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PLAYING AROUND

Symbiote Spider-Man and Wonder Woman are talking in the corner. Zelda and a Stormtrooper are posing for pictures.

Worlds collided as fans enjoyed playing as their favorite characters, straight out of comic books, video games and fantasy July 13 at the Legend of GAAM at The Museum.

The Games, Art and Music event included a art sale benefiting Child's Play, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospitals with toys and games.

The event also included a cosplay contest for those dressed in character, a magic show in the "Lost Woods," a dance contest in Ganon's Dungeon and a DJ playing many memorable tunes from video-game classics as well as live music from On Guard. Nevado Arts put on a martial arts demonstration, while vendors offered prizes.  

A photobooth designed to mirror the world of Zelda greeted you on your way in. Many took pictures posing in their Zelda-inspired costumes and props.  

A gaming room with more 20 TVs and other consoles throughout The Museum invited gamers to plug in. 

The first GAAM event was themed on the "Street Fighter" series and also included a 3D lifesize Mario game outside The Museum. That event drew about 350 people in December.

The Legend of GAAM sold out with more than 600 enthusiasts enjoying "The Legend of Zelda" theme, including the Triforce, rupees, health hearts and a three-leveled Zelda walk-through with the Night Sky, Fairy Cave, Lost Woods, and Ganon's Dungeon.

GAAM founders Ryan Thompson, Derrick Nevado, Logan Zawacki and Edmund Dansart created the events to bring awareness to the gaming industry in Jacksonville and help strengthen it.

Thompson originally made fan art for the 25th anniversary of "Street Fighter" and put it on Tumblr. He received a strong response and realized he wanted to do something even bigger. Then, he met Nevado, Zawacki and Dansart and GAAM was born.    More

PLAYING AROUND

For the final 15 minutes, “Million Dollar Quartet” had the crowd on its feet.

Keep in mind, this came only after a standing ovation that felt more obligatory than any the Artist Series had seen this season. If only the writers allowed these legends to uncork their fire earlier and if only the story was engaging enough to hold it all together.

Don't blame the stars. Cody Ray Slaughter (Elvis Presley), James Barry (Carl Perkins), Scott Moreau (Johnny Cash) and John Countryman (Jerry Lee Lewis) displayed the vocal and musical talent to keep the Times-Union Center's Moran Theater rocking on April 22. But for too long, the 100-minute musical (without an intermission) rests on a thin plot of four legends arriving in Memphis with very different agendas.

Based on the legendary recording session on Dec. 4, 1956, at Sun Records, the jukebox musical takes liberties with the songbook, but that mostly can be forgiven. (Other lesser-known songs and more gospel hits were played at the actual session, which was recorded by Sun founder Sam Phillips.)

To be fair, major hits "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Folsom Prison Blues" kept the opening night crowd tapping their feet, and that finale of "Hound Dog," "Riders in the Sky," "See You Later Alligator" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" sent many home satisfied.

However, some of the lines in "Million Dollar Quartet" might leave you wondering if these jokes were even funny in 1956. At one point, Sam pleads "Say amen, somebody," and Jerry Lee replies, "Amen, somebody."

No, it wasn't all that bad. Carl points out that "drunks don't buy records," and Johnny's reply, "they just make them," earned one of the night's biggest laughs.

Barry delivers the most memorable performance, though he has the advantage of playing the least-known of the four legends.

As Sam, Vince Nappo has the unenviable task of trying to hold the story together. More than once, he comes running out, begging for applause from the audience. …   More

PLAYING AROUND

It’s easy to see when somebody loves what they’re doing. It’s plain as day to spot and nearly impossible to imitate. They could repeat it every day and night for years and still their eyes will light up and they’ll look like a kid who just surprised themselves, learning how to do some exciting new thing.

Five decades into an illustrious career, Tommy Emmanuel still loves playing the guitar. That was clear for his audience on the opening night of his two-day performance with Martin Taylor at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Feb. 20, because he’s damn good at it.

The duo draws a motley crowd — a near-even mix of Van Halen-era tour tees and double-starched collars. Of snarled manes and wispy greys. When Emmanuel picked up the guitar, the reason behind the dichotomy became clear.

The man can shred the cheese. He’ll out-solo the best of ‘em, and then just keep going until he feels like doing something else, giving the audience his self-assured wink-and-nod service the entire time. Still, there’s a sophistication to his playing. Ten fingers conduct their six-stringed orchestra, coaxing an eclectic array of textures and moods and percussions out of one instrument. It looks like a parlor trick, and he’s very aware of that, making extraneous, often humorous moves with his hands as bedroom rock-stars young and old study the master’s every move, hoping to witness his secret.

The secret is, there is no secret. It’s apparent from the ear-to-ear grin and the way he struts about the stage that he’s simply a big kid playing with his toys — he's just been playing with them a whole lot for a quite a long time.

