the party did what everyone expected and rallied around establishment candidate Lenny Curry … except, not exactly, maybe. According to Jesse Wilson — who was until last month a Republican candidate for City Council and is now the social media consultant for the mayoral campaign of Bill Bishop, also a Republican — on the first round of balloting, Bishop got just enough support to deny Curry the party’s endorsement, which meant the party wouldn’t endorse at all, which … wouldn’t look so great. 

So newly installed REC chairman Robin Lumb decided to have something of a do-over, this time allowing three new members, who previously were disallowed from voting, to vote. And they all voted for Lenny Curry. Imagine that. (Skip ahead to the bottom of this post for Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland’s play-by-play, as well as comments from Duval GOP secretary Bill Spann.)

(In a statement, Curry called this support “grassroots”: “We appreciate the grassroots supporters for asking Chairman Lumb to hold a vote, and for inviting Lenny to present his vision for Jacksonville's future. Duval Republicans voted to send a message to Alvin Brown; our candidate is Lenny Curry and he is bringing a brighter future to our city.” We do not think that word means what he thinks it means.)

Of course, Wilson — voted Best Local Righteous Crusader in our Best of Jax 2014 readers poll — wasn’t there to see it. A bit before the vote, while Curry and Bishop were on stage, the emcee announced that there was a writer from Folio Weekly in the house, and since the meeting was closed to the press, that person had to leave. 

Wilson, who writes for Void on occasion, and who has never written for this magazine so far we can tell, looked …   More