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Make Love

BOLD CITY BREWERY

Makers come in all shapes and sizes. Founded in 2008, Bold City Brewery has become a big fish in Jax, but compared to the windmills it’s tilting against—multinational giants like Belgium’s AB InBev—this homegrown beer imprint is but a cottage industry. This week’s cover star, Alex Johnson, is one of a small handful of Bold City’s brewers. He had been crafting his own beer at home for eight years before joining the company in 2015.

“I happened to be at the right place at right time,” Johnson told Folio Weekly. “I already understood the dynamics, the chemistry and science, but didn’t know the industry equipment yet. So I worked my way up from the cellar man position, mostly moving tanks around, cleaning, carbonating.”

He is now responsible for Bold City’s marquee production beers like Mad Manatee IPA (brewed at the company’s main facility in Riverside); he also experiments with his own recipes at Bold City’s Downtown laboratory. That’s where he collaborates with local partners to produce limited-edition beers.

Johnson sees his work as an extension of the craft beer movement as a whole: “For me, personally, I think I was just tired of same ol’, same ol’. Our parents grew up with four beers to choose from. Variety and craft brewers’ ability to innovate and create new flavors, that’s what draws people.”

Health is also a factor.

“A lot of big breweries use high fructose corn syrup to bring up the ABV,” Johnson continued. “They also use a lot of cheaper ingredients, corn or rice, instead of barley, which should be the base of most beer. At the same time, I respect them for being able to replicate the same taste in such large quantity. There’s a time and a place for big beer, too.” GV

RETHREADED

Most nonprofits exist to serve a good cause, and many represent a good idea, but rarely do they encompass both. Rethreaded is probably the most notable exception that comes to mind. Founded in 2012, the organization is the brainchild of activist Kristen Keen, who has long been one of the legit heroes of Northeast Florida. Its goal is simple and complicated at the same time: to counter this region’s terribly disproportionate connection to the scourge of human trafficking by offering its victims a way out through work that can be both productive and profitable—namely, fashion. Each item is handmade at the Barnett Street warehouse by an actual survivor of this horrible trade, and the proceeds from each sale go to help the nonprofit rescue even more women from bondage. They have usually specialized in making scarves and sarongs, but in the past couple years, they have branched out to encompass more complex creations like keychains, bracelets and jewelry, bags and totes, all of which quickly found a nice niche market among the fashionistas of Northeast Florida and beyond. They work from materials that are sourced from around the world, including countries that have also had all kinds of problems with human trafficking. The group just recently made its biggest splash yet, through a chance connection with the TV show Project Runway All Stars, which teamed Rethreaded up with designer Irina Shabayeva to produce a line of popular handbags made from repurposed leather from old Southwest Airlines seats. From humble beginnings to a growing global reach, Rethreaded has come to embody the classic adage of life advice, generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Do well by doing good.” SH

DOUG KNIGHT

You might see one of Doug Knight’s small staple-bound zines poking out of a library book in which he’s hidden it, or maybe stuck between bestsellers at Chamblin’s where he reverse-shoplifts them onto the shelves. They’ve been tacked onto utility poles and park benches, strewn on the ground along high foot-traffic areas, placed on car windshields and window sills—just about anywhere a three-to-six page zine will fit.

Knight’s guerilla distribution of his work is relentless, and is just one of the things that makes the Atlanta transplant unique within the city’s bourgeoning zine scene.

Another is the fact that he doesn’t consider his publications zines. He explains that he just calls his work non-fiction writing, but adds that he has no problem with the label “zine.”

Whatever they’re called, they’ve been around since 2016, when Knight created his first. Georgia Cities by Memory was a literary offshoot of his music production company, Private Press Records. He made 120 copies and spread them all over East Atlanta. The positive response he got sparked a creative boost, and he immediately began work on his next zine, Excited Dust.

He also started to think up more ways to spread his work to as many readers as he could. A short litany of some of his distribution tactics includes thumbtacking them to orange cones and street signs and front doors of abandoned house, putting them on cars and bikes and in mailboxes and art galleries and as many public libraries as he can get to. He is especially fond of putting them inside carefully curated library books, thus effectively selecting his zine’s audience.

With all these options, no two Knight zine-drops are exactly the same. This is rather synchronistic as no two Knight zines are exactly the same either. What may be the most unique thing about his zining is how each of publication is hand-written. From start to finish. Every word. Though his hand may get tired at times, this process does insure that each and every one of his zines are as unique as snowflakes.