The show is nearly all guitar-driven, though Emmanuel does chime in with his Australian take on a honky-tonk drawl for a few verses of “Deep River Blues.” When he does sing, it takes a backseat to his playing and when he doesn’t, you don’t really miss it — and that’s not a knock against his voice. Like classical music, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The animated American classic "Scooby-Doo" with the medling, mystery-solving gang of teenagers and their talking great dane comes to life in "Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries."

The cartoon originated in 1969 and is still in production today, a staple in children’s animated television. There may be some superpowers at work aiding the staying power of Scooby and the gang all these years, but whatever has been keeping audiences captivated is one mystery that doesn’t need solving.

Folio Weekly spoke to Cody Collier, a Springfield, Mo., native who plays Scooby-Doo, by phone about his experience on tour.

Folio Weekly: How long have you been performing and perfecting your craft?

Cody Collier: I was really shy as a child all the way up and through middle school, and it wasn’t until high school that I started doing these school plays. Then, it branched out to community theater and stuff like that, and then after graduation I moved to New York to study it — The New York Film Academy acting for film conservatory — and I decided to take dance classes and voice classes and stuff on the side while studying acting in New York for the past year. And after graduating there, I went to the Boston Conservatory and studied musical theater just to get back in the groove of singing and dancing, because I had been acting all year long. And then after I got back to New York, I auditioned for "Scooby-Doo." I’ve been at it for a short amount of time compared to other people.

F.W.: Did you think that you would land the role of Scooby when you auditioned?

C.C.: I wasn’t really sure because whenever I originally saw the casting notice for "Scooby-Doo," I submitted for Scooby, Shaggy and Fred — all three of the lead roles there, and I never heard anything back for a month or so. Then, I saw they had a second casting notice posted and they hadn’t found a Scooby-Doo yet. So I was like “OK, what the heck?” and I …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The Summer Musical Theatre Experience (SMTE) provides seventh graders to seniors in Northeast Florida with an opportunity to get hands-on acting experience performing in well-known plays such as “Hairspray!” and Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast.”

This year, the eighth-annual SMTE is performing the satire “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Folio Weekly caught up with 18-year-old J.D. Rees by phone to talk about his lead role in the production.

Folio Weekly: Can you tell us a little bit about the production?

J.D. Rees: It’s all about this character who goes by Finch, and that’s my role actually. He basically finds this book, the book on "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and he reads it and goes step by step. Throughout the play you see how he’s able to get from the mailroom, bottom of the food chain, to the executive boardroom. It’s kind of just his steps on how he gets up the business ladder without actually trying.

F.W.: How long have you been doing this program?

Rees: This is a summer program, and this is my second year. I was in "Peter Pan" last year. My sister Rachael, she actually did it the year before that, and she was the one that got me interested in doing this summer program. I believe they did “Hairspray” that year. So yeah, this is my second year.

F.W.: What’s the atmosphere like during the program?

Rees: It’s really cool because we’re all high school based. That’s the cool thing about the program honestly, they’re able to take a bunch of high school students and really kind of change them and put them in a professional setting. They give us a set schedule and this amazing show and amazing stage, amazing everything honestly. Everyone is just so nice and everyone is so helpful, no one really puts anyone down. You just make a ton of brand new friendships.

F.W.: Was the Summer Musical Theater …   More

Delta riffs roared high as draft beer and sauce-slathered meats stained fingers and beards and tie-dyed shirts during opening night of the Springing the Blues Music Festival, which runs April 5-6 at the Sea Walk Pavilion on Jacksonville Beach.

Parker Urban Band opened the main stage with some of the smoothest R&B singing of the evening from Juanita Parker-Urban and Myrna Stallworth. Their rich, full voices were complemented by the tight percussion and vibrant brass and harmonica musicians. The band would seamlessly transition from punchy verses to extended, loose jams that showcased the strengths of each musician.

The Brandon Santini Band hailed straight from Beale St. Tenn., which Santini made abundantly clear by his on-stage swagger and showbiz get-up. That’s not to say they’re all show and no pulp; Santini could rip the solos out of his effects-laden harmonica for minutes on end — occasionally stopping to gasp for oxygen and offer a charming wink. The guitarist’s rig was particularly bare-bones — he used a jacked-up-to-10 tube-screamer to make his telecaster squeal and kicked it off to fade back into the rhythm.

From a guitar-playing perspective, Joanne Shaw Taylor was possibly the best musicianship of the night. Taylor could skillfully coax an array of tones and textures out of her Les Paul, transitioning with ease from cool, emotive solos to loud, ballsy riffs that would garner at least a head nod from the audience. With the earnestness and grit she used to sing the blues, it was nearly impossible to tell she comes from across the pond.

“She ain’t no Southern country girl?” an audience member remarked after she dropped the drawl between songs to talk in a natural English inflection.

The Taylor outfit was an interesting crew, with a middle-aged bassist who looked like he just stepped off the ACDC reunion tour bus with the Angus Young-inspired antics and facial expressions he would get into while delivering the rhythm. The …   More

PLAYING AROUND

“Ancient City Stories,” a lifestyle show produced entirely by students and alumni of Flagler College, will debut at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 on CW17, according to a press release from Flagler College. The show will continue on WCWJ — Jacksonville's CW network affiliate — at 7 p.m. Sundays for 52 weeks.

