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As you might know, the Phantom of the Opera has always been a total control freak.

He sends demanding letters, sometimes signing his notes “OG” — but we’re pretty sure that stands for Opera Ghost, not Original Gangster.

It’s a balance between classic story and haunting score along with a dynamic reimagining that has captured audiences at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. This Phantom of the Opera production, presented by Artist Series, continues through February 21 in the Moran Theater.

The spectacular, ominous sets, the beautiful costumes and the technical wizardry turn this into an otherworldly production that fans of this musical won’t want to miss.

The voices of the three stars go from solid to superb with Katie Travis providing the strongest turn as the soaring ingenue Christine Daaé.

Chris Mann mesmerizes as the titular star, and Storm Lineberger’s Raoul has the chemistry with Katie’s Christine to break the Phantom’s spell.

Fans of this classic and Northeast Florida musical aficionados won’t want to miss this staging, but what about those “Phantom” virgins? What’s in it for them?

In addition to the updated sets and special effects, this Phantom lays out a more straightforward storyline.

The signature chandelier prop of the Paris opera house doesn’t disappoint and neither does this new Phantom of the Opera. From top to bottom, it's one of the most memorable productions the Artist Series has presented in years.   More

The Flog


FWM's weekly salute to the 2016 Presidential Primaries

Before we talk about New Hampshire, a quick recap of how we got here:

Even for the most politically astute, the aftermath of the Iowa Caucus was difficult to sort out.

Ted Cruz won.

But Donald Trump said Cruz cheated.

Also, Trump wasn’t really trying, so technically he won.

Yet the media said Marco Rubio, who came in third, was the real winner.

As for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton won, but Bernie Sanders' supporters – citing media bias – said it was actually a victory for Bernie.

So then New Hampshire happened. Here’s what the national media is saying about who lived free and who died hard:

Ru… Ru… Rubio!

First of all… Rubio Robots. Can we talk about this?


(A digression: As evidenced by James Cameron’s 1984 documentary about robots, self-aware androids are capable of mistakes, such as afflicting a muscle-bound cybernetic organism with a thick Austrian accent. So is it crazy to wonder if the Rubio Robots are actual robots trying to fix their newest mistake, offering a Presidential candidate who, in his last debate performance, appeared more exposed than a naked automaton walking into a biker bar? I’m not convinced.)

Anyway, according to many, Rubio, one of the aforementioned winners in Iowa, was a huge loser in the Granite State. Aided by what Esquire politics writer (and frequent guest on NPR’s Wait…Wait…Don’t tell me!) Charlie Pierce called Chris Christie’s efforts to “wrap his arms around Young Marco Rubio and hurl himself off a cliff,” Rubio underperformed and John Kasich was the media’s big winner in New Hampshire. Who the F*#K is John Kasich?

Trump Back on the Stump:

The actual winner, on the Republican side, wasn’t that “Pussy” Ted Cruz. It was of course, the man born of modest means, The Donald. Trump will not be …   More



Get FREE tickets to see Melissa Etheridge! To win, correctly answer these five questions. All of the answers can be found in this week’s issue. The first person to post correct answers IN THE COMMENTS BELOW will receive two tickets to see Melissa Etheridge on Feb. 17 at Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts. Sure, it’s a ploy to get you to read Folio Weekly Magazine. But what have you got to lose? 

1.   What gives the Amazing Kreskin headaches?

2.   What does 2 Chainz believe that his name really means?

3.   Which of the following local bands ARE NOT performing at this Saturday's concert in Hemming Park: Master Radical, Herd of Watts, Ruffians, Grandpa's Cough Medicine, Groove Coalition, Neural Moon?

4.   Where was Le Orchid's new Sandcastles EP recorded?

5.   During what years did Georgia-Pacific discharge waste into Rice Creek?   More

Folio Digital


Folio Weekly Magazine happily announces that founding publisher and co-owner Sam Taylor has finally completed his “layaway program” to consolidate ownership of the news magazine and other media assets. Taylor is now the sole owner of Folio Media House. Former co-owner and vice president Farrar Martin will remain with the team as an associate publisher.

The consolidation is a “lifelong dream” of Taylor’s, and he looks forward to many more years as the fearless leader of Northeast Florida’s alternative voice.

*A previous version incorrectly spelled Farrar Martin's name   More



After tallying nearly 700,000 signatures, the Florida Division of Elections says the petition to legalize medical marijuana in the state has exceeded the requirement to be placed on the 2016 ballot. The corresponding amendment will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 2.

The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, also Amendment 2, was on the November 4, 2014 ballot, where it was defeated. Advocates for “compassionate use” such as John Morgan of Jacksonville law firm Morgan and Morgan are optimistic about the potential outcome this time around.

“This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief,” Morgan said in a press release issued by United for Care – a Florida based organization dedicated to legalization of Marijuana for medical use in the state.

If it earns 60 percent approval from voters, amendment 2 will make Florida the 24th state to allow physicians to recommend marijuana to individuals with debilitating conditions.