As to why he produces by hand rather than easily printing off or Xeroxing copies, he says that he initially thought the handmade element would draw people into the work. By the time he realized that element of the zining was inconsequential he was already hooked on the process. Some 4000(!!!) copies of Excited Dust and 250 of his third zine, Atlanta/Jacksonville, later, he does concede that mass-producing them on a printer would be much faster, and he plans on going that route in the future.

But for now he’s still handwriting what everybody but him calls zines. You may be lucky enough to see him at the Main Library scribbling away at his newest publication, With Love. Perhaps later that day you’ll see one of these zines on the sidewalk, or on your car. Or maybe you’ll find one stuck inside a library book and you can revel in the fact that Knight specifically selected you to join his audience.  JM

WAVVLINES

Chloe and Kylie, the duo behind Wavvlines, re-purpose what some would consider out-of-style garb and bring it up to date with a contemporary, hand-painted aesthetic. What started as a fundraiser for their dreams of a road trip to California has since become a thriving spark in their passion and creativity.

Their inventory includes custom pieces built from all types of outerwear, but most start with a denim canvas. Chloe begins the process, using acrylic paint and fabric medium to populate the garment’s surfaces with bright floral designs and hip, cartoon-y linework. Turquoise eyes and beloved animated characters stare back at the viewer. In deference to the age of the clothing, Kylie typically distresses and crops pieces to add the shabby-chic element of post-Flower Child design that is so popular today. Their designs are reminiscent of what you might see on a Forever 21 designer rack, but with a local signature and a modest price tag.

While the duo take personal commissions for anything under the sun, Wavvlines’ original designs are inspired by “everyday art that’s all around us: things we see online and while we’re out and about”. The creativity and polished craftsmanship of their most recent works is masterful. A hand-painted, Power Puff Girls-themed denim vest rivals even the most sophisticated screen-printed design. Their work can be seen and purchased at events around St. Augustine and Jacksonville. They showcase the first Friday of every month at Paper Root Clothing on West King Street.  TK

TRASH PANDA

Ever since its founding, almost six years ago, Rain Dogs has reigned as the emotional and creative core of the historic Five Points neighborhood, led by local legend Christina Wagner. The Park Street staple is a haven for artists, musicians and creators of all types, several of whom are featured in this week’s issue of Folio Weekly. Its most recent endeavor is Trash Panda, normally slang for “raccoon,” but in this case, an emerging brand built around local artisans of all kinds. You can find almost anything there, and that’s not an understatement. In addition to the expected array of local art, rendered by artists ranging from total unknowns to veterans like Mark George and Jason Wright, there are foodstuffs, clothing, knickknacks and tchotchkes, music and even housewares. The whole shebang is overseen by Wagner’s esteemed deputy, Rosalie Lagao. You can see some photos from past events in the photo collage on the cover. The fourth edition happens on March 10. These events always occur on Sundays, once a month, starting at noon and running all day and sometimes well into the night, but the ever-surging demand means they may soon expand to twice a month. There’s usually 10 to 20 vendors, but the list of people wishing to participate runs longer than the line at the kissing booth on Valentine’s Day. (There’s significant overlap between those groups, but that’s another story for another time.) Oh, yeah, there will also be bottomless mimosas for just $10, which certainly helps enhance the shopping experience.  SH

RESKATAR

The purses are undoubtedly hip. They’re also rescues. And they’re a little bit of Bolivia in Jax.

When she talks about them, Cami Quintanilla beams. She’s sitting at a café table, having just finished her shift at 20 West, the surprisingly sophisticated café operated by Florida State College at Jacksonville. Quintanilla is finishing her degree at FSCJ, but it’s not the school’s associate’s culinary degree the other café workers are moving toward. She already has a bachelor’s in culinary science from Universidad la Salle back home in La Paz. She’s currently finishing her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

She founded Reskatar (“to rescue”) with her sister, Daniela Aponte, back home five years ago. They wanted to create beauty from objects that seemed to have no value.

“Repurposing wasn’t trendy yet,” Quintanilla says, “but we wanted to take something that had been thrown away and give it a new reason to exist.”

The sisters decided to make jewelry and purses from worn-out tires. Their father thought they were crazy. Then he helped them find the tires. He told them it would be easier to make the purses from the inner tubes, and they took his advice. Of “the three R’s,” Quintanilla says reducing may be most important, but that reusing is better than recycling, which isn’t as efficient as it should be and only encourages more production.

