Open mic has a proud tradition in Jacksonville dating back a couple of decades — and then some. I emceed nights at Fusion Café and Fuel in the 1990s, and, of course ,Al Letson (who has gone on to accomplish as much as any writer of his generation) had his night at Voodoo years ago.
To borrow a phrase from Sonny and Cher, the beat goes on, in the form of the Cypher Open Mic Poetry and Soul, held at Da Real Ting Café every first, third, and fifth Thursday of the month. Hosted by DJ Monsta and Ill Clinton — names familiar to those who know what's happening in Duval — this is a showcase for talent and is worth checking out.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. The show ends at midnight. Entry is $5 all night long, 18 and older. There is a full dinner menu, and for those who need liquid fortification, there are 3-for-1 well drinks, which is a drink offer that no reasonable person can refuse.
On April 4, the WB will be in the house, recording the event for a local program. The smart performer would show up tomorrow, do a poem or a song, then bring it back in April for the cameras.
Pacific Dub In Jacksonville: Take Two
West Coasters Pacific Dub brought their trademark energy and charisma back to Jacksonville on July 17 as they started the Florida leg of their "Red, White and Booze Tour" at Jack Rabbits.
One of the band's most meaningful and well known songs, "Dreaming," kicked off the show.
“I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming of a place so far away, yes somewhere we can take our great escape,” lead singer Colton Place sang to the crowd, who quickly showed their appreciation.
Openers Prime Trees and Sidereal set the reggae/rock feel that Pacific Dub personifies as the crowd swayed to the melodies.
After rocking out to “Close To You,” Pacific Dub played an original song “Best of All Time,” one they re-mastered for their latest album “Tightrope.”
“You with us Jax?” asked guitarist Bryce Klemer as the crowd responded with yelps and applause.
Lead singer Place asked the crowd if it was okay for drummer David Delaney to take over the mic for a few songs, prompting more yells of approval.
Playing “Young Girl” and an old favorite, “Foolin’ Around,” Delaney held his own vocally while playing the drums simultaneously.
Both the bassist, Ryan Naglich, and keyboard player Casey Eubanks clearly enjoyed the crowd’s energy as they played with smiles on their faces.
After playing the album's title song “Tightrope,” the group followed with a crowd favorite “California Girl” that had the audience swaying to the smooth reggae melody.
The band's enjoyment of the show was clear as guitarist Klemer raised his beer to the crowd and asked they drink for the lead singer who could not partake.
“Can’t drink while I’m taking these steroids,” Place said, flexing his muscles.
The singer announced that problems with his vocal cords may keep him out for a few months after the end of …
In dolphin years, 60 looks pretty young. Nellie, the bottlenose dolphin and mascot of Jacksonville University, is spending the whole year celebrating her birthday at Marineland as the oldest dolphin living in human care.
While most dolphins in the wild are estimated to live up to 25 years and dolphins in captivity usually live to 40, Nellie is breaking records. Born and raised in captivity, Nellie doesn't have to worry about predators, food shortages or pollution and gets regular veterinary care. With only a few minor health issues, such as failing eyesight, Nellie is in great shape for her age.
At the peek of her career, tourists and fans could see her jumping through rings and starring in TV shows that were filmed at Marineland’s original dolphin stadium. According to the park's website, she was featured in a Timex watch TV commercial in 1961 that aired on Frank Sinatra’s special “Welcome Home Elvis.” She has lived through the discovery of DNA, Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and the first iPhone. Nellie doesn’t perform for the public anymore. Now, she swims casually in her tank with another dolphin, Betty, and listens to the younger dolphins playing with basketballs or doing stunts in the nearby tanks.
Visitors might notice the zinc oxide Nellie wears to protect her aging skin.
“She spends a lot of time at the surface, so we don't want her to get sunburned. They have really sensitive skin like we do, ” Sky Austin, a Marineland assistant.
Nellie's talents have been recognized with honorary undergraduate and graduate degrees from JU. Yes, we are still talking about a bottlenose dolphin. To add to her credentials, this year, JU will bestow an honorary doctoral degree to Nellie as part of the park’s 75th anniversary. People are encouraged to attend the May 30 ceremony.
Nellie, who turned 60 on Feb. 27, is a product of the care and love she has received since birth. As she ages, …
Mayport, Naval Air Station and Blount Island are where most of Jacksonville’s military personnel work, but this summer, three Northeast Florida museums are helping military families play.
More than 2,000 museums across the United States are collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day (Sept. 2).
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is offering miliatry families free admission to its three summer exhibits: Inside/Out, which includes the permanent collection, Project Atrium by Sarah Emerson, and "Traces" by Lari Gibbons, whose meticulous renderings reflect an engagement with the natural world. In addition, admission to MOCA is free to everyone on the first Wednesday of every month during Art Walk.