Students from Flagler College's Communication Department as well as arts and graphic design researched, interviewed, shot and edited the show.

The show will cover people, locations and events highlighting St. Augustine.

A live screening of the premiere episode will play 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Gamache-Koger Theater in the Ringhaver Student Center, 50 Sevilla St., in St. Augustine.

"'Ancient City Stories' is a fantastic opportunity for our students who consistently create broadcast quality work," said Josh Wallace, the college's FCTV station manager, according to the press release. "The students have put a lot of hard work in to get the show to the point it is at, and with the premier right around the corner, we are all very excited to see the fruits of our labor."

An introductory video can be found on http://www.ancientcitystories.com.   More

PLAYING AROUND

An art project that traveled from China, via Australia, to the West Coast of the U.S., has arrived in Jacksonville.

Collector Mike Cavendish acquired "The Unauthorized Collection of John Kaldor," which centers on a room-sized installation. The project was then transported to Jacksonville by artist David De Boer along with filmmaker Aaron Giesel, who chronicled the journey.

“It allowed them to have all these happenings with different Americans everyday,” Cavendish said. “They had a pop-up exhibition in Chicago. It was about a process of allowing a special work of art to pass through for all to see.”

Cavendish is a downtown attorney at Gunster Jacksonville and was thrilled to have these two artists, De Boer and Giesel, both of Southern California, spend 3 days in the city and meet with the art community.

The work was commissioned by FELT Space, a gallery in Australia, and created in China. De Boer wanted Kaldor’s collection to be made piece for piece in the same place Kaldor made his fortune.

The art project is considered to consist of three essential parts that made the process special — the installation, the journey and the film — Cavendish said.

“It’s the first time this has been done anywhere in the world,” Cavendish said. “Kaldor had a collection of world-class contemporary art he paid for by doing trade between China and Australia. It is provocative, highly original and was met with a great reception in Australia.”

Cavendish says that the installation confronts the way that the art market is aligning itself with the billionaires or the one-tenth of the 1 percent, taking art away from the masses.

De Boer’s work challenges that ideal by taking a highly renowned collector’s pieces and duplicating them.

Cavendish hopes to have the installation put up around Jacksonville to help promote Jacksonville as the next art hub, similar to Brooklyn or …   More

PLAYING AROUND

A film written by a Jacksonville resident will screen in the same theater where the Oscars are handed out in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Best Friends Films’ “The Other Half,” written by Jacksonville’s Sharon Y. Cobb, received runner-up honors and $1,000 in cash and prizes in the 48 Go Green International Film Competition.

The short film will screen with other winners on April 19, about two months after Hollywood stars pick up their Oscars Feb. 24, at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

In the Go Green film competition filmmakers must create the concept, write the script, cast, film and edit the film all within the 48-hour time limit.

“The Other Half” is about Albert Smith, a young man searching for the girl in a torn photograph he discovered. Meanwhile, Lark Green is trying to teach the world ways to save the environment, but no one will give her the time of day. She seeks a boy in torn photo, because she believes he will help her save the world.

Cobb, a member of the Writers Guild of America, is also director of the University of North Florida Writers Conference and teaches literature classes at UNF. She also created the comedy website FunnyFixx.com and produces the web series “Thurapy.”

Best Friends Films, led by producer/director Marc Boese, had their film “Way Off the Grid” selected among the top-rated films for the 2011 competition.   More

PLAYING AROUND

In the past few years, reality shows have taken over television. With every channel change comes a different version of what “reality” is.

Luckily for Jacksonville, reality is pretty sweet.  

Sweet Pete’s, a natural canning and sweet treat shop located in the historic district of Springfield, will now be known for more than its delicious candies. CW 17 has decided to make a show called, "Sweet Pete’s: The Show." It will highlight the in and outs and ups and downs of building a small business, all while maintaining the entertainment factor with a colorful cast.

Pete Behringer, son of Peterbrooke Chocolatier’s founders and co-owner of Sweet Pete’s, said he owes the recent deal with CW 17 to another local show.

“We were featured on a local show over here in Jacksonville, and the executive producer spent the day … with us and she liked what we were doing and thought, ‘We need to have cameras over here in this place because you people are crazy.’ … The rest is history,” he said.

For most people, having cameras following them around would put them in a frenzy; constantly worrying about how their hair looked, if there was anything in their teeth or what mom would think. But for Behringer and the cast, it became part of their everyday life.

“At first, it’s very strange. It’s a very strange sensation. But it’s not long before that feeling goes away, and you’re just doing your business, you’re going about your daily routine, you’re not really thinking about it, at least, I wasn’t. … I think [for] most of the people here, it just got to be natural,” Behringer said.

So who are “the people?” The cast is made up of co-owners and spouses, Peter and Allison Behringer; business partner Dane Baird; candymaker Demetric Nathan; shop manager Ericka Woods and decorator Christopher Cahill.

Each of these characters …   More

 
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