Reskatar purses have a signature style. Their bluish blackness wears a sheen that’s matched by metal studs and bold buckles. Parts of tire company names are visible on some of them. Daniela’s purses are a little lighter in style, many of them featuring Bolivian pompoms and tassels. Cami Quintanilla calls Daniela her best friend and says her sister’s style is more “heepee,” while her own is more “hipster.” TG

THE BROTHEL

Lea Laskowitz runs The Brothel—and, no, it is not what you think. There’s no way it could be, because no one would really think about broth as something one builds a business around. Stock, maybe, but broth? And what is the difference, anyway? Well, stock is a concentrated flavoring made from mirepoix, with the bones and trimmings from various animals slow-simmered and strained to extract maximum meat flavor, whereas broth is a more expansive term for a finished soupy substance that utilizes stock as a primary ingredient.

Not only do Brothel broths taste great, but they’re really healthy, jam-packed with nutrients, collagen and healthy fats. They’re great for boosting the immune system, especially in these “cold weather” months (such as they are around here). She offers a wide range of products like venison bone broth, turmeric balls, hair potions, beard oil and aromatherapy scents, all of which are locally sourced, free-range, grass-fed and free of additives and preservatives. You can drink the broth straight-up, or use as a base for your own soups or stews. There are even dog treats made from the bone broths, which are guaranteed to make Man’s Best Friend even friendlier than usual. Grab a couple pints from The Brothel, and you’ll never mess around with those weird little bouillon cubes ever again.

A trained naturopath, Lasokowitz floats her wares weekly: at the Arts District Market in Riverside every Wednesday and at Jarboe Park in Neptune Beach every Saturday. She can also be found at places like the Springfield Night Market, the Murray Hill Market, the Galentine’s Market at Root Down and, of course, Trash Panda at Rain Dogs. She’s teaming with Cultivate Jax to present a turmeric workshop on Feb. 17, and she’ll be doing a pop-up at the Clover and Woolly Salon on Feb. 23.  SH

DREAMWEAVERXO

Samantha Pine is a St. Augustine-based silversmith who operates under the name DreamWeaverxo. To create her stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces, Pine entwines handcrafted sterling silver and a natural element of metaphysical value.

She learned the art of silversmithing in 2016 at the Jacksonville Gem and Mineral Society. From there, she fell in love with the craft and has been incorporating minerals, fossils and crystals into her pendants, earrings, charms and other jewelry.

The process begins in the studio with a hand-picked gemstone. Then, silver is bent and molded around it. Fire and solder is used to mend the pieces of silver together.

“I focus on creating a design, cutting, sanding, cleaning and perfecting each piece,” Pine explains. “After the cleaning is done, it gets handed over to my partner, Dave, who polishes it and plays with oxidation to create the desired effect. Each piece is then cleansed with sage, checked for durability and the stone is gently set into its forever home.”

DreamWeaverXo’s entire collection is catalogued along with process videos on social media. In addition to her crafted pieces, Pine also takes commissions. St. Augustine locals can browse their self-described ‘heart-work’ at the Bokeh Bar Gallery’s monthly trunk show, every third Sunday.  TK

HARAJUKU TATTOO

The Japanese word “kawaii” means “cute,” or things that are cute. It’s a big deal in that country’s culture, and it’s a rather big deal here, too. That word and that style also inform the animating spirit behind Harajuku Tattoo, which is the only tattoo shop in Northeast Florida that’s owned and run by a black woman. The proprietor is Arcissa Jackson, a popular visual artist, model and skateboarder who’s been active in the city’s cultural scene for the better part of two decades, the last few years of which have been spent running Harajuku at 9951 Atlantic Blvd., Ste. 415, Arlington. She and her staff can hook you up with almost anything you’d like inked on you, but their specialty is the unique aesthetic commonly associated with anime, manga and occasionally even hentai. Of course, they offer the whole range of Sanrio fare, but the genre goes much deeper than that. Bold lines, intricate detail and vivid color combine to create an experience that just cannot be duplicated, unless you want to jump on a plane and fly halfway around the world. With all things Asian continuing on a prolonged upswing in this area and beyond, the sun will continue to rise on their shop for years to come. One thing is certain: If you go to Harajuku to get some Kanji script on your hand, you will never have to worry about getting roasted online about the translation. SH

Voices
Life's What You Make It

This week we’re showing our love for Northeast Florida’s makers, the folks who provide locally sourced, artisanal alternatives to homogenous mass culture. Why? Because we’re them and they’re us. You see, as an alt-weekly, we “make” something, too. We make a locally sourced, artisanal print magazine every week. And we’ve been doing it here in Northeast Florida for nearly 32 years.