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is always free for visitors, but a special exhibition, "World War II in Mandarin," is on display through Labor Day. The exhibit is a snapshot of World War II and includes information on local residents who served and how the war affected those at home. The Mandarin Museum offers exhibits looking into the colorful history of the area and a rotating gallery that features both modern and past artists who lived or were inspired in the Mandarin area. Families with musicians are invited on select Sundays in June for “Music Under the Oaks,” an open jam in the front yard of the museum.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens extends free admission not only to active military families but to retired as well. With valid identification, families can enjoy full access to the museum and gardens, as well as the special exhibitions. This summer, the Cummer will have family-friendly movie nights in the lush gardens. Two exhibits are on display throughout the summer — "La Florida, which celebrates 500 years of Florida’s past, and "Future …
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour has given golfers ages 11-18 a chance to play in tournament atmospheres since 2008. The HJGT is based out of Jacksonville and will be hosting the Junior Amateur Golfing Association (JAGA) City Jr. Championship at Deerwood Country Club June 17-18.
Three spots are being offered to local juniors who are members of local Jacksonville area chapters of The First Tee, a program that teaches children the fundamentals of golf and also builds character.
“It’s an honor to be chosen by The First Tee,” 13-year-old Trevor Madridejos said in a press release about the event.
Jeff Willoughby, program director of The First Tee in North Florida, said he hopes the program’s golfers will place well, gaining them and the program some recognition.
“Whether they win or place well, it will bring some light to the competitive golfers we have in our program,” Willoughby said.
While The First Tee prepares players for what they can expect on the course, Willoughby said they are essentially a youth development program.
“We make sure they are prepared for high school graduation,” Willoughby said. “Golf is more in the background as we want them to be more successful on the academic front.”
HJGT will also host a Tour Championship for the first time this year. Players with a win in their respected divisions — boys 11-14 and 15-18 and girls 15-18 — will earn a bid into the November championship.
“It takes a couple of months to prepare for,” said Dan Crowther, director of marketing for HJGT. “It’s one of the tournaments we have in rotation as we do 100 tournaments in a calendar year spanning eight states.”
This City Jr. Championship will host more than 60 participants. The registration fee is $179. The event will be open to the public.
Willoughby said he hopes to continue First Tee's partnership with HJGT.
“By allowing The First …
For Kenichi Ebina, the passion for dance began with one simple move: the running man.
Born in Japan, Ebina came to the United States at a young age. One night he wandered into a freshman dance on the college campus where he learned English.
“Everyone made a big circle on the floor, people started dancing in the circle and I was watching and I was shy,” Ebina said. “But there was a moment where it was like ‘OK, you’re next.”
So Ebina did "The Running Man," the only move in his arsenal, taught to him by a high school friend in Japan. When people cheered, the energy he felt in that moment propelled him into a lifelong passion. He didn’t realize until later that the audience was actually laughing at his outdated move, but fast forward to 2013 and Ebina, now 39, wins $1 million on "America’s Got Talent."
What Ebina does on stage is hard to define. His act is equal parts break dancing, technoand physical prowess, developed over years of exposure to the New York club scene and MTV.
“They call it dance, but I don’t call it dance,” Ebina said. “It’s a versatile performance, a multi-media performance.”
Although he never had formal training, Ebina took every chance he could to perform.
“I love the feedback and the energy during a performance. When people get loud and excited, the energy I can feel from the audience gives me a reason to live,” Ebina said. “Before that I didn’t have ambition or a dream. That feeling gave me a sense of identity, like ‘OK, I’m Kenichi, I’m alive. I’m here.’ ”
Despite the money, recognition and stream of talk show appearances, Ebina maintains a humbleness that even winning the largest talent contest in the country couldn’t tarnish.
“As a performer, I’m not that good. So many other performers are better than me,” Ebina said. “[When I …
The Florida Theatre is offering $10 tickets for select upcoming shows during a Columbus Day sale.
The tickets are only available on Oct. 14 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. either in person at the Florida Theatre box office, 128 E. Forsyth St., in Downtown Jacksonville or by phone at (904) 355-2787. The ticket offer is not available online.
The number of tickets might be limited and seating will be assigned by the theater personnel. The dates and times for the shows are available on the Florida Theatre website floridatheatre.com/events.
Florida Theatre's Columbus Day sale events:
Tower of Power
Hurley presents Switchfoot and the premiere of the film “Fading West”
Mark Russell's “The Laughter of Politics”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Clark Hagans Comedy Tour / Triple HHH presents Gary Owen & Friends
L.J. Holloway & Associates, Inc. presents an “Evening with Will Downing” for the “Seventh Annual Celebration of Life Benefit Concert”
John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert
Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash – Broadway National Tour
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
The Three Irish Tenors Symphonic Christmas
Walgreens presents the 22nd Annual Community Nutcracker
Peter White Christmas featuring Rick Braun & Mindi Abair
Golden Dragon Acrobats
ABBA: The Tour
The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion
The Irish Rovers: Farewell Tour
In the world of subjectivity, art reigns supreme. The very definition is slippery, hard to tack down. Perhaps it’s not too bold to claim that most well-done art tells a story. It makes you think and, regardless of the opinion you form of it, leaves its impression just by doing so. It can crash down on you the moment you experience it and still subtly seep in on the drive home. It keeps leaving something to contemplate.
