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Salad DAYS

People pining for the ‘80s are psychotic. Or they simply never experienced the Reagan era and are now piecing together nostalgic news blips and sound bites from Netflix shows and the “retro” virus that continues to permeate all things. The ‘80s was a ten-year epoch that saw the brutal arrival of AIDS, the ascent of the crack epidemic, and the Eugenics-born smirk of Yuppies. A popular line of clothing was titled “Members Only,” which sums up the dualistic, VIP versus uncool ’80s all too well. If one needs to see the karmic whip crack of the decade, alive and in person, they need look no further than to the salt-bloat-driven, bilious, panting, and embarrassing tweets of Donald Trump, the de facto “Totally ‘80s” President. There is always the same kind of five kids who were popular and enjoyed every facet of high school—and the ‘80s was their fucking decade and now we have their President. The chickens have come home to roost and they are shitting on everything in sight.

I digress.

Thankfully, for the pariahs and untouchables of that decade, they did witness and share in the undeniable and extreme evolution of two mighty forces: skateboarding and hardcore punk.

The new documentary, Blood and Steel: Cedar Crest Country Club, focuses on the give-and-take within the East Coast skate and punk rock communities, specifically in the city, nearbby suburbs, and hinterlands of Washington DC. Over the course of the film’s 77 minutes, director Michael Maniglia utilizes interviews with key figures in the skate and punk scenes, VHS home movies, TV news stories, and photos galore, to shed much light on a truly positive moment of '80s American history: youth in revolt and youth in the solution to get things done. While Blood and Steel is surely geared towards skateboarders, its recurring theme of building, sustaining, and even protecting community — in this case a “place of peace and …   More


Raising the BARS

Many fear incarceration. Yet for those who wind up behind bars, the experience of simply being human is soon relegated to a raw-albeit-complex existence, in a hostile realm where ideals like fairness and justice are locked up tight. In writer-director Drew L. Brown’s drama Sentences, the audience is shown through blunt, unflinching drama that sometimes unfairness in our criminal justice system begins the moment one is charged with a crime.

Currently on stage at Players by the Sea in Jax Beach, Sentences is loosely based on Brown’s adolescent years, when his mother Robin Owens was serving time in prison. The play starts with Robin (Rita Manyette) being booked into the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) in Tallahassee. She is soon befriended by Celestina Rodriguez (Julie Ann Dinneweth), who helps show the terrified new inmate the ropes around the facility. It becomes clear that Robin’s new life in the FDC isn’t going to be a smooth stay.

Sentences is a darkly emotional two hours onstage. Inmate abuse, drug deals and corruption are daily occurrences in the FDC. Over the course of the play’s two acts, inmates and guards tell their respective stories of what brought them to that particular place and why they now stand on one side or the other of the cell-block doors. These moments of self-disclosure cast greater light on the complex twists and turns of class, race and our judicial system—elements that are imprisoning to some while freeing others. Brown is deft in sending his message of compassion, fairness and justice directly through these characters’ lives. Without being heavy-handed, Brown addresses larger, universal issues like sexism, racism, justice and addiction with the same credible skills.

A simple-yet-effective multimedia-like atmosphere increases the overall experience of seeing Sentences. Minimal lighting, unique audio effects, even dance—all help in framing the play’s action. Additional …   More


Injured Congressman Sought to Relax Gun Control Laws

This morning, a lone gunman opened fire on Congressional Republicans at an Arlington, Virginia baseball field where they were practicing for an upcoming game. Five people were shot, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), before police shot and apprehended the alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson.

Rep. Scalise was shot in the hip and will reportedly make a complete recovery. Hodgkinson, who reportedly opposed Donald Trump and volunteered for the Bernie Sanders campaign, was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The outpouring of support on social media quickly devolved into a shouting match about gun control and who was to blame for the attack. Far right-wingers blamed liberal rhetoric that they believe escalates passions and sows the seeds of chaos. Liberals blamed lax gun control laws, pointing out that those targeted, including Rep. Scalise, are well known for opposing gun control of any kind, which others were quick to liken to victim blaming.