First, a brief history of “making.” Turns out, it’s nothing new. Ever since the Industrial Revolution spawned the machine, we humans have raged against it. Anticipating the counterculture by a good 100 years, British designer William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late-19th century championed painstakingly intricate organic forms just to spite the cookie-cutter technology of the day. Many makers now use digital tech, but they continue to reject the top-down machine model of production and distribution.

There is something to be said for industry, though. Economies of scale kicked open the doors of leisure and comfort to working folk, while communication technology and modern transportation expanded our collective horizons. Good stuff.

By the 1960s, however, accessibility had given way to conformity, and we learned its many hidden costs. Mass-produced goods became identified with throwaway culture. Then as now, industrial producers cut corners wherever they could. The industrial process itself wrought havoc on the environment and public health.

Finally, consolidation in logistics and media empowered the massive, faceless corporations that sold these goods to groom customers from the television screen to the point of sale. The consumer became just as much a cog in the industrial machine as the worker. And they didn’t like it.

It’s no surprise that the alt-weekly came into its own in that same rebellious decade. From humble beginnings in New York’s Village Voice, the alternative media movement blossomed in step with the counterculture’s advocacy of the human individual over and against the machine—not technology per se, mind you, but the machine-like regimentation of human society (see Lewis Mumford). If staid corporate dailies wouldn’t touch contemporary realities like sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll—or their cultural corollaries: civil rights, pacifism and ecology—alt-weeklies would.

Most important, though, alt-weeklies served their respective communities. You didn’t have to be slick, speak with a non-regional accent or sign to a major label to be a reader, writer or subject. You just had to be you.

Today’s makers share these impulses. As does most of the nation, really. The countercultural ethic seems to have won. Everyone is anti-establishment these days. (But it’s a pyrrhic victory). “Disruption” is the order of the day in corporate boardrooms. (Yet wealth continues to become ever more concentrated at the very top.) Nobody wants to fight imperial wars anymore. (And yet, we’re still deployed around the world.) Most everyone agrees that something is wrong with ol’ Mother Nature. (But vested interests refuse to surrender their profits, and they’ve mobilized willful ignorance in a literally scorched-earth defense.) Most everyone says racism wrong. (But we’re now riven over the definition of American equality; is it equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?) We’ve all accepted the implicit bias of corporate media toward the wealthy and well-connected. (But we’ve drawn different, even mutually exclusive conclusions. Some use this knowledge to improve the edifice of shared communication; some, to simply tear it all down.)

Founded in 1987, Folio Weekly is continuing the tradition of bucking tradition. But unlike some of today’s more exotic alternative media offerings, we still subscribe to those founding values in good faith. Without community roots and responsibility, “alternative” media is just Urban Outfitters with a press card. Here’s lookin’ at you, Vice. The Canadian start-up built an international hype machine on “edgy” lifestyle content sourced from around the world and quickly leveraged the eyeballs in exchange for investment from the same rich rubes who inflate the Silicon Valley bubble before and after every burst. Behind the scenes, however, the organization behaved badly, to put it mildly. Conceived by hustlers and opportunists, Vice is the antithesis of alternative media. (In related news, co-founder Shane Smith was last spotted in Saudi Arabia, advising Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on plans to build a global media empire.)

Our humble publication is—wait for it—locally and independently owned, still, after nearly 32 years in business. Our editors and writers are your friends and neighbors (and occasional punching bags). Like the makers in the pages that follow, you can reach out and touch us. Indeed, yours truly distributes print copies like an old-time street hawker every week at our #FindYourFolio Happy Hours. (See back cover for details.)

This is your community forum. Write us a letter, and we’ll publish it. Give us a lead, and we’ll investigate it. Nominate a local hero for one of our weekly Bouquets. Nominate a local villain for one of our weekly Brickbats. Vote in our new Best of the Beaches readers' poll. Sound off in a Backpage Editorial. Like Mark Hollis sang, “Baby, life’s what you make it.”

@thatgeorgioguy