The Alvin Ailey Dance Company left about 1,400 people in The Times Union Center’s Moran Theater with plenty to chew on after its one-night performance Feb. 25.
Their show opened with “Home,” an urban contemporary piece. This, like the other three choreographies of the evening, told its own unique story. It opened with a single light cascading down from the top of the stage. The entire company stood in abstract, some contorted, positions. Their collective shape was a thing of art in its own right against the cool palette of teal and purple on the backdrop screen. The soundtrack began with a timid thump like a heartbeat, the dancers flawlessly matching its intensity as the beat grew and morphed and became more present. The initial, controlled imitation of slow motion and discovery of their surroundings grew and soon dancers were sprinting and jumping and pirouetting across the stage.
The momentum slowly winded down until the company, all except one dancer, was back into standing into one group. That one dancer turned over his shoulder, addressed the audience with a glance, and as he returned back into the rest of the company, the group gave a sudden, gasping inhale and the lights went out.
Like that last breath, the company used sound very sparingly and effectively. Each dancer was incredibly composed and light on their feet. Aside from the backing track, most of their highly athletic jumps and maneuvers were executed with complete silence. When they did make a sound, it was there for a reason. It served a purpose in the …
“War Horse” requires a commitment.
When you read “horse puppeteers,” the fact is, your brain might tell you, “I’m not going anywhere near a play with horse puppets.”
But the stellar cast and creative team go all out staging this emotional two-act play, based on the 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo and presented by Artist Series Feb. 18-23. The beautiful minimalism of this production delivers the simple story of a young man, Albert, leaving his British village to look for his horse Joey in the chaos of World War I.
Ultimately, the most important commitment must come from the audience, suspending disbelief on those horse puppeteers, two inside the adult horse Joey and one controlling his head.
The puppeteers controlling the title character — James Duncan, Adam Cunningham and Aaron Haskell — carry this production. They breathe life into “War Horse,” causing some theatergoers to tear up at the connection formed between Albert and Joey.
The intensity of the actors, particularly Michael Wyatt Cox as Albert, puts the spotlight clearly on Joey, not the puppeteers. The entire production hinges on it.
It must be said that for some, it’ll truly be too hard to look past the puppeteers. Those pondering taking a chance on “War Horse” for its eight-show run through Feb. 23 would be advised to watch videos of Joey first and judge for themselves.
A goose, controlled by Gregory Manley, proves to be a scene-stealer, injecting some much-needed humor.
But the production might very well lose some of its audience in the first 10 minutes when the foal Joey — not nearly as impressive — is up for auction. Albert’s father Ted bets the mortgage to win, and the drunk’s half-cocked decisions drive the plot throughout the first act.
The 120-pound Joey bursts in not a moment too soon and rather dramatically.
Joey is challenged to take to the plow, then goes off to war before Albert is old enough to join. Later, Albert enlists and the …
Jacksonville artist Ryan Black was instantly hooked when he discovered his first “X-Men” comic book on a spinner rack at Lil’ Champ in the 1980s.
Black’s grandmother bought him all of his comics while he was growing up because she thought of it as him studying to be a comic artist.
Now, pursuing his greatest passion, Black seeks funding through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com for “Tension,” a modern mythology comic book featuring real-world obstacles. The campaign begins May 4.
“I’m creating something with a lot of heart; this is not an ironic hipster book. There are no unicorns with mustaches here,” Black said.
Black says “Tension” is special because it’s a truly independent comic that draws from the same mythological pool as Marvel and DC Comics, giving readers something different wrapped in something familiar. He said the characters are three-dimensional people and have real problems to which readers in all walks of life can relate.
The story opens with the main character Eric Evans (aka WitchHammer) being told by his boss to hunt down and neutralize his telepathic best friend Jessica Jane. Jane is being blamed for an event in Prague that left 12 people dead and hundreds injured.
Evans is employed by a government-funded black-ops agency called The American Bureau for Special Defense (A.B.S.D.), which employs super humans like Evans and Jane to defend America from super-powered terrorists.
WitchHammer’s power isn’t revealed yet, but he has the ability to absorb and harness dark matter, Black said.
For the most part there aren't a lot of independent artists creating superheroes without their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, Black said.
“I'm doing a comic book for people who have outgrown some of the Big Two's bullshit and aren't getting their superhero fix from the indies.”
“Tension” features comedy mixed with …