Gun control supporters will be interested to learn that Rep. Scalise has introduced legislation that, had it passed, would have made it easier for people from out-of-state to purchase firearms. ABC News reports that Hodgkinson, who hailed from Bellevue, Illinois, spent the last two months in Alexandria, Virginia.

Rep. Scalise, whose website proudly totes his A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, introduced the Firearms Interstate Commerce Act four times, in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. The legislation did not pass.


And now, a sampling of Republican tweets about guns:







Sen. Rand Paul was among those on the field today when Hodgkinson allegedly opened fire. He was unharmed.


'Merica!!   More


Ham, Cheese and POLITICS Please

This week, Governor Scott traveled around the state on his "Fighting for Florida's Future Victory" tour. Stops included Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Meyers, Tampa and Jacksonville Beach. He arrived at Angie's Subs at around 6 p.m. last night, where a gaggle of supporters waited inside the sub shop, and a gathering of protestors stood outside with handmade signs and megaphones. Most protesters, many of whom were parents and educators, toted signs asking Gov. Scott to veto House Bill 7069.

Schoolteacher Shannon Russell, vice president of Duval Teachers United, told Folio Weekly, "7069 will dramatically change public school education."

According to the Florida Senate website, this bill "[requires] that the lowest-performing elementary schools be determined by specified assessment results" and "charter schools are eligible for capital outlay funds pursuant to specified provisions." More simply put, HB 7069 will lower funding for Title I schools while increasing funds for charter and private schools.

Governor Scott will meet with Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who drafted HB 7069, this Thursday. So far the governor has not publicly said whether he will sign or veto the bill, but unconfirmed media reports indicate that he will sign it.

With only 537 days left in his second and final term, Scott hasn't shown signs that he is planning to slow down anytime soon. During the three-day special session on June 7-9, Scott not only made advances in his two pet projects, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, but was also able to negotiate increased spending for the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The governor called the special session to discuss funding for Florida's K-12 students, the current state of Florida's job force and spending for tourism corporations. This can explain the push for increased funds for Florida's official tourism marketing corporation (Visit Florida) as well as its official economic development …   More


Strong But NOT the Same

I remember June 12, 2016 very vividly. I woke up at 6 a.m. to a text from my best friend who attends Florida State University. It said "Are you OK?" I didn't think much of it besides the fact that it was strange of her to ask me this in the wee hours of the morning. I replied with, "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?" Normally, I would've fallen right back to sleep, seeing as it was the summer and in between terms so I had nothing to do except sleep in and enjoy the 90°F Orlando weather. But I had a strange sensation in my gut.

I hopped on Facebook; the first thing I saw was that someone had shared an article with the title of something along the lines of "Orlando Nightclub Shooting." What with all of the fake news on the Internet, I instinctively thought it was spam, but I clicked on it anyway because, as a journalist student, I'm a pretty curious person. I started to read and I saw the words "Pulse nightclub" and "at least 20 confirmed dead."

My first few thoughts were that this was a joke, this couldn't have happened in my own backyard. I was sitting on my bed at the University of Central Florida, less than 20 minutes from the tragedy. Hands shaking, I checked my LGBTQ friends' Facebook walls immediately, hoping they were safe at home and holding back tears. A wave of relief washed over me when I saw that they were alive but, of course, they were in no way doing well. No one was.

I texted my roommates to tell them what had happened and assure them that our friends were OK. I didn't feel better, though. I didn't feel better because my friends had friends there and people were dead in the city I had come to know over the previous two years. I felt like puking. Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep. I spent the whole day in my room, trying to figure out why someone could do something this terrible, why someone could target innocent people because of their preferences and their lifestyles.