Passage of amendment 2 won’t necessarily guarantee those who are prescribed medicinal marijuana will be getting it immediately. In June 2014 Gov. Rick Scott signed off on the legalization of low-THC marijuana, also known as Charlotte’s Web. Yet, it took more than a year for the Florida Department of Health gave contracts to grow and dispense the drug in four regions across the state. While patients await treatment, there are currently 11 nurseries across the state disputing the FDOH’s decisions.   More


Northeast Florida Power Meter

POWER UP: Half-cent Sales Tax

As state lawmakers return to Tallahassee after an extended vacation, they’ll have a full plate of both new and neglected challenges. They’ll also have a visitor in Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who is sounding the alarm — even going as far as to say, “the sky really is falling” — asking the legislature to approve a measure that would allow the city to use a half-cent sales tax increase, which was approved and instituted through the Better Jacksonville Plan in 2000, to pay down the city’s crippling unfunded pension liability.

NEXT: 5-11 is just fine >>>   More



The campaign banner, which stretches across four windows in a vacant storefront, seemed ironically placed on the corner of Park and King streets in the perennially progressive Riverside District near Downtown Jacksonville — kind of like the Brooklyn smartasses coopting the candidates “Make America Great Again” slogan to make hats that read “Make America Read Again.”

In any event, someone has defaced it and The Donald now resembles the Führer.

The sign now reads “Heil Donald Trump” and “Nazi Candidate for President” instead of “We Want Donald Trump” and “Republican Candidate for President.”

The space at 2655 Park St. was formerly Extreme Logo Rugs Inc.   More



“It’s evident to see how far we’ve come in many aspects of our game."

— Shad Khan

When you cover a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, which has been in "wait till next year" mode since the Barack Obama "historic victory" post-inauguration collectible plates were a hot item, you see the same things over and over again.

Close losses. Mental errors. A lack of roster depth. Familiar signposts on the road to 5-11. To an eighth straight year out of the postseason, in the weakest division in the NFL, won this year by the most patchwork team the Houston Texans have ever amassed.

Jonas Gray and Denard Robinson couldn’t get anything done all game long at the tailback position.

And sacks and quarterback pressure against the Jags’ offense? They were there, like the Christmas leftovers gathering mold in the back of the fridge. Two sacks in the first quarter for the Texans set the tone for eight total Texans sacks of Blake Bortles. And Jags' OT Luke Joeckel? Preparing for his post-playing career as a turnstile.

The Jaguars, so amazingly well-coached that they announced retaining Gus Bradley so that the team could focus on this Houston game, were doing it all, all game long. Sergio Brown and Andre Branch out of position on defense. Joeckel and the rest of the line getting burned like forests during an August drought.

Fun Fact No. 1: 20-3 was the halftime score. Bortles with 80 yards passing and a pick.

Fun Fact No. 2: Until the 11:14 mark of the fourth quarter, the Jaguars had 108 total yards.

Down by 17 in the fourth quarter, Bortles wasn't done.

Staring down Allen Robinson like he was going to ask him to couples skate, Bortles threw his signature:

A Pick 6, putting an exclamation point on another meaningless Week 17.

A team that started four QBs. A team that lost Arian Foster. A team that was down 42-0 in Miami before halftime.

The AFC South champs took the Jags to the woodshed.

The 2015 season is …   More

Folio Digital

8 Pretty Great Cover Stories of 2015

#1 ELEVEN22 X 2

Straightened Out at Eleven22, by Claire Goforth

It was a big year for the 57th-fastest-growing church in America, as shortly after lead pastor of the reclaimed-woodin’, ’spro-pullin’, rock-band-havin’ The Church of Eleven22 Joby Martin was voted “Best Spiritual Leader” in our annual Best of Jax readers’ poll, Claire Goforth penned this piece about a controversial video made by and shown at the church, where a young homosexual woman recounts the time Martin told her she “can’t be gay.”





People often accuse me of lacking a sense of humor. I know a good joke when I hear one, though. Exhibit A:

“Gus Bradley has never talked about the playoffs in his time with the Jaguars” — Random CBS Z-List announcer so deadpanned. So typical of how the national media has treated Jacksonville football over the years. Even during the 14-2 regular season in the 1990s, there was always this kind of condescension toward the River City.

Now that there’s been a long stretch of mediocrity-or-worse, the rhetoric and results line up.

The Saints game was one of those when someone (who was lucky enough not to be watching the game) might look at the final score, see 38-27 and 368 passing yards, and think that it was another seamless performance by the fantasy football-friendly Jags’ offense. However, the signature play of Sunday’s game was not on the stat sheet: It was Blake Bortles being hit in the groin with a shotgun snap.

The final score and final box score (larded with garbage time production) might lead one to believe this was a competitive game.

Don’t buy it. The outcome was never in doubt.

The Saints came out and disrespected the Jags on offense, storming down the field with 4:27 elapsed and 70 yards from Brees on that first drive, as he cut through the Jags’ defense like it was preseason.

After a Jags’ punt, the Saints had the ball again at their own two.

This set up a 98-yard drive, culminating with a Brees-to-Cooks strike for 71 yards, putting the home team up 14-0 at the end of one quarter, with 169 passing yards from Brees.

Bortles was picked on the next drive; Allen Robinson couldn’t bring in the pass, but a Saints defensive end did.

From there, you could see some give in the Jags’ defense. Tim Hightower found space running up the middle and, after yet another Jags’ penalty in the secondary, Hightower took a screen pass for 27 yards to the Jacksonville 1, then, …   More