One month earlier, I had spent an evening in Pulse where I had …   More


Air Apparent

Artie Clifton lifts his baton up, down and side-to-side. He conducts and is the music director of the First Coast Wind Symphony, and with each stroke guides the ensemble to stay on tempo. Hailing from a small Pennsylvania town where community bands are a prideful tradition, he expected there to be a similar band in Jacksonville when he moved here in 1989. When he learned there wasn't a community band he could join, he decided to create one. He never expected it would grow to be as big as it is.

The journey began with an idea; the ensemble had its humble inception in the music room at Jacksonville University, where members were provided free rehearsal and performance space. Fast-forward 27 years, the First Coast Wind Symphony has increased its numbers, now claiming more than 50 community volunteers playing woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. Twenty-six of these members are preparing to fulfill the ensemble's collective dream: they will soon depart our shores on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of classical music, Austria.

The volunteer group includes musicians from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Members range from college students to attorneys, veterans, bankers and computer specialists. Some charter members have been in the band all 27 seasons.

The symphony actively supports music education in local schools and works with students to provide an annual Concerto Competition. In the competition, high school and college students compete for two $1,000 prizes and the opportunity to perform with the symphony. The competition is designed "to promote music education in Florida by providing talented students with an opportunity to perform a solo work with the wind symphony" the organization writes on its website.

The First Coast Wind Symphony is a member of the Association of Concert Bands, a national organization for community bands. It is also a Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville member.

The symphony prides itself on being a cultural …   More


Grassroots, Greenways and GATORS

You may think that storytelling has become a thing of the past, but in some places, it's alive and well. It has evolved into a complex practice where stories are created and transmitted through data-capturing and a convergence of different media. This idea of modern storytelling is at the heart of the very first Palm Valley Storytelling Day this Saturday.

Palm Valley sits just south and west of Ponte Vedra and is rich in history. Plans are for the event to feature a number of storytellers well-known in the Ponte Vedra community. Storytellers will include Sid Mickler of Mickler's Landing, and Bubba Stratton, a gator hunter famed for his collection of gator heads. The stories shared will reveal how the Palm Valley area has been shaped and how it can be improved for the future. The event will include bluegrass music, barbecue and beverages served by the American Legion, as well as storyboards showcased by the Beaches History Museum. There will also be an opportunity for others to share their stories and join others recalling the history of the area.

The Ponte Vedra Greenway & Preserve Initiative is hosting the event to remind people in the community of the importance of Palm Valley, especially in preserving nature and green space. One of the founders, Deb Chapin, says of Storytelling Day, "[I] envisioned an opportunity to capture some of the history and tell a story along this path.

"[The] history of Palm Valley is a valuable compliment to Ponte Vedra."

The idea for the event came to Chapin when one of her colleagues, Donna Carrasco, told her about a seminar that she had attended during which transmitting stories through data was discussed. This struck Chapin as important in the modern age. She says, "[The] future of history is not in paperback books." Thus the Palm Valley Storytelling Day was created.

Through the event, Chapin says, "[I] hope to get people together and capture the history of Palm Valley." The event will serve as a way to …   More


Plea Agreements Announced for Hemming Park Five

This afternoon, the State Attorney's Office released a 45-page disposition memorandum announcing the outcome of the charges against the Hemming Park Five. These five were arrested for felonies following the violent clash between police and citizens protesting the Syrian bombings in Hemming Park on April 7.

Some may be pleased to learn that charges were dropped against two of the five, while the other three have pled to misdemeanors and will not serve any jail time.

As Folio Weekly has previously reported, on April 7 an officer attempted to detain Connell Crooms during an altercation between Crooms and frequent counter-protester Gary Snow. The situation quickly escalated, with Christina Kittle, William "Willie" Wilder and Thomas Beckham becoming involved in what the memorandum refers to as a melee.

Subsequently, the four, along with David Schneider who was not involved in the melee, were arrested on felony charges ranging from battery on a law enforcement officer and inciting a riot. Snow was not arrested.

Video footage showing officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office punching, body slamming and restraining protesters circulated widely on social media. Crooms was hospitalized for injuries sustained at officers' hands. Outrage over the incident subsequently sparked various civic engagement, including a protest of the arrests at the Duval County Courthouse the following day.

The SAO writes that Crooms' charges were dropped in part because, due to his congenital hearing deficiency, "we cannot prove that he actually heard and understood the commands of law enforcement." The SAO also noted, "No evidence supports that Crooms did anything to incite a riot," a refrain echoed throughout the memorandum on this charge for the other four.

Citing "insufficient evidence to support his charge," the SAO writes in the memorandum that it dropped the charges of inciting a riot against Schneider and notes somewhat ominously that it "has reviewed this …   More


Daily's Place: Ready to ROCK and Roll?

Today, there were two press conferences about the opening of Daily's Place, the new venue, this weekend. The first, hosted inside City Hall at 1:30 p.m., included remarks from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, the city's Sports & Entertainment Officer Dave Herrell and Chad Johnson, Senior Vice President of Bold Events, the Jaguars' newest venture.

The mayor began the meeting talking about the upcoming weekend festivities. After drawing a chuckle saying that while he would attend some events, you wouldn't see him dancing, Curry said, "Daily's Place is adding another family weekend of fun and art."

The new amphitheater constructed at the south end of EverBank Field is set to have its first concert on Saturday, May 27. Daily's Place has a lot in store for 2017, including 42 concerts currently scheduled. However, there have been some questions about whether the venue will be finished in time. From outside the construction fencing this afternoon, seating appeared mostly complete; however, the stage remained unfinished.

Even though Jaguars insiders say that the construction crew is essentially working around the clock, with Saturday right around the corner, some are skeptical. Staff and local officials have no doubt it will be ready in time, however. Johnson said, "Daily's will open this Saturday. We have a great crew working the next three days to put this together. It will make Jacksonville proud with the facilities we can provide."

The 2:30 p.m. press conference, in the lavish US Upper Assure Club West of EverBank Field, included remarks from the CEO of Bold Events, Mark Lamping. The meeting consisted of a run-through on how the venue will operate, its amenities and features and some information on how ready the amphitheater is for Saturday.

Asked whether the venue is safe to hold a concert and if all permits had been obtained, Lamping said, "This is very typical in a project this large. All building systems have been signed off." He followed up, …   More


The Place to BE(ACH)

Every May brings salty air, sunshine and booze. Most important, though, May 20 brings us Dancin' in the Street. For those who don't know, Dancin' in the Street (DITS) is a local street fair that's quite familiar to the inhabitants of the Jacksonville beaches. This daylong event, stretching from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., takes place smack-dab in the middle of official event sponsor Beaches Town Center, with an epicenter at the ocean end of Atlantic Boulevard. Funds raised at DITS help beautify Beaches Town Center and the event itself promotes local shops and businesses while creating a fun environment for residents to kick back and enjoy a Saturday.

Included in the fray are a multitude of local bands, tasty grub, alcoholic beverages and opportunities to purchase jewelry and artwork. Musical acts to perform include Bay Street, Briteside, Five O'Clock Shadow, Party Cartel and others. A detailed schedule and information on various stations for services and purchases can be found on the Beaches Town Center website.

This year ushers in new additions such as updated fencing, tighter security and a bigger and more interactive Kids Zone. The Kids Zone has now been moved to the parking lot between Hawker's Asian Street Fare and Mezza, allowing a wider space and more opportunities for fun. Another new feature is the nonprofit area. As explained by Patsy Bishop, one of the event's founders, there will be "about 10 nonprofits that are from the beaches that are going to be talking to people about what they do." Attendees who are 21 and older should take note that this year, beer stands have been relocated from Atlantic Boulevard to Ocean Boulevard.

A number of committees led by individuals throughout the community put much effort into putting on this event. Bishop believes that the committee leaders "play a key role" in contributing to the occasion. She also explains that the planning begins in January and doesn't end until the event itself has concluded.

After telling